Celebrity Jews

TBS premieres

Cable channel TBS begins two original series next week: “My Boys” and “Ten Items or Less.”

“My Boys” stars pretty blonde Jewish actress Jordana Spiro as a sportswriter who hangs out with her mostly male colleagues. “Boys,” which has gotten some good advance reviews, is centered around its 20-something characters’ romantic lives. (Starts Tuesday, Nov. 28 at 10 p.m.)

“Ten Items” stars comedian John Lehr, 40, as a bumbler who takes over his family’s supermarket after his father’s death. His management style makes for a chaotically comic workplace. (Starts Monday, Nov. 27 at 11 p.m.)

In 2003, Lehr told the L.A. Jewish Journal about his unusual path to Judaism. He described himself as an alcoholic from a “hillybilly Kansas white-trash family.” He became sober in 1996 and began a comedy stand-up career. However, he still battled demons which led his Jewish girlfriend, now his wife, to put him in touch with her rabbi. The rabbi suggested Judaism classes — including Jewish meditation courses. The meditation classes gave Lehr some emotional peace and he converted to Judaism in 2000.

Lehr added that he needed to be circumcised to complete his conversion. Well, he had the procedure in Hollywood and, sure enough, he got a “show biz” mohel who asked Lehr whether he had read the mohel’s son’s movie script — while Lehr’s pants were still around his ankles! Fortunately, the newly minted Jew saw the humor in the situation.

Sokoloff and Shor

The new ABC series “Big Day” covers “every aspect” of a wedding day over the course of an entire TV season. Co-starring as the bride-to-be is Marla Sokoloff, best known for playing Lucy on the TV series “The Practice.” (Starts Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 9:30 p.m.)

Sokoloff, 25, grew up in Danville. She recently told reporter Gerri Miller that her long-term boyfriend, musician Alec Puro, is Jewish (which makes her mother very happy) and that she, personally, would prefer a small Jewish wedding on a beach.

Miriam Shor, 35, has a supporting role in “Big Day” as Sokoloff’s sister. Her previous roles include playing the Jewish girlfriend of the main character in the short-lived TV series “Inside Schwartz.”

Shor grew up in America and Italy and was raised in her father’s Jewish faith at the insistence of her non-Jewish mother. Very well educated, she speaks fluent Italian and Yiddish.

Shor has played several Jewish parts and has thought a great deal about her own Jewishness, recently telling the San Diego Jewish paper: “I would not be considered Jewish by some, but I have a different take on religion. The history of my relatives is as much a part of my belief system as much as someone who sits in a church or synagogue and tells me what I am.”

Jews in the movies

“The Fountain” is an ambitious film that combines elements of science fiction and theology. It’s about a man (Hugh Jackman) who takes a thousand-year journey to save the life of the woman he loves (Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz). “The Fountain” is written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, Weisz’s fiancé. Advance reviews aren’t good. (Opened Wednesday, Nov. 22).

Also opening Nov. 22 was the comedy, “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny.” Two musicians (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) meet in California and form the musical group Tenacious D. Together they plan to steal a guitar pick from a rock and roll museum because they believe the pick is magical and having it will turn them into the world’s greatest band.

Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at [email protected].

Nate Bloom

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