As a proud Jew, I decided to create this top ten list of Jewish celebrity role models. Qualifications for this top ten list required more than just being part of the Jewish faith. This list does not include celebrities with a criminal history or those who are anti-Israel. These celebrities are philanthropists, good role models and people you would proudly want to invite to your Shabbat dinner table without scaring your mother-in-law:
- Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg is not just a Hollywood director who famously directed Schindler’s List. He is also the creator of Holocaust memorial programs and a noted philanthropist who supports a number of charities and foundations, including American Humane Society, BID 2 BEAT AIDS, Righteous Persons Foundation and USC Shoah Foundation Institute. As well, he has established the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive at Hebrew University.
- Adam Sandler
Sandler’s greatest achievement was the writing of The Chanukah Song so that Jews don’t feel alienated during Christmas festivities. His movie “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” is also an excellent movie that everyone should watch because it paints a somewhat accurate picture of Israeli culture, mannerism and behaviors. Sandler is one proud Jew!
- Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen is the first woman to ever be appointed as chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve. She was also voted No.2 on the Forbes List of the World’s 100 Most Powerful women in 2014. Before assuming her current role in February, 2014, Yellen held the second-highest position on the Federal Board of Governors, Vice Chair, from 2010 to 2014. It’s great to see a Jew and a woman in such a high position and doing good job too.
Pink is not a practicing Jew, but she has Jewish lineage through her mother. Rumour also has it that one of her many tattoos was inspired by her mother’s heritage. It spells out “F****in’ Perfect” in Hebrew. Aside from being a singer-songwriter, she is an animal-rights activist and a prominent campaigner for PETA. She is also involved in several charities, such as Human Rights Campaign, One Campaign Foundation and Save the Children.
- Leiv Schreiber
Defiance was one of the greatest Jewish movies ever and Schreiber’s character in the movie was a true Jewish hero. Schreiber is very proud of his heritage; writing and speaking out about being Jewish. Both of his children were circumcised according to Jewish law.
- Sergey Brin
Together with fellow Jews Larry Page and Craig Silverstein, Brin founded Google, the largest search engine in the world. The Economist refers to Brin as “Enlightenment Man” who believes that “knowledge is always good and certainly always better than ignorance. He is a big supporter of Israel, once visiting the country for Shimon Peres’ 80th birthday. In November, 2009, Forbes Magazine named Brin and Page 5th most powerful people in the world.
- Alan Dershowitz
Dershowitz is a well-respected jurist who served on many high-profile cases, including that of O.J. Simpson. At the age of 28, he became the youngest law professor in Harvard history. After marrying a psychologist from Israel, he also became famous for his advocacy for Israel and commentary on the conflict in the Middle East.
- Ivanka Trump
No, Donald Trump is not Jewish. But his oldest Trump daughter converted to Orthodox Judaism in 2009 in order to marry her now-husband Jared Kushner, and goes by the Hebrew name Yael. The two married a few months after her conversion was complete, in an Orthodox ceremony at the Trump National Golf Course in New Jersey. Ivanka Trump never dwells on scandal and leaves the details of policy to her father. As she said once said, “I’m a businessperson, not a politician, so I’ll leave politics to other members of the family and the many, many people who are involved in the race on both sides.” At campaign events she speaks almost exclusively about her father’s “brilliance, his passion, his work ethic, and his refusal to take ‘no’ for answer.”
- Faye Kellerman
Mystery Novelist Faye Kellerman is a practicing Orthodox Jew and she frequently creates charismatic, role model Jewish characters in her books. She attended UCLA where she earned a B.A. in mathematics in 1974. Four years later she received her doctorate in Dental Surgery degree.
- Jerry Seinfeld
The creator of the most popular sitcom of the 1990s is also Jewish and happens to be an avid automobile enthusiast. He owns one of the most extensive Porsche collections in the world and even rented a hangar at the Santa Monica Airport to store his very expensive collection. In addition to his acting and comedic work, Seinfeld supports various charities including Autism Speaks, Baby Buggy and Exploring the Arts. He is also included on the list because he turned “nothing” into a comedic gold with his sitcom. The sitcom covered all topics from waiting for tables in Chinese restaurant to the importance of shirt buttom placement to getting lost in a parking lot.