Steven Berkowitz

Seinfeld is Here! But Where’s Everyone Else?

Seinfeld is in Israel now. He’s meeting with families of hostages, playing a few shows, and doing exactly what a Jew as famous as he should be doing, making us feel incredibly proud.

Debra Messing, Ivanka and Jared Kushner, and Scooter Braun are there as well. A few others like Michael Rappaport have traveled to show support for the holy land, but the list of Jewish celebrities to come to Israel since 10.7 is conspicuously short (Gal Gadot notwithstanding). Aside from Seinfeld, they’re not quite names that will blow the roof off the shul.

But what if those names did arrive?

Imagine Simon and Garfunkel reuniting at Ramat Gan stadium in the ultimate gesture of coming together for the sake of one Jewish people. The story of their legendary show would be covered the world over, much more so than the one-time mention Seinfeld’s visit will receive on sites like CNN and Fox.

Bob Dylan could take the stage the next night, and Barbara Streisand the next, and Billy Crystal the next, followed by Spielberg doing a Q & A after a screening of Schindler’s List (or E.T., as these days, it does feel like we’re living in an alien world). The massive parade of Jewish stars playing Israel would be reported on every mainstream Western news outlet. The nightly shows would be nothing less than a true show of force.

To his credit, Jason Alexander did post something heartfelt about the hostages and I’m sure it helped raise awareness. Although, he didn’t once mention his being Jewish or that he sides with Israel, and yes, there is something wrong with that. If only he, Larry David and Julia Louis-Dreyfus joined Seinfeld on stage, the coverage and message it would send would be that much greater.

Sara Silverman, Maya Rudolph, Jon Lovitz, Andy Samberg and the other notable Jewish SNL alums similarly could do a night together, or at the very least, make guest appearances on Eretz Nehederet. C’mon Robert Smigel, where’s your Jew card now?

Where was Adam Sandler during Chanukah playing the Chanukah Song live from Israel, broadcast on social media to Jews around the world? If only Jack Black tenaciously supported Israel and played a show, or if Daniel Radcliffe did his part to make some of the Anti-Semitism in the UK disappear, or the sadness of hostage families.

Gene Simmons (aka, Chaim Witz) and Paul Stanley could come to Israel just to tell the world to Kiss off. Seth Rogen could do a night for soldiers at an IDF base, light up a fatty on stage and say, “Here’s to you guys smoking the terrorists!”

Statements by powerful, influential people need to be made. Huge displays of solidary need to be shown, anything and everything to level the popularity contest. Both Jews, and non-Jews especially, need to know that their heroes side with Israel unequivocally, and aside from the fringe, the vast majority of Jews are united and approve of the actions Israel is taking.

I get that I’m not famous, nor fabulously wealthy due to a fame that instantaneously could all be jeopardized by saying the slightest wrong thing. I can’t know the dilemma some pro-Israel Jews might be feeling now about whether or not to speak out and risk it all (I’m well aware not all are, making this the answer to where are the other such voices rather obvious). Michael Jordan, as influential and powerful as he was during his playing days, had to explain why he wasn’t more socially active by stating the obvious fact that, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

The biggest Jewish names in Hollywood are the biggest names in Hollywood. They can’t cancel us all. While Seinfeld has courageously come to offer some of his legendary comedy, the silence of so much of Hollywood has been nothing but tragedy.

Thank you, you’ve been a wonderful audience.

About the Author
Steven Berkowitz lives in Riverdale, New York, writing advertising by day, and by night, sharing thoughts he hopes connect with the broader Jewish world. He hopes his next piece will be a lot funnier, and says, "Sorry about that!"