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David Gregory Writing Book About Being Jewish

Former ‘Meet the Press’ host observes Shabbat, celebrates Jewish holidays

Adam Janofsky
August 21, 2014
David Gregory during a taping of NBC's 'Meet the Press' December 7, 2008 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)
David Gregory during a taping of NBC's 'Meet the Press' December 7, 2008 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images for Meet the Press)

Former Meet the Press host David Gregory’s next big project will be a book about his Jewish faith, Politico’s Playbook reports. Gregory, who was rather suddenly removed from his post last week after a two-decade career at NBC, has been working with Simon & Schuster since 2011 on a book that will be published next year.

“This book has always been intended as an exploration of an aspect of David’s life that viewers rarely see in his journalistic work,” Jonathan Karp, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Publishing Group, told Playbook’s Mike Allen in an email. “The book was never intended as a memoir about his career. That objective hasn’t changed and will not change. This book will be about the inner spiritual journey many of us take in our lives. Simon & Schuster is excited and grateful to be publishing it.”

Gregory is known for celebrating Jewish holidays in his house, and studies religion with scholars and other journalists, according to a 2011 profile in The Daily Beast about his observance.

He was raised by a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother—which, for some, means he isn’t halachically Jewish by matrilineal standards—and is married to the lawyer Beth Wilkinson, who isn’t Jewish. The two are “committed to raising our children as Jews,” Gregory told The Daily Beast. He observes Shabbat and holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Passover (with costumes) with his wife and three kids because, he quotes former U.K. Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks as saying, “You can’t command your children to be Jews. You have to live it,” he said.

NBC News announced Gregory’s departure last Thursday, citing the program’s declining ratings during Gregory’s time as anchor. He had taken over after Tim Russert’s death in 2008, when Meet the Press routinely brought in 40 percent more viewers than its competitors, according to the New York Times. The show hit a record low in the ratings over the past year, and trails behind CBS’s Face the Nation and ABC’s This Week.

Gregory will be replaced by NBC’s White House correspondent Chuck Todd, who is also Jewish. No word on whether he plans to write about his Jewish background as well.

Adam Janofsky is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, where he was editor of the student newspaper, The Chicago Maroon. He has worked and written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, and The Bangkok Post. Follow him on Twitter @adamjanofsky.