There are many Jewish celebrities who embrace their Judaism and publicly talk about it. They share a religious or cultural bond in Judaism. Beyond the obvious examples of Adam Sandler and his Hanukkah song or Natalie Portman, there are many celebrities you may not know are actually Jewish. Who are you most surprised by?
Recognizing the long history of Jewish contributions to American culture and celebrating the achievements of Jewish Americans is especially widespread during the month of May, which was officially declared Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006
1. Dustin Lee Hoffman
|Name||Dustin Lee Hoffman|
|Date of Birth||August 8, 1937|
|Place of Birth||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Occupation||American actor and filmmaker|
Hoffman was raised in Los Angeles by parents who moved from Chicago to make a clean break from their families and Jewish heritage. He was brought up without knowledge of either Judaism or his ancestors (at least on his father’s side, which is what is dealt with in the show).
Thanks to archival sleuthing by the “Finding Your Roots” researchers, Hoffman discovered that he never knew his grandfather because he had been killed during the Soviet Civil War. Hoffman’s grandfather, Frank Hoffman, had risked making a trip back to what is now Ukraine to rescue his parents from anti-Semitic pogroms
2. Benjamin A. Foster
|Name||Benjamin A. Foster|
|Date of Birth||October 29, 1980|
|Place of Birth||Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.|
Foster, who was raised Jewish and is married to Laura Prepon, has a slew of roles that are indelible and should linger in your mind for a good while. Before “The Survivor” hits HBO, which should be sometime before the end of the year so he qualifies for the awards season. Ben’s father is from a Jewish family that emigrated from Ukraine, Romania, and Russia. Ben’s mother has English, Irish, French, and distant Welsh and Scottish.
For “The Survivor,” Foster got to work with an impressive supporting cast, including Krieps (“Phantom Thread”), Peter Sarsgaard, Danny DeVito and John Leguizamo and Israeli actor Dar Zuzovsky, who plays Harry’s long-lost love Leah.
3. Sean Justin Penn
|Name||Sean Justin Penn|
|Date of Birth||August 17, 1960|
|Place of Birth||Santa Monica, California, U.S.|
Sean is half-Jewish, although his Jewishness comes from his dad’s side. Both of Sean’s paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants. They left Russia and Lithuania and relocated to the US. His grandpa’s name was Moische Pinon. The last name was later changed to Penn.
The fight for the State of Israel has been fiercely waged in Hollywood. This is Mr. Penn’s first visit to Israel, where he gave the commencement speech for an IsraAid conference. During Mr. Penn’s remarks to IsraAid, he hailed the amazing work done by the Israeli organization.
4. Shia LaBeouf
|Name||Shia Saide LaBeouf|
|Date of Birth||June 11, 1986|
|Place of Birth||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Occupation||American actor, performance artist, and filmmaker|
The Jewish-born Transformers star “found God” on the set of his new film, Fury. In a tell-all interview with Interview Magazine, Labeouf announced that he has rejected Judaism and converted to Christianity with the help of his new friend and co-star Brad Pitt and director of Fury, David Ayer.
In contributing to a book called “I am Jewish” in 2004, he wrote it was “beneficial to be Jewish” and that he had a “personal relationship with God that happens to work within the confines of Judaism.”
5. Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller
|Name||Benjamin Edward Meara Stiller|
|Date of Birth||November 30, 1965|
|Place of Birth||New York, New York, U.S.|
|Occupation||American actor, comedian, and filmmaker.|
Since Ben Stiller’s mother is Jewish, and in Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism, those with a Jewish mother (or those who underwent a halakhic conversion) are considered Jewish, then that makes him Jewish. His father is Jewish too.
Stiller had a bar mitzvah, but his family celebrated both Christian and Jewish holidays growing up, though his upbringing was admittedly more Jewish. and now that Stiller is married to a Catholic woman, actress Christina Taylor, he is raising his family the same way
6. Adrien Nicholas Brody
|Name||Adrien Nicholas Brody|
|Date of Birth||April 14, 1973|
|Place of Birth||Woodhaven, New York, U.S.|
Since Adrien Brody’s mother is Jewish, and in Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism, those with a Jewish mother (or those who underwent a halakhic conversion) are considered Jewish, then that makes him Jewish. His father is Jewish too.
Brody’s father is of Polish Jewish descent; Brody’s mother – who was raised as a Catholic – was the daughter of a Catholic Hungarian aristocrat father and a Czech Jewish mother.
He received widespread recognition and acclaim after starring in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor at age 29, the only actor under 30 to do so. Brody is also the only American actor to receive the French Cesar Award.
7. David Lawrence Schwimmer
|Name||David Lawrence Schwimmer|
|Date of Birth||November 2, 1966|
|Place of Birth||New York, New York, U.S.|
|Occupation||American actor, director and producer|
His family is Jewish. His family subsequently moved to Los Angeles, where Schwimmer, at 10, had his first acting experience when he was cast as the fairy godmother in a Jewish version of Cinderella.
He gained worldwide recognition for portraying Ross Geller in the sitcom Friends, for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 1995
8. Helena Bonham Carter CBE
|Name||Helena Bonham Carter CBE|
|Date of Birth||May 26, 1966|
|Place of Birth||London, United Kingdom|
Helena Bonham Carter has praised her “extraordinary” family, after learning her grandfather helped thousands of French Jews escape the Holocaust. Bonham Carter – who is of Jewish descent on her mother’s side – said she had become “evangelical” about digging into her past since appearing on the show, which commemorates the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War.
Her maternal grandfather Eduardo Propper de Callejon was a Spanish diplomat who defied his government’s orders and helped Jews escape the Holocaust during the Nazi invasion of France.
9. Sarah Jessica Parker
|Name||Sarah Jessica Parker|
|Date of Birth||March 25, 1965|
|Place of Birth||Nelsonville, Ohio, United States|
|Occupation||American actress and television producer|
SJP’s dad, Stephen, is an Ashkenazi Jew from Brooklyn. “He was so happy to be in America and to have a business that was fairly thriving, that he never corrected his customers and he became Parker,” she continued. “So there’s also great pride attached to this idea that we’re Kohens, you know the great tribe of Israel.”
She wasn’t raised religious at all, and her Judaism was more tied to culture. Whenever we came to New York on Sundays we always went to Chinatown. To us that was a very Jewish thing.”
10. Lisa Valerie Kudrow
|Name||Lisa Valerie Kudrow|
|Date of Birth||July 30, 1963|
|Place of Birth||Encino, Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Occupation||American actress, producer, and screenwriter|
Kudrow, who is also known for roles in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” “The Comeback” and “Web Therapy,” is intimately connected with her Jewish heritage and generational Jewish trauma — which, in her case, has deep ties to the Holocaust.
Kudrow grew up in a secular Jewish family in Tarzana, California, surrounded by lots of Jews. She wanted to have a bat mitzvah to fit in with her very Jewish crowd.
11. Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal
|Name||Jacob Benjamin Gyllenhaal|
|Date of Birth||December 19, 1980|
|Place of Birth||Los Angeles, California, United States|
Jake Gyllenhaal, who became a star with Brokeback Mountain, is the son of a Jewish screenwriter and a non-Jewish director.
Jake’s father, film director Stephen Gyllenhaal, isn’t Jewish. While his last name is Swedish, he was raised in the Swedenborgian faith, a small Protestant sect founded in the late 18th century.
Jake’s mother, screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, is Jewish and her credits include the scripts for Running on Empty and Losing Isaiah. In 2005, Naomi gave several interviews to the Jewish press because she was the screenwriter of Bee Season, a film about a religious Jewish family.
12. Harrison Ford
|Date of Birth||July 13, 1942|
|Place of Birth||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
The beloved US actor, who appeared in iconic movies like ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones,’ is also half-Jewish. His maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Belarus. Harrison, though, was raised Catholic like his dad.
Harrison has explained his ethnicity in interviews. On ‘Inside the Actors Studio,’ he said: “As a man, I’ve always felt Irish; as an actor, I’ve always felt Jewish. The Guardian’ asked him if he had any tattoos, Harrison answered: “No, I couldn’t because then I wouldn’t be able to be buried in the Jewish cemetery. I’m half Jewish. My mother. And that’s the half that makes you Jewish”
13. Mila Kunis
|Name||Milena Markovna “Mila” Kunis|
|Date of Birth||August 14, 1983|
|Place of Birth||Chernivtsi, Ukraine|
Mila is Jewish.Both her parents are Jewish, and Mila was raised in that faith. Even her DNA test stated that she is about 98% Ashkenazi Jew.
Mila was born in Ukraine, and when she was seven, she emigrated to the United States. She became famous by starring in the TV series That ’70s Show.
Mila is now married to actor Ashton Kutcher. She calls Ashton a ‘pseudo convert’ to Judaism because he celebrates the Jewish holidays, speaks and reads Hebrew, and has read the Torah (the Old Testament in Christian lingo) “a million times,” according to Mila
14. Natalie Portman
|Date of Birth||June 9, 1981|
|Place of Birth||Jerusalem|
She was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. To protect her privacy as a minor, she adopted the name Portman. Portman’s maternal ancestors were Jewish immigrants from Austria and Russia, and her paternal ancestors were Jews who moved to Israel from Poland and Romania.
In 2006, Portman commented that she felt more Jewish in Israel and that she would like to raise her children Jewish: “A priority for me is definitely that I’d like to raise my kids Jewish, but the ultimate thing is to have someone who is a good person and who is a partner.”
15. Jack Black
|Name||Thomas Jacob Black|
|Date of Birth||August 28, 1969|
|Place of Birth||Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Occupation||American actor, comedian, and musician|
Jack Black’s mother was Jewish and his father converted to Judaism while they were married (his parents later divorced and his father stopped practicing Judaism). Regarding faith, Jack Black identifies himself as an atheist but favors sending his kids to Hebrew school. He was raised Jewish and appreciated learning about the culture in Hebrew school. Since his mother is Jewish by origin, that theoretically makes him Jewish as well.
The California native is notorious for his roles in the films “High Fidelity,” “School of Rock,” “King Kong,” his role in the reprised “Jumanji” franchise
16. Daniel Radcliffe
|Name||Daniel Jacob Radcliffe|
|Date of Birth||July 23, 1989|
|Place of Birth||London, United Kingdom|
17. Barbra Streisand
|Name||Barbara Joan “Barbra” Streisand|
|Date of Birth||April 24, 1942|
|Place of Birth||Brooklyn, New York, United States|
|Occupation||American singer, actress and director|
In the 1973 box office smash, The Way We Were, Barbra stars as curly-haired Kate Morosky, an outspoken Marxist Jew with strong political opinions, who falls in love with the handsome, blonde-haired and very un-Jewish Hubbell Gardiner (played by Robert Redford). Despite their obvious chemistry, the couple don’t last the distance and go their separate ways.
Streisand skillfully turned the stigma of her awkward looks and “Jewish” appearance into a powerful message of acceptance, making her a voice for the marginalized that defined her career that has spanned six decades, Gabler writes in the boo, which will be published in the US on April 26.
18. Gwyneth Paltrow
|Name||Gwyneth Kate Paltrow|
|Date of Birth||September 27, 1972|
|Place of Birth||California, United States|
|Occupation||American actress and businesswoman.|
Paltrow was born to a Jewish father, Bruce Paltrow, and Catholic mother, actress Blythe Danner, and grew up with both religions. She is reportedly a follower of the Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism. In 2014, Paltrow announced she was converting to Judaism — which may have confused some fans who already thought she was Jewish — to properly claim the Jewish status, which is descended maternally.
Speaking at a London event hosted by British Jewry’s Community Security Trust, she said that she wants to raise her children, Apple, 10, and Moses, 8, in a “Jewish environment.” And in interviews, Paltrow has also stated that she considers herself a “Jewish princess” because of her rabbinical forebears
19. Joaquin Phoenix
|Name||Joaquin Rafael Phoenix|
|Date of Birth||October 28, 1974|
|Place of Birth||Río Piedras|
Phoenix has been Oscar-nominated three times before. He won a Golden Globe for “I Walk the Line ” and, last month, for”Joker “. On Jan. 19, he won the Screen Actor’s Guild lead actor award. His incredible performance in “Joker,” a huge box office hit, has made him the favorite to win the Oscar.
Phoenix said in an interview just a year ago that he is a secular Jew who doesn’t affiliate with any organized religion. He said, “I’m Jewish” and added that he didn’t belong to any organized religion. Joaquin was three years old when his non-Jewish father and Jewish-born mother left a Christian cult group.
20. Bar Refaeli
|Date of Birth||June 4, 1985|
|Place of Birth||Hod Hasharon, Israel|
|Occupation||Israeli model, television host, businesswoman and actress|
Bar is a famous model. She is also famous for dating actor Leonardo DiCaprio back in the early 2000s. All of Bar’s grandparents were European Jews that immigrated to Israel. So Bar was born in Israel, and she was raised in the Jewish faith. Her husband, too, is an Israeli Jew. They have three children. Refaeli was known for her on-and-off relationship with American actor Leonard DiCaprio which began in November 2005 and officially ended in June 2009. In May 2012, Refaeli was voted the world’s most beautiful woman by the annual Maxim Magazine Hot 100 list.