From Raiderette To Aleph-Bet

By Sara Rubin

Published July 28, 2006, issue of July 28, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

We may be living in the age of the “extreme makeover,” but the trajectory of cheerleader-turned-rebbetzin Sandy Wolshin could give even the splashiest of today’s reality TV shows a run for their money. A few years ago, Wolshin was wearing hot pants and twirling pom-poms for football’s Los Angeles Raiders. In the years since, she has embraced Orthodox Judaism and married a rabbi. But she hasn’t lost her knack for performing. In August, she is taking her hit one-woman show, “The Rabbi and the Cheerleader” — “a true life comedy of faith and spirit” — from L.A. to New York, and there are plans in the works for a Florida engagement, too. The Shmooze recently caught up with Wolshin (who when not onstage goes by the name Elianah Rochel Mendlowitz and runs a Jewish dating service) for a chat about marriage, hair and the Raiderettes.

The Shmooze: Is your show a lesson in Judaism, or is it more about the laughs?

Sandy Wolshin: It’s a combination. It’s a modern Jewish Cinderella story — with shtick and dance. All Jews from different levels of observance enjoy my show, that’s the neat thing. And people who are not Jewish, because it’s an inspirational show.

TS: Do you miss your life as a Raiderette?

SW: Here’s the analogy: For a guy, there’s nothing like a game of pickup basketball, and there never will be a substitute. I was on a professional dance squad; we rehearsed 40 hours a week, and it was a great workout. And I do get together for Raiderette reunions. Now I compensate by taking dance classes. When I do a show, sometimes two shows a day, I’m getting a great workout.

TS: Has your look changed at all from your cheerleading days? Are you still blond, or do you sport more of a Jewish look?

SW: There are a lot of Jewish girls who are blond. I’m a natural blond every time I come home from the hairstylist. I definitely still have a cheerleader look.

TS: What’s your favorite thing about what you’re doing now?

SW: I am having a blast. I am doing what I love. I really believe that Hashem gives us all gifts. For us to be able to use our gifts and make a living is the most beautiful blessing that I have received. I was raised an atheist, and had lots of questions, and ended up meeting God. God guides you.

TS: Does your husband come to many of your shows?

SW: Oh yes, and he’s the biggest laugher.






Find us on Facebook!
  • “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?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • 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.