A year earlier, The Wonder Years debuted to great acclaim, chronicling the coming-of-age of Kevin Arnold, played by Fred Savage.
The Arnold family wasn’t Jewish, but Kevin’s best friend, Paul Pfeiffer, was, and his Bar Mitzvah was depicted in one episode.
In real life, the actor who played Paul, Josh Saviano, then of Sussex County, New Jersey, is Jewish — and his TV Bar Mitzvah came a week before his real one.
Saviano also had another Bar Mitzvah-related role on a show called The Discovery, where he played a boy who didn’t want to go through the ritual.
And the Bar Mitzvahs weren’t about to end for Saviano, as Savage, who also is a real-life Jew, was set for his own ceremony a few months later.
Saviano’s acting career died out a few years later, but he now works as a lawyer, having graduated from Yale University and Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law. He briefly returned to acting a couple years ago to play a lawyer on three episodes of Law & Order: SVU.