Best Jewish Characters on TV

by | Mar 22, 2019 | Hillel Ontario, Uncategorized | 0 comments

It’s always a pleasant surprise to see Jewish characters on major television series. We instantly feel a connection to them and enjoy the Jewish references, such as Shabbat dinners and Jewish holidays. Over the years, we have been introduced to a number of memorable Jewish television characters in both starring and supporting roles. Here are some of our favourites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Midge Maisel

Set in the 1950s, Midge Maisel is a young Jewish woman living on the Upper West Side in New York City. After her husband leaves her, she tries to pursue a career as a comedian. The show provides us with many familiar Jewish traditions, such as Shabbat dinners, breaking the fast at Yom Kippur, going to shul, and eating corned beef at a deli .

Broad City – Ilana and Abbi

Ilana and Abbi are two Jewish girls living in New York, trying to figure out life in their twenties. In fact, Ilana Glazer who portrays Ilana, and Abbi Jacobson who portrays Abbi, are both Jewish comedians and they co-write the show. This show will have you laughing and saying, “This is me!” . One of the most talked about episodes is their flight to Israel on a Birthright trip.

Friends – Ross and Monica

Ross and Monica are one of the most popular television siblings of all time. In a classic episode, The One with the Holiday Armadillo, Ross dresses as an armadillo to teach his son Ben about Hanukkah.

New Girl- Schmidt

Let’s be honest, Schmidt was definitely the highlight of New Girl. Although he is self-absorbed, his humour and quirkiness make him a loveable character. Schmidt is known for expressing his Jewish pride. His conversations always include references to Judaism, such as suggesting the name Mordecai as a baby name, creating a JDate profile, and one liners like “Baruch atah adonice dress!” Max Greenfield who portrays Schmidt is quite open about being Jewish and shared in an interview that the theme for his Bar Mitzvah was Saturday Night Live.

The O.C – Seth Cohen

Who can forget nerdy heartthrob Seth Cohen? He was the memorable Jewish character on The O.C. and coined the phrase “Chrismukkah”- a combined celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah. Adam Brody who portrays Seth was raised in a Jewish family and celebrated the High Holidays and had a Bar Mitzvah.

Here are a few more notable Jewish characters:
Ari Gold- Entourage
Rachel Berry- Glee
Jerry Seinfeld- Seinfeld
Tommy Pickles- The Rugrats
Harry Goldenblatt- Sex in the City
Grace Adler – Will & Grace
Larry David- Curb Your Enthusiasm

As new shows are developed, we hope to see more Jewish characters being reflected in a positive light. Who are your favourite Jewish characters on TV?

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario welcomes University of Toronto’s recent launch of a new Anti-Semitism Working Group. The Working Group will review programming, activities, processes, and practices in place at the University of Toronto’s three campuses and develop recommendations to support the University’s response to antisemitism.

“The establishment of a working group focused on antisemitism is a much-needed measure for the University of Toronto,” said Rob Nagus, Senior Director, Hillel UofT. “Too often, Jewish students who have faced antisemitism on campus have felt that their serious concerns around anti-Jewish hate were dismissed. Given the positive impact of recent anti-racism initiatives on the campus community, it is incumbent on our institutions to also address the unique challenges inherent to combating antisemitism.”

“Across the nine campuses we serve, Hillel Ontario is committed to working with all university administrations to champion the voices of Jewish students,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO, Hillel Ontario. “We look forward to supporting the work of the University of Toronto by ensuring these voices are heard and acknowledged. Doing so will help the Working Group better understand how contemporary antisemitism manifests on campus.”

Hillel International Honours Hillel Ontario

Hillel International Honours Hillel Ontario

Hillel International recently honoured outstanding Hillels and Hillel professionals for creating innovative Jewish experiences and meaningful connections throughout the pandemic.

Among those recognized was Hillel Ontario, and its Chief Campus and Education Officer, Rabbi Seth Goren.

As a whole, Hillel Ontario – the largest regional Hillel in the world – was honoured with The Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz Innovation Award. This recognition is awarded to a Hillel for its creation of innovative processes that refresh, reinvent or revolutionize the relationships, communities and experiences helping students engage in Jewish self-authorship, or for helping staff improve the impact of their work by encouraging reasonable and calculated risk-taking, exploration, and curiosity.

In addition, Rabbi Seth Goren was honoured with The Richard M. Joel Exemplars of Excellence Award for his passion and outstanding devotion to the Jewish campus community, for enriching the lives of Hillel students and for ensuring that the organization reflects a culture of excellence.

I am privileged to work with such a talented, caring, and resilient group of campus professionals, led by Rabbi Seth Goren” said Hillel Ontario CEO, Marc Newburgh. “While confronted with so many significant challenges, this team has done an incredible job inspiring, supporting and empowering our students, creating meaningful and reimagined opportunities for connection that amplify Jewish campus life.”

About Hillel International
Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

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