Joshua Malina (left) with Rabbi Aaron Gaber. Photo: Bonnie Squires.
— by Bonnie Squires
Joshua Malina, noted television, screen and stage actor, appeared at Congregation Beth Judah last Sunday. The title of his presentation was “How to Make it in Hollywood and Remain a Mensch.”
Malina, who had attended an orthodox Jewish day school in New York, went on to major in theater at Yale, and then to star in some of television’s greatest shows of the last two decades, including “Sports Night,” and “West Wing.”
Malina got his acting debut in Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway production of “A Few Good Men.” While getting his start in show business, he paid his rent with the help of his poker winnings. After establishing himself with minor roles in the films, he landed the role as Annette Benning’s assistant in “The American President.”
Throughout his successful career he has remained a staunch advocate for both Conservative Judaism, and for Jewish culture as a whole. He appeared in the Jewish Federation of North America’s “Live Generously” campaign, and considers his Conservative Judaism a foundational part of his character.
Because of his background, Malina said he can go to any shul and instantly feel part of the community. He is bothered by the fact that there are so many famous Jews in Hollywood, but so few of them ever go public with support of Israel, as he has done repeatedly. He praised Olympic medalist Allie Raisman for having performed her floor routine in the gymnastics competition to the strains of “Hava Nagilah.”
Malina is very popular on the Hillel and Jewish Federation circuits around the country. He currently stars as David Rosen on the television series, “Scandal.”