One of my favorite, favorite shows on planet Earth is Grey’s Anatomy. It’s chock-full of drama and humor. With 16 seasons and counting, this show is very long-running, and there have been many characters who have come and gone over the years. My personal favorite character is someone who hasn’t been on the show for quite some time: Cristina Yang. For those who don’t watch the show, Cristina is one of the original interns who started it all. She is Asian, but also Jewish, something that is not a frequent combination in my experience. Her stepfather who raised her is Jewish, so that’s where the Judaism comes into play.
Recently, I’ve been re-watching Grey’s Anatomy from the beginning, and I’ve noticed that in the early seasons there are a lot of references mentioned to Cristina’s faith. In one episode, Cristina is seen educating her peers on certain Jewish holidays. She teaches them about the Sabbath and Rosh Hashanah. The others don’t know about these holidays and are shocked to find out that Cristina is the one who is most educated on it. She then explains about her stepfather and how she was brought up in the Jewish tradition.
In another episode, someone very close to one of the characters in their friend group passes away. In times of death, Jews sit shivah. So, what does Cristina do? She creates a shivah for her friends to mourn. She makes a lighthearted joke that shivah involves food, and good food at that. Then, she goes on to discuss the rules of shivah, including not looking in mirrors or caring about one’s appearance during this time. It was a very educational moment for Cristina’s friends, but it was even more than that. It was something nice for Cristina to do, and it showed that she was in touch with her faith.
The Importance of Cristina’s Judaism
Cristina makes comments about her faith here and there that are comical, but I think her connection to her faith, even though it may not be that strong, is very important. Since an Asian Jew is uncommon, I think her Judaism reminds us of the importance of taking into consideration that not all Jewish people are exactly the same. Some people even choose to practice within the faith because of the traditions and values it holds, and it’s something they appreciate.
It’s important to take note of Cristina’s connection to faith in Grey’s Anatomy because, although it is not the strongest, she shows that you don’t need the biggest connection to your religion in order to take pride in it. Cristina also reminds us to use what we know from our own faith to make others feel better in times of need, something that is always important to the people around you.