Most Big Bang Theory fans know that Sheldon Cooper’s incredibly patient love interest, Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, is played by a real-life neuroscientist. But it may come as a surprise that Mayim Bialik’s faith goes well beyond worshiping a socially awkward geek.
When she’s not filming TV’s most popular sitcom or raising her two sons, the Emmy-nominated actress, first known to TV audiences as the star of the 1991-95 sitcom Blossom, dedicates much of her time to addressing Jewish causes through her year-old website, GrokNation, and via speaking engagements around the country.
Bialik spoke right before a “Big Bang” rehearsal recently about bridging the gap between fame and faith. Here is her interview with the Star Tribune:
The first question asked of Ms. Bialik was if this was her first time traveling to Minnesota. She says no and goes into stories of her and her father taking “daddy-daughter” trips together. All in all, there was a total of six trips. One was to Hibbing and Duluth to see where Bob Dylan lived. She describes her home growing up as a “Dylan-lullaby household.”
“We flew into Chicago and drove, wearing Bob Dylan T-shirts all the way. Stopping to take pictures of any sign that said Hibbing on it. It was fun. I think it’s tremendous that he’s getting the Nobel Prize. Just look at the protest music and poetry he’s produced”.
The interviewer picks up on the conversation of Bob Dylan: “It’s interesting to track Dylan’s association with religion over the years, particularly in the 1970s.”
Mayim answers, “Yeah, Slow Train.”
The Bob Dylan conversation is then put aside. The interviewer then begins to speak about how Mayim never shied away from addressing Judaism in her private life. Was that always the case? Was she always this committed?
Mayim thinks of it like having blue eyes.
“It’s not something you can change. Three out of my four grandparents immigrated to this country. So, I have an acute sense of my Jewish identity. I’ve journeyed in and out, in terms of observance, just like anyone else would. Right now, it’s the way I’ve chosen to spend my free time, to use my public platform. It’s hard with the demands of being a parent to an 8- and an 11-year-old. I happen to be divorced, so the kids are with their father when I’m working or flying to places like Minnesota. They have to share me with this decision to be of service. That’s honestly the hardest part.”
Religion and Vocation
With that being said, the interviewer asks if religion has ever gotten in the way of her career.
Mayim remarks about the wonders of the Internet. The wonderful and terrifying thing about the web is that everyone is allowed to have an opinion. When being honest about being a Zionist, people have said they were going to boycott “Big Bang.” There are also individuals who don’t think Jews should be Democrats.
“Big Bang” doesn’t deal with religion much. In fact, few shows do. The interviewer asks Mayim why that is.
Religion and faith don’t tend to be popular topics in Hollywood. Due to the creative being associated with a rebellious spirit. However, that hasn’t traditionally been tied to religion, but there’s a new wave of progressive social justice-based Judaism that might be more compatible.
This article runs over our word limit so that we’ll have to continue to part 2.