Friday Photos: True Hollywood Confessions, Passover Edition

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor passed many hours arguing furiously about who was more Jewish.

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor passed many hours arguing furiously about who was more Jewish.

When Mike Todd (b. Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen) was killed in a plane crash, Elizabeth found comfort in Judaism. “I am absolutely Jewish now in my beliefs and feelings,” she said.

At her conversion, Elizabeth Taylor took the Jewish name Elisheva Rachel.

In the compulsively readable Furious Love, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger report on the frequently drunken arguments in which Richard Burton and Taylor indulged over—get this—their respective Jewishness.

“My great-grandfather,” Burton told a reporter, “was a Polish Jew named Jan Ysar, and that was the family name until they changed it to Jenkins. [Burton’s real name was Richard Walter Jenkins.] It’s true. I’m one-eighth Jewish. Elizabeth hasn’t a drop of Jewish blood. I’ve told her so. It makes her furious.” During the making of “The Night of the Iguana” (’63) in a thatched roof bar in Puerto Vallarta, a drunken Burton announced, “I was born a Jew. I am perhaps the very oldest of the really ancient Jews.”

Of course, according to halacha, classical Jewish law, Judaism is determined through matrilineal descent or through a proper, halachic conversion.

Burton, as much as he adored Taylor, felt himself in competition with his wife. She was a true star, and he was often referred to as, “Mr. Elizabeth Taylor.” Diminishing her stature was an obsession with Burton. After all, he was a classically trained actor who could recite Shakespeare from memory. Elizabeth, according to Burton, had no technique, and couldn’t tell Hamlet from Macbeth.

And yet when Burton saw Taylor on screen, he marveled at her stillness, her ability to do so much with the smallest gesture. She was, he knew, deep in his heart, a brilliant movie actress. The camera read her thoughts. Bug-eyed, he shouted speeches.

Thus, it’s no surprise, that Burton denigrated her Jewishness, for Judaism gave Elizabeth Taylor an identity beyond movie star, owner of fabulous jewels, and notorious adulterer.

“You’re not Jewish at all,” he taunted Elizabeth in one of their very public fights—which members of their staff had taken to timing. “If there’s any Jew in this family, it’s me!”

“I am Jewish,” she raged. “And you can f**** off!”

The Szyk Haggadah, Łódź, 1935, Arthur Szyk was the greatest Jewish illuminator since, well, ever.

The Szyk Haggadah, Łódź, 1935, Arthur Szyk was the greatest Jewish illuminator of modern times.

 

Seder Plate Amy Klein Reichert, American, b. 1959 Manufacturer: Stephen Smithers, American, b. 1951 Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States, 1997 Mahogany; silver: repoussé and pierced; glass 12 3/8 × 12 3/8 × 3 in. (31.4 × 31.4 × 7.6 cm)

Seder Plate
Amy Klein Reichert, American, b. 1959
Manufacturer: Stephen Smithers, American, b. 1951
Williamstown, Massachusetts, United States, 1997
Mahogany; silver: repoussé and pierced; glass
12 3/8 × 12 3/8 × 3 in. (31.4 × 31.4 × 7.6 cm)

 

Nicole Eisenman, American, b. France, 1965 Seder, 2010 Oil on canvas 39 1/16 × 48 in. (99.2 × 121.9 cm)

Nicole Eisenman, American, b. France, 1965
Seder, 2010
Oil on canvas
39 1/16 × 48 in. (99.2 × 121.9 cm)

 

Matzah Plate Tray for the Fourth Matzah Moshe Zabari, Israeli, b. 1935 New York, New York, United States, 1986 Silver: hand-worked; Lucite 8 × 8 × 1/4 in. (20 5/16 × 20 5/16 × 5/8 cm)

Matzah Plate
Tray for the Fourth Matzah
Moshe Zabari, Israeli, b. 1935
New York, New York, United States, 1986
Silver: hand-worked; Lucite
8 × 8 × 1/4 in. (20 5/16 × 20 5/16 × 5/8 cm) The words read, “Let my people go…”

 

Audrey Flack, American, b. 1931 Matzo Meal, c. 1962 Oil on canvas 14 1/8 × 18 1/4 in. (35.9 × 46.4 cm)

Audrey Flack, American, b. 1931
Matzo Meal, c. 1962
Oil on canvas
14 1/8 × 18 1/4 in. (35.9 × 46.4 cm)

 

Matzah Bag Steps Jet Naftaniel-Joëls, Dutch, b. 1950 Netherlands, 1993 Synthetic fabric and muslin lining, embroidered, and appliqué Diameter: 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)

Matzah Bag
Steps
Jet Naftaniel-Joëls, Dutch, b. 1950
Netherlands, 1993
Synthetic fabric and muslin lining, embroidered, and appliqué
Diameter: 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)

 

James Jacques Joseph Tissot, French, 1836-1902 Joseph Dwelleth in Egypt, from The Old Testament, c. 1896-1902 Gouache on board 9 1/16 × 10 7/8 in. (23.2 × 27.7 cm)

James Jacques Joseph Tissot, French, 1836-1902
Joseph Dwelleth in Egypt, from The Old Testament, c. 1896-1902
Gouache on board
9 1/16 × 10 7/8 in. (23.2 × 27.7 cm)

 

R. B. Kitaj, American, 1932-2007 My Third Jewish Abstract (God's Back), 2001 Oil and charcoal on canvas 24 1/8 × 20 1/16 in. (61.3 × 51 cm)

R. B. Kitaj, American, 1932-2007
My Third Jewish Abstract (God’s Back), 2001
Oil and charcoal on canvas
24 1/8 × 20 1/16 in. (61.3 × 51 cm)

 

Nodar Djindjihashvili, American, b. Russia, 1939-2002 Baking of Mazzot, Tbilisi, 1978-80 Chromogenic color print 16 × 20 in. (40.6 × 50.8 cm)

Nodar Djindjihashvili, American, b. Russia, 1939-2002
Baking of Mazzot, Tbilisi, 1978-80
Chromogenic color print
16 × 20 in. (40.6 × 50.8 cm)

 

El Lissitzky, Russian, 1890-1941 Father Bought a Kid for Two Zuzim, from Had Gadya Suite (Tale of a Goat), 1919 Lithograph on paper 10 3/4 × 10 in. (27.3 × 25.4 cm)

El Lissitzky, Russian, 1890-1941
Father Bought a Kid for Two Zuzim, from Had Gadya Suite (Tale of a Goat), 1919
Lithograph on paper
10 3/4 × 10 in. (27.3 × 25.4 cm)

 

Sari Srulovich, Seder plate. Sterling Silver / Anodized Aluminum

Sari Srulovich, Seder plate. Sterling Silver,  Anodized Aluminum

 

Ethiopian Jews celebrate their first Passover in Israel.

Ethiopian Jews celebrate their first Passover in Israel

 

Dura Europos fresco Jews Cross the Red Sea Created, 244-256 CE

Dura Europos fresco
Jews Cross the Red Sea
Created, 244-256 CE

 

Miriam’s Song of Praise, Wilhelm Hensel (1794-1861), 1836, Presented to Queen Victoria in 1843

Wilhelm Hensel, Miriam’s Song of Praise, 1836, Presented to Queen Victoria in 1843

 

Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, Midtown Manhattan, April 27, 2016. Photo by Robert J. Avrech.

Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, Midtown Manhattan, April 27, 2016. Photo by Robert J. Avrech.

 

Inside the Kosher for Passover pop-Up Truck, Midtown Manhattan, April 27, 2016. Photo by Robert J. Avrech

Inside Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, Midtown Manhattan, April 27, 2016. Photo by Robert J. Avrech

 

Menu for Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, April 27, 2016. As you can see, Kosher food for Passover is expensive.

Menu for Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, April 27, 2016. As you can see, Kosher for Passover food is expensive. Photo by Robert J. Avrech

 

Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, Midtown Manhattan, April 27, 2016, photo by Robert J. Avrech

Kosher for Passover Pop-Up Food Cart, Midtown Manhattan, April 27, 2016, photo by Robert J. Avrech

 

Mayan Ariel wishes all our friends and relatives...

Maayan Ariel wishes all our friends and relatives…

 

...happy and kosher Passover and a good Shabbos.

…a happy and kosher Passover and an inspirational Shabbat.

Friday Photos is appearing on Thursday because tonight begins the final days of Passover which run right into Shabbat. Seraphic Secret will be offline until Monday.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted April 29, 2016 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Can someone explain to me how you have “Kosher for Passover” buns?

    As an admitted middle-aged, Christian, redneck, I thought Passover prohibited Chametz products and that unleavened breads would only be acceptable… those buns on the grill don’t look unleavened. So what gives?

    And for $23, that Pastrami platter with 2 sides had better have a pretty generous portion of meat!! 🙂

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      Passover buns are made from potato.

      The portions were not that big.

      On Passover, it’s a seller’s market.

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  2. Yossel
    Posted April 29, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Dear Robert,

    Those ‘Passover buns’ look like chometz to me. Did you happen to try one? What did they taste like?

    Good Shabbos and good Yomtov,

    Joe

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 30, 2016 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      Shavua Tov!

      Buns are made from potato. They were pretty good.

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  3. Michael Kennedy
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The Matzah Ariel is holding reminds me of the bread the little girl in “Eye in the Sky” is selling as the drone watches her from above. I loved that movie. I especially liked the beetle and mentioned it to a young man I was examining today at the recruit center in El Segundo. He told me that he is working on a similar tiny drone at Raytheon, down the street. He is a former Marine working and going to school and will use his GI Bill for college engineering.

    I enjoy talking to these kids making something of themselves all on their own. I have even met African kids who are joining the US military to get their citizenship, then GI Bill, then college and, for one, even medical school. He has a ten year plan.

    It is such a nice contrast to those idiots protesting and harassing the president of SDSU. They are complaining about being compared to terrorists, by acting like terrorists.

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  4. serene
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Chareidim matzah: So thin, you can read the Haggadah through it. Put cream cheese on it and it folds without breaking. Your digestive tract can barely tell it’s there.

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  5. Bill Brandt
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    If they were constantly fighting the attraction they had for each other is……mystifying. But your background of Burton and Taylor reminds me of the dynamic between Lawrence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe in the making of The Prince and the Showgirl (1956)

    Olivier, classically trained (as many British actors) came to the set wanting to learn from Monroe on how to be a movie star and Monroe wanted to learn from Olivier on how to be an actor.

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Sadly, Olivier and Monroe ended up hating each other after he, as director of the film, told her to “just be sexy.” The last piece of direction MM wanted to hear. The film is terrible and was a huge flop.

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    • Barry
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Olivier knew how to be a movie star but chose not to be one when it was on the table for him. Monroe was incredibly annoying at the pseudo-intellectual level. What Sir Larry said was: “Can’t you just be sexy. isn’t that what you do.” He got it right. Gable felt the same way, as did Tony Curtis. They just weren’t directing as well as acting. This kid was poison.

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  6. dahozho
    Posted April 28, 2016 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I marvel at a kosher l’Pesach *food cart*!! Can’t even imagine the kashering & prep that went into THAT!
    Liz should have just told Richard– “we were both at Sinai, that is what matters.” 😉

    Had a taste of the Chareidim Bakery matzah last Shabbos– Unbelievable!! Well worth the effort of trying to get a box if you know someone with access to it (I know a guy whose brother knows the guy….). Next year, if not in Jersusalem, perhaps with a box of Chareidim Bakery matzah…

    Yom tov sameach!

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    • Robert J. Avrech
      Posted April 28, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Dahozho:

      Richard and Elizabeth married and divorced then married and divorced. So they met at Sinai twice.

      The food cart was fun, though the owners were a bit, um, frenzied in their efforts to keep up with the orders. Surprisingly, there were quite a few non-Jews on line. When I asked why they wanted kosher for Passover food, they said “For the experience.” Though they were a bit taken aback by the sky-high prices.

      Our shmurah matzoh is delish!

      Regards to all and have a happy and kosher last days of Passover and a beautiful Shabbat.

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