When Did Hollywood Get So Jewy?

Levi McConaughey, born July 7, to actor Matthew McConaughey. Nahla Ariela Aubry, born March 18 to actress Halle Berry. Everyone knows Tom and Katie's Suri by now, and Brangelina have got both a Zahara and a Shiloh. What do all these kids have in common? Hebrew names and non-Jewish celebrity parents.

I'll admit it – I follow celebrity news. I don't do it because I think being famous automatically gives a person any inherent value, but rather because I'm curious as to whom our culture considers role models and what our society deems trendy.

From the unofficial research I've conducted over the last few years, it seems that there is a trend amongst the non-Jewish Hollywood crowd towards Jewishness. But not Jewishness in the lox and bagels sense, but rather in the traditional (Orthodox) sense.

Not only are many stars naming their kids Hebrew names (like we Jewy Jews do), some of them are even keeping kosher, attending Shabbat services, and having traditional Jewish weddings. Now although these aforementioned Jewish practices are done under the guise of "kabbalah" – call it what you will – if it walks like Judaism and it talks like Judaism, it's Judaism.

When Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher got married in their traditional "kabbalah" wedding a few years ago, People magazine read like some sort of an Orthodox Jewish wedding manual. Here's an exact quote from the magazine:

Per Jewish tradition (which may be echoed in many Kabbalah wedding rituals), the bride circles the groom seven times, which, among other things, symbolizes the breaking down of any walls that may remain between them. The bride and groom then take their places beneath the chuppah (wedding canopy). •The couple sign a Hebrew marriage contract known as a ketubah and read seven blessings. •After the ceremony, the bride and groom privately talk and eat, a period called yichud.

Now what blog post about non-Jewish celebrities practicing Judaism would be complete without a mention of the Queen of Kabbalah herself, Madonna, or as she likes to be called these days, Esther? Go online, pick up a celebrity magazine – this woman has been to more kosher restaurants, Shabbat services, and Purim parties than half the Jews in this country.

I'm not usually a proponent of following celebrity trends, folks, but for all the Jews out there that thought that Jewish tradition was old fashioned and outdated, I've got news for you – it's like the hippest, trendiest thing happening right now. So why not throw your cares away and hop on the Jewboat like the rest of us awesome people?

What are the Chances? No Really, What are They?
The Giving Geezer

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  1. The problem that I have with celebrities and their inherent love of Jewish names, customs, and rituals is that, well…they kind of bastardize it in a way. The media then portrays our beautiful, meaningful faith as something just anyone can do and to me, that isn’t so. They also give false information that makes me boil over with annoyance and my non-Jewish friends start asking me questions that either have nothing to do with Judaism or just don’t make sense. Just because it’s in People magazine doesn’t make it the truth!

  2. Allison says:

    Josie-
    I completely agree with you – we should generally not (except for my wedding excerpt which really was spot on) look to People magazine for accurate information regarding Jewish practice and rituals. There’s obviously lots of distortion in pronunciation of names as well as practice when it comes to non-Jewish stars doing Jewish things. However, despite the fact that my post was mostly tongue-in-cheek, I do find it somewhat fascinating that non-Jews are running to Jewish tradition more quickly than the Jews themselves. Ought to give us some pause for thought….

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