Quantcast

Jewish Journal

From Hollywood to Hashem: Observant Jews in Tinseltown

by Danielle Berrin

February 17, 2009 | 8:12 pm

Leading a religious life may be the toughest job in Hollywood. Almost everything about the business – from the power lunches to the endless work schedule to the idolatry of ratings and box office – seem antithetical to traditional Judaism. Leave it to LimmudLA to find two observant Jews with the chutzpah to satisfy both their ambitions in Hollywood and their religious commitment.

Jeff Astrof, a sitcom writer, and David N. Weiss, a screenwriter, both became Orthodox after they had started their careers. In both cases, the transformation was met with resistance – “What do you mean you can’t work Friday nights or Saturday? Do you have to have kosher food on the craft services table?” If it sounds trivial, these guys will tell you it’s not. Finding God, in fact, provided a spiritual outlet for feelings of envy, greed and insecurity, despite the sacrifices it required. In order to get Shabbat off, Astrof promised a producer he’d work harder than anybody else every other day of the week—though that didn’t stop his writing partner of 14 years from leaving him.

“Just when you get comfortable, you get thrown a curveball,” Astrof said. Just then, an Orthodox woman in the audience gave him a jolt.

“How do I discourage my daughter who has caught the acting bug from pursuing the life of an actress?” she pleaded.

Astrof wished her luck.

Tracker Pixel for Entry

COMMENTS

We welcome your feedback.

Privacy Policy
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.

Terms of Service
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.

Publication
JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.

ADVERTISEMENT
PUT YOUR AD HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

{blog_image:alt}

Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

Read more