Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Top 10 Jewish Movie Characters from Esther Kustanowitz

posted by Nell Minow

Esther Kustanowitz posted her list of the top 10 Jewish movie characters on Idol Chatter. Some are a bit of a stretch — Obi-Wan Kenobi? Melanie Griffith in “A Stranger Among Us?” Aside from the fact that she is only pretending to be a Jew in that film, some people consider that and her performance as a Jew the same year in “Shining Through” to be, well, a shonda (embarrassment to the community).

I would add to this list: Judd Hirsch as the sympathetic psychiatrist in Ordinary People, Meryl Streep as a sympathetic psychiatrist in Prime and as a Holocaust survivor in Sophie’s Choice and as a high-strung food writer in Heartburn, Barbra Streisand as a sympathetic psychiatrist (is there a pattern here?) in The Prince of Tides and as musical comedy star Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (plus Omar Sharif as Nicky Arnstein), Carol Kane as a turn of the century immigrant in Hester Street, Brendan Fraser as the only Jew in the fancy prep school in School Ties, Robin Williams as a club owner named Goldman — or is it Coleman? — in The Birdcage, George Segal as a Jewish cop (and Eileen Heckert as his mother) in No Way to Treat a Lady, Ben Kingsley as a Holocaust survivor in Schindler’s List, Ben Cross as an Olympic athlete in Chariots of Fire, Jessica Tandy as a Southern aristocrat in Driving Miss Daisy, Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein in All the President’s Men, Jennifer Gray as Baby who will NOT be put in a corner in Dirty Dancing, and Woody Allen in just about anything.



  • jestrfyl

    Though the argument against him being “great” can be made, I expect the biggest (and certainly most orange) Jewish character is “The Thing”, Ben Grimm from the Fantastic Four. There are a few other Jewish superheroes, and ther eis a website (the link of which I have long since lost) that lists the various characters and their religious affiliations or leanings.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Ben Grimm is certainly great! Though I think his character is more fully developed in the comic books than the movies. And thanks for suggesting the wonderful religions of superheroes website!

Previous Posts

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin'"
Wishin' and Hopin' is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about creating a score for this nostalgic holiday story. How d

posted 9:40:56am Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.