The Shmooze

Elijah Wood’s Mysterious Ring (No, Not That One)

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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It’s been quite a while since you’ve been able to assume that someone wearing jewelry or other adornments with Jewish symbols or Hebrew writing is Jewish.

Just think about all those Kabbalah red-string bracelets around the wrists of celebs like Madonna, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. And what about Justin Bieber’s new Hebrew tattoo he got while in Israel? (Okay, it says “Yeshua,” which means Jesus. But hey, it’s still in Hebrew.)

Unlike us, these stars did not get their Jewish bling from their bubbes (didn’t we all get our first Chai and Magen David necklace from our grandmothers?). In most cases, though, they did get it from Jews or in relation to a Jewish experience.

But that, however, is not always the case. This month’s American Way magazine (available online or in the seat pocket in front of you) features a close-up shot of actor Elijah Wood sporting a hard-to-miss silver band imprinted with “Im lo achshav aymatai” (“If not now, when?”) on the ring finger of his right hand.

A little Internet sleuthing reveals that Wood, who is not Jewish, has been wearing the ring ever since he is said to have received it as a gift from an actress he was rumored to have been dating in the early years of the last decade. That actress is Franka Potente, known best for her break-out lead role in the 1998 film “Run Lola Run.” Potente is German and, like Wood, not Jewish.

Wood and Potente have not been together now for many years (assuming rumors were true and they were together at all), but it seems that Wood and the ring – which bears the final and third part of one of the most famous ethical sayings ascribed to the great sage Hillel — are inseparable.

People are inclined to think Wood is Jewish by virtue of his stature, looks and his name. He has also played Jewish characters, like Jonathan Safran Foer in “Everything is Illuminated.” But the most relevant character association in this case would be Wood’s most recognizable role as Frodo, who also had a thing for a specific ring.


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