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Roseanne (Yes!) on Yidn in Utah

Growing up Jewish in Utah was a kind of Diaspora experience of its own. The Bible is quoted from regularly, and is often at the heart of even casual conversation.

I pored over it, looking for examples that upset prevailing logic, such as the passage in Genesis that says, “The sons of God visited themselves upon daughters of man and saw that they were fair.”

My Mormon friends got a blank look when I showed them that one, and a shocked look when I showed then the passage in Psalms where David says to God, “My skin is black,” because Jesus was a descendant of David, and at the time Mormons considered black skin a curse from Cain.

I felt powerful, strange, and exotic all at the same time, to think that it was my people’s history that formed the basis of the dominant culture’s codes of moral, legal and scientific wisdom. Paradoxically, my ancestors and my God were at the center of everything holy to the culture from which my people were excluded.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Roseanne knew by the age of three that she was going to be a comic and have her own show. She would entertain family members on Friday evenings when they would all gather in her grandmother’s apartment for Sabbath dinner. The reviews she received convinced her she was indeed the Center of the Universe, which she believes to this day. “Roseanne ” debuted on ABC in October 1988 and continues to be a top-rated series on television. Roseanne’s autobiographies, Roseanne: My Life As A Woman, and My Lives (published in 1994) also established her as a best-selling author.