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The Rise of the Sheygetz

Rachel Weisz’s happy life with Daniel Craig makes Jewish men wonder if they can ever be good enough

Rachel Shukert
December 07, 2012
Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and her son Henry arrive at Newark airport on a British Airways flight from London. (Jason Winslow/Splash News)
Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, and her son Henry arrive at Newark airport on a British Airways flight from London. (Jason Winslow/Splash News)

And Lo! So the Lord said, on these winter days most holy shall a child be born; unto the kingdom shall a child be given. And shall he build Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land?

Beats the hell out of me. For you see, I speak not on this day of Its Highness, the Royal Fetus, currently slumbering in the churning miasma of the Duchess of Cambridge’s middle-class womb, but of another child, with a lineage no less rarefied than that of the infant who will eventually reign over him (or half of him, anyway): young Henry Weisz-Aronofsky. Last week, this perfectly innocuous photograph of him sent some of my male colleagues at Tablet HQ into a death spiral of self-doubt and erotic terror.

Let’s try to figure out just why this should be.

In said photograph—which, I reiterate, to my regret, is not Kate Middleton’s sonogram, although I’ve heard that when that surfaces, Beatrice and Eugenie will be required to curtsy to the blurry computerized image—Henry, being a small child and therefore rightly in need of some sort of adult supervision in crowded international terminals, is accompanied by his mother and stepfather. His mother, as some of the cannier among you may have already deduced, is the very Jewish Rachel Weisz, the British-born Academy Award-winning actress who has done as much or more for women of the dark-haired persuasion as the current World Brunette Ambassador. Henry’s unpictured father is the even Jewier Darren Aronofsky, Weisz’s former fiancé, and director of Black Swan, a documentary about what goes on in the repurposed Hebrew school classroom where everyone has to get dressed for the spring ballet recital at the JCC. I think. His stepfather, pictured here coolly expressionless in his mirrored aviator shades and open-necked shirt, is Daniel Craig.

We in the Jewish community disagree on many things. We fight about the administration’s relationship with Israel and the legality of the settlements; whether Iran poses an existential threat, or if we should fire the cantor when her contract comes up. But on one important geopolitical issue we remain absolutely united, along with the rest of our human brothers and sisters of all races and creeds: Daniel Craig is the hottest man on the planet. He is James Bond. The smoldering savior of humanity, the ultimate prize for any woman or man with eyes and/or a working set of reproductive organs. And he chose, of his own free will and with no visible nudging from his mother, to marry a beautiful and accomplished Jewish woman. How is Aronofsky supposed to compete with that? How is Aronofsky, or any of the Jewish men who see his plight (and persona) as reflective of their own, supposed to compete with that? Who is going to want to marry them now?

Talk about a taste of your own medicine. I know it isn’t nice to gloat, and to be fair, there are plenty of Jewish men who admit to being attracted to Jewish women. It’s just that there always seems to be a caveat attached to the idea. They don’t find Natalie Portman sexually repulsive even though their mothers would like her; they wouldn’t kick Sarah Silverman out of bed in spite of the fact that they might have gone to camp with someone who vaguely resembled her. I mean, Mila Kunis should be so grateful that you would hold your nose and make sure she can fulfill her destiny as a Jewish wife and mother even if it means forgoing your dream of having a willowy blonde Korean supermodel who never speaks, right? What self-respecting Jewess can fail to be touched by that kind of sacrifice, except all of them?

Of course, there’s another element to the (admittedly anecdotal) male Jewish angst over the Weisz/Craig pairing that doesn’t seem to exist to quite the same degree with other Trophy Sheygetzes. (Natalie and Benjamin Millepied, the French ballet dancer with the Bauhaus tattoo right above his pubic bone … sorry, drifted off for a second; Mila and Ashton Kutcher or whatever gorgeous idiot she’s dating the moment.) Along with being the hottest man in the known universe, Daniel Craig has become, over the last few years and often enough to be voluminously commented upon, something of the go-to actor for a certain kind of rough-and-tumble, sexually magnetic Jewish masculinity: Steve, the vengeful and fearless South African Mossad operative in Munich; Tuvia Bielski, the tough-as-nails World War II Moses of the Belarusian forest in Defiance. This working-class lad from Cheshire hasn’t just had the good sense to marry one of the most gorgeous women on the planet, Jewish or no; he also has slowly morphed into the accepted and unattainable image of the Jewish Man.

Those of us weaned on cinematic fantasies of self-sacrificing Rebeccas of York and sweet-natured, improbably Aryan-looking Holocaust victims who bear little resemblance, physical or emotional, to the Jewish women (or indeed, any women) we have known and loved, might find it difficult to muster up much sympathy. But the End of Jewish Men need not be upon us. Perhaps the Weisz/Craig union can be the bridge to a kind of truce: You forgive us for not being flaxen-haired and docile; we’ll forgive you for not being James Bond. Until then, remember, what’s good for the gander is good for the goose. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to plot how to wed my as-yet-un-conceived child to the future monarch of England.


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Rachel Shukert, a Tablet Magazine columnist on pop culture, is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great. Starstruck, the first in a series of three novels, is new from Random House. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.