Arts and Culture

Celebrity Rosh Hashanah roundup: Gwyneth Paltrow, Woody Allen, Zach Braff

NEW YORK (6NoBacon Staff) — From Shanah Tovah shoutouts to on-set shofar blowing, here’s how some of the more famous and attractive among us recognized the new year.

1. What to do when filming your Kickstarter-funded project gets in the way of Rosh Hashanah? Celebrate at work, of course!

At least that’s what Zach Braff did on Friday: According to Popsugar, he put together a New Year’s gathering for the heavily Jewish cast of “Wish I Was Here.” Braff celebrated along with co-stars Kate HudsonJosh Gad and Joey King. Bonus: Mandy Patinkin, who is playing Braff’s father in the film, blew the shofar.

2. Over at Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s online lifestyle publication, the glamorous Jewess launched the site’s “back to school mag” with a “Shana Tova my people” and a New Year-themed piece from writer Jill Kargman.
Kargman, a self-described “Jewy Jewstein,” writes about how she prefers the Jewish New Year to the secular one, mainly because she’s psyched to say goodbye to summer. In this humorous ode to fall, Kargman coins the term “Spinagogue” (what she calls her beloved Soulcycle class) and vows to “party like it’s 5774.”

3. Newly engaged Katie Couric, who has Jewish roots, spread her New Years’ cheer with this sweet tweet: L’shana tova, happy healthy new year to all my friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah!! Katie Couric (@katiecouric) September 5, 2013.

4. Rosh Hashanah brought about some serious decision-making in the fashion world this year — and we’re not talking about what to wear to temple. The holiday collided with New York Fashion Week, forcing style makers to choose between work and celebration.

Many big names, including Max Azria, Rebecca Minkoff, and Ari and David Goldberg, the brothers who co-founded the fashion media site StyleCaster as well as the Soho synagogue, let the (fashion) show go on.

Ari Goldberg told the New York Post, “That synagogue turns their lights on with our money. It’s about your own relationship with God. You do everything you can to honor your tradition, but we’re capitalists — and want to make money because we like to give back money.”

Others, though, chose to sit this one out. Observers include designer Yigal Azrouel, who moved his Friday show to Sunday, and Leandra Medine, the Ramaz alumna behind the fashion blog Man Repeller.

5. Perhaps our favorite Rosh Hashanah greeting was this one from The New Yorker. In honor of the new year, editor David Remnick dug deep into the archives for some vintage Woody Allen.

“Hassidic Tales, With a Guide to Their Interpretation by the Noted Scholar” is Allen’s delightful “re-telling and parody” of 18th-century allegorical tales about the founders of Hasidism. The post also included a 1965 video of Allen doing standup. “The ‘Tales’ are the apples; this is the honey,” Remnick says of the clip. Amen.

Nicholas Sparks’ first Jewish love story

“The Longest Ride,” the new novel from the hyper-prolific author Nicholas Sparks, opens with Ira Levinson, a 91-year-old Southern Jew, trapped in his car after an accident speaking to his deceased wife, Ruth.

The story follows their romance, which begins with the 16-year-old Ruth, the  daughter of European refugees, meeting Ira, the child of a North Carolina haberdasher.

Anyone familiar with Sparks’ work knows this isn’t his first love story. It is, however, his first love story with Jewish protagonists.

“It was something I hadn’t done before and I thought people would like it,” the Catholic-born author told the Forward. “Also, not a lot of people know there are Jewish people in the South. We all know there are a lot of Jewish people in New York and other big cities. Not a lot of people realize how prominent they are in the history of the South. New Bern is the home of the first synagogue in North Carolina.”

The Ira character is based on the Jewish man that Sparks’ grandmother dated after her divorce.

“They went to Israel together, they had lunch together,” Sparks recalls. “We didn’t have a lot of money, so we’d vacation in San Diego and stay at Grandma’s house. I became very close to him. He was almost like a grandfather to me.”

Knowing what it’s all about, we can move past the “Driving Miss Daisy” thing and start predicting who will play young Ira and Ruth when the novel inevitably becomes a movie.

Hugo Boss boots Brand for Nazi joke

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Russell Brand learned Tuesday night. Especially when the horse is Hugo Boss and the gift is a GQ Man of The Year award.

The comic actor was booted from the GQ Man of the Year Awards, The Daily Mail reports, after a quip he made about how German fashion company Hugo Boss, the event’s sponsor, had ties to the Nazis.

“If anyone knows a bit about history and fashion, you know it was Hugo Boss who made uniforms for the Nazis,” he said, adding, “But they looked f***ing fantastic, let’s face it, while they were killing people on the basis of their religion and sexuality.”

It didn’t end there. Brand wrote on Twitter about a subsequent exchange between him and the man who kicked him out, GQ editor Dylan Jones.

Brand wrote:

GQ editor: “What you did was very offensive to Hugo Boss.”

Me:” What Hugo Boss did was very offensive to the Jews.”

Brand closed his post with the hashtag #nazitailor.

According to The Daily Mail, the uniforms were in fact designed by an artist-SS officer, not Boss.

“Perhaps Brand meant that Boss simply manufactured them. In which case he’s right,” the article said.

Jack Black’s paranormal web series

The new year brings a new web series from Jewish funnyman Jack Black.
“Ghost Girls,” a comedy about two friends in the business of solving paranormal mysteries, launched recently on Yahoo! Screens.

In the first episode, Heidi (Amanda Lund) and Angelica (Maria Basucci) are hired by Eddie (Jake Johnson), who thinks the house he shares with his roommate (Jason Ritter) is haunted.

According to our crystal ball (fine, The Hollywood Reporter), future episodes will feature guest stars such as Black himself, Dave Grohl, Val Kilmer, Molly Shannon and Jason Schwartzman.

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