The total Jewish population in the USA is estimated to be between 5.5 million and 8.5 million, which is about 1.5-2.5 percent of the population or so. While that is a fairly small percentage, one place where Jewish people are represented very well is in Hollywood. You probably know quite a few famous actors, musicians and celebrities that are Jewish. But in addition to those you know, there are dozens more stars that you had no idea were Jewish. While all of these people may not be observant anymore, these 15 stars all grew up in a Jewish household or had Jewish parents. The star in the number 10 spot is surely one you would never expect.
#15 Mila Kunis
Kunis is known for her variety of movie and TV roles and has been a staple in entertainment for years. Kunis was actually born back in the Soviet Union to a Jewish family and moved to the USA to avoid the anti-semitism that they faced back home. Another famous actress comes in at the number 8 entry.
#14 Natalie Portman
Portman is definitely among the most impressive actresses in Hollywood. Not only has she been a leading lady in numerous movies, she also went to Harvard. But did you know she was actually born in Israel? That’s right, she was born Neta-Lee Hershlag in Jerusalem but grew up in the eastern United States.
#13 Jake Gyllenhaal
Gyllenhaal has been a staple on the big screen as a leading man for over a decade and has played some important and pivotal roles. He was born to a Jewish mother, Naomi Fone, who was born to a Jewish family in New York City. The person in the next entry is routinely named one of the most beautiful people on the planet.
#12 Scarlett Johansson
Johansson has been acting in films for over two decades and is without a doubt one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Her father is originally from Denmark and her mother comes from a Jewish family from the Bronx. As a result, Johansson grew up in a half-Jewish household.
#11 Sacha Baron Cohen
Despite his many convincing portrayals of characters from all over the world, Cohen is Jewish. While he was born in London, his mother was born in Israel. He was raised Jewish and is fluent in both Hebrew and English. The man in the next entry is one of the most famous rappers currently performing.
That’s right! The man who is possibly the biggest musical star in the world right now is Jewish. His father was an African-American Catholic from Memphis, and his mother was a Jewess from Canada. As a young child, Drake attended a Jewish day school and also had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.
#9 Sarah Jessica Parker
Parker has had a lot of different work in Hollywood, but she is without a doubt best known for her role on Sex and the City. Her father comes from Jewish Eastern European descent and as a result, she identifies with the Jewish culture. Despite this, she does not see herself as a religious Jew.
#8 Gwenyth Paltrow
Paltrow is famous for both her skill as an actress and for the impressive list of men she has dated or been engaged to including Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, and Chris Martin. She was raised in a Jewish and Christian home, but after her split from Martin, she converted to Judaism and would raise her children in a Jewish household.
#7 James Franco
James Franco is truly a jack of all trades when it comes to the arts. He is well known as an actor, director, artist and even has taught a few university courses. He was born in Palo Alto, California to a half-Jewish household. His mother is Jewish and his father is a Portuguese-Swedish businessman.
#6 Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones is among the best actresses on TV and has held memorable roles in some of the biggest shows on TV. She is also the daughter of the world-famous Quincy Jones. While Quincy isn’t Jewish, her mother was and as a result, Jones was brought up in a partly-Jewish household.
#5 Isla Fisher
Isla Fisher is an actress who has appeared in a number of solid roles throughout the last decade. She is also the wife of an actor who appeared earlier in this article, Sacha Baron Cohen. While she did not grow up Jewish, she converted to Judaism in order to be able to marry Cohen.
#4 Zach Braff
While he hasn’t taken on many big projects lately, Zach Braff used to be a staple on the TVs of millions of Americans. He was the star of Scrubs, which was among the most popular TV shows of its time. He was born into a Jewish family in New Jersey. His father was Jewish from birth, but his mother converted before marrying his father.
#3 Jason Segel
Segel is an actor/comedian that has appeared in a number of different Judd Apatow projects on movies and TV. He was born into an affluent family in Los Angeles. His mother is a Christian and his father is Jewish. He grew up going to Jewish school and had a Bar Mitzvah. The next man was in the headlines for a while after people thought he went completely insane.
#2 Shia LaBeouf
LaBeouf has been acting in Hollywood since he was a young teenager and has been able to stay relevant for quite a while. However, in recent years, he has gained a rep for being a little “out there” but that has seemingly subsided in recent months. While he was raised in a household with a Jewish mother, he has recently decided to convert to Christianity.
#1 Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill is without a doubt one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood. He got his big break in Superbad, and since then, has been on a roll. He has secured some huge roles in some big films. He was actually raised Jewish in Los Angeles, thought doesn’t really practice the religion much anymore.
There you have it, 15 stars that you likely had no idea were Jewish. As I mentioned in the introduction, Jewish people are well represented in Hollywood in all different areas such as acting, performing, directing and more. Some of the individuals included in this article are the biggest stars in their respective industries. Despite this, very few people actually knew about their Jewish roots and backgrounds. But this isn’t an exhaustive list as there are dozens of other stars with a Jewish background that you would never expect. The fact that a group with such a small national presence is represented so well in Hollywood is quite the accomplishment.