You probably remember Mayim Bialik for her lead role in the early-1990s NBC television sitcom Blossom. Wonder what she's been up to since? After starring in Blossom she earned a BS from UCLA in 2000 in Neuroscience and in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, also from UCLA. Bialik was a dedicated student leader at UCLA Hillel, leading and starting a women's Rosh Chodesh group, chanting for High Holiday services, and conducting UCLA's Jewish a cappella group. She is currently a board member, co-founder, and chair of Jewish Free Loan Association's Genesis branch, and as an avid student of all things Jewish, she studies Torah on a weekly basis with a study mentor through Partners In Torah.
Lately, Mayim has been making what can best be described as a "Kosher Comeback." It seemed to have started with an innocent appearance of her Blossom doll in Pop Judaica's Passover segment on the Modern Jewish Mom show. Then there was this post on Jewcy, where she was interviewed about her growing level of religious observance. Today, her Jewish wedding is profiled on Jewish Wedding Network, and this Friday she'll be made over by the folks at What Not to Wear. (Shabbos observant Jews: Be sure to set your DVRs!) Word has it that they make sure to dress her modestly on the show. She'll also be playing a frum woman in an upcoming episode of Saving Grace, so stay tuned!
Mayim's interest in Judaism does not seem to be anything new though. We dug up this clip from 1989's Chabad Telethon which proves that even in her Blossom days, she was into mitzvot!
Mayim Bialik is schlepping the schlep tote from PopJudaica.com
Greetings Trekkies! Did you know that actor Leonard Nimoy, who starred as Star Trek's Mr. Spock, modeled the the famous "Live Long and Prosper" hand salute after the the sign of the Kohen? Watch this interview where he explains the Jewish origins of this Vulcan salute:
Well, we're in the midst of the High Holiday season, but we are never too busy to not keep you up to date on holiday happenings!
The Jewish Channel -- dubbed the "Jewish HBO" -- is airing an interview series with a veritable who's who of Jews among contemporary pop culture, dishing out brisket jokes and detailing clever High Holiday resolutions all in a style of something you might catch on VH1. The current incarnation of the series, "Holy Dazed," might shock with talk about sex and drugs, but it offers a chance to peek into the Jewish lives of some popular figures, including Huffington Post columnist Rachel Sklar, Hasidic musician Matisyahu, and former New York City mayor Ed Koch.
The channel will be airing segments from the interview series during various holidays throughout the year, and if they're all as good as the snippet where the interviewees do their best (and worst) to blow the shofar, we can't wait to tune in!
If you really want to shine like these hip and savvy Jews (okay, Ed Koch might not be that hip), then we suggest you head to the store and pick up "Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide" to start the new year out with a bang of Jewish sweetness and savvy. Shana Tova!
The oft-used phrase "better luck next time" is probably ringing true for the writers of "Beverly Hills 90210" as the new and improved TV show "90210" is set to air next month. It seems that with a second try, the writers and creators of the 90's hit are getting the demographic of their fictional "West Beverly High School" a little closer to the actual Beverly Hills High. Yes, they'll be featuring Jewish and Iranian characters on the Beverley Hills campus!
The real Beverly Hills High student body is actually predominately Iranian and Jewish, and although there were Jewish students on the original program, there were no Iranians. So the new show will feature someone who is half-Jewish (a girl known as "Silver" played by Jessica Stroup), as well as an Iranian student -- Navid Shirazi, played by Michael Steger. And yes, you guessed it, Steger isn't Iranian.
On that note, everyone remembers brainy Andrea Zuckerman, but what most probably don't know is that the show's creators didn't know she was actually Jewish and that her outward Jewishness -- the actress, Gabrielle Carteris -- was reined in by the creators (they made her remove a Star of David necklace because "Middle America really doesn't want to see it."
The original show's executive story editor, Amy Spies, said that times have changed since the 1990s:
"Because of cable, there's been all kinds of diverse, ethnic shows," said Spies. "It's much more the norm to have more accurate representations of their world."
So set your TiVO to record the new "90210," pull out your old middle school or high school yearbooks, remember the dreamy Jason Priestley and Luke Perry, and while you're at it, wear that Star of David necklace with pride -- Andrea Zuckerman would have wanted you to!