A Timeline of Pop Culture’s Hot Rabbis

With Adam Brody's upcoming turn as a charming rabbi on Netflix, let's remember all those who came before him.

When I first heard the news that Jewish actor and certified hottie Adam Brody would be playing a “charming rabbi” in an upcoming Netflix rom-com series, my response was twofold. First, I looked to the heavens and exclaimed a mighty, and thirsty, “Baruch Hashem!” And second, I thought of A.R. Vishny’s Hey Alma article “Where Are All the Hot Rabbis on TV?”

“Television loves hot clergymen,” Vishny wrote back in 2020. “There’s the series ‘Grantchester’ about hot vicars who fight crime while doing hot vicar things, like comforting grievers, giving sermons, and brooding. There’s ‘Fleabag’’s Hot Priest, played by Andrew Scott. Then, of course, there’s Jude Law’s ‘The Young Pope,’ Father Brah in ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,’ and movies upon movies of smoldering exorcists and priests with dark secrets.”

Going on, she ponders, “Where are my hot television rabbis?”

It’s a fair point. I have yet to see a show or movie which makes synagogue sexy for the popular imagination in the way that Hot Priest made the world sinfully thirst after priests in 2019. Hopefully, Adam Brody’s charming rabbi Netflix show will change that. Still, I argue that just because pop culture isn’t centering hot rabbi characters and their stories, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist!

Below, I’ve compiled a timeline of the hottest rabbis in all of TV and film and (subjectively) rated their hotness. Granted, this list is not exhaustive. In all the self-restrained horny energy that it took to write this article, I acknowledge that it’s possible I may have missed some tempting Torah scholars. It’s also possible my taste is different than yours. Either way, that’s my Magen David to bear. My greatest wish is that one day, all the hot rabbis in pop culture will be too numerous to count in one single list.


Rabbi Avram Belinski

played by Gene Wilder in “The Frisco Kid” (1979)

The Frisco Kid Late Take
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

The earliest example (I could find) of a hot rabbi in pop culture is played by none other than Jewish gem Gene Wilder. Though Wilder is better known for playing Willy Wonka in “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” or any of his roles in Mel Brooks’ movies, in “The Frisco Kid” he plays a Polish rabbi traveling across the U.S. in the late 19th century to lead a congregation in San Francisco. It’s a comedic role for him; the more dreamy character is bank robber Tommy Lillard, played by an undeniably smoking hot, young Harrison Ford. Still, in my opinion, funny is sexy and if you don’t think that Gene Wilder is attractive, I have nothing to say to you.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥

Rabbi Jake Schram

played by Ben Stiller in “Keeping the Faith” (2000)

Keeping the Faith
Getty Images

After Gene Wilder’s Avram Belinski, Jews seemingly wandered in the desert for about 20 years (honestly, not bad) until our next hot rabbi in pop culture: Ben Stiller. In 2000, Ben starred as Jake Schram in “Keeping the Faith,” a dashing young rabbi looking for love and struggling between tradition and intermarriage. But don’t just take my word for it.

“Maybe even more important than his faith is how hot Ben Stiller is in this movie,” Hey Alma contributor Zev Hurwich wrote in 2021. “In every other movie of that decade he’s sweet, he’s nebbishy, he’s funny, but here he’s a total babe. And it’s not in spite of his Judaism, it’s because of it. He’s confident with his congregation and he’s ambitious in his practice. In romantic scenes with Anna they let him be shorter than her, and it makes them both sexy as heck. Then there’s the scene where, in a sun-dappled room, they show him saying Shacharit (the morning service), and they recognize the objective hotness of wearing tefillin.”

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi Ari

played by Molly Parker in “Six Feet Under” (2002)

Rabbi Ari
Screenshot via Max

Let’s make some commotion for hot female rabbis in pop culture!! Played by Molly Parker, Rabbi Ari is a recurring character in the show “Six Feet Under.” Granted, she only recurs in two episodes in season two, but oh boy does she make an impact. Funeral director Nate Fisher (Peter Krause) first meets Rabbi Ari when his funeral home hosts the funeral of a Jewish man named Jeffrey Shapiro who accidentally dies due to autoerotic asphyxiation. Despite this weird and intense introduction, Nate and Rabbi Ari hit it off, and it’s easy to see why. Rabbi Ari is intelligent, confident, well-spoken with a sultry voice and has a deep investment in Judaism. The pair chat about their thoughts on God, the afterlife and a serious medical condition that Nate has — flirting all the while.

“I have a bit of a messiah complex, saving the men,” Rabbi Ari tells Nate, explaining why she briefly considered dating him. “Well, you can save me. If that’s what you need to do, you can save me,” Nate responds.

Folks, I nearly fell out of my chair during that exchange. Unfortunately, it’s not meant to be between the two as Nate is engaged to his on-again-off-again girlfriend Brenda. Still, we see Rabbi Ari again when Nate and Brenda seek pre-marriage counseling and Rabbi Ari is just as hot as ever.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi David Bloom

played by David Julian Hirsch in “Weeds” (2012)

Screenshot via Showtime

Full disclosure: I have not seen “Weeds.” So let me briefly enter my Keke Palmer era to say, “Sorry to this man.”

Beyond a skim of the “Weeds” Wikipedia page which reveals that Rabbi Dave is the main character’s husband in the last season, I know nothing about him. (The same is true for the actor who plays him, David Julian Hirsch, though this article from the Canadian Jewish News provides insight that he’s descended from Polish Holocaust survivors and also played a rabbi on the show “Grimm.”) However, based on the photos of Rabbi Dave in Google Images, I can confirm that this man is a hot rabbi. He looks like he could also be charming and witty, but truly, who’s to say. There’s really no way of knowing.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi Charles Grodner

played by Ben Schwartz in “This Is Where I Leave You” (2014)

Ben Schwartz Rabbi
Screenshot via Netflix

You might know the 2014 Netflix movie “This Is Where I Leave You” through this viral TikTok which points out how weird it is that set designers inexplicably set out some hamantaschen during a shiva scene. But I know it because of Rabbi Charles Grodner — or, as most of the characters call him, Boner. Now, I know what you’re thinking, a character being teased with the nickname Boner doesn’t sound super hot. But did I mention that Rabbi Grodner is played by Ben Schwartz?! From Jean-Ralphio Saperstein on “Parks and Recreation” to Sonic the Hedgehog, Schwartz brings unabashed rizz king energy to many of his roles, which is hot. His portrayal of Boner is no different. He treats Shabbat services like a sold out concert and flirts from the bimah, he drinks a beer during shiva and cracks jokes when two grown men childishly fight and he’s sweetly vulnerable about being called Boner.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥

Rabbi Raquel Fein

played by Katherine Hahn in “Transparent” (2014-2019)

Rabbi Raquel
Photo by Jennifer Clasen/Amazon Prime Video

Look, I know that Rabbi Raquel’s inclusion on this list might be a bit controversial. (ICYMI: In recent years, the portrayal of Jewish characters by non-Jewish actors has been a point of contention in the Jewish community. Kathryn Hahn’s portrayal of Rabbi Raquel has sometimes been pointed to as a high-profile example of that.) But, for a moment, let’s put aside the “Jew-face” debate and all just agree that Kathryn Hahn on “Transparent” is hot, OK?! A funny, thoughtful and strong woman rabbi? Played by KATHRYN THEE HAHN?! That’s hot. Sorry not sorry.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi Shapiro

played by Josh Peck in “13: The Musical” (2022)


I grew up watching Josh Peck play the awkward and lovable Josh Nichols on Nickelodeon, and now he’s aged up into more mature roles like Rabbi Shapiro in “13: The Musical.” Just thinking about it gives me the shivers. Playing a rabbi to a 12-year-old who is simultaneously preparing for his bar mitzvah and dealing with his parents’ divorce, Josh Peck is gentle, supportive and great with kids. Plus, his accurate Hebrew pronunciation is off-the-charts hot. In short, I’m not sure if there’s a Rebbetzin Shapiro, but Rabbi Shapiro’s tallit is definitely made of husband material.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi Jen

played by Hari Nef in “And Just Like That…” (2022)

Rabbi Jen
Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/HBO Max

Let’s be honest, the real star of “And Just Like That…” is Rabbi Jen. Played by actress Hari Nef, Rabbi Jen is a trans rabbi hired by Charlotte to lead her nonbinary child Rock’s “they mitzvah” service. She is fashionable, young and, most importantly, not afraid of tough love. “Great kid, totally unprepared. Complete disaster,” Rabbi Jen tells Rock’s parents after their first lesson. “You heard me,” she goes on, “doesn’t know the Torah, haftarah or even the most basic prayers of the service.” Though Rabbi Jen isn’t 40+ years old, she has the same vibe as Cate Blanchett, Sandra Oh, Rachel Weisz and the other stars of Lesbian Mommy Twitter. (If you don’t know what that is, please refer to this essay by queer Jewish writer Jill Gutowitz.) That is to say, I want Rabbi Jen to tell me to learn my Torah portion and then step on me.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi Marshall Zucker

played by Daveed Diggs in “Extrapolations” (2023)

Daveed Diggs Extrapolations
Screenshot via Apple TV+

The penultimate hot rabbi in our pre-hot rabbi Adam Brody world is arguably the hottest: Rabbi Marshall Zucker. Played by absolute smoke show Daveed Diggs, Rabbi Zucker is a character on “Extrapolations,” Apple TV+’s show about future climate disaster. (I know this premise sounds anything but sexy, but stay with me.) In “Extrapolations,” viewers meet a newly ordained Rabbi Zucker in the first episode. He’s young and passionate about tikkun olam, giving a fiery sermon from the bimah (in which he quotes Elie Wiesel) about saving the planet. I am in no way trying to diminish the importance of this message when I say: yum. There are truly fewer things more attractive than someone standing up for what they believe in.

In the series’ Passover episode, which takes place 10 years after the pilot, Rabbi Zucker (briefly) gets a little less sexy. Time, further climate disaster and shul politics have worn him down, causing the rabbi to make some less-than-stellar choices (including: bribing a public official to save his flooding synagogue, and causing a shelter for unhoused people to be shut down). However, Rabbi Zucker eventually realizes the error of his ways and starts down the path to teshuvah by doing something that made my Jewish heart skip a beat: When his synagogue is nearly destroyed by flood waters in spite of the bribery, Rabbi Zucker runs into the building to save the Torah.

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Rabbi Rebecca

played by Sarah Sherman in “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” (2023)

Courtesy of Netflix

Rabbi Rebecca from “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah” is a lot of things. She’s kooky, colorful and possibly athletic — who can forget her in-office treadmill?

But is she hot? Yes, dear reader. Yes she is.

In the movie, Sarah Sherman’s Rabbi Rebecca serves as the spiritual guide to Stacy Friedman (Sunny Sandler) as she deals with preparing for her bat mitzvah, crushes and a massive fight with her best friend. While the kids in the movie playfully tease her antics (Stacy does a killer impression of her rabbi), I think I can speak on behalf of all queer, Jewish 20-somethings when I say that Rabbi Rebecca’s hotness is specifically for me. Being that “You’re So Not Invited” is set in Jersey, I can only imagine that Rebecca spends her days off in the weirdest parts of Brooklyn; and if I saw her (quirky fashion, dance moves and mullet in-tow) walking down the street, I would likely make a move like she were the “foxy Batsheba.”

Hotness rating: 🔥🔥🔥🔥

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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