It may not be everyone’s glass of kogel mogel (that’s Yiddish eggnogg), but ratings alone confirm the huge interest in The Real Housewives franchise. Hence the December release of The Real Housewives of the North Pole (streaming on HayU from 9 December), which stars Kyle Richards of the Beverley Hills cast in a film about two Vermont-based besties who hold the record for seasonal house decorating. No prizes for spotting the svelte plot, but Jewish viewers are partial to Kyle, who converted when she married Mexican Jewish husband Mauricio Umansky and posts pics of her menorahs beside huge Christmas trees and loves a competitive game of spin the dreidel. “We play with chocolate gelt, but it’s as if we’re in Vegas or something – so much at stake!” says Kyle, whose co-star in the movie is Breaking Bad’s Betsy Brandt, who in real life also straddles both holidays, admitting: “At least half of our friends and family who celebrate Christmas with us are Jewish, so we always serve matzo ball soup—we like to be all-inclusive.”
Adam have you heard?
Back in 2019 when life was, well, less gruelling, Adam Sandler put out a call
for gifted Jewish musicians to write a new song for Chanukah. His own
festival hit, The Chanukah Song, released in 1994 was, he felt, past its sell-by date. Enter stage left, Canadian singer-songwriter Haley K Turner with guitar, magical string orchestra and her Chanukah song, Intangible Things (A Hanukkah Song). Turner hoped to get Sandler’s attention and even wrote Intangible Things Parody (The Other Hanukkah song) with the lyrics:
It’s about time
We had a new song
Something Adam Sandler
Has no involvement on
The Maccabees would be disappointed
If another 20 years went by
And no one was brave enough to try?
The Zohan star has yet to RSVP, but Turner is counting the nights until he does.
‘Transforming lives through Jewish music’ is a lyrical pitch worth accepting from the Jewish Music Institute’s Youth Big Band.
Having produced four albums in the five years they have been a collective,
musical director Sam Eastmond is now taking the band to JW3 for a concert on
19 December. They will perform their fourth new album, Bet – We Are Here, and share the bill with NYJO – National Youth Jazz Orchestra Academy Big Band, an ensemble
of highly-talented young musicians who play and celebrate the music of such Jazz giants as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and others.
Tickets priced £15 are available from www.jw3.org.uk
Nothing Beige About Him
Our big community across the pond has a plethora of Chrismukah shenanigans and menorahs in every shop window. The Jewish effect is less apparent here, but we do have home-grown talent Lenny Beige (portrayed by comic Steve Furst) who brings the essence of The Rat Pack in a gaudy tuxedo to his cabaret shows. Releasing ditties such as Jewish For Christmas is also part of his annual shtick, and this year’s is a light-hearted song about “those Jews who enjoy dipping their toes into gaudy Christmas celebrations”, says Beige, who belts out, accompanied by jingling bells: “As the year draws to a conclusion, Jews don’t want no exclusion,” followed by “Chanukah has served me fine, but it ain’t no mistletoe and wine.”
Beige performs at Lennie’s Regency Rooms Xmas Extravaganza at The Camden Powerhaus on 15 December 15. For tickets, visit powerhauscamden.com
This Month In Jewish History
By Jewish News historian Derek Taylor
Chief Rabbi Aaron Hart died on 21 November 1756, having served the Jewish community for 51 years. Born in 1670, he was appointed minister of the Great Synagogue in the City in 1705 after it had been built and paid for by his brother, Moses Hart. As a Jew, Moses had been expelled from Breslau, but made
a fortune as a London merchant. Rabbis were in short supply in Britain at the time and Aaron Hart was consulted on many occasions by provincial communities. He effectively became the first British Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi. Unlike David Nieto and Joseph Herman Hertz, he didn’t write very much and is mostly remembered because we say a blessing on Yom Kippur for previous Chief Rabbis. Problems he had to tackle included incurring fines for not burying people in wooden shrouds and resisting a prominent conversionist, remarking that he politely declined apostasy as Judaism was good enough for his father and grandfather.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.
By Joe Millis