A ‘Survivor’ Contestant’s ‘Baruch Hashem’ Was a Historic Reality TV Moment

Jewish contestant Tiffany Seely may have lost the challenge, but won the attention of Jewish fans everywhere.

Spoilers ahead for “Survivor” season 41, episode 6. 

“Survivor” season 41 was initially slated to start filming in March 2020. We all know how this story goes: Production was pushed back, and back again, until it was safe enough for the cast and crew to travel and film. And now, the delightfully weird and zany season of “Survivor” is airing on our TV — with, as host Jeff Probst keeps saying, a “new era” full of twists and turns.

The constant twists are a bit too much; I believe “Survivor” thrives the most when it sticks to the bones of the game (people making alliances, lying, trying to win challenges and so on), yet this season’s cast is so good I really can’t complain about Probst’s antics.

But one particular moment from this week’s episode caught my attention, along with Jewish survivor fans everywhere.

Let me set the scene: There are three tribes and 12 castaways left, and one tribe is down to two members, so everyone knows a merge is coming. (Little did they know they would have to “earn” the merge, in another annoying season 41 twist.) They go to the challenge, which they expect to be the first individual challenge of the season, but instead they are randomly sorted into two groups. The winners get immunity and become part of the merge tribe, getting the classic merge feast, whereas the losers will have to compete in individual immunity ahead of tribal.

So, challenge happens, and I, your loyal Jewish culture writer, am obviously rooting for the Jewish contestant, Evvie Jagoda, 28, who is also the first nonbinary contestant on “Survivor” and uses they/she pronouns. (In their bio, it says her pet peeve is “men,” making them my immediate favorite.) Lo and behold, Evvie is part of the winning squad, getting a meal and immunity.

The losing team does get a small consolation prize: rice. They cook it, and that’s when contestant Tiffany Seely scoops a spoonful and lets out: “Baruch Hashem.”

tiffany baruch hashem

Now, I always had a feeling Tiffany, 47, could be Jewish — she gives off impeccable Jewish mom vibes, and is from Long Island and has the accent to prove it — but I thought she may also be Italian. (Jews and Italians are very similar, when it comes to being from Long Island.) When I previously did some googling, I noticed her social media is all about being a BRCA Gene spokeswoman; per the CDC, Ashkenazi Jewish women are 10 times more likely to have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation than women in the general United States population. Again, all signs pointed to Jewish. Yet, the “Baruch Hashem” confirmed my gut feeling.

I immediately texted my friend Emma, fellow “Survivor” obsessive, to kvell over Tiffany’s Jewish moment. And Emma and I weren’t the only two Jewish “Survivor” fans who noticed:



Tiffany even replied to Jonah Platt’s (of the Brothers Platt) tweet about the moment, saying, “I have Yiddish words all day. Reminds me of my grandparents whom I so adored!!! My mother as well who was Israeli!! May she Rest In Peace. I have them looking down and smiling.”

Tiffany started sharing some of the messages she got, showing the power of representation on reality TV.

Tiffany is not the first Jewish contestant to compete on “Survivor” — there’s been many, including  winners Ethan Zohn, John Cochran and Adam Klein. But I’m pretty sure this is the first “Baruch Hashem” we’ve heard on the show.

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