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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-03-05

Shabot 6000

Shabot 6000

The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture.  This week: reality TV gets a Jewish flavour, Natalie Portman visits a North London shul and ShaBot 6000 makes his mark on Something Jewish.


1. Reality bites: ITV1’s latest reality TV show, Melting Pot, sees a bunch of people from different ethnic background living together in order to learn from each other and discover how tolerant – or intolerant – they are of different faiths and cultures. One of those in the house is Mancunian Jew Clare Hedwat, who made her mark quickly by saying she would have to kosher the kitchen – and then abandoning the idea and deciding to live on ‘cold food’ instead. Er, couldn’t she just have bought a microwave and used that? Still, it’s refreshing for a show of this sort to feature a Jewish person, and for that reason alone it gets our seal of approval.


2. Finest Crystal: funnyman Billy Crystal returned to the Oscars this week, hosting the glitzy ceremony for the eighth time – and proved once again why he’s the best person for the job. Highlights included an opening montage of movie clips (with Crystal popping up in some unexpected places) and the return of his ‘Best Picture nominees in song’ section – in which he declared Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River to be ‘as dark and murky as mom’s chopped liver’. Inspired stuff.


3. Hooray for Hamentaschen: Purim is fast approaching which of course means it’s time to take advantage of one of the best festival foods ever invented. The humble hamentaschen has come a long way over the years; now the triangular pastry comes filled with prunes, chocolate, jam and even halva as well as the traditional poppy seeds. Grab them while you can – they’re only in the shops once a year.


4. Rappin’ Rabbi: one of the oddest websites we’ve seen in a long time, Rabbi Phunkiewsky’s School Of New Communication (devised by some folks in Finland) allows you to indulge in a spot of Hasidic hip-hop, courtesy of a dancing cartoon Rabbi and some strange cartoons. Not quite sure what the point is, exactly, but it’s certainly good fun. Check it out at:


5. Cartoon crazy: new to Something Jewish is ShaBot 6000, a comic strip about an Orthodox Jew who buys a robot to act as his ‘Shabbos Goy’ – only for the new arrival to decide he is actually Jewish. Find out more at: or take a look for yourself at SJ Cartoons


6. Film star fundraiser: Actress Natalie Portman has helped Israel’s OneFamily charity raise more than £100,000 for the survivors of suicide bombings, at an event in North London. Portman, who was born in Israel, told a 200-strong audience at Hampstead Garden Suburb synagogue that she became involved with the charity after one of her cousins was hurt in a bombing incident.


7. Sacha’s getting hitched: comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, aka Ali G, is set to marry his girlfriend Isla Fisher, following her conversion to Judaism.  The former Home And Away star said: “I would do anything, move into any religion – to be united in marriage with him.” Fisher has apparently spent a lot of time studying Hebrew texts in her bid to become Jewish – although whether she has yet perfected the art of making chicken soup remains a mystery.