Pigskin Hebrews, 2009 edition
Here’s my annual roundup of Jews in the NFL, prepared with the help of the Jewish Sports Review newsletter. All the players are veterans — no rookies made the final team rosters.
The players are: David Binn, 37, San Diego, long snapper. A former Cal player, Binn holds the record for the most games that anyone has played in a Chargers uniform; Igor Olshansky, 27, defensive end, Dallas. A top player who grew up in San Francisco, Olshansky left San Diego and signed a big-money contract with Dallas in the offseason; Adam Podlesh, 26, punter, Jacksonville; Sage Rosenfels, 31, backup quarterback, Minnesota; and Geoff Schwartz, 23, outside tackle, Carolina.
In local college football, Cal has two Jewish players on its roster, and Stanford has three. Cal: Mitchell Schwartz, outside tackle, and Jordan Kay, kicker. Stanford: David Green, punter, Zach Nolan, long snapper, and Erik Lorig, defensive end.
Opening Friday, Sept. 25 are “Fame” and “Pandorum.” The former is a remake of the hit 1980 film of the same name, about the lives of students and teachers at a New York City public high school for the arts. The flick co-stars Debbie Allen, who played a teacher in the original film, and is the school principal in the remake. The cast also includes Bebe Neuwirth, 50, as a ballet and dance teacher. Neuwirth, 50, who played the Jewish character Lilith on “Cheers,” is a very accomplished Broadway dancer. She says, “I was pleased that they asked a real dancer to play a dancer, because boy, they don’t always do that.”
The remake score includes two hit songs from the original film: “Fame” and “Out Here on My Own.” Both songs were written by Michael Gore, 58, the brother of ’60s teen singer Lesley Gore. Michael picked up two Oscars for the original film — best score and best song (“Fame”).
“Pandorum” is a sci-fi film that co-stars Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster, 28 (“3:10 to Yuma”). They play two astronauts who wake up in space with no memory of who they are. They hear sounds coming from the center of the spacecraft, and when they explore further, they encounter several other surviving crew members and learn that a terrible event has happened on board that might affect the survival of the human race.
More new TV Jews
In “Accidentally on Purpose,” Jon Foster, 25, the brother of Ben Foster, plays a young slacker who has a fling with an older woman (Jenna Elfman) that results in an unplanned pregnancy and an unexpected relationship. (Started Monday, Sept. 21 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.)
“Eastwick” is an ABC series that began Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. Based on the popular book and film “The Witches of Eastwick,” it is about three women who find themselves drawn together by a mysterious man who unleashes unique powers in each of them. One of the three, Kat Rougemont, is played by pretty red-headed actress Jamie Ray Newman, 31. Newman has long had a dual career as a TV actress and jazz singer.
“Mercy” is an NBC medical drama set in a hospital that centers on the lives of three staff nurses. (Started Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.) One of the three nurses is played by pretty actress Michelle Trachtenberg, 23 (“Gossip Girl,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”). Her paternal grandparents live in Israel.
Two new women have joined the cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” (Premieres Saturday, Sept. 26 at 11:30 p.m.) One is Iranian American Nasim Pedrad, whom I suspect is Jewish, but I haven’t confirmed that. The other is Brooklyn-based Jenny Slate, 25, who has long been the darling of hip New York City comedy clubs. Tongue in cheek, she has described herself as “a Jewy beauty.”
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.