As the world looks back on the year 2012, the Hollywood Yenta is recalling the year’s biggest Jewish celeb moments. Check out our list below of the top ten Jewish celebrity stories from 2012. Then, let us know in the comments section what you think is the year’s top “Jewlebrity” happening!
Four new Jewish Representatives entered the House after November’s election, while four Jewish Senators up for re-election retained their seats for a new term. Combined with the Congressmen and women who are currently serving, there are now 11 Jewish U.S. Senators and 22 U.S. Representatives. Democrats Bill Schneider, Alan Lowenthal, Lois Frankel, and Alan Grayson were each elected to the House, in Illinois, California, and the last two in Florida, respectively. In the Senate, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were each re-elected. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), the son of a Holocaust survivor, also re-won his seat.
9. MCA passes
Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, died at the age of 47 in May. Yauch, whose mother was Jewish, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland. Following his death, tributes across the web showed the impact Yauch’s music had. Actor Jonah Hill Tweeted, “I’m filled with so much sorrow to hear about the world losing Adam Yauch. He was such a beautiful person and artist.”
Lena Dunham’s television series “Girls” garnered great reviews when it premiered in April, and earned Dunham four Emmy nominations. In October, the young writer, whose mother is Jewish, inked a $3.5 million deal with Random House for an essay collection called Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned. The next month, Dunham starred in a political ad for Barack Obama that, metaphorically speaking, compared voting for Obama to losing one’s virginity.
Arizona’s first Jewish congresswoman, Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, resigned from congress in January, one year after she was shot at a public gathering in Tucson, Ariz. In her resignation letter, Giffords wrote, “I will recover and will return.”
When Jon Stewart’s name was called as winner in the variety category during September’s Emmys awards, the host of The Daily Show was mock-tackled by pals Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon. The two comedians who were up against Stewart in the category were jokingly keeping him from getting to the stage. In August, Stewart was also voted JDaters’ favorite “political news funnyman,” beating out Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers.
In August, Jewish actress Natalie Portman said “I do” to French dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied. The two exchanged vows in a traditional Jewish ceremony at a private home in Big Sur. Portman and Millepied met while filming Black Swan in 2009 and have a son named Aleph (which means “chief” or “number one” in Hebrew).
Jewish movie star Mila Kunis had a big year – she starred in the hit film Ted, was named “Sexiest Woman Alive” by Esquire magazine, was listed as no. 3 on Maxim’s “Hot 100” list and started dating longtime pal Ashton Kutcher. Before going public with her romance with Kutcher, Kunis told Glamour magazine she’d be interested in online dating: “If I didn’t do what I do, I would do Internet dating instead of going out to bars. In two seconds I would. It makes so much more sense.” In November, the actress shot down rumors that she was converting to Kaballah, after she was seen accompanying Kutcher to service in New York.
Jewish actress Amanda Bynes drove into trouble in 2012, getting arrested or cited for infractions that included allegedly driving under the influence, sideswiping a cop car, leaving the scene of an accident and driving on a suspended license. In October, Bynes pled not guilty to the charges stemming from the April and August incidents.
It was a big year for the creator of the world’s largest social networking site, who also happens to be Jewish. In February, Mark Zuckerberg filed papers to take Facebook, Inc. public. The company held its initial public offering on May 18, with a peak market capitalization of more than $104 billion. One day after the IPO, Zuckerberg wed longtime girlfriend Priscilla Chan in a small surprise wedding ceremony with 100 guests.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman wowed spectators by earning one of two spots in the all-around individual finals. She then won a gold medal on the floor routine, dancing to “Hava Nagila,” a traditional Jewish song that means “Let us rejoice.” Following the summer games, Raisman accepted an invitation from Israeli government officials to visit Israel. In October, the 18-year-old athlete made her first visit to South Florida for the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) which helps out thousands of Israeli children.