“Jeopardy!” fans (and Jewish pop culture fanatics like us) already know that Jewish mom, actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik has been one of the hosts of the iconic game show this fall.
Bialik’s Jeopardy career — which began with her initial two-week guest-host stint last summer after the death of beloved host Alex Trebek — continued when she started trading off full hosting duties for “Jeopardy!” with Ken Jennings since September, which she will continue until the end of 2021. The permanent host of the show remains unclear, but we believe that Mayim would be perfect for the job for so many reasons.
And as Hanukkah began this week, Mayim merged her professional and Jewish identities by bringing the holiday to her “Jeopardy!” family. She posted two photos on Instagram from the Hanukkah celebration she led on set the second night. One shows her lighting the menorah (with blue and white candles, representing the “Jeopardy!” colors), and another selfie with the cast and crew.
In the caption, Mayim wrote: “Here is me…second night with my @jeopardy family celebrating Chanukah together!! 🕎💜 We sang, I sang in Yiddish, it was really fun. And, approved by the Fire 🔥 Department!! #chanukahbreakdown”
It’s unique that Mayim brought a Yiddish song to her festival of lights celebration. Hanukkah can be an amazing time to sing songs in Jewish dialects like Yiddish and Ladino (friendly reminder to listen to Sarah Aroeste’s new all-Ladino Hanukkah album immediately if you haven’t already, and check out the lyrics to the Yiddish version of this classic Hanukkah song).
Of course, this is not the first time Mayim has shared her Hanukkah joy with her followers. Last year, she shared photos of her candle lightings, a special holiday explainer, and even an incredible Hanukkah candle lighting video with us. Dayenu! (Wrong holiday, I know, I know.)
Plus, this isn’t the first celebration of Hanukkah by “Jeopardy!” this year. On Instagram, “Jeopardy!” answered a question that many of us ask every year: How do you spell Hanukkah?
“There’s no right way to spell Hanukkah in English, because it’s transliterated from the Hebrew alphabet. The word means ‘dedication’ no matter how you spell it.” Thanks for sharing this important knowledge, “Jeopardy!”