NEW YORK — For most media outlets, the headlines from People’s recent interview with Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock were that she was dropping her cad of a husband and was in the process of adopting a baby from New Orleans.
The big news for Jewish publications: She reportedly helped welcome Louis Bardo Bullock into her life with what she is describing as an at-home brit.
Some corners of the blogosphere were citing the report as proof that Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson have competition for Hollywood’s most beautiful Jewish starlet award. But plenty of celeb-obsessed Web sites were saying the opposite, insisting that what’s newsworthy here is that a non-Jewish movie star chose to go with a Jewish ritual circumcision.
Take this snippet from Hollywood Life: “It is surprising that Sandra opted to have a bris, considering neither she nor her soon-to-be-ex-husband Jesse James are Jewish (not to mention Jesse’s apparent interest in Nazis, as captured in photographs).”
Oh, wait, the celebrity Web site quickly added, there is a Jewish connection of sorts: “The only Jewish person connected to Jesse, that we know of, is his godfather, who Jesse says gave him the Nazi hat he was photographed wearing.”
Earlier this year, soon after Bullock won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in “The Blind Side,” reports surfaced of her husband’s philandering. Next, a photograph emerged of him sporting Nazi paraphernalia.
“This is not the man I married,” Bullock told People. “This was stupid, this was ignorant. Racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, homophobia, anything Nazi and a boatload of other things have no place in my life.”
As for her circumcision decision: “A friend of ours helped arrange for a bris at the house because we couldn’t go [to a hospital for the procedure]. The mohel came to us. You have never seen adults more panicked about what was about to happen to their son, but the celebration and the amount of love we felt and the pride in the little man whom we love so, so much became the greatest moment I have ever had in my life.”
No word on whether Bullock talked decorating with pop star Christina Aguilera, who made headlines two years ago by dotting her home with anatomically inspired balloons for her son’s ritual circumcision.
Bullock’s decision to go with a mohel is more common than you think — at least if you believe what you read in the Forward.
Back in 2007, the newspaper published a story titled “”Mohels Give Non-Jewish Babies a Slice of Tradition.”
“Although commonly recognized as performers of the brith milah, or Jewish circumcision, an increasing number of mohels are finding themselves handling the rituals for non-Jewish babies,” the Forward reported. The practice, according to one mohel quoted in the story, is “very widespread.”