Entertainer Barbra Streisand waded into one of Israel’s touchiest issues Monday on the first major stop of her tour of the country: Jewish religious practices that separate men and women.
Speaking at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Monday, where she received an honorary doctorate, she took aim at cases of ultra-Orthodox Jews targeting women, even as she warmly praised the country.
“I realize it’s not easy to fully grasp the dynamics of what happens in a foreign land,” she said.
But “it’s distressing to read about women in Israel being forced to sit in the back of the bus or when we hear about ‘Women of the Wall’ having metal chairs thrown at them when they attempt to peacefully and legally pray.”
She was referring to isolated incidents in which ultra-Orthodox men tried to force women to sit separately at the rear of buses that go through their neighborhoods as well as more serious clashes in which ultra-Orthodox Jews tried to prevent women donning prayer shawls and carrying Torah scrolls from praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the holiest site where Jews can worship.
According to traditional Orthodox Jewish practice, only men wear prayer shawls and handle Torah scrolls, though that is slowly changing in some places. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who cut themselves off from the rest of society but wield disproportionate power in government and religious affairs, fear that allowing women to make such inroads will erode their authority.
Miss Universe moving to Moscow
This year’s Miss Universe pageant will be held in Russia’s capital, Moscow.
Donald Trump made the announcement Sunday after the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.
He added that he would be moving Miss USA out of Las Vegas and to his golf resort in Miami for the next three years. Trump said 18 different countries were vying to host Miss Universe, set for Nov. 9.
Chappelle will lead Oddball troupe
Dave Chappelle is making his most substantial return to stand-up comedy with a one-month tour for Funny Or Die.
The comedian will headline the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival, which kicks off Aug. 23 in Austin, Texas. The 13-date, two-stage tour concludes Sept. 22 in Phoenix.
The birthday bunch
Rock singer-composer-musician Sir Paul McCartney is 71. Actress Isabella Rossellini is 61. Actress Carol Kane is 61. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nathan Morris (Boyz II Men) is 42. Keyboardist Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses) is 50. Country singer Blake Shelton is 37.