Who Was Going to Tell Us These Disney Channel Hunks Are Jewish?!

Hey now, hey now, this is what dreams are made of.

Hello Jewish girls, gays, and theys of the 90s and 2000s who have excitedly clicked on this article — I now speak directly to you: WE WON. WE DID IT. WE REALLY WON.

No, for real, please join me for a moment in a keyboard-smashing, dancing naked victory screech as we celebrate our greatest victory to date: The leading men of the two biggest Disney cultural reset films of the modern age, “The Cheetah Girls 2” and “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” are Jewish. *insert “Ladies and gentleman, we got ‘em” audio here*

How do we know this? Who is the one to bless us with this knowledge? We have one simple tweet to thank:


Don’t even bother flocking to that Wikipedia “early life” page — we did that for you. Allow us to formally introduce you to Yani Gellman and Golan Yosseff, two Jews who managed to evade our radars for far too long. I’m giddy just typing this.

Let’s start with hunk #1. Back in 2003, we were blessed to meet Yani Gellman as Paolo Valisari in “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” starring alongside Hilary Duff. The film served as the finale to the iconic “Lizzie McGuire” series, and what a finale it was. In the film, Lizzie and the very Jewish Gordo embark on a graduation class trip to Italy, where she is mistaken for Isabella, Italy’s biggest pop diva. The first to mistake her? Paulo Valisari, Isabella’s former boyfriend and singing partner. (It was a whole thing: the iconic wish in the Trevi fountain, the locking eyes with the hot Italian, the ensuing romantic escapades including a Vespa ride.) As we all know, however, Paolo turned out to be quite the snake — but not before he secured his place in the Disney Hottie Hall of Fame.

Gellman, born in Miami, Florida, to a Canadian father and Australian mother, comes from a mixed Sephardic and Ashkenazi ancestry. His father, interestingly, was a reporter, meaning Gellman moved around a lot in his childhood. At one point, while living in Spain, Gellman became fluent in Spanish. He also has a degree in political science. What a king.

Now let’s move on to our next underrated Disney love interest: Golan Yosseff, who played the spicy and rhythmic Joaquin in 2006’s “The Cheetah Girls 2.” In this second installment of “The Cheetah Girls” franchise, the cheetah-licious girl band makes their way to Barcelona, Spain, to perform in an international music festival. However, the girls quickly become distracted by other things (much to Galleria AKA Raven-Symoné’s frustration). Luckily for us, Dorinda Thomas AKA “Do” AKA Sabrina Bryan gets distracted by Joaquin, a handsome dancer who becomes her love interest. We all remember that scene where Joaquin takes Dorinda to his studio and they tango, right? Right??? God, that was some good shit.

Born to a Dutch mother and an Israeli father, Golan Yosef actually is a dancer. Not that we had any doubts. Because again: Did you SEE that tango scene? Yosef began dancing at the age of 6 and has been in a number of performances, dance companies and musicals ever since. He’s also a choreographer. Which is almost too much for me right now.

So, there you have it. Two of our most favorite Hottie Lamottis With the Swimmer’s Bodies (IYKYK) are Jewish. One of y’all must have done some serious good in a past life for this to be true, and for that, we all say: dayenu.

Rachel Levin

Rachel Levin (she/her) is a writer from Atlanta, Georgia currently living in New York City. She's passionate about culture, history, and traveling, but her only true goal in life is to slowly become an amalgam of Carole King and Stevie Nicks.

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