Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) plays a doctor in the new Fox drama Red Band Society, which is set in a hospital and centers on the relationships formed among seriously ill teens (Octavia Spencer plays the head nurse). Annable was raised interfaith, and is in an interfaith marriage to actress Odette Annable (Two and a Half Men, Rush).
“My mom is Jewish. I was raised both. I was raised with a choice,” he says. “We celebrated Hanukkah and Christmas. My parents took us to temple and church and said, ‘you figure it out.’ I didn’t really grow up religious. I didn’t feel a tie, one way or the other. But as you get older you never know which way you’ll go.”
Annable broke the glass at his October, 2010 wedding, at which Jewish actor Ron Rifkin, his Brothers & Sisters uncle, officiated. Their different faiths haven’t been a problem for the couple, who aren’t parents yet. When they do have kids, “We’re both thinking along the same lines, that we’ll give them the choice—let them choose, and guide them in both,” Annable says.
He’s had to move to Atlanta, where Red Band Society is shot, which means their marriage will be long distance for a while. “It’s an adjustment,” he admits. “We’re figuring it out.”
The fascinating celebrity genealogy series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr. returns to PBS for a second ten-episode season on September 23, and there are a couple of interfaith stories included in the ten episodes. Actress Gloria Reuben, who is featured in the first, knew very little about her father’s ancestry—he died when she was very young and his parents, whose names she didn’t know, weren’t married; his mother died in a mental institution. Host and historian Gates was able to confirm what Reuben had suspected but could never prove: that her father was Jewish. “She was very moved because she knew so little about her family. It was very exciting to her,” says Gates. “She always wanted to have that heritage confirmed. I don’t know if she’s attended a synagogue yet, but I can see it happening.”
In the last episode, which airs November 25, titled “Decoding Our Past Through DNA,” reveals through extensive testing that actress Jessica Alba, a Christian Latina, has hidden Sephardic Jewish ancestry on her father’s side. Gates traced her paternal line to her fourth great-grandmother, Carmen Carillo, whose forebears were of Jewish descent “and most likely came from Spain to the New World to escape persecution,” says Gates, adding that the revelation “totally surprised Jessica.”
On September 26, James Franco and Kate Hudson co-star in Good People as an in-debt American couple in London who take $400,000 from a murdered neighbor’s apartment and find themselves targeted by the thief who stashed it there. The actors have something in common: Both have Jewish mothers. Hudson’s, of course, is Goldie Hawn, who is also the product of an interfaith marriage. Her father was Presbyterian, but she was raised in her mother’s Jewish faith.
Kevin Kline has two movies playing in limited release right now: He stars as screen legend Errol Flynn in The Last of Robin Hood and in My Old Lady as a Jewish New York writer who inherits a Paris apartment only to discover it’s occupied by an elderly tenant (Maggie Smith) who has no intention of leaving. Kline’s father was born Jewish (though became agnostic), and he was raised in his mother’s Catholic faith. He’s married to actress Phoebe Cates, whose paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother are of Russian-Jewish heritage.
How did the son of a Hamas founder and who is rabidly anti-Israel, become a spy for the Israeli security agency Shin Bet? The improbable but true story of The Green Prince, and the even more surprising one about the relationship between the titular Palestinian and his Jewish handler, is the most compelling of interfaith stories. The documentary is in select theaters now.