Happy Passover! 15 Pop Stars You Didn’t Know Were Jewish
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.
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?
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?
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.
15. MATISYAHU Surprise! Matisyahu is Jewish! Who knew?