Celebrity Jews

Pesach stories and fare

Panic e-mail: Reporter for the Israeli version of TV Guide wants info on every Jewish celeb’s personal seder. I pulled together what I could for my Israeli landsman. Here’s part of what I shared.

Well, I guess New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is celebrating with his 95-year-old mother. He is reported to have bought her a seder plate when he was in Jerusalem last year on a morale-boosting visit.

Credit Camryn Manheim, the star of TV’s “The Practice,” with the first reported usage of the term “power seder.” She told the Boston Globe last year that she invited young director Eli Roth (“Cabin Fever”) to a “power seder” at her house shortly after he moved to L.A. in 1999. Roth met several people at the seder who hardly could be called major players, but they did end up collaborating with him on professional projects.

The recent DVD release of “Schindler’s List” made me recall a Steven Spielberg Passover story. Shortly after the film came out, Spielberg told Inside Film magazine: “Many of [the young German actors playing Nazis] … would confess to me that their parents were involved in the war, in the military and often they would just say to me, ‘Thank you for letting me resolve my secrets by playing in your movie.’ The most moving thing that happened for me was on Passover. We had Passover at the hotel and all the young German actors … came in with yarmulkes and Haggadahs and sat with the Israeli actors and took part in the Passover service. I wept like a baby.”

Got a professional harness horseracing license? Well, if you do and you’re Jewish, you can participate in Monticello (N.Y.) Raceway’s sixth annual “Passover Pace” for Jewish drivers. The “run for the manna” takes place Monday, April 12. Top Jewish driver Jack Rice is an early favorite.

Last week, Roseanne Barr and Joan Rivers mentioned two very different menus for their Passover seders. Roseanne does the voice of a cow in the new Disney animated film “Home on the Range.” She told Zap2it.com that she often visited dairy farms while growing up in Utah. Roseanne added, with a laugh, “I thought it was very honorable to play a cow, especially one with such good intentions. To play this role, I was fortunately able to connect with, what do you call it, my inner cow.” However, playing an animal, she noted, has not turned her into a veggie, “I do the Passover thing, with the lamb and all that stuff.”

Meanwhile, Rivers is featured in a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) press release so bizarre that we have to quote it:

“Can we talk about what you’re having for Passover dinner? Joan Rivers has a suggestion: faux pork! Just in time for the seder supper, Rivers … has recorded a new message for PETA’s toll-free veggie hotline … extolling the virtues of passing over the pork and going with the faux. Says Rivers, ‘This year, you can pig out at Passover — you can put some pork on your fork, and it’s kosher! I’m not talking about eating a dead pig — yuck! I’m talking about fakin’ bacon, pseudo-sausage, pigless pork chops. … And besides, eating kosher faux pork lets you pig out without porking up.’

“Callers to the hotline are asked to leave their name and address for a free ‘Passover the Pork’ pack that contains information on where to buy faux pork and other mock meats …” (It’s all on the peta.org Web site.)

PETA, you may recall, has also made “tasteful” ads comparing the slaughter of animals to the Holocaust. Vegetarians make a strong ethical case, but it is just grotesque to consider even mock pork as appropriate for Passover. PETA and Rivers demonstrate the intelligence/sensitivity of a horse … radish.

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

Nate Bloom

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