Editors’ note: Since October 7, the ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza has been at the forefront of our minds and hearts here at Hey Alma. As the situation continues to unfold, we will also continue to be here, providing resources like our guide on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tips for assessing reliable news sources, community event for grieving and playlists of Jewish songs with messages of healing and hope. With all of that in mind, we also want to provide our community with moments of reprieve from the onslaught of bad news. It is our hope that the following article will serve that purpose.
Spoilers ahead for “The Golden Bachelor.”
“In recent seasons [of ‘The Bachelor’], it seems as if the producers have leaned into the devout-Christian-lead, in turn seeking out devout-Christian-contestants, thus leaving many of their viewers searching for any representation,” Emily Burack wrote in Hey Alma’s article “Is ‘The Bachelor’ Just a Christian Dating Show Now?” in 2021.
Later in the piece she added, “Maybe Christian hegemony is so entrenched in this country that a ‘popular dating show’ just means a ‘Christian dating show,’ and we have to live with that. But I’d like to think we’re better than that.”
Fast forward to today, and it seems like “The Bachelor” producers have decided that they are better than that. (Or at least, they’ve decided they’re better than that in terms of Jewish representation.) Over its last few seasons, the franchise has featured Jewish contestants like Jason Alabaster, Ariel Frenkel and Leslie Fhima, all of whom were/are serious contenders to receive the final rose. “The Bachelor” even leaned into Frenkel’s Jewish identity during her hometown visit with Zach Shallcross, with the pair hitting up a Jewish deli and romantically eating gefilte fish.
But last night’s episode of “The Golden Bachelor” truly takes the cake for best Jewish moment in the franchise so far.
In the opening minutes, we find that the mansion is empty. From a distance, you can hear the faint sounds of a joyous song, one that Jews know all too well: “Hava Nagila.”
The camera then reveals that four of the remaining women, Leslie, Ellen, Susan and Theresa are taking water aerobics to the next level. As Sandra looks on, the women hora in the water and sing “Hava Nagila,” seemingly led by Ellen. (We’ve had our suspicions that New Yorker-turned-Floridian Ellen is Jewish ever since she revealed that she met her ex-husband at camp in the Catskills, but her perfect Hebrew pronunciation basically confirms it.) After they hit the final note of the song, the women break out into whoops and laughter, and Susan jokes, “Now we’ll do the Mummers strut.” Then, the episode begins in earnest.
Naturally, I have a few questions: Why were Leslie, Ellen, Susan and Theresa doing the hora and singing “Hava Nagila” for water aerobics? Are Susan and Theresa even Jewish? And can every episode of “The Golden Bachelor” start this way?! Regardless, this is exactly the kind of Jewish content we all need right now.
Excitingly, this makes for two very proud Jewish moments within the last two episodes — during last week’s show, Leslie had a Star of David on full display during her ATV one-on-one date with Gerry. (Am I sensing a Jewish trend on “The Golden Bachelor”?)
Here’s hoping we only continue to get more Jewish tidbits on the show. Though Ellen was heart-wrenchingly sent home at the end of the episode, Leslie made it through to next week’s hometowns episode and I for one cannot wait to meet her family. Fingers crossed that she wins Gerry’s heart in the end and that perhaps in Ellen we could have the first Golden Bachelorette!