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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-02-05

Richard Curtis and Emma Thompson

Richard Curtis and Emma Thompson

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: Richard Curtis scoops a threesome, Bris goes hi-tech, and Uncle Moishy comes to town.

1 Richard rules the Empire: It was a good night for SJ’s favourite Jewish writer-turned-director Richard Curtis at this year’s Empire Awards, voted for by the readers of the best-selling movie magazine. His comedy hit Love Actually nabbed a trio of trophies, including Best Newcomer for Martine McCutcheon, Best British Actress for Emma Thompson and Best British Film (accepted by the man himself). That gave it  the same number of awards as the night’s other big winner, Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. Which probably had some Jewish people in it as well. So congrats to everybody!


2. Chasidic hero: Orthodox children’s entertainer Uncle Moishy has been wowing the pint-sized crowds at a seven-gig UK tour that included shows in London and Manchester. The American-born performer, real name Moshe Tannenbaum, has been keeping kids happy with his poems, songs and videos for the past 20 years – and is loved by grown-ups as much as children.


3. Broadband bris: A couple from Leeds who were unable to fly to Sydney for their new grandson’s circumcision didn’t miss out – as they watched the entire ceremony on a webcam. Joan and Mike Stevens said they “really felt as they were there,” while Rabbi Benzion Maleki, who conducted the service, said it was Australia’s first ‘bris-cam’.


4. Funniest Jews on screen: BBC1’s Film 2004 has shown the first UK trailer for the film version of Starsky and Hutch, in which Ben Stiller takes over where Paul Michael Glaser left off. If the preview is anything to go by, it looks as though the film’s biggest laughs will come from Vince Vaughn as Jewish bad guy Reese Feldman – although Stiller’s curly perm and chunky cardie should raise a few smiles too. It’s out in the UK on March 19.


5. Mellor gets honoured: Kay Mellor, creator of the hit ITV1 show Fat Friends, has won this year’s Jewish Care Woman Of Distinction award. Mellor, who received the prize at a special ceremony in Central London, said “All I can tell you, I have the best job in the world: telling stories. And I was born with that.”


6. Fleischer flies in: Former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was the speaker at the UJIA annual dinner in London, where he had the chance to set the record straight about George W Bush’s stance on Israel. “I never heard Mr Bush say anything about religion having an influence on public policy,” he told guests at the dinner, pointing out that Mr Bush’s support for Israel was based on “shared values”.


7. Healthiest: this week it was Tu’Beshvat, the new year for trees. The first festival since Chanukah, it provides an excuse to scoff as much fruit as possible (15 different types is traditional) – and unlike the calorific Chanukah and its doughnuts, it’s a chance to stuff yourself with healthy food. Still, not long to go till Purim and all those Hamentaschen.