Holy land HOT
Israel qualifies as a leading confectioner when it comes to producing eye candy. Just take a gander at any Tel Aviv bus queue and you’ll spot several contenders for covers of Sports Illustrated and fashion campaigns. Good looks come naturally to our Holy Land brethren, many of whom naturally gravitate towards the catwalk or big screen.
With the launch this week of Seret International virtual festival, media partnered by Jewish News, a roster of great Israeli cinema is now available on the small screem along with a chance to ogle aesthetic talent. Yes, I’d agree it’s shallow to focus on the punims instead of the performances, but it’s feasible to do both.
Take Tsahi Halevi.
Cast as the nation’s best spy in Mossad, it is hard to ignore his attributes as he sets about rescuing an American tech billionaire assisted by stunning model/actresses Adi Himelbloy and Efrat Dor. Efrat has already made her debut stateside in Sneaky Pete and Halevi has also been spotted. The multi-award- winning actor also appears in All In, which is about four best friends who reconnect 20 years after leaving secondary school to take part in a secret poker tournament organised by their arch-enemy. The cast also includes Yael Bar-Zohar, another model and actress who is resplendent, and for alternative appeal, there is Maor Cohen, who already has a fan base through his band Zikney Tzfat.
With his brilliant portrayal in Incitement as assassin Yigal Amir, the Orthodox ultra-nationalist who murdered Yitzhak Rabin, it’s easy to forget how physically fabulous Yehuda Nahari is in real life, but this is also true of comedian Nelly Tagar who is so compelling as a woman desperate to have a baby in Erez Tadmor’s The Art of Waiting. For those who lean towards less obvious pulchritude, director Guy Bentwich and his actress wife Maya Kenig are the epitome of cool and both star in Peaches & Cream, Guy’s semi- autobiographical film about a neurotic director promoting his latest film. How kind of Seret to provide such an eclectic selection of eye candy in films you won’t want to miss if only for superficial reasons.
READ MORE: A festival of fabulous Israeli films
Ruby, Ruby Ruby
Mental health poster girl Ruby Wax has just announced her fifth book, And Now For The Good News…To the Future with Love, which will be published on 17 September. In her previous book, How to Be Human: the Manual, Ruby presented us with a guide through 21st century chaos and a user’s manual for surviving life. For the new tome, she’s searched out the green shoots in business, technology, education, community, health and food that “may be sprouting even now and may just bloom if we tend to them with care”. Ruby says the way to stop living in such a climate of fear is to turn our attention to the possible and positive. “I know what you’re thinking,” says the comedian. “Is it some kind of macabre joke? Has she been in a coma? How can Ruby Wax write a book about good news when the world is facing the worst disaster since the Plague?” Her answers await you in September.
Where there’s a will, there’s OY VEY
This week shed more clarity on loss in lockdown than I wanted, when one of my closest friends passed away. And he was far away – in Scotland – which in these unfathomable times might as well be Australia.
Rabbi Mark Goldsmith kindly mentioned his name during streamed Shabbat prayers at Edgware & Hendon Reform Synagogue, which gave me comfort, and the viewing figures for shuls online suggests many of us are seeking solace and continuity from our rabbinical leaders.
If there were ‘ratings’, the Reform movement would be top of the leader board, and not streaming because of halachic restrictions is a missed opportunity to boost a congregation and light the candles together virtually. Trying to bring cheer to anyone while isolated isn’t easy and Mental Health Awareness Week reminds us of that.
I introduced my dear friend to Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, which was the uplift he needed, and I will be thankful to show creator Amy Sherman-Palladino forever for her hilarious Jewish housewife. Now you
can watch the series and cast member Q&A’s on a weekly Twitter watch party at #MaiselMonday. A joyful show in tough times can briefly stop the tears.