As the year rapidly comes to a close, we picked a few of the members of the tribe from Forbes 30 under 30 list. Let us know your favorites and which ones should have been represented.
Lena Dunham received success at an early age. At only 23 years old she won the South by Southwest jury prize for her second film “Tiny Furniture.” The movie was written in four days in October, shot in two months and then sent to festivals. The film’s title, “Tiny Furniture,” comes from the art of the mother character, Laurie Simmons, who in real life is a very successful fine-art photographer whose work often involves dolls and dioramas. Most of Dunham’s films are based on her life. Her mother and sister even starred in her films. Dunham has many role models including Elaine May, Amy Heckerling, Tina Fey, and Kathryn Bigelow. What’s next for the young rising star? HBO picked up her new series “Girls,” that will be airing in January. Check our coverage of the show.
J-Connection: Lena Dunham is Jewish through her mother, who grew up on an “idealized Jewish community on Long Island.”
Max Landis sold his first script when he was only 18 years old. Since then he has written more then 50 scripts. His thoughts about writing: “I don’t get distracted from writing, I get distracted by writing.” When asked about his famous father (his father is John Landis, famous for films like "Twilight Zone: The Movie") he says, “It’s a foot in the door, not an open initiation." In April 2011 Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment bought his pitch for “Amnesty.” Brian Grazer will produce the film and Ron Howard will direct.
J-Connection: Landis was born into a Jewish family in Los Angeles, but by no means is he a good Jewish boy. He was sent to boarding school after being kicked out of Beverly Hills High.
Ezra Klein made history when he was one of two bloggers to report directly from a California state democratic party. Initially, Klein was interested in working in politics and worked for Howard Dean’s primary campaign in 2003. Now he has found that he enjoys writing more. In February 2007 Klein created a Google Groups forum called "JournoList" for discussing politics and the news media that was used only for certain members. Klein is a writer for many publications including the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Newsweek and MSNBC.
J-Connection: Klein is from Irvine California and was raised in a Jewish family. He now identifies as agnostic.
Out of his Harvard dorm room, Joshua Kushner founded Vostu, the largest gaming company of its kind in Latin America, with 35 million registered users and close to 600 employees. His other company Thrive Capital is a private equity and venture capital investment firm focused on media and Internet investments. He cites walks as one way he gets great ideas. When he’s not busy working, he’s partying. Kushner cites Ashton Kutcher as one of his good friends.
J-Connection: Kushner grew up in a Jewish home in Livingston New Jersey and graduated from Harvard University.
Sam Gorenstein is a Jewish boy who can cook. Gorenstein is currently the executive chef of The Raleigh Hotel. He also worked at the trendy restaurant BLT Steak. He was a James Beard nominee in 2010 as a Rising Star Chef of the Year and then was nominated again for the same award.
Like a good Jewish boy should, he goes home for the Jewish holidays, but there he lets his mom do the cooking. He says, “I am so busy and tired up at the restaurant I don’t have time to cook for myself. And my mother makes that holiday food way better than me anyway.” When Gorenstein is not at the restaurant he is working at My Cerviche, a gourmet take-out and delivery company.
J-Connection Gorenstein grew up in Barranquilla, Columbia. Observant but not extremely Orthodox, he celebrated Sabbath and holiday meals.
Does Marc Zuckerberg need any more press? No, but here he is again. Everyone knows he is the founder of Facebook. He was also part of a Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon PI. However, Zuckerberg does more than just spend hours in front of the computer. In college, he was also known for reciting lines from epic poems such as "The Iliad." Every morning he gets up to practice Chinese.
He also became the world’s youngest billionaire. He does give back though. He gave $100 million to help reform schools in the United States. When he asked why he chose to focus on education he says, “'I've had a lot of opportunities in my life and a lot of that comes from going to good schools. And I just wanted to do what I can to make sure everyone has those chances."
J-Connection: Mark Zuckerberg is Jewish. He had a Bar Mitzvah and everything. Sure, today he says he's an atheist but if he could create a religion out of programming, he would.
Jspace loves Drake. Drake was actually born Aubrey Drake Graham in Toronto but records under the name Drake. He became known for playing Jimmy Brooks on the television show “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Drake is only the second artist to have his first two top ten hits—“Best I Ever Had” and “Every Girl.” in the Billboard Hot 100 the same week. He is currently performing all over the world. He will be in Las Vegas for New Years Day, Paris in March and Norway in April.
Drake may be celebrating success but life wasn’t always good. His parents divorced when he was young, which greatly affected him. Drake said, “I had to become a man very quickly and be the backbone for a woman who I love with all my heart, my mother." He grew up in two worlds; his mother is white Jewish Canadian, and his father is African American from Memphis, Tennessee. He is very close to his mother and even postponed a tour due to his mother's illness.
J-Connection: Although some might not know it from his lyrics Drake attended a Jewish day school and had a Bar Mitzvah.
Mac Miller knew he wanted to focus on hip-hop when he was 15 years old. He said in an interview, “I used to be into sports, play all the sports, go to all the high school parties. But once I found out hip-hop is almost like a job, that's all I did." A huge breakthrough came in late 2010 when Miller went on on his first "Incredibly Dope Tour" His latest album features his singles "Get Up", "Wear My Hat", and "Donald Trump", "BDE Bonus" and "All Around The World."
J-Connection: Though father is Christian and his mother is Jewish, Mac Miller was raised Jewish and had a Bar Mitzvah.
Photo Credit: Lena Dunham-FayesVison/WENN.com