troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Informed Judaism
This character is Jewish. How do we know?

Well, remember when the show did the Christmas Special? And there was that Aesop about diversity and the other holidays in December? And she was shown with a menorah lighting candles? But then again, you never see her observing Passover, or the High Holy Days.

Fine, but then there was that episode about pork and how she keeps Kosher? Despite the shrimp cocktail and cheeseburger she had for dinner.

OK what about her Bat Mitzvah? You know, the characters were confused by the whole thing, and how they learned about her traditions. Which never got mentioned before or since.note 

And that's the problem. A character who practices Informed Judaism will perform acts that most people can recognize as being Jewish, in contrast to the non-Jewish characters, but they don't show any more subtle signs of Judaism, even for an assimilated Jew, even the cultural aspect. Their Judaism becomes an Informed Attribute. The characters listed on this page are Jewish because the writers tell us, they don't show us, possibly because You Have to Have Jews.

This is a trope that pops up in a number of Western Animation Christmas Episodes; due to the nature of the shows' audience, the powers that be will want to place An Aesop in to show that the characters keep a diverse set of friends or peers. As a result, a character's Judaism is mentioned at some point in the episode, or perhaps a menorah will just be shown in the background, in order to keep up that diverse appearance. After all, who really knows what other religiously affiliated holidays are celebrated by a large enough group of people in the mid to late period of December? This will in fact be the only mention of religion throughout the episode (if not the series) , as Christmas itself (assuming the name is used at all) will not be depicted as having any religious significance, but rather just be a "Warm, Feel Good Time", thus making this revelation of a major character feel shoehorned in. This is also despite the fact that since the Jewish calendar is a lunar one, there is no guarantee that Hannukah and Christmas will in any way overlap: Hannukah could be completely over way before Christmas starts.

Of course, there is a place between Informed Judaism and Anvilicious. A character doesn't need to shout "Oy, how meshuggenah, a golem! I'm ferklempt!" to be non-informed Jewish, and likewise, not every character who has a Chanukkah Special is informed. It's more of a gestalt of the sense of the character. Yiddish as a Second Language, for example, can be a clue...though, of course, pushing any element too far lands you back here.

This has an element of Truth in Television: Some Jews in countries where they've been able to assimilate increasingly practice their religion only on the most important holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), and only celebrate Chanukah to have a winter holiday. They don't keep Kosher or observe the Sabbath. A practitioner of Reform or Reconstructionist Judaism — quite common in America — is especially likely to disregard most forms of Jewish ritual, including the Kosher laws. "High Holy Days Jews" are the Jewish equivalents of "Christmas-and-Easter Christians." That said, even many of these still show the cultural aspects of Judaism, often missing from these characters.

It is also true that Jews are not only people who practice Judaism. Generally, in modern secular usage, Jews include three groups: people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion, those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage (sometimes including those who do not have strictly matrilineal descent), and people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and therefore are followers of the religion. Therefore, someone can be a Jew and no one else would know unless they asked. Many Jews do not do any religious rituals, and some even have Christmas trees ("Chanukkah bush").

This has occasionally sparked controversy, in cases of religious figures in other religions who have explicitly claimed Jewishness via ancestry. A particularly well-known recent example is the late French Cardinal Lustiger, the former archbishop of Paris and a son of Polish Jews (his mother was killed during the Holocaust). He described himself as a "fulfilled Jew" all his life and maintained Jewish customs even as a Roman Catholic clergyman (he was known to recite Kaddish for his mother at a synagogue even after he became a cardinal, for example). Still, he was subject to much criticism by both Jewish and Christian groups.

Fan Fiction often subjects these characters to extreme Flanderization.

It should be noted that speculating on whether or not someone is really a Jew (if they're patrilineal, a convert, or secular, for example) in real life is a big no-no, especially if the person doing the speculating is themselves not Jewish. There's a reason why this list has no real life examples.

Contrast Ambiguously Jewish, where a character displays stereotypically Jewish traits, but is never referred to as such; halfway between these two is reality. Compare Raised Catholic, which shares some characteristics with this trope.

Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The young woman in this commercial for the Koolanoo Jewish social networking site is wearing a Star of David.(mildly NSFW)

     Anime and Manga 
  • Benny of Black Lagoon is Jewish. It's first mentioned in the second volume, where the crew of the Black Lagoon encounter a Neo-Nazi boat. Other than that? We're talking about a sea pirate who drinks, smokes and, more prominently, who works with and for criminals, local mafias, smugglers and drug dealers on a daily basis.
  • A significant portion of the Pokémon fanbase has decided that Meowth of Team Rocket is Jewish, mainly because the most popular VA in the English dub gave him a fairly heavy New Yawk accent.
  • For a non-Jewish example, Sousuke Sagara of Full Metal Panic! is an informed Muslim. He was raised by Mujahedin in Afghanistan (Or it's Expy in the anime), who instructed them in their faith, but he isn't seen praying towards Mecca and sees no problem with eating pork if that's what's available. He doesn't drink, but only because he doesn't want to impair himself with alcohol, and later on because he can't have it after sustaining serious damage to his liver, not for religious reasons.

     Comic Books 
  • Legion of Super-Heroes has Colossal Boy.
  • A few years ago, Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four happened to mention that he's Jewish, and he is seen praying in Hebrew (which he admittedly stumbles through) when he thought a beloved store owner in his old neighborhood was dying. Since Ben was always a gentle self-caricature of Jack Kirby, who was Jewish, this makes sense, and the fans seem to be fine with it. But it still seemed to come out of nowhere after all these decades of never mentioning it.
    • The in-universe reason that Ben never brings it up is that he didn't want his appearance to be used as an excuse for anti-semitic propaganda.
    • Interestingly, a short story from a Marvel Christmas Special comic book a few years prior to this reveal had Ben Grimm dicussing the difference between Christmas and Hanukkah with a little Jewish girl. This story seemed to imply that Ben is not Jewish himself.
  • Similarly, during his long run as writer on Incredible Hulk, Peter David decided that long-time supporting character Doc Samson is Jewish, although it had never been mentioned before. As the Biblical Samson was an Israelite, this makes a lot of sense.
  • According to Elliot S! Maggin, the Pre Crisis Lex Luthor is ethnically Jewish, although certainly non-practicing. Maggin himself is Jewish, and always had a slightly more tragic/sympathetic take on Luthor than other writers of the period.
  • Other informed Jews from DC Comics: The Atom (Ray), and the Sandman (Wesley).
  • Other informed Jews from Marvel Comics: Iceman, Justice (Vance), Legion, Moon Knight, Sasquatch, the Two-Gun Kid, Volcana, and Wiccan.
  • Averted with Kitty Pryde. While the generally atheist Wolverine was unable to drive Dracula off with a makeshift cross, Kitty's Star-of-David pendant burned Dracula's hand, due to the fact that she possessed true faith. (Unlike most stories where it's merely the cross that repels vampires, in the Marvel universe, it really is the religious faith, regardless of the symbol displayed, that actually does the trick.) A number of other stories also make use of her Jewish faith.
  • Generally averted for Marvel characters who are also mutants. The theme of being persecuted for two things tends to make it more-than-informed. Magneto, for example, is not only explicitly Jewish, but survived Auschwitz.

     Film 
  • Chunk in The Goonies.
    Chunk: In fourth grade, I stole my uncle Max's toupee and I glued it on my face when I was Moses in my Hebrew School play.
    • He's also mentioned "old Hannukah decorations" when checking out Mikey's attic, and he's heard reciting Hebrew when his Oh Crap face shows upon seeing Jake Fratelli in the vehicle he just got down waving down.
  • Gretchen from Mean Girls mentions receiving Hanukkah gifts.
  • Mickey from the Rocky movies. There is no hint of this until his funeral in Rocky III.
  • While the Basterds themselves of Inglourious Basterds are identified as being of Jewish descent, they don't appear to be practicing Jews and aren't that much different from the Americans, which has been criticized by some reviewers.
  • In the film adaptation of Puckoon, the towns doctor (named Goldstein) is introduced by the narrator as being so Jewish that even at a party attended solely by Jews, people would still ask "who's that Jewish looking fellow over there?". Despite this, his only "Jewish" characteristics are complaints about somebody owing him money, and having to hide his identity as an Irish Nationalist, not because the British might see him as a terrorist, but because other Jews would frown on him collaborating with Catholics.
  • Dr. Berger, Conrad's psychiatrist in both the book and film of Ordinary People. His name and mannerisms are Jewish, as is the actor who plays him (Judd Hirsch). His being Jewish is explicitly mentioned only once, in a scene where he's not present, when at a Jarrett family Christmas Conrad's maternal grandmother mentions it in a tone that implies some disapproval.
    • To be more specific, the grandmother asked if he was Jewish. The mother replied that she wasn't sure, and that he could just as easily be a Gentile of German descent.
  • In Food Fight!, the protagonist Dex Dogtective is revealed to be Jewish at literally the very end of the movie, after the credits have started to roll. The only reason for this seems to be to set up a godawful "S'oy vey!" pun.
    • Apparently, all mascots of kosher foods (like Dex's raisins) are Jewish, meaning a lot of the characters also fit under this trope.
  • In-universe for Bobby Mason in The Deal who is implied to have converted for the sake of headlines, and doesn't really know much about the religion past the obvious bits.
  • Mac and Jimmy in Neighbors.

     Literature  
  • Abby, in The Baby-Sitters Club, is Jewish and does get a Bat Mitzvah, but apart from it being mentioned about her as a stated fact ("Abby is Jewish"), it gets little attention. Dawn also mentions in one book that one of their sitting charges, Nancy Dawes, is Jewish; it actually had relevance to the plot because it was the Very Special Episode book about racism.
  • Animorphs has both Jake and Rachel as this; their Judaism was rarely ever mentioned and wasn't really connected to anything else.
    • There are several smaller hints, particularly from Jake, if you notice the descriptions of his family dinners. In this case it's more a function of the stories themselves because we never get any reference to holidays for any of the other characters either. In fact all we know about any of the other characters' faiths is that Cassie's family has a pastor and that Marco's mother sang in the church choir.
    • Rachel may not be Jewish herself. In Elfangor's Secret, she only says that her father (through whom she is related to Jake) is.
  • Captain Underpants, as shown in book five where his Secret Identity has a Jewish wedding.
  • Pretty Little Liars has Hanna, who is revealed to be Jewish in Pretty Little Secrets
  • An in-universe example in A Wolf In The Soul. Greg's parents are Jewish, but as he slowly becomes religious over the course of the book he starts to see their lackadaisical attitude towards religion in this light.

     Live Action TV  
  • Willow Rosenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jewish name, check. Talks about her very observant father (who won't even let her watch A Charlie Brown Christmas) as she nails crosses to her wall note , check. Responds to "what are you doing for Christmas" with "Being Jewish. Duh." And...that's it. In seven seasons, she only ever does one thing that's a Jewish custom or practice without a neon sign blaring "Jewish! Different!" And let's not get started on the whole "Wicca/witch/magic" thing.
    • That one thing, by the way, is placing a small rock on a headstone she visits. That's a Jewish custom.
    • Willow's mother appears in Season Three, and she seems more of a Straw Feminist than an observant Jew as her parents were previously suggested to be. Willow's mother analyzes her daughter's magic use in terms of psychology (until everyone turns into a crazy witchhunter) and gives no hint that it might conflict with their religion. In fact, the mother never mentions Judaism at all.
    • Tiny Jewish Santa! Season five. They only seem to remember when Christian-norming comes up—but then, since Willow is distinctly non-practicing, when else would it come up? Some demon that doesn't want to use Jewish blood for a sacrifice? Talk about an awkward thing to air.
  • In a rare hard sci fi set in the future example, Susan Ivanova in Babylon 5 is explicitly Jewish. While she doesn't keep kosher (she is seen happily eating bacon and not even thinking whether alien food items are acceptable), her religious beliefs are central to the show: for example, she is explicitly seen lighting menorah in a meaningful scene wrapping up Season 2 (appropriately titled "Fall of Night," echoing the original Chanukka story in a way).
    • It's important to note that Ivanova, at least in the beginning of the show, doesn't practice Judaism very much. She even admits to her family Rabbi that she's "not a Jew" anymore in a first Season episode. The menorah lighting in the second season seems to suggest that she rethought her position since them.
  • Brenda Song in both the Made for TV movie Stuck in the Suburbs and The Suite Life of Zack and Cody; in both she mentions celebrating Chanuka (though in The Suite Life she just says, "And give up on 8 days of presents, are you nuts?"). In Stuck In The Suburbs, she mentions having a Bat Mitzvah.
    • Sometimes on The Suite Life (more frequently in On Deck), she acts and talks like an old Jewish woman.
    • It's implied London isn't Jewish, she's just selfish and likes the presents aspect of the holiday.
  • In Lucky Louie, the priest asks Kim if she would like to make a confession, and she replies, "No, I'm Jewish."
  • Square Pegs Muffy Tepperman, and Marshall Blechtman both mentioned being Jewish and having a Bat and Bar Mitzvah respectively.
  • Even Stevens had an obligatory Chanukah special, "Heck of a Hanukkah". It is mentioned that the mother is Jewish and they celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.
  • Both Sarah and Laura Silverman on The Sarah Silverman Program are mentioned as being Jewish several times. "You know who else is a kike? Me, and Laura, and Albert Einstein."
  • Ross from Friends cares enough about Judaism that he tries to teach his son about how great Chanukah is, but rarely ever shows any interest in the faith otherwise.
    • His sister, Monica, is only referred to as Jewish twice: once, she mentions having had a Bat Mitzvah, and later, Chandler explicitly says to her, "You're Jewish!" when she laments that she did not choose to be a reverend for her career (she refers to it as a "technicality"). We never see her celebrate Chanukah (and we do see her celebrate Christmas) or make any other reference to her Judaism.
      • To be fair, there are "Jewish" Christian clergymen who insist on their (cultural) Jewishness. See Cardinal Lustiger above.
    • However, when Ross and Monica visit their parents, and we see the outside of the Gellers' front door, they have a mezzuzah, which is something Jews affix to the doorposts of their homes, and also something few non-Jews would recognize. There is a Christmas episode where the gang attempts to do a Secret Santa. Ross initially draws Monica and tries to trade with someone else because he already got her Hanukkah gifts. Throughout the show, it is strongly implied, although it is never stated, that Ross and Monica's father is Jewish, but their mother is not (this is the case with the actors playing them), and they grew up in a home where holidays from two different traditions were observed.
    • Monica often wears a necklace with a star of David.
    • This conversation when Ross takes a Bible from a hotel:
    Chandler: "Beside's its a New Testament, what are you gonna do with it?"
    Ross: "Learn about... Jesus."
    • Monica and Chandler's wedding procession followed the traditional Jewish style—both the bride and the groom are walked down the aisle by both of their parents.
  • Seinfeld does this on occasion but always subverts it. A conversation about circumcision indicates it never happened to Jerry. They are friends with a rabbi because he lives in their building. They are never seen doing anything religious. Elaine is explicitly mentioned not to be Jewish. The implication is that they're descended from Jews and live in a Jewish neighborhood but don't follow the religion themselves.
    • Kramer is seen eating bacon which he's cooked in and is eating out of Jerry's frying pan, and given Kramer's propensity to steal food from Jerry, it's implied that neither of them care about whether something is kosher or not.
    • It is known that Jerry is Jewish, he's just non-practicing, but he comments in one episode after a faux-pas asking a Chinese-American postman where the nearest Chinese Restaurant was, he commented "If someone asks me where Jerusalem is, you don't see me flying off the handle!" And while Frank Costanza is a first-generation Italian-American, Estelle is heavily implied to be Jewish as well. Kramer argued vigorously against circumcision, so it can be expected that he is not.
      • Kramer says he isn't Jewish in the same episode Elaine did.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, on many occasions. The only thing is that Larry doesn't seem to take his religion particularly seriously, whereas the other characters do. He was (for a time) married to a Christian woman and the differing religions had no effect on their relationship.
  • Power Rangers S.P.D.: On receiving his new Cool Bike, Jack declares it's like Christmas come early. Bridge (who also got a new bike) answers that, since he's Jewish, it's more like Chanukah came early. This is the only time Bridge mentions he's Jewish during the series — and he impressively manages to tell us this information in the most ham-handed way possible.
    • Mind you, this is how we learn everything about Bridge, such as his love of buttery toast. It would have been distinctly out of character for him to mention his religion in a context compatible with a kosher diet.
  • All the members of the Fine family, from The Nanny.
    • On the other hand, she acted so stereotypically like a Jewish-American Princess the show was almost a Jewish minstrel show.
  • Gordo from Lizzie McGuire. In the episode where this is most present, he up and decides to become a Bar Mitzvah — forget the years of studying that this actually requires.
    • Probably more important is the fact that you become a Bar Mitzvah (meaning you, and not your parents, are now responsible for your conduct according to Jewish law) automatically when you turn 13 (or a Bat Mitzvah when you're 12). The ceremony that people generally call a "Bar/Bat Mitzvah" is just the kid's first aliyah, or public Torah reading.
  • You wouldn't have known Jody from The Puzzle Place was Jewish until its holiday episode (also featuring Kwanzaa!). Given the show about a Five-Token Band of puppets this isn't too surprising.
    • Actually, they did an episode about Passover before the holiday episode.
  • Paul, Kevin's best friend in The Wonder Years, has a Bar Mitzvah in one episode, in which we also meet his grandfather who reminisces sentimentally about life in the "Old Country" and gives him a family heirloom prayerbook. In a Christmas episode, we briefly hear him and Kevin argue over whether Christmas or Hannukah brings in the most presents. Otherwise, Paul's religion is never mentioned.
  • Wilson and Cuddy from House. Wilson mentions he is Jewish but nonobservant in the pilot, and even has to be reminded that he is Jewish in a Christmas Episode. Cuddy's religion mostly comes up when House makes fun of her. In the case of Cuddy, this follows the actor; Robert Sean Leonard does not appear to have any Jewish background.
    • It's actually lampshaded when House picks Cuddy apart for having a traditional Jewish naming ceremony for her daughter while not observing other Jewish customs.
  • Chuck from Pushing Daisies is mentioned a few times as being Jewish, yet she manages to make her way through two Christmas specials without even mentioning Chanukah. It is possible that the only reason she was defined as Jewish at all is to explain why she wasn't embalmed.
  • John Munch in Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has mentioned Judaism on occasion but insists that "the only thing Judaism and I have in common is we don't like to work Saturdays". He has, however, displayed knowledge of the Torah and the Kaddish and appears to hail from a conservative Jewish community. Both the actor who played him (Richard Belzer) and the real-life inspiration are Jewish as well.
  • Community has Annie, whose Judaism, while it isn't a huge part of her character, has been mentioned several times since the Christmas episode is was first referenced in.
    • Annie's Judaism is very much an informed trait that isn't portrayed well. There's even an episode where Annie objects to being referred to as "a Jew" and says that you need to use the full word "Jewish". That's incorrect. Although using the word "Jew" as a verb or an adjective is offensive, using it as a noun is standard usage.
      • This is less a matter of Annie thinking you absolutely have to use the term "Jewish" and more a matter of Annie pointing out that saying "she's a Jew!" in an argument sounds kinda bad. Which it sorta does...
  • Rachel and Puck on Glee are both Jewish. For Rachel, it's completely informed (a few times, actually), but for Puck, he makes mention of his family's Simchat Torah tradition of Chinese food and Schindler's List (they're shown eating pork, but then, not all Jews are kosher). Puck then proceeds to hook up with Rachel mostly because she's "a hot Jew". Later, Puck mentions going to Temple with his grandmother as if it were an uncommon thing for him to do, which fits with his mostly bad-boy persona.
    • That's a weird tradition for Simchat Torah. That's more appropriate to Tisha B'Av, or Yom HaShoah. Sounds like the writers threw darts at a list of Jewish holidays.
    • Interesting, while Rachel's Judaism continues to be almost completely informed (wanting her hypothetical future children to be raised Jewish is presented as an instance of her 'controllist' tendencies rather than a genuine religious choice, and she both gives and accepts Christmas presents despite not celebrating Christmas with her fathers), Puck is implied to have a developing - if still somewhat shallow - involvement in his religious community as the series goes on, in tune with his redemption arc. By episode 2x18 he's going to temple often enough that he's spotted a pattern of girls turning up with new noses shortly after their sixteenth birthdays.
  • Matt Albie on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Made funnier (and lampshaded) in The Christmas Show, where he is the one pushing doing a Christmas show while others are lukewarm at best to the idea.
  • Ziva on NCIS is a former Israeli Mossad agent and wears a Star of David.
  • Charlotte on Sex and the City converted to Judaism.
  • George in Being Human is really only shown as Jewish through the Star of David he wears and the few times he mentions it. He became unobservant after being bitten, since he felt that Judaism frowned on being a werewolf. George's father is not Jewish, as we see a vicar giving his burial rites.
  • The American remake of Being Human has Josh the werewolf, who has about as little faith as his British counterpart.
  • Parodied in 3rd Rock from the Sun. The Solomons, after attempting to decide their ethnicity, eventually just figure they should be Jewish because their landlady assumed they were, based on their last name. Being aliens living undercover on Earth of course, they know nothing about the culture in the slightest and it never comes up again.
    • It actually does come up several times, but in only minor instances (like Harry and Dick trying to Hand Wave Dick's attempted kidnapping with a large sack as a Jewish wedding tradition: The Sacking Of The Groom.)
  • Blair Sandburg in The Sentinel. Mentions that his Swiss Army Knife was a Bar Mitzvah present, and when a guest in the apartment he and Jim share asks if there are any pork chops he says, "Yeah, right next to the whale meat!" But he doesn't seem to observe any other Jewish customs; of course he was raised by a flower child mother and is a cultural anthropologist by training. . .
  • Power Rangers Zeo had a Christmas Episode where a special guest character celebrated Hanukkah. Being An Aesop, they were all hit with the bias blaster and became ethnocentric. Tanya of course celebrated Kwanzaa, despite actually being from Africa.
  • Mr. Hooper of Sesame Street was Jewish. The only reason the audience ever knew this is because in the early 80s, a Christmas Special was filmed called "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street," and Bob wished Mr. Hooper a happy Hanukkah. He was also shown as able to read Yiddish in an episode.
    • Also, Moishe the Oofnik, the grouch on the Israeli version of the show, Shalom Sesame, is explicitly said to be Oscar's cousin.
    • In recent years, the Bear family has taken up the Hanukkah ball, with Baby Bear showing Elmo how to spin a dreidel.
  • This trope appears in — of all things — the 2008 Muppets Christmas Special, A Muppet's Christmas: Letters to Santa. Zoot, saxophonist for the Electric Mayhem, shows up for the Christmas Eve celebration toting a menorah and greets the hostess with a calm "Shalom." Floyd the guitarist observes the menorah and remarks that he'd never been aware that Zoot was Jewish.
  • Powerful TV producer (and major prima donna) Alan Brady on The Dick Van Dyke Show was implied to be Jewish here and there (and, interestingly, was portrayed by real-life Jew Carl Reiner, who also produced The Dick Van Dyke Show itself). In one episode, Rob, Buddy, and Sally have him stay after work to discuss something with him, and he offhandedly complains that he's late for a bar mitzvah ceremony.
  • Max Blum on Happy Endings never displays any knowledge of Judaism or follows Jewish customs. However given that Max is established as extremely lazy, simple-minded and slothful (ruling out him going kosher), this is very much justified. The only thing that hints at is his more clearly jewish parents, a minor nod to him celebrating Hannukah (or probably more accurately just wanting gifts), and his Hebrew tattoo (which is actually actor Adam Pally's, who is also Jewish), and once giving a Shout-Out to Fiddleronthe Roof.
  • Sandy Cohen from The O.C. is Jewish but other than having a sterotypical Jewish Mother his Judaism is only infrequently mentioned. Curiously his son Seth, who is half-Jewish (his mother is Christian and he was reared with elements of both faiths) is far more vocal about identifying as Jewish and was delighted when his girlfriend mentioned she would be Converting for Love.
  • Invoked and toyed with in Warehouse13. Arthur Nielson, played by Saul Rubinek, is heavily suggested to be culturally (though not religiously) Jewish throughout the shows run. It's revealed quite early on that he was born Artie Weisfelt, and one episode hinges around him selling secrets to the Soviets during the Cold War in order to save his family. It's unclear whether they're family or family (there are a lot of names involved), but he does make reference to the persecution of Soviet Jews, as well as several of his cousins being refuseniks.
    • Then we get the season 2 Christmas special, which which wastes no time whatsoever prominently placing a dreidel beside his photo in the Christmas themed opening credits. Later on in the episode he's reunited with his father, a stereotypical Alter Kocker, and they proceed to have a very Jewish reunion, replete with constant bickering, tales of cousins finally getting married and much Yiddish as a Second Language.
    • However, they still never openly state they're Jewish. The closest they come is at the very end of the episode, when Arties father refers to Claudia (a fellow worker at the warehouse) as "that annoying gentile", before she recites Sheva Brachot (a completely unrelated wedding blessing).
    • Episode 3 of Season 4 it's made explicit when Artie and Leena have to a golf course to retrieve an artifact.
  • Subverted in the JAG episode "The Promised Land" where Lieutenant Singer only pretends to be Jewish in order to badger a Marine deserter and convert who had joined the IDF. Her first chair Commander Turner calls the bluff by testing her knowledge of Judaism.
  • In Law & Order, this trope is part of a plot where a suspected murderer claims to be Jewish so he can seek asylum in Israel. To solve the matter, Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael contests his Jewish status before a Rabbinical council for a ruling. Thanks in part to her charmingly earnest courtesy to the Rabbis, and the fact that the accused never took a ceremonial bath as part of an official conversion and has not been living what they considered to be a Jewish lifestyle, the council rules that the man is not Jewish.
  • In-Universe example: In All in the Family, Archie had no idea his best friend and co-worker Stretch Cunningham was Jewish until he was handed a black yarmulke at Stretch's funeral.
  • Nora Walker on Brothers and Sisters. Often shown cooking non-Kosher (e.g. scallops wrapped in bacon) and loves hosting all the festivities of Christmas. Partly justified in that she is not very religious and her husband was a Christian, so observing Jewish traditions was not a big part of her life. Her brother Saul is a milder version. He occasionally mentions his rabbi, but never seems to question Nora's meal choices.
  • David on The New Normal admits to being of a secular mindset and celebrates Christmas with his Catholic husband, up to and including how to baby-proof their Christmas tree.
  • On Alphas, the only indication we get that Red Flag leader Anna Levy is Jewish is her last name along with her headstone bearing a Star of David.
  • Max Bergman of Hawaii Five-0 has never been referenced as Jewish on the show, and shows absolutely zero stereotypical Jewish traits; he does avoid shrimp, but that's due to an allergy, not keeping kashrut. The only way you'd know it at all is if you happened to see an interview with his actor.
  • Josh on The West Wing is Jewish, but aside from saying "Mazel Tov" and getting prickly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it doesn't come up much. Practicing Jew Toby even pokes fun at Josh for being inadequately Jewish:
    Toby: There's an ancient Hebrew word for Jews from Westport; it's pronounced "Presbyterian."
  • Rhoda Morgenstern from The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spinoff, Rhoda. She's mentioned on a few occasions that she's Jewish, but doesn't appear to be practicing. She does confess to still enjoying Hanukkah though. In one episode, she's looking through personals ads and seeing how her name sounds with the last name of the men in the ads. She comes across one guy who's last name is Christian. She quickly rejects that one, stating that her mother would kill her.

     Newspaper Comics  
  • Dick Tracy's sidekick Sam Catchem is Jewish, and always has been, but since it rarely has much bearing on the cases they investigate, it doesn't get mentioned much. The creative team of Mike Curtis and Joe Staton has changed things up a little by having Sam invite the Tracys over for Chanukah.

     Professional Wrestling 
  • Paul Heyman is well-known to be Jewish to wrestling buffs, but one of the only times that came up in Kayfabe was when he tried to claim that video footage showing him conspiring with The Shield (an offense that almost got him fired) was actually of an impostor. "I have a thick New York Jewish accent!" Heyman shouted (as did the "impostor" in the video, but that's neither here nor there). Heyman's Jewishness isn't brought up at other times - which is a little strange, given how universally despised Heyman is and that he could easily use this as a Wounded Gazelle Gambit. ("You just don't like me because you're an anti-Semite!")

     Puppet Shows  
  • One episode of Under the Umbrella Tree (which was set in an apartment in some unnamed city that was most likely New York), had a neighbor (who had never been seen before) show up at Holly's and invite everyone to a Chanukah celebration. He even explained how Chanukah got started, which included a rare non-blasphemous use of the word "God" in Western secular media.

     Theater 

     Web Animation 
  • In the first episode of season 2 of Red vs. Blue, one of the graves for Church and Tex is marked with the Star of David. Word of God refuses to comment on whose grave it is.
  • From Pimp Lando: Darboe being Jewish becomes a Running Gag in later episodes, despite not doing anything differently. Well, OK, he sings "Hava Nagila" once.

     Web Comics 
  • Riff from Sluggy Freelance only mentions his Jewishness when Chanukah rolls around (though he does bring a Star of David with him when he goes vampire hunting).
  • Parodied in Kid Radd, when Kobayashi reveals in a holiday Omake comic that he's part of a Jewish order of Ninja.
  • Choo-Choo Bear of Something Positive is Jewish. We've seen comics that featured pictures of him at his Bar Mitzvah, and one where he and his cousin Twitchy-Hug explained Passover to the audience. Only thing is... Choo-Choo is a cat. A boneless, hairless, gelatinous cat.
  • It's mostly Fanon, since it never comes up in the comic and is based on a joke by the author, but fans of Homestuck have taken Terezi to be Jewgish due to a conversation where she admits to not knowing about "Jegus" (referring to a Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff misspelling). It Makes Sense in Context.
    • Hilariously, it was revealed later on that there was an actual Jesus-analogue in the history of Terezi's world. Terezi's ancestor was one of the followers of an underground cult he inspired after his death. In other words, Terezi is the descendent of an alien Christian.

     Web Original  
  • In Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the fact that Diamond is Jewish only came up in a single story (in which she was trying to adopt an orphaned girl), and was never mentioned again except in a much-later story where we meet her father, and he's a complete [[Alter Kocker]].
  • Fractious, in the Whateley Universe. Known to swear in Yiddish. When she goes with school friends from Whateley Academy for Christmas, Loophole's mother tries to make latkes for her. They don't turn out well.

     Western Animation  
  • The Simpsons: Dolph Starbeam, Duffman (or one of them at least, given that there are multiple similar-looking actors), and Artie Ziff have been identified as being Jewish.
    • Don't forget Krusty, who was the first one to be identified as such, and had an entire episode revolving around it (where the whole concept of "bar mitzvah" is once again done wrong).
  • Tish from The Weekenders Implied by her having Eastern European parents, getting a type of Bat Mitzva at 12 and 1/2, which is the usual age for girls in reform and many conservative temples. (For some reason they don't call it a bat mitzva), and has a great uncle named Moishe (forgive my spelling). Stated in the holiday special, where it is revealed that she celebrates Chanuka.
    • It should be pointed out that one early episode has her celebrate Lent, and the fans seem to have a Broken Base on whether she is Catholic or Jewish.
  • Sam from Danny Phantom — her religious identity is only ever mentioned in the Christmas Episode. It's even worse with her parents who fill the mold of stuck-up WASPs. Though this can be considered a case of Reality Is Unrealistic in that there are many Jewish people who act like WASPs (hence the Jewish-American Princess stereotype).
  • Arnold from The Magic School Bus. Once again, a Chanukah mention during the Christmas episode is our only clue.
  • Similarly, on Arthur, the Frensky family's Jewishness didn't come out until its holiday episode. They're making up for it since; there's been an episode in which Francine vacillates between a relative's Bar Mitzvah and a bowling match, and another in which she mentions playing on her temple's sports team. Plus, she's attempted a Yom Kippur fast.
    • Francine's family explicitly doesn't follow a Kosher diet so that adds to the fuel.
    • This may be a form of Race Lift. In the source books Francine shows no sign of being Jewish and celebrated Christmas (as she apparently did in early episodes).
  • Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible: his Bar Mitzvah is the focus of an early episode, which gets a Continuity Nod during a Christmas Episode. He obviously doesn't keep kosher.
  • Moishe from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends seems to have been rolled in just to fulfill this trope.
  • Harold from Hey Arnold!. In one episode, he is lectured by his rabbi for stealing a ham, with more emphasis on breaking Jewish dietary restrictions than the theft itself.
    Rabbi Goldberg: But secondly, and most important, you stole a ham. Ham is not kosher - not kosher at all. We don't eat ham. We haven't for 5000 years, and we don't need to
    • In another, he has a Bar Mitzvah (yes, he's in fourth grade, but he was held back). And once, he uses the Yiddish word "kibbitzer" (meaning "person who butts in"). The Bar Mitzvah episode was the first episode anything connecting Harold to Judaism was explicitly mentioned; in fact, in one of the original claymation shorts, he is seen attending church with Arnold and Helga.
  • In a The Mighty B! episode where Bessie and Penny keeps sneaking into Bat Mitzvah parties, we learn that Portia Gibbons is (probably) Jewish when Bessie sneaks into the Bat Mitzvah party of Portia's cousin.
  • Billy wishes the audience a happy Chanukah at the last possible minute in Billy and Mandy Save Christmas claiming that's what they celebrate at his house and rubs in the fact that he gets more presents. This is especially egregious (even to the point of Parody?) since he had been obsessed with Santa Claus and Christmas throughout the rest of the episode.
  • Jude on 6teen showed no signs of being Jewish until one of the Christmas Episodes where he said he had to get home because of Hanukkah. There is some irony that Jude was the name of one of Jesus' friends/apostles (and no, he's not the same as Judas). Not to mention Jude is German for Jew.
  • Kitty from X-Men: Evolution. The only evidence that she's Jewish is a scene of her lighting the menorah in her home in the Christmas Episode... and, of course, being very definitely Jewish in the comic the show was based on.
  • Mipsy in As Told by Ginger mentions transferring funds from a Bat Mitzvah fund in one episode.
  • Pepper Ann, as well as her mother, sister and aunt. Besides her obviously Jewish grandmother, the only other indication of her Judaism is in the Christmas episode. In the Musical Episode her mother sings about cooking pork products for dinner, but it could be that they just don't practice Kosher, and it was All Just a Dream anyway.
  • Regular Show: "The Christmas Special". While not confirmed in any of the dialogue, Muscleman wears a sweater with a picture of a Dreidel on it.


I Have No SonA Nice Jewish IndexIrishman And A Jew
Informed FriendshipInformed AttributeInformed Location
Informed FlawShow, Don't TellInformed Loner
Ambiguously JewishReligion TropesThe Prophet Muhammad
Inferiority Superiority ComplexCharacterization TropesInformed Wrongness
Incompetence, Inc.Administrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Irishman And A Jew

alternative title(s): Only Jewish At Christmas
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
79391
1