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.

  • 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

Interview: Adriana Trigiani of "Big Stone Gap"
Adriana Trigiani really is from a coal mining town in Virginia called Big Stone Gap and the biggest movie star in the world did choke on a chicken bone there. Now if that is not enough to inspire a book and a movie, I don't know what ...

posted 3:31:02pm Oct. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Carolyn Hax on the Toughest Media Question Parents Face
I am a huge fan of advice columnist Carolyn Hax, whose compassionate and insightful responses are always illuminating and often very funny. And I love the witty meta-commentary in the accompanying illustrations from Nick Galifianakis. Today, ...

posted 10:54:14am Oct. 06, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara in "Trash"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0"] ...

posted 8:00:26am Oct. 06, 2015 | read full post »

John Hanlon Interviews Beth Kushnick on Designing for "The Good Wife"
"The Good Wife" has one of the best production design teams on television, so I was especially interested to read the interview my friend John Hanlon did with Beth Kushnick, set designer Beth Kushnick for The Credits. I loved the way she ...

posted 2:58:59pm Oct. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: "Back in Time" -- Documentary About the Making of "Back to the Future"
[youtube][/youtube] ...

posted 8:00:15am Oct. 05, 2015 | 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.