Everything you want to know about Olympic figure skater Jason Brown’s Jewish identity

From his Bar Mitzvah to Birthright, and skating to music from 'Schnidler's List'
Jewish American figure skater Jason Brown. (Photo: Jason Brown/Instagram)

American figure skater Jason Brown made his Olympic debut eight years ago at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Now, the skater is gearing up to compete in the 2022 Beijing Olympics (although he’s no longer sporting his signature ponytail.)

Here’s everything we know about Brown’s Jewish identity:

The basics

Jason Lawrence Brown was born on December 15, 1994 in Los Angeles, California to Jewish parents Marla and Steven Brown. 

Brown grew up in Highland Park, Illinois, a north shore suburb of Chicago, and attended Highland Park High School.

He went to Jewish summer camp

While most young skaters aiming for championships train all summer, Brown went to Jewish sleepaway camp instead, his mom told The Forward. Brown spent summers at Camp Olin-Sang-Ruby, a Wisconsin camp sponsored by the Union for Reform Judaism, for five years.

He had a Bar Mitzvah

Brown had a Bar Mitzvah, but it wasn’t all glitz and glam.

According to an interview, instead of your typical kiddush, a couple of hours after the synagogue service, the Brown family bused some 300 guests to a local public school for a community service project.

“I worked with Chicago Cares,” Brown said. “We renovated a school with all of the guests from the party.”

Only after the work was complete did the bar mitzvah boy get his party on. Apparently they celebrated with a small dance party in the school gym.

He went on Birthright

In 2016, Brown went on Birthright and took all the classic pics.

“Another beautiful day in this beautiful place! Next stop…Tel-Aviv,” he captioned a photo of him hiking.

“Israel is so flippin’ amazing!! #MediterraneanSea#Birthright #Shorashim #Bus359” he (punnily) wrote, captioning a photo of him doing a flip on the beach.

He skated to the Schindler’s List soundtrack

Brown has skated to tracks by Sam Smith, Simon and Garfunkel, “Hamilton” the musical and in 2019, at Skate America, the first event in the Grand Prix series of international skating competitions for the 2019-20 season, he skated to the theme from Schindler’s List by John Williams.

“My background, obviously, is Jewish, and the story is so touching,” Brown, told NBC Sports. “I grew up learning about the Holocaust and about Oskar Schindler and the stories. I always wanted to skate to it, but it has to be when I’m at the level, maturity-wise, that I’m really ready to skate to it.”

Renowned Holocaust film, Schindler’s List follows Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist and member of the Nazi party, who tries to save his Jewish employees after witnessing the persecution of Jews in Poland. 

“I think as performers a part of our job is to teach and to get people engaged in the story you’re trying to tell on the ice,” he said, about why he chose the track. “The point is to have the passion and intensity with which I skate to it and get the story across.”

His social media is full of Jewish gems

Jason’s Instagram is giving: nice Jewish boy. On one hand, he’s got the professional skating pics, but our favorites are the photos of him with his family, travels and celebrating the holidays.

Here he is on New Years Eve with his parents, older sister Jordan, and younger brother, Dylan.

Celebrating Hanukkah:

Twitter is also a good place to start following him. Especially for matzah-pizza content:

 

Will you be cheering for Jason? Let us know on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok!