Michelle Chamuel is rocking The Voice. Plus what former child star Mara Wilson has to say about Amanda Bynes (and other child stars who run into trouble).Go To Pop Culture
Do you remember Steve Urkel, the nerd character on Family Matters in the 1990s? I always liked Jaleel White, the actor who played Urkel. I like him even more in his new role in the web TV series Road to the Altar. White plays the very attractive Simon Fox, who is engaged to Rachelle Shapiro (Leyna Juliet Weber), a Jewish girl from Brooklyn. To complicate things further, though Rachelle is not Orthodox, her family is. Yes, they are portraying an interfaith couple planning a wedding! If they were a real couple, I would refer them to the weddings page.
Even in the teasers and excerpts posted to Youtube.com, there’s been attention to issues of cultural difference. For example, in this scene, Simon has to figure out how to respond to Rachelle’s Orthodox cousin’s modesty when they’re shopping for bridesmaids’ dresses:
This web series looks entertaining. Perhaps Rachelle’s character is a little stereotypical–in the clips online now she’s a bit of a princess–but perhaps she’s more fleshed out in the full episodes. I hope so. Certainly her over-the-top persona contrasts well with Simon’s straight-laced rational character, who reminded me of Ross Geller, the nerdy Jewish paleontologist from Friends.
The show is filmed to look like a reality series. It’s a great gimmick for showing the emotional road to a wedding and the issues involved with an interfaith wedding. I look forward to seeing this show unfold. I’m already curious about how their ceremony and party turn out!
June is LGBT Pride Month in the United States. It couldn’t come at a better time.
Last week on Tuesday we got the bad news that the Supreme Court of California had ruled to uphold the legality of Proposition 8, the statewide referendum against same-sex marriage. I live in Massachusetts, one of the five states that has same-sex marriage, so I have lots of reasons to think it’s a good thing.
The ruling actually had the seeds of hope in it. It said that people who got married between the California Supreme Court court case that declared same-sex marriage legal, and the passage of Prop 8, were still married. Why? Because Prop 8 is a change in the law. Unless someone introduces a specific, discriminatory clause into the constitution, civil marriage is not limited to opposite sex couples. Continue reading
Nearly three years ago I moved to St. Louis. A friend of ours insisted that we join a local synagogue with a rabbi he described as the most thoughtful and knowledgeable he had ever met. It sounded like a plan–the synagogue was a quick walk from our home. The next day was Shavuot, when we celebrate revelation, and I was eager to see why my friend was so enthusiastic. I was shocked. There were Jews from every denomination attending classes taught by rabbis and teachers from every denomination. (This is really unusual in an Orthodox synagogue.)
Over the next two years, I got to know the synagogue’s rabbi, Hyim Shafner, who insisted I call him Hyim and not rabbi, which is also unusual. I was always struck by his spirituality and how he helped everyone who walked into Bais Abe to connect with their Judaism and spirituality. He just concentrated on helping those around him and developing a community of like-minded individuals. He never judged and I rarely saw him criticize. He is also a great counselor.
Rabbi Shafner just finished writing The Everything Jewish Wedding Book . A wedding blogger who reviewed the book interviews Hyim about intermarriage in the context of being an Orthodox rabbi. When asked how he feels about interfaith weddings, Rabbi Shafner puts interfaith weddings into both a historical and spiritual context:
Rabbi Shafner is certainly not advocating interdating or intermarriage, but does not discount the impact a wedding can have on one’s spirituality and connection to their heritage.
As a ravenous consumer of film (insert shameless plug here), I make it a point to see as many of the Oscar contenders before the show as I can. Given that the Oscars are in less than three weeks–and nominations only came out a week-and-a-half ago–I’m in a bit of a film frenzy. Last night, I saw Rachel Getting Married.
Rachel Getting Married is about a recovering addict/bulimic/human grenade, Kim (Anne Hathaway), who is released from rehab for a few days to attend her sister Rachel’s (Blake DeWitt) wedding. Kim is a narcissistic mess of a human being who proves that the only person more tiresome than an addict is a recovering addict.
But this post isn’t about Kim. It’s about Rachel and her husband, Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe), and their cross-cultural mishmash of a wedding.