The Most Optimistic Guy in Hollywood

Actor Michael J. Fox talks to Beliefnet about his battle with Parkinson's disease, why he looks at life more spiritually now, and how he stays optimistic and grateful.

BY: Dena Ross


Continued from page 2

I read that you are raising your children in a Jewish home, an interfaith home really.


Is there anything specific about Judaism that you've found really comforting?

My wife is Jewish, and therefore, it's my children's birthright to be Jewish. And so I always gave them the option when they became old enough to be bar mitzvahed, to make that choice for themselves, and they all—I have one seven-year-old, so she obviously hasn't got there yet—but my other three all made the decision to become bar or bat mitzvahed.

What I love about that and the teaching they've gotten through that, is that it's a lot about asking questions and a lot of it is open to interpretation. It's real, so I love that. I mean, even the Seder has the questions. There's a lot of participation. It's a very participatory faith, and it encourages young people to be inquisitive and to search and to seek. I also love the sense of community. There's something to having that experience, that communal experience and being in synagogue or church or whatever. It's also been very welcoming to me, being a non-Jew. The Reform Judaism movement has been really welcoming and supportive of me, and I've spoken at gatherings and been involved in seminars with various leaders. It's been a really fulfilling experience.

What inspires you?

I think just every new day, just waking up. I wake up curious every day and every day I'm surprised by something. And if I can just recognize that surprise every day and say, "Oh, that's a new thing, that's a new gift that I got today that I didn't even know about yesterday," it keeps me going. It keeps me more than going. It keeps me enthusiastic and grateful.

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