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June 5, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 5, 2009 PAGE 11A Mazel tov to Ohev class of 5769 Congregation Ohev Shalom class of 5769 graduated on May 13. The Kitah Zayeen/7th grade class did a presentation about Judaism and the environment. Following their presentation they were awarded diplomas and families celebrated with a dinner. The teaching staff included Rabbi Aaron Rubinger, Rabbi David Kay, Cantor Allan Robuck, David Brent, Ralph Crespin, Francisco Vargas, Laia Umansky, Sindi Ackman and Janet Friedman. By Danielle Berrin Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles One look at the photograph Esquire used to declare actress Shirly Brener one of five Israeli women they love, and you want to wish the rest of her persona good luck in catching up. Picture it: She's thigh- deep in a pool, clad in a lacy white bikini that leaves little to the imagination, with a body that an artist could have cut from a stone. It's the kind of photo that needs no caption, one you've seen before: the "look at me, notice me" photo tI~at plenty of actresses take. ShirlyBrener, a beautiful, Before they become serious, intense Israeli, is stilllooking The photo tells you that for her breakthrough film. Brener is hot; that she has a great (and I mean great) Midler.And there are so many body--but it doesn't tell you comedians who have broken why you should love her. huge--Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Ro- When we meet for lunch at mano--some of the wealthi- a popular Los Angeles haunt est people in the business. But for Israeli expats, Brener is sit- do they look like Brad Pitt?" ting outside at a corner table. She considers this for a mo- She is unmissable: Her blond ment."Not that Ray Romano's hair and blue eyes radiate an not handsome in his own all-American lookthatalways way; but he certainly doesn't seems to turn heads--plus look like--who's the kid from she'swearingazebra sweater. 'Twilight?'" She waves me over with a "Edward Pattinson,"I an- huge, gleaming smile like a swer (who is about as close doll that comes to life. to God's rendering of male It's the day before Pesach, physical perfection as we one of the last meals with might imagine the biblical bread, and I'm psyched for Adam to be). the Jerusalem Bagel Toast. "You know who I'm talking Because Brener sometimes about," she says, laughing. "I models in bikinis, she orders really think that at the end a hummus plate, of the day, it all boils down "Eggplant baked or fried?" to talent." the waitress asks. In that case, Brener, for her "Good question," Brener part, could be considered a says, a little hesitant, triple threat: She is talented, I order the bagel toast, hardworking and business "Fine, I'll do the fried then," savvy. You might even call her she declares. "Live a little!" an overachiever who goes the That ordering something extra mile. At 31, she already fried constitutes living is has 43 film and television perhaps aclichecommentary credits to her name and in on the life of an actress, but the next year will appear in 10 Brener (like anyone else with feature films, including ABC a pulse) knows Hollywood Family's "Labor Pains" with over-valuesappearances.And Lindsay Lohan and "Streets attractive women like Brener of Blood," directed by Charles have notoriously used their Winkler, with Vat Kilmer and sex appeal to compensate for Sharon Stone. lack of talent, a concept that When there isn't a big star barely raises her eyebrow, involved, she knows to tout "Yeah, you might get a her films in studio marketing couple ofroles because you're terms (the upcoming "Hit pretty, especially when you're List" is described as "'Bridget startingout,'shesaysmatter- Jones' meets 'Mr. and Mrs. of-factly. "But to sustain a Smith'" and the indie drama whole career on that over like "Touched" is'"Mommie Dear- 20 or 30 years? I don't think est' meets 'Monster,'" a film so. There's a lot of people she also believes might be her who have made huge careers breakthrough). She is an avid having porky looks--look at athlete--she swims, surfs and Danny DeVito. Look at Bette hikes, practices karate, plays tennis and is "addicted" to Bikram yoga. She is also a clas- sically trained ballerina and has a degree from University of Southern Caifornia in art history. But she is quick to say her most prized role is that of mother and wife, and she--on top of the Hollywood career and killer fitness regimen-- somehow finds time to cook. Brener is by all accounts successful and has been for more than a decade. But she's famous in Israel, a status she has yet to achieve in Hol- lywood. She still struggles through days of auditions and no callbacks, self-image issues (a double-edged sword, she says: sometimes she's too pretty), and, without a de- velopment deal, uncertainty about her future. And she's tired of getting passed over by bigger-name movie stars. Yet, Brener knows that perhaps above all else, what's needed in her business is patience. "I am one of the most impa- tient people! I am borderline ADD. I want things to happen now," she says with swirling energy. "I want everything to be on my clock, and my clock is a very fast clock. But, anytime you hear that some- body finally made it, you see they've been doing it for 15 years--they're in their mid- 20s, and they've been acting since they were 8. You have to pay your dues." Brener probably learned that from her family, who she effuses about from the get-go. It's as if she's saying, "you have to know them if you want to know me." Born in Haifa, she grew up globally, in Israel, London and Los Angeles. Her mother, Smadar Brener, is a well-known theater and film actress in Israel; and her father, Danny, was a champion freestyle swimmer. A week before he was set to compete in his first Olympics games, he broke his leg and thought his career was ruined. It was 1972, the year of the Munich Games, and that twist of fate more than likely saved his life. Brener's parents divorced when she was 12 ("they were extremely loving to me, but not to each other"), and both have since remarried. Brener describes her kin as a "respected Zionist family, all Lithuanian and Czech." Her paternal great-great- uncle was Chaim Weizman, the first president of Israel, and Ezer Weizman, from the same bloodline, was the admired his worldliness and er unusually grounded for an seventh. TWo of her grand- sense of adventure, but also actress, while also exception- parents (the "true sabras") his humility; she remembers allyambitious.Whileenrolled were born in Palestine, and him as a person who was as atUSC, she supplemented her her maternal grandmotherinterested in conversing with studies with auditions. After survived Auschwitz. Her the hired helpas hewaswith filming a part in "Hijacking paternal grandfather, Mila a head of state. Hollywood," a little-known (her daughter's namesake), Listening to Brener talkfilm aboutan industry lackey developed one of the largest about her family, you get the who takes aim at an evil shipping industries in the sense that even the greatest producer, Brener took off for Middle East aroundthe 1960s, level of success in Hollywood vacation in Israel. There, she buteventuallywentbankrupt, wouldn't overshadow the col- met with her mother's agent, He left an indelible imprint lective achievements of her upon his granddaughter, who ancestors.Which makes Bren- Actress on page 19A Long weekends are now extra special. Stay two nights and get the third night free! 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