Jewish Journal


August 22, 2002

‘Big Brother’s'Jewish Castoff


"Big Brother's" Josh Feinberg is no Ethan Zohn, the curly-haired Jewish winner of "Survivor: Africa" who flew so low under the radar viewers almost forgot he was there. Feinberg, 28, the self-proclaimed "Chia Pet" of "Big Brother 3," might as well have been wearing a bull's-eye.

Feinberg was evicted by the remaining contestants on Aug. 15 after spending 41 days in a house cut off from the rest of the world.

Unlike Members of the Tribe on some other reality shows, Feinberg was quick to let the other players know his background from day one.

"It's a huge part of who I am," he told The Journal after his eviction. "My mother converted from Catholicism before she became pregnant with me. After my parents split up, she went back to it and I was actually raised Catholic for a while. But I chose Judaism because it was important to me. People don't often get to choose."

On the series, the outspoken Feinberg potched a lot of tushees and shaved his facial hair into interesting patterns, the inspiration behind his moniker.

"What else was there to do?" he said.

But his brash on-screen persona disappeared when he walked out of the house and into the arms of his girlfriend, Merritt, whom Feinberg plans to take "diamond shopping" when they return to New York. The in-your-face waiter from Long Island, who said he was playing the bad guy in the hope it would take him longer in the game, describes himself as "a very proud Jew."

So, after living in a house with no TV, radio or washing machine, where meals could consist of nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, would he do it again?

"Absolutely," he declared. "Even if all I got to eat was matzah." -- Shoshana Lewin, Contributing Writer

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