Friday Five: Edan Pinchot, Max Fried, Ashley Biden, Alan Dershowitz, Bil Pascrell



Edan Pinchot shows he’s ‘got talent’

At the "America’s Got Talent" auditions that aired this week, 13-year-old Edan Pinchot made judges swoon with his heartfelt cover of OneRepublic’s "Good Life." For many Jewish viewers, though, it was undoubtedly his yarmulke that stood out. Last year, the young vocalist and keyboard player was touted by NCSY as "the Jewish Justin Bieber" after the organization tapped him to cover The Beatles’ "Imagine" in a YouTube video. (That performance got Pinchot noticed by Howard Stern even before the shock jock became a "Talent" judge.) Given the recent photos of a bare-headed Matisyahu, is Pinchot now a contender to be America’s next kipah-wearing musical sensation?

Max Fried wows Padres

The San Diego Padres no doubt hope that Max Fried, their No. 1 pick in Monday’s Major League Baseball draft, will be like his hero, Sandy Koufax. The 18-year-old lefty pitcher chosen seventh overall throws a curveball modeled after the iconic Dodgers’ southpaw and wore his No. 32 while pitching for Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. Fried was a member of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 18th World Maccabiah Juniors in Israel three years ago. "Being a Southern California boy and being drafted by a Southern California organization, there’s no better place I’d rather be, especially with it being a pitchers’ park," Fried said, referring to the Padres’ home field. (Maybe someday he’ll be part of an all-Jewish battery with Max Ungar, a 17-year-old catcher from Maryland’s Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School who was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 36th round.)

Ashley Biden weds a Jewish doc

Joe Biden’s family is taking Jewish outreach to a new level. The vice president’s daughter, Ashley Biden, 31, married Howard Krein, a 45-year-old Jewish doctor on Saturday. A Catholic priest officiated at the church wedding with a rabbi assisting. And yes, at the party afterward, there was a hora. Ashley Biden isn’t the first daughter of a sitting vice president to marry a Jew (the last Democrat to hold the office, Al Gore, saw his daughter Karenna marry Andrew Schiff in 1997), and she isn’t even the first Biden to marry a Jew: Her brother Beau, Delaware’s attorney general, is married to the former Hallie Berger.

Alan Dershowitz says ‘Freeze!’

Alan Dershowitz is well known for taking to task J Street and others whom he thinks go too far with their criticisms of Israel. Now, however, the famed Harvard law professor is aligning himself with a key Palestinian demand: In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, Dershowitz urged Israel to offer to implement an “absolute building freeze” in its West Bank settlements once the Palestinians return to the negotiating table. Dershowitz wrote that when an Israeli official expressed skepticism about the idea, “I reminded him that Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that Israel is prepared to make ‘painful compromises’ in the interests of peace.” The article even drew some praise from outspoken settlement critic Peter Beinart, whom Dershowitz had previously scolded.

Bill Pascrell beats Rothman, faces rabbi

Rep. Steve Rothman may be held in high esteem by pro-Israel activists, but Democratic voters in New Jersey’s newly redrawn 9th Congressional District brought him low. In a bitter redistricting-induced primary, Rothman got clobbered by Democratic colleague Rep. Bill Pascrell, who prevailed Tuesday by a margin of more than 22 percentage points. While many pro-Israel activists rallied around Rothman, Pascrell enjoyed strong support in the district’s large Arab community. Middle East issues proved divisive, with some Israel advocates angry at Pascrell for not condemning a supporter’s Op-Ed that accused Rothman backers of “loyalty to a foreign flag.” Pascrell, who has maintained that he is also a supporter of Israel, now faces Republican nominee and “Kosher Sex” author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. From the sidelines, Boteach had lobbed occasional barbs at Rothman while offering to mediate between the two battling Democrats, calling their fight “a modern-day version of Cain and Abel.”

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