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!
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • 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.