Role Models & Heroes: Jon Stewart (2013)

By October 21, 2013 November 15th, 2018 Bnei Mitzvah, Heroes & Role Models
The following essay on Jon Stewart was written by Julian Keifetz, a middle schooler, enrolled in City Congregation’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. Students spend a year and a half researching their heritage, values and beliefs, and write on a Jewish subject of their choice, their major project; an example of this can be seen below. The process  improves both the student’s writing and critical thinking skills, as well as his/her self confidence and overall maturity.

Julian Keifetz
October 13, 2013

As I approached my 13th birthday I realized that my idea of the kind of person I’d consider a hero or role model was changing from when I was younger. When I was younger, the type of person I would have probably named as a hero were athletes. I’m still a huge fan of players like Carmelo Anthony, David Wright, and Eli Manning. But being a fan of an athlete is different than finding someone that you would like to model your life after. The athletes could all be considered heroes in the sports they play, but the influence they’ve had on my intellect can’t be compared to someone like Jon Stewart. To me Jon Stewart is a huge inspiration in my life, and I consider him an MVP — the most valuable pundit and most importantly amazingly funny. Jon Stewart’s combination of wit and intelligence along with his personal background, make him someone I can identify with and am inspired by.

Jon Stewart Leibowitz was born in 1962 in New York City and then grew up in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. Jon was raised in a Jewish family and when he was 11 years old his parents divorced. Following the divorce, his father was no longer a presence in Jon’s life.

Jon also faced anti-Semitic bullying at Lawrenceville High School. Most likely as a way to cope with these challenges, Jon became the funny man at school. I can relate to his experiences because my parents are also divorced and my father lives in another country and I rarely speak to or see him. I find that comedy is the best medicine for when I’m down. I share my father’s interest in politics and when I watch Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” it can make me feel closer to my Dad.

With a reputation for being a funny man in school, Jon moved to New York City in 1986 with the plan of becoming a comedian. It took him an entire year to gain the courage to get up on stage. I can understand how he may have felt since the few times that I have had to speak in public I’ve felt very intimidated. Its one thing to give a speech in front of an audience but the prospect of standing alone on a stage and trying to make the audience laugh is downright terrifying. The fact that Jon was able to conquer his fear and eventually become a regular at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village shows his determination and courage.

Stephen Colbert, one of Stewart’s closest friends and colleagues, told the NY Times that “ Jon’s ability to consume and process information is invaluable.” What Colbert means is that Stewart has a gift for finding the true meaning and identifying the false claims that many politicians make. Stewart’s brilliance is illustrated by his point of view. Not only does he find the true meaning and reality about politics, he manages to finds ways to make hilarious jokes about it all.

Jon Stewart uses his incredible comedic gift to contribute to the social discourse. He may have his own TV show and be rich and famous because of it, but its not fortune or fame that drives him. He offers his audience a chance to better our country and helps us be deeper thinkers. This is why Jon Stewart is my role model.