Yesterday we told you about actress Maya Rubin supplying the Hebrew in Will.i.am’s pro-Obama’s montage of celebrities singing the mantra “Yes We Can,” lifted from one of the Illinois senator’s speech. Well, here’s a brief interview and some more information about the 20-something brunette (yes, I know her real age, but she hedged enough when I asked her about it that I’ll keep it secret)…
She was born in Jerusalem and moved to the States to pursue her career in 1998 – after serving in the Israeli army. Not exactly a household name, Rubin starred in a Showtime movie Milk and Honey and has guest starring spots on CSI:NY, as well as several commercials.
Rubin told me in a phone interview (definitely the highlight of my day) that she became involved with the video after recently meeting Will.i.am, the lead member of the Black Eyed Peas, and the video’s producer and director, who I believe was one of Bob Dylan’s sons. She told them she was interested and pitched them on letting her in based on her work on an unreleased Jewish rap album she cut with some friends called Chutzpah.
“I believe what he says, and think he is an inspiring politician,” Rubin said of Obama and her desire to be in the video. “He’s probably one of the most inspiring politicians that I have seen in my lifetime.”
Rubin also ranked Yitzhak Rabin up there, though said that she was probably too young to appreciate fully the warrior-turned-peacemaker.
Though Rubin, who gets back to Israel once a year or so, studied political science at Ramat Aviv University in Tel Aviv, she did admit that her knowledge of the other candidates in this election is a little thin, and that she is not fully steeped in Obama’s policies.
But, she trusts him on Israel based on what she has read from informative sheets she was given by Obama-ites. “It sounds like he is aware,” she said.
Rubin also said that she was aware of the e-mail campaigns falsely claiming that he is a closet Muslim who took his oath of office on the Koran and refuses to say the Pledge of Allegiance. She earned points with JTA by saying she had heard our podcast of Obama’s interview with the Jewish media in which he he denied those claims, stressing that he is a practicing Christian who took the oath on his family Bible and has been saying the pledge since he was a child.
Interestingly, it was not her decision to sing in Hebrew. That was Will.i.am’s call.
“People love it,” she says of her two Hebrew appearances in the video. “It was very subtle, which I think is even more cool.”
It is not clear if Will.i.am was playing to the Jews in an effort to counteract the e-mail campaign. Rubin thinks that it was to display inclusiveness. The video also features one actor singing the line in Spanish.
(JTA is still waiting to hear back from singer/songwriter’s publicist for a possible interview).
For sure, the video boasts its share of Jews. A couple of fairly well-known members of the tribe had prominent roles in he online vid – Scarlett Johannson (who I will not identify – if you don’t know her, get out of your hole, but please do not vote, that would be dangerous to all of us) and Bryan Greenberg, who starred in Prime, director Ben Younger’s follow up to Boiler Room.
And Will.i.am does give a shout out to another famous Jewish woman in his online explanation of why he made this video.
“No one on this planet is truly experienced to handle the obstacles we face today… Terror, fear, lies, agendas, politics, money, all the above… It’s all scary…” he writes. “Martin Luther King didn’t have experience to lead… Kennedy didn’t have experience to lead… Susan B. Anthony… Nelson Mandella… Rosa Parks… Gandhi… Anne Frank… and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today…”