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SJ Super 7

by: Leslie Bunder and Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2004-08-27



The seven most amazing things you will discover in Jewish life and culture. 

This week: Sacha Baron Cohen causes a sensation on the small screen, Jews get tattoos in a new documentary, Israeli rockers Izabo head for the UK, and Israel makes its mark on the Olympics

1 Sensational Sacha: SJ's favourite Habonim old boy Sacha Baron Cohen truly surpassed himself on his new show Borat's Television Programme. Every episode of the programme, in which Cohen stars as Kazakhstani TV presenter Borat, is filled with Jewish references. Despite offending a few people including America's Anti-Defamation League, Jews and non-Jews appreciate the irony of the character, who is getting bigots to reveal their prejudices. Highlights include Cohen's rousing rendition of a country and western song entitled Throw The Jew Down The Well, as well as a look at a game hunter, when asked by Cohen whether it was OK to shoot Jews in America. Well done Mr Cohen – you are a true mensch.

2. Friend of Something Jewish: funnyman Jeff Garlin, co-star of the superb US comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm (which is soon to be shown on E4), spoke exclusively to SJ last week, and even told us his favourite Jewish joke: A Frenchman, an Irishman and a Jewish man were crossing the desert.

The Frenchman says "I'm so tired and thirsty, I must have some wine."
The Irishman says, "I'm so tired and thirsty, I must have some beer."
The Jewish man says, "I'm so tired and thirsty, I must have diabetes."

Watch out for the full interview on the site in October.

3. Israelis who rock: Israeli music isn't just about middle-of-the-road falsetto singers at Eurovision – nor are they all transsexuals. There is a booming underground scene – and one of the country's up and coming bands is Izabo. This four-piece release their debut single, Morning Hero, in the UK next week and if you're in London you can catch them at the Camden Barfly on August 30.

4. Rebbe re-name: Fancy getting yourself a full-on frum name? Fed-up with plain old George Cohen or Jane Goldberg? Help is at hand. New York-based Jewish comedy site Bang It Out now offers the Chasidic Rebbe Name Generator – just type in your first and last names and within seconds you'll be blessed with a frum name. While historically Rebbes are men, the generator also works for women – as SJ writer Caroline Westbrook, aka Reb Menachem Mendel Alexndr Westbrook of Pinsk.

5. The next big Jewish film: First it was Kosher Sex, then it was The Hebrew Hammer, now it's Tattoo Jew. A new American documentary is set to reveal why Jews are getting tattoos despite the traditional taboo of not having one. The film will show Jews with stars of David on their bodies as well as more elaborate symbols of their Jewish identity. You can find out more at the website:

6. Gal gets gold:  Israel has won its first ever gold medal in the Olympic Games, courtesy of windsurfer Gal Fridman, who beat Greece and Great Britain into second and third place. Prior to Fridman's victory, Israel had only won four medals – one silver and three bronze - since first entering the Olympics in 1952.

7. Spitz returns: Speaking of the Olympics, SJ spotted Mark Spitz taking part in BBC One's coverage of the games on Thursday night. Spitz is of course the legendary athlete who won seven medals in the swimming at the 1972 Munich Olympics – and he's looking in good shape (although his trademark Tom Selleck-style moustache is long gone).