April 8, 1999
‘That ‘70s Show’ Star Enters Cyberspace
On Fox's breakout comedy, "That '70s Show," Mila Kunis plays spoiled and sassy Jackie Burkhardt. But, in real life, she's very much a child of the '90s, down to her fascination with the Internet.
"I'm on AOL and Netscape every day," the 15-year-old sitcom star told Up Front. "I'm addicted."
Kunis recently participated in an online public-service campaign called "Turn On Your Light," sponsored by Sparksmag.com, an electronic magazine for Jewish adolescents between the ages of 9 and 13. In the PSA, Kunis describes how human kindness can brighten up even the darkest moments: "Sometimes we benefit from the light of kindness, and sometimes we're asked to shine it," she tells her fans from cyberspace.
"I just I thought it would be fun to do," said Kunis. "I thought that kids could relate to it."
Sparksmag.com is the brainchild of Rabbi Mark H. Levine, who lives in Silver Spring, Md., with his wife and three children, ages 8, 11 and 15. Levine launched the http://www.sparksmag.com Web site address in late 1997 after he realized that newsstand magazines in the secular world were better executed than what was coming out of the Jewish sector. To save costs, Levine sought an online outlet for his cyber paper, itself an offshoot of Sparks Family of Media, Levine's nonprofit organization dedicated to melding Jewish education with the entertainment world.
Says the 46-year-old Reconstructionist rabbi of his pet project: "It's nondenominational. It tries to teach Jewish values. It is not a religious site per se.... For many kids...if you come on strong with the religious element, that's really going to turn them off."
Updated monthly, Sparksmag.com, according to Levine, helps children "see elements of the world around them through Jewish eyes." It also appeals to the fact that, as Americans, "we live in two civilizations, not just the Jewish world." In hitting up Sparksmag.com, Levine promises, Jewish kids will glean factoids related to their heritage and history.
Levine is now in the early stages of developing a radio show. He also hopes to enlist the talents of Marla Sokoloff ("The Practice") to join Kunis on the "Turn On Your Life" spots.
As for Kunis, the sitcom star thinks that, as a young Jewish actress, it's important to set a good example for her fans and Hollywood peers. Aside from more episodes of "That '70s Show," Kunis will grace the cover of YM magazine in September and, as her schedule permits, continue to participate in causes when and where she can.
"The more I could do to help people, the better," said Kunis. "Every little thing counts." -- Michael Aushenker, Community Editor