Happy Passover! 15 Pop Stars You Didn’t Know Were Jewish

Apr 7th, 2012 // 16 Comments
Drake's "HYFR" Video
Drizzy throws himself a "re-Bar Mitzvah." Read More »

Drake’s “HYFR” video might have taken some by surprise when it dropped yesterday afternoon — not only does it feature the Take Care rapper having some adult fun at his “re-Bar Mitzvhah,” but the clip opens with a shot of young Drizzy at his own legit bar mitzvah as a child — less boozy, but just as ready to party. And we’re willing to bet that a good number of Drake’s fans had no idea that he was Jewish. (Right?) It was, of course, perfect timing for the commencement of Passover, reminding us that this “Champion” isn’t the only musician we know to ever don a yarmulke. So, in honor of the holiday, we’ve compiled a list of some of our other faves who are either practicing Jews or at least have some Jewish heritage — including a few that may come as a surprise. See the list below.

1. ADAM LEVINE
The Voice coach may have chosen not to show off his “Moves Like Jagger” at his own bar mitzvah (which is good, since being shirtless at one is probably frowned upon), but both his father and maternal grandfather are Jewish. He claims to follow a more general spirituality than strict Judaism, but finds the heritage important.

2. ADAM LAMBERT
Before he was the runner-up American Idol, the Tresspass-er sang in Hebrew to honor fallen Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and played the Hebrew slave Joshua in the Ten Commandments musical.

3. PINK
Pink isn’t a practicing Jew, but she is half-Jewish by blood on her mother’s side, and there are rumors that one of her many, many tattoos is inspired by her mother’s heritage. (Anybody know how say “Fuckin’ Perfect” in Hebrew?)

4. LEA MICHELE AND DIANNA AGRON
You may have guessed that Lea Michele comes from Jewish lineage (on her father’s side), seeing as her character Rachel Berry is Jewish, too. But did you know she wasn’t the only Glee girl for whom this is true? Both Dianna Agron’s parents are practicing Jews (her mother converted). She went to a Hebrew school and had a bat mitzvah.

5. PAULA ABDUL
Yep, the former X Factor judge is a “Straight Up” Jew. Both her parents are Jewish and she is still very observant of her faith, revealing that she often seeks solace from her rabbi when things (like being fired as a judge on a major TV show) threaten to cause her to despair.

6. BILLY JOEL
Billy Joel considers himself a “cultural Jew,” considering that his Jewish parents are both non-observing. “My circumcision was as Jewish as they got,” he said in an interview, which gives us way more information than we ever needed to know about the “Piano Man.”

7. GENE SIMMONS
It’s hard to imagine that the tongue-happy KISS star had any sort of childhood at all, but it’s true — he was born under the name “Chaim Weitz” in Israel and attended Jewish schools in New York. Last year, he visited his birth nation for the first time since leaving, saying: “There ain’t no place like Israel on Earth.”

8. BEASTIE BOYS
All three of the Brooklyn-born Boys (Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz) are Jews. Which begs the question — did they have to fight for their right to have a bar mitzvah?

9. LENNY KRAVITZ
“Leonard Albert Kravitz” doesn’t practice Judaism — he identifies as Christian. But his father was Jewish. Some would say that counts — right?

10. DAVID GUETTA
Like many on this list, the French DJ is half-Jewish — his father is a Moroccan Jew.

11. ANDY SAMBERG
Okay, you probably already knew that the Lonely Island frontman was Jewish. Or else how could he skew his heritage on SNL so adeptly?

12. REGINA SPEKTOR
The Russian-born songstress has maintained close ties to the community through a variety of performances for Jewish causes, including the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society this year.

13. THE RAMONES
Sheena is a punk rocker; the Ramones are Jewish. Any questions?

14. MARK RONSON
The Version artist (whose family name was shortened from the original “Aaronson”) was brought up in conservative Judaism.

And finally…

15. MATISYAHU
Surprise! Matisyahu is Jewish! Who knew?

Who is your favorite Jewish musician? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments.

idolator

  1. All three of the Brooklyn-born Boys (Michael Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz) are Jews.

    http://www.beatscore.com/

  2. Thor

    Umm, guys? If their Dad is Jewish, but their mother isnt, technically, they aren’t Jewish either. Judaism is passed down through the Mother, not the Father. Just so you know.

  3. yussi

    this is a lazy article- first off- only Joey and Tommy Ramone were Jewish. Second of all- gee whiz… guys with names like Levine, Samberg, Horivtz, etc re Jewish???? Wow- thanks for breaking this story.

  4. vicki

    Adam lambert is a born Jew very proud of his heritage but non practicing.

  5. funbunn40

    Adam Lambert’s mother is Jewish, father is not. He respects his heritage , but is non-practicing and supports a “power in the universe” approach and is open minded. He doe not understand Hebrew and had to learn the songs honoring Itshak Rabin phonetically. His performance in The Ten Commandments was powerfully inspiring and was singled out by critics for his stirring performance.There definitely is a wealth of very talented Jewish performers.

  6. deen

    Can we stop with this “didn’t know were Jewish” bullcrap? Stop trying to re-inforce the idea that if some famous person is not a deformed nerd, guess what, I “didn’t know they were Jewish”. Are you psychic? How do you know what I know?

    Oh, but of course, deformed nerd Andy Samberg isn’t “much of a surprise”. No, of course not, dummy, he’s a deformed nerd!

    Oh, and of course I would have “guessed” that Lea Michele “comes from Jewish heritage”, after all, she’s ugly as hell, her face is shaped like a television box, and she has a massive nose! So, like, of course, we have to.

    Despite the fact that she was raised in her mother’s Catholic faith, with her father accompanying them to church.

    • nice, deen. you’re a sweet, enlightened guy, eh? so jews are ugly? yup. mila kunis, natalie portman, kate hudson, real dogs. why don’t you go back to the dark ages where you belong. oh, and stop enjoying all the scientific, medical, and intellectual contributions to the world made by the jewish people.

  7. umm…….Adam Lambert’s is Jewish and respect the heritage. I think this post should be shared for the sake of Jewish. Um gonna do it! And besides this welcoming you to the unique video on life goo.gl/HtYmY

  8. Karl

    Not all of the Ramones were Jewish For example the original line up which included Dee Dee and Johnny were NOT but Tommy and Joey obviously were.

  9. lawl

    Ramones aren’t Jewish. Joey was a Jew and Tommy is also a Jew, but the rest aren’t. In fact, Johnny had much from the nazy behaviour.

  10. dee

    Logan Lerman and Natalie Portman are beautiful Jews.

  11. Karl

    Oh wow Lisa Yanofsky… 3 beautiful Jewish girls out of how many sexy, beautiful hot gentiles in Hollywood? (Maybe 6 if you had Rena Sofer, Scarlett Johansen and that Diana Aragon? Argon? whatever, that blonde chick from glee, but she’s only beautiful because of her gentile Mother’s side) BUT the rest of the women and girls in Hollywood, gross! Julive Kavner, Gilda Radner (Thank G-d she’s dead) Lisa Kudrow, Roseanne Barr, Rachel Dratch, Tori Spelling, Sarah Silverman, Sarah Jessica Parker (Looks like a horse and a foot!) and Especially Sandra Bernhart and the rest are totally, totally ugly! And as for Jews being so scientific, medical, and intellectual, look how they’re corrupting the world now and don’t forget they stole a hell of lot of ideas from us gentiles, Albert Einstein a theif and the Jews stole Thomas Edison’s idea and creation of the first moving picture ever and got all the credit for it. So no, until Jews come up with their own ideas, I’ll continue to enjoy my dark ages, thank-you!

  12. Noah1923

    Harry Styles from One direction half-Jewish!
    He even keeps Holidays and twitters about it on Twitter!
    Adam Levine Jew!
    Adam Lambert Jew!
    Demi Lovato has Jewish roots!
    Natalie Portman is Jewish and Israel came a lot!
    Bar Refaeli is very beautiful and she is a Jew and an Israeli and a model and I would like to go out with her!
    Gal Gadot play the Wonder Woman and Israeli Jewish and also squeezed the fast and furious 6 5 4!
    I’m not Jewish but I must admit they are very smart and they are quite strong militarily against countries like Iran and Syria! I’d like to go out with Bar Refaeli and the truth I do not look if someone Jewish Muslim or Christian, I do not care! I am a Christian but if you tell me whether to go with Natalie Portman or Bar Refaeli was out with them even though they are Jewish!

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