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Jewish

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MAD ABOUT YOU/NBC/1992-98
*(Paul Reiser) Paul Buchman, a Jewish-American documentary filmmaker living with his wife, Jamie (played by Helen Hunt) in a Manhattan apartment with their dog Murray. Other cast include John Pankow as Paul's divorced cousin Ira, who ran a sporting goods store; Robin Bartlett as Paul’s lesbian sister, Debbie; Louis Zorach as Paul's father, Burt; Cynthia Harris as Paul's mother, Sylvia; Leila Kenzle as Jamie's business partner and friend Fran; Richard Kind as Fran's soon to be ex-husband Dr. Mark Devanow, a gynecologist; Al Ruscio as Paul's Uncle Julius; Sid Caesar as Uncle Harold; and Mel Brooks as Paul's nutty Uncle Phil. During a visit to Uncle Phil’s, he reminisced about the family which included references to Aunt Lucy “What nerve to come into a new country like a face like that.”; Aunt Rose; Aunt Ida; Aunt Ethyl; and Uncle Nuddy, the hat-maker to the Czar who took his profits and moved an entire village from Russia to New York City. There was also a relative in the 1930s named Louie Radniski, “a fighter when they hit him, he went 'Oy!' and went down.” Although the Buchman‘s were not directly mentioned as Jewish, their language (accents and verbalisms), and family names worked to create a Jewish image.

MARIAH/ABC/1987
**(Tovah Feldshuh) Deena Hertz, a Jewish-American female psychiatrist working at a fictional penitentiary located in the Northeast area of the United States.

THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW/CBS/1970-77
**(Valerie Harper) Rhoda Morgenstern, an insecure, slightly overweight Jewish-American window dresser living in an attic apartment in Minneapolis. Rhoda and her close friend/neighbor, Mary Richards, another single over thirty career woman often wondered whether they would met "Mr. Right". Rhoda later returned to New York City and her family. Also featured were Liberty Williams as Rhoda's sister, Debbie Morgenstern; and Brett Somers as Rhoda's aunt, Rose. See also RHODA.

M*A*S*H/CBS/1972-83
**(Allan Arbus) Major Sidney Theodore Freedman, US Army psychiatrist who traveled to battlefield hospitals during the Korean War to administer psychiatric advice and counseling to tormented and confused solders. He first appeared in season 2 and was featured in 11 episodes altogether. His most memorable episode involved counseling a distraught Dr. Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce” who was suffering from a sublimated childhood trauma involving a lake and a near-drowning.

MENASHA THE MAGNIFICENT/NBC/1950
*(Menasha Shulnik) Menasha Shulnik (as himself), a timid Yiddish manager of a small restaurant owned by a domineering female boss, Mrs. Davis. Menasha Shulnik began each episode by singing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning".

THE MILTON BERLE SHOW/NBC/ABC/1948-1959/ABC/1966-67
*(Milton Berle) Known as "Uncle Miltie" & "Mr. Television", Milton Berle was TV's first clown prince of comedy premiering on his successful TEXACO STAR THEATRE in 1948 which later changed its name to THE MILTON BERLE SHOW when TEXACO dropped its sponsorship. Berle was one of a number of successful and very funny Jewish-American veteran radio/vaudevillian comedians to host their own television programs including THE JACK BENNY SHOW/CBS/NBC/1950-65; THE GEORGE BURNS & GRACIE ALLEN SHOW/CBS/1950-58; THE JERRY LEWIS SHOW/ABC1963/NBC/1967-69; THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW/CBS/1955-59 (a.k.a. YOU'LL NEVER GET RICH); THE RED BUTTONS SHOW/CBS/1952-55; and YOU BET YOUR LIFE/NBC/1950-61 starring Groucho Marx.

MRS. G. GOES TO COLLEGE /CBS/1961-62
*(Gertrude Berg) Sarah Green, elderly Jewish widow who after raising her own children decides to enroll in college. There, she encounters a world filled with teenagers and the pomposity of Professor Crayton, an English teacher on exchange from Cambridge University. Also featured were Marion Ross as Susan Green; Sarah's grown daughter; and Leo Penn as Jerry Green, Sarah's grown son. The program was retitled THE GERTRUDE BERG SHOW, in January 1962.

MOLONEY/CBS/1996
*(Peter Strauss) Nick Moloney, a half-Jewish and half-Irish police psychiatrist who prefers cracking wise to quoting Freud.

MURPHY BROWN/CBS/1988-98
**(Grant Shaud) Miles Silverberg, a young, short Jewish television executive assigned to produce an on-air news magazine called "F.Y.I.". Although the "boss," his authority and directives were often ignored by Murphy Brown, the show's top news anchor and other staffers on the program. "I'm 27-years-old and living on Mylanta." cried Miles. While freshman at Harvard Miles was called "Miles Silverbrain." Also featured were Jon Tenney as Josh Silverberg, Miles' brother; Jean Stapleton as Nana Silverberg; and Janet Leeves as Audrey Cohen, Miles' girlfriend. On episode No. 174 Miles dates Vendela, the supermodel to make co-worker and new romantic interest, Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) jealous; and on episode No. 178 "Altered States" Miles and Corky suddenly get married.

MY SO-CALLED LIFE/ABC/1994-95
**(Devon Gummersall) Brian Krakow, a.k.a. “Brain,” a student at Liberty High School. He is the typical nerd: a genius with the books [calculus no problem] but a failure with women. His Jewish parents included his mother Bernice, a behavioral psychologist; and his father Bob, a Freudian psychiatrist. His older sister is married and lives in Denver. Besides getting A's in all his classes, Brian finds the time to be yearbook photographer and play the flute and saxophone in the school band [he's left-handed]. In an attempt to get girl's phone numbers and a date, Brian offered his tutoring services to the “cool” Jordan Catalono. When Jordan slept with Rayanne Graff, Brian did the Cyrano-thing and wrote “The Letter” that Jordon used as an apology to his supposed girlfriend, Angela Chase [Brian's been Angela's neighbor and secret admirer since he was five years old]. Brian later befriended fellow outcast Enrique “Ricky” Vasguez [he's gay].

THE NANNY/CBS/1993-99
*(Fran Drescher) Fran Fine, a bridal shop worker from Flushing, New York who got fired from her job, began selling perfume and then landed a job as a nanny to the children of a wealthy Manhattan gentile widower (whom she later married). Other Jewish characters on the program included Renee Taylor as Fran's mother, Sylvia Fine; Ann Guilbert as Fran's grandmother, Yetta Rosenberg-Fine; and Rachel Chagall as Fran's pal, Val. The program was filled with all sorts of Yiddish vocabulary like bar-mitzvah (ceremony marking the 13th year of a Jewish male-passage into manhood); bashert (fated or destined); bubbie (grandmother); bubkes (nothing); farkakta (terrible or ridiculous); kvetch (to complain); meshugeneh (a nutty person); meschpuche (member of an extended family); mozeltov (good luck or congratulations); oy (a negative exclamation like "Oy, my back is killing me!"); punim (face); shlep (to carry or pull something); shnoz (short for schnozzolla meaning "nose"); shmootz (dirt or grime); shvits (to sweat); shikse (non-Jewish woman); tuchas (rear-end, butt, ass, derriere);and yenta (a mouthy or gossipy woman). Once when a woman declines to complain about a problem Fran looks at her and proclaims “You’re not Jewish are you?” One of Grandma Yetta’s letters revealed she was a Romanian immigrant and that on the way to Ellis Island to marry Joe Fine, an American furrier, she had an affair with the ship’s waiter. On another episode Fran and her mother hosted a Passover seder to familiarize Fran’s adopted family with Judaism.

NED & STACEY/FOX/1995-97
*(Debra Messing/costar) Stacey Colbert, Jewish-American freelance writer for the Village Voice who decides to participates in a sham marriage so that an ambitious ad executive (Ned) can rise the corporate ladder (married men get promoted). The payoff for Stacey: she gets a nicer apartment and she pacifies her parents who bug her about being single. Over time, however, Ned & Stacey (despite some very large arguments & disagreements) begin to really fall in love Other cast included Nadia Dajani as Amanda Moyer, Stacey‘s sister, a real estate agent who owned Amanda‘s Amuffin shop; Greg Germann as Eric Moyer, Amanda’s accountant husband and Ned’s friend; Harry Goz as Stacey’s dad, Saul Colbert; and Dori Brenner as Stacy’s mom, Ellen Colbert.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE/CBS/1990-95
*(Rob Morrow/costar) Joel Fleishman, a Jewish-American Yuppie physician from New York who was required to spend time working in small northern community of Cicely to repay his medical scholarship funded by the State of Alaska. Jessica Lundy appeared as Joel's Jewish girlfriend Elaine Shulman who visited Alaska to see Joel a few times before breaking up with him. Rob Morrow also played the role of Jules Fleischman, Joel's twin brother.

NOW AND AGAIN/CBS/1999
*(John Goodman/Eric Close) Michael Wiseman, is a portly middle-aged insurance salesman from new York City. Lisa Schleigelmilch Wiseman (Margaret Colin) is a homemaker. Heather (Heather Matarazzo) is their teenage daughter. She's smart-mouthed, snide and materialistic but she really loves her parents. All's well in the Wiseman family until one day Michael accidentally fell (shoved) into the path of an oncoming subway train. Declared dead, Michael's still functioning brain was harvested by a special covert government group and transplanted into an athletically trim genetically bio-engineered twenty-something body [designed to be the ultimate warrior and spy]. When Michael awoke from this trauma, the image in the mirror was quite a shock but not as shocking as what the project coordinator Dr. Theodore Morris (Dennis Haysbert) told him. For all intents and purposes, Michael was dead. Any attempt at revealing himself to his friends or family would be grounds for all of their immediate termination (like he meant to kill them all, man!). So while his widowed Lisa and daughter Heather coped with life without Dad, Dad was trying his darndest to communicate with them [surreptitiously, of course] and get back to his former life. Caught in the middle of this whole scenario is Michael's wacky but spineless friend, Roger Bender (Gerrit Graham), who shivers in the presence of the intimidating Dr. Morris. Unfortunately, when a chance meeting and conversation in a bookstore between the new Michael and his wife Lisa was observed by Dr. Morris, Michael decided to warn his family and escape with them instead of taking the chance that Dr. Moore might kill them all. Luckily Michael had fled before an electronic chip (a tracking device) could be implanted back into his body. Despite that advantage, Michael and company were now the target of an intensive manhunt. Shades of The Fugitive.

NUMB3RS/CBS/2005+
*
(Rob Morrow) Ron Eppes, Jewish FBI agent stationed in Southern California who enlists the aid of his genius mathematician brother, Charlie (David Krumholtz) to calculate the probabilities of crime and criminals using equations. Judd Hirsch appeared as Alan Eppes, the boy's widowed father who is now retired. He previously worked for the City of Los Angeles in the Water Department and is familiar with much of the city's infra-structure.

NURSES/NBC/1991-94
*(Kip Gilman/costar) Dr. Hank Kaplan, a Jewish-American physician working at Miami's Community Medical Center.

ONCE AND AGAIN
**(Billy Campbell) Richard "Rick" Sammler is a 40-year-old divorced architect from Chicago. One day at a school soccer game he meets single parent Lily Brooks Manning and it is love all over again. Will this relationship work out? Who's to say? Richard's family included Karen Davies Sammler, his 39-year-old ex-wife [they divorced three years ago]; Eli Edward Sammler, his academically challenged but athletically active 16-year-old son [he's got a girlfriend named Jennifer]; and Jessie Elizabeth Sammler, his 12-year-old daughter [who secretly fears she'll turn out like her parents].

PICKET FENCES/CBS/1992-95
**(Fyvush Finkel) Douglas Wambaugh, an annoying, outspoken Yiddish defense attorney living in the small town of Rome. Wisconsin. He was so mouthy that even the members of his synagogue voted to refuse him entry to worship. In court Wambaugh was candidly blunt and borderline disrespectful to the judge. He said things that real life attorneys would love to say. Once he told his clients "If you two want to have an honest conversation, leave me out of it. I'm a lawyer!" Fyvush Finkel is a veteran of the Borscht Belt in New York's Catskill Mountains. In 1967, he starred as Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" for a national touring company; and from 1982-87 appeared as Mr. Musnick in the original off-Broadway production of "Little Shop of Horrors." Fyvush roughly translates as "Phillip" in Yiddish.

PLATYPUS MAN/UPN/1995
(Ron Orbach) Lou Golumbiewski, a Jewish-American television producer of "The Platypus Man", a cooking show based in New York City.

PRINCESSES/CBS/1991
*(Fran Drescher) Melissa Kirschner, a wisecracking, gum-chewing Jewish-American "princess" from Brooklyn who lived in a roomy Manhattan apartment with her best friend and a real European princess.

RHODA/CBS/1974-78
*(Valerie Harper) Rhoda Morgenstern, a Jewish-American window dresser whose prime motivation in life seemed to be getting married and losing weight. Rhoda eventually got both. Slimming down, she moved from Minneapolis to her hometown of New York City where she shared an apartment with her sister Brenda (Julie Kavner). Rhoda met and married Joe Gerard (David Groh), a divorced Wrecking Company owner on October 24, 1974. However, the marriage which was so ballyhooed soon went into the dumpers. Rhoda soon found a job at the Doyle Costume Company. Nancy Walker appeared as Ida Morgenstern, the queen of guilt and manipulation (at least where her children were concerned) was abandoned by her husband, Martin (Harold J. Gould) during the last season of the series, leaving the Morgenstern women single and searching once again for "Mr. Right" (or maybe not). Also featured were Barbara Sharma as Myrna Morgenstein; and Ron Silver as Gary Levy. On the made-for-TV reunion movie Mary & Rhoda (2000) Rhoda is now a successful artist with teenage daughter from a second marriage. She tells her friend Mary “I’ve studied every religion from Shakers to Judaism. Now, I can make my own furniture and sell it wholesale.” TRIVIA NOTE: Valerie Harper is not Jewish but her performance was so convincing that many people she meets are surprised to hear otherwise.

THE RUGRATS/NIK/1991-2004
* (Cartoon characters) Stu and Didi Pickles (voices of Jack Riley and Melanie Charoff), a Jewish-American couple with a cute little boy named Tommy Pickles. {and a later addition to the family, Baby, Dil.] Actually it is only Didi who is Jewish. Her parents Boris and Minka Kerpacketer (voice of Michael Bell and Melanie Chartoff) came from Russia, referred to as the “Old Country.” The remainder of the characters on the show like Stu, Drew, Charlotte and Angelica are gentiles while baby Chuckie and his father Chaz have no religious affiliation. Grandpa Boris mentioned taht hea had a brother, Sparky; and that he had a feud with an old high school nemesis named Schlomo (seen in “A’Rugrats Chanukah” as the “Meany of Chanukah.“). The Jewish faith is highlighted in two classic episode “Passover” and “A Rugrats Chanukah” (ranked #5 in “TV Guides’s 10 Best Classic Family Holiday Specials” in 1999.) On the Passover episode Grandpa Boris, a marvelous storyteller, gets locked in the attic with family members and tells the story of how Passover began (with Angelica playing the part of the Pharaoh, Tommy as Moses and the rest of the babies as Hebrew slaves). The Chanukah episode recounted King of Syria King Antiochis IV forcing Greek culture on the Jews, the rebellious Judas the Macchabees leading his fellow Jews to war, and the miracle of the oil (as told in the Talmud). Another Jewish character is the Pickles’ goateed, freeloading child psychologist Dr. Lipschitz, M.D. Ph., D, M.S. In fact the Pickles’ baby, Dil was born at The Werner P. Lipschitz Center for Holistic Birthing. Although the animated Rugrats series portrayed “Jewishness” in a favorable light, the Rugrats daily comic strip [which is a gag a day format] was a cause for concern for some in the Jewish faith. The controversy began in the Sunday 9/20/98 Rugrats strip, when Grandpa Boris and his synagogue congregation recited a “light-hearted” version of the Mourner’s Kaddish during the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Consequently, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League complained about the portrayal of Jews in the strip and targeted the Grandpa Boris as being drawn in the manner similar to Nazi-era Jewish stereotypes. To quell objections from the ADL, the Boris character was removed from the strip and references to religion and religious observances were discontinued. An Associated Press story reported the words of the Rugrat’s Jewish co-creator Arlene Klasky saying “No one ever complained about Grandpa [Boris] before; when you see him in the series he’s such an adorable, lovable character...Portraying Boris in the two-dimensional format, without hearing the folksy voice that enlivens his personality, is probably what sparked the controversy.”

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