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PAGE 8A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 26, 2013 Madonna's bar mitzvah boy NEW YORK (6NoBacon. com)--Madonna reunited with her ex-husband and director Guy Ritchie to cel- ebrate their son Rocco's bar mitzvah on Saturday. The coming-of-age celebration took place at The Kabbalah Centre in New York and in- cluded a small gathering the previous night. Madonna has been known for her involve- ment in Kabbalah studies since the 1990s. The singer posted a photo on her Instagram of Rocco completing the writing of a Torah scroll with the caption, " 'We finish the last letter of the Torah for Rocco's Bar Mitzva! Lucky 13! Happy Birthday! Potential ......... re- sponsibility! !!!'--Madonna." The festivities continued at Bklyn Beast, New York City's training facility for Parkour, Capoeira and Dance. Mazel tov, Roccol Michele pleas for privacy In the wake of her boy- friend Cory Monteith's tragic death, Lea Michele released a statement requesting to be left alone. "We ask that everyone kind- ly respect Lea's privacy during this devastating time," a rep for the actress told People. The Jewish "Glee" star, Helga Esteb/Shutterstock Lea Michele and Cory Mon- teith, who died in a Vancouver hotel room July 13, are seen arriving at the 12th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball last month in Los Angeles. 26, was in Mexico when she learned that Monteith was found dead in a Vancouver hotel room on Saturday. "She was shaking when she heard the news," a friend told the Daily News. While the Canadian-born ): Monteith, 31, who co-starred with Michele on "Glee," openly struggled with substance abuse (his last rehab stint was in April), the cause of his death is still unknown. "We have interviewed ev- eryone he was with the night before," Vancouver Police Constable Brian Montague said July 14. "For the most part, it has been turned to the coroner's office, who will be determining the next steps with respect to establishing cause of death." Rivers' writers want justice The writers on "Fashion Police" have had plenty of practice taking swipes at big- name stars. Now they're using the expertise to go after their own boss, Joan Rivers. In a three-minute video called "Dear Joan: Can We Talk?" the disgruntled writ- ers come down on Rivers for not taking their side in a labor dispute with the E! television network. In April the writers went on strike "seeking the basics: health insurance, a pension l~lan and fair pay consistent with industry standards," accord- ing to the video. "Joan Rivers is not just a star but a member of the Writ- ers Guild, and that she won't support her fellow Writers Guild members is astonish- ing," one writer said. "To me it's just a basic fairness issue." The group claims they at- tempted to sit down and talk it over in person, but that Rivers was unreceptive. They believe the veteran Jewish comic has the power to get their de- mands met and are frustrated by her lack of support. It's convincing stuff, but as they say, there are two sides to every story. We're hoping Rivers finds some new writers to draft her response. Aly and Amar'e at Mac- cabiah Jewish gymnast extraor- dinaire Aly Raisman are among the 1,100-strong U.S. contingent at the 19th Mac- cabiah Games, which started July 18. Some 8,000 athletes from around the world are descending on Israel for the quadrennial event known as "Jewish Olympics." Another big-name Ameri- can to look out for at the Games is Amar'e Stoudemire. The New York Knicks star, who traveled to Israel a few years ago to explore his Jewish roots, won't be lacing up his Nikes but rather is serving as an assistant coach for the Canadian team. The Games run through July 30. Catskills comedy school For decades, the hundreds of hotels and bungalow colo- nies in the Catskill Mountains offered Jews a summer get- away experience and provided a venue for Jewish entertain- ers to gain an audience. Now a new documentary hitting theaters at the end of July explores the birth of mod- ern standup comedy in the so- called Borscht Belt--what the film calls "a boot camp for the greatest generation of comedians." "When Comedy Went to School," co-directed by Ron Frank and Mevlut Akkaya, and written by Lawrence Richards, paints a picture of the rise of Jewish comedians amid the expansion of a clas- sic Jewish-American summer destination. Robert Klein narrates the documentary, which features accounts of their upstate New York exploits from Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Jerry Stiller, Mort Sahl, Mickey Freeman and Dick Gregory, a non-Jew who happens to be black. There are interviews as well with family members of the Kutshers and Grossingers, two families whose hotels laid the groundwork for the booming Catskills business. As Lewis observes in the film, the Borscht Belt was a place that offered freedom of expression foryoung, talented Jews. "It was," he said, "a place to be bad." Weiner featured in MoSex Remember the Anthony Weiner sexting scandal? What, you say, the money shots and sexy messages that once were burned into your brain have pretty much been erased now that he's running for mayor? Well, the New York Museum of Sex will gladly refresh your memory. The Universe of Desire exhibit currently on view at MoSex features a Facebook exchange between Weiner and Las Vegas blackjack dealer Lisa Weiss in which the Jewish former congress- man brags about his sexual prowess, The Huffington Post reports. The museum's cura- tor, Sarah Forbes, describes Weiner's words as "artifacts of sexuality." The exhibit, an exploration ofhow"desire has gone viral," runs through September. Hopefully it omits any of those photos we've worked so hard to forget. For the latest Jewish celeb- rity news, visit JTA's 6 degrees (no Bacon) blog. Thomas, pioneering jour- nalist who retired following anti-Israel gibes, dies (JTA)--Helen Thomas, who paved the way for female journalists in Washington and beyond and retired after saying Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine," has died. Thomas, who reported on every U.S. president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama working mostly for United Press International, died Saturday at her home in Washington from what was described as a long illness. She was 92. She was known for end- ing many presidential news conferences with the phrase "Thank you, Mr. President." Thomas began as a copy girl at the Washington Daily News before joining the UPI wire ser- vice in 1943. She started out covering the young Kennedy family, becomingWhite House Bureau chief in 1974--the first woman to have the post. In 2000, she left UPI after it . was purchased by News World Communications, which was founded by the Rev. Sun Wikipedia Helen Thomas Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church. She was quickly hired as aWashington- based columnist for the Hearst Corp. At a White House cel- ebration for American Jewish Heritage Month in May 2010, Thomas was asked on video if she had any "comments on Israel." "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," Thomas, the daughter of Lebanese Friedman & Friedman Excellence in Real Estate Call Jeffrey at 407-719-0135 Call Barbara at 407-222-6059 One Team. Twice the Knowledge, Service and Experience DOORSIt Specializing in Winter Park and Maitland immigrants, told Rabbi David Nesenoff of "Remember, these people are occupied, and it's their land." Nesenoff asked where she thought they should go. "Go home," she responded. Asked to elaborate, Thomas said, "Poland, Germany," and after more prompting by the rabbi, "and America, and ev- erywhere else." The video was posted five days later and almost imme- diately went viral, prompting calls for her firing. Thomas issued an apology, saying she deeply regretted her com- ments. "They do not reflect my heartfelt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance," she said. Thomas resigned several days later after The White House Correspondents As- sociation met to consider stripping her of her front-row center seat in the briefing room. Last year, Thomas received a prize in journalism from a Wikipedia John Kerry representative of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Portuguese town receives Torah scroll, Jewish learn- ing center (JTA)--For the first time in centuries, a Torah scroll will be installed in the Portuguese town ofTrancoso, where many Jews lived before the 16th century. The scroll was scheduled to be installed last Sunday during the dedication of a new Jewish learning center, the Isaac Cardoso Center for Jewish Interpretation, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported. It will be placed in the newly built Bet Mayim Hayim synagogue in the Cardoso center, which the Trancoso municipality built for approxi- mately $1.5 million with an eye toward attracting tourists, according to the Gazeta de Viseu local daily. The center opened last Fri- day at an event co-organized by the Jerusalem-based non- profit organization Shavei Israel, which does outreach to people with Jewish origins in Portugal and elsewhere. "More than five centuries after the expulsion of Por- tuguese Jewry, the streets of Trancoso, Portugal, will once again be filled with Jewish singing and dancing as we bring a sefer Torah to its new home," Shavei Israel founder and chairman Michael Freund told JTA. None of Trancoso's 5,000 residents are Jewish, but the northern Portuguese town used to be half Jewish, accord- ing to Freund. Earlier this month, Por- tugal's parliament enacted an amendment to naturalize the Jewish descendants of expelled Jews. 500-year-old Jewish skel- eton found in Brazil (JTA)--Brazilian archae- ologists unearthed what they said are the 500-year-old remains of a Jewish man in Recife. Areport July 18 in the online edition of the Rio de Janeiro- based O Globo described the discovery earlier this month of a perfectly preserved skeleton of a male adult. The skeleton was found during earthwork in Recife, in northern Brazil, where Portuguese Jews in 1636 built the first known synagogue in the New World. Marcos Albuquerque of the Federal University of Per- nambuco, who oversaw the dig around the skeleton, told O Globo he had no doubt the man was Jewish and that he was buried sometime in the 16th century. "In Christian tradition, it is customary to bury the dead with their hands crossed over their chest, but this man was buried with hands laid alongside his body before rigor mortis set in," Albuquerque said. "Furthermore, the body was buried in simple shroud without jewelry or any other private belonging and without casket." The body was found five feet underground, O Globo reported, during the construc- tion of a tunnel, Tunel da Abolicao, in Recife's central neighborhood of Madalena. The tomb is situated approxi- mately 1.5 miles east of the Kahal Zur synagogue, which Jews who fled the Portuguese and Spanish Inquisitions built in Recife, which was then still a Dutch colony. Keep peace talks discreet, Netanyahu says JERUSALEM (JTA)--Is- raeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said conducting the restarted peace talks discreetly would be helpful in reaching their goals. Speaking Sunday at the opening of the weekly Cabi- net meeting, Netanyahu said he was committed in equal measure to peace and security in the talks and would put the results to a referendum. "These will not be easy negotiations, but we will en- ter into them with integrity, sincerity and the hope that this process will be conducted responsibly, seriously and substantively, and, I must say, at least in the opening stages, discreetly," Netanyahu said. "Thiswill increase the chances that we will achieve results." Netanyahu said his goals in making peace with the Palestinians are "preventing the creation of a binational state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, alongside preventing the establishment of another Iranian-sponsored terrorist state." Palestinian official: Kerry said Israel would release 350 prisoners (JTA)--U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave assur- ances that Israel would release 350 Palestinian prisoners in the coming months, accord- ing to a Palestinian govern- ment minister. Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani told The Associated Press last weekend that Kerry assured Palestinian officials -- that the prisoners would be freed gradually. He also said Kerry proposed holding talks for six to nine months focusing on the key issues of borders and security arrangements.