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What could possibly be more disappointing than giving birth to a child with a Jew-fro?  Well, how about having identical twin girls with matching curly hair?  That very fate occurred to my straight-haired grandparents when they were “blessed” with twin baby girls, their heads topped with massive Jew-fros.

Raising two girls with Jew-fros must not have been easy.  But, as my grandmother explains, their curly hair did come in handy on one occasion.  When my mother and aunt attempted to run away from home one day, my grandmother searched frantically for them.  She didn’t find them until she looked along the hedge of their yard and saw two Jew-fros bouncing along on the other side.

My mother and aunt grew up having matching hair for most of their lives, but their hairstyles eventually diverged with one going long, the other going short.  Though their hair is no longer identical, both continue to sport certifiable Jew-fros.

Who doesn’t love Natalie Portman?  She’s beautiful, smart, noncontroversial – the typical nice girl next door.  And on top of all of that, she’s Jewish.  Like really Jewish.  Born in Israel Jewish.  Grew up on Lawn Guyland Jewish.  Attended Solomon Schechter Jewish.  Played the title role in the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank Jewish.  You get the idea.

Based on her name and physical appearance, though, you might never have known that she’s Jewish.  Portman is not her real last name — it’s Hershlag.  Knowing that her chances of becoming a famous actress were slim as long as she had the name Natalie Hershlag, she wisely adopted her grandmother’s maiden name, Portman, as her own.  Furthermore, in her transformation from typical Long Island Jewish girl to major Hollywood movie star, she had to ditch her naturally curly hair in favor of her now-famous long, flowing locks.  But she was never afraid to go back to her roots. In her appearance in the 2007 movie My Blueberry Nights, Natalie Portman donned a sleek Jew-fro, setting many of us Yiddishe boys’ hearts aflutter.

The kind of girl you can take home to mom...and then listen to them compare hair styling techniques.

Once upon a time, there was a nice Jewish boy living in New York City.  Okay, there’ve been a lot of nice Jewish boys living in New York.  But only one grew up to be a world famous record producer.  Well, maybe there were more, but there is definitely only one with the name Phil Spector.

Anyway, his fairy tale, rags-to-riches life came apart a few years ago when he was convicted of killing his girlfriend.  During his high-profile trial, the bald and creepy-looking Spector showed up to court in a variety of wigs.  But none as crazy as this one:

My guess is that the Jew-fro wig was all part of his defense plan.  By making Spector have a Jew-fro, his lawyers hoped the jury would see him as that nice Jewish boy from New York and not some creepy murderer.  Had the jury been comprised of 12 Jewish grandmothers, this ploy may have worked.  But that wasn’t the case, and Spector and his killer Jew-fro were found guilty and locked away for a long time.

In this edition of Guess The Jew-Fro, we have a Jewish celebrity who sported a unique receding Jew-fro in his younger years.  Can you guess who it is?

(Hint:  It is NOT who you think it is.)

Give up?  Read the rest of this entry »

When television producer Sy Kravitz, a Jewish man, and actress Roxie Roker, a black woman, decided to have a kid, they must have known he wouldn’t have straight hair.  Their son, Leonard Kravitz (who would one day be known to the world as Lenny Kravitz) ended up having one of the most iconic hairstyles in the music world.  Rather than being embarrassed by his locks, Mr. Kravitz has embraced both sides of his curly-haired heritage over the years. Read the rest of this entry »