William Shatner on stage during “Star Trek: Mission New York,” Sept. 4, 2016 (Photo/JTA-Roy Rochlin-Getty Images)
William Shatner on stage during “Star Trek: Mission New York,” Sept. 4, 2016 (Photo/JTA-Roy Rochlin-Getty Images)

Bhad Bhabie backs Jewish dating app; Shatner talks about Nimoy; Jamie Lee Curtis rebuilds Hungarian synagogue; etc.

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Captain Kirk and his old pal Spock

In a recent interview with the Guardian, William Shatner opened up about his friendship with the late Leonard Nimoy, his “Star Trek” costar, and the way their shared Jewish heritage brought them together. “Leonard was only four days younger than me, and Boston [Nimoy’s hometown] is a lot like Montreal [Shatner’s hometown], these old cities with big buildings where the snow drifts through the streets,” Shatner, 90, said. “I think he had a much more Jewish upbringing than me; he learned to speak Yiddish and I did not. But the similarities between us were incredible.” The two grew apart in later years, something that Shatner said he didn’t understand but greatly regretted.


Dating app gets interesting backer

What do you get when you combine one niche celebrity and one brand-new Jewish dating app known for snobby exclusivity? Apparently you get $1 million, which is the investment U.S. internet personality Bhad Bhabie (along with rapper Lil Yachty) is throwing into Lox Club. The dating site comes with a matchmaker who will help you find a date, but on the other hand touts its very high standards. Bhad Bhabie (born Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli) came to stardom after appearing on a Dr. Phil episode called “I Want to Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried to Frame Me for a Crime!”


Writer takes on ‘witches’

In an interview with Vulture about her new novel, Rivka Galchen discussed what drew her to the story of astronomer Johannes Kepler’s mother, a woman who was accused of witchcraft in 1615. Based on a true story, “Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch” examines the way rumors and accusations ripple outwards. Galchen, the child of Israeli immigrants, grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in Manhattan, which she calls “the natural destiny of all Jewish women.”


Like father, like daughter

Jamie Lee Curtis, whose father, Tony Curtis, was the son of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, has said she will help restore the synagogue her ancestors used in the Hungarian town of Mátészalka. Curtis has committed to help raise funds to restore the dilapidated synagogue — abandoned since World War II — and turn it into a community center. The 62-year-old actress is currently in the country filming “Borderlands,” a movie based on a video game starring Cate Blanchett. (Tony Curtis was a major donor in the restoration of Budapest’s historic Dohany Street Synagogue.)


U.K. dame stands up to union

There’s a rift in the U.K. acting world over politics. Outspoken actor Dame Maureen Lipman, an awarded veteran of stage, TV and film, is one of around five actors to have resigned from the country’s stage and film union. The move came after the union called on members to join a pro-Palestinian march in London at which protesters burned Israeli flags and held up antisemitic placards. According to the London-based Jewish Chronicle, Lipman, who has been an Equity member for 54 years and is outspoken on Israel issues, said the union president “doesn’t speak for me or any actor in the union with a brain. She speaks for a mob mentality.”


Following in mom’s footsteps

Comedy is in the blood for actor Hannah Einbinder. The 26-year-old star of the new show “Hacks,” streaming on HBO Max, is the daughter of Laraine Newman, 69, a founding member of the Groundlings improv company and part of the original “Saturday Night Live” cast. Einbinder said that landing the role of a young, down-and-out comedian who is hired to give a youthful flavor to an older woman’s act was a dream job. When she found out she got the role, she screamed in the middle of the street, she told Glamour, “then proceeded to call all of the most important people in my life — none of whom picked up their phones. So I was just freaking out alone.”


Women’s rights activist dies

Musician, proud lesbian and women’s rights activist Alix Dobkin has died at 80. According to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times, the folk singer often played Yiddish songs during her performances and told stories she had heard growing up in a Jewish and communist family in Philadelphia. A role model and icon for generations of women, her positions became more controversial in recent decades because of her criticism of transwomen in women’s spaces.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.