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Idol Chatter

“We’re always looking for a seder. This year we [she and husband Matthew Broderick] drove four and a half hours to go to a Rosh Hashanah dinner.”
— Actress Sarah Jessica Parker, quoted in “Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish,” by Abigail Pogrebin

I was recently rereading an interview with Sarah Jessica Parker in “Stars of David,” in which the “Sex and the City” actress complained about her complicated relationship with organized Judaism. When she walks into a synagogue, she complained, she feels alienated, like she doesn’t have enough of an education to participate. She also doesn’t seem to have a community to celebrate with, driving hours to get to a dinner for Rosh Hashanah and “always looking for a seder.”

In New York City, where Parker lives with her husband, Matthew Broderick and their son, you don’t have to look far to find a seder. And there’s no reason for SJP or other Jewish celebs to drive five hours for a Rosh Hashanah dinner. My Upper West Side studio may be small, but she, Matthew, and their son are more than welcome at my Rosh Hashanah dinners. If it’s a seder she wants, next year, they’re welcome at my parents’ house in New Jersey for wine, matzah, and various unleavened foods as we read through the Haggadah. In our house, if you don’t understand, we explain. If something we’ve read reminds you of something in your secular life, we listen to what you have to share. We laugh at certain inconsistencies and take a slightly irreverent approach. It’s really quite celebrity-friendly.

But aside from Kabbalah and Scientology–celebrity religions in their own category–I can’t really think of many celebrities who publicly celebrate religious holidays. Sure, there’s commercialized Christmas, with its abundance of holiday episodes of TV shows and Christmas-themed movies. And there’s dressing up for Halloween. But beyond that, it’s hard to think of any celebrities who publicly celebrate religion. I’m sure it happens, but it’s hard to come up with examples.

Is this a consciously strategized PR choice, because they’re afraid they’ll be branded as right-wing, conservative fanatics and pigeonholed into or out of certain projects? Or do they celebrate, but it’s just not publicized? And is it their responsibility as prominent public figures that celebrities represent their religions, if only to provide positive religious role models for the children of the world?

What do you think?

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