Warning: Light spoilers ahead for season 19 of “The Bachelorette.”
Confession time: I’m not a fan of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.”
Maybe it’s because I’m a queer Jew, and “The Bachelor” franchise is decidedly Christian and straight, but I’ve never really understood the hype behind the rose ceremonies, the Neil Lane engagement rings and the mega-popular reality TV dating series as a whole.
However, this season of “The Bachelorette,” I have been following along for one very important reason: Jason Alabaster, the 30-year-old investment banker whose favorite pastime is stargazing (!!!) and who is currently a frontrunner for Bachelorette Gabby Windey’s heart, is a nice Jewish boy.
Though he takes Gabby to meet his family is New Orleans in the hometowns episode, Jason appears to have grown up and been a member of the Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee — according to an article in the March/April 2013 issue of Jewish Scene Magazine, which featured him. (Originally called Jewish Living of the South, the magazine initially focused on Memphis and the mid-South region. Jewish Scene now aims to connect Jewish communities and to teach about “interesting people, places and Jewish events throughout the United States and Israel.”)
The article specifically mentions Jason’s connection to his grandfather Jake Alabaster, a veteran of World War II who served as a Yiddish translator for the army, helping liberated Jewish concentration camp survivors communicate with members of the U.S. military.
Sadly for Jewish viewers of “The Bachelorette,” Jason hasn’t spoken on the show about being Jewish, nor did his mom Karen, sister Kelsey and dad Michael in the most recent episode. (Despite not being able to see it clearly, I am, however, convinced that the gold necklace Jason always wears is a mezuzah!)
However, keeping his identity private is not out of character for Jason. On the show, Jason has been a hugely refreshing contestant for his reserved and quiet demeanor — in the most recent episode, Jason revealed that, before sparking a connection with Gabby on their one-on-one date in Paris, he considered leaving after the first two weeks of filming because he was so overwhelmed by the process.
When Jason has opened up on the show, however, it’s been amazing. On their Parisian date, the pair commiserated over their love of therapy. “Have you ever heard of, like, inner child work?” Jason asked Gabby at one point, adding, “It’s changed my life.”
Here’s hoping the Jason continues on this love-filled journey with Gabby and that he talks about his relationship with Jewishness soon!
Update: After publication, Jason confirmed that his necklace is a mezuzah via an Instagram comment on the Hey Alma Instagram page!!