The similarities between Italians and Jews is sometimes startling.
We share the immigrant experience, both groups arriving at Ellis Island in similar eras, settling in the same areas, and eventually migrating outward in similar patterns.
Stereotypically, Jews and Italians are both known for loving food, for their overbearing parents, and for giving and receiving guilt by the bucketful (Italians just tend toward the Catholic variety).
So we have a kind of natural affinity for each other, which probably helps to explain Rhea Perlman.
Best known as molto-Italian Carla from the 80's TV classic Cheers, Rhea plays the role so well, she almost became the archetype in most minds for the no-nonsense Italian woman. But you've probably figured it out by now: Ms. Perlman (aka, Mrs. Danny DeVito) was raised by her two Jewish parents in Brooklyn, New York.
Just more proof that when it comes to performing, it doesn't take much work to trade pastrami for pasta.