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June 5, 2009

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JUNE 5, 2009 PAGE 19A accounted for a degree of it's a fair and prompt process Court's first Hispanic and Sotomayor hesitancyfromJewishgroups that focuses on her record," third woman Justice," the From page 1A that were enthused about her she said. ADL leaders stated. "If con- life story but just getting to NCJW and the Religious firmed, she will undoubtedly for the AJC, said her back- know her judicial record. Action Center will canvass bring an important new per- groundnaturaUyplayedarole 'Tvegotabunchofopinionsmembers for appropriatespective to the work of the in how the Jewish community in my briefcase and it's time questionsforSotomayordur- Court." would welcome her. to start reading," Pelavin said. ing the confirmationprocess; Even the Orthodox Union, "Wemustrecognizethesig- The National Council ofthe questions will be relayed which tends to stake our nificance of the third woman Jewish Women--one of the to the U.S. Senate Judicary more conservative ground and first Hispanic on the few Jewish groups that ex- Committee. than other Jewish organiza- court," he said. "And there's presses an opinion on judi- Leaders of the Anti-Defa- tions on church-state issues, no question of her impressive cial candidates--has yet to mation League issued a state- spoke positively about Soto- qualifications." announce where it stands, mentcallingforaprocessthat mayor, citingseveralreligious Sotomayor would come to Whatever the case, saidis conducted "professionally, freedom-related cases. the Supreme Court with one Nancy Ratzan, the NCJW's and withcivilityand respect," In a 1993 case, she upheld of the longest bench careers president, the organization and praised the pick while the constitutional right of a in its history, having handed would dedicate itself to ensur- stopping short of an official rabbi in White Plains, N.Y., downorjoined3,000 decisions ing that Sotomayor receives a endorsement, to display a menorah in a city in 18 years as a federal and fair hearing. "We applaud President park. In two other cases, in appeals court judge. That's "Our 90,000 followers will Obama for having selected 1994 and 2003, Sotomayor a lot to read through and be focused on making sure this noted jurist to be the upheld prisoners' religious Doll rights even though the prac- tices in question did not conform with mainstream beliefs. And in 2006, she ruled that allowing federal age discrimination statutes to apply to a 70-year-old minister dismissed by the Methodist church would constitute unwarranted government interference in church affairs. Those decisions, OU said, were "very encouranging." Marc Stern, the legal coun- sel for the American Jewish Congress, predicted that So- tomayor's long bench experi- ence ultimately will be a plus. More time on the bench shap- ing reasoned opinions made her less of a target than other nominees--like Lani Gunier, Robert Bork and Samuel Alito--whose years pushing intellectual boundaries in the halls of academe handed fodder to opponents seeking controversial statements. Additionally, the 2nd Circuit of Appeals--based in Manhat- tan and covering New York, Connecticut and Vermont-- deals with cases emerging from courts and legislatures that already trend liberal. That means it is less likely to address issues such as abortion and discrimination that often exercise Jewish groups. "There's no track record that anyone can point to," Stern said. "There's not likely going to be a whole lot there as a smoking gun." From page 1A Children's author Jacque- his memories of riding the Greene says. "She told me came out of her own experi- Mrs. Crocker was a wid- line Dembar Greene penned Ferris wheel at Coney Island. about the bosses walking up ence. Greene was in third owed neighbor, much like Rebecca agonizes over what the six books about Rebecca's Greene'smotherworkedas and down yelling at the work- grade in the 1950swhen her the widower Mr. Rossi in to tell her parents. In "Meet life, basingsomeofthestories astitcherinagarmentfactory ers, aboutbeinglockedineven teacher asked the class to Rebecca's book, whom the Rebecca,"sheasksherfather, on her own family's history, in Hartford, Conn., much though it was totally illegal, make Christmas decorations, fictional character gives her an observant Jew who keeps She quizzed her mother-in- like the one where Rebecca's They weren't allowed to talk "I brought mine home and own Christmas decoration. kosher, why he opens his shoe law about the correct usage uncle and cousin suffered two orhum;theyweretimedwhenburst into tears," she recalls. "I gave it to her," Greene store on Shabbat. (They need of certain Yiddish words and decades earlier, they went to the bathroom." "My wise, wise mother said, 'I says, "and walked home feel- the money, he explains), her 92-year-old father about "Nothing had changed, "Even the Christmas story betMrs.Crockerwouldloveit.'" ing proud as punch." Sharkansky From page 4A and embark on a process of posed of volunteers, trained agreed on all the essentials. The current flurries ofcipal representative in the removing small and "illegal" for the non-lethal control of He said there would be no excitement may disappear government, the defense One can debate the fairness settlements from the West hostile civilians. They are not freeze in settlements. Natural without lasting impact. This minister, has been exercising or the wisdom of allocations Bank, we canexpectsomerab- troubled by highly motivated growthwouldbeallowed, inthe is not the first time that MKs his responsibility for theWest toArabs by national andlocal bis to say that soldiers should religious draftees, who make buildingofhousingforsettlers' havegarneredsupportforlaws Bankbyremovingsomeofthe governments. They would disobeyordersthatviolatethe excellent soldiers when sent offspring, aswould expansions requiringArab expressions of smallest and most isolated of change if Arabs used their supreme law of the Torah.We against Israel's enemies, but already agreed by Israeli plan- loyalty. As in the past, they the settlements considered to voting potential to bargain also expect counter expres- are vulnerable to the calls of ning authorities. There would may not find their way out of be illegal. The process has not for tangible benefits. Itis easy sions, fromreligiousJewsand extremistrabbiswhomayhave benegotiationsaboutremoving Knesset committees. If they touched the areas of greatest to dismiss claims of injustice rabbis, that military discipline been among their teachers, some illegal settlements, or do become law, they will have sensitivity, and it is not yet by noting that Arab politi- is essential to Jewish survival. Involvedintheflurryofrhet- making them legal by fusing to pass an inevitable appeal to clear if the settlers removed clans give greater priority to The military is seeking to oric concerning settlements is them with nearby communi- the Supreme Court, likely to are again setting up tents on persistent criticism than to avoidresponsibilityforremov- what we could have expected ties. Secretary of State Hillary be tilted against them. If they the disputed sites. obtaining more services for ing settlers. The head of the from the prime minister. He Clinton countered by saying pass that hurdle, they may Ira Sharkansky is profes- their people, general staff says that the po- returned from Washington that American policy remains meet delay or dilution in the sor emeritus, Department Whenever authorities lice are more suitable for such with assuring statements opposition to all settlement process of implementation, of Political Science, Hebrew ratchet up their courage work.Thepoliceisaforcecom- that he and President Obama activity, of any kind. The Labor Party's prin-University, Jerusalem. C Actress Frompage 11A laid in the fact that I was he just got into MOCA in Hot reer and do it all, youknow?I probably not a good enough Springs." don'tseeareasontostall.'She whoimmediatelybookedhera actress," she says. "It wasn't Brener's BlackBerry vi-hopestohaveanotherchildin role on the series"RamatAviv that I wasn't good enough--I brates and reminds her of a the next two or three years. Gimmel" (which she says, is didn't have the depth. Sure I whole to-do list that has been Even she realizes this all like an Israeli version of the was natural in my delivery, accumulatingoverthecourse sounds like a lot. now defunct"TheO.C.").What and I had some skill, and of our lunch. She calls her "Will it really bother you if was initially a guest-starring maybe I had the basic talent, manager, makes something I have a cigarette? You want role morphed into a two-year but I couldn't really compete that sounds like a beauty ap- one?" she asks. She unpacks contract as a series lead and with girls who had the train- pointmentandchecksinwith a box of Nat Sherman MCD kept her in Israel for the next ing and foundation. I think I her nanny, cigarettes--her husband's threeyears.MTVthenrecruit- made up for that in the last "Sorry, I just have 700choice.'Tmnotabigsmoker," ed her to host the Israeli ver- few years, and it's put me in a things going on at once," she she warns as a kind of dis- sion of "Singled Out," which whole new place ofconfidence says, and talks while she's claimer. "Like I'll smoke two she shot simultaneously with in terms of my art and who I been placed on hold. When aday. Peoplearelike,'Ohwhat "Gimmel," while also writing am as an actress." she's shooting, a typical day brand do you'smoke?' and I'll a column for a teen magazine She metthen-screenwriter in Brener's life looks like this: go, 'OPCs' ... other people's and hosting a radio show. Bruce Rubenstein, a Long Wakeat4a.m.,gotothegym,cigarettes.'" She attributes her fast rise Island Jew, on a movie set. spend 10-14hours onset, and, Callitaworkhazard.When to"beginner's luck,"and, true At the time, he was running if there's time, work with an you spend 14 hours a day on enough, she had to start all Mickey Rourke's production acting or dialect coach on setandeverybodyissmoking, overagainwhenshereturned company, during Rourke's scenes for the next day. If she explains, you pick it up. "I to the United States. notorious heyday. In 2004, she's not shooting, she takes don't drink alcohol; I don't do "I was starting from zero," the couple married in Cae- her daughter to school, works drugs, no coffee, no dairy--I she recalls. "I did come with sarea in a traditional reli- out"likeafanatic"(onthisday barely take medicine when established credits and con- gious ceremony in front of she ran 7 miles), auditions, re- I have a headache. I'm just nections, but it's not like I 450 guests. The rabbinate in hearses, reads scripts, meets really into doing things that came from doing French or Israel required Rubenstein with directors and makes it are right for my body. Italian cinema. Israeli TV is to prove his Jewish lineage home in time to make dinner "My only vice is OPCs," she not really like a crossover me- as far back as five genera- forherfamily(ifsheweren'tan laughs, aware of the irony. dium. I basically had to start tions. A year later, they had actress, she might have been "But ohmygosh, I gotta have auditioning and building up a daughter, Mila (a term of a chef, she says), something! Right?" anAmericanresume,because endearment in Russian). Ru- If that weren't enough to The intensity of Brener's nobodyreallycaredaboutthe benstein, who was relatively keep a working morn tied life seems to serve her well. stuff that I did there." successful as a screenwriter, up, her daughter, 4, who was On her last film, she fleshed Between 2000 and 2003, quit the business to pursue signed to Ford Models when out a character by developing "three strange years," Brener art. shewasjust6monthsold, has a completely different accent decided to finish her degree "If he could, he'd be a tor- a pretty demanding schedule and then went to East Los ("I didn't want to be the black tured artist, cut off one ear herself: Mila just finished a Angeles to get 26-inch hair sheep in the family with no and sit in the studio in pain commercial forWal-Martthat extensions. The director was education") and worked to all day--or so he claims," paid more than Brener'slast impressed--the character re-establish her career. She Brener says wryly. Instead, two films combined. Plus she didn't look like that on page. enrolled in acting classes at he is a commercial architect takes dance lessons, voiceles- But more than her talent or The Beverly Hills Playhouse and interior designer who sons, karateandhip-hop.'Tm innovation, Brenerattributes ("the Porsche, the Ferrari, the occasionally designs private just a slave to the Princess hersuccess toanalmost mill- most famous acting school homes; he built their family Mila,"Brenersays."Shewants tant professionalism. in L.A.') and studied with home in the Hollywood Hills. to do everything I do.""I'm always there 40 min- acting coach Milton Katselas His true passion, however, is "A lot of actresses say they utes early with the crew; CwhotaughtGeorgeClooney, abstract expressionist paint- want a big career and then I'm the last person on set, Goldie Hawn, Kate Hudson, ing, andBrener likes toboast, kids. But I want to enjoy my I never complain, I'm easy Alec Baldwin"). "Schwarzenegger has apiece, kids while I'm still young and to work with. And I always "Back then, my insecurity Will Smith has a piece, and while I'm building up my ca- do my homework," she says. "Who wants an actor that sits around and mopes all day? Who wants an actress that's a diva? I'm very grateful to have a job, I don't take anything for granted--I'm not out at night partying; I don't s--- on the stuff that t have." Where Brener loosens up, where she raves and rages and makes a mess of things is inside the characters she plays. The experience of be- ing Israeli and Jewish and growing up in three differ- ent countries and having survivors in her family adds an edginess that emanates onscreen. "Once you start seeing me act and you get the essence of me, you'll see that those roles fit really well ... the drug addicts, the hookers, the crazy girls. I just played three crazy girls in a row." One of them was for the movie "Touched," directed byArgen- tinian Dan Neira, in which she plays a bipolar, schizo- phrenic mother who abuses her daughter. Five-hundred actresses auditioned for the part. "I think 'Touched' is definitely gonna be the thing that's gonna put me on the map," she says with pointed Pork From page 16A into the suspended region between sleep and wakeful- ness. I heard one of my hosts asking my girlfriend where I was. She explained, and he laughed and started singing "Durme Durme." I snapped out of my hang- over and ran downstairs: How did you know that song? Did you know itwas a Jewish song? confidence. And maybe a drop of longing. Because Shirly Brener is still waiting for her big break. "I think I'm already making it by working in what I love to do and getting paid for it. People are always like, 'Hey do you wanna win an Oscar?' And I'm like, 'Not really ... yeah ... it doesn't mean anything to me.' Like what is that? I don't really understand people that walk into this career and their ultimate goal is getting a statue, because what would that statue do to you?" You mean to tell me an Oscar means nothing? "I think what it symbol- izes is that you've probably worked with some of the best directors, writers and actors in the business. So, do I want to work with the best people in this business? Yeah. If I'm working throughout my career with Woody Allen and Scors- ese and Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson and people of that ilk but I never win an Oscar--guess what? I'll be sleeping really well at night." Danielle Berrin is a staff writer for The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. He shrugged: It was "around." He had heard the song "around." As if I had lost it. Except I didn't. It never really belonged to me. Cardozo doesn't need the "first Hispanic" honorific. We don't need to claim it for him. It's enough that he was a proud Jew. Reprinted from www.blogs. ":,j ii