Jewish Journal

Observant Jew tackles TV in ‘Big Brother 12’

by Danielle Berrin

June 30, 2010 | 12:54 pm

It takes talent to be an observant Jew in Hollywood, let alone on reality television, but along comes Andrew Gordon, a 39-year-old podiatrist from Miami Beach, Fla. to prove it’s possible.

In case you’re thinking: ‘A Jewish podiatrist? Whouda thought?’ Consider some of the more challenging issues Gordon is about to face.

Gordon is the latest addition to ‘Big Brother 12’, a reality series about “contestants who live in a camera-rigged house and have their lives taped 24 hours a day as they compete, fight, and occasionally sleep together,” according to TVGuide.com.

Why a religious person who holds himself to the highest moral standards (one hopes) would voluntarily subject himself to the moral turpitude so often manifested in reality television is surely the reason producers are betting on good entertainment. On the promo video, Gordon declares, “I am a practicing Jew,” which of course means, he’s bound to become the house freak. 

“There’s so many things they don’t realize,” Gordon says, already stirring up drama. “Sitting at the table, I won’t be using their dishes; I wont even be eating their food.”

Gordon also plans to observe Shabbat—which means, everyone on the show is going to learn a thing or two about the rigors of Jewish halacha (law).

“It’s already going to be tough in that house, so it’s going to be even tougher dealing with these extra little things,” Gordon told the Associated Press. “People are probably going to look at me as an outsider and wonder what I’m doing and why I’m not eating their food. It’s something I’ve had to explain my whole life as a practicing Jew. Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it.”

Hollywood seems to enjoy the communal alienation and ostracism that comes with stereotyping its minor-est minority—perhaps a by-product of that anti-ethnic spirit so well wrought by Tinseltown’s founders. In any other circumstance Jewish alienation might be deemed troublesome, but on this show, it looks to be an asset. Apparently, a house “mole” will not compete for the usual $500,000 prize, but attempt to win cash based on his/her ability to “disrupt the lives of the other houseguests.”

Authoritarian kashrut should be a tremendous advantage in that department.

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

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