Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Jon Stewart’s Jewish Pre-K Teacher Remembers What He Was Like As a Toddler

Before hosting the Emmy-winning “Daily Show” for 16 years, Jon Stewart went to a Jewish Day school. His teacher, Leah Linton, 90, still remembers him as a (tinier) comedian.

Linton, 90, came to America from Nazi-occupied Austria in the 1930s. She taught pre-kindergarten at Trenton Hebrew Academy for 35 years. During the 1966-67 year, she taught one Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, known to the world as Jon Stewart.

“There was something sweet about him,” she told . “He was cute. He was funny. He was well liked. I don’t remember him getting into a fight with the other kids.”

She still keeps pictures of her former students stuck to a cardboard collage, one from each class. When she ran into Jon after he became famous, he signed the back of ’67 with, “Leah, Thank you for not failing me!”

“He was already a stand-up comedian at the age of 4, and I still remember some of the funny things he said,” Linton added.

Though the elderly educator never attending the live-taping of “The Daily Show,” she kept in touch with the Leibowitz family. Her children would baby-sit for Jon and his brother, and she was on good terms with Jon’s mother, also a teacher.

“The kids laughed no matter what he said,” Leah recalled. “So he turned into a great comedian.”

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.