Archive for the ‘JFacts’ Category

Thanksgiving and Thanksgetting

by Aaron under JFacts,Judaism,News

This year marks an extraordinary occurrence that many people outside of this JDate blog will likely be talking about to an annoying degree this week: the fascinating meeting of Thanksgiving and Chanukah for the first and last time in many of our lives (though I’m feeling confident about being here for Chanukah closing out Thanksgiving 2070). It’s an obvious subject for me to talk about as my blogs are posted on Thursdays, and Thanksgiving is on a Thursday this and every other year.

However, I don’t tend to enjoy the obvious topics, so you’re not about to read why you should be thankful for everything. Instead, I would like to explain a bit about why Chanukah and Thanksgiving go great together, and why Chanukah should remind us not to be complacent.

For the uninitiated, Chanukah is about a small amount of something going a long way, particularly a small amount of oil burning for eight days (though really, the miracle was the victory of the Maccabees). Making a lot of nothing is the key point of the holiday, and it emphasizes how to make the best of any situation. Fittingly, Thanksgiving is a holiday about being thankful for what we have and being proud of that.

Similarly, I was discussing prayer with one of the rabbis I regularly study with a few weeks back, and we went over what Jewish prayer has to consist of. It has to contain three things: praising, thanking, and requesting. We have to be grateful for all around us, even if it’s not the specific things we’ve asked for. We also thank G-d for anything we’ve gotten that we’ve wanted. And lastly, we ask for more again. The idea of wanting more always seems like such a taboo thing on Thanksgiving, we should be lucky we have what we have. But lucky for us, this year is also Chanukah, and so you can thank and praise, but don’t forget to want some more, too. Next year won’t have Chanukah and Thanksgiving meet again, but you can still ask for it to be an even better time than this year.

And of course, I wish everyone reading this a happy Chanukah and Thanksgiving, and hope you’re here with me for all the blogs ahead. Thanks for reading!


Hollywood Yenta Roundup: Gwyneth Paltrow, Selma Blair and Natalie Portman…

by JDateAdministrator under Entertainment,JFacts,Judaism,News

1. Gwyneth Paltrow Disses the Met Gala

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow is talking smack about one of the fashion world’s biggest parties! The A-lister (whose father is Jewish) attended the prestigious Met Gala last Monday, but later dissed the event, reportedly saying “it sucked” in a media interview.

“It seems like it’s the best thing in the world,” Paltrow reportedly said. “You always think, ‘Oh my god, it’s gonna be so glamorous and amazing and you’re going to see all these people’ and then you get there and it’s so hot and it’s so crowded and everyone’s pushing you.”

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s renowned Costume Institute Benefit annual gala, also known as the Met Gala, featured many A-list stars all dressed up for the evening’s theme: “PUNK: Chaos to Couture.” Paltrow, who is 40, said she didn’t think the punk theme was age appropriate. “I think we’re all a bit old to dress up punk,” she said by way of explaining why she didn’t get into the spirit of things.

 

2. Selma Blair Heads to the Beach for Mother’s Day

Selma Blair hit the beach in Malibu with her son Arthur yesterday, hoping to make a splash this Mother’s Day! The actress, who is Jewish, got some sun with her son (sorry for the pun) who will turn 2 years old in July.

Blair, who is now a single mom, split with Arthur’s father, fashion designer Jason Bleick, last August. She was also spotted with her son Arthur earlier this month at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Selma currently stars alongside Charlie Sheen in the second season of the FX series Anger Management.

 

3. Natalie Portman Takes Her Son to the JCC

Natalie Portman was spotted bringing her son Aleph to a Jewish Community Center in Los Feliz last Monday. The Oscar winner, who was born in Jerusalem, didn’t say why she was heading inside the JCC, but we assume it was to take part in some fun family time with her little one!

The actress, who is 32, is reportedly planning to relocate to Paris later this year with her 35-year-old choreographer husband, Benjamin Millepied. Millepied, a former principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, will begin his new position as director of the Paris Opera Ballet in October of 2014.


Hollywood Yenta Roundup: Neil Diamond, Amy Winehouse and Regina Spektor…

by JDateAdministrator under Entertainment,JFacts,News

1. Neil Diamond Donates Money to Boston

After Neil Diamond, who is Jewish, performed “Sweet Caroline” at Fenway Park for the Boston Red Sox’s first home game after the Boston marathon bombings, sales of the track jumped dramatically. Selling almost seven times more than it did the week before the attacks, it appears many people have been purchasing and playing “Sweet Caroline” in honor of the city of Boston.

In response to the drastic boost in sales, Diamond Tweeted, “Donating these royalties to #OneFund!” The One Fund is a charity formed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino to support the victims of the April 15th bombings.

The amount of money made off “Sweet Caroline” during the past week is roughly estimated to be about $5,000, according to the Washington Post.

 

2. Amy Winehouse’s Fortune is Disappearing

After paying off Amy Winehouse’s bills and debts, the late singer’s family was reportedly left with less than £180,000.

Winehouse’s parents had been anticipated to share £3m from her estate. However, the Sunday Mirror reports that the six music companies owned by the Jewish singer had assets of just £176,991 when things were totted up. Apparently her estate was hit hard by legal fees, mortgage payments, security costs and taxes.

Winehouse died in 2011 at the age of 27.

 

3. Regina Spektor to Perform in Israel

Indie folk singer Regina Spektor is making plans to perform in Israel this summer. The Jewish singer-songwriter first played in the country in 2007 and will now return to perform there once again.

Though Spektor sold out both concerts she played in Israel in 2007, she has been away from the Jewish state for six years. However, has always been open about her connection to Judaism and Israel. In 2010, Spektor performed for the Obamas in honor of Jewish Heritage Month and she headlined a benefit concert for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 2012.


March (Dating) Madness

by Adam under JBloggers,JFacts

March Madness is upon us, with sixty-eight teams, each fighting for the ultimate title of NCAA Men’s (and women’s) basketball championship. Starting tonight with the play-in games, then continuing Thursday and Friday with the “second” round games, hours of productivity, and thousands of dollars will be lost as a large segment of the population is glued to their television sets (or mobile phones), praying that a small school from the boonies of Louisiana can knock off Tim Tebow University.

There will be those Cinderellas- those directional state schools, and small private colleges, who win the hearts of many by knocking off schools like Duke, Kansas and Indiana, who then use their performance as a springboard for future basketball success. On the flip side, there are the busts- those teams who everyone had in their Final Four, but who flame out in the second round.

March Madness is a lot like dating. Think about it- you have those girls, or boys that in your mind are your prohibitive favorites (think Duke, Kansas, Indiana, Gonzaga) or best matches, who you think you will have the most chemistry with, or think looks good, is what Dick Vitale would call a “Prime Time Player”.

Sometimes, however, those best matches don’t exactly pan out. Maybe it goes well for a little bit, and you think it’s going to be smooth sailing to the finish (marriage), but huge bumps in the road (chemistry, change in priorities, you find out she’s a Philadelphia Eagles fan) put a halt to it.  Or maybe, a girl/boy pops up out of nowhere (think Virginia Commonwealth University during their Final Four run in 2011) and makes you heart flutter in ways you never knew existed.

March Madness and dating: it’s all about surviving and advancing. Who will end up being your “One Shining Moment”?


Hollywood Yenta Roundup: Aly Raisman, Amar’e Stoudemire, Barbra Streisand, and Gwyneth Paltrow…

by JDateAdministrator under Entertainment,JFacts,Judaism,News

1. Aly Raisman & Amar’e Stoudemire Headed to the Maccabiah Games

Both gymnast Aly Raisman and NY Knicks star Amar’e Stoudemire will be at the 19th annual Maccabiah Games in Israel this year, but not as competitors.

Raisman, an 18-year-old Jewish gymnast who won a gold medal for her floor routine at the 2012 Summer Olympics,will be at the Jewish Olympics as a special guest this year. The games’ chairman, Amir Pered, told journalists Raisman will be honored during the opening ceremony. Stoudemire, who has Hebrew heritage on his mother’s side, will be a part of Team Canada’s coaching staff, giving fans a reason to cheer for the coaches as well as the players!

This year’s event, which will take place July 17-30, is the largest in Maccabiah history, with approximately 8,600 athletes competing from 72 countries.

 

2. Barbra Streisand Schedules First-Ever Israel Performance

Barbra Streisand is preparing for her first-ever performance in Israel. The Jewish songstress is scheduled to sing at a celebration for Israeli President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday.

Streisand will appear before an expected crowd of 4,500 for Peres’ annual Israeli Presidential Conference on June 18, which will also serve as a tribute for the leader’s milestone birthday. Streisand, a vocal supporter of Israel, has traveled to the Jewish state several times, but has never performed.

 

3. Gwyneth Paltrow Reveals Miscarriage

Gwyneth Paltrow revealed a heartbreaking miscarriage in The Mail’s “You Magazine on Sunday. Paltrow, whose father is Jewish, did not say exactly when her pregnancy troubles occurred, but simply told the magazine, “I had a really bad experience when I was pregnant with my third. It didn’t work out and I nearly died.”

The 40-year-old actress is married to Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and the two have two children — Apple, 8, and Moses, 6. The star also recently told InStyle she was open to having more children, saying “My brain says, ‘Oh, I think I’m done, the kids are so big now, and I don’t want to go back to changing diapers — but a part of me would love to have another. Of course, I’m old now!”


Hollywood Yenta Roundup: Gabrielle Giffords, Diane von Furstenberg, and Amanda Bynes…

by JDateAdministrator under Entertainment,JFacts,Judaism

1. Gabrielle Giffords to Receive Courage Award

Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was Arizona’a first Jewish congresswoman, was chosen to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Giffords, who was shot in the head during a constituents’ event in January of 2011, went on to survive the shooting and later launched a gun control initiative following the December shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 first-graders and seven adults were killed by one gunman.

Giffords will be recognized for the “political, personal, and physical courage she has demonstrated in her fearless public advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence.” She will be presented with the award on May 5th at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

 

2. Diane von Furstenberg Weaves Support for the Holocaust

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, best known for her wrap dress, is set to host a special event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Jewish clothing designer’s mother was a Holocaust survivor and von Furstenberg has spoken about her mother’s influence in her life, crediting her for teaching her that “Fear is not an option.”

“I’m involved with the Holocaust museum because I firmly believe in its importance, and there’s no one else doing work like this,” she tells JTA.org. “Last month they did something amazing for me. Without telling me, they mailed me this giant box of all the details of my mother and father during the Holocaust that the Germans and Swiss kept. They had photos and documentation of everything, and it was so special to me.”

 

3. Amanda Bynes Reveals a Whole New Look

Amanda Bynes revealed a dramatically different look for herself on Twitter over the weekend. The Jewish actress Tweeted a photograph of herself captioned only: Wink ;)

Click here to see the photo of the former Nickelodeon star with long, curly hair and a cheek piercing. It’s much different from this picture she Tweeted just a few days earlier.

The transformation follows a series of legal problems that Bynes faces from fall, including two hit-and-run charges, a DUI, and two counts of driving with a suspended license.


Why I Read Cosmo

by Adam under Date Night,JDate,JFacts,Online Dating

So for those of you who don’t know, I happen to be a monthly reader of Cosmo. Call me not masculine, weird, odd, or any non-alpha male adjective, but I’m not ashamed. I find the journalistic integrity to be top of the line.

Anyway, there was an article in one of the issues regarding aphrodisiacs, with sushi and chocolate being mentioned often, with the accompanying headline “how to set the mood for a night of love” or something similar. I did a bit more research as well, and according to the site eatsomethingsexy.com, sushi, when combined with ginger and wasabi “warms your body” and is able to bring an “attractive flush to the cheeks”, and if taken in potent enough doses “can even cause your body to release endorphins”. I was totally tingling inside as I read that.

Then I did a little bit more research. An aphrodisiac is a substance believed to arouse sexual desire. So you don’t like Mr. Chow’s Sushi Place, but want that same endorphin rush and get that vibe back in the bedroom? Exercise helps. Go on a competitive four mile run with your partner, or potential partner. Maybe even play a game of one-on-one basketball.

Smiling increases the production of endorphins as well, and is a natural aphrodisiac. What causes people to laugh and smile? A Chapelle’s Show skit? Analyzing the latest Cosmo feature? Going on JDate and checking out the spelling mistakes made by everyone?

The point of this is simple: you don’t always have to go on nice, fancy dinners to set the mood in your love life, and if that’s the only way your partners, or potential partners seem to get any arousal, well, you’re going to have one boring relationship. Whenever I’m having a down day, I tend to go on YouTube and look up “Dallas Mavericks 2011 NBA Finals Game 6”. That might not work for some of you, but for me, it keeps a smile on my face and my mood right.

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Dating and the Dallas Cowboys

by Adam under Date Night,Entertainment,JBloggers,JDate,JFacts,Relationships

Why Dating is a lot like being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys:

Before every NFL season, Cowboys fans (and Jerry Jones) set unreasonably high barometers for success.

Before every first date, most people set unreasonably high expectations as to how the date is supposed go and next steps.

Usually during the mid-point of the season, Cowboys fans realize that a 4-4 record might not be championship-worthy and immediately start clamoring for the head coach to be axed, without realizing how mediocre the team actually is.

Usually during the early weeks of dating, someone ultimately gets bored, or thinks a ring should be on their finger, and goes back to aggressively searching on JDate.

Come December, Cowboys fans start taking bets about how badly the team is going to choke, citing the past 20 years for reference.

Come December, those people dating each other start questioning how badly they are going to screw up the relationship due to the holiday pressure, citing their past 5 failed relationships.

After yet another season of failed expectations (aka no Super Bowl), Cowboys fans take to message boards and start burning effigies of Tony Romo and Jerry Jones’s face en masse, while holding vigils commemorating the anniversary of the last time the Cowboys appeared in an NFC Championship game (that would be going on 18 years).

After yet another failed 6 month relationship, people take to message boards and start using the other person’s name anonymously for dating blogs for their own personal amusement, bemoaning the fact that they’ve gone through 12 guys/girls in the past 2 years and not one has lasted as long (relationship-wise) since Johnny Football, the 4 year high school boyfriend.

Come the following April, Cowboys fans complain about every draft pick, pitting unproven rookies in an unfair comparison against past Cowboy Hall of Famers.

Come the following April, people are scanning JDate, finding reason to complain about every match, making unfair comparisons to their sister’s husband who they love dearly.

Dating and Dallas Cowboys fandom, it’s a vicious cycle.


Repentance

by JeremySpoke under JFacts,Judaism

During this time of year, a lot of people, especially on Facebook, will post things like, ‘I’m sorry to anyone I’ve wronged this past year’ as if all you have to do is apologize for being horrible once a year and it absolves you of every awful thing you’ve done for the past twelve months. How about this. Just don’t be an asshole all the time, and if you do something bad to someone else, apologize immediately after, instead of waiting for a holiday.

Just be a good person as much as you can. You think that meter maid you emotionally crippled by yelling at three months ago will suddenly feel better after you spend a day not eating? No, she will still spend that day crying herself to sleep because of her completely thankless job having to deal with people like you all the time. Why torture yourself simply because you’ve spent the year torturing others? Be nice all the time, and eat whatever you feel like. I don’t know if I’m allowed to write this on JDate, but fasting for the purpose of penance has always seemed somewhat counter intuitive to me.

Okay, so maybe this is all just a subconscious excuse for me to not have to fast today. Maybe I’m just trying to justify my non-adherence to Judaism and lack of willpower. Either way, I still believe that being a good person outweighs a ritual that will absolve you of your sins. Fasting on Yom Kippur is actually a wonderful tradition that shows both one’s humility and adherence to their Jewish heritage. It is a nice gesture that helps show the good side of humanity. I just think that people should also focus on being good all the time.

Also, if you’ve wronged someone over the past year, don’t leave some generic apology on Facebook. Apologize to that specific person. If a person you’ve wronged sees that message, they will just get angrier that it wasn’t directed only towards them, and then the meter maid, who for some reason is Facebook friends with you, will end up writing you even more tickets.


Hollywood Yenta Roundup: Natalie Portman, Aly Raisman and Rashida Jones…

by JDateAdministrator under Entertainment,JFacts,News

1. Natalie Portman Dances Her Way Down the Aisle

Here comes the bride! Natalie Portman said “I do” over the weekend to French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied. The bride, who is Jewish, wed the choreographer on Saturday on the central California coast in Big Sur, according to MTV.com. Surrounded by family and friends, the pair exchanged vows after dark in a traditional Jewish ceremony at a private home.

The Oscar winner, 31, first met her 35-year-old husband in the fall of 2009 on the set of Black Swan. He worked as a choreographer on the film in which she starred. By December of 2010, the couple announced they were engaged and expecting their first child. Their baby boy, Aleph (which means “chief” or “number one” in Hebrew), was born in June of 2011. There are some serious “Mazel tovs” in order for this family!

 

2. Aly Raisman Looks Ahead

Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman disappointingly took fourth place in the women’s gymnastics individual all-around competition at the London Olympics last week. It was a disappointment to the 18-year-old athlete because she actually tied for third place, but was dropped to fourth due to a quizzical and controversial tie-breaking rule.

Raisman says she is more sad than angry about the ruling and is still looking forward to competing on the balance beam and floor individual finals on Tuesday. The star athlete told People magazine, “I’m really excited about that. I’m just going to keep working hard and move past it. It is what it is, it’s a learning experience. I’m only human – everyone makes mistakes.”

We’re looking forward to seeing this Jewish gymnast make a comeback this week!

 

3. Rashida Jones Writes Her Own Story

After consistently being cast as the dependable, affable, loving, friend-wife-girlfriend, Rashida Jones has decided to take her career in her own hands and wrote a part for herself!

The actress, whose mother is Jewish, has written a new film called Celeste and Jesse Forever. Premiering this Friday, the film stars Jones as Celeste, who is in the midst of a harsh divorce from her husband, Jesse (Andy Samberg). Jones tells the New York Times that this character is “less than likable.”

Jones made the film on a budget that she put together for less than $1 million, even though she was offered more money from a studio at one point. She turned them down because their offer allowed the studio to “reserve the right to cast somebody else if they felt like [she] wasn’t financially viable.”  Dependable, affable, loving, friend-wife-girlfriend no more!