Big Brother premiered last night on CBS and for the first time in twelve years, one of the contestants is a Modern Orthodox Jew. Dr. Andrew Gordon is a 39 year podiatrist from Miami. He is the first contestant that we met and let me just say, I didn’t dig him.
Andrew says he will not allow the show to make him compromise his Judaism. There are so many people who don’t know Jews, or like Jews, and have a stereotyped view of who we are as a people, and what it means to be a practicing Jew. Maybe this guy can change perceptions.
Andrew has one hour to pack for his trip to the Big Brother house. He packs a pot because he is kosher. For a quick second there is the hope that this guy is going to be fabulous, and show Judaism in a wonderful way. Maybe he will breakdown stereotypes.
That hope is shattered in the first second that he opens his mouth. He walks into the house and screams “Mazel Tov”. He is immediately labeled as the freaky religious guy. He is goofy, and comes across as a little weird. Such a shame. We were so close.
Cut to everyone being in the house and they are sitting around and getting to know each other. One of the chicks says he stood out to her because he was Jewish, and was wearing a “yomkippur” on his head. She says he is “probably the religious one”. The cool Jew label is now lost forever.
Andrew tells the group that he was a day trader who lost his job, and has been working as a shoe salesman for the past year. He says he lied because he did not want people to label him as someone who didn’t need the money because he was a doctor.
Can you stay true to the life of a practicing Jew and blatantly lie? The Torah says: “Thou shall not steal, thou shall not deny falsely, and thou shall not lie one to another” (Leviticus 19: 11). Mr. Religious Jew talks about how he will not compromise his faith, but in a second is the lying Jew.
I’m not a huge fan of this show, but I will watch for as long as Dr. Gordon is on. I will watch in amusement and horror, as this man furthers the stereotypes of my people, and takes leaps backwards. I will watch and cringe as I am reminded each week that I must keep the faith.
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