Our annual Purim schpiel is all the news fit to spoof.
‘Hamilton’ Creator Writing New Musical
Nathan Laneberg | JE Staff
After creating the biggest hit Broadway has seen in years with the rap musical Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda has set his sights on another key figure in American history: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Miranda has been hard at work writing the book and the score of the new musical, aptly titled Ginsburg, which is set to open in New York in 2018.
The story will follow the life of a young justice-to-be as she grows up in a low-income family in Brooklyn, going from working in a garment factory to becoming a Supreme Court justice — or, as Ginsburg likes to tell it, going on tour with The Supremes, a 9-person musical group.
“Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a key leader in the history of the American justice system,” said Miranda. “And I am not throwing away my shot to give her life the musical adaptation it deserves.”
Casting notices have only just gone up on backstage.com, with auditions coming up in Philadelphia in the coming weeks.
Miranda is continuing to tweak the storyline and songs in the meantime.
“My original idea was to create a musical using the influence of Biggie Smalls,” he said, referencing the fact that Ginsburg is often referred to as the “Notorious R.B.G.” — modeled after the late rapper, Biggie Smalls, who was more commonly known as Notorious B.I.G. “But I realized ‘Mo Laws, Mo Problems’ didn’t have the same ring to it.”
An early, glowing review of the soundtrack from Rolling Stone said, “You won’t dissent from this album.”
MTV to Debut New Show, ‘My Super Sweet Bar Mitzvah’
Carson Dalystein | JE Staff
After an eight-year hiatus, MTV is bringing back one of its Top 10 worst reality shows in a new light: My Super Sweet Bar Mitzvah. The original My Super Sweet 16 documented the extravagant lives of the rich and famous, but, you know, for kids instead of adults.
The spoiled 16-year-olds were known to receive new cars, blocks of pure gold and an array of rappers for reaching this milestone.
Now, MTV is hoping to expand its audience more to the generation that communicates mainly through Snapchat: 13-year-olds.
Similar to My Super Sweet 16, My Super Sweet Bar Mitzvah will show the ins and outs of party planning through the eyes of parents, who are afraid to discipline their children, and of children, who mainly signed up for this adulthood gig solely for the party.
MTV released a teaser video last week, which showed a 13-year-old Rebecca Schwartz screaming at her mother, “This isn’t Gucci!” as she rips the knock-off designer dress into shreds, while her mother tries in vain to stanch the flow of her tears.
This new series is sure to answer to question: Why do we waste such epic parties on children?
E! News also reports that there have been rumors that some of the My Super Sweet Bar Mitzvah moms who were featured will get their own Bravo spinoff: The Real JAPs of Great Neck.
Pew Study Shows Jews Complain More Than the Average Human
Ethel Beavers | JE Staff
The Pew Research Center has released a new Jew review, titled “Jews Kvetch More Than Most Americans.”
The study explores and quantifies the kvetching rate of different sects of Judaism and the lasting effects of said behavior.
Of the Jews polled, 73 percent said they complain to a spouse or relative more than twice a day via phone, email or in person.
In comparison, only 27 percent of non-Jews polled said they remonstrate that frequently. As a follow-up, many of them asked, “How is this research?”
Additionally, 83 percent of people who said their parents complained about their livelihoods at least once a day experienced psychological damage in adulthood, while the other 17 percent converted.
The study added that additional kvetching may lead to or cause children to put their parents in early retirement homes, high blood pressure, many grandchildren or shiksas.
After its release, most Jewish readers found the six-page survey too long, so they stopped reading this fakakta.
Make America Jewish Again!
Aaron Altman | JE Feature
In a surprising turn of events, Republican billionaire Donald Trump announced he is in the process of converting to Judaism. Trump, who is leading in the race to become the Republican nominee for president, realized he needed to do something significant, or in his words, “Something really, really great” to turn the Jewish vote in his favor.
In the inclusive spirit of Diaspora Jews, the billionaire is inviting Jews from all backgrounds. “Whether you are a black hat from Borough Park, N.Y., a hipster from San Francisco or an executive from Lower Merion, everyone should come,” the candidate exhorted. His conversion ceremony will take place April 20 at the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue in New York City with thousands of guests on hand, including neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
“We will not only make America great again, but make America Jewish again,” Trump exclaimed. “L’chaim.”
Philly Teams to Institute Jewish Minimum
Gil Thorp | JE Feature
“You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews…”
If it’s good enough for Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway, it’s good enough for Philadelphia, owners of Philadelphia’s four professional teams have unanimously agreed. As a result, the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and Sixers — all of whom have struggled this season and in previous years — have decided to keep at least one Jewish player on their teams at all times.
“We haven’t had one since Larry Zeidel,” said longtime Flyers owner Ed Snider, who, like the Eagles’ Jeffrey Lurie and Sixers’ Josh Harris, is Jewish. “We won our division that first year when he played for us, then won back-to-back Stanley Cups a few years after that. I think his physical style helps set the bar for our team. We need another guy like him now, because it’s been a long time since we won anything.”
The team that shares the building with them, the Sixers, recently retired the jersey of their first coach and Jewish superstar, the late Dolph Schayes, even though it might be fair to say some of their current players show no life on the court, either. Harris, who’s remained patient while the franchise has plummeted to the depths of the NBA and become the laughingstock of the league, thinks bringing in Jewish players can’t help but improve the situation.
“There are no Ernie Grunfelds, Neal Walks or Jordan Farmars walking through that door,” said Harris, who was surprised to learn franchise icon, Julius “Doctor J” Erving, was not Jewish. “But I’m confident if we can find somebody — even if it’s to sit on the bench and encourage Joel Embiid while he’s recovering from his latest surgery — we’ll be a better team. Besides, if you look at our roster, how can we get any worse? And think what it will mean for our fans! We can have ‘Jewish Heritage Night’ every month. We might even do it during the week, so if they’re keeping kosher, they don’t have to wait until halftime to eat.”
Being sold out for the next 10 seasons, Lurie seemed less concerned about appeasing the fan base. But he agreed having a Jew in the locker room could really make the Eagles fly. “We had Jay Fiedler from Dartmouth as our third-string quarterback when Normal Braman owned the team,” recalled Lurie, no relation to Jacques Lurie. “He was really smart and used to help Randall Cunningham understand the plays, even though he never got in a game.
“Now that Chip Kelly is gone and we’ll be running a normal offense under Doug Pederson, we need someone like him again.”
As for what the Phillies need, majority owner John Middleton isn’t quite sure. But with Ruben Amaro, Jr. — whose mother was Jewish — gone, he’s willing to go along with the crowd.
“There’s nobody in our organization right now like a Ryan Braun or Ian Kinsler,” conceded Middleton, whose club did briefly have middle reliever Michael Schwimmer a few years back and drafted righthander Kenny Koplove in the 17th round last June. “But we’re hopeful we can bring somebody along or else trade Ryan Howard to get ourselves a nice Jewish guy.”
As part of their new Jew promotion, all four owners agreed to “cut” ticket prices 20 percent for anyone who can provide proof of circumcision.
New Witness Protection Program in Northeast
Hedda Hopper | JE Feature
Government officials refused to confirm reports that Northeast Philadelphia, historically focal point for Jewish life in the city, has been established as a safe harbor for its Witness Protection unit. According to sources, though, the neighborhood, which has seen a decline in its Jewish population in recent years, has all the necessary attributes to shield Jewish individuals who’ve cooperated in bringing down corrupt businessmen and other lawbreakers.
“They were looking for a place where someone could move in without generating suspicion,” said one source, a highly placed official in a Jewish agency. “What could be better than the Northeast? There’s plenty of space for someone to open up a business, especially if they’re Jewish. Since many Jews have since left the area, there’s little chance someone will recognize them. My only suggestion is, they should join a synagogue outside the area, like everyone else. Then nobody will even know they’re here — unless they refuse to make a pledge.”
The Jewish exodus from the Northeast, which once comprised the vast majority of the community, has been steadily rising since the early 1990s. While small pockets of Jews remain scattered throughout the area, it’s become heavily assimilated.
“With all the Asian, Hispanic, Indian and African Americans who’ve settled in the area, it won’t draw any attention when someone new moves in — even if they’re Jewish,” said another source from one of the synagogues that merged with a suburban congregation. “And if they have kids, they can just say, ‘We wanted to move to the Northeast because we heard the Philadelphia school system is the best.’ ”
The Northeast phase of the program is expected to begin to get underway around Passover.