Mayim Bialik’s 7 Jewish Values that keep her sane in Hollywood
Torah – the Torah is a complex set of guiding values. It is an instruction manual in code. You can’t understand it without studying it. Torah covers all the human challenges – betrayal, seduction, murder, etc. Mayim studies weekly. One of the resources she uses is the website, www.alefbeta.org.
As a vegan, Mayim also uses the site, http://www.shamayimvaretz.org, which is focused on vegan Judaism.
Mayim made it clear that this is her way; she is not suggesting that others choose her path rather that they find their own.
The Sabbath – Observing Shabbat helps humans be conscious of the rhythm of the week. Mayim’s celebration of Shabbat by turning off all electronics. On Shabbat she remembers that no one owns her or her time. This is a day to spend with family.
Midot (Character) – Judaism teaches us to be ‘good’ but is that? We are to daily express the values of generosity, compassion, honesty and so on. There are values in Hollywood that don’t sync with Judaism, for example, gossip. Hollywood values talking about others, deception, and manipulation of information about others. Mayim works at living the values she is teaching her children. Hollywood does not value modesty (Tznius). In fact her refusal to wear strapless dresses has meant that designers don’t offer their line to her for the Emmys.
Otherness – Judaism accepts being different from the dominant culture. Keeping your job and observing the holidays is tough in the fall when there is a steady stream of holy days. Non-Jews can be incredulous, another day off? There aren’t many observant Jews in Hollywood. Mayim is happy to remember that every mitzvah is independent. If you light the candles on Friday night, that’s a mitzvah. No matter what you do afterwards doesn’t take away the mitzvah. So do what you can. She noted that she doesn’t agree with all of halacha (Jewish law) but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. She just keeps learning.
God – It is not hip or cool to talk about God. But remembering that there is something bigger that herself, bigger than the industry helps keep everything in perspective.
Israel – Interestingly Mayim didn’t say the usual things about Israel. She said simply, “I’m a happy Zionist.” She described Israel as representing the notion of a messianic age.