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December 18, 1987 - Image 49

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-12-18

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Barbra Streisand, who stars in a new release titled "Nuts," dedicated the film to her father.

Dustin Hoffman has shown an increased
awareness of his religion, especially since
his second marriage, to Lisa Gottsegen, for
whom he used to babysit when she was a
"Although I grew up in a Jewish home,
my family was not religious," Hoffman told
a reporter in 1985. "I can't for the life of
me understand why I have faith. We never
went to temple and I wasn't even Bar Mitz-
Hoffman has graduated to a new level of
awareness since then.
"Lisa has encouraged me to do what I've
been wanting to do for many years, which
is to become more observant and pass that
on to my kids. These are a few things I
really want to do before it's too late. I want
to learn Hebrew. And I would love to be
Bar Mitzvahed."
Learning Hebrew, studying rIbrah —
these are new classes Jewish actors fit in-
to schedules already over-loaded with
dance, voice and movement. This new
movement to study one's roots has made
religion a growth industry on the West
Rabbi David Baron, religious leader of
the Synagogue for the Performing Arts in
Los Angeles, has a congregational
membership loaded with stars seeking a
road back to their roots. It is a real
"Highway to Heaven," without the com-
mercial interruptions.
"Several factors contribute to what could
be characterized as an overall trend
toward rediscovery of heritage," Baron
said. "We are now dealing with the '50s
baby-boom generation; the family orienta-
tion has shifted from the 'Me Decade.'
Such a shift promotes the ritual aspect of
Jewish life.
"I find that some television network ex-
ecutives I have in the congregation are
thinking more and more about the
ceremonies, the rituals they grew up with."
In such a competitive atmosphere as
Hollywood, "where a person can blink for
a minute and become history," said Baron,
the past may supply welcome relief for
those whose present is rootless.
Baron cited Brandon Tartikoff, president
of NBC Entertainment, as a prime-time
example of a programmer who is program-
ming Jewishness into his life.
"Brandon was a recent honoree at the
Jewish National Fund dinner," said Baron.
"When he received the Tree of Life Award,
he spoke of his early memories of that lit-
tle blue box in his house."
The box, the "pushka," and what it
represented, tzedakah, have stayed with
Tartikoff all his life.



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