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September 06, 1991 - Image 134

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-09-06

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Management and Employees


Talk Show Host
Creates Controversy


Special to The Jewish News

Offer Best Wishes

For A Year Of Peace, Good

Health, Happiness and The

Joy Of Lasting Friendships

To Our Customers and Friends

May They Be Inscribed In
The Book of Life


mimilimilmm 1991 • 5752 litinionomiii



Stephen Becharas , and The Staff Of

6638 Telegraph Road at Maple
In The Bloomfield Plaza
Sincerely Wishes It's Many
Friends And Customers


We thank you for your
gracious patronage . • and
bat, most sincerely
wish the very best
7. in health, joy and
4Y t14)731,11.T
16;11noi ,bfl wi prosperity to all I




e is the man who
starts each of his
shows with a
headline. He is one of the
most controversial talk-show
hosts in the history of televi-
sion. He is a father, a husband
and a Jew who had a bar
mitzvah ceremony, attended
religious school, and today
considers himself the most
public Jewish person on
television. He is Geraldo
In an interview Mr. Rivera
presented a side of himself
that very few individuals
have the opportunity to see. A
poised, intelligent and
somewhat quieter version of
the public, very outgoing
Geraldo his viewers know, he
sat relaxed as he sipped on a
Tanqueray and tonic and
opened the doors to his past
and present.
Mr. Rivera comes from a
mixed family. His mother is
Jewish and his father is of
Puerto Rican descent. Despite
the fact that an overwhelm-
ing number of his relatives on
his father's side are Chris-
tians, both he and his siblings
were raised as Jews. Only he
and his brother, however, have
retained their Jewish
As for his personal identity,
Mr. Rivera said that he has
always been Geraldo Rivera
and that rumors of his having
changed his name from Jerry
Rivers are simply not true.
"It was never Jerry Rivers,"
he said. "That is one of the
silliest, old rumors.
"My father's side of the
family always called me
Geraldo and my mother's side
often referred to me as
Gerald, but it always has
been Rivera."
Mr. Rivera considers
himself a practicing Zionist.
His hand bears a self-inflicted
tatoo of a blue Star of David.
He carved the Jewish symbol
directly above his thumb joint
to proclaim his Judaism.
"In 1967 there was a ter-
rorist incident in Israel," he
explained. "Many women and
children died. At that time, I
began to think about the
Holocaust and how so many
went quietly. It was then that
I gave myself this tatoo
because if I went, I would go
with a clenched fist and they
would know who I was."

Brandy Scheer is assistant
editor of the St. Louis Jewish

Geraldo Rivera

One of the things of which
Mr. Rivera is most proud, in
addition to his work, is his
son Gabriel. "He is more
Jewish than I am and he will
be 12 soon," said Mr. Rivera.
"There were some rough
times for him but then things
changed. There isn't any
reason for children to have to
bear the burden of their
parents. Now I think that he
is very proud of me and I am
so proud of him."
Geraldo Rivera has a long
history in television jour-
nalism and, after more than
3,000 television broadcasts,
he feels that he has earned
the title of journalist. He also
admits to being a pop-culture
figure who is part of the
entertainment business.
"At this point in my career,
I consider myself a hybrid bet-
ween the two," he said. "I
honestly believe that talk-
show journalism is a new
genre all of its own and I am
a part of that genre."
When asked which type of
reporting he enjoyed most,
Mr. Rivera said, "They are all
very different and I like dif-
ferent things about each one.
It really depends on my mood.
It is like my four cars. I like
them all for different
When speaking about
"Geraldo," Mr. Rivera said
that he has his favorites.
"I love the shows about ex-
otic travel. I have a little atlas
in my briefcase that I have
carried for many, many years,
and I wrote on it, 'I pledge to
see every exotic venue that
this huge world and little
book has to offer.' "
His most satisfying shows
were those on the mentally
handicapped. "I think I made
a real difference with these

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