December 9, 2018

Siggy Flicker : Good for Jews & Good for Reality TV

If you read Keeping it Real with any regularity, you know I have an issue with the Jews who are cast on reality television. They are either a horrible stereotype of what people think Jewish people are, or just weird. Jews are awesome on scripted TV, but real life Jews are never portrayed positively in my opinion. It annoys me and also makes me sad because I think my people are pretty cool.

Siggy Flicker is the latest Jew to jump into reality TV, as one of the newest cast members of Real Housewives of New Jersey. Siggy is a successful author and relationship expert who had her own show on VH1 before joining Bravo. I have known Siggy for years and interviewed her about relationships for my Keeping the Faith blog. She is honest, funny, and unapologetic about who she is.

I began by asking Siggy why she chose to become one of the Real Housewives, as some might consider the decision to be a step back in her career.  Not that reality television is step back, but the Housewives do spend a lot of time providing unflattering looks into their lives. I love me some housewives, but the view is occasionally from a front row seat in the gutter. I know you all agree.

Sig explained she has a message to help women that she is passionate about it. She felt it would be an amazing platform to share her truth, and the goal has always been to help others. To understand what drives Siggy Flicker to help others, you need to understand her history. This is a woman who has worked hard and overcome some challenges in her life to be the person she is today.

Siggy was born in Israel, in a bomb shelter no less. She comes from humble beginnings with parents who like most parents, simply wanted to give their kids an easier life than they had. They moved to New Jersey when Siggy was young and she quickly became a Jersey girl. She was raised by a tough as nails mother who would not let where they lived define who she was as a human being.

Siggy was someone everyone knew, and whether or not they liked her, they knew who she was. I think that is a fantastic thing. When Siggy was a teenager, her father, world renowned Holocaust Scholar Dr. Mordecai Paldiel was offered a position in Jerusalem so the family relocated. Siggy wanted to be back in America so her parents let her return to Jersey for her senior year of high school.

She moved back to Jersey and not only finished high school, but put herself through college. She never changed who she was or how she used her voice. She met a man, got married, had two kids, and was living the life she envisioned for herself. Her kids were healthy and she had a lovely husband, but could not figure out why he wasn't totally and completely head over heels for her.

She loved him, but he wanted her to be different, instead of embracing who she was. She remembered the lessons of her mother about self-worth and she left her marriage. She moved back to New Jersey, had her parents move in with her to help with the kids, and she started her life over. She was in her forties, had experienced a lot in her life, and did not want to waste time being unhappy.

Siggy had been raised to believe in herself, know her worth, and not settle for a life that was not being lived out loud. She focused on herself and her kids as she began to build her brand of truth telling. She wanted to help women understand they were not going to find someone worthy of loving them unless they understood how valuable they were. She is a modern voice of empowerment.

Sidebar: I have read Siggy’s book and I hear her voice in my head sometimes. If you are single and looking for love, or if you are in a relationship that does not allow you to be your true self and know your worth, it is time for change. You will attract what you believe, and that is a really hard lesson to learn. I am a believer of her teachings and like Siggy says, “You won’t die from being single.”

Siggy was a divorced single mother in her 40’s, living with her parents, when she came across a man while out with friends. She was not looking for love, or even a date. She was simply living life and doing fine on her own when she fell in love with a man who embraced her exactly as she was. Michael did not want to change her, he loved all of her, even the loud and outspoken parts others wanted to quiet.

They fell in love, they got married, and they built a life together. Michael and Siggy were both successful and while out at an event with Jacqueline Laurita, Jac suggested Siggy join RHONJ. Siggy spoke to Michael and they weighed the pros and cons. Was it worth it to put herself out there on such a big stage? How would it change their lives? Siggy was sure of her decision from the start.

She wanted to have  access to the platform provided by being on a show like RHONJ.  At the core of who she is and what she wants, is Siggy’s desire to help women understand they have value and can find their own Michael if they simply understand their own value. Siggy is determined to help people and it drives her in all she does, including becoming a real housewife of New Jersey.

She is also thrilled to be showing a strong Jewish woman and sharing her parents and her father’s connection to the Holocaust. She is proudly Jewish, proudly Israeli, and proud of the balls that come with being both. She says I love you with the same conviction she says fuck you, and has been saying fuck you a lot since joining the cast. She has no patience or tolerance for Anti-Semitism.

Siggy does not care if people like her and it does not bother her when they say she is ugly, or loud, or wearing an ugly dress, what she does care about is when people talk negatively about her being Jewish. She is devoted to her father and his Holocaust experience as if it was her own, and to have people speak badly about Judaism puts her over the edge and she will unload on social media.

I often write there are a lot of reasons someone could not like me, but my faith should never be one. Siggy feels the same way. Being Jewish defines her. She has married two men who were Jewish and is raising her kids Jewish. Yes, Michael is in fact Jewish. I thought he was Italian, which he is, but he is also Jewish. (Tons of Jewish women are now putting Michael on their vision boards.)

Siggy is happy to have made the decision to join the show. She is excited about the opportunities she has been given to help other women find the peace and happiness she has. I asked Sig to give me three words to describe herself and she chose loud, passionate, and heart-of-gold. If I were picking three words to describe Siggy Flicker, I would use generous, kind, and wise. I kind of love her.

Siggy has been a fun addition to the cast and apparently it gets better as the season progresses. I called Sig out for saying something historically incorrect about the Holocaust and she did get pissed off and block me on social media, as many other housewives have done. Instead she said she made a mistake, apologized for the error, and moved on with her life like a grown up.

I am so fond of Siggy I can overlook that she is friends with Jac, who we all know I think is a twat. Siggy told me Teresa is the greatest housewife of all time and all franchises. We agree on that. She said the rest of the season is amazing and even though there is drama, including with herself and her family, she wouldn't change a thing and is happy to have been able to boldly be Siggy.

Siggy Flicker is a no holds barred, loud, opinionated, loving, smart, funny, selfless, modern woman who has come into our lives for reasons far beyond the housewives. There are lessons to be learned. I have known Sig a long time and am thrilled everyone is getting to know her too. Siggy Flicker is good for reality TV and good for Jews because she is keeping the faith and keeping it real.