Michele stood by Monteith as he battled his drug problem. Last March, when he publicly announced he was going into rehab, Michele issued a series of supportive press statements.
Michele, the daughter of a Sephardi Jewish father and an Italian Catholic mother, is often described as a "Jewish actress" in the Jewish community media and elsewhere. This description has re-appeared in articles about the death of Monteith.
This description is based on a 2009 article in which Michele, then a complete unknown, told a reporter for a Jewish young people's magazine that she was raised in both religions.
She said something different in 2012, when she was a guest star on the “Inside the Actors’ Studio” TV program. The host, in the form of a question, re-stated what she said in 2009 (parents’ respective faiths; “raised both”). She replied: “I was raised Catholic, but my father gladly attended church with us.”
Like most people, I sympathize with Michele at this moment. But to be clear: no wing of American Judaism would consider her "Jewish" and she doesn't self-identify as Jewish, either. So calling her a Jewish actress--since her 2012 interview--is not good journalism.
On a much happier note: it was announced on July 10 that interfaith singer ADAM LAMBERT, 31, will join the cast of “Glee” next season. It is currently unclear whether his role will be as a regular cast member, or as a guest star in one episode or several. However, most celebrities who have previously agreed to appear on “Glee” have appeared in an “arc” of several episodes and it’s most likely that Lambert will appear in such an arc.
Lambert, who identifies as Jewish, and has sung Jewish religious music for a synagogue congregation, is the son of a Jewish mother and a non-Jewish father. He first became famous when he finished second in the 2009 “American Idol” competition. He has since become a major recording artist, with over six million albums sold worldwide.
Tribe Record Holder
“Grown-Ups” (2010) was killed by critics. But it made big bucks, so now there’s a sequel (“Grownups 2”) to the original about five guys on a junior high team who, some 30 years later, go on vacation with their romantic partners and kids.
The sequel stars (again) ADAM SANDLER, 48, as Lenny Feder, a high-powered Hollywood agent. It opens with Feder moving back to his sleepy hometown with his wife and kids. There’s a huge cast, with many “names” playing cameo parts (including Sandler’s real-life wife, JACKIE, 38, and their daughters SUNNY, 5, and SADIE, 7).
This film may hold the record for famous Jews in one movie that does not have a Jewish theme.
Here they are, in role size order: JAKE GOLDBERG, 17, and CAMERON BOYCE, 14, as Lenny’s sons, Greg and Kethie; MAYA RUDOLPH, 40, as Deanne, the wife of one of Lenny’s buddies; ROB SCHNEIDER, 49, as Rob, Lenny’s buddy; JON LOVITZ, 55, as a janitor; HALSTON SAGE, 20, (the star of Nickelodeon’s “How to Rock”), as “love interest” Nancy; OLIVER HUDSON (GOLDIE HAWN’s son), 36, as Kyle; ALLEN COVERT, 48, as a hippie; ANDY SAMBERG, 34, and AKIVA SCHAFFER, 35, as cheerleaders; NORM CROSBY, 85, as a K-Mart shopper; Victoria’s Secret model ERIN HEATHERTON, 24, as Ginger, a head cheerleader; GREG GRUNBERG, 46, mailman; and as a “party band”; there’s most of the members of the famous J. Geils rock band, including: frontman PETER WOLF, 67; bassist DANNY KLEIN, 68; and harmonica player RICHARD “Magic Dick” SALWITZ, 68. (Opened Friday, July 12).**
Actress ALICIA SILVERSTONE, 36, a big supporter of breastfeeding, has announced a new program that urges mothers to share their milk. The program was announced on her blog and it’s called “Kind Mama Milk Share.” She touts it as a community service to “support mamas and babies” and tells blog readers: “If you have milk to share—post it.”
Silverstone says that she was inspired by a friend who couldn’t produce enough milk. The friend had trouble finding local donors and trouble figuring-out what kind of “lifestyle choices the donor had made.” Many women responded to the blog posting with requests for milk or offers to donate and many noted whether they were vegan or not.
However, as doctors point out, there is risk with sharing breast milk: the milk can carry HIV and other viruses. There are an increasing number of professionally run breast milk banks. These banks test donated milk for safety. But an informal sharing program, such as Silverstone has launched, offers milk that is not so tested and carries a risk.
Some Baseball Notes
It’s very rare when two Jewish major leaguers players are vying for the same position. But, as I write this, that’s the NY Mets situation:
IKE DAVIS, 28, a good defensive player, was brought-up in 2010 and, while his batting average has never been high, he made up for that with power hitting (32 homers in 2012). However, very anemic hitting got him sent down to the minors on June 9th to “find his swing.”
He was replaced at first base by JOSH SATIN, 28. Satin is pretty close friends with Davisand he told the press that when he got the call to come up for the minors to replace Davis, he was happy for himself—but disappointed for Davis.
Satin didn’t shine in two previous short stints with the Mets (2011-12). During the last three weeks of June, however, he finally got a lot of major league playing time and he responded with an incredible hitting tear that moved the Mets manager to say that Satin “has to be included in our future plans.”
Davis hit well in the minors and was recalled to the Mets on July 5. He and Satin have been sharing duties at first base since his recall. However, as I write this, it looks like Satin, who has continued to hit well, has the inside track to be the Mets’ permanent first baseman. Davis, who has not hit well since returning on July 5, is now the subject of daily media speculation about whether he will be traded.
Elsewhere: the Oakland A’s rookie first baseman, NATE FRIEMAN, 26, was named ALrookie-of-the-month, for the month of May, 2013 (.351 BA; 9 RBIs, in 14 games).
Also happy is pitcher ROBERT KAMINSKY, 18, who grew up and lives in Englewood Cliffs,New Jersey. A high school phenom, he was a St. Louis Cardinals first round (2013) draft pick and recently got a $1,785, 000 signing bonus. Here’s an excerpt from a NY Daily News profile: [He’s] a high-school lefthander who has a 94 MPH fastball and a hammer of a curveball…a Jewish kid whose prized possession is a baseball card that he keeps in an acrylic case on his bedroom shelf. ‘Sandy Koufax was a Jewish guy playing baseball, and so am I, and that’s rare,’ Kaminsky says. ‘Even being in the same sentence with him would be an incredible honor.’” (By the way, Kaminsky’s bar mitzvah had a baseball theme, of course).
**Post-Script: A friend who read this item wondered if the 1963 hit comedy, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World,” which also had a huge cast, had as many Jewish actors. I checked. It’s a tie: if you count Jews in big and small parts (including cameos)---both films count is 19.
Here are the Jewish actors in that movie:
Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Ben Blue, Selma Diamond, Peter Falk, Norman Fell, Leo Gorcey (Jewish father), Marvin Kaplan, Carl Reiner, Arnold Stang, Jesse White, Larry Fine, Moe Howard, Jack Benny, Howard DaSilva, Jerry Lewis
Out of this 19; three are still alive: Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, and Jerry Lewis.