Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter

Jill Zarin: Good for the Jews?

Perhaps the best thing about writing for Idol Chatter is that it gives me a chance to confess- I mean, write about – my very guilty TV viewing pleasures. Guilty pleasures like “The Real Housewives of New York City.” In the past two seasons I have been sucked into watching the series because I have loved the friendship between BFFs Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel. Now season three has become all about the dissolution of the two’s friendship, with each accusing the other of betrayal and each not willing to forgive the other for a variety of discretions. All of the housewives are naturally caught up in this relationship drama – deciding if they are on Team Jill or Team Bethenny – and I just can’t look away.
Jill has never been portrayed as unflatteringly as she has this season – sniping, whining, backstabbing in every episode – and the timing couldn’t be worse as she is out hawking her book “Secrets of a Jewish Mother,” an advice book on love and friendship. The book is getting panned by many reviewers and Zarin herself has been accused of allegedly writing her own positive press over at under different pseudonyms. All of which has lead the blogosphere and fans alike to debate the following question: Is Jill Zarin good for the Jews?


It’s a cheeky question first asked by Bravo TV’s Andy Cohen when he interviewed Zarin recently and asked her which celebs she thought were “good for the Jews” in terms of promoting Jewish ideals in pop culture and which celebs have been bad for the Jews by continuing to perpetuate stereotypes of Jews.
Certainly, my opinion of Zarin- and how she represents her religion – has changed. The book doesn’t seem to offer any new or insightful, or even particularly Jewish, advice in many instances. And what respectable advice there is , Zarin certainly doesn’t seem to be following in her own damaged relationship with Bethenny.
And since I am just a Midwest evangelical gal who has a deep appreciation – even if not a completely deep understanding – of Jewish culture and rituals, I throw Andy Cohen’s question out there to Idol Chatter readers: Is Zarin good for the Jews? Or is she now turning into another stereotype of a shrill, overbearing, meddling Jewish mother ? Should we even care about what Zarin has to say as a representative of the Jewish faith and is it actually an offensive question to even be asking? I really want to know, so start a discussion in the comment box below!

  • misspeg

    Jill Zarin = Bad For The Jews

  • MFrazz

    At this point based on what she has done, she is bad for any race. You cannot write a book meant to pass on wisdom based on things you “supposedly” do, when in reality you don’t do at all. No one is perfect, but being a fraud is worse.
    That’s my opinion based on what has been proven she did all for the sake of money and fame.

  • no longer her fan

    BAD for the humans.

  • notafam

    She is a joke
    Crude, classless, loudmouthed and poorly dressed despite her designer clothes

  • Amy

    I wouldn’t presume to judge the Jews based on JZ. This show is a guilty peasure of mine, but the guilty part comes from knowing just how low these gals are. I don’t know the religious background of the others on the show, but I also wouldn’t judge their respective religious or ethnic groups based on their behavior on the program. These people are freaks who really lack any sense of self respect or propriety. That is why they are entertaining. But I sure don’t tell anyone I watch this hornet’s nest of lowlives every week.


    Very BAD for the Jews!

  • Lisa

    One of the reasons I began watching this show was because of Jill’s seemingly warm and friendly Long Island “jap” demeanor. (I’m a Connecticut girl who could relate to her much more than I could relate to any of the Orange County ladies.) But this past summer when press began to report that she was hanging out with Michael Lohan and John Gosselin (What the heck?) I began to realize that she was not, perhaps, who I thought she was.
    Then came her narcissistic, mean, bullying and manipulative behavior of Season 3. So, in the cheeky spirit of Andy Cohen-and not presuming to judge anyone’s religion …, I have to say, “Bad for the Jews!”

  • Candie

    This woman epitomizes hypocrisy.
    She’s a walking contradiction, spewing advice she herself doesn’t subscribe to. Given her deplorable, reprehensible and rude behavior, that she feels “enlightened” enough to dictate or dispense with any type of advice is laughable.
    She’s completely delusional.

  • http://anti-semitic mulicious

    Obviously no good. Where there has been no focus in the controversy, is the fact that she called the negative review’s author “anti-semitic”. Selfish, dangerous, and disrespectful to anyone who has suffered anti-semitism.

  • RHWatcher

    I’m not Jewish so wouldn’t presume to declare what’s good or bad for the Jews but I do think Jill Zarin is an embarassment to women. She’s a trainwreck, an exhibition of disturbing Narcissism at it’s finest, boorish, bullying, unappealing, everything we didn’t see about her in previous seasons. It’s like she’s been overtaken by aliens. Fame? What brought this out in her? But not surprised she’s been hanging with fauxlebrities like Lohan and Gosslein…right in her league.
    Bad for the Housewives!

  • Jewish NYC Woman

    She offends me to the core!
    Yes, she is bad for the Jews, and very bad for New York as well.

  • spanky

    Amy, no one’s saying that the Jewish race should be judged based on Jill’s behavior. The question is whether she reflects poorly on the Jews or not. I say not. Big not.
    I think she had these tendencies all along but this season she has let the fame go to her head and has lost any perspective she might have had. Remember in the first season when she got ridiculously worked up about that tennis match? She was out for blood. It wasn’t even a tournament or anything, if I recall correctly, just a casual tennis date. A sign of things to come? I think so.

  • spanky

    Amy, no one’s saying that the Jewish race should be judged based on Jill’s behavior. The question is whether she reflects poorly on the Jews or not. I say she’s bad for the Jews. Very bad.
    I think she had these tendencies all along but this season she has let the fame go to her head and has lost any perspective she might have had. Remember in the first season when she got ridiculously worked up about that tennis match? She was out for blood. It wasn’t even a tournament or anything, if I recall correctly, just a casual tennis date. A sign of things to come? I think so.

  • Nikki

    Wow… I am not Jewish, but I am a fan of the Real Housewives of NYC. Whatever Jill says in her book is probably what her and her family truly believe in. No one knows her on a personal level, She is on a reality show that is edited specifically to add more and more Drama. No matter what religion we follow or what race or culture, we are not perfect. She was going through certain things in her life and we saw a little tidbit of how she handled things. Cut her some slack, when it comes down to it, its just a show.

  • Shay

    I don’t thinkk she is neccessarly bad for the jews, but she is being protrayed very differently this season. Almost like a mean girl. But I doubt that she is really like that.



  • Keep your pets indoors: Zarin is touring the country

    I get what you are saying but it is not editing when an author is caught calling honest reviewers “anti semitic” and saying their pet should be taken from them. It was in writing and there are screen shots all over the internet. The account she used to do this was created in 1991, with all Zarin’s personal info on it when she added the first gift wish list for Bobby Zarin. So it could not have been created by anyone but Jill. It was under her maiden name, Jill Shapiro, then she changed the profile name in order to write a five star review of her book and, 3 years ago, the Real Housewives DVD saying that Jill was the best housewife. When she changed her screen name to Susan Saunders she forgot that it is still linked to your wishlist, shows your birthday, relatives linked to you, etc, the wishlist for herself, her family, and her daughter. That is how she was caught. When she was caught, she changed her birthday on her facebook page not realizing that it sends a note out to all your “friends” added that says “Jill Zarin changed her birthday”. When that happened, she then deleted her birthday on Facebook so that it couldn’t be compared to the account on Amazon..however, her birthday is still listed on Wikipedia and it matches.
    Ally’s name is Ally Shapiro, just as it says on her Amazon profile.
    She deleted 15 fake five star reviews the day this story broke.
    So…naw, you can’t blame this one on editing. This is what she does in her real life…and no amount of stress should cause someone to threaten a pet, or name call someone as “anti-semitic” who shows zero traits of it and simply didn’t care for the book. Calling someone that when it’s not true only weakens it when it is true and that’s “bad for the Jews”. Plus this reviewer gave a Jewish cookbook 5 stars a few months prior so clearly that proclamation falls flat.

  • eggiesim

    I think everyone has difficult times with close relationships at some point in their lives. How we handle those conflicts may not always be right. So in this case, I won’t judge Jill in her dispute with Bethany. However, I do think playing an old phone message for all to hear is kind of creepy.
    Now for this situation with her book and “Amazongate”, I think it’s unethical to write your own review under a false identity – no question about that. But, the more despicable thing that she did was to attack and threaten Ms. Chandler, the reviewer who gave her a bad review (under the false identity). And even worse, was to call her anti-Semitic. I read the review and it was clearly not anti-Semitic. In fact, the review ends with noting that one good thing about the book was that it introduced people (who are unfamiliar) to the Jewish faith.
    Citing anti-Semitism for your own personal gain is so selfish and damaging. There are cases here in U.S. and all around the world of actual acts of anti-Semitism that should be taken seriously. Statically, they are on the rise and should be of concern. But a bad book review being one of them? I think not.
    I hope next Yom Kippur we see Jill atoning for her behavior.

  • Larry W

    It is scary when the two most bizarre individuals- the Van Kampens at times seem the most sane- but Alexis acting as a mailman for Bethenny makes her a jerk. They are all narcissitic, celebrity craved, Ramona is certifiable, shallow (what is great about the Orange County group- they never pretended to have any substance that did not come with botox or peroxide and revelled in their underachieving offspring)- and this group is just about the worst group of people imaginable. Jill is a sick puppy who hardly lives traditional Jewish values or any other values and in that she is right there with the rest of this ridiculous group who are basically would be c list celebs.

  • Ellen

    Frankly, I do think that TV shows like this one that present a Jewish character who exhibits many of the negative characteristics that are “typical” (according to Western culture) of Jews is NOT good for us. The perpetuation of any stereotype of any religious/racial/national group of people is not good. This is not the only TV show on which these characters appear. Has anyone noticed that on the Law and Order series, the defense attorneys, who are trying to get the obviously guilty defendant out of the charges, is almost always Jewish, with Jewish last names and actors portraying them who “look” Jewish? Jewish men are typically presented as overly assertive, with “flexible” morals and ethics, easily swayed by money, and so on. Jewish women are portrayed as money and status obsessed, overly loud, very pushy, and dominating over their men. Even the orthodox Jews on TV display characteristics that aren’t especially “nice” – dealing diamonds in a dishonest way and so on. I for one am pretty sick of it all, and would like to see Jewish characters who don’t have these stereotypical value systems. When blacks are portrayed stereotypically – such as a black man who is unemployed, drunk, and a criminal, or a young black man who is, of course, a member of a gang and dealing drugs, people often protest. But not so much if Jews are the ones being stereotyped.
    So I do feel that Jill’s character is not good for Jews. Actually I would like to see a really “real” “Housewives of xxxx” show in which the characters are running around in mommy jeans and spotted t-shirts, dragging diaper bags and babies around, going to PTA meetings, dealing with their husbands, and hanging out with their friends as most average people do. But that would have to be on the Comedy Channel, right? I’m sure I’m not the only one to have thought of this idea…
    Good topic; thanks.

  • MarleneEmmett

    I don’t know what kind of a Jew JillZarin is???
    I just now that if you want to be friends with her that you have to
    understand that her friendship comes ‘With strings attached”
    Jill has to be the “Center of attention”Her problems are most important~it doesn’t matter if something is wrong in your life”
    Jill’s problem’s come FIRST. She’s insecure.
    I’m like Ramona~ and sometimes like Jill~but without their bank accounts and stuff.
    When it comes to LuAnn~She’s being very “Un Countless Like”~she’s
    supposed to have manners and stuff. She’s got no class. She’s a gossip
    I hope that Jill and Bethanny make up~You saw how much it hurt Jill
    not to be there for her when she heard Bethanny was pregnant.

  • Joe

    Television continues its moronic ways…turning brains to mush and shallowing people’s personalities.
    Give me a break. A TV exec called television a “vast wasteland” back in 1954! And it’s 100 times worse today.
    Reliatively good shows get cancelled after the first season (“Journeyman,” “Life On Mars,” while the junk (e.g. “Ugly Betty”) keeps going on and on season after season.
    Read books, use your brain to analyze what’s happening in the world, and yes, enjoy a good film once in a while…but there’s very little on the boob tube that’s worth wasting your time with.

  • Jane

    I have been concerned about how horrible Jill Zarin has been and is, despite being Jewish, and the fodder this gives antisemits. There are people in every race, creed, and culture like Jill. I have met them. I have worked for them……..oy vay….working for them is hell, like being in prison. And, they almost always use terms like sweety, sweetheart, honey and darling. Watch out for them, for they are dangerous. Jill is very dangerous. She is s socio-path and she is narcisstic. It is all about her, and she could not put herself in someone else’s shoes even if it was a matter of life or death. PLease, please, non-Jews everywhere, she is the exception, not the rule. She represents herself, not Jewish women. (Non of the other women in this NY group have much of anything to offer us (Alexis is the most humane). I will admit they have far more class and intellet than the Jersey Housewifes……..they will leave you with a dropped jaw!!!

  • Mike

    Jews comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors just like anyone else. Aside from religious practices which are varied and becoming more so there have been regional differences in Europe and the U.S.. The streotypes media portrays are usually New York agressive characters. West coast Jews are portrayed usuually as less moral and always affluent. The recent “A Serious Man” had a nice variety of midwestern personalities. In my own family I think we have the more realistic variety of Jews with jobs running from truck driver to college professor. I did have a cousin (by marriage) who went to prison for illegally selling machine guns.
    The one predominant Jewish value that I rarely see potrayed is to be a good person, a mensch.

  • Marcia

    I love the Housewives
    and speaking of Jewish – dont forget the Jewish vet “Dr. Cindy Bressler” -she was great!!!!

  • Andi

    Jill’s behavior as of late has been reprehensible. She aptly demonstrates how to be a terrible “friend” and seems to be getting worse with each episode. I used to think of Jill as my favorite housewife and related to her no-nonsense approach to life and relished in her friendship with Bethenney, as well as her knack for having the best advice for the rest. Now it seems that her friendship with LuAnn has poisoned her spirit. I wish she would realize how ugly she is being and revert to the same Jill I loved during the first two seasons.

  • Kelly

    Let’s take this with a grain of salt-We all know good and bad characters from every religion and one Jewish housewife should not be representative of all Jews in America or elsewhere! I am a fan of the show and I think each one of them has their positive and negatives—They can all learn a thing or two from one another and that is the great thing about people, friends, communities, -every individual is different and we all have something to offer, at the same time we all have something that needs to be learned….This is quite clear when you watch the show!

  • Brenda

    Was Jill just wonderful for the last two years? WOW. She has a menopausal year, and folks are really beating her up. The fact that she is a Jew is not the point. She’s Jill. Let her grow up already.

  • Helene Rippe

    I enjoy watching Andy Cohen, but personally I do not think that was a needed or appropriate question to ask. I am Jewish, but has been brought up in Cedarhurst, Long Island, NY with parents that taught me(51 years ago), that jewish, white, black, christen, or any set group, that we are all have each type of characters in each group. So , I think the question was not a funny one or needed one.

  • Cookie Rosenblum

    I have been watch RHWOFNY and I can’t remember what the “fight” Jill and Bethany had. Jill was hurt that Bethany never called when her husband Bobby was undergoing Chemo. How about if she called Bethany. True BFF’s don’t stand on ceremony. Bethany telling Jill to get a life was below the belt.They are both guilty of acting like teenage girls. GROW UP. BOTH OF THEM. And Jill, get rid of LuAnn. She is poison. She is a pot stirrer, trouble maker who is not your friend. She gloats on the fact that you and Jill are feuding. She is NOT a BFF.

  • MarleneEmmett

    Supposedly Jill Zarin didn’t really tell anyone about Bobby’s health
    scare~If she wanted syampathy from Bethanney then she should have
    called her and told her!
    In tonight’s episode Jill feels bad at how she treated Bethanney
    and she’s crying. But I don’t know wether to beleive her or NOT
    Good friends have fights all the time~then they move on from whatever
    was causing the fight. Everyone’s got their own lives to lead.
    But I always make time for my good friends.

  • Iris

    Jill’s behavior is out of control this season. The rumor is that Bethanney’s new show, which will debut in June, is what caused the fight between them. “Jill” feels SHE should have had her own show for she was the first one the producers went to. I think we have to judge each person’s personality as is and not put a tag of religion on them. Bethanney is also Jewish as I am too. My personality is definitely not either one. If I don’t like someone, I am still cordial, but I would never stoop down to one’s level as with Jill.
    As one gets older, the wiser one gets…hopefully…Religion has nothing to do with it.

  • amy

    I will actually address your question head on. As a Jewish woman, yes, I think that Jill Zarin represents the very worst stereotype of jews in general and jewish women in particular. Prime example was the interview she did last season with the british press in which she made some absurd allusion to her own money woes during a time when so much of the country was plunged into genuine suffering. She is unabashedly all about money and gossip (in a very particular, new york jewish way) and moving her way to the top while dropping names. Mind you, much of this is not exclusive to Jill Zarin (LuAnn gives WASPS a bad name, from my point of view), but Jill’s style and identification is clearly Jewish New York and, in my opinion, does those others of us who are no favors.

  • Kay

    I became hooked on the Hwooc and then before I realized, I became hooked on all the house wifes.
    I do not enjoy them anymore and plan to stop watching. I get a headache with all the bickering and backstabbing. What kind of friends are these people? Jill has become the most obnoxious of all.The Contesa is a trouble maker and a B….
    I live in Orange County and thank god I have not seen anyone that remotely resembles Vicky.
    I am fedup with all the reality shows.

  • susan

    I do not believe that Jill Zarin can not see what an annoying, idiotic women she really is. I don’t see how anyone could buy her book. Her Mother needs to tell her that she is an embarrassment to the family.
    LuAnn de lesseps needs help too. Just because she married a man with a title doe not make her an aristocrat. She also is humiliating herself.She is sleazy. I feel sorry for her children.

  • Kaliwind

    Jill Zarin isn’t just bad for the Jews, she’s just plain bad news! If she is representative of New York women, I’m glad I don’t live in New York. She is a constant backstabber, name dropper (I doubt she knows any of the people she name drops about), snooty and vicious. I don’t know why she is so snooty. She was a divorced nobody from Long Island who seems to now claim she is a “socialite.” What a joke. She is just vile.

  • Beth

    Jill Zarin is bad for the Jews. And the rest of the folks on the planet as well.

  • Cecelia Self

    Haha am I actually the only comment to this great read!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment joseph crowes

    she’s a NY jew and she acts like it.

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