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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.

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  • 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!

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