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  • Al Franken learned about justice from his childhood rabbi

    (JTA) — In February 2015, Sen. Jim Inhofe carried a snowball to the floor of the Senate to prove global warming did not exist.Everyone knows “it is very, very cold outside,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “Unseasonable.” That, said Al Franken, gave him an idea. “I thought about coming into the chamber with a snowball and…

  • Carl Reiner, 95, dishes his secrets to longevity

    (JTA) — The first thing Carl Reiner does every morning is pick up the paper and read the obituary section to check if he’s named there. “If I’m not, I’ll have my breakfast”— or so he says in the charming and appropriately titled HBO documentary “If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast.” Then the…

  • How Liev Schreiber’s Jewish grandpa inspired him

    (JTA) — Liev Schreiber has trained as a boxer on and off for 18 years. He’s a fan of the sweet science and has played numerous tough guys on the screen —  notably the prizefighter Mischa in the concentration camp movie “Jakob the Liar” and, of course, as Ray Donovan, the enforcer on the eponymous…

  • Hank Azaria opens up about speaking Ladino and his latest TV role

    (JTA) — Actor Hank Azaria is known for his portrayal of an array of characters — most notably voicing Moe, Chief Wiggum and Apu on “The Simpsons.” While he may be best known for his work on the long-running animated classic, Azaria, of course, has had a successful career in TV and film, with roles…

  • A celebrity photographer trains his lens on Holocaust survivors

    (JTA) — Harry Borden is Britain’s Annie Leibovitz. Sort of. The American-born, U.K.-raised portrait photographer, 52, admits there “are some parallels” in their careers, though “obviously, I’m nowhere near as successful,” he told JTA. Still, Borden is England’s go-to photographer when a publication wants a celebrity portrait. Elton John, Paul McCartney, Ewan McGregor and, perhaps most famously,…

  • Richard Gere on channeling his ‘inner schlub’ in new movie

    (JTA) — Richard Gere is sexy, suave, tough. He’s been the star of a constellation of films, from “American Gigolo” to “Pretty Woman,” “An Officer and a Gentleman” to “Primal Fear.” At 67, the onetime People magazine Sexiest Man of the Year (1999) still has the looks and charm of a leading man. So what…

  • Jessica Biel discovers that she’s a little bit Jewish

    (JTA) — The celebrities who appear on genealogy shows are almost invariably in for a surprise, like a criminal in their family tree or a British royal in their web of relatives. Some, like Dustin Hoffman — who broke down in tears on “Finding Your Roots” last year — delve into their Jewish ancestry deeper than they…

  • Jessica Chastain on playing a Holocaust heroine in ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’

    (JTA) — Strong women are right in actor Jessica Chastain’s wheelhouse. There’s Maya, the fictional CIA agent in “Zero Dark Thirty,” whose work led Seal Team Six to Osama bin Laden; Melissa Lewis, the heroic mission commander who refuses to abandon a teammate in “The Martian,” and Elizabeth Sloan, the accept-no-prisoners Washington lobbyist who takes…

  • Try not to cry during this Oscar-nominated film about a Holocaust survivor and his violin

    (JTA) — Filmmaker Kahane Cooperman hasn’t written an Oscars acceptance speech yet, but she likely will before the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 28. Not to jinx things or appear overconfident, Cooperman told JTA in a telephone interview, but “on the chance it happens, for fear of leaving someone out.” Her film, “Joe’s Violin,” is up…

  • Josh Radnor, beyond ‘How I Met Your Mother’

    (JTA) — Josh Radnor is starring these days in Richard Greenberg’s off-Broadway play “The Babylon Line.” For the 42-year-old actor, it is the latest in a long and impressive list of credits. However, the odds are that no matter what else he accomplishes in life, for most people he will always be Ted Mosby, the…