Jewish Journal


September 20, 2007

The young—and the repentant


Squeaky clean soap opera characters? Bland.

Bed-hopping, social-ladder-climbing, gorgeous Jewish character coming clean for Yom Kippur? Spicy!

Brad Carlton, the chiseled "golden boy" of the No. 1 rated CBS daytime soap, "The Young and the Restless," will wash away his sins (or at least some of them) in his first public celebration of Yom Kippur in the show's Sept. 21 episode.

In July 2006, Carlton revealed his true Semitic moniker, George Kaplan, as well as a painful Jewish past -- Nazi sympathizers murdered most of his family in retaliation against his mother, a concentration camp survivor who has dedicated her life to tracking down Nazi-looted artwork and returning the pieces to the rightful Jewish owners.

Don Diamont, 44, has played Carlton since 1985 and considers last year's revelation story line the most meaningful of his career.

Much like his character, the actor changed his identifiably Jewish name, Donald Feinberg, to his mother's maiden name of Diamont to shroud his identity. He says he adopted it as a layer of insulation against the kind of anti-Semitic slurs flung at him on the schoolyard.

Diamont, like Carlton, also lost most of his family in a series of tragedies. His father died of kidney cancer and his brother of a brain tumor, his sister succumbed to cardiac arrest and his mother passed away just last year from emphysema.

Out of Diamont's agonizing losses came a renewed interest in Judaism. After his father died, Diamont became a bar mitzvah at the age of 29, studying alongside his brother Jack after his diagnosis. The Angeleno is currently a member of Steven S. Wise Temple and celebrates the Jewish holidays with his six sons.

Rejuvenated Jew Brad Carlton will also celebrate the High Holy Days with his offspring, Colleen. Estranged from his daughter, Carlton will approach her in the forgiving spirit of Yom Kippur.

"Tonight is Kol Nidre," he will say. "For Jews, it's the holiest day of the year. We fast, consider the wrongs we've done and try to make amends."

Colleen will accept her father's apology and agree to accompany him to his first synagogue service since his childhood.

The not-so-nice Jewish playboy will ask for forgiveness from several other people he's wronged over the years, but you'll have to tune in to find out if they extend Carlton a clean slate or just a dirty look.

As for the real-life Hebrew hottie, Diamont said he doesn't have a long list of people to approach before Kol Nidre.

"I've been perfect this year!" he said with a laugh. "No, really, I'm very quick to make amends. If I know I've hurt someone, or someone brings it to my attention that I did something wrong, I apologize immediately. I don't wait for Yom Kippur."

For those of you who haven't been perfect, you have until 6:33 p.m. on Friday night to say you're sorry.

The Yom Kippur episode of "Young and the Restless" will air Friday, Sept. 21, 11:30 a.m. PST on CBS.

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