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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Mayim Bialik’

‘Big Bang’ Star Mayim Bialik Nearly Loses Thumb in Car Accident, Gets Artscroll Siddur from Hospital Rabbi

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Actress Mayim Bialik sustained serious injuries in a car accident in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon, TMZ reported, and sources said the “Big Bang Theory” star is in danger of losing her finger.

It happened on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and La Brea around, when the 36-year-old Bialik, who plays “The Big Bang” regular Amy Farrah Fowler, was traveling alone in a white Volvo and was struck in the intersection by another vehicle filled with tourists from Chile.

Emergency responders raced to the scene, and according to eye witnesses there was “tons and tons of blood everywhere.”

The three occupants of the other car suffered minor injuries and left the scene on their own.

Sources told TMZ Bialik sustained major damage to her left hand and “her finger was almost completely severed … it was just hanging there.”

Bialik was rushed to a nearby hospital where she is being treated.

But a source at the hospital on Wednesday evening told the New York Daily News that while her left hand will not be fully functional during the period of healing, she is going to be fine. She also assured fans via Twitter, “(husband typing) In pain but will keep all my fingers.”

Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Monte Houze told People that the Chilean tourists were not cited or detained after the crash. According to Deadline, Bialik should be able to return to work on the “Big Bang” set today, Thursday.

Bialik also tweeted: “@Maccabeats made me cry. Rabbi at hospital gave me an artscroll. You guys helped me learn to have faith. I need it now and have it! Thx!”

We assume she was referring to an Artscroll prayer book.

Mayim Bialik was recently nominated for an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series.

Sheldon Cooper’s Girlfriend Speaks at National Museum of American Jewish History about her Bat Mitzvah

Monday, March 26th, 2012

The lovely Mayim Bialik, who used to play Blossom on the 1990s TV sitcom by the same name, then played the young Bette Midler in the movie Beaches, and nowadays has become the heartthrob of millions of geeks as neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory – spoke last Sunday at a National Museum of American Jewish History event marking the 90th anniversary of the Bat Mitzvah.

Apparently, the Bat Mitzvah, a synthetic celebration of some vague notion of adulthood in 12-year-old girls, represents—so says the Philadelphia Inquirer—a new and profound idea, “that girls would be treated the same as boys.” This equality was achieved, it turns out, by matching, gift for gift, haftorah for haftorah, overblown bash for overblown bash (you get where I’m getting) that other totally synthetic celebration of equally vague notions of adulthood, the Bar Mitzvah.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Mayim, who confessed to nursing her own little boy, Fred, through age 3 (“I believe in child-led weaning”). I just think she may not be the best advocate for rituals of adulthood…

The awkward girlfriend of the most popular Asperger syndrome patient Sheldon Cooper, told a house packed with 200 approving Jews at the museum’s Dell Theater that she was the first woman in her family to celebrate a bat mitzvah.

“Nearly 25 years later, the intensity of the religious covenant she undertook that day has only deepened,” reports the Inquirer.

It began on somewhat shallower grounds: in Hebrew, her name means “water,” and so water became the theme of her bat mitzvah: “The color scheme of her party was ocean blue. Live goldfish stared from glass bowls on tables. And for the guests, submarine sandwiches.”

How can you argue with this much adulthood rite stuff?

But, just to be fair, Ms. Bialik makes a pretty terrific grownup: In 2007 she earned a doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA, specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes lax muscle tone, cognitive disabilities, and a chronic feeling of hunger that can lead to life-threatening obesity.

And she just published a new book, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way.

And, like I said, I absolutely love her. But the Bat Mitzvah and Bar Mitzvah thing? Never understood either.

Blossoming Into Torah: An Interview With TV’s Mayim Bialik

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009


  Many of us who are children of the ’90s – or who had children in the ’90s – remember the popular television show “Blossom,” which starred Mayim Bialik as a teenager confronting, and trying to survive, adolescence. After years away from Hollywood, Bialik now finds herself back in the spotlight with multiple guest-starring roles on cable and network TV shows. But there’s another, more important part of her life to which Bialik has returned.

 

   Raised as a Reform Jew, Bialik, now 33, has been searching for her place on the spectrum of observant Judaism. And, much like Jewish superwomen everywhere, she wears multiple hats: actress, wife and mother, and Ph.D. in neuroscience. Bialik, who currently makes her home in Los Angeles and is working on developing the “Rashi’s Daughters” books into a miniseries or movie, recently spoke with The Jewish Press.

 

   The Jewish Press: Growing up, what kind of Jewish rituals or traditions were prominent in your home? What kind of Jewish education did you receive when you were younger?

 

   Bialik: I was raised as a Reform Jew but my mother had been raised Orthodox, so we had a lot of remnants from her former level of observance in our own home. We always lit Shabbat candles and my mother made sure to have two sets of dishes in our kitchen. We celebrated Chanukah and Passover. We also went to temple on the High Holy Days. I participated in Board of Jewish Education programs until I was 19, and went to both Jewish camp and Hebrew school at least once a week. Judaism was really a presence throughout my childhood; the main thing missing was an understanding of halacha. I didn’t know why my mother kept two sets of dishes, and the laws of the holidays weren’t really discussed. I began learning about them when I studied further as I got older.

 

   Your grandparents were Holocaust survivors; what role, if any, did their experience play in your later return to Jewish observance?

 

   My grandparents weren’t in the camps, but they did escape from Europe during the Holocaust. My grandmother, who came to Ellis Island at 19, lost half her siblings in the war, and many more of my family members were also left behind. My grandparents were Orthodox and I was always conscious of their observance when I was growing up – they couldn’t eat off the plates in my house, and they walked miles to get to my bat mitzvah ceremony rather than drive there on Shabbos.

 

   What made you decide to pursue acting as a career?

 

   I started going out on auditions when I was 11, after acting in some school plays. Additionally, I saw a lot of theatrical elements within Judaism, such as the chazzan singing in shul. One of my first roles was for the Bette Midler movie “Beaches”; the movie came out the same week I became a bat mitzvah, which was kind of surreal for me.

 

   Has there been an encounter with a celebrity that’s made a particularly strong impression on you?

 

   I’d say it was either being interviewed alongside Michael Jordan, as I was a huge sports fan, or being invited by Bob Dylan himself to attend one of his concerts and meet him backstage.

 

   Have your Jewish values ever conflicted with a role or a specific episode of a show you were on?

 

   I wasn’t terribly observant during the years “Blossom” aired, when I was 14 to 19. I did feel some sort of conflict that we filmed the show on Friday nights, but that time of my life wasn’t centered around Judaism like it is now. I did always get off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which was written into the “Blossom” calendar.

 

   After successfully breaking into Hollywood, why did you decided to put that on the back burner and attend UCLA [from which Bialik graduated and later went on to earn a Ph.D. in neuroscience]?

 

   I think a lot of it was due to my traditional immigrant background that mandated you go to college and that’s just what you do, even if you have your own television show! My grandparents came to this country so their children and grandchildren we could have the opportunity to go to school and learn, and that was always stressed when my brother and I were kids. Additionally, starring in one popular sitcom doesn’t guarantee lasting success in Hollywood – or, more importantly, life.

 

   What experiences did you have at UCLA that set you on the trajectory of exploring your Jewish roots more deeply?

 

   I minored in Hebrew and Jewish studies, I took a lot of Holocaust Studies classes, and I studied Yiddish for a year. I gravitated toward Hillel, where I felt comfortable with my Jewish peers, almost recreating the camp experience. I started learning with the rabbi there, running an a capella choir and Rosh Chodesh women’s group, and volunteering – especially with countering the anti-Zionism activism on UCLA’s campus. My involvement with Hillel was the main social highlight of my college career – and college was also the place I met my husband, Michael, while sitting in calculus class.

 

   Does your husband share your Jewish values? What Jewish traditions are you instituting in your home with your children?

 

   Neither of us was raised with the level of Jewish observance that we keep now, but we certainly make Judaism a major part of our everyday life at home with our sons, Miles (Meier Rosh), almost 4, and Frederick Heschel (Ephraim Hirsch), now 1. We keep a kosher kitchen and keep taharas hamishpacha, something neither of us expected to be a central part of our lives but which has become very important to us over time.

 

   We are somewhat Shabbos-observant as well, having Friday night dinner, for which I usually bake challah. Since the closest synagogue to our home is about an hour’s walk away, we usually spend Shabbos day at home with the family, not watching TV or listening to music or answering the phone. It’s really a driving force of our entire week, a day we can shut off the outside world. We also celebrate all the holidays and introduce our kids to Jewish books and music – they don’t want watch TV or movies.

 

   After college, how did you stay connected to Jewish education and exploring your religion?

 

   After my first son was born, a friend mentioned to me that she was really enjoying her participation in Aish’s Partners in Torah program, which pairs people looking to study Judaism in-depth with mentors and teachers.  In my new identity as a mom, I was completely devoted to my baby and thought of little else but nursings, naps, diapers, and baths.

 

   I wanted to do something intellectually enriching, and was quickly paired up with Allison Josephs. Incidentally, as a fan of “Blossom,” she had tried in vain to contact me herself when she heard I was identifying increasingly with Judaism, and was then randomly assigned to be my Partners in Torah teacher. Together, we’ve studied the laws of Shabbos, the teachings of Rav Soloveitchik, and a beautiful book called Bread and Fire, an anthology of Jewish stories. We also studied the laws of tzniut, which led to my personal commitment to no longer wear pants.

 

   Now that you’re back in the acting world, is it hard to reconcile that newfound practice with your TV roles?

 

   It hasn’t been too hard, especially when playing a chassidic woman on “Saving Grace,” on which I mostly wore a long skirt and scarf on my head. I was able to finagle wearing leggings under a shorter skirt on another role. However, the first TV spot I did since I stopped wearing pants was a makeover show called “What Not To Wear,” and when they were dressing me, I had to say several times that I would only wear skirts. It may be hip to be Jewish but it’s not yet so hip to be an observant Jew. There are not too many observant Jewish women in Hollywood, which expects you to be sexy first, and I have a different concept of what that means now. Still, I hesitate to label myself completely Orthodox, as the level of mitzvot I keep can mean different things to different people. I tend to get labeled as Conservadox, but it’s not a black-and-white title.

 

   How do you balance motherhood and acting?

 

   Being around for my kids absolutely comes first with me. I realized that if I wanted to be with them most of the time, being a research professor wasn’t going to work. Luckily, television scheduling is often flexible enough that I can, for the most part, be with my kids, but I would not take a role that stipulated I needed to be away from my kids for any extended period of time. Our family comes first, which is a very Jewish value.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/blossoming-into-torah-an-interview-with-tvs-mayim-bialik/2009/09/02/

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