For Learning. For Leading. For Jewish Life.

Tony Award-winner Ben Platt’s journey from Camp Ramah to Broadway

Posted on June 19th, 2017
BY RENEE GHERT-ZAND for The Times of Israel    


‘Dear Evan Hansen’ star credits Conservative Judaism’s camping movement with helping him ‘decide for myself what kind of Jew I would be’


Ben Platt‘s Tony Award for best actor in a leading role in a musical on June 11 probably outstrips winning at color war at Camp Ramah in California. But those victories rank a close second for the openly and actively Jewish 23-year-old star of Broadway’s “Dear Evan Hansen.”

“Winning color war with the Adom (Red) Team was one of the biggest accomplishments of my whole life… I led Adom to Maccabiah victory… I’m proud of it, so I’m not going to stop talking about it,” Platt said in an interview at an April 2015 Camp Ramah alumni event in New York.

Platt, who grew up in Los Angeles, has performed professionally from age nine, with successes in films such as “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2,” and on stage in blockbuster shows like “The Book of Mormon.” However, it was his summers at the Jewish summer camp in Ojai, California, through his teen years that in many ways made him the person he is today.

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14 things you didn’t know about Gal Gadot

Posted on June 12th, 2017
By Nicky Blackburn for Israel21c


1. In Hebrew, Gal Gadot’s first name means “wave” and her surname means “riverbanks.”

2. Gal Gadot was born in Rosh Ha’ayin, and her maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

3. At the age of 18, Gadot won the Miss Israel beauty pageant. She then went on to compete in Miss Universe in 2004, but was so reluctant to win that she turned up late for events, wore the wrong kind of evening wear, and even pretended that she couldn’t speak English.

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Film Premieres Just In Time For 50th Anniversary Of Six Day War

Posted on June 5th, 2017

By Jerry Bowyer for Forbes


Today is a big day for Jerusalem. On the heels of his visit to Saudi Arabia, delivering perhaps the most honest and challenging speech an American president has ever given in the Middle East, President Trump goes to Jerusalem. And during the whole trip, his wife and daughter appear in public without headscarves. Rumors swirl about whether Trump will announce, or at least hint at US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And all of this happens as we approach the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem's 'Old City' district during the Six Day War.

And right on cue, CBN releases a fascinating new film, In Our Hands, which presents the re-taking of Jerusalem in a docudrama form. The film goes to great effort for the sake of authenticity and accuracy, with dialogue based on actual news reels, letters and diary entries. The film was also compared to Michael Oren's authoritative history of the war for the purposes of accuracy.

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Behind the scenes with the cast and crew of ‘Genius' about Albert Einstein

Posted on May 29th, 2017
by Gerri Miller for FromtheGrapevine


New National Geographic miniseries reveals the story of the man often called the world's first international celebrity.


Known worldwide for his theory of relativity and the equation E = mc2, Albert Einstein is arguably the most famous scientist in history – and with his wild halo of hair, the most recognizable. But beyond the brilliant mind and distinctive mane, most people don’t know that much about him. That’s about to change with the premiere of “Genius,” a 10-part series that chronicles his scientific accomplishments but also paints a very personal portrait of a passionate man.

Based on Walter Isaacson’s critically acclaimed book “Einstein: His Life and Universe” and premiering April 25, “Genius” is National Geographic Channel’s first scripted series. It features A-list talent behind the scenes, with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard as executive producers (Howard also directed the first episode) and Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush (“Shine”) sharing the role with Johnny Flynn as the young Einstein.

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QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About Israeli Cinema?

Posted on May 22nd, 2017
By Samantha Quint for The Forward


Arguably some of Israel’s greatest exports over the years have been outstanding films. Test your knowledge and discover new tidbits about Israeli cinema!

Take the Quiz!

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