Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Natalie Portman Gives Birth to a Baby Boy

Since I launched this blog in March 2003, no post has attracted as much attention as the one I titled simply: "Is Benjamin Millepied Jewish?" That post has received dozens more comments than this blog normally receives. And that simple question: "Is Benjamin Millepied Jewish?" has driven traffic to this blog in record numbers.

So, now that Natalie Portman has given birth to a baby boy I'm sure there will be new questions that arise in the public's mind. As Benjamin Millepied and Natalie Portman welcome their son into this world, will they choose to have a brit milah (bris, ritual circumcision) for their baby son? What will his name be? Will Natalie Portman choose a Hebrew name for her son? Since she is of Israeli descent, will her son's name be a common Israeli name?

When Natalie Portman releases the name of her baby, I'm sure people will still want more information. Since Ashkenazi Jewish custom dictates that babies are named after deceased relatives, the public will want to know who Natalie Portman's son is named for. Also, there is no question that this baby was born Jewish because Natalie Portman is Jewish, so there will likely be an international discussion about whether Portman and Millepied will have a traditional bris ceremony on this new baby's eighth day of life. With the debate over a ban on ritual circumcision currently taking place in San Francisco, I'm certain this celebrity birth will add fuel to that fire.

Finally, Natalie Portman has stated publicly that she plans to raise her child Jewish. Another high profile Jewish celebrity who is intermarried to a non-Jew but raising her child Jewish will add to the discussion about interfaith families. Benjamin Millepied could choose to convert to Judaism in the future, but if he doesn't he will be in good company with other non-Jewish parents helping to raise Jewish children. In fact, organizations like the Jewish Outreach Institute and InterfaithFamily.com exist to help interfaith families who are giving their children a Jewish upbringing.

Mazel Tov to Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied on the birth of their son. For years we've watched Natalie Portman as she's starred in movies and received award after award. Now, she'll have a chance to shine as a Jewish mother. I'm betting that thirteen years from now, there will be a headline somewhere that reads "Natalie Portman's son becomes a Bar Mitzvah."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post Rabbi Jason - Whether purposefully or not you have expressed the real reason why Jewish women should not date and marry gentile men.

Ever single significant mitzvah required by the women with respect to her son may be fought by the man. The Bris, Jewish education, name, etc.

In fact the husband may try and raise this child in his own faith (and who can really blame him - unless it was agreed to as otherwise).

Anonymous said...

Natalie's not Jewish. She's an atheist. She's far too educated to perform genital mutilation on her son anyway.

Anonymous said...

natalie portman is jewish
her son will have a bris

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous from 2:06pm

You obviously aren't very educated as far as what genital mutilation is. Do a little research into genital mutilation in Africa before you make any other comments.

The Eagle

Anonymous said...

http://www.jewsagainstcircumcision.org/brisshalom.htm

I hope she did a Bris Shalom. No cutting to the baby boy.... If I ever marry a jewish woman and we have a boy there is no way in hell my boy is getting circumcised. IT is an outdated, barbaric procedure.