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

Very few people grow up in homes that mix Creole cuisine with cholent and challah, but Moe Jeudy-Lamour did. Jeudy-Lamour, a charismatic and optimistic actor who is one of the rising stars of the Apple TV + hit, Ted Lasso, who plays goalkeeper Thierry Zoreaux, has an unusual experience: He is not only a French-Canadian from a Haitian family, but also raised as an Orthodox Jew for much of his childhood.

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

People often do not believe that he is Jewish. “People say, try it, try it and that’s not right,” he said with a smile. But the truth about her religious identity is complicated, she admits.

“My education was a bit different. I’m in a strange 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 a Jew.” We took the [religious studies] classes for years; We went 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 meeting all the other requirements, “We had to see the final rabbi and my mother said yes, but my brother and I said no. And so I have always lived in this identity that I thought about, I feel Jewish with everything I have done, but technically, technically, my mother is Jewish, she entered the mikveh (ritual bath), and she 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 were not, for them we are not. That is why I was a little reluctant to do the interview, because I am in a strange place … I am in a place where I am, but I am not. To this day, I go to synagogue when I can. My neighbors are Israeli, so I make Shabbat dinners with them, I do all the holidays 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 at the rabbi who refused to accept him as a convert, he said, “I can understand his point of view, you know, for Judaism, not everyone can become a Jew,” and he knows that refusing. a … Converting at least three times is part of the process. He said he was aware that it was considered improper to convert for marriage and noted that in his mother’s case, there was no male involved. “She felt like she had always been a Jew,” he said. “The rabbi’s point of view was, ‘You are little children, you don’t know what you want.’ Little did he know that it was part of our identity at the time. “He was so young when his mother began the conversion process, he said,” I knew nothing more than walking to the synagogue on Saturday for early service, not going to play with my friends because they don’t allow me to carry a ball. “They always went to an Orthodox synagogue, where” our mother got up with the women and we were depressed, that was my education. “

HE SAID that he is still considering going back and doing a full official conversion, because even though he feels “a Jew in my soul,” he is concerned that he will not be accepted as a Jew by most religious authorities. But it is a bit in conflict. “It’s a duality, I’m around 30 years old, I’ve been through things and I know who I am, but now I have to be recognized by certain people and I’m like, ah, I don’t want to do that … Sometimes I think I should do that. , enter the mikveh and then it would be official … I will definitely have to. “

When told that being in conflict with Jewish identity is one of the hallmarks of being Jewish, he laughs a lot and a lot.

And being Jewish is just one of his many identities. When asked if he feels that Canadians tend to be very aware of who is Canadian, 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 been from home at the time, and hearing French Canadians speak. “I got goose bumps… These are French Canadians. This is home! I loved.”

He grew up loving movies, especially action movies like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Predator, which he and his brother watched on TV (they were allowed to watch TV on Shabbat on a timer, he said) and Die Hard with Bruce Willis. But he also enjoyed French comedies with Louis de Funes and was especially fond of The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. “Every time I see it, I think of my mother’s kitchen on Shabbat… It was such a good time. Sure we had challah every Saturday, but she still made Haitian food. In the synagogue we had Ashkenazi food, we are Ashkenazi ”.

But he never dreamed he could succeed as an actor and was in school and working at Best Buy when he ran into actor Orlando Jones, who was in Montreal making a movie, and encouraged him to try the profession. He studied acting and eventually landed a role in one of the X-Men movies and asked everyone on set for advice, including Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman. He attributes his current success to the fact that “I always listened to the advice I received.” The two most important pieces of advice were to always say yes to all projects offered and “don’t be the bad guy.”

Jeudy-Lamour is definitely one of the good guys, and it’s fitting that he made his way into the series, Ted Lasso, in which Jason Sudeikis plays a sweet American football coach who travels to England to lead a football team. Released during the start of the pandemic, it ended up winning seven Emmys, including Outstanding Comedy Series, and received widespread praise as a feel-good series at a difficult time.

He is especially effusive when he talks about Sudeikis, whom he met when they both appeared in the Jesse Owens biopic, Race. “Jason is one of the best people I have ever met in my entire life and they all say wonderful things about him. That is why he continues to work, because he is a very, very good person. And he is a genius. “The cast of Ted Lasso has become a 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 about soccer, having never played it as a kid.

Although he always liked working on the series, its success took him by surprise. “It’s crazy. We would never, ever have thought that it would become so great. “

When asked if he would consider going to Israel to make a movie, he said: “It would be amazing! I’d love to.”

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