Meadow Soprano talks up Birthright on Chelsea Lately

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Meadow Soprano on the "Sopranos" and who now plays herself on another HBO show, "Entourage," made an appearance Aug. 5 on the increasingly popular the day-time talk show Chelsea Lately.

Fast-forward to about 4:30 in the video, and listen to Sigler talk about her experience on Birthright Israel last summer.

On the surface it all sounds like good PR for Birthright… aside from a few things:

  • Half of her interview is focused on Sigler’s real-life relationship with Jerry Ferrara, who plays Turtle on Entourage. It’s never been a stated goal of Birthright to encourage Jews to marry Jews, but anyone who has spent a few minutes around Michael Steinhardt, one of the organization’s founders and primary funders, knows that getting Jews to in-marry is one of Steinhardt’s priorities. Ferrara isn’t exactly Jewish (even if he does bear a slight resemblance to a certain philanthropy blogging super hero).
  • I am not sure who prepped Sigler for her interview, but she riffs on Bernie Madoff for a bit during her Birthright segment, and clearly has some facts wrong. According to Sigler, Madoff was handling a lot of Birthright’s money and the organization is therefore in dire financial straits, so people should donate to Birthright. Well, actually …. there was a rumor going around back in January that Birthright had been directly hurt in the scam, but the organization worked hard to try to debunk the rumor. While some of Birthright’s donors were surely hurt by Madoff, until very recently the program has been a cash-in, cash-out organization that spent all of the money it took in in any given year on trips that year. So there is no way it had any money invested with Madoff.
  • She also states that one has to have had a bar or bat mitzvah to be eligible for Birthright. That’s false as well. In fact, Birthright often offers group bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies on the trips for those who have not already had them.

Nice name drop for Birthright… but if celeb namedropping is the new PR plan for the organization, someone should probably do a better job of informing the A-listers about B-Right’s facts.

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