One of the people interviewed by Abigail Porgrebin for her 2005 book, Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk about Being Jewish, was Natalie Portman. Hillel’s website has a long and very interesting excerpt from the book.
Portman’s father is an Israeli physician, her mother an American artist. She lived in Israel until she was 3, then in the US, but visited Israel frequently. She attended a day school until eighth grade, but her parents weren’t religious; they didn’t belong to a synagogue and she didn’t become Bat Mitzvah, but she goes to services on the High Holidays if she is in Israel. She has close relatives who were murdered in the Holocaust. “The first time I felt comfortable in an American religious institution was in college, because [Harvard] campus Hillel was inclusive. And it’s nice having Shabbat dinner every week with everyone.” She wrote a letter to the editor of the Harvard Crimson challenging an article alleging Israeli racism.
Here is the source of all of the media comment so far on her views on intermarriage:
When it comes to Portman’s own romantic life, she says she’s not necessarily looking for a Jewish husband. “A priority for me is definitely that I’d like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is just to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner. It’s certainly not my priority.” She says her parents don’t push her one way or another. “My dad always makes this stupid joke with my new boyfriend, who is not Jewish. He says, ‘It’s just a simple operation.’” She laughs. “They’ve always said to me that they mainly want me to be happy and that’s the most important thing, but they’ve also said that if you marry someone with the same religion, it’s one less thing to fight about.”
According to this interview, Portman said she was comfortable using her celebrity on behalf of Israelis causes. Perhaps if she is going to have an interfaith marriage, she’ll be willing to use her celebrity on behalf of the cause of engaging interfaith families in Jewish life?
This post originally appeared on www.interfaithfamily.com and is reprinted with permission.