Jeremy Jordan Is Proud To Shine A Light On His Heritage In “Hanukkah on Rye”

Jeremy Jordan and Yael Grobglas bring the Festival of Lights to life on Hallmark Channel all season long.

Jeremy Jordan in Hanukkah on Rye

 Â©2022 Hallmark Media/Steven Ackerman

This year for the Festival of Lights, Hallmark has a real treat for viewers. Hanukkah on Rye premieres on the first night of the eight-day Jewish holiday and its two stars are thrilled to represent their real life heritage on screen. Southern Living recently spoke to Texas native, Jeremy Jordan about this joyous project. 

“ I was really excited about this one. You know I’ve done a couple of Hallmark movies and I felt proud that all of my Hallmark experiences have had some form of representation,” Jordan said. Jordan, who grew up in an interfaith household continued, “I am Jewish. I grew up sort of in a sort of diverse household. So we had Jewish holidays and Christian holidays. I was the best of both worlds. So I was very excited to tackle this character and this role.”

Jordan plays Jacob, the son of successful Jewish deli owners in California who has come to New York City to make his own mark by expanding the family business on the east coast. He meets Molly, the fourth generation heir apparent to a 100-year-old Jewish deli on the Lower East Side, Gilbert’s. The last traditional deli left in the neighborhood. Jacob’s approach to the business is to modernize and welcome in new customs while Molly and her family are very passionate about upholding the traditions of the ways their ancestors have served the community for decades. The two butt heads but of course, sparks begin to fly as well.

But unbeknownst to these two, their respective grandmothers, or Bubbes in Yiddish, have enlisted the help for their grandchildren from a Jewish matchmaker. The mysterious maker of matches doesn’t allow for any names, photos, or information to be exchanged, only hand written letters. Molly and Jacob are getting to know each other on a deeper level but have no idea that the person on the other end of the pen is the same person they are fighting with in person. It’s a lovely nod to another beloved rom-com of the 90s, You’ve Got Mail. 

The film also has an entirely different character that really steals the show: Jewish food. Hanukkah on Rye shines a light on many of  the traditional foods of the Jewish people and is an important reminder of the things that bind us, not that which tears us apart. 

“There’s an element of the food of it all that I think is very universal. And one thing that I’ve always noticed about Jewish people, especially around the holidays. It’s all about the food. The food sort of brings everybody together. And it's something that families can pass down through traditions and it’s something they can all share at once and never really quarrel about because good food is good food. And I think that morphs its way across all traditions and cultures and religions,” Jordan said. 

Jordan stars opposite Yael Grobglas, who grew up in Israel, and Jordan joked that they grew up on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of their religious observance. But for Jordan, participating in this project really helped renew his interest in this part of his background. 

“It was really fun doing this movie specifically just to sort of honor that side of me growing up and that whole portion of my family. One of the things that I really loved about it is that it’s all about heritage and family and while you’re still moving forward and not forgetting about where you came from.”

“ When I was younger I thought I was the luckiest kid because I got to celebrate everything. And as I got older I  felt like I got lost because I didn’t feel like I had a path sort of drawn out for me. I had to really take time and figure out where I landed in my own journey in terms of culture and religion. So it was really exciting to go back and explore some of my roots. And honestly, it kind of got me more excited to share Hanukkah things with my kid. I have a three year old. And my wife’s Christian so like she loves Santa Claus and she’s all about that. But I also want to sort of begin to introduce her to other things. Because I always felt like it was really cool that I got to have a little taste of different things when I was a kid.”

Jordan also felt a sense of pride and responsibility in telling this story on Hallmark, knowing that the majority of the audience may not know very much about Hanukkah or Jewish traditions. But he hopes it’s a movie that regardless of religion, everyone will enjoy the film they have made.

 “I think that’s always really important when you’re on a network that is just generally going to be showing 40 Christmas movies and one Hanukkah movie. You want to be able to tap into the crowd that might not normally watch a Jewish movie so that they can really feel like they can be a part of that world and get excited by it. And hopefully, gain a little bit of understanding and knowledge at the same time… I think its something that everyone will enjoy, Jewish or not. There’s a lot of laughs and it’s a really, really sweet story. “

Make sure you catch Jordan in Hanukkah on Rye airing all season long on Hallmark Channel. Come spring, you’ll see him on the big screen in Spinning Gold, a biopic about Casablanca Records co-founder Neil Bogart, playing the music mogul himself. 

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