Thursday, January 30, 2014

Portman's husband converting to Judaism

Israeli born actress Natalie Portman’s husband, French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, told Yediot Achronot, an Israeli newspaper, that he is in the middle of the conversion process and is looking forward to the end of the process when he “will become a Jew.”

He added that becoming Jewish is “very important” to him. Portman, who has never shied away from her connection to her Jewish and Israeli background, married Millepied in 2012 and have since had a son together whom they named Aleph.

Portman is currently in Israel with her family, working on a film she’s directing based on a book by Israeli author Amos Oz titled A Tale of Love and Darkness.

 The book, a memoir set during Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem in the 1940s and ‘50s, chronicles the antisemitism his ancestors experienced in Ukraine, and the Zionist ideology that led them to settle in Palestine in the 1930s.

It also describes his childhood experiences with his parents, his mother’s suicide when he was 12, his adolescent years growing up on a kibbutz, and his experience living through Israel’s many wars and conflicts.

The news came as the leader of the haredi Orthodox Shas party said the the relationship between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son and a non-Jewish Norwegian woman is a matter of national concern.

Yair Netanyahu, 23, is dating Sandra Leikanger, 25, a woman he met while they were both studying at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

“Woe is us if it is true,” Shas chairman Aryeh Deri told the haredi radio station Kol Barama on Ja. 27. He added that if the reports of the relationship are true, then the prime minister and his wife “have a great heartache.”

Deri explained that he was not attacking the prime minister over his son’s choice of a girlfriend. “I try not to raise personal criticism, but if, heaven forbid, this is true, it is no longer a personal matter — it is a symbol of the Jewish people,” he said.

Other Shas members and members of other parties, including Netanyahu’s own Likud, have also criticized the relationship.

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