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Jewish Journal

Captain Kosher is Booted Off Big Brother & We’re Back To Seinfeld Jews

by Ilana Angel

August 2, 2010 | 9:01 am

Is this as Jewish as American can handle?

It was only a matter of time before Captain Kosher, aka Andrew Gordon, got the boot off Big Brother.  He was weird, never looked at anyone when he spoke to them, was very odd, and surprisingly anti-social.  He was labeled “the Jew”, but his creepiness trumped his Jewishness, so in the end he was a weird Jew, which is a shame.

I was so excited to have Andrew on Big Brother this season, because it’s unusual to have an openly Jewish person on television.  Isn’t that a weird sentence?  I’m thinking about it, and there have been lots of “Seinfeld” Jews, but not a lot of open Jews.  What exactly is a Seinfeld Jew?  It’s when being Jewish is implied, but not spoken of.

We all knew Jerry Seinfeld was Jewish on Seinfeld, but he never told us. If anyone knows of an episode of Seinfeld where his being Jewish was confirmed and discussed, please let me know, as I’d love to see it.  For Andrew to be the Jewish one was cool.  He was Modern Orthodox, which one could argue was going to be too Jewish for America.

I thought it was cool that Andrew sat out of the show for a Jewish holiday, and I think the other contestants respected it.  When he spent time davening, they called him a “Ninja” and while I’m sure it was not intended to be mean, it was disrespectful.  He came in weird, and so it would not have mattered what he did, as he was already stereotyped.

What’s unfortunate, is that even though he was just a weird guy, he was not labeled weird, he was labeled Jewish.  I think if he had never mentioned he was a Jew, he would have gone out earlier.  He hung on as long as he did, because nobody wanted to kick out the Jew too early, instead of just voting off the creepy guy from the get go.

In the end, Andrew just didn’t know how to play the game.  When he was put up for elimination, he could have secured his spot, but instead he lost his mind and could not stop talking, which sealed his fate.  We could also assume the shorts he wore during the surf board challenge is what put him over the edge and caused his dismissal.

At a party recently, I was talking to a group of people about faith, and I mentioned I was Jewish.  I was then asked questions about Andrew on Big Brother, and why I prayed like that.  I actually don’t pray like that, but for people who are not familiar with Judaism, they assumed we are all like Andrew.  I don’t daven or keep kosher, but I’m still a Jew.

Millions of people watch Big Brother, and it would have been so awesome if the Jewish guy could have been cool.  If he had been cooler, he could have presented how he practices his faith in a totally cool way.  Instead, he’s just weird and the question becomes: is he weird because he is weird, or is he weird because he is Jewish?

I look forward to the day there is a cool Jew on television.  Not a Seinfeld Jew, but an openly Jewish person that is not weird, or stereotypical, just a super cool person, who happens to be Jewish.  Not just on reality television, but on scripted shows too.  Will Jews on television ever come out of the closet?  I’m keeping the faith.

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