Celebrity jews

Sex notes

I’ll miss “Sex and the City.” It had a sort-of Jewish sensibility — even if it didn’t have a strong Jewish subplot until this season. That’s when Charlotte (Kristen Davis) converted to Judaism and married Harry Goldblatt (Evan Handler), a homely Jewish lawyer who was kind, funny and “great in bed.” The traditional Jewish family is changing and the Goldblatts are one variation of the new Jewish family. A WASP princess met a Jewish mensch and adopted his faith — inspired by the example of Elizabeth Taylor‘s conversion. The gift of a dog helped them overcome the pain of a miscarriage and they named the animal after Taylor. The family is completed, in the show’s last episode, when their application to adopt a Chinese child is approved.

Harry was a counterpoint to the image of Jewish men as nebbishes. Lots of good real-life role models exist, but they rarely make it the screen. One is Matthew Broderick, the real-life husband of series star Sarah Jessica Parker. (Broderick’s mother was Jewish and he identifies as Jewish). Parker just told The Mirror, a Brit paper: “He’s what I always wanted. You know, this kind of Jewish intellectual and the funniest person I’d ever met. Dry as a bone. He’s not demonstrative, and I find that really appealing — not in the way that girls like boys who treat them badly, but in a real, all-gestures-have-deep-meaning way. He’s a substantial person.” (“Substantial” is English for mensch).

Rumors are that a “Sex” movie may be in the works. Here’s hoping we see the Goldblatt family at their first seder.

Pop culture rabbi

Orthodox Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of “Kosher Sex” fame has been all over pop culture recently. He’s written a bunch of interesting articles about “The Passion.” Although a cultural conservative himself, he has taken on the handful of Jewish conservatives who have supported Mel Gibson. (All these articles can be found on beliefnet.com, which has compiled a great archive of articles on the film.)

However, without question, the rabbi’s articles about Michael Jackson (also found on Beliefnet) are just weird and feed into the widely held perception that the rabbi is a publicity hound. The first article, written after Jackson’s arrest in November, reviews the rabbi’s former friendship with Jackson and he rues the “bubble” in which Jackson lives. This didn’t add much we didn’t know about Jackson and almost seemed to breach the confidentiality of the quasi-clerical relationship Boteach had with the non-Jewish Jackson.

This was followed by an even weirder letter in January, a week after it came out that Debbie Rowe, Jackson’s ex-wife and the mother of his two oldest children, is Jewish. (She was reportedly concerned about Jackson’s new Nation of Islam bodyguards). The rabbi intoned, “Michael, do the right thing and make sure your children are raised as Jews. Keep them far away from Nation of Islam. Do not raise them in a tradition that is not only alien to them, but hostile to their congenital faith.”

Subsequently, it came out that Rowe converted to Judaism in 1982. Let’s be frank — it’s unlikely it was an Orthodox conversion. Therefore, the children are probably not Jewish in the eyes of Boteach’s wing of Judaism. Moreover, it seems odd to ask for anything normal from Jackson and Rowe. Just about everyone has described their marriage as an arrangement entered into for the purpose of providing Jackson with children — despite the earlier allegations of child molestation against Jackson. Add in the fact that it’s unlikely that Jackson would even read this plea and what you have is little more than a minor addition to the bizarre carnival that swirls around Jackson. Associating yourself with that carnival, the rabbi should realize, doesn’t do much for your reputation and diminishes your “serious” journalism.

(Just as this item went to press, Court TV confirmed that Rowe has filed legal papers to gain custody of her children.)

No complaints

Zach Braff, co-star of the hit series “Scrubs,” came out of the recent Sundance Film Festival with great reviews for his indie film “Garden State,” and it has been picked up for widespread distribution. As previously reported in this column, the romantic comedy — formerly entitled “Large’s Ark” — was written and directed by Braff, and he was able to get financing when Natalie Portman agreed to co-star in it.

Braff told The Desert News that he wasn’t a part of the many “power celebrity couples” at Sundance and he came alone. He added, “I do get to make out with Natalie Portman in my movie, so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining too much.”

Nate Bloom is the Oakland-based editor of www.Jewhoo.com.

Nate Bloom

Nate Bloom writes the "Celebrity Jews" column for J.