Arts and Culture

6 DEGREES (NO BACON)/JEWISH CELEBRITY ROUNDUP: Woody vs. Anti-Zionists, Miley vs. old Jews, Haim vs. Timberlake

Woody Allen (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)
Woody Allen (Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

 HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (6NoBacon) — You can call Woody Allen a self-hating Jew all you want, but don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s not sensitive when others hate on his people.


In an interview Monday in France by Israel’s Channel 2 to promote the European release of “Blue Jasmine,” the legendary filmmaker was asked if it’s harder lately to be a Jew in the United States.


“No, I don’t think so,” he said, according to The Times of Israel. “By the low standards of tolerance for Jews all over the world, America’s been a very tolerant country. I do feel there are many people that disguise their negative feelings toward Jews, disguise it as anti-Israel criticism, political criticism, when in fact what they really mean is that they don’t like Jews.”


The Times goes on to quote a story from Yedioth Ahronoth last year in which Allen says he does not believe in organized religion, and that he identifies with his heritage “mainly when people attack me because of my being Jewish.”


Allen also spoke of his support of Israel and the inevitability of a trip there one day.

Miley vs. Jewish septuagenarians


It seems impossible that Miley Cyrus could put her foot in her mouth, what with that enormous tongue she’s always sticking out taking up so much room in there. Somehow, though, the pop star has done exactly that.


In a recent interview with the website Hunger TV, Cyrus spoke of how she is the authority on what her audience wants to see, and that too often creative decisions are made by people who are out of touch. Jewish and out of touch, to be more specific.


“It’s always weird when things are targeted for young people, yet they’re driven by people that are like 40 years too old,” she said. “It can’t be like this 70-year-old Jewish man that doesn’t leave his desk all day telling me what the clubs want to hear.”

Tarantino’s Israeli film fave


Director Quentin Tarantino has a new addition to his recently posted list of 2013′s top films, and this one’s an Israeli import.


After a recent screening of Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s  “Big Bad Wolves” at the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, the man behind “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglourious Basterds” called it “not only the best film of Busan” but the “best film of the year,”  The Jerusalem Post reports.


In the thriller, a series of murders of children brings together three men: a victim’s father, a vigilante cop and the suspect, a religious studies teacher.

Ivanka Trump gives birth


Mazel tov to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner on the arrival yesterday of their second child.


“We just welcomed a beautiful & healthy son into the world. Jared, Arabella and I couldn’t be happier!” the “Celebrity Apprentice” judge and Daughter of Donald tweeted Monday night.

Kathie Lee Gifford’s rabbinic dreams


Coming soon to a bimah near you: Kathie Lee Gifford?


During an Oct. 9 appearance on Fox News Channel’s “The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson,” the “Today” show host closed out a conversation on the government shutdown with a comment about her rabbinical dreams.


“If I could go back to college, I’d probably go to Hebrew University in Israel and study for however long it took to get my rabbinical degree,” said Gifford, a born-again Christian with a Jewish grandfather. “Because I started studying the Scriptures that way, through the eyes of a rabbi and through the Middle Eastern eyes and it’s transformed my life.”

This is the second time we’ve heard Gifford talk about this potential career change. The first was earlier this year on “Today” when she said, “I want to go to Yeshiva University and become a rabbi. I want to get my Orthodox rabbinical degree. … I want to understand what words mean, what all the context is. I’m so fascinated by that stuff.”

ScarJo is Esquire’s ‘sexiest’


Esquire magazine has named Scarlett Johansson the “Sexiest Woman Alive” for 2013. The 28-year-old “Don Jon” star is the first to earn the title for a second time, having  scored the crown back in 2006.


A couple of other related “seconds”: Johansson, who in the seven years since her first win has married and divorced Ryan Reynolds, is now gearing up for wedding No. 2, to the French former journalist Romain Dauriac.


She also is the second Jewish actress to be named “sexiest” something this year. The first was Mila Kunis, who earned the top spot on FHM’s “Sexiest Women In the World” list this past spring. (ScarJo trailed far behind at No. 49.)


Which leaves us to wrestle with whether it’s OK to feel some Jewish pride while also completely opposing the objectification of women. We’ll get back to you on that one.

Mason, Sedaka bring the star power

Celebs like Jackie Mason, Neil Sedaka, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and 12-year-old piano prodigy Ethan Bortnick showed up at the American Friends of Magen David Adom’s first Los Angeles gala on Oct. 6. The event raised a record-breaking $3.8 million — the most ever raised at a single AFMDA event.


The funds will go toward building a new blood center in Israel. The current one, built in the 1980s, doesn’t accommodate the country’s growing population and is in danger of being affected by rocket attacks and earthquakes. The updated version will include new and secure underground storage facilities.


“We still have a lot of work to do to reach our goal, but MDA and the people of Israel will soon have the kind of modern blood center they deserve,” said AFMDA’s CEO, Arnold Gerson.

Haim beats Justin Timberlake

Let’s give a hearty l’chaim to the women of Haim on their recent success. The band’s highly anticipated album “Days Are Gone” debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. charts this week, pushing out Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2.” Billboard calls the battle one of the “closest finishes in chart history.”

The band, comprised of Este, Alana and Danielle Haim — Jewish sisters from Los Angeles — trailed Timberlake early on by 700 sales before taking over the top spot on Oct. 3 by 28. Two days later the contest closed with Haim leading the way by 2,100 sales.

For the latest Jewish celebrity news, visit JTA’s 6 Degrees (No Bacon) blog.