Personal Behind-The-Scenes Pain and a Poignant,
Soap Opera-Filled, Real-Life Journey Back to Judaism

Secrets. Half-Truths. Dramatic Deathbed Confessions.
Intriguing plot twists dominate the make-believe lives of television soap opera characters. Sometimes, however, life imitates art in the lives of the actors who portray them. Don Diamont (named People Magazineʼs Sexiest Soap Veteran in 2009), is well-known to devoted CBS soap fans as his current and former onscreen alter-egos, the strong, complex Bill Spencer, Jr. on The Bold & The Beautiful and the sexy, conniving Brad Carlton on The Young & The Restless. But his actual life story is even more gripping.

Diamont's Compelling Life Away from the Set
Born Donald Bruce Feinberg to Jewish parents from Brooklyn, New York and raised in Los Angeles, his father (who grew up in a religious home) and his mother (whose maiden name was Diamont and lived in a secular home) never discussed their Jewish heritage, celebrated Jewish holidays, or incorporated Judaic traditions in their family life.

When Don, an outgoing junior high and high school sports star, became the target of anti-Semitic slurs by a small group of students, he didnʼt tell his parents and internalized his feelings of pain, embarrassment and confusion.

One day, after being taunted for several years, his pent up emotions exploded when a classmate and tormentor verbally abused him, resulting in a physical altercation. While his punishment was relatively mild, the incident
brought a lot of Donʼs repressed feelings to the surface; feelings that his parents had been unaware of until that point. But it wasnʼt until ten years later, when Donʼs father was dying of kidney cancer, that his dad expressed huge regret for the first time for not giving his children any Jewish identity. This was a revelation to Don, then 24, and his older brother, Jack, 37.

 

Tragedy Strikes Again
Jack was soon diagnosed with a brain tumor two years later and during the course of his illness, he and Don shared a desire to become bar mitzvahs. They began studying for their bar mitzvahs together but sadly, Jack was unable to retain the Hebrew he was learning and both brothers stopped the process. Several years after his brotherʼs untimely passing at the age of 40, Don again began studying in earnest for his bar mitzvah. Standing on the bimah as a bar mitzvah surrounded by close family, friends and colleagues was a poignant, powerful turning point in Donʼs life knowing how much it would have meant to his dad and brother.

Embracing His Jewish Faith
Daytimeʼs first Jewish leading man, who spent the first half of his life uneducated and often embarrassed about being Jewish, has seen his life enriched immeasurably by embracing Judaism in his own family as well as onscreen.

When one of the writers at The Young & The Restless created a first-of-its kind storyline for Donʼs character, Brad Carlton, that revolved around the Holocaust and a surprise plot twist that ʻBradʼ was actually Jewish, he knew he had come full circle. And when Mel Gibsonʼs anti-Semitic rants first made international news several years ago, it was Don who was asked to appear on CNN to offer his unique perspective.

Captivating Jewish Audiences of All Ages
Adults and teens are deeply touched every time Don shares his personal story of perseverance and how his renewed Jewish faith has enriched his life. Through the emotional highs and lows of his own journey, Don inspires each of us to dig deep to overcome the challenges we all face in our own lives.