Jewish star saves ‘Ted Lasso’ from Apple TV as soccer goalkeeper

Very few people grow up in households that mix Creole cuisine, Cholent and Challah, but Moe Jeudy-Lamour did. Jeudy-Lamour, a charismatic and optimistic actor who is one of the stars of the Apple TV + hit, Ted Lasso, as goalkeeper Thierry Zoreaux, has an unusual background: he is not just a French Canadian from a Haitian family, but he was also raised as an Orthodox Jew for much of his childhood.

Taking a break from his luggage for a film shoot he is not allowed to talk about – he is already at that level of success – he spoke of growing up in Montreal with a mother who “fell in love with the movie. [Jewish] religion “and was converted by an Orthodox rabbi, raising his sons to be” Shomer Shabbat “.

Often people don’t believe he is Jewish. “People are like, prove it, prove it and it’s not cool,” he said with a smile. But the truth about his religious identity is complicated, he admits.

“My upbringing was slightly different. I’m in a weird place. When he and his brother were “very, very young,” his mother, an interior designer who had separated from her father, decided she wanted to become Jewish. “We took the [religious studies] run for years; we have been Shomer Shabbat for 10 or 15 years. To this day, if I call my mom on Saturday, she won’t answer.

After taking classes and fulfilling all other requirements, “We were to see the final rabbi and for my mother he said yes, but for my brother and I he said no. And so I’ve always lived in that identity where I was like, I feel like I’m Jewish with everything I’ve done, but technically, technically my mom is Jewish, she went into the mikveh (ritual bath), and it is recognized in Israel [as Jewish], it was with a famous rabbi in Montreal and it was the real deal, but my brother and I weren’t, for them we weren’t. That’s why I was a little reluctant to do the interview, because I’m in a weird place … I’m in a place where I am, but I’m not. Even today, I go to the synagogue when I can. My neighbors are Israelis so I make Shabbat dinners with them, I take all vacations with them.

MOE JEUDY-LAMOUR: To this day, if I call my mom on Saturday she won’t answer. (credit: KATHERINE BUTLER)

When asked if he was angry with the rabbi who refused to accept him as a convert, he replied, “I can understand his point of view, you know, for Judaism not everyone can not become a Jew, ”and he knows that refusing one would be… being converted at least three times is part of the process. He said he knew it was inappropriate to convert to marriage and noted that in his mother’s case, no man was involved. “She felt like she had always been Jewish,” he said. “The rabbi’s point of view was, ‘You are little children, you don’t know what you want.’ He didn’t know it was part of our identity at the time. He was so young when his mother started the conversion process, he said, “I knew nothing but to go to the synagogue on Saturday for the first service, not to play with my friends because I am not allowed to carry a ball. . “They always went to an Orthodox synagogue, where ‘our mother was with the women and we were downstairs, it was my education’.

HE SAID that he is still considering returning and making a full official conversion, because although he feels “Jewish in my soul” it concerns him that he is not accepted as a Jew by most religious authorities. . But he’s a bit of a conflict. “It’s such a duality, I’m in my mid-thirties, I’ve been through things and I know who I am, but now I have to be recognized by some people and I’m like, ah, I don’t want to do that … Sometimes I think I should just do that, go to the mikvah and then it would be official … I will definitely have to do it.

Says that being in conflict over Jewish identity is one of the characteristics of being Jewish, he laughs long and hard.

And being Jewish is just one of his many identities. When asked if he felt like Canadians tend to be hyper-aware of who Canadian is, just as Jews like to know who is Jewish, he agrees: “Even more so with French Canadians. . He remembers being in Vancouver years ago, the furthest he had ever been from home at that time, and hearing French Canadians speak. “I just have goose bumps… They are French Canadians. It is the house! I liked it.”

He grew up loving movies, especially action movies like The Predator by Arnold Schwarzenegger, which he and his brother watched on TV – they were allowed to watch TV on Shabbat using a timer, he said – and Die Hard with Bruce Willis. But he also liked French comedies with Louis de Funes and particularly liked Les folles aventures de Rabbi Jacob. “Every time I look at it, I think of my mom’s cooking on Shabbos… It was such a good time. We had challah, sure, every Saturday, but she still made Haitian food. In the synagogue we had Ashkenazi food, we are Ashkenazi.

But he never dreamed that he could be successful as an actor and was in school and working at Best Buy when he met actor Orlando Jones, who was shooting a movie in Montreal, and got him. encouraged to try the craft. He studied acting and eventually got a role in one of the X-Men movies and sought advice from everyone on set, including Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman. He attributes his current success to the fact that “I have always listened to the advice I have received”. The two most important tips were to always say yes to every proposed project and to “don’t be the bad guy”.

Jeudy-Lamour is definitely one of the good guys, and it’s fitting that he broke into the Ted Lasso series, in which Jason Sudeikis stars as a sweet-tempered American football coach who travels to England to manage. a football team. Released early in the pandemic, it ended up winning seven Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, and garnered widespread accolades as a struggling wellness series.

He’s especially excited when he talks about Sudeikis, whom he first met when they both appeared in Jesse Owens’ biopic, Race. “Jason is one of the best people I have ever met and everyone says great things about him. That’s why he continues to work, because he’s a very, very good person. And he’s a genius. Ted Lasso’s cast has become like family to him. “Everyone is a great person, we are all very close.” They play FIFA together on Xbox, he said, which helped him learn more about football as he had never played it growing up.

Although he always enjoyed working on the series, his success took him by surprise. ” This is completely crazy. We never, ever thought it would get so big.

When asked if he would consider going to Israel to make a film, he replied, “That would be amazing! I would like.”

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