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he inherited from them. "My fa-
ther, alav hasholom, was totally
colorblind. He always brought a
black tailor home for the
Some Hollywood critics, of
which Mr. Spelling has more than
a fair share, question his Jewish
commitment in general. "He was
hiding [his Jewishness] under a
rock until the Israelis started win-
ning," commented one director
who worked with Spelling during
the early days.
Even discounting such com-
ments, the Spelling family's reli-
gious observance is rather eclectic.
Candy Spelling told a reporter
some years ago that as the grand-
daughter of the congregational
president at the upscale Sinai
Temple, she was never allowed to
have a Christmas tree as a child.
To make up for the deprivation,
she said, she now buys the largest
tree she can find for her house.
Her husband puts it somewhat
differently. "We have one room at
home, where we light the meno-
rah. In another room, we have a
`Chanukah bush' and invite
friends and people who work for
us, who have no other place to go."
Mr. Spelling says he has per-
sonally not encountered anti-
Semitism in the entertainment
industry, though he assumes that
some exists. "You don't have to see
a bullfrog to hear him croak," he
"There are some Jews in this
town and nobody knows about it,"
he adds. "But we really like being
Former Israeli Spy
EIGHBORHOOD Gets Early Release
❑ a variety of homes in every style and
❑ central location with easy access to all
❑ rich community life
of so many," commented Los An-
But two years later, Mr.
Spelling was back with five new
shows, and although three fal-
tered, "Beverly Hills 90210" and
"Melrose Place" enjoy a loyal fol-
lowing among young people.
Mr. Spelling makes no apolo-
gies for his escapist fare, which he
himself once described as "mind
candy." Still, he wouldn't mind a
bit more respect and points out
that he has also produced such TV
films as "Day One," about the
building of the atomic bomb,
"Cracked Up," about drug prob-
lems, and the movie "'night, Moth-
er," about a young woman's
suicide. He is proud of his
three-hour production of Randy
Shilts' bestseller on the AIDS epi-
demic, "And the Band Played On,"
which was screened on cable tele-
vision in September.
Given Mr. Spelling's intensely
Jewish childhood, which includ-
ed six years of Hebrew school and
memories of his father singing
"Davy Crockett" in Yiddish, why
has he never incorporated a Jew-
ish character among all the non-
descript WASPs in his innum-
"I wish I could lie to you and say
I've used Jewish characters, but
I can't," he says. "We had a
segment in one 'Beverly Hills'
episode in which a girl's grand-
mother has been in a concentra-
In a sense, Mr. Spelling seems
to equate his parents' Jewishness
with the hatred of bigotry he says
The Center of It All
Tel Aviv (JTA) — A former
Israeli army intelligence of-
ficer who was serving a 12-
year sentence for spying for
an unnamed country has
been released from prison
four years early because of
Yosef Amit, formerly a
major in the Israel Defense
Force Intelligence Corps,
was released after serving
just under eight years' im-
Mr. Amit was found guilty
in 1985 of preparing to pass
confidential documents to an
enemy agent. He denied the
His arrest and trial were
kept secret and no details of
his crime have ever been
Legal experts said it was
the first time that a person
convicted here of espionage
had been granted an early
release, which is usually re-
served for prisoners con-
victed of other crimes.
During the last months of
his imprisonment, Mr. Amit
was moved from prison to
prison to prevent reporters
from discovering when and
where he would be freed.
Groups of reporters and
photographers staked out
the gates of nearly all
prisons throughout the
country after it became
known that the mystery
man would probably be
But no one claimed to have
seen or talked to him.
Prison sources said the
secrecy was maintained at
the express request of Mr.
Amit and his family.