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Former Colombian telenovela star now an Orthodox Jew in Israel

Sarah Mintz, who was born Maritza Rodríguez, was a hugely famous TV personality who gave up her career to move to the Jewish state and live a religious lifestyle

  • Maritza Rodriguez poses backstage at the first annual Mexican Billboard Awards on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
    Maritza Rodriguez poses backstage at the first annual Mexican Billboard Awards on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
  • Sarah Mintz, born Maritza Rodríguez, with her husband, Joshua Mintz. (Screenshot/Channel 13)
    Sarah Mintz, born Maritza Rodríguez, with her husband, Joshua Mintz. (Screenshot/Channel 13)
  • In this March 28, 2016 photo, Colombian actress Maritza Rodríguez poses for a portrait on the red carpet for the fourth season of Telemundo's “El senor de los cielos” in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Berenice Bautista)
    In this March 28, 2016 photo, Colombian actress Maritza Rodríguez poses for a portrait on the red carpet for the fourth season of Telemundo's “El senor de los cielos” in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Berenice Bautista)

A Colombian telenovela star who converted from Catholicism to Judaism before getting married is now living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel.

Sarah Mintz, who was born Maritza Rodríguez, married her husband, the Emmy Award-winning Mexican TV producer Joshua Mintz, in 2005. In 2014 she gave birth to twin boys, Akiva and Yehuda. And in April of this year, the family relocated to Jerusalem after years of moving toward religious observance.

“For more than 25 years I had a career as a TV host, actress, model, in the theater on the red carpets — what didn’t I do,” Mintz told Channel 13 news in a recent interview. “But none of it compares to what I have today.”

Mintz, who has 1.6 million followers on Instagram, now describes herself in her bio as a “Jewish Orthodox Fashion & Lifestyle Influencer.” The former actress, who now wears a wig and full-coverage clothing, posts regularly about modest fashion and her love for Judaism and Israel.

Sarah Mintz, born Maritza Rodríguez, with her husband, Joshua Mintz. (Screenshot/Channel 13)

Over the years, Mintz has starred in almost two dozen TV shows, walked countless red carpets, appeared on dozens of magazine covers and is a familiar face to millions of Spanish-speaking TV viewers. Most recently, she was the star of the Telemundo show “Silvana sin lana,” which premiered in 2016. She also appeared in two seasons of the series “El Señor de los Cielos” (Lord of the Skies); both series are available on Netflix.

But her career goals and accomplishments didn’t provide her with the spiritual awakening she was looking for.

“As an actress, you have to become a character and let the director lead you,” she said. “Nothing is really yours — you don’t have the ability to fulfill the will of God.”

In 2018, Mintz officially announced that she would cease using the name Maritza Rodríguez, and become only Sarah Mintz — marking, in many ways, her final step away from her prolific career.

Mintz said she still recalls the day she stood in front of the rabbinic Beit Din to finalize her conversion.

“The rabbis asked me: Are you sure?” she recalled. “I’m proud to be Jewish, it’s a joy for me, it’s easy — it’s like being born again without dying,” she said with tears in her eyes. “It’s being in the right place. It’s wonderful.”

In April, the family hopped on a plane from Miami, where they had been living in recent years, and completed their aliya to Israel, settling in Jerusalem.

“This is the best place to be,” she said. “I’m in God’s hands, and that’s how I have felt from the moment I stepped foot in Israel.”

The family of four has settled in an apartment in Jerusalem.

“Thrilled to embark on a new stage of our life,” Joshua Mintz wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of the family holding Israeli flags at Ben Gurion Airport in April. “A dream for us and for our children… we’re all excited to start our professional, educational and spiritual plans!!”

Asked if she would consider continuing her acting career in Israel, Mintz did not rule it out.

“Could be, I don’t know,” she said. “I have to learn Hebrew. Although currently I share my story all around the world as an artist… and of course I spend most of my time focused on my children.”

In this March 28, 2016 photo, Colombian actress Maritza Rodríguez poses for a portrait on the red carpet for the fourth season of Telemundo’s ‘El senor de los cielos’ in Mexico City. (AP Photo/Berenice Bautista)

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