While most stars don’t generally walk around with their religion posted across their heavily-injected forehead, some celebs make it clear what it is they believe in, whether they are avid church-goers, Scientology fanatics, born-again believers, or matzo ball soup savorers. No matter a celeb’s religion, as long as they are accepting of both theirs and other’s respective religions and beliefs, then they can all live in harmony under the glistening lights of Tinseltown.
There are lots of famous celebs who are Jewish, and funnyman Adam Sandler is sure to remind us who has been bar mitzvahed back when they were teens in his hilarious Hanukkah Song. But there may be some surprising stars who you never knew were Jewish, just like you probably don’t know much about them at all, aside from whatever nonsense is posted in the latest gossip rag columns.
Read on for some info on 15 well-known celebrities who are Jewish and their religion has never been made obvious to the masses. Some folks like to keep their private lives private and others must have figured we already knew about their religious background.
Mr. Sandler may need to update this year’s holiday tune and include some or all of these 15 Jewish celebs. All he needs is a word to rhyme with their name and he is sure to have another sensational celebratory song.
15 Paula Abdul
Did you know the “Forever Your Girl” singer is Jewish? The petite Paula Abdul was born to a Syrian Jewish dad and her mother is Jewish too with Ashkenazi Jewish Roots. Abdul is 54-years-old (hard to believe), and is still in the limelight to some extent. She was a crowd-pleaser sitting alongside the polarizing Simon Cowell on the judging panel of American Idol, and her hits like “Cold Hearted,” “Straight Up,” “Opposites Attract,” and “Vibeology” are as catchy today as they were when they were first released. Abdul’s ability to choreograph to perfection and charm concert arenas full of fans makes her one special and talented lady. She’s always smiling and ready to shock us with some of the silliness she’s displayed in public in the past.
14 Winona Ryder
As great of an actress she is, the beautiful and talented Winona Ryder has become infamous for her shoplifting scandal rather than her acting chops. But let’s put that mess-up past us and recall her fine acting work in flicks such as Beetlejuice, Heathers, Black Swan, Reality Bites, and Little Women. Perhaps you may have guessed that Ryder is Jewish if she didn’t change her last name. Her birth name was actually Winona Laura Horowitz. Ryder’s father’s family is Jewish and she identifies as such. Today, Ryder is 45-years-old (can you believe it!?) and was last seen in Stranger Things on TV which recently won a Screen Actors Guild Award. Ryder is definitely a fan favorite and hopefully, she sticks around on TV or appears in an upcoming film.
13 Mila Kunis
The now-Mrs. Ashton Kutcher is of Jewish heritage, coming from a Ukrainian-Jewish family who fled their homeland for America due to the anti-Semitism they faced. The 33-year-old beauty is now a proud mama (of Jewish kids, probably), and while we loved her on That ‘70s Show, she’s impressed us even more with her awesome acting abilities in hit star-studded films including Black Swan, Friends with Benefits, Bad Moms, Ted, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Her family heritage not only made her Jewish, but a stunning brunette beauty as well, and hubby Ashton is surely proud to call this fabulous female his mate for life. Then again, this is Hollywood we’re talking about, so let’s hope for the best for the two.
12 Rashida Jones
Actress, producer, screenwriter, singer, and author, Rashida Jones is of Jewish descent - on her mother’s side. Her famous pop is the legendary Quincy Jones. Her mom, Peggy Lipton, is Ashkenazi Jewish. Rashida is 41-years-old and hails from Los Angeles, California. You may know her best from her role on the hit TV show, Parks and Recreation. Along with her time on the small screen, the actress has appeared in movies including, Cop Out, The Big Year, Hot Girls Wanted, Inside Out, Full Frontal, and Little Black Book. Considering the wealth and fortune of her famous dad, this gal could have probably done very little and still lived lavishly, but as we can see, she’s a major Hollywood go-getter who may very well reach the level of fame her proud papa has one day.
11 Jake Gyllenhaal
Well-received actor, Jake Gyllenhaal, isn’t only adored by his throngs of fans, male and female alike, but is arguably one of the hottest actors of the current time. He is also Jewish, as his mother, Naomi Foner, who hails from New York City, is Jewish with ancestry from Poland and Russia. The 36-year-old actor was born in Los Angeles, California and is a Hollywood heavyweight thanks to his stellar roles in hit films like Southpaw, Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Demolition, Jarhead, and Love & Other Drugs. His sister, Maggie, is in the biz too, making great acting, as well as Judaism part of their make-up. Jake’s presence on the big screen makes him stand out from the pack and with talent like his, we’ll surely be seeing lots more from him in the years to come.
10 Paul Rudd
Funnyman actor Paul Rudd is always charming with his boy next door good looks and the fun roles he plays on the big screen. Rudd’s Jewish family’s last name was initially Rudnitzky but they changed it to Rudd when they moved to England from Russia and Poland. Eventually, they moved to New Jersey where Rudd was born. Rudd was a big hit in flicks including Clueless, This is 40, Wanderlust, Knocked Up, Sausage Party, The Object of My Affection, and I Love You, Man. He mostly sticks to comedy, but his acting chops are superb no matter the genre. While he looks far younger than his years, Rudd is 47 years of age and has been happily married since 2003.
9 Scarlett Johansson
Everyone knows that A-list actress Scarlett Johansson is breathtakingly beautiful, but do you know she is Jewish? Her mother, Melanie Sloan, a producer, is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family making Johansson Jewish too. The 32-year-old is twice divorced, but she is certainly adored by thousands of spellbound men willing to become hubby number 3 at the drop of a hat. We loved the actress in films including Lucy, Under the Skin, Don Jon, The Avengers, Ghost World, We Bought a Zoo, A Good Woman, and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, to name a few. While Johansson only stands at 5’3”, her star power is towering tall. This stunning sex symbol will be shining in the spotlight for a long time to come.
Rapper Drake is Jewish. His mother, Sandi Graham, is a Jewish woman from Canada. Drake, who was born Aubrey Drake Graham, attended a Jewish day school in his youth. Today, he’s all about the music and the 30-year-old is putting out hit after hit. Songs such as “Hotline Bling,” “One Dance,” “Fake Love,” “Started From the Bottom,” “Best I Ever Had,” and “No Frauds” are loved by Drake’s adoring fans, and his star power isn’t fading one bit. Drake got his foot in the door of fame with his acting role on Degrassi: The Next Generation in the early 2000s, but the success of the show can’t come close to matching that of his rip-roaring rapping. As long as fans keep loving his music, Drake will be playing on the radios for a while.
7 Tori Spelling
We’ve seen far too much of former Beverly Hills 90210 actress, Tori Spelling these days, thanks to her flaunting every moment of her life on reality television. One thing she doesn’t seem to bring up much is her Jewish heritage. Both of her parent are Jewish. It’s not clear if Tori raises her kids under the Jewish faith, and as far as we know, her husband Dean is not of the same religion. The actress’ dad was a multi-millionaire, but as we’ve seen on TV, he didn’t leave his daughter much of his fortune after he passed. So Tori pimps out her family on various reality shows and even exposed her husband’s extra-marital affair on national television for all the world to cringe at. The couple just had baby number five, so while we may not have realized Spelling was Jewish, we do know she’s fertile!
6 Alicia Silverstone
We know the alluring Alicia Silverstone is “clueless,” but not many people know she is Jewish too. Her pop was born Jewish and her mother converted to Conservative Judaism before tying the knot with Alicia’s dad. The blonde beauty wowed us in films like the aforementioned Clueless as well as The Crush, Blast From the Past, Excess Baggage, Vamps, The Art of Getting By, True Crime, Angels in Stardust, and Silence Becomes You. While we still picture Silverstone as a teenager, thanks to her iconic role as “Cher” in Clueless, can you believe the actress is now 40-years-old? She is currently married with one young child and can be seen talking about clean living and eating when she’s not busy acting.
5 James Franco
Actor James Franco’s mother is Jewish with ancestry from Russia. The 38-year-old is a well-loved Hollywood star who hails from Palo Alto, California and lives in Los Angeles today. You may have seen Franco show off his acting chops in movies including Spring Breakers, The Interview, Pineapple Express, This is the End, True Story, Milk, Your Highness, Eat Pray Love, and Oz the Great and Powerful. He is often cast in comedies, but Franco is a fine actor in many realms. Franco is no wall flower, always doing what suits him without worry what others may think. He often plays characters who are as free as a bird and up for excitement and the unknown. Perhaps art is imitating life (or vice versa) for the admired actor.
4 Isla Fisher
Actress Isla Fisher was not born Jewish, but she converted in order to marry her (now ex-) husband, the often wacky actor, Sacha Baron Cohen. Isla is Australian and her parents are from Scotland. The actress is 41 years of age and her shiny red hair and inviting bright smile make the mom of three a great fit for the big screen. Perhaps you have seen the foxy Fisher in movies such as Now You See Me, Keeping Up with the Joneses, Wedding Crashers, The Great Gatsby, Nocturnal Animals, Hot Rod, Scooby-Doo, or Bachelorette. Her innocent charm paired with a touch of sex appeal makes Fisher a well-loved actress who will certainly be cast in many more films in the future.
3 Kat Dennings
Actress Kat Dennings was born as Katherine Litwack and was raised in a Jewish household. The 30-year-old beauty was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania but made her way to Hollywood where she is doing well. Dennings is mostly well-known for her hilarious role on the hit television sitcom, 2 Broke Girls. You may have also seen the brunette bombshell acting in films including Down in the Valley, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Daydream Nation, Thor, Suburban Gothic, Hollywood Adventures, and The Answer Man. Dennings is not married and is single after a breakup with the successful and talented singer Josh Groban. Kat is a showstopper on the big and small screen, and unlike her character on 2 Broke Girls, she’s far from penniless in real life.
2 Daniel Radcliffe
The 27-year-old actor, Daniel Radcliffe, is from London, England and his mother is Jewish from South Africa. Radcliffe is best known for his work in the Harry Potter series, but he has been in other films such as Swiss Army Man, Now You See Me 2, Imperium, Kill Your Darlings, What If, Trainwreck, My Boy Jack, and The Gamechangers. Of course, the actor will always be “Harry Potter” in the eyes of his tons of fans, but with the success of the franchise, Radcliffe surely does not mind a bit. While the actor is only 5’5”, his star power is enormous. He currently resides in Manhattan, NY, and like the saying goes, “if he can make it there, he’ll make it anywhere!” With talent like Radcliffe’s, this is no doubt a reality.
1 Jack Black
Funnyman actor and musician, Jack Black was raised Jewish by his Jewish mother and his father who converted to the religion. He was actually given the name Thomas Jacob Black at birth but goes by Jack Black in his public life. The 47-year-old was born in Santa Monica, California, went to school at UCLA, and is now married with two kids. Fans have adored Black in films like Sex Tape, The Big Year, Bernie, The D Train, Tropic Thunder, Be Kind Rewind, School of Rock, and Melvin Goes to Dinner. Black is always up to be as wacky as he can be and mostly stars in movies with an edge. He loves to make fans laugh and does a great job doing so. With a unique talent like his, Black is sure to continue showing off his stuff for the long haul.
Sources: Kveller; Wikipedia.