I know that it’s been covered over and over again. Jon Stewart is the epitome of the Jewish comedian. If you read Saul Austerlitz’s article on our site about Stewart, you see that he has mastered the dichotomy of being a secular, uninvolved Jew, who only makes Jewish references and jokes. Need proof? Check out these videos.
But over at Slate, Ron Rosenbaum has written a fantastic article about a subject that is rarely discussed when talking about Jon Stewart. If Stewart is so unabashedly Jewish, why is he so scared of using his own name? If you don’t know, Jon Stewart’s real name is Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz. Rosenbaum’s article challenges Stewart to go back to his real name.
What I found so fascinating about Rosenbaum’s article wasn’t so much that he challenged Stewart, but that we as a Jewish community don’t even question things like this. Whenever you hear someone say that Bob Dylan’s name is actually Robert Zimmerman, it is always said in a positive light. “You see, he is Jewish!” You never hear anything like “How sad is it that he felt like Zimmerman wasn’t a marketable name?”
Now obviously, Stewart isn’t going to be changing his name back any time soon. But can’t we just hope that there aren’t any up and coming actors and actresses out there who feel like they are going to be judged by the absurdity of their name (I’m looking at you Suri Cruise)?