Six incredible things you may not have known about Mayim Bialik
December 16, 2022
After iconic roles in television shows like Blossom and The Big Bang Theory, actress Mayim Bialik is now the host of Jeopardy. Here are six incredible things you never knew about her.
What do you think has been your greatest kiddush Hashem – a moment you really excelled in representing the Jewish people?
That's a funny question. I don't usually identify them myself. I think that typically it should be something other people say or see. I think it's hard to answer for myself without sounding like I'm placing importance on myself or what I do. I do consider it a big source of pride that I wear a Jewish star when I make personal appearances or when I walk a red carpet. I also find ways to incorporate Jewish elements into what I wear.
What has been one of your greatest challenges in being an observant Jew in show business?
I think the most obvious is the calendar Being a Jewish person of any level of observance means we have a separate calendar. However, for those of us who do live according to a halachic notion of the calendar, it can be really difficult, especially throughout the Jewish holidays. It can be really challenging to have people understand what it's like to live with two calendars in your head. Also, the fall is really complicated because we essentially have a holiday every week for what feels like 86 weeks. That's really, really hard.
On a positive note, I'm very grateful we tape on Tuesday nights and not Friday nights. But, there are many parties and events and things that do fall on Shabbos. And again, having off for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret is a big challenge. I am grateful to my lawyer, Shep Rosenman, who is also a mentor of mine, who has helped me navigate all of this.
What have you learned by being the host of Jeopardy?
I have learned that there is a lot I don't know! I realize there are many categories in the world and universe that I know very little about. Additionally, there are some incredible minds that I get to watch and be entertained by. I've also learned a lot about the writers and the writing staff and behind the scenes of what goes into creating the clues behind the game. It's been wonderful.
How do you deal with the intense pressure of such a spotlight?
Some would say I don't deal with it very well. To the best of my ability, I have one piece of paper in each pocket with two famous quotes from the commentaries. One says, "For my sake the world was created," while the other one states, "I am but dust and ashes." That's how I deal with the spotlight.
I also find tremendous solace in Shabbos, by powering down and not working at least for a portion of my week.
Additionally, I try to not overload my personal schedule to catch up on all the things that I am missing by working so much and being in the spotlight. That means I have to accept a more quiet and simple life.
What advice can you give people who are going through a divorce?
There are many good resources, and actually many good Jewish resources on divorce. The problem is that a lot of the resources out there are mostly about the kids, despite the fact that most of the issues in a divorce are not about the kids. Separating your issues from your children's issues is crucial and is a real challenge.
What's your favorite Jewish book?
I mean...the five books of Moses? I hope that counts! I have many favorites, but the Torah is number one.
Regarding my other favorites, I can't just pick one! "As a Driven Leaf" by Milton Steinberg or "Out of the Depths" by Rabbi Israel Meir Lau is also one of my favorites.
There are also a bunch of Bialik books, a personal plug!
Sarah Pachter is a dynamic, motivational speaker who has lectured throughout the US and Israel. For the past thirteen years Sarah has passionately taught women of all ages and levels of Jewish observance, drawing in large crowds with her innovative and personal touch. In addition to lecturing for many organizations, schools, and synagogues, she is a Kallah teacher, dating coach, and mentor. Sarah runs growth groups in private homes and meets with individuals for one-on-one private sessions. Sarah has been featured on the Radio, is a regular columnist, and a freelance writer for the Jewish Press, Aish.com and the Jewish Home as well as many other publications. She has authored Small Choices Big Changes published by Targum Press.
Reprinted with permission by Aish Hatorah Resources.