Tag Archives: Hollywood

Jew of the Week: Gal Gadot

Wonder Woman

Gal Greenstein (b. 1985) was born in Petah Tikva, Israel, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and immigrants from Poland, Austria, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. As is common in Israel, her parents Hebraized their last name, choosing Gadot, meaning “river banks”. After graduating from high school, she was spotted by a talent agent and convinced to participate in the Miss Israel beauty pageant. Gadot joined for fun, with no interest to actually win – but she did. When moving on to the Miss Universe pageant, she purposely sabotaged her chances of winning by not wearing the required dresses or putting on makeup. Upon her return, she completed her two year military service with the IDF, then enrolled in college to study law and political science. Meanwhile, her appearance at the Miss Universe pageant brought many modeling agencies to her door. A year later, Gadot was called to audition for the part of a Bond girl in Quantum of Solace. Though she didn’t get that part, she was soon given the part of Gisele in the Fast and the Furious series, going on to appear in three of the films. She starred in a number of other Hollywood and Israeli movies and TV shows. Her big break came in 2015, when she was cast as Wonder Woman in the Dawn of Justice film. She did a great deal of training for the part, and put on 17 pounds of muscle. While the movie itself received mixed reviews, Gadot’s performance was applauded, and she was signed on for two more films, including a stand-alone Wonder Woman movie. That film (described as being “75 years in the making”) was recently released, and broke records for the largest opening weekend for a film directed by, and starring, a woman. It has raked in an impressive $450 million so far. The film has received marvelous reviews – already ranked among the greatest comic book movies of all time – mainly for Gadot’s performance, described as being inspiring and “electric”. Gadot has been credited with saving the DC Universe of films. (Amazingly, she was pregnant with her second daughter while filming Wonder Woman, yet still trained around the clock and did her own stunts.) Gadot has been praised for her unrelenting pro-Israel stance, her unfazed response to ceaseless criticism, anti-Semitism, and sexual harassment (even her role as the UN’s Honourary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls was protested heavily), for being down-to-earth and keeping it simple (she appeared at the LA premiere in $50 flats from Aldo), and sticking to Jewish traditions over the years despite the fame and fortune. Gadot has entranced much of the world, particularly at home in Israel, where she has been called a “national treasure”, and surprisingly in China, where she has been awarded China’s “Most Popular Hollywood Actress.” Gadot will reprise her role as Wonder Woman later this year in the forthcoming Justice League film.

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Words of the Week

In youth, one learns to talk; in maturity, one learns to be silent. This is man’s problem: that he learns to talk before he learns to be silent
– Rabbi Nachman of Breslav

Gal Gadot lights Shabbat candles with her daughter and stands up for Israel

Jew of the Week: Rabbi Marvin Hier

The Rabbi at Trump’s Inauguration

Rabbi Hier at Trump’s Inauguration

Moshe Chaim Hier (b. 1939) was born in New York to Polish-Jewish immigrants. At the age of 23, he was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi and moved to Vancouver where he soon took charge of its Congregation Schara Tzedeck. In 1977, Hier moved to Los Angeles and established the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a non-profit dedicated to “confronting antisemitism, hate and terrorism, promoting human rights and dignity, standing with Israel, defending the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.” The Simon Wiesenthal Center is now one of the most well-known Jewish organizations in the world, with offices in Toronto, Jerusalem, Paris, Buenos Aires, and across the US. Its Museum of Tolerance welcomes 350,000 visitors a year, and its library holds over 50,000 important volumes. Hier also established the Moriah Films company, which has produced over a dozen films focusing on Jewish history and the Holocaust. Two of these won Academy Awards for Best Documentary. This makes Hier the only rabbi to ever win an Oscar. He is also the only rabbi to be a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Meanwhile, Hier established Los Angeles’ Yeshiva University High Schools and was its dean for many years. He is currently working on a $200 million project to build a Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, to open next year, and producing his 16th film, about the life of Shimon Peres. Most recently, Rabbi Hier gave a blessing at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. This made him only the second Jewish religious leader in history to speak at a presidential inauguration, and the first Orthodox rabbi to ever do so. He has been ranked as the most influential rabbi in America, and was once described as being “one phone call away from almost every world leader, journalist, and Hollywood studio head.”

Rabbi Hier Explains Why He Prayed at Trump’s Inauguration

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Scientists Usher in the Beginning of a Whole New Life Form

The Jewish Perspective on Magic and Witchcraft

Words of the Week

The bond that has united the Jews for thousands of years and that unites them today is, above all, the democratic ideal of social justice coupled with the ideal of mutual aid and tolerance among all men.
– Albert Einstein