At New York Awards Show, Orthodox Jewish Teen Star of Hit TV Series Thanks ‘Hashem,’ Says Religion Is the ‘Core of My Identity’
Jewish teen actor David Mazouz, who plays a young Bruce Wayne in the Fox series “Gotham,” was honored on Sunday night for his accomplishments as an Orthodox Jew.
The 16-year-old received the award among other honorees at the 5th Annual Jew In the City All Stars Awards Show in New York, which celebrated the success of observant Jews. In his acceptance speech, Mazouz thanked his rabbis for teaching him “what a moral compass should look like,” his parents for instilling in him important values and “Hashem for bringing all of this into my life.”
The actor — who attends a Jewish high school in Los Angeles — also called Judaism “the core of my identity” and talked about the role religion plays in his life. He told the 500-person audience, “If anybody was to tell me to write a list of the adjectives that I think I am I could write pages and pages because like everybody here I could identify that I’m a member of countless institutions, but Judaism is always at the very top of my list.”
He added, “Now more than ever I think it’s crucial to remember and reinforce the gravity of our unity as Jews. I am a proud Jew doing things in the world. To me a Jew is a person, among other things, that makes it his or her responsibility to go out to the world and to bring light. Someone who counteracts negative stereotypes by helping people everywhere and like my upbringing has taught me, I wear that badge with more dignity than I’ve ever worn anything.”
Mazouz further discussed his Jewish life in a video that played before he was given the award. The actor revealed he does Skype with a rabbi to help him with his Jewish homework, his favorite subject is Talmud and he loves Shabbat. He said he had even described the day of rest in such great detail to some non-Jews that they were now interested in trying it out. Mazouz also told the audience he felt very “at home” with Judaism and that he turned to religion when unsure of what to do in a situation.
He also retold stories of how he has become the “rabbi” or “halachic authority” on the set of “Gotham.”
He explained, “One of our set dressers is named Ari. He came up to me and said, ‘You know I’ve talked to my family and they’re celebrating [the Jewish holiday of] Shemini Atzeret, can you tell me what that is?’…My rabbi was saying you’re gonna be in situations when you’re with others who don’t know [about Judaism] and you’re gonna be the authority and I was thinking, yeah, that’s already happened to me. That’s absolutely true.”