Identity Gleefully Revealed

By Elissa Strauss

Published September 30, 2009, issue of October 09, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

On the television dramedy “Glee,” the Fox TV show that focuses on the members of an Ohio high school choir, lead character Rachel Berry officially came out — as a Jew. There were hints beforehand: her name, her allusions to her big nose, her love for Streisand. But it wasn’t until the episode that aired on September 23 that she officially came out and said it.

She was fighting for the role of Maria in “West Side Story,” and said, “Natalie Wood was a Jew, you know. I have had a deep, personal connection to this role since the age of 1.” (While rumored to be a Jew, Wood was Russian Orthodox.)

Not only was Rachel’s coming out satisfying for all those who have been suspecting as much, but it also helped fill a big void in Hollywood — the Jewess. Jewish female characters don’t make it onto the screen often, a fact that is easy to overlook because of the heavy representation of Jewish men in Hollywood: from the Apatow clan, to Stiller and Sandler, to Larry David. These slightly nebbishy but nonetheless adorable guys give us our fill of Yiddishkeit, but they almost always come with a shiksa counterpart.

With the character of Rachel Berry, played by “Spring Awakening” alumna Lea Michele, Jewish women finally have someone to call their own. This girl’s got chutzpah and spunk; she is arrogant but never affected; she has a solid heart. Indeed, she has a bit of a young Streisand thing going — something the actress, who is half-Jewish in real life, has noted herself.

“I got my dream song!” Barry told “Access Hollywood.” “I got to sing a Barbra Streisand song [in an upcoming episode.] I can’t say which it is, but it’s one of her most popular songs. Ever since I was a little girl, a Jewish girl, it’s like always been playing through my head. So I had the opportunity to sing that on the show.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.