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Hollywood Now: Jack Black’s New Series, Baby News & Body Painting

Jack Black
Jack Black. Credit: Merie W. Wallace/HBO

For a self-described “creature of politics” like Jack Black, The Brink was just too good to pass up. A dark comedy about foreign policy, incompetent diplomats and events that could launch World War III, the HBO series, premiering June 21, casts Black as a low-level Foreign Service officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, who finds himself in the middle of a crisis.

Black, the son of a Jewish mother and father who converted to Judaism, was raised Jewish and became a bar mitzvah. He’s married to musician Tonya Haden, the daughter of a Jewish mother and Christian father, and the couple is raising their two sons, Sammy and Thomas, in the Jewish faith.

Odette Annable
Odette Annable. Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABC

Dave & Odette Do Both

Mazel Tov to Dave and Odette Annable, who are expecting their first child. Dave (last season’s Red Band Society) and Odette, who stars in the new ABC summer series The Astronaut Wives Club, premiering June 18, have been married since 2010, when the groom (whose mother is Jewish and father is Christian) broke the ceremonial glass at the wedding. Dave and Odette, who isn’t Jewish, plan to expose their kids to both faiths, “give them the choice…and guide them in both.”

Caroline Kaplan
Caroline Rose Kaplan. Credit: James Dittiger

Kaplan is Living Proof

In TNT’s intriguing new series Proof, about investigations of life after death experiences, newcomer Caroline Rose Kaplan plays a young researcher supporting a doctor played by Jennifer Beals. Premiering June 16, it’s the first TV show for Kaplan, who is both from an interfaith relationship and in one herself.

Kaplan is from Larchmont, New York, and her mother was born Catholic and later became Buddhist; her father is Jewish. Kaplan was raised and identifies as Jewish. “I was bat mitzvahed. I went to Hebrew school,” she says.  “It’s a very important part of my cultural heritage because it was very important to my father.”

Her boyfriend isn’t Jewish, and she says, “People are people to me. We’re all part of the same Earth. We want to create a beautiful life together, give back to the world and make a little mark while we’re here,” says Kaplan, for whom the key to making an interfaith relationship work is “acceptance and love, open mindedness and curiosity, and wanting to learn about each other. If you both can come from a place of love then it can be very exciting.”

Avi Ram
Avi Ram painting a model. Credit: Gerri Miller

Avi Ram’s Living Canvases

Among the talented artists vying to win GSN’s body painting competition Skin Wars, which returns for its second season June 10th, Avi Ram is one of the standouts. Israeli-born and Jewish, he moved to the States in 2008 and now lives in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he custom-airbrushes T-shirts at his store and where he met and married his Salvadoran wife. The fact that she isn’t Jewish isn’t an issue for him or his mother, who lives in Israel and hasn’t met her daughter-in-law. “My mom just wants me to be happy,” says Ram.

He sometimes incorporates Israel in his living canvases, such as the depiction of Jerusalem in a peace-themed piece he created for the Body Fine Art Competition in May. He placed ninth in that one, but a few weeks later, he split the $1,000 first prize with fellow Skin Wars contestant Kyle Vest at the Face and Body Art International Convention in Davie, Florida.

Gerri Miller

Gerri Miller wrote and reported from Los Angeles about celebrities, entertainment and lifestyle for The Jewish Journal, The Nosher, Hadassah and others. A New York native, she spent a summer working at Kibbutz Giv’at Brenner in Israel and attended High Holy Day services at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood every year.


Author: Gerri Miller