An overflowing crowd came out on Sunday, December 18, to listen to actress Mayim Bialik speak about her journey in Yiddishkeit. Born to parents who chose a Reform lifestyle after being raised in Orthodox post-Holocaust homes, Mayim describes her path to almost Orthodoxy as “coming home.” The captivated crowd at the Young Israel of West Hempstead listened as Mayim described her current struggles to continue to grow in Torah observance and learning, while at the same time keeping her role in the popular award-winning television series, The Big Bang Theory.
Mayim had many of her own fascinating theories regarding how she became the woman she is today. She described her mother’s home as one in which certain traditions were observed but without explanation. For example, she laughingly told how she thought her mother’s two sets of dishes were for breakfast and dinner. She did not realize Shabbos included Saturday as well. Though her first words as a baby were in Yiddish, by her early teens she was reading Hollywood scripts, such as for her appearance in Beaches as a younger version of Bette Midler, and then moved on to the hit series Blossom.
Baruch Hashem, unlike most child stars, Mayim chose to focus on scholarship and spirituality after her starring role ended. She attended UCLA, where she majored in neuroscience and Hebrew and Jewish studies and took an active role in the Hillel on campus. Her Hillel rabbi proved to be a major influence on her; she notes that after graduation, she wanted to create a home similar to what she had on campus. Though her mother warned her she would never meet a man if she went to services on Friday nights, she met her husband in Calculus class. She married and had two sons, while also receiving her Ph.D. in neuroscience. The executive producer of Big Bang, when noting this footnote on her resume asked, “Is this a joke?” Yes, Mayim is a rare person, straddling the intellectual and entertainment worlds.
Read full article: http://www.5tjt.com/local-news/12751-blossoming-into-yiddishkeit-mayim-bialik-visits-yiwh
In the video below, Ms. Bialik partnered with the Maccabeats to raise money for bone marrow tests. In the second video, the Maccabeats report on how much money has been raised, although I understand that amount has been updated upward.