How Jewish is Natasha Kaplinsky?
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Channel Five newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky has just given birth to a baby boy. Before we all put the date for the bris in our diaries, perhaps we should ascertain that she is definitely kosher.
For: First, the name Natasha Kaplinsky is one of the more haimishe monickers you will see in this or any other paper. Her family emigrated from South Africa, where there is a large Jewish community. Her father's name is Raphael, and his roots go back to the shtetl and the Pale of Settlement. Natasha got her big break on F2F, an early youth chat show on LWT's Talk TV, in the early 90s and her co-host was Sacha Baron Cohen. They probably chatted about Habonim.
Against: Oy, but wait. The other side of Kaplinsky's family is about as goyishe as it comes. Her mother, Catherine, may be a psychotherapist, but her family is half Afrikaaner and half British - one ancestor was apothecary to George III. Also, her father is not a religious man. Or rather, his religion was the struggle against apartheid, for which he was a leading activist. This didn't leave much time for shul. Kaplinsky was brought up in rural Sussex, which is hardly Golders Green, and her husband, Justin, is not Jewish either. And which nice Jewish girl would bring that kind of tsourus on her parents?
Verdict: The news is that, despite the name, Kaplinsky can still read the headlines on Friday nights without fearing too many letters of protest to the JC.