Hebrew smarties hook up

Last month, Sergey Brin, 33, co-founder of Mountain View-based Google and the 12th richest American (with a net worth of around $16 billion), married biologist Anne Wojcicki, also 33. The San Jose Mercury News says they wed under a chuppah and that Brin stomped on a glass “symbolizing the [bride and groom’s] connection to their Jewish heritage.” However, the wedding was essentially secular — presided over by a friend rather than by a rabbi.

Sergey’s parents, both academics, could no longer stand Soviet anti-Semitism and left the former Soviet Union with Sergey in 1979. Although not religious, Sergey’s mother once said she hoped her son would “find a wife — preferably Jewish — who could match him in wit.”

By all accounts, Wojcicki is a smart and witty woman. She is the head of a start-up biotech firm that Google has invested in. Anne’s father, Stanley, who I suspect isn’t Jewish, is a Stanford physics professor. Her mother, Esther Hochman Wojcicki, a much-honored Palo Alto High School journalism teacher, is Jewish. Anne’s maternal great-grandfather, a prominent Russian rabbi, came to the United States around 1920.

Small screen highlights

HBO’s hit series “Big Love” began its second season on Monday, June 11. (The first season is out on DVD.) Bill Paxton stars as a Utah businessman who has three wives who have each given him three children. Paxton’s character is a fundamentalist Mormon who believes that the mainstream Mormon Church erred when it repudiated polygamy in the late 19th century.

Playing Paxton’s third and youngest wife, Margene, is pretty actress Ginnifer Goodwin, 29. Goodwin has frequently appeared in TV guest spots. Her biggest film role was as Johnny Cash’s first wife in “Walk the Line.” A friend at the Memphis Jewish Federation tells me that Goodwin, a Memphis native, is Jewish and was a bat mitzvah. Indeed, Goodwin went to Jewish summer camp with another employee of the Memphis Federation. (Jewish geography strikes again!)

David Milch (“Deadwood”) is the co-writer/creator of the new series, “John from Cincinnati,” which premiered on HBO on Sunday, June 10. The show focuses on a “mysterious stranger” who profoundly affects the lives of a multi-generational family of Southern California surfers. Willie Garson plays the family’s Jewish lawyer. Garson is best known for playing Stanford Blatch, Sarah Jessica Parker’s gay friend, on “Sex and the City.”

At 9 p.m. on June 27, PBS will broadcast a tape of a celebration held last month in Washington, D.C., honoring Paul Simon, the first winner of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Medal for Popular Song. Performers at the celebration included James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Stevie Wonder and Art Garfunkel, Simon’s old singing partner. A highlight is Simon joining the Zulu choir Ladysmith Black Mambazo which appeared on his great 1986 album “Graceland,” for a rousing version of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.”

The Book of Noah, comic btyle

“Evan Almighty,” opening in theaters on Friday, June 22, is a sort-of sequel to the film hit “Bruce Almighty,” in which Jim Carrey talked to God. This time a newscaster (Steve Carell of “The Office”) is told by God (played by Morgan Freeman) to start building an ark, like Noah did. Carell’s family cannot decide whether he is cracked or onto something.

Rotund Jewish actor Jonah Hill, who appears as one of the young Jewish slackers in Judd Apatow’s hit “Knocked Up,” has a large supporting role in “Evan” as a guy who works for Carell in the newsroom.

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

Nate Bloom

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