Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

The Outsiders

The Fox cult hit ‘Glee’ is about outcasts and Broadway—so naturally it offers a Jewish storyline

Print Email

A high-school football player with a mohawk has a long, dark night of the soul. He dreams of an angelic visitation: a young woman in a nightgown, Star of David at her neck, wafts in through his window and gazes at him lovingly. As he awakes, he comes to the only reasonable conclusion: “Rachel was a hot Jew and the good Lord wanted me to get into her pants.” It must be said in all honesty, however, that this might not have been divine intervention; rather, like for Marley in A Christmas Carol, this visitation could have been the result of something the football player ate—the sweet-and-sour pork consumed during his family’s annual Simchat Torah’s viewing of Schindler’s List.

If you’re already watching Glee, the most bizarre, delirious, delightful show currently airing on network television, well, then, good for you. You already know what I’m talking about. Feel free to skip the rest of the column and set your DVR for tonight’s episode. If you’re not, I swear to you that millions of Americans watched these events last week, rubbed their eyes, and continued rubbing throughout the episode as this rugged football player, Noah, paid court to Rachel by singing a Neil Diamond song. Later, after the brief relationship soured, Noah looked mournfully into space and then contemplatively perched a yarmulke on top of his mohawk. This all took place, it should be repeated, on network television—indeed, on Fox.

Glee is the brainchild of Ryan Murphy, who created Nip/Tuck. That previous show featured two non-Jewish plastic surgeons in Miami—an unlikely possibility, to say the least—so one might be forgiven for assuming that his new cult hit, which revolves around a cast of singing and dancing misfits in an Ohio high school that’s stocked with your usual John Hughes-ful of jocks and cheerleaders, would have very little to do with matters Jewish.

One might be forgiven, but one would be wrong. Some of this, I suppose, has to do with casting. The show’s charismatic female lead, Lea Michele (born Lea Michele Sarfati), who’s got a voice with enough power to supplant Middle East oil, has been playing Jewish roles for years: she was Tateh’s daughter in the original Broadway production of Ragtime and Shprintze, one of Tevye’s daughters, in the 2003 Broadway revival of Fiddler on the Roof. Lea’s ethnic looks clash nicely with the blond midwesterness of the “Cheerios,” the cheerleaders who serve as her ostensible rivals on Glee.

But there’s more than that.

The show is about misfits, and the ragged chorus that makes up the McKinley High School glee club is—and suffers a bit from being too much of—the “one in every category” sort: there’s an African American, an Asian American, a gay student, and a nerd in glasses who, to up the ante, is also in a wheelchair. In fact, without providing any spoilers, it’s fair to say that one of the show’s themes is that anyone—even the jocks—can be a misfit, a target for an unerringly aimed Slushee to the face. So if all these other minority groups are included, a Breakfast Club-like lesson in how outsiders become a community—presumably with a different ending—how could you leave out the Jews? They’re part of the story of minority America muscling their way, in their difference, to center stage, to the heart of American entertainment.

But it’s probably more than that, too. The show’s bones are in Broadway; and—in a truth espoused by William Goldman in his backstage classic The Season 40 years ago and more recently and pungently in Eric Idle’s score for Spamalot—you won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews. Jews are as much a part of the DNA of American musical theater—and, as such, of Glee—as, well, gay men. The episode in which the show’s flamboyantly gay character, Kurt, leads the football team to success by getting the players to dance to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” (and then successfully comes out to his gruff father) is a sly suggestion of the real forces that make Glee move (and shake, and pop their hips, and do jazz hands). Why can’t a frustrated love story between two self-proclaimed hot Jews be next? It’s what the people who pack those seats on the Great White Way come to see.

Whether this’ll be the case in a much broader medium, of course, remains to be seen. It’s also an open question whether these stories will be occasional moments, relegated to the chorus behind the tales of Finn and Quinn, the singing quarterback and cheerleader. I tend to think not, though. Thankfully, we’ll have the chance to find out: a month ago, Glee became the first new fall series to get picked up for the full season.

Jeremy Dauber is a professor of Yiddish language, literature, and culture at Columbia University.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Glee was actually created by three people, at least one of whom is Jewish, Brad Falchuk. Ian Brennan is the other co-creator. Ryan Murphy created Nip/Tuck, and the three mentioned created Glee, together–information that is found easily on

How vernaculative!

Rebecca says:

it’s also worth noting that Dianna Agron, the actress who plays Quinn, the blondest and most Christian of the characters, is actually Jewish as well.

is there any news if charise pempengco made it to glee?i hope she did…mabuhay ka charisse!!!proud to be pinoy!!!

Many landlords will need to confirm your references. Cellphone forward to alert potential references, including your former landlord, that they could obtain a call. Accumulate some information to present to landlords/leasing agents ? they will probably ask for it, anyway. This could embrace a credit score check, a resume and pay stubs or tax returns.

Exceptional – I really should certainly pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no difficulty navigating signifies all the tabs also as associated info ended up being really simple to complete to entry. I lately discovered what I hoped for prior to you understand it in any respect.

Witty! I’m bookmarking you site for future use.

Many thanks for making the effort to discuss this, I feel strongly about this and like studying a great deal more on this topic. If possible, as you gain knowledge, would you mind updating your webpage with a great deal more information? It’s very helpful for me.

One of my favorite posts.

The subsequent time I read a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you may repair when you werent too busy in search of attention.

I feel like I’m constantly looking for interesting things to read about a variety of niches, but I manage to include your site among my reads every day because you have honest entries that I look forward to. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more top-notch material coming!

Someone I work with visits your site regularly and recommended it to me to read as well. The writing style is great and the content is relevant. Thanks for the insight you provide the readers!

sex toys says:

One thing I have actually noticed is there are plenty of misconceptions regarding the banking companies intentions if talking about foreclosed. One myth in particular would be the fact the bank prefers to have your house. The financial institution wants your money, not your property. They want the funds they loaned you having interest. Averting the bank is only going to draw some sort of foreclosed summary. Thanks for your post.

Amaze! Thank you! I constantly wished to produce in my internet site a thing like that. Can I take element of the publish to my blog?

strongzz Valuable information. Lucky me I found your web site by accident, and I’m shocked why this accident didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

I like this site. Keep it going,i have added your site to my bookmarks will be back regular.Good work,thanks\thank you.

Hello.This article was really interesting, especially since I was investigating for thoughts on this subject last Sunday.

Fantastic goods from you, man. The Outsiders – by Jeremy Dauber – Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life I have understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too great. I actually like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous The Outsiders – by Jeremy Dauber – Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life informations.

strongzz It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I’m glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

(BTW, my new favorite baseball nickname? Texas hurler Derek Holland. The Dutch Oven.)

strongzz magnificent points altogether, you just gained a new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you made some days ago? Any positive?

“He has got to come to a decision yearly about a week however, there is some time and it is not too late,” he told Reuters Specialized

I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.

Great blog! I really love how it’s easy on my eyes as well as the information are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your rss feed which ought to do the trick! Have a nice day!

I went over this internet site and I believe you have a lot of good information, bookmarked (:.

I dugg some of you post as I thought they were handy invaluable

cool blog and nice post.

I just could not depart your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be back often in order to check up on new posts

Howdy there, just recognized your Blog when I google something and wonder what webhosting do you use for your weblog,the speed is extra quicker than my weblog, I actually need it.will be back to check it out, I appreciate it!

I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The site style is wonderful, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

Great goods from you, man. The Outsiders – by Jeremy Dauber – Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still care for to keep it smart. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific The Outsiders – by Jeremy Dauber – Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life informations.

Wonderful goods from you, man. The Outsiders – by Jeremy Dauber – Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a tremendous The Outsiders – by Jeremy Dauber – Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life informations.

I truly appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thanks again

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

coucou tout le monde j’aime bien ce post mais l’ immobilier est mon soucis.

Whoa! that post was quite helpful thanks.

We’re a group of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

I just wanted to share with you exactly how impressed I’m with your service as well as product. I merely wanted one to know that we am more likely to order more of my stuff via you with the low charge in freight plus the speedy shipment. Just wished to tell someone the feeling I only had in your site. My very first time that and it had become so uncomplicated. Everything was there and amount of confusion. It was easy move for the site and also registering was simple it nervous me, I imagined I had been forgetting something. Thank the person who set the site, it had been simply splendid. I dream to do business again soon.

This is a fantastic news meant for bloggers. It opens having access to a large spectrum of who find themselves finding a place to speech their fears. With an individual’s theme, I can gain any visibility I’m having today. Thanks because of this informative submit, I learned lots!

Presently it is appropriate time to make some plans for the longer term and its the moment to enjoy. Ive learn this submit and if I may I wish to counsel you some interesting issues or advice. Maybe you can publish next articles referring to this article. I hope to learn even more things about it!

If Im running outside, I have to wear a visor or hat. It keeps the sweat out of my face and protects me from the sun (so cal). If im running on the dreadmill, I have a wide Nike headband thats a must!

ssfwyubcmfunbh, Oline order xanax, cfgZrys.

irddoubcmfunbh, Spiegel outlet, ZUgJiUW.

hfrgfubcmfunbh, Meridia, upcLWiM.

My husband and i were now glad Louis could do his investigation with the precious recommendations he was given while using the weblog. It is now and again perplexing just to continually be releasing things which the rest might have been selling. And we acknowledge we have got the blog owner to be grateful to for this. The most important illustrations you have made, the easy web site menu, the relationships your site make it possible to promote – it’s got everything awesome, and it’s letting our son and us believe that that situation is awesome, and that’s pretty mandatory. Many thanks for all!

vexcnubcmfunbh, Cheap xanax bars, VUHsJuQ.

oflxjubcmfunbh, j&r coupon, BPKAXLJ.

cmtcaubcmfunbh, Live sex voyeur, XVASoTv.

mqqhyubcmfunbh, Ambien, MQUPGmA.

xjhbyubcmfunbh, flash templates, ODnfzkb.

abeiyubcmfunbh, Buy Viagra, tSSBwZX.

Great stuff, looks like you spent quite some time on this! I apprecicate your hard work, keep it up! Thanks again and have a great day! :)

Lea Michele stated on national television that she was raised Catholic, and that her Jewish father “gladly” attends church with her and her mother.

The book is closed.

Now, let’s pretend the last two and a half years never happened, and you guys in the Jewish press can start writing about people with two Jewish parents, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Logan Lerman, Mila Kunis, and Anton Yelchin.

Starts at the 9:40 mark –

Lisa Davidson says:

It is a nice one. I like this story plot. I want more like this from the director.

Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website
with us so I came to look it over. I’m definitely loving the information.
I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
Terrific blog and superb style and design.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The Outsiders

The Fox cult hit ‘Glee’ is about outcasts and Broadway—so naturally it offers a Jewish storyline

More on Tablet:

Rediscovering the First Woman Rabbi

By Laura Geller — Ordained in 1935, Regina Jonas died at Auschwitz. Now, she’s being honored.