woman playing basketball
Sue Bird drives the ball during the women's gold medal game at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Aug. 20, 2016. (Photo/JTA-Tom Pennington-Getty Images)

Bird waves the flag; Israel gets on a horse; Pink gets mad; etc.

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Bird holds flag, Israel gallops in

When the U.S. contingent marched into the stadium in Tokyo for the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics, Sue Bird — the 12-time WNBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist basketballer — was out in front, proudly holding the flag. The honor came 17 years after her first Olympics, and she shared the duty with U.S. baseball player Eddy Alvarez. Before the ceremony, the 2021 inductee to the Israel-based International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame told the Today show that being chosen by her athlete peers was “mind blowing.”

For the first time in the Olympics, Israel is getting in the saddle, thanks to Dani Waldman, a rider known for her elaborate colored hairstyles as well as her skill. The New York native is one of four on Israel’s first Olympic equestrian team, fulfilling a long-held dream of hers. “I started reaching out to other riders that I knew were Jewish, that I knew could also represent Israel, and just tried to kind of get it going,” she told the Times of Israel.

Also on the team are U.S. natives Teddy Vlock and Ashlee Bond and Mexican-born Alberto Michan. (Colombian-born Daniel Bluman, who helped Israel qualify, was ruled ineligible to compete after his horse’s nationality was listed as American rather than Israeli in the database of the sport’s international governing body. The nationalities of riders and horses must match.)

Spielberg’s family gets bigger

Judd Hirsch has joined the cast of Steven Spielberg’s biopic (of himself), which is tentatively titled “The Fabelmans” and will be a fictionalized version of the director’s Arizona childhood. Jeannie Berlin, daughter of renowned comedian and writer Elaine May, is also taking part, joining Seth Rogen, Michelle Williams and a host of other actors. Set to be directed by Spielberg and co-written by Spielberg and Pulitzer Prize winner (“Angels in America”) Tony Kushner, it is due out in 2022.

Director Steven Spielberg speaks onstage during the Academy Awards, Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo/JTA-Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Director Steven Spielberg speaks onstage during the Academy Awards, Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo/JTA-Kevin Winter-Getty Images)

Winehouse remembered

On the 10th anniversary of the death of singer Amy Winehouse, an article in Vogue pays homage to the “Jewish beauty” of Winehouse’s Ashkenazi features. “A Jewish girl from north London who famously pulled no punches, her make-up and hair were as honest, unfiltered, and beautiful as the rest of her,” the (Jewish) author writes.

Pink stands up for Norway

When Norway’s women’s beach handball team chose to wear (tight and small) shorts instead of bikini bottoms, they were fined 1,500 euros by the European championship organizers. That got singer Pink riled up. She offered to pay the fine and tweeted: “I’m VERY proud of the Norwegian female beach handball team FOR PROTESTING THE VERY SEXIST RULES ABOUT THEIR ‘uniform.’ The European handball federation SHOULD BE FINED FOR SEXISM.”

Mary Hartman returns

Hit TV producer Norman Lear created a roster of famous shows, including “All in the Family” and cult favorite “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” Well, now the latter show is getting a reboot, which Lear revealed in a statement on his 99th birthday on July 27. The title character was first played by Louise Lasser; it’s being rebooted by Canadian actor Emily Hampshire, who played Stevie in “Schitt’s Creek.”

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

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