VNN Kovers Kramer’s Jewishness

Just when it seemed Michael Richards was about to leave the most troubling incident of his career behind, his publicist is having to explain how the comic could consider himself to be Jewish. Last week, crisis-management expert Howard Rubenstein acknowledged that Richards had shouted anti-Semitic remarks in an April standup comedy routine _ well before his appearance earlier this month in which he harangued hecklers with the n-word. But he defended Richards’ language about Jews, saying that the comic “is Jewish. He’s not anti- Semitic at all. He was role-playing.”

As Rubenstein’s assertion circulated, Jewish organizations and commentators pointed out that the man who played Cosmo Kramer on “Seinfeld” has not converted to Judaism and neither of his parents are Jewish. Which makes him … “Technically, not having been born by blood as Jewish and not formally going into a conversion, it was purely his interpretation of having adopted Judaism as his religion,” Rubenstein told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “He told me, `I’m Jewish,’ when I asked him. “He said there were two mentors who raised him and who had a big influence on his life, and they were Jewish. He said, `I agree with the concepts and the religious beliefs of Judaism and I’ve adopted Judaism as my religion,’” Rubenstein said. “He really thinks of himself as Jewish.”

What do some Jews think?

“You can’t feel Jewish. It’s not a matter of feeling. You can convert to Judaism. You can’t not convert to Judaism and then be Jewish,” said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.

More on Whether Kramer’s a Jew

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