Celebrity Jews

Thursday, August 9, 2012 | by nate bloom

More Olympic doings

Here are some notes on Jewish Olympians you probably haven’t seen elsewhere:

Merrill Moses
Merrill Moses
The goalkeeper for the U.S. men’s water polo team, which lost to Croatia in the quarterfinals after a stellar start, was Southern California native Merrill Moses  … In 60-kilogram freestyle wrestling, here’s hoping that Vasyl Fedoryshyn, 32, a Ukrainian Jew and a 2008 silver medal winner, will be wrestling going for the gold on Saturday, Aug. 11 … New Zealander Jo Aleh and her teammate were in first place in the two-woman 470 class dinghy competition at midweek … Athletes without a medal included U.S. fencer Soren Thompson, 31, and swimmer Sarah Poewe, 29, of Germany … Stanford grad David Banks, 29, was a member of the U.S. eight-man rowing team that finished fourth … Australian Steve Solomon, 19, who ran a personal best to make the finals of the 400 meters, plans to attend Stanford this fall on an athletic scholarship and hopes to follow his father into medicine.

Two medal winners I’m trying to learn more about in terms of parentage/Jewish identification: New Zealand rower Nathan Cohen (gold in two-man scull); and U.S. swimmer Rebecca Soni, 25, who won a gold in the 200 breaststroke (setting a world record in her heat), a silver in the 100 breast and another gold as part of the winning U.S. 4x100 medley relay team. Ma’ariv, the Israeli newspaper, recently interviewed some of Soni’s Israeli relatives who said that her father is Jewish and that he’s the son of an Auschwitz survivor.

 

New flicks

“The Bourne Legacy,” opening Friday, Aug. 10, co-stars Rachel Weisz, 42. Scott Glenn, 71, reprises his role as the CIA head, with Corey Stoll, 36, in another supporting role ... “Hope Springs,” opening the same day and co-starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, includes handsome actor Ben Rappaport, 26, who starred in the short-lived TV series “Outsourced,” as their son. The director is David Frankel, 53 (“The Devil Wears Prada,” “Marley & Me”).

 

Short takes

Mazel tov to actress Elizabeth Berkley, 40, and her husband, painter Greg Lauren, 42 (nephew of Ralph), on the July 20 birth of their first child, a son they named Sky Cole. No word on whether Sky’s diapers will have a polo player pictured or be made in China (Uncle Ralph designed the Olympic uniforms for Team USA).

Elizabeth Berkley
Elizabeth Berkley
Sadly, singer Tony Martin, who was born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, died on July 27. He was 98. Born Alvin Morris, the grandson of Jewish immigrants, the handsome Martin was most popular in the ’30s and ’40s, crooning popular songs in a Sinatra-like style. He continued to appear in nightclubs until recently. Martin was married to dancer Cyd Charisse until her death in 2008, and he was buried next to her in the Los Angeles Jewish cemetery Hillside Memorial Park.

The cover of the July 29 Sunday Style section of the New York Times featured a profile of the career of young Tavi Gevinson, 16, titled “The Oracle of Girl World.” She has just completed a 16-city tour to promote Rookie, her online magazine for teen girls. Rookie grew out of Gevinson’s fashion blog, Style Rookie, which she began at age 11! It was so popular that it resulted in major media profiles of Gevinson morphed into a full-scale Webzine with a professional staff. It’s a terrific site with smart material that doesn’t talk down to its readers. Celebs including Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd and Ira Glass are fans and contributors. Gevinson, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is the daughter of Steve Gevinson, a retired English teacher, and Berit Engen, a native of Norway who makes Judaica-themed tapestries. Tavi, like her two siblings, was raised Jewish. In 2001, after three years of study and 18 years of marriage, Engen converted to Judaism — it’s a journey she calls from “Scandinavia to Shema.”


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