Sandra Bullock, Jewish-Baby Mama
04/28/2010 - 11:38
Anonymous
Sandra Bullock: Denounces anti-Semitism. Getty Images
Sandra Bullock: Denounces anti-Semitism. Getty Images

If you Google Sandra Bullock and Jewish, you will get pages and pages of back-and-forth about the Oscar-winning actress' heritage.  WikiAnswers says Bullock was "born in Arlington, Virginia US but her mother was from Nuernberg Germany. Sandra Bullock is Jewish half jewish no doubt" [sic].

Yahoo Answers posits this: "No, actually she's German/Anglo-American. She doesn't discuss her religious beliefs, but she considered Christianity after the Blind Side." Wikipedia discusses her mother's German heritage but doesn't answer the religion question.

And "Jew, Not A Jew," a site that skirts the border of amusing and disturbing, notes that Bullock is the most searched celebrity on its site.

"And why? We just don't see it," reads the site. "Why would anyone out there think that Sandra is Jewish? Yes, her mother's name is Helga Meyer, but that last name is as likely to be ethnically German as it is Jewish. And considering Helga was born in Germany in 1942 and that Sandra used to go to Germany for Christmas, let's just say that the latter is quite, quite unlikely." Its verdict: Not a Jew.

"Jewish Bullock" as a search category probably had a meteoric rise today with news that the "Blind Side" actress, on the outs with her cheating louse of a husband (who'd have thought a guy named after the quintessential bank robber would turn out to be untrustworthy?) is consoling herself by being a baby mama again. She has adopted a three-month old boy, Louis Bardo Bullock, and arranged for him to have a bris. Not a circumcision, by all reports, but a bris, meaning a mohel, brachot, perhaps some bagels, the whole shebang as a rite of passage to the Covenant of Abraham.

It's the responsibility of every journalist to anticipate questions that will immediately come to the reader or viewer's mind, but that task often falls by the wayside with the Hollywood press when it comes to celebrities because interviews are tightly controlled by publicists, questions prescreened and topics declared off limits. (Remember Mel Gibson's recent meltdown when asked a toughie?) If Bullock is Jewish or part Jewish, she – unlike, say, Jon Stewart who took on a gentile name but constantly flaunts his religion- - hasn't discussed it publicly in any capacity, which accounts for all the Internet speculation.

For most of us, the natural reaction when you hear that the adopted baby of an ostensibly gentile actress is having a bris, is to wonder if the baby has Jewish ties, if Bullock, like Madonna, is fascinated by Jewish culture, or if she has been a closet Jew. (Good Morning America's Meredith Viera, interviewing the reporter who broke the adoption story for People magazine, didn't even flinch when the topic came up.)

It's also natural for cynics to wonder if the bris is a way for Bullock to distance herself from soon-to-be ex-husband Jesse James's taint after he was photographed doing a Nazi salute.

"The photo shocked me and made me sad," she told People magazine. "This is not the man I married. This was stupid, this was ignorant. Racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, anything Nazi and a boatload of other things have no place in my life ... and the man I married felt the same."

Maybe the 2010 version of "some of my best friends are Jewish" is "my baby is Jewish." The fact that the baby happens to be an African American to boot also makes a cynic think damage control.

If Bullock is part Jewish, she'd be part of a group that includes Harrison Ford, Scarlett Johanssen, David, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette, the late Paul Newman, Harry Connick Jr., Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal and lots of others you would least suspect as being part of the Tribe.

I'll leave it to sociologists to speculate on whether it's a coincidence that so many of today's top personalities have one Jewish parent, or if it's something in the way they are raised that compels them to seek stardom. But it certainly is interesting.

Comments

Look, everyone knows that Sandra Bullock is Jewish. Everyone knows that Bullock's mother is Jewish, Sandra's refusal to acknowledge this fact notwithstanding. What I can't figure out is why she continues in her attempts to hide her Jewish heritage and how it is that she thinks people don't know the truth. Self delusional I guess. Instead of self-hating, she should be open and proud of who she is. After all, she is not fooling anyone.

I have no idea if Ms. Bullock is Jewish or part-Jewish. But whatever her faith and ancestry, it is none of anyone's business. Think about this at least. It would not be atypical for a person who's familial ties grew up in Nazi-Germany having to hide their identity for survivial. And, for anyone growing up what is essentially a southern state, with their history of anti-Semtism, that could only further an argument on why one would seek privacy. But more importantly, whether or not Ms. Bullock or her child are a member of the tribe, that really is not anyone's business but hers. She seems like a lovely person, exceptionally accomplished, and experiencing some very tramatic events in her life. So, let's follow the Torah and not spread gossip. Those who are spreading gossip are rakhil, and it is a violation of the mitzvah. So, let's leave the Ms. Bullock alone and wish her and her baby well. That's all that needs to be said.

I really like your comment - thank you! Ms. Bullock has her reasons for being private about her private life. She's a wise parent to be protective about herself and her son. The public can be insatiably curious, and it can border on the scary--and there are crazy fans out there. Several years ago one very extreme woman fan was hiding on her estate, and her husband (at the time) went out to confront the woman...who then proceeded to try to run him down with her car! So yes, Ms. Bullock has her reasons for being safety conscious and private. Anyway, Sandra Bullock is such a delight onscreen -- so funny, honest, and self-deprecating. She's too pretty and accomplished to be so self deprecating...but then that's part of her charm. :-)

Interesting essay, Adam. Thank you. My immediate reaction upon hearing she had a bris was, "Uh huh--PR damage control." However, I have no knowledge of her true motives, obviously. ;) Perhaps with her disire to hide this adoption from the media, taking the baby to the hospital for circumcision was out of the question? Aren't famous closet Jews an anomoly these days? Just curious. Anyway, thanks for the essay. :)

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