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‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ hits FX Thursday. Just don’t call it a Jewish series, says its creator.

(JTA) — From Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s point of view, her best-selling 2019 novel “Fleishman Is in Trouble” wasn’t all that Jewish. She’s a little perplexed by the deluge of press junket questions about its Jewish essence.

“It’s funny: I don’t think of it as a Jewish book. I know people do,” she said.

Brodesser-Akner, a journalist famous for her sharp celebrity profiles, is now the showrunner of the book’s star-studded TV adaptation, an 8-episode FX series that debuts on Hulu on Thursday. In the story, Toby Fleishman (played by Jesse Eisenberg) is a 41-year-old Jewish hepatologist who has recently divorced Rachel (Claire Danes), his ambitious, icy, blonde theater agent wife. Early on in the story, Rachel disappears in the middle of the night, leaving Toby with their two children and a truckload of resentment. Toby, who had a nebbishy and romantically insecure youth before marrying Rachel, is now drowning in the sexual bounty of dating apps.

On Zoom, Brodesser-Akner was speaking a few days after the show’s blowout bash at Carnegie Hall and Tavern on the Green, an iconic Central Park restaurant. “I’ve never been to an event like that. It was 600 people,” she said. It sounded like a scene that could have been plucked right from “Fleishman,” which is set on the extremely wealthy Upper East Side, and in which the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood are at odds with the ambitions and personal longings of its middle-aged characters.

Brodesser-Akner, 47, who was both adrenalized and a little frazzled, had to balance the premiere with parenting duties — she’s a mother of two boys, ages 15 and 12. “I’m still picking sequins from my teeth.”

As a writer, Brodesser-Akner likes to play with the power of subjectivity, and she built “Fleishman” on it. Though the story begins as Toby’s, it eventually morphs into a “Rashomon”-esque take on the divorce and what really went wrong in the Fleishmans’ marriage. The story is narrated by Libby (Lizzy Caplan), Toby’s friend from their year abroad in Israel. A former men’s magazine writer, Libby is now a lost and frustrated stay-at-home mom in suburban New Jersey (and a stand-in for Brodesser-Akner). Adam Brody steals scenes as Seth, an immature finance bro and another year-in-Israel friend with whom Toby reconnects after the divorce. (His presence is a homecoming of sorts for those of us who spent our tween years watching him play a different Seth in “The O.C.”)

“I don’t think of it as a Jewish book,” says Taffy Brodesser-Akner.

Brodesser-Akner pieced together the story’s Jewish elements: a doctor named Fleishman, a bat mitzvah, Friday night dinners, a year abroad in Israel, a few jokes about Jews being bad at home repairs (which is the subject of a very funny scene in episode six between Toby and Seth). There are a few insidery details that she fails to mention, like a fake Jewish sleepaway camp called Camp Marah, which sounds like the real Camp Ramah but roughly translates to “Camp Bitter” in Hebrew. Does all this add up to a “Jewish” story?

“I read ‘The Corrections’ by Jonathan Franzen, and it mentions Christmas I think 47 times. I read ‘Crossroads’ and it’s about the family of a youth minister. But neither of those is ever called a Christian book. This is called a Jewish book. I don’t object to it being called a Jewish book. But to me it’s mostly an American story. As a writer and as an observer of the culture, I think that calling this a Jewish book is proof of the answer to an old question: are Jews considered Americans? And the answer is no.” She threw in her characteristic meta analysis: “So now you have a very Jewish profile. How Jewish is that, Sarah?”

The self-aware comment is a good reminder that although her responses may be unguarded, she has not forgotten that she’s on the record. A name in New York media, Brodesser-Akner wrote for GQ and is now a staff writer for The New York Times Magazine, having profiled Gwyneth Paltrow, Ethan Hawke and Tom Hanks and written about the Joshua Cohen novel “The Netanyahus,” the television show “Thirtysomething” and much more. She inserts herself often into her writing, not to make it about herself, but to remind the reader that every profile is by nature filtered through the lens of the writer crafting it. Her writing is searing, self-deprecating — so raw it’s still bleeding and often quite funny.

“I wrote the book the way I would write a profile, just like I always do. But this man doesn’t exist,” she said.

RELATED: 5 Jewish places that inspired Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s ‘Fleishman Is in Trouble’

We had tried to meet in person near her home on the Upper West Side, but by the time she was available, I was in Tel Aviv, placing us along the Israel-New York axis on which “Fleishman” is set. When Toby suddenly calls Libby to tell her he’s getting divorced, he catapults her into memories of their early twenties in Jerusalem. Those thoughts make Libby miss the possibilities of her youth, the ones time has ruthlessly and inevitably extinguished. Eventually her longing for her past becomes so overwhelming that it threatens her marriage to her menschy and patient husband, played by Josh Radnor. (For more longing-for-younger-days while in Israel content, Brodesser-Akner wrote a Saveur essay about vegetable soup in Jerusalem — her Proustian madeleine. Interviewing Brodesser-Akner from my friend’s apartment in Tel Aviv, a city where I lived in my twenties, I found the theme of longing for the past hit almost too close to home.)

Part of the reason Brodesser-Akner doesn’t think the “Fleishman” story is all that Jewish is that she doesn’t feel all that Jewish — at least not relative to her mother and sisters, who are aligned with the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch movement and live within a few blocks of each other in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

“I don’t think any writer has ever gotten it right,” she says of her Jewish background. “They say I was raised Orthodox. It’s interesting because it always makes me look like the black sheep in my family, when really they are. I’m exactly how I was raised to be until I was 12.”

After her mother, a secular Israeli, and her father, a Conservative Long Islander, divorced, her mother put Brodesser-Akner and her sisters in Jewish school. Some Jewish observance trickled back to her mother, who ended up going the Chabad route.

“My mom had never been inside a synagogue until the day she married my father. Now that is what we call ironic,” Brodesser-Akner said.

Brodesser-Akner’s two sisters followed, and her mother eventually remarried and had another child, the only sibling born into a religious household.

“The thing that made me a journalist was being raised in a home where, at age 12, I was relegated to observer. I had to learn how to understand other people’s points of view. And now that’s what I do,” she said.

Despite their religious differences — Brodesser-Akner attends an Orthodox synagogue but sends her children to an unaffiliated Jewish school and says she wakes up “every morning with new ideas” — the author is very close with her family, and her sisters were at the “Fleishman” premiere.

“They were at the premiere of my perverted sex show,” she joked with a laugh referring to the Hulu series, which features some sexual content as Toby explores the post-divorce New York dating scene. “They show up for me and I show up for them. I have my challenges with it, but I think their challenges must be greater. They never say this to me, but they must think that my life is comparatively…” She looked away thoughtfully, trying to find the right words. “They must think my lifestyle is comparatively less worthwhile. But we really love each other.”

To Brodesser-Akner, the most Jewish show on television is “The Patient,” which she calls “the best show I have seen in 100 years.” And that’s not because it (like “Fleishman”) is on FX. “I’m not that kind of interview!” she said.

Lizzy Caplan plays Toby’s friend Libby. (FX Networks)

“It’s the most Jewish show in all of the Jewish ways. It grapples with a Jewish prisoner; with the difference between a Conservative Jewish female cantor whose son becomes ultra-Orthodox — I’d never seen that on screen. It was kind of the only relatable Jewish matter I’ve ever seen. People ask me if I’ve watched ‘Shtisel.’ And I always say, I’m in the 47th season of an ultra-Orthodox family drama myself and not really interested!” She laughed. “But also I think of the other Jewish matters on television, which are adapted memoirs of people who were ultra-Orthodox and now aren’t. It’s like no one can imagine religious people being happy in their lives. And that’s really shocking to me. My family is very happy.”

Brodesser-Akner wound up with her dream cast: she had a list of five actors — Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Eisenberg, Claire Danes, Josh Radnor and Adam Brody — and no backup plan. She noted the fact that viewers have seen them grow up on screen as one reason they were right for the roles. For many, watching Caplan, Eisenberg and Brody sit across from each other in a diner will feel like a camp reunion, the fulfillment of a Jewish television fantasy they never knew they had.

“One thing that we were trying to get across is ‘how could it be that I am this old when I was once this young?’ And the fact that you have a memory of Claire from ‘My So-Called Life,’ or Jesse from ‘The Squid and the Whale’ — that does so much of the work of the show without writing a word,” Brodesser-Akner said.

Besides Danes (who plays the only main character with a non-Jewish parent, whom the book makes clear she resembles) the lead actors are all Jewish — a notable fact in a time when Jewish representation on screen, and who should be allowed to play Jewish characters, is the subject of continued debate.

Last month, New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum, who is Jewish, tweeted, “There is a simple solution to the question of whether various non-Jewish actors are allowed to play Jews & that is to ask me.” Brodesser-Akner responded to the tweet, writing “[Non-Jew] Oscar Isaac in Scenes from a Marriage is the best ex-ortho I ever saw on screen!”

About casting Jewish actors, Brodesser-Akner noted a legal issue rarely mentioned in the representation debate: one can cast based on looks, but it’s illegal in the United States to cast based on religion. She took this very seriously.

“I spoke to [‘The Plot Against America’ director] David Simon about it and he said, ‘They’re actors. You let them act.’ And I agree with that. The question that I asked myself was who was perfect for it?” she said.

Even if Brodesser-Akner rejects the claim that “Fleishman” is a definitively Jewish story, wasn’t she consciously playing with some Philip Roth-inspired Jewish archetypes? Toby the nice Jewish doctor, the devoted, idealistic dad who’s also self-righteous, horny and insecure.

No, she insists she wasn’t. But also Philip Roth is so ingrained in her that who’s to say? And isn’t the question flawed in the first place?

“All I can say is that I am made out of Philip Roth. I’m so formed by his books. I actually would say that you have a bias in the asking of your question, in that you’re Jewish too. And you also are made out of Philip Roth books since you’re a writer. Again, that goes back to the same question as ‘are we American?’ To me, Toby is not ‘a Jewish guy.’ He’s just a guy! He’s the kind of guy I know! I was just trying to be myself.”

“Fleishman is in Trouble” premieres its first two episodes on Hulu on Nov. 17. It will release each of its six remaining episodes weekly on Thursdays. 

The post ‘Fleishman is in Trouble’ hits FX Thursday. Just don’t call it a Jewish series, says its creator. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 


If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

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Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on

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Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

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