Jewish Philanthropist Establishes Kansas City As Cultural Mecca

Posted on April 24th, 2017
Menachem Wecker for The Forward

When he would go to New York on art-buying excursions with his late wife, Marion, Henry Bloch would balk at the price tags. “It was very expensive,” the 94-year-old H&R Block founder and philanthropist said. “They talked me into it.”

Asked what he meant by “very expensive,” Bloch repeated, “Very expensive.”
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You Don’t Have To Be Jewish

Posted on April 17th, 2017
BY GABE FRIEDMAN for The Jewish Week

Yiddish playwright Sholom Asch is riding an improbable cultural wave — his scandalous, century-old “God of Vengeance” just wrapped up a sold-out Off-Broadway run, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel’s play about the making of “Vengeance” opens this week on Broadway. But there’s a rich irony lurking on the Yiddish stage: two of its main practitioners are not to the shtetl born, so to speak.

Veteran actor Shane Baker has performed in three productions of “God of Vengeance,” Asch’s classic about a brothel-owning family and their daughter’s lesbian relationship. The play, which was first staged in 1906, still resonates today as a treatise on morality, religion and sexuality.

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An amazing Hollywood romance you’ve probably never heard of

Posted on April 10th, 2017
by Gerri Miller for FromtheGrapevine

‘Harold and Lillian’ tells the remarkable behind-the-scenes story of 'The Graduate,' 'The Birds' and a love story that made movie history.

In Hollywood, where a skinny latte lasts longer than some relationships, Harold and Lillian Michelson broke the mold. They were married for 60 years while working together behind the scenes on cinema’s most iconic movies – he as a storyboard artist and she as a research librarian – until his death in 2007.

You've likely seen their work: “The Ten Commandments,” “The Apartment,” “The Birds,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “The Graduate,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Scarface” and “Rain Man” are just a few of the classics on their very long and impressive resumes, yet they’re virtually unknown to the general public. That’s about to change, with the release of “Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story,” the third documentary in Israeli-born director Daniel Raim’s film trilogy about Tinseltown’s unsung artists.

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This Beyoncé-themed Passover site is as fierce as it sounds

Posted on April 3rd, 2017
By Gabe Friedman for JTA

Moses, Pharoah, Elijah — meet Queen Bey.

There is a Tumblr website full of Beyoncé-themed Passover memes — or alternatively, as the site is called, “Beyonceder” memes.

Creator Amy Schiller, a grad student who started the site in 2014, superimposed Beyoncé song lyrics over various images associated with Passover — from the parting of the Red Sea to those colorful jelly candies that are staples of the seder dessert. It should motivate even the least fervent Beyoncé fans to get in the Passover mood.

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Passover is coming, check out our Passover Resource Kit.

What Does Billy Crystal Love About Being Jewish?

Posted on March 27th, 2017
Cindy Sher for The Forward

The inimitable Billy Crystal is back on the road. The six-time Emmy Award-winning comedian, actor, producer, director and writer — most recently of a book of essays, “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys” — is currently touring the U.S. with his new show, “Spend the Night with Billy Crystal.”

The show, scheduled to tour through April, promises to feel like an intimate chat with the audience — a blend of standup with a “sit-down” interview with Crystal, moderated at many shows by comedian and actor Bonnie Hunt. Crystal, who lives in Los Angeles, will tell stories, talk about the world as he sees it, reflect on his life and show some film clips from his long career.
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