Jerry Seinfeld became a mic-cradling, cereal-eating, “did-you-ever-notice”-ing avatar of American Jewish life with a brazenly shrugging persona: a merry indifference to weighty material as a comedian and in his megahit TV show about nothing, as petty and apolitical as he seemed to be.

Now — off-camera, at least — Mr. Seinfeld appears to have reached his post-nothing period.

Since the attacks of Oct. 7 in Israel, and through their bloody and volatile aftermath in Gaza, Mr. Seinfeld, 70, has emerged as a strikingly public voice against antisemitism and in support of Jews in Israel and the United States, edging warily toward a more forward-facing advocacy role than he ever seemed to seek across his decades of fame.

He has shared reflections about life on a kibbutz in his teens, and in December traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with hostages’ families, soberly recounting afterward the missile attack that greeted him during the trip.

He has participated, to a point, in the kind of celebrity activism with which few associate him — letter-signing campaigns, earnest messages on social mediaanswering simply recently when asked about the motivation for his visit to Israel: “I’m Jewish.”

And as some American cities and college campuses simmer with conflict over the Middle East crisis and Israel’s military response, Mr. Seinfeld has faced a measure of public scorn that he has rarely courted as a breakfast-obsessed comedian, intensified by the more vocal advocacy of his wife, Jessica, a cookbook author.

This week, as the couple and their children appeared together at the premiere of Mr. Seinfeld’s new movie (“Unfrosted,” about Pop-Tarts), Ms. Seinfeld attracted attention for another reason: She promoted on Instagram, and said she had helped bankroll, a counterprotest at the University of California, Los Angeles, where clashes with pro-Palestinian demonstrators have turned violent.


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