August 20, 2009 | 2:07 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Meadow Soprano—known in real life as Jamie Lynn Sigler—appeared on the “Chelsea Lately” show to discuss her new recurring role on “Entourage.” Chelsea got her to gab about the usual late night talking points, who she’s dating (Jerry Ferrara who plays “Turtle” on Entourage), whether or not we can look forward to a Sopranos movie (maybe) and then in an unlikely twist, Birthright Israel.
Sigler said she attended birthright last summer and signed up as “Jamie Sigler” so she could attend like a “normal person.” But then she admits she upgraded to first class.
Jacob Berkman writing for JTA’s The Fundermentalist Blog praised Sigler for the birthright shout-out but noted she had one or two really important facts wrong:
According to Sigler, Madoff was handling a lot of Birthright’s money and the organization is therefore in dire financial straits, so people should donate to Birthright. Well, actually …. there was a rumor going around back in January that Birthright had been directly hurt in the scam, but the organization worked hard to try to debunk the rumor. While some of Birthright’s donors were surely hurt by Madoff, until very recently the program has been a cash-in, cash-out organization that spent all of the money it took in in any given year on trips that year. So there is no way it had any money invested with Madoff.
She also states that one has to have had a bar or bat mitzvah to be eligible for Birthright. That’s false as well. In fact, Birthright often offers group bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies on the trips for those who have not already had them.
Berkman also suggests that birthright funder Michael Steinhardt, who makes no secret of his desire for Jews to marry Jews, may have been weeping somewhere whilst Sigler discussed his beloved birthright and her non-Jewish boyfriend in the same segment. But Steinhardt really ought to give her a break—she’s getting birthright prime time PR and on national television, she made Israel sound good.
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