13 Black Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Jewish

16 Black Celebrities You Didn't Know Had Jewish Roots

13 Black Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Jewish

You'll never guess who No. 11 is!

Published October 12, 2016

In honor of Yom Kippur (October 11-12), one of the holiest holidays on the Jewish calendar, we’ve rounded up several Black stars that you didn’t know (or might have forgotten) had Hebrew roots.

Some of these celebs celebrate the holiday known as “the day of atonement” and practice the faith, while others are of Jewish descent — either way they're repping! Scroll below to see the some of the shocking big names that made it to the list.

  1. Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Bonet and Zoe Kravitz
    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 10:  Musician Lenny Kravitz (center) and actresses Zoe Kravitz (L) and Lisa Bonet R) attend the Saint Laurent show at The Hollywood Palladium on February 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

    Coincidentally, the actress famous for playing Denise Huxtable and her rock star ex-hubby both claim Jewish roots, making the same true for their beautifully talented daughter.

    Lenny comes from a Russian-Jewish background on his father's side while Lisa's Jewish lineage is on her mom's.

  2. Shyne
    PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 04:  Shyne (Moshe Levi Ben-David) and Sean "Diddy" Combs (R) attend the Givenchy Ready-To-Wear Fall/Winter 2012 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 4, 2012 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Danny Martindale/FilmMagic)
    (Photo: Danny Martindale/FilmMagic)

    The Belize-born rapper jumped all into Judaism after a prison stint for an NYC club shooting in 1999. After his sentence, he changed his name to Moses Michael Levi and moved to Jerusalem, where he currently lives practicing Orthodox Judaism.  

  3. Drake
    LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23:  Recording artist Drake performs onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

    The rapper grew up with his Jewish mom in Toronto. He even attended a Jewish day school and had bar mitzvah!

  4. Sammy Davis Jr.
    June 1969:  American actor, singer and dancer Sammy Davis Jnr (1925 - 1990) driving a convertible.  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Evening Standard/Getty Images)

    The legendary American entertainer converted to Judaism after a near-death car accident in 1954.

  5. Amar'e Stoudemire
    NEW YORK, NY - JULY 31:  Amar'e Stoudemire attends Haute Time Celebrates Amar'e Stoudemire presented By Avion Reserva 44 at American Cut on July 31, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Haute Living)
    (Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Haute Living)

    In 2010, the yarmulke-clad baller took a birthright trip to Israel to explore his Jewish roots that he claims come from his mother.

  6. Rashida Jones
    BROOKLYN, NY - SEPTEMBER 08:  Actress Rashida Jones attends Refinery29's Second Annual New York Fashion Week Event, "29Rooms" on September 8, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York.  (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Refinery29)
    (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Refinery29)

    The actress may be the daughter of the great Quincy Jones, but her mom Peggy Lipton was raised Jewish and attended Hebrew school.

  7. Tracee Ellis Ross
    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Actress Tracee Ellis Ross attends HBO's Official 2016 Emmy After Party at The Plaza at the Pacific Design Center on September 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

    The Black-ish star was born Tracee Joy Silberstein, the last name coming from her father, Robert Ellis Silberstein.

  8. Lauren London
    HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 07:  Actress Lauren London attends the premiere of Lionsgate's 'The Perfect Match' at ArcLight Hollywood on March 7, 2016 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

    Technically speaking, Lauren’s not Jewish since her roots come from her father and not her mother, but the star still reps. “I’m a little half-Black, half-Jewish girl who was odd and awkward.”

  9. Boris Kodjoe
    WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 10:  Actor Actor Boris Kodjoe arrives at the CBS, CW, Showtime Summer TCA Party at Pacific Design Center on August 10, 2016 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

    The Real Husbands of Hollywood star’s great-grandmother died in the Holocaust. It’s unclear whether the actor keeps up with his Jewish roots at home.

  10. Goapele
    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 12:  Singer/songwriter Goapele attends the ASCAP Grammy Nominees Reception at SLS Hotel on February 12, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ASCAP)
    (Photo: Mike Windle/Getty Images for ASCAP)

    The songbird’s mom is an Israeli Jew, but didn’t grow up very religious. She’s said “it’s more of a cultural kind of thing” and about her family history more than anything else. 

  11. Meagan Good
    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Actress Meagan Good attends the 2016 BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on June 26, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
    (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

    Yes, The Wait author practices Christianity with her husband DeVon Franklin, but does in fact have a grandmother who is half African and Jewish.

  12. Sean Paul
    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Rapper Sean Paul attends The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards at the STAPLES Center on February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)
    (Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

    The dancehall singer’s father is a Sephardic Jew, but he was raised Catholic.

  13. Maya Rudolph
    WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 01:  Producer/TV personality Maya Rudolph attends the 2016 NBCUniversal Summer Press Day at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village on April 1, 2016 in Westlake Village, California.  (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

    We’re not sure if the comedian celebrates any of the traditional Jewish holidays, but her father is an Ashkenazi Jew.

Written by Jazmine A. Ortiz

(Photo from left: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images, Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Haute Living, Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)


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