Guitarist and vocalist Alana Haim of the band HAIM. (Robert E. Klein/Invision/AP) Robert E. Klein/Invision/AP
Alana Haim


Alana Haim said she always felt “cool” and “super proud” of being Jewish.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Musicians and friends Alana Haim and Sasha Spielberg talked about their Jewish backgrounds, friendship and middle school memories, that included many bat mitzvah parties, in a new interview with the website Hey Alma.

Haim and her two older sisters make up the band called Haim while Spielberg, the daughter of director Steven Spielberg, will release her second studio album under the stage name Buzzy Lee in April. The Los Angeles natives are co-hosts of Free Period, a podcast in which they discuss their most embarrassing childhood memories as well as those of their guests.

The childhood friends told Hey Alma in unison that they feel Jewish “every single second of the day” and started off their interview with the publication by reminiscing on their years in the bat mitzvah circuit.

“I have been chasing the high of bat mitzvah season my whole life,” said Haim, who made her acting debut in the 2021 film Licorice Pizza. “I didn’t go to a Jewish school, but I went to a school where all my friends were Jewish. And it was every weekend. If you didn’t have a bat mitzvah or a bar mitzvah to go to, it meant that you weren’t invited to one, and then Monday was like, Inspector Gadget — like, who did not invite me to their bat mitzvah?

“When I met Sasha, it was like, we really both did have this [same background]. She was one of the only people in my life that I could really divulge deep into that time,” she added.

The podcast hosts also talked to Hey Alma about Jewish cultural figures they looked up to when they were younger, like Barbara Streisand and Natalie Portman, and Haim said she always— until today — felt “cool” and “super proud” for being Jewish.

“I was very lucky to have a lot of friends that were Jewish. Even though we were an ‘uncool’ group, we felt like a cool group because we were all together,” she explained. “We had similar upbringings, and going to bat mitzvahs felt so cool because the people that weren’t Jewish, we could involve them in what we were doing … And I think it also just comes from my parents, who were always very proud to be Jewish.

“Every Friday night, we had Shabbat dinner. I was so mad because everyone would go out on Fridays, and I couldn’t go out because I had Shabbat. I would beg my parents to take me to the Galleria, where all the cool people would go and make out for the first time. And my parents would be like, ‘Shabbat ends at 10, and we’re not gonna get in the car and drive you to Encino at 10 pm, sorry.’ But that’s also some of my fondest memories. Every Friday night was our time for family, and it was great.”

Sasha, who was in a band called The Rabbis in ninth grade, said only once she started studying for her bat mitzvah did she begin to feel pride in her Jewish heritage.

“And then of course, my dad showed me Schindler’s List, which was such a pivotal moment for my relationship to Judaism,” she added about the iconic film that her father directed. “He had said I had to wait until I had my bat mitzvah to see it. And so there was this switch. Pre-bat mitzvah, I saw temple as like, three hours and boring. And then it turned into something way more spiritual.”

“I feel so happy to be Jewish,” she later said in the interview.

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