Remember that time that Michael Richards' newly hired crisis manager tried to diffuse his client's less-publicized, anti-Semitic comedy club tirade by claiming that the actor is Jewish, so all that talk about the fucking Jews causing Jesus' death was just a little bit of role-playing fun at the expense of his own people? Apparently, when he told his publicist that he was a member of the faith, he didn't realize that the official conversion process might be more rigorous than squeezing his eyes shut, imagining his participation in a bris, and declaring himself a a certified son of Abraham. Beleaguered flack Howard Rubenstein explains Richards' complicated Jewish-ishness to the AP:
"Technically, not having been born by blood as Jewish and not formally going into a conversion, it was purely his interpretation of having adopted Judaism as his religion," Rubenstein told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He told me, `I'm Jewish,' when I asked him.
"He said there were two mentors who raised him and who had a big influence on his life, and they were Jewish. He said, `I agree with the concepts and the religious beliefs of Judaism and I've adopted Judaism as my religion,'" Rubenstein said. "He really thinks of himself as Jewish."
What do some Jews think?
"You can't feel Jewish. It's not a matter of feeling. You can convert to Judaism. You can't not convert to Judaism and then be Jewish," said Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Unfortunately for Rubenstein, this lack of acceptance for Richards' claim of membership in a group he's recently offended completely derails the flack's strategy for combating Jesse Jackson's unexpected call for a boycott of Seinfeld DVDs, as any future statements that the actor considers himself an Afro-American because of the meaningful role his childhood friends played in the formation of his racial identity will likely be dismissed as cynical, damage-controlling ploys.