Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dustin Hoffman Jewish ?

Just in case you wonder if Dustin Hoffman (full name: Dustin Lee Hoffman) is Jew, the truth is that Hoffman is Jew.  

To be more specific, Hoffman, 75, was born in Los Angeles, the second son of Lillian and Harry Hoffman. His father worked as a prop supervisor (set decorator) at Columbia Pictures before becoming a furniture salesman. Hoffman was named after stage and silent screen actor Dustin Farnum. His older brother, Ronald, is a lawyer and economist. Hoffman is Jewish, from an Ashkenazi family of immigrants from Kievand Iaşi (Romania). His upbringing was neither religious nor observant. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955 and enrolled at Santa Monica College with the intention of studying medicine. Hoffman left after a year to join the Pasadena Playhouse, although when he told his family about his career goal, his Aunt Pearl warned him "You can't be an actor. You are not good-looking enough."

When asked about the family's observance of the holidays, Hoffman once stated: "About the time I realized we were Jews, maybe when I was about 10, I went to the delicatessen and ordered bagels and draped them around the tree."

It has to be mentioned that in an interview, he claimed that all of his kids from his second marriage had bar or bat mitzvahs and that he is a more observant Jew now than when he was younger; he also lamented that he is not fluent in Hebrew.

"My father was an atheist, I have a sibling, my brother, and neither of us were bar mitzvahed. Luckily we got circumcised, but that was about it", Hoffman explained.

It has to be said that Hoffman has not lived in a Jewish neighborhood.

"As a matter of fact we moved around a bit. My father kept trying to upgrade himself. He would fail and we would downgrade to a lower neighborhood. During a long stretch of my formative, pre-teen years I lived in what I would call an anti-Semitic neighborhood. I got a few "dirty Jews" and got beat up a couple of times. It was substantial enough for me to always deny my being Jewish as I was growing up. If someone asked me what religion I was, I would pretend I didn't understand the question. I'd say: "I'm American," Hoffman was quoted as saying.

"I don't read any Hebrew. I know a bissel of Yiddish, because my grandmother, who lived in our house from the day I was born until she died when I was 16, when she and my mother wanted to talk privately in front of the kids, they spoke Yiddish and I picked up a little" Hoffman continued.


"I don't have a Jewish background in the sense that we've been talking about. I've always felt I was a Jew. It's an internal feeling. I also feel I'm a Russian Romanian Jew because my father's people were from Kiev and my mother's people were from Iaşi, meaning I love mămăligă and I love borscht and vodka. Also, I think there's a specific humor I've always been attached to, and there's no other way to put it. I have a Jewish sense of humor" Hoffman added.

Conclusion: Dustin Hoffman is Jewish.

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