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March 14, 2014

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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 14, 2014 6 Degrees (no Bacon): celebrity Jewish roundup By Jana Banin Scarlett Johansson is pregnant HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (JTA)-- B'sha'ah tovah to Scarlett Johansson! The 29-year-old "Her" star, of recent So- daStream fame (or infamy, depending which side you're on), is expecting her first child with French fiance Romain Dauriac, El News reports. The couple, dating publicly since November 2012, an- nounced their engagement six months ago. Prior to this relationship, Johansson dated ad exec Nate Naylor for a year. She split with husband Ryan Reynolds in 2010 after two years of marriage. Reynolds went on to wed Blake Lively last September. So yes, things have been slightly tumultuous for ScarJo but looks like Esquire's Sexi- est Woman Alive is finally on her way to happily ever after, Natalie Portman style. That's right: French guy, Israeli ties, pre-wedding baby. Just saying. Next up for Seth Rogen: A video game movie and AIzheimer's activism Funny, geeky comedy team Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are moving away from funny and sticking with just geeky for their next project. The two will direct "Console Wars," a business thriller about the 1990s showdown between video game makers Sega and Nintendo, Booktrade reports. The film, from the people thatbroughtyou"Moneyball" and "The Social Network," will be an adaptation of the book"CONSOLE WARS: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined a Generation" by Blake J. Harris, which comes out this August. Other unfunny, yet cer- tainly mensch-y Rogen news: On Wednesday he'll put on his activist hat and going down to Capitol Hill, where he'll testify at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing titled "The Rising Cost of Alzheim- er's in America." Rogen will speak about how the disease has impacted his family. Comedy Central renews 'Broad City' "Broad City," a series cre- ated by and starring Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, has been renewed by Comedy Central for a second season. Executive Producer Amy Poehler announced the news on Seth Meyers' "Late Night" premiere Monday night. The show chronicles the lives of two young, single, cash-challenged gals trying to make it (or survive, more accurately) in New York City. Think "Girls," with more laughs, less self-analysis and fewer belly shirts. The idea for the show came from a sketch Jacobson and Glazer, two Jewish girls from the suburbs (Wayne, Pa., and Long Island, respectively), came up with for New York's Upright Citizens Brigade. The idea morphed into a popular web series which ultimately got noticed by Poehler. So where does "Broad City" fall on the Jew-o-meter? We'll let the experts weigh in. "The show is super Jewish, but in that new tacit, casual way that's more Andy Sam- berg and less Adam Sandier," says Stephanie Butnick from Tablet. It's not "New Girl's" Schmidt dropping lines about his bar mitzvah and seeking his rabbi out as a therapist when the show's plot stalls. They're just Jewish (on the show and in real life, duh), and it plays into their act as much as any other of their characteristics (young wom- en, broke, middling bucket drummers) do." Season One features guest stars like Rachel Dratch, Amy Sedaris, Janeane Garofalo, plus Fred Armisen as a guy who answers the girls' Craig- slist ad, reading "We're just 2 Jewesses tryin' to make a buck." In order to raise funds for weed and Lil Wayne con- cert tickets, they accept his offer to clean his apartment in their underwear. That should give you a taste of what you're in for, so if it's your thing, join the 1 million viewers who, per The Hollywood Reporter, have enjoyed "Broad City" since its Jan. 22 premiere. Top five Jewish moments from the 2014 Oscars The high ratio of Members of the Tribe in Hollywood makes the Academy Awards sort of an inherently Jew-y event. That said, from Ho- locaust survivors to Semitic songstresses, there were seg- ments from Sunday night's ceremony that certainly can be counted as overtly Jew-y. Five, to be exact. Check out our highlight reel. 1. By far the most mean- ingful and emotional mo- ment was when "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life" snagged the trophy for best documentary short. The subject, pianist and oldest known Holocaust survivor Alice Herz-Sommer, passed away just last week at age 110. Upon accepting the award, di- rector Malcolm Clarke recom- mendedwe all watch the film. Herz-Sommer, he said, will "help you live a happier life." 2. Another tearjerker: The "In Memoriam" segment, list- ing those lost this year, includ- ing Harold Ramis, Sid Caesar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple, and James Gandolfini. (Among those missing from the list: Cory Monteith and Dennis Farina). Jewish diva Bette Midler made the whole thing sweeter and sadder with a performance of "Wind Beneath My Wings." Dominique Charriau/Getty Images Actress Scarlett Johansson and Romain Dauriac sit in the audience before the start of the 39th Cesar Film Awards 2014 at Theatre du Chatelet on Feb. 28, 2014 in Paris, France. 3. Finally, after the 11 p.m. mark (sorry, sleeping kiddies) "Frozen" star IdinaMenzel hit the stage for a soulful, albeit speedy, rendition of the hit song "Let it Go." Making a bigger splash than the actual performance itself was an introduction from a loopy John 3Yavolta, who mangled the Jewish singer's name. As expected, this was blood in the water for the Internet sharks, who went full-on mental. Within minutes, Ad- ela Dazeem's Twitter account was live. "THANKYOU, JORN TROMOLTO!" tweeted the "Tony Award winning star of Wocked." Dazeem now has almost 13,000 followers. 4. Mazel tov to Spike Jonze (aka Adam Spiegel) on scor- ing best original screenplay for "Her," the sci-fi romance starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and the voice of Scarlett Johansson. 5. It's impossible to talk about the 2014 Academy Awards in any capacity and not mention Matthew Mc- Conaughey's high on life Best Actor acceptance speech for "Dallas Buyers Club." While the Methodist celeb didn't get Jew-y, he did get spiritual, which sort of counts, right? McConaughey gave avery loud shoutout to God, prompting the Twittersphere to wonder who garnered more applause from the audience: God or Woody Allen, the latter of whom was mentioned all too briefly by Cate Blanchettwhen she stepped up to grab the Best Actress trophy for "Blue Jasmine." Good question. Jason Biggs and Jenny Mol- len share son's bris shots Mazel tov to Jason Biggs and his wife Jenny Mollen on the birth-and appar- ent circumcision-of their son Sid. On Tuesday Mollen posted shots to Instagram that seem to have been taken on or around the time of their newborn's bris. "Today was not a good day to be Sid's penis," read one caption that bore the hash tags #babybiggs and #circumcision, while another shot showed Biggs and Mollen wrapped in a talit. The news probably seems entirely unsurprising. This is Larry Bloom we're talking about, after all-of course his kid would get snipped. But allow us to remind you that although Biggs has brought many a Jew-y character to life, he is actually Roman Catholic. (Shocks every time-we know.) While Mollen's faith is cur- rently unconfirmed, we're banking on the fact that she's a tribe member-especially since this isn't the first Jewish rite of passage she's shared on social media. In January Mol- len posted shots of the couple's dog Teet's "bark mitzvah." It's all there on Instagram, but the Daily Mail summed it up quite nicely, so sit back and enjoy shots of yarmulke-clad pooch lighting a candle and munch- ing on challah, plus fun puns like "Fur goodness sake!" Can an Israeli-Palestinian coalition push leaders to make a deal? By Ben Sales TEL AVIV (JTA)--Two years ago, Israeli super- market mogul Rami Levy invited Palestinian gas and oil magnate Munib aI-Masri to one of his grocery stores. A working-class boy who had become the West Bank's wealthiest man, al-Masri already had turned his at- tention to a new challenge: encouraging a two-state solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. But the partnership was not to be. Levy, the owner of the supermarket chain Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing, has three stores in Israeli West Bank settlements, and al-Masri decided he could not work with him in good faith. In Levy's eyes, the West Bank franchises advance peace by employing Palestinians and fostering coexistence. Al- Masri, however, saw them as an impediment to the partnership. Now the pair find them- selves together anyway as part of a larger initiative of 300 Israeli and Palestin- ian businesspeople hoping to nudge their respective leaderships toward a peace agreement. Levy and al- Masri say they can coexist within the larger group, known as Breaking the Impasse, or BTI, despite the significant ideological gaps between them. "The big picture is me convincing them that they shouldn't be there," al-Masri told JTA, referring to Israel's presence in the settlements. "I will always talk to them because if they agree with me, we'll work together. This is a win-win." BTI was founded at the World Economic Forum in 2012, but launched its public campaign only recently. So far, BTI has engaged in a mix of public advocacy and quiet diplomacy, holding off-the- record meetings with Israeli and Palestinian ministers and placing large billboards in Israeli population centers touting the benefits of a peace deal. Participants say their in- terest in the initiative isn't strictly economic, though a peace agreement surely would bring substantial benefits to the business community. In particular, they say a deal would be key to curbing the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, or BDS, that seeks to punish Israel eco- nomically for its treatment of the Palestinians. "A lot of companies and states and academics want to invest, buy products and do joint academic research" with Israel, said Moshe Li- chtman, former president of Microsoft Israel's research and development center. "If we have an opportunity [for peace] and we miss it, it will have economic and business implications." In February, BTI ran a series of billboards featur- ing a large picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and slogans such as "Only with an agreement can we secure a Jewish and democratic state," or "With- out a peace agreement we won't be able to lower the cost of living." Each state- ment concluded with a mes- sage to Netanyahu: "Bibi, only you can do it!" A parallel effort is un- derway to exert pressure on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but the Israeli and Pales- tinian members of BTI are operating independently in their respective spheres and the Netanyahu billboards were arranged solely by the Israeli side. BTI members say that while they support a peace agreement that leads to two states, they won't delve into the thorny details of major issues such as Palestinian refugees, the future of Jeru- salem or final borders. Such questions, they say, should be left to the negotiators. Sticking to broad slogans allows BTI to paper over sub- stantial differences among its participants, but it also could present obstacles for the group should the par- ticulars of an agreement come to light. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is slated to propose a framework for an agreement in the coming weeks. "We know there are dis- agreements left and right," said Michal Stopper-Vax, BTI's CEO. "But if the prime minister signs an agreement, the majority of the groupwill be behind it." The differences between Levy and al-Masri point to the gaps even between Israelis and Palestinians who agree on the need for a two-state solution. AI-Masri talks about a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, while Levy wants to keep all of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. AI-Masri wants to offer each Palestinian refugee Israeli citizenship, a non-starter for most Israelis. And while Levy believes Palestinians aren't fully prepared for a final deal, al-Masri believes Israel is "morally responsible" for the conflict. Both men say that if their respective leaders sign an agreement, and both Israelis and Palestinians approve it in referenda, they won't object. But the differences between them may make for a tenuous alliance. In February, some BTI mem- bers took out a full-page ad in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot touting the group's message, but Levy chose not to sign on because it didn't sufficiently address Israeli security concerns. "We are not politicians," Levy told JTA, echoing sev- eral other BTI members. "We don't make the decisions. Ina democratic state, the major- ity decides. No one can come and dictate if the majority says something else." Even before the latest round of negotiations be- gan last July, skepticism abounded among both Is- raelis and Palestinians about the chances for a peace agreement. The American negotiating team appears to be struggling to bridge gaps between the sides on several major issues, but BTI partici- pants say the talks may be Israel's last good opportunity to end the conflict. "Netanyahu has had a certain change of thought, that this is a historic deci- sion," said Lichtman, the former Microsoft executive. "He needs to feel that he has broad support. I think he's skeptical. There's a lot of justification to be skeptical, but I think he's ripe to make these decisions." Promoting Israeli-Pales- tinian economic cooperation has long been seen in some quarters as essential to but- tressing a peace deal. But Bar-Ilan University political studies professor Shmuel Sandier says that if Netan- yahu does push through to an agreement, it won't be because of business interests. Aformer finance minister, Netanyahu is aware of the potential economic benefits of peace, Sandier says, but security concerns remain his top priority. "Up until now, business- men haven't had influence," Sandier said. "Security of- ficials are more influential. For Bibi, the economy is im- portant, but on the balance security is more important." Levy thinks Netanyahu will rise to the occasion. But if he doesn't, Levy says BTI should keep advancing the same message. "When we talk about ne- gotiations, I'm always opti- mistic," he said. "Sometimes I hear people say this is the last chance for peace. You can never say this is the last chance for peace. You need to try your whole life."