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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-11-18

Rachel Stevens

Rachel Stevens

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: Hebrew Hammer arrives on DVD, Rachel Stevens joins the Band Aid line-up, Al Pacino plays Shakespeare’s most famous Jewish character and the man who isn’t the lead singer of Maroon 5.

1. Hammer’s on DVD: One of the funniest Jewish themed films of recent years, The Hebrew Hammer, has just made its debut on DVD. The film stars Saving Private Ryan’s Adam Goldberg as the title character, aka cool crime-fighter Mordechai Jefferson Carver, who has a big job on his hands when he has to rescue Chanukah from the evil son of Santa Claus. The DVD, meanwhile, boasts such treats as a commentary from Goldberg and the film’s director Jonathan Kesselman – as well as Kesselman’s mum. Sadly, there’s still no word on when it’s likely to be released in the UK – but if you have a multi-region DVD player than you can order a copy from the US – and see what all the fuss is about.


2. Producers triumph: It’s been on the London stage for less than a month, but already Mel Brooks’ hit musical The Producers has received its first award nomination. The show, currently starring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, has been shortlisted for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, competing against Sweeney Todd and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. The winners will be revealed on December 13.


3. Rachel does her bit: Semitic songstress Rachel Stevens is among those featured on the new Band Aid single, which was recorded last weekend. As well as singing on the track, the former S Clubber can also be heard playing the maracas. The single’s out on November 29, with proceeds going to food aid in Darfur, Sudan.


4. Maroon mix-up: One of SJ’s favourite new websites is, set up by a disgruntled Californian who has the same name as the Jewish lead singer of West Coast rockers Maroon 5. The site features a whole string of emails and phone messages that Levine has received from Maroon 5 fans thinking he is actually his more famous namesake – and it’s well worth a look.


5. Israel’s victory: The Israeli football team is one step closer to making the 2006 World Cup finals after beating Cyprus 2-1 in their qualifying match. The squad are now tied with France and Ireland on eight points, at the top of their group. “I cannot believe we have eight points,” said Israeli coach Avraham Grant. “Nobody gave us much of a chance but we proved we have the determination and the ability to keep up with the teams in the group.”


6. Celebratory music: fans of Jewish music should check out the Celebrate Series, a set of compilation CDs focusing on various different musical genres. The brainchild of musician Craig Taubman, highlights of the series include Celebrate Klezmer, featuring the likes of The Klezmatics and Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, and Celebrate Hip-Hop, featuring Jewish rap from all over the world. Find out more at:


7. Pacino does Shakespeare: A new film version of Shakespeare’s classic The Merchant of Venice is winging its way to a cinema near you. The film stars Al Pacino as the Jewish money-lender Shylock – who utters the famous line “If you prick us, do we not bleed?” – as well as Joseph Fiennes and Jeremy Irons, and Jewish actor Allan Corduner (best known for the Mike Leigh film Topsy-Turvy). It’s out in the UK from December 3.