The Wrap, a terrible entertainment website, gets it wrong again. The headline for their “Hello,Dolly!” review is either anti-Semitic or just stupid.
“BETTE MIDLER RETURNS AS HOT JEWISH MAMA”
Bette plays a widow named Dolly Gallagher Levi. Dolly is Irish. Her husband, Ephraim Levi, may have been Jewish. We don’t know. She is not Jewish. Barbra Streisand, who player her in the movie, is Jewish. Bette Midler is half Jewish. But that doesn’t make Dolly Jewish.
Dolly Gallagher Levi was invented by Thornton Wilder for his play “The Matchmaker,” which had two previous incarnations as well. It’s a story dating back to the 1850s in fact, about German and Irish immigrants.
In the New York Times, circa 2006, Carol Channing and Tovah Feldshuh discussed this. Tovah was playing Dolly at the Paper Mill Playhouse.
CHANNING — She’s a goy who got lucky. FELDSHUH — Right — a few stomach problems, great jewelry, no afterlife. But she didn’t convert. And now he’s died, and she sold the jewelry, and she ain’t got nothing left. Of course, she’s learned some things about Judaism, but she’s as Christian as she was 20 years ago.