Thursday, March 14, 2013 | return to: columns, celebrities


Celebrity Jews

by nate bloom

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Magazine goes tribal

Two recent issues of Vanity Fair magazine have an astonishing amount of first-class, Jewish-related celebrity news (most of the material can be read at

Judd Apatow
Judd Apatow
The January comedy issue, edited by Judd Apatow, 45, features interviews with the mostly Jewish cast of “Freaks and Geeks”; a joint interview with Elaine May and Mike Nichols, both 80; and a revealing interview with Albert Brooks, 65, in which he movingly shares his reason for insisting that his two children go to synagogue with him. Brooks also lavishes praise on his wife of 16 years, Mill Valley native Kimberly Shlain, 47.

The March issue includes a profile of Marv Adelson, 83, who went from being a showbiz frontman for the mafia, to a top TV producer married to Barbara Walters and worth $300 million, to his present state — divorced, broke and living alone in a tiny apartment. It also includes an interview with a happy and lively Stanley Donen, 88, who directed such classics as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “On the Town” and “Charade.” Donen has been living with May for 12 years. Donen wants to do “the right thing”: he says he has asked her to marry him “about 172 times.”


Grace under pressure

As you may have heard, Aly Raisman, 18, who won two gold medals and a bronze in gymnastics at the 2012 Olympic Games, will compete on the new season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” The 16th season begins on Monday, March 18. Raisman competed in the floor exercise to the music of “Hava Nagila.” Can the song be

Max Aaron
Max Aaron
adapted to a couple’s dance? Maybe — and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try.

The World Figure Skating Championships are going on in Ontario, Canada (March 11-17) and can be seen on NBC’s Universal Sports Network. Two members of the U.S. team are Jewish. Watch for them or look for their names in the news after the finals of their events take place on Friday, March 15. It’s likely they will be medal contenders at the 2014 Olympics Games.

Max Aaron, 20, an Arizona native, won the U.S. men’s individual championship last month. Aaron, who was raised in a Conservative Jewish home, recently told the JTA that he was inspired by Jewish athletes growing up. Raisman, he added, is a recent role model.

Also on the American team is pairs skater Simon Shnapir, 25. He was born in Moscow and moved with his parents to the States when he was 16 months old. Shnapir, an Emerson College student, stands 6-foot-4 and towers over his 5-foot partner, Marissa Castelli, 22. Even so, they “make it work,” and last month the duo won its first U.S. Pairs National Championship.


Short-term troika?

Los Angeles city council member Eric Garcetti, 42, came in first in the March 5 open primary to become the city’s next mayor. His father, Gil Garcetti, 71, the former L.A. district attorney, was born in Mexico to Italian and Mexican Catholic parents. His mother, Sukey Roth, is an American Jew. Eric was raised Jewish and is a synagogue member. Garcetti will now face City Controller Wendy Gruel, whose husband is Jewish, in a May run-off. If he wins, from July until the end of the year the mayors of America’s three largest cities will be Jewish: Rahm Emanuel, 52, who took office as Chicago’s first Jewish mayor in May, 2011; and Michael Bloomberg, 71, who completes his third term as New York’s chief executive at the end of this year and cannot, by law, run again.

Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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