Mayim Bialik
Mayim BialikPublic domain

You may know her as Amy Fowler from The Big Bang Theory television, or as Blossom Russo, the titular character from the mid-90’s sitcom Blossom.

Mayim Bialik has played dozens of roles in television and film in a career that stretches back nearly 30 years.  

In that sense, Bialik is very much at home in Hollywood, having worked there since the age of 11.

In some ways, however, life in the media capital of the world is difficult – especially since Bialik is a Shabbat-observant Orthodox Jew.

While raised in a Reform home, Bialik became interested in Orthodox Judaism in college. Today, despite working in the decidedly secular atmosphere of Hollywood, Bialik keeps Shabbat, eats only kosher, prays daily, and dresses according to traditional Jewish standards of modesty.

But being religiously observant is anything but easy, says Bialik. In fact, it’s virtually impossible.

“Every time some nice young religious women ask me ‘how can I be a successful actress and still keep Shabbat and the holidays and the body of Jewish tradition?’ I answer them: ‘You can’t really. They just don’t go together.’”

Despite the difficulties, however, Bialik somehow manages to maintain her lifestyle without sacrificing her career.

“Most of the people I work with aren’t religious, and they think it’s strange that I don’t use my phone or computer during holidays, but they’re very respectful,” she told Yediot Ahronot.

Politically, however, Bialik finds herself closer to other streams of Judaism.

“There are some things I like about the Reform movement, or the Jewish Renewal movement. I love to pray and I’m faithful to the Orthodox prayer book, but politically I find myself more on the left-liberal side of the spectrum.”

A staunch Zionist, Bialik says she has paid a price for her support of Israel, noting that there are more than a few in Hollywood who simply oppose Israel’s existence.

“What I’ve learned from supporting Israel [in public] is that there are people who really don’t care where you are on the political spectrum or if you’re in favor a Palestinian state, they just don’t think Israel needs to exist.”