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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2005-01-18

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: Celebrity Big Brother’s Jewish connections, BBC2’s powerful new Holocaust documentary, Natalie Portman strikes gold at the Globes, and The Yes Men – coming soon to a cinema near you.

1. Caprice’s Beautiful ambition: one thing supermodel Caprice has said she wants to do when she leaves the Big Brother house is to buy a copy of the Oscar-winning film Life Is Beautiful. During a late-night discussion on the Channel Four reality show, the Californian kosher cutie revealed she had not seen the film, which stars Italian comedian Roberto Benigni as a Jewish waiter who is sent to a concentration camp with his young son. Fellow Big Brother housemate Brigitte Nielsen explained what the film was about to Caprice.


2. Is she or isn’t she? While most of the world was fixated by Jacqueline Stallone’s enhanced lips during her stay in the Big Brother house, what SJ was more obsessed with was her Jewish connections. It seems that Sylvester Stallone’s mum was told by the KGB that she is somewhat connected to the tribe. Her grandmother, Rosa Rabinovich, used to live in Odessa – and as we all know, Rabinovich is a very Jewish name. Jackie gave a further clue to her origins when she was evicted from the house, shouting what sounded like ‘Mazeltov’ on her departure – and as eager readers should know, it’s a common Jewish trait to say Mazeltov as a passing put-me-down.


3. Song Prince Harry should listen to: after the outcry over Prince Harry’s gaffe at a fancy dress party (in which he showed up in a Nazi costume), we suggest he listen to Dan Bern’s My Little Swastika to learn a little bit about history. The song explains all about the history of the swastika and why now is the time to claim it back. Maybe Harry was only trying to ‘claim it back’ himself on behalf of all those who were persecuted by the Nazi regime.


4. Well done BBC: for the new documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis & The Final Solution. This six-part series, currently showing on Tuesday nights on BBC2, explores the development of Auschwitz through of a mix of documentary footage and dramatisation. It’s a powerful and fascinating look at this tragic time in history.


5. Turning water into profit: Another documentary on BBC2 last week looked at the Kabbalah Centre and its various money-making schemes. Investigative journalist John Sweeney featured undercover footage, filmed at the London Kabbalah Centre in which its leaders claimed that the Jews who died during World War II did so because they didn’t bring Kabbalah into their lives. They also said that drinking special Kabbalah water could cure illnesses. Sweeney also followed members of the centre on a Rosh Hashanah trip to Israel and tried – and failed – to get an interview with Madonna. As interesting as it was, it didn’t seem to provide much of an insight into The Kabbalah Centre other than to show it taking money from people.


6. Portman triumphs: kosher cutie Natalie Portman has scooped her first major film award. The 23-year-old won Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood on Sunday for her role in the dark comedy Closer, and is now hotly tipped to repeat her success at the Oscars next month. And just hours after her Globe victory, Portman landed another Best Supporting Actress nomination for the role – this time at the British Academy Film Awards (Baftas). Those gongs’ll be handed out on February 12, so expect to see Nat strutting the red carpet in London’s West End.


7. Say Yes to The Yes Men: SJ’s favourite new documentary film is The Yes Men, which follows the adventures of Jewish twosome Mike Bonano and Andy Bichlbaum. The pair achieved notoriety after setting up a website which pretended to be that of the World Trade Organization, and before long they found themselves being invited to speak at conferences all over the world, as representatives of the organisation. What follows is both fascinating and hysterically funny, as Mike and Andy manage to dupe audiences worldwide with a string of increasingly ludicrous lectures and TV appearances. Find out more at: - and check out the film when it opens in UK cinemas on February 18.