Monday, August 26, 2013

One Direction at Manhattan Kosher Steak House

AMONG THE PLACES YOU DON'T expect to see popular boy bands would be a fancy kosher restaurant. But that's exactly where One Direction's Harry Styles was spotted late last week.

Styles, who isn't Jewish, is the star of the wildly popular British boy band One Direction. According to the Algemeiner website Styles stopped by one of Manhattan’s most popular kosher restaurants, Le Marais. Outside of the French steak house, Styles posed for selfies with his adoring fans.

Styles sported a blue knitted kippa embroidered with his name, which was given to him as a birthday gift by his friend, director Ben Winston.

Despite possessing a Hebrew tattoo spelling his sister Gemma’s name and tweeting from time to time about Jewish holidays, Styles is not Jewish. Responding to inquiries on the matter, Des Styles, the star’s father wrote earlier this month on Twitter, “Still lots of queries asking if H is some % Jewish? No idea where any rumours came from in but, categorically, he is 0% Jewish. Not at all.X”

No word on what Styles ate at Le Marais.

Harry Styles outside a kosher restaurant. Photo: 1DMofosUpdates via Twitter.

One Direction star Harry Styles with fans outside Le Marais kosher restaurant in NYC. Photo: 1DMofosUpdates via Twitter.

Rabbi Jason Miller, founder of, is a Conservative rabbi in Metro Detroit. He is a blogger, educator and entrepreneur. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiJason and on Facebook.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wilt Chamberlain Was Bellhop at Kutshers Kosher Resort

WHO WOULD HAVE EVER known that Wilt Chamberlain worked a summer as a bellboy at the famous Catskills hotel, Kutsher's, in the Borscht Belt. 

A recent episode of ESPN 30 for 30 revealed that the 7'1" Chamberlain not only carried hotel guests' luggage but also put on quite a show on the resort's basketball court for visitors to the Catskills while he was a high school senior. 

In 1954, before his senior year of high school, Wilt Chamberlain took a summer job that would change his life, working as a bellhop at Kutsher's Country Club, a Jewish resort in the Catskill Mountains. At the time Kutsher's was the most popular of the kosher resorts for Jewish families in the Borscht Belt.

By day Wilt Chamberlain was making $2 an hour and getting great tips from the awestruck guests as he lifted their luggage through a second-floor window... while standing outside on the ground. At night, he played on the Kutsher's basketball team and was coached by the resort's athletic director, Celtics coach Red Auerbach. Mixing rarely seen archival video and interviews with people who lived and worked with Wilt, this short chronicles a pivotal chapter in the life of one of the game's greatest players, and gives a fascinating glimpse into a time when basketball met the Borscht Belt in its heyday.

In addition to Wilt Chamberlain, former Detroit Pistons great Ray Scott also worked as a bellhop at Kutsher's. I don't think any famous NBA stars today, like Amare Stoudemire or Lebron James could list hotel work on their resume.

Former Detroit Pistons Star Ray Scott with Rabbi Jason Miller

The entire ESPN 30 For 30 documentary video can be seen here.

Rabbi Jason Miller is a blogger, entrepreneur and educator. He often writes about sports for his popular blog and the Huffington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiJason.