Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ready, set, swoon with Kunis and Kutcher

A week this Thursday will have been a month since the birth of Wyatt Isabelle to proud parents Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. Both are followers of the spiritual branch of Judaism, Kabbalah, and a blessing ceremony was held over the weekend.

According to the Daily Mail, Kutcher's ex Demi Moore attended the ceremony with daughters Rumer and Tallulah in tow.

An onlooker at the ceremony told The Sun newspaper that Moore and her daughters congratulated the couple while having a quick hold and coo over the baby. The 51-year-old Hollywood star also reportedly handed out presents, including an engraved picture frame and a personalized cashmere baby blanket.

Since the 90s and early 2000s, many Hollywood celebrities have adopted Kabbalah beliefs and adhere to its principle tenet that there is more to the world than what we usually perceive. What one, therefore, seeks to obtain – in constructive healthy ways –  is more joy and more connection with the things that matter.

It's a lesson Kunis and Kutcher will likely pass on, as soon as their little one is able to learn it.

Profeti Della Quinta coming to Holy Blossom

In the space between Simchat Torah and Chanukah, Jewish organizations and synagogues roll out a slew of events to nourish the soul of the community. One such event is a concert showcasing the Israeli vocal ensemble Profeti della Quinta, who will perform Thursday, Oct. 23 at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.

The talented group will perform classic melodies from the Renaissance compiled by 16th-century Italian Jewish composer Salomone Rossi.

Profeti della Quinta has taken to the stage in venues around the world, from the United States to Japan and Switzerland to the Netherlands. Next Thursday's performance will mark the group's Canadian debut.

The selection of Rossi's Italian madrigals, instrumental pieces and Hebrew prayers will provide an auditory delight, while visually concert-goers will be treated to a screening of the award winning documentary Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi as a prelude to the main event.

For more information and for tickets, contact Mari Lynn Rusak by clicking here or visit the Holy Blossom website.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Frozen-inspired parody in time for Sukkot

After the massive hit Disney had on its hands last winter with the theatrical release of its animated tale Frozen, there were many parodies made of Idina Menzel's top track from the film, Let it Go.

Now, just in time for the holiday of Sukkot comes a parody of Kristen Bell's Do You Want to Build a Snowman? entitled Do You Want to Build the Sukkah? by the Singers Sing.

Chag Samyach.

A pre-Sukkot video roundup

There's a chill in the air, leaves are changing colour and falling from the trees, and the harvest moon was just visible in the sky, all signs that it's time for Sukkot.

Not wanting the holiday to be overshadowed by the attention given to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we found some informative and entertaining clips to celebrate Sukkot and showcase its traditional themes.

Here's a look at how Israel prepared for the 'hut' holiday in the late '80s. From this educational film produced by the Spielberg Jewish Film Archive, it's clear that not much has changed in nearly 30 years, save for the landscape.

Here is the second of the parody video we discovered for 2014, a riff on the Beatles I've Just Seen A Face. as the chassidic folk rock band Rogers Park teams up with chassidic comic Mendy Pellin, playing an eager campus rabbi calling students into his sukkah made of falling walls to bless the lulav and etrog.

Enjoy and Chag Samayach from Heebonics.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

German automaker enlists Star Trek stars for new ad

Looking for a new or used car to replace the one you've got? If you are, Volkswagen is hoping to attract your business with a new marketing campaign featuring Kirk and Spock of the original Star Trek series.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, who played captain James T. Kirk and Vulcan Scientist Mr. Spock, respectively, will star in the automaker's coming commercial for its first electric car, the e-Golf.

While the German manufacturer's vehicles are known to be well-constructed (when not assembled in Mexico), VW struggles to make the listing of best-selling cars. According to car's blog Kicking Tires, Ford cars and trucks, the Dodge Ram Pickup, Chevrolet's Silverado truck, the Toyota Camry and RAV4 and Honda's CRV and Accord comprise the Top 10 best-sellers for 2014 in the United States.

Volkswagen was one of many German companies that were complicit with the the Nazis during World War II, and in recent years, it has made an effort to remove that stigma from its identity. In 2011, the car maker donated $1 million dollars to the Anti Defamation League (ADL), and last year, it donated more than $1 million to the international youth centre at Auschwitz in Poland.

In one of our earlier posts this year, we brought you excerpts from Nimoy's in-depth interviews conducted by the Yiddish Book Center's Wexler Oral History Project. In one of the three videos, Nimoy explains the story behind the Vulcan salute. Could it be that VW's bold ad strategy was inpsired by the fact its logo looks like Nimoy's iconic hand gesture?

It is truly a meld for the next generation.

It's a girl for Kunis and Kutcher

If you haven't heard by now, beloved Hollywood couple and That '70s Show co-stars Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher are parents of a newborn. The actress gave birth to a baby girl Tuesday night at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles.

In hindsight, it's probably best that the release of her action film Jupiter Ascendin, co-starring Channing Tatum, was delayed until next summer, as the strain of promoting the film at junkets around the world may have not been the best thing health-wise for her.

In interviews before her delivery, Kunis said she plans to take a break from acting in order to be a full-time mother. The stars seem to have aligned in her favour.

Kutcher is a follower of the Kabbalah movement and reportedly keeps kosher. Before her pregnancy was announced, sources close to Kunis told media outlets that she planned to have children and to raise them in accordance with Jewish traditions.

What a nice way to start off 5775. Mazel tov indeed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Transformers Shia LaBeouf pleads guilty in court

It's been a harrowing year for troubled actor Shia LaBeouf, 28, who reportedly intended to retire from public life after facing a plagiarism scandal tied to his movie Nymphomaniac as 2014 commenced.

In the weeks and months that followed, LaBeouf was cited many times for erratic behaviour. In June, LaBeouf was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and two counts of disorderly conduct while attending a performance of Cabaret at Studio 54 in New York City.

Following his arrest, witnesses and police described the onetime sought-after young actor as being incoherent, yelling profanities and stumbling inside the theatre smoking and refusing to stop. Dressed in a ripped shirt, LaBeouf spat on a police officer as he tried to walk away from the scene.

In a statement to the local CBS affiliate, a press agent for the show said Labeouf was "disruptive during Act 1 and escorted out of Studio 54 at intermission."

The news broke earlier today that LaBeouf, who has admitted to and has sought treatment for alcoholism, pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charges stemming from his arrest in June. The terms of his deal with prosecutors are such that if continues in-patient treatment for another three months and can remain out of trouble until he returns to court on Nov. 12, he can withdraw the guilty plea and his case will be dismissed.