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Idol Chatter

Ministers aren’t exactly known for their fashion sense and couture style–until now, that is. Beginning this month, the Rev. Joanna Jepson is trading life at a local British parish for big-city London, and most interestingly of all, a post as chaplain for the London College of Fashion–the first chaplain ever at the school, or at any fashion institution in England, for that matter.

In the article “The catwalk finds God,” Jonathan Wynne-Jones reports Rev. Jepson’s surprise at everyone else’s surprise regarding her new appointment:

As someone who has long taken an interest in fashion, Miss Jepson, 30, feels that the Church should have a presence in the business. “The fashion industry has a huge impact and influence on vast numbers in our society,” she said. “It has a particularly powerful role in shaping the self-image and views of young people, and it’s important for the Church to be involved with this type of community. It’s amazing that it hasn’t had this link before.” The curate, who has previously criticised society’s preoccupation with image, said that she was switching from full-time parish ministry to the fashion world because she could make more of an impact there.

Perhaps the Fashion Insititue of Technology (FIT) in New York City will follow suit.

One of the movies I am most excited about seeing this upcoming movie season is New Line’s version of Jesus’ birth, “The Nativity Story.” And if you are as interested as I am in how Hollywood is going to treat the Christmas story this time around, well, the official movie trailer is available online.

While it is true I scoffed ever-so-slightly when I heard New Line was going to develop the project, all of my concerns about this story–that it wouldn’t be given the respect and artistic merit worthy of the big screen–were assuaged when I heard that teen actress Keisha Castle-Hughes (“Whale Rider”) had been cast as Mary and that Mike Rich, the screenwriter, is a Christian.

If all of my LA/Hollywood insider friends are correct with their information, the movie will be less of a sappy Hallmark greeting card and more of a glimpse at the very human emotions Mary and Joseph felt as they embarked on their journey to Bethlehem. The movie will trace the life of Mary and Joseph prior to the birth of Christ and follow the family through Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt after King Herod’s mandate to kill baby boys under the age of two.

So while Hollywood has been somewhat erratic in its attempts to tap into the market that made “Passion of the Christ” a blockbuster, everything I am hearing and reading confirms that this time Hollywood has a hit–one most Christians won’t want to miss. (Click here to see the trailer.)

Are Jewish men attractive? TV doesn’t seem to think so. Sure, Ross Geller certainly had his moment in the sun, as did Paul Buchman before him. (And any Jewess would be out of her mind to refuse to “hug it out” with Jeremy Piven.) But today’s television shows seem to be making some rather harsh statements about my Hebrew homeboys.

For an example, try on this article in the NY Times reporting a slam on Jewish men in Ted Danson’s new show, “Help Me Help You,” which premiered this week. The article reports that one of the characters, played by Suzy Nakamura, “goes to the Jewish matchmaking Web site JDate to meet men, then promptly repels them. Asked if she is even at all Jewish by one man on their first date, she admits she is not and explains, ‘I guess I find Jewish guys a lot less threatening because I’m not attracted to them.'”

A recent episode of “Next” (the latest addition in the MTV dating show legacy established by “Dismissed” and “Room Raiders”) featured one guy proclaiming his tribal membership by wearing an “Everyone Loves a Jewish Boy” t-shirt. He gave his date cookies, told her it was his grandmother’s recipe, and then was promptly dissed and dismissed rather harshly: “I’m not into David Schwimmer meets Napoleon Dynamite…” Adding insult to injury, the show’s voiceover said, “For [guy’s name] it wasn’t hava nagila, but hasta la vista…”

As the author of “Boy Vey! The Shiksa’s Guide to Dating Jewish Men,” Kristina Grish has spent a good deal of time singing the praises of Jewish men, and she tells me that she thinks it may be a lack of classical machismo that ails the male members of the tribe. “I’ve always found Jewish men to be warm, articulate, generous, and doting,” she says, musing that “perhaps these are the qualities [Nakamura’s character in ‘Help Me Help You’] considers to be ‘nonthreatening’ because they can be considered ‘soft.’ But I also think they’re smart, entrepeneurial, passionate, and funny as hell… none of which screams ‘wuss.'”

Take Ross Geller from “Friends” as an example, Grish says: “He tiptoed around his feelings for Rachel season after season, and that lack of chutzpah made him unattractive. Give his personality some oomph, and suddenly those doe-eyes would seem dreamy instead of drippy.” She cites other examples–Piven, Jon Stewart, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Younger–“all Jews, all hot.” I’ll add Zach Braff, because I have to, and Oded Fehr, because how could you not?

Grish further noted that the women who responded to her book–whether or not they were Jewish–“couldn’t STOP praising Jewish men – and there was no mention of nerdy or unattractive implications. So many Jewish men boast Mediterranean good looks–complete with big eyes, curly hair, dark features and endearing freckles. What’s not to love?”

Despite what TV seems to tell us, and even if the stereotype seems to be indicating nerdlike or neurotic tendencies, Jewish boys are still coming out ahead–with an overall assumption that they are smart, funny, and nice. And Grish, whose new book is “Addickted: 12 Steps to Kicking Your Bad Boy Habit,” oughta know a nice boy from a naughty one.

Watch the YouTube video that helped fuel the ongoing controversy over the documentary “Jesus Camp“: