Newsletter Issue # 15 February 1, 2012

The HBO pilot “All Talk” a show that focuses on a Jewish family living in Washington will star Ben Stiller. The show whose tone is being described as “politically, religiously, culturally, intellectually and sexually irreverent” – is written by “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” author Jonathan Safran Foer.

A historic prayer service was conducted in the Knesset on Wednesday by a leadership mission of the North American Masorti-Conservative movement, the first mixed men’s and women’s service ever held there. The group, which is comprised of male and female rabbis and communal leaders from the US and Canada, met with several MKs to discuss the issue of religion and state. The meetings focused on the issue of religious radicalization in Israel and its influence on the country’s image abroad, particularly in America.

In time for the Sundance Film Festival, that descends on this winter hamlet each January, Canyons Resort opened the glatt kosher Bistro at Canyons. The bistro is the only full-service kosher-certified restaurant in Utah and is thought to be the first-ever kosher eatery at a North American ski resort. The Bistro’s offerings are on par with other high-end restaurants in the area, duck confit gnocchi, veal burgers and an extensive wine list. What’s not on the menu is dairy.

Mont-Tremblant is known worldwide as a ski centre and après-ski hot spot, but this famous Laurentian Mountain resort is actually a popular holiday destination year-round. The place is about 90 minutes north of Montreal, the resort village, caters to international tourists that include Jewish visitors from around the world. It’s not uncommon to see some of them attending Shabbat services and holiday celebrations at Chabad of Mont-Tremblant, which used to be housed in a condo in the resort. The centre recently relocated to 110 Chemin Desmarais, which is a two-minute walk from a ski hill.

Is Drew Barrymore Jewish? The answer is that she currently is not, but she is interested in converting to the Jewish faith. She is currently engaged to Will Kopelman and are planning to get married this year. While many non-Jews preparing for conversion to Judaism reach out to rabbis or Jewish friends for guidance, Drew Barrymore has sought out a colleague who has been an Israeli hair stylist, a water boy, a hockey player/golfer, and a surrogate father. Yep, Adam Sandler is reportedly offering guidance to Barrymore during the transition to the Jewish people.

Joseph Cedar’s film, “Footnote,” is nominated for the Academy Award’s best foreign language film for 2011. Four Israeli films, including Cedar’s “Beaufort” in 2007, have made the short list for the prestigious prize in the last five years. The Israeli drama, starring Shlomo Bar Aba and Lior Ashkenazi, tells the story of a power struggle between a father and son who both teach at the Talmud department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Finally, have you ever heard of candles made from orange rinds? Or candles made from clementine rinds? Great idea right, especially now that Tu B’Shevat (Feb. 8th) is right around the corner! Basically, one carefully removes the fruit, leaving the two halves intact, and careful not to sever the stem that’s connected to the top inside of the peel, you can actually use this as a wick once olive oil is poured into the rind.

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