Mayim Bialik says it’s hard to be religious in Hollywood.
“I think in general it’s never going to be trendy to be observant or religious in Hollywood circles,” Bialik told Fox 411 in an interview published Friday.
Bialik, 39, is of the Jewish faith and opened up about some serious backlash she received after a recent trip to Israel.
“I’ve gotten a lot of negative attention for visiting Israel,” she said, recalling a visit to a friend in the Israel Defense Forces. “That’s what amazing. Simply by going to Israel this summer and saying nothing more than, ‘I’ve gone to Israel,’ I got the same amount of hatred and threats and anti-Semitism for actually making a statement trying to support people [who] whether I like it or not are serving in an army.”
“That reveals the truth,” she continued. “It really doesn’t matter what I support or believe; the fact that I’m Jewish and go there is enough – that should be alarming to most people.”
The Emmy-nominated Big Bang Theory star explained that she doesn’t like “the bureaucracy of organized religion” but still has “an unwavering faith in a power greater than myself, and I don’t think that will change any more than my belief in gravity will change.”
The actress revealed that she turns off her social media for the Sabbath and sometimes goes to the synagogue or stays at home for Sabbath dinners. She also said she studies Jewish texts weekly.
“There are people I know of Jewish faith and we tend to congregate together. That’s something that’s really positive to me, when you’re a person of faith, it stays with you all the time.”
“I believe in [Jewish law] but I also believe in the permeability and changeability in the structure of Jewish law,” she added. “I think Judaism has always adjusted to the times that it lived in and it’s adjusting in the time we are in now.”
Bialik – who has a degree in neuroscience – said she also feels compelled to defend her belief when it comes to God and science: “Being a scientist and a person of faith, people want to know how that is,” she said. “It leads to lot of interesting conversations that I welcome, but a lot of people want to open up a conversation just to tell you you’re wrong.”
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The mother of two said one particular aspect of Judaism she values is modesty – she caught a lot of flack for criticizing singer Ariana Grande‘s scantily clad appearance on a billboard last September.
Bialik believes it’s important for her sons to know that while she isn’t ashamed of her body, she doesn’t “feel the need to display it with two tiny pieces of fabric” when she wants to go swimming, she wrote.
“I am who I am and it just kind of happened, the fact that I’m a public person,” Bialik said. “But there are a lot of other parts to me.”
The Big Bang Theory will return for a ninth season Sept. 21 on CBS.