Jewish Actress Mila Kunis Says Shabbat Dinners Are Important for Her Family
Jewish actress Mila Kunis talked during a recent podcast interview about Judaism’s role in her life with her husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, and their two children.
“The Spy Who Dumped Me” actress, 34, revealed on the podcast “Armchair Expert,” hosted by actor Dax Shepard, that at the beginning of her relationship with Kutcher they had different views on religion and spirituality. Kunis, who was born in Ukraine and moved to America in 1991 at the age of 7, said she was not religious at all, but when she started dating Kutcher she noticed he was “very religious, very Jewish.” Kutcher, 40, was raised Catholic but started practicing Kabbalah as an adult.
“I, not religious, whatsoever,” Kunis explained. “I was like [to Ashton], ‘Listen, buddy, I love you so very much, let’s find a happy medium here, because that’s, I can’t, it’s not me.” The couple found a compromise and now celebrate Shabbat every week with a Friday night dinner.
Kunis also talked to Shepard about her love of Jewish tradition, saying: “What I grew up with was tradition and I think tradition is beautiful. I don’t think it needs to be based on a book. I think tradition is what you make it. But to that point, I also think the stories in the book [or] books, however you look at it, I think are really beautiful moral stories.”
The actress explained that while most Shabbat dinners extend many hours and require “a lot of work,” she does a simple meal that brings together her family, which includes 3-year-old Wyatt and 1-year-old Dimitri. She told Shepard, “I love the idea of — regardless of where we are in the world, regardless of what we’re doing, on Friday night, we take a minute to just acknowledge one another; to acknowledge our children; to acknowledge our family, say I love you, apologize for all the dumb s**t that we did, and move on. And that’s how I look at Shabbat.”
The actress admitted that her daughter and son have “the attention span of gnats,” so she keeps their Shabbat five minutes long, starting with the lighting of the Shabbat candles. Then, she said, “you say a prayer for your children, you say a prayer…for the bread, we do a couple blessings, it’s literally minutes long, and then we just apologize for whatever we did that week that upset one another, then you kind of just move [on].”
Kunis realizes that as her children get older they might not want to participate in the family’s Friday night dinners, but she said they might not have a choice. She told Shepard, “Too bad, so sad. On Friday nights you’re going to have dinner with us. Friday night we’re all going to get together and we’re just going to talk.”
“Nobody’s gonna wanna talk,” she added. “My boy is probably going to want to play video games. My girl’s going to shun me. But on Friday night, we’re all going to sit down and we’re going to look each other in the eye and say, ‘I love you,’ and ‘What did you do this week?’ Just reconnect for a minute. Like, that’s the long haul of it.”
Kunis also told Shepard that her kids know the Hebrew blessings for Shabbat by heart and she only says the blessing for the lighting of the Shabbat candles, with Kutcher reciting the rest.