Last year, we announced our first-ever reader’s choice category, allowing the Hey Alma audience to decide the best Jewish pop culture moment of 5781. To almost no one’s surprise, the Bernie Sanders mittens meme took home the award for exuding true old Jewish man grumpiness and bringing the internet so much joy during a time of uncertainty.
Flashforward to this year, and we simply had to bring back reader’s choice! The nominees for best Jewish pop culture moment of 5782 were: (1) Beanie Feldstein in “Funny Girl” on Broadway and the subsequent drama with Lea Michele, (2) “Survivor” contestant Tiffany Seely’s “Baruch Hashem” moment on the show, (3) Brett Goldstein’s cameo appearance on “Sesame Street,” (4) Hans Zimmer wins an Oscar in his bathrobe, (5) Andrew Garfield and Ben Barnes both being beautiful Jewish Brits, (6) Beanie Felstein’s engagement, (7) Nice southern Jewish boy Jason Alabaster talking about therapy on “The Bachelorette,” (8) Josh Peck playing a rabbi in “13: The Musical,” (9) “FBoy Island” contestant Noam Atzil saying kiddush on TV, and (10) Adam Sandler’s daughter’s very sweet bat mitzvah.
And the reader’s choice is…
The Best Jewish Pop Culture Moment of 5782
Jewish actor Brett Goldstein’s cameo on “Sesame Street.”
Well folks, it seems like Brett Goldstein just can’t stop winning. Earlier this year he took home his second Emmy for playing Roy Kent on “Ted Lasso,” and now he’s snagging an Alma for bringing us all supreme joy during his hang out with the “Sesame Street” crew. Ironic, of course, is the fact that Brett’s episode hasn’t even aired yet! The internet — and specifically the Jewish internet — blew up over Mr. Goldstein’s cameo just from social media posts like this one:
And teasers like this one:
That’s just how much we all collectively love Brett Goldstein!
What makes this pop culture moment of 5782 so special, and perhaps what made it stand out for our readers, is that we got to witness a Jewish actor living out a lifelong dream. “That’s my ultimate goal, is work with the Muppets,” Brett told Esquire in a 2020 interview. “I do that, then I’m dead.”
Thankfully for us, there’s no shiva required — Brett will be in an episode of “Sesame Street” and has lived to tell the tale!
“Brett, how would you show the best day of your life using only photos…” he wrote on Instagram, accompanied by some tear-jerkingly wholesome photos. “I finally found my way to Sesame Street (all you have to do is ask, through the medium of song) and it was more wonderful than I could have imagined. Everyone was so funny and brilliant and friendly and kind. I managed to get to say hi to all the residents except Snuffleupagus who was sleeping (although I saw him sleeping and he snores less than you’d think.) Truly a beautiful cast and crew that fill that whole street with all the love you could wish for. Special thanks to Elmo and Grover and Big Bird and Oscar and Cookie Monster, sorry if I scared you.”
Brett went on to add that his visit to Sesame Street “was perfect.”
So mazel tov, Brett! As Evelyn Frick wrote in Hey Alma, “We hope this is just the beginning of a beautiful partnership with your beloved Muppets. For your next project, might we suggest revamping your 6-minute rendition of the entirety of the “Muppets Christmas Carol” with the actual Muppets? Or perhaps a visit to ‘Shalom Sesame?’ Either way, we can’t wait to see what you do next!”
All hail, Queen Bean! In spite of all the negativity and subsequent drama involving Lea Michele, Beanie Feldstein’s performance in “Funny Girl” on Broadway still resonated with our readers and placed second in reader’s choice voting.
“I’ve been non-stop kvelling for Beanie Feldstein from the moment she was announced as ‘the titular role’ of the first Broadway revival of ‘Funny Girl,'” contributor A.R. Vishny wrote in Hey Alma. “In the wake of Hollywood and Broadway’s persistent reluctance to cast Jewish women in Jewish roles, here was one of my absolute favorite Jewish actresses getting one of the most iconic Jewish roles in American stage and cinema, one that launched the career of one of the most legendary Jewish talents, the Barbra Streisand. Feldstein landing the role felt like a win, a bit of hope that something from the seemingly endless calls for change from Jewish celebrities, writers and critics alike stuck.”
Adding, “So seeing Feldstein at last take the stage as Fanny Brice and own the role with her impeccable comedic timing and irresistible presence was similarly cathartic. ‘Funny Girl’ is, at its heart, a musical about a Jewish woman learning that she is “the greatest star” as she is, that she does not need to meet a mythologized standard of Western beauty to be a triumph. It was clear from the moment that Feldstein stepped out on the stage that she understood the role and what it means to inhabit it.”
Mazel tov, Beanie!!