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  • This 25-year-old Jewish guy plays SpongeBob on Broadway

    NEW YORK (JTA) — There’s a new star on Broadway and his name is — wait for it — SpongeBob SquarePants. “SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical” opened earlier this month to rapturous reviews. And no one collected higher praise than the title character, played by Ethan Slater, a graduate of Ramah summer camps. For those unfamiliar…

  • Jewish family learns they are related to Scarlett Johansson by watching PBS show

    (JTA) — Turns out you don’t actually have to be a guest on Henry Louis Gates’ PBS show “Finding Your Roots” to, well, find your roots. Gili Rozenfeld, 29, a video editor who lives in Tel Aviv, caught a glimpse of the episode that ran Tuesday on Israeli TV showing actress Scarlett Johansson tearing up…

  • Rob Reiner on Judaism, movies and his experience ‘home shuling’

    (JTA) — By his own admission, Rob Reiner was not the right person to direct “LBJ,” a film biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. “I had a lot of trepidation,” he said in a telephone interview with JTA. In addition to a successful career as an actor, Reiner is…

  • Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is lewd, crude — and really quite sweet

    (JTA) — “It was very peculiar,” said Gilbert Gottfried, 62, about becoming the subject of the aptly named bio-documentary, “Gilbert.” “The filmmaker, Neil Berkeley, came to me and said he’d always dreamed about making a Gilbert Gottfried documentary,” the comedian told JTA in a telephone interview. “I told him you should set your dreams higher.”…

  • Paul Rudd learns about his family history from a JTA article on ‘Finding Your Roots’

    (JTA) — Paul Rudd, in a forthcoming episode of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” learns about the anti-Semitism his grandfather endured in England in the wake of World War II. Just how does he learn of this information? Courtesy of a Jewish Telegraphic Agency news brief that was published in 1947. “The Hempstead, Edgware, Catford…

  • Josh Gad honors his Holocaust survivor grandparents with role in ‘Marshall’

    (JTA) — Actor Josh Gad may be best known for voicing Olaf in the animated Disney hit “Frozen” and originating the role of Elder Arnold Cunningham in the Tony Award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon.” He’s also been a correspondent for “The Daily Show,” co-starred with Billy Crystal in the short-lived Showtime series “The Comedians”…

  • This Jewish man was once New York’s toughest cop. Now he’s a TV star.

    (JTA) — There are almost as many reality cop shows on television as there are Real Housewives. “Cops” is the granddaddy of them all, in its 30th season, plus there’s “Night Watch” and “Live PD,” to name just a few. The newest is “Street Justice: The Bronx,” which premieres Sept. 19 on the Discovery Channel….

  • 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…