Steven Weber, the actor known for his role in the 1990s sitcom Wings, is Jewish. Weber was born in Briarwood, Queens, New York. His mother, Fran, was a nightclub singer, and his father, Stuart Weber, was a nightclub performer and manager of Borscht Belt comedians. His family was Jewish. Weber graduated from Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts (1979) and the State University of New York at Purchase.
Weber wrote about his Jewish upbringing in a 2011 personal essay in the Huffington Post:
Sometimes when there was a lull in the evening's festivities, the kids were allowed to sit among the assembled adults at the foot of a record player and listen to comedy records with a decidedly Jewish flavor: Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner's 2000 Year Old Man album being a favorite, guaranteed to swap the high-volume political arguments with high-volume hysterics. And the kids observed as the elders laughed uproariously at the record's joyously precise schtick, a celebration of the humor inherent in the mannerisms and quirks of modern Jewish culture. Even at my early age, I sensed that Jews could be both intensely serious and comfortably self-mocking, a combination which was somehow evolved, sophisticated, even humble.
In my teens I became aware of other aspects of Jewish life as I saw the orthodox Hasidim walking with their families to synagogue on Saturday mornings, clad in their alien black garb, their young sons sporting close-cropped hair flanked by swaying ringlets. And I began to question my connection to these particular people who also called themselves Jews, but who approached their identity with infinitely more effort and gravitas than I ever had, incredulous that we had anything in common at all.
My education of the events in Europe covering the period of 1933 to 1945 came in my 7th grade history class. The subject of Jewish persecution was a fairly common one among family and friends, usually referred to in a humorous context or obliquely referenced in one of the aforementioned family debates, its existence placed squarely in the dark ages where such virulence thrived, a phenomenon of the distant past -- a notion that my own antisemitism-free upbringing surely confirmed.
Until my class history concluded with a showing of the film "Night and Fog".
To actually see the things we had up till then only read or heard of wrenched our understanding of recent Jewish history out of the comfortably abstract and into the terrifyingly real. And the terrible images were of people who looked incredibly familiar to me: they were the oddly costumed Hasidim who walked with their families on Saturdays. They were the grandparents who made soup and kasha for me. They were the cousins who laughed and argued in my living room. They were the quiet husband and wife who sold me candy.
Armed with this new and sobering knowledge, I developed a solidarity with my Jewish identity which had not been present before. But it was combined with what was perhaps an unconscious refusal to connect the unchallenged, carefree Jewishness I had grown up with and the grave, imperiled Jewishness with which I had just become ineluctably identified, and I was now left with a feeling that was at once anxious and remote. A feeling that was to stay with me for many years.