Someone’s eating matzoh this weekend and it’s not anyone you would suspect!
For the past few seasons of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, we’ve seen the gorgeous Kyle Richards host and attend lavish parties, mother four kids, attend to handsome hubby Mauricio’s needs, and support sister Kim’s substance abuse issues.
We caught up with Kyle at her book signing of Life Is Not a Reality Show at the Grove’s Barnes & Noble. Rather than talk beauty, fashion, and all things Housewives, we wanted to check out how this former actress juggles her off-camera roles.
Putting all the glitz, glam, and gossip aside, we conversed about something the public does not hear about. Shortly after meeting and dating her husband Mauricio Umansky (who is Jewish), he cut to the chase.
Said Mauricio, “Kyle grew up feeling she had a connection to Judaism. Early in our relationship, we talked about having children. [She already had a child.] We agreed that we both wanted to raise our kids one religion. I told her that Judaism was very important to me. She said that converting would not be a problem. I think that was an important step towards the continuation of our relationship.” They married a year and a half after the discussion.
While Housewives milled around, Kyle opened up. “I grew up in Bel Air and 95% of my friends were Jewish. For some reason, I always connected to the religion more than Catholicism. Sometimes, I’d be in church and think, ‘This just doesn’t ring true to me.’”
Mauricio worked fast. We can see why he’s now a top-selling Beverly Hills real estate agent. “After four months of dating, he said ‘I’m in love with you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Would you consider converting to Judaism?’ I knew it was important to him and his family. I loved him very much and wanted him to know.”
The process was intense. Said Mauricio, “Even though I am Reform, my mother wanted to make sure it was accepted in Israel, so it had to be Orthodox. Kyle wanted me to go to school with her for support … It was a long process.” Not only do they practice all of the high holidays, they even do the traditional Friday night Shabbat once in a while. “Our kids all go to Jewish schools.”
At the time, this did not sit well with Kyle’s parents. (They ultimately changed their tune.) She said, “My mom wasn’t happy about it at all — in planning my wedding. I said, ‘Oh look at the chuppa. It’s going to look beautiful.’ She kind of rolled her eyes. I had to convince my family to wear the kippahs (yarmuckes) at the ceremony. They said. ‘What is this little hat?’”
The Housewife had other reasons to be Orthodox. “I didn’t want people to think it was just fluff. I believe in doing things all the way. I have Jewish cookbooks and I love to rub it in my mother-in-law’s face that I know more than she does!”
Sue Facter owns a news agency that specializes in the luxury brand. He work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, TV Guide, Woman’s Day Australia, on broadcast, and the web.