About Jewishness

Go to content

List of Famous Jews

Culture > Jewish Culture, Humour, Cuisine and Religions

Albert Einstein

Abraham Maslow
, American humanistic psychologist.
Adam Sandler (1966–), American actor, stand-up comedian, screenwriter, producer, and musician.
Adolph Zukor, film mogul and founder of Famous Players and later Paramount Pictures.
Al Jolson (1886–1950), American singer and actor.
Albert Einstein: World famous physicist and pacifist. Einstein was a member of several civil rights groups, including the Princeton chapter of the NAACP. When the aged W. E. B. Du Bois was accused of being a Communist spy, Einstein volunteered as a character witness, and the case was dismissed shortly afterward. Einstein’s friendship with activist Paul Robeson, with whom he served as co-chair of the American Crusade to End Lynching, lasted twenty years. Einstein's criticism of Zionism: "I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish State. Apart from practical considerations, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state, with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain."
Albert Ellis, American cognitive psychologist.
Albert Memmi (1921-) French novelist & sociologist.
Alfred Dreyfus (1859 - 1935) French military officer.
Alfred Hermann Fried (November 11, 1864 in Vienna, Austria- May 5, 1921 in ), was an Austrian Jewish pacifist, publicist, journalist, co-founder of the German peace movement, and winner (with Tobias Asser) of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1911.
Allen Ginsberg, American poet and Pentagon-levitator.
Amadeo Modigliani (1884 - 1920) French (Italian born) painter and sculpturist.
Amy Winehouse, British singer/songwriter.
Anna Freud, child psychoanalyst.
Anatol Rapoport, American mathematical psychologist.
André Citroën (1878 - 1935) founder of Citroën.
Anne Frank (1929-1945), Dutch diarist (born in Germany).
Arlo Guthrie, singer-songwriter who often sings songs of protest against social injustice.
Art Garfunkel (1941-), American singer & songwriter.
Barbara Walters (1929–) media personality, a regular fixture on morning television shows, and the first female evening news anchor.
Barbra Streisand (1942–) American singer, songwriter, actress, and film director.
Ben Stiller (1965–), American comedian, actor, and film director.
Benny Goodman, American jazz and Klezmer musician, composer, clarinetist and bandleader.
Bette Midler (1945–), American singer, actress, and comedian.

Billy Crystal (1947–), American actor, writer, producer, comedian and film director.
Billy Joel, singer, songwriter known for his many #1 hits.
Billy Wilder, Austrian born film director.
Bob Dylan (born Zimmerman) (1941–) American singer-songwriter, author, musician and poet. Sephardic father, Ashkenazic mother.
Bobby Fischer, chess player (American expatriate, Icelandic citizen).
Boris Pasternak, Russian writer, Nobel Prize (1958).
Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles.
Burt Bacharach, musician, songwriter, singer, musical arranger, producer, pianist.
Carl Bernstein — investigative reporter for the Washington Post, uncovered Watergate with Bob Woodward.
Carly Simon, American singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist.
Caspar Weinberger, U.S. Secretary of Defense (1981–87).
Cass Elliot, Mama Cass from The Mamas & the Papas.
Cecil B. DeMille, Academy Award-winning film director and producer.
Chaim Soutine (1893 - 1943) French (Belarusian-born) painter.
Claudia Winkleman, British TV presenter.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit (1945 - ) French-born German politician, active in both countries, best known as a leader of the 1968 student uprising in France; German Green MEP.
Danny Kaye (1913–1987), American film actor, singer and comedian.
David Copperfield, world renown Israeli/American illusionist.
David Grossman: Israeli peace activist and novelist.
David Miliband (born 15 July 1965); British Labour politician, who is the current Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
David Zuckerman, creator, developer, and head writer of Family Guy, King of the Hill, and American Dad.

Debra Winger (1955–), American actress born to two Orthodox Jewish parents and who was raised with a strong Jewish identity that included trips to kibbutzim in Israel.
Douglas Fairbanks (real name Douglas Ullman) (1883–1939) legendary actor, screenwriter, director and producer.
Dustin Hoffman (1937–) two-time Oscar winning actor.
Ed Miliband, U.K. Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
Edward G. Robinson (1893–1973), American stage and film actor.
Elizabeth Taylor, British-born actress.
Elkie Brooks, British singer.
Ellen Barkin (1954–), American actress.
Elliott Gould (1938–), American film/television actor.
Elvis Presley, his mother was Jewish. Elvis personally had a Star of David carved into his mother’s grave. He also learned the Hebrew alphabet, donated to Jewish charities, had a Rabbi as his spiritual teacher, and he routinely wore a Chai necklace in order to celebrate his Jewish heritage.
Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917) French sociologist.
Eric Berne, psychiatrist (Canadian-born).
Erich Fromm, German-born American psychologist & humanistic philosopher. Fromm's critcism of Zionism: "'In general international law, the principle holds true that no citizen loses his property or his rights of citizenship; and the citizenship right is de facto a right to which the Arabs in Israel have much more legitimacy than the Jews. Just because the Arabs fled? Since when is that punishable by confiscation of property, and by being barred from returning to the land on which a people's forefathers have lived for generations? Thus, the claim of the Jews to the land of Israel cannot be a realistic claim. If all nations would suddenly claim territory in which there forefathers had lived two thousand years ago, this world would be a madhouse. I believe that, politically speaking, there is only one solution for Israel, namely, the unilateral acknowledgement of the obligation of the State towards the Arabs- not to use it as a bargaining point, but to acknowledge the complete moral obligation of the Israeli State to its former inhabitants of Palestine."
Erich von Stroheim, Austrian director & actor.
Ethan & Joel Coen (AKA the Coen brothers) American directors, screenwriters & producers.
Evelyn Hecht-Galinski is a Jewish-German activist, an outspoken critic of Israel's policies towards Palestinians and a member of the group European Jews for a Just Peace. She is a daughter of Heinz Galinski, a former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Felicity Kendal, British actress.
Frank Oz (1944–) real name Richard Frank Oznowicz, acclaimed English-born film director, actor and puppeteer. As a puppeteer his characters have included Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam the Eagle on The Muppet Show, and Grover, Cookie Monster and Bert on Sesame Street, and most notably Yoda.
Frankie Vaughan, British singer.
Franz Kafka, writer, (Bohemian born).
Fred Astaire (1899–1987 real name Frederick Austerlitz) Broadway stage dancer, singer and actor.
Fritz Perls, German-born American psychotherapist (Gestalt).
Garry Kasparov, Russian World Champion chess.
Gene Simmons, bass player, main songwriter and singer for Kiss.
Gene Wilder (1933–), American actor and comedian.
George Gershwin, quintessential 20th century classical composer.
George Michael, British singer, songwriter, former member of Wham.
Gerald Kaufman British ethnic Jew, Member of the Parliament, has become one of the leading critics of Israel. Kaufman has called for economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel, citing the success of such measures against apartheid South Africa. He has called Israel a "pariah" and its senior politicians "war criminals.
Goldie Hawn (1945–), American film actress, director and producer.
Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer (born in Bohemia).
Gwyneth Paltrow (1972–), American actress and singer.
Harold Pinter British writer, playwright.
Harrison Ford (1942–), American actor.
Harvey Keitel (1939–), American actor.
Henry Winkler (1945–), actor, director, producer and author (Fonzie in Happy Days).
Herb Alpert, American composer, songwriter, lead singer.
Herbert Marcuse, German sociologist, New Left figurehead.
Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-born actress & inventor. Daughter of two Jewish immigrants, who is revered as much for her classically Jewish good looks as for being an important scientist and inventor who invented an early form of spread spectrum communications technology, a key to modern wireless communication.
Heinrich Heine, German poet.
Helen Shapiro, British singer. Granddaughter of Russian Jewish immigrants.
Helena Rubinstein, cosmetics industrialist.
Henry Kissinger, German born US Secretary of State, Nobel Prize (1973).
Iggy Pop, (real name James Osterberg) Founding member, songwriter, and lead singer of Punk rock pioneers , and also solo artist.
Ilya Ehrenburg, Russian writer.
Irving Berlin, (real name Israel Isadore Baline), Yiddish speaking son of two Orthodox Jewish parents (his father was a Jewish Cantor at the synagogue), and the most beloved and prolific songwriter and lyricist.
Isaac Babel, Russian writer.
Isaac Israëls - Dutch painter, born in Amsterdam.
Jack Benny (1894–1974) Comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, film actor.
Jack Klugman (1922-), American actor.
Jacques Offenbach (1819 - 1880) French composer.
James Caan (1940–), American film, stage and television actor.
James Schlesinger, CIA Director (1973), Secretary of Defense (1973–75).
Jamie Lee Curtis (1958–) Golden Globe-winning film actress, successful writer of books for children.

Jamie-Lynn Sigler (1981–), American television actress (The Sopranos).
Jane Seymour (1951 - ) English-born film/television actress.
Janis Ian, female singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and science fiction author.
Jeff Goldblum (1952–), American film actor.
Jerry Lewis (1926–) Comedian, singer, actor, film director, writer, film producer, and humanitarian.
Jerry Seinfeld (1954–), American comedian, actor, and writer.
Jerry Springer, American TV presenter (UK-born).
Joachim Prinz: civil rights activist. He held top leadership positions in the World Jewish Congress, as president of the from 1958-1966, and as Chairman of the World Conference of Jewish Organizations. Later, he was a director of the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Joan Collins, British actress.
Joe Dassin (1938 - 1980) French singer.
Jonas Daniel Meijer - Dutch (German-born) lawyer, lived and died in Amsterdam.
Josef Israels - Dutch painter, lived in Amsterdam.
Joss Stone, British singer/songwriter.
Judd Hirsch (1935–), American actor (Taxi, NUMB3RS).
Judy Garland, (real name Frances Gumm), legendary and influential actress and singer.
June Jacobs Jewish peace activist and a former President of the International Council of Jewish Women.
Karl Marx, German philosopher, founder of communism.
Kevin Kline (1947–), American stage and film actor.
Kirk Douglas (1916–), American actor, Hollywood film star (Spartacus).
Kurt Weill, composer, songwriter and son of two Orthodox Jewish parents (his father was a Cantor at the synagogue), who is considered to be one of the leading composers for the stage as well as the concert hall, and who wrote acclaimed operettas and songs.
Lauren Bacall (1924–), American film and stage actress.
Lenny Bruce (1925–1966) Stand-up comedian, writer, social critic, satirist, and free speech martyr.
Leonard Bernstein, eclectic classical composer (West Side Story).
Leonard Cohen, Canadian songwriter & poet, artist, and novelist, as well as a devout observant Jew.
Leonard Nimoy (1931–) Yiddish speaking son of Orthodox Jewish parents, who is a acclaimed film director, actor, writer, singer, songwriter, poet, and photographer, who wrote and directed on the Star Trek films and series (in which he also played Spock) among other films.
Leopold Trepper, Soviet spy.
Levi Strauss, German born clothing manufacturer.
Linda McCartney, British photographer. Her father, Lee Eastman, was the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. He changed his name from Leopold Vail Epstein to Lee Eastman
Linda Ronstadt, singer and record producer known as “The First Lady of Rock”.
Lisa Kudrow (1963–), American actress (Friends).
Lucian Freud, German painter.
Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State (1997–2001).
Mae West (1893–1980), American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and sex symbol.
Manfred Mann, British R&B keyboardist.
Marc Bolan, member of T. Rex.
Marcel Dassault (1892 - 1986) French aerospace industrialist.
Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922) French writer.
Marilyn Monroe (1926–1962), American actress, singer and model.
Mark Knopfler, British guitarist, singer and songwriter (Dire Straits).
Mark Obama Ndesandjo Born and practicing Jew. Half-Brother of Barack H. Obama 44th President of the United States, noted author, donated 15% of book sales to Chinese orphans.

Martin Buber (February 8, 1878 – June 13, 1965) was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship. In 1925 he was involved in the creation of the organisation Brit Shalom (Covenant of Peace), which advocated the creation of a binational state, and throughout the rest of his life he hoped and believed that Jews and Arabs one day would live in peace in a joint nation. "Only an internal revolution can have the power to heal our people of their murderous sickness of causeless hatred. It is bound to bring complete ruin upon us. Only then will the old and young in our land realize how great was our responsibility to those miserable Arab refugees in whose towns we have settled Jews who were brought from afar; whose homes we have inherited, whose fields we now sow and harvest; the fruits of whose gardens, orchards and vineyards we gather; and in whose cities that we robbed we put up houses of education, charity, and prayer, while we babble and rave about being the "People of the Book"and the "light of the nations"."
Martin Landau (1931-) American film and television actor.
Marty Feldman, British comic actor.
Marx Brothers, American comedians.
Max Adler (1873–1937), Austrian social-marxist philosopher.
Max Wertheimer, one of the founders of Gestalt psychology, born in Prague.
Maxim Ghilan was the director of the International Jewish Peace Union, the first Jewish organization to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a partner in dialogue. He was the co-founder, in 1971, of the periodical Israel and Palestine Political Report.
Mel Brooks (1926–) American director, writer, actor, producer, composer, lyricist, and stand-up comedian, who pioneere comedy style and genre of mixing comedy with real historic events.
Melanie Safka (real name Melanie Anne Safka-Schekeryk), usually known professionally as Melanie, is an American singer-songwriter.
Mike D'Abo, former lead singer of Manfred Mann and sang on their hit The Mighty Quinn.
Mikhail Botvinnik, Russian World Champion chess.
Mordechai Vanunu ethnic Jew, now Christian, who, citing his opposition to weapons of mass destruction, revealed details of Israel's nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986. He was subsequently lured to Italy by a Mossad spy, where he was drugged and kidnapped by Israeli intelligence operatives. He was transported to Israel and ultimately convicted in a secret trial. Regarded by peace activists as a hero for taking a stand against weapons proliferation, Vanunu has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times.
Murray Perahia, American concert pianist.
Nadezhda Mandelstam, Russian writer.
Naomi Klein, Canadian journalist, author and activist.
Neil Diamond (born January 24, 1941), one of America's most enduring and successful singer-songwriters. He was born in Brooklyn, to a Jewish family descended from Russian and Polish immigrants and sang in the school choir with Barbra Streisand.
Neil Sedaka, American singer, songwriter, and pianist. He also sings in Hebrew, and recorded an album of Yiddish songs to express his passion for his Jewish heritage.
Noam Chomsky: MIT professor and anti-imperialist activist. Noam Chomsky has engaged in political activism all of his adult life and expressed opinions on politics and world events, which are widely cited, publicized, and discussed. Chomsky has in turn argued that his views are those the powerful do not want to hear, and for this reason he is considered an American political dissident.
Norbert Elias, German sociologist.
Norman Finkelstein Political scientist and controversial author: peace activist and anti-imperialist, radio commentator.
Osip Mandelstam, Russian poet.
Pat Benatar (real name Patricia Mae Andrzejewski), four-time Grammy Award-winning American singer.
Patrick Bruel (born Patrick Benguigui) (1959 - ) French singer, actor.
Paul Michael Glaser (1943–), American actor (Starsky & Hutch).
Paul Newman (1925–2008) Academy Award-winning actor and film director, philanthropist.
Paul Simon (1941-), American singer, songwriter.
Paul Wellstone: One of 11 US Senators who voted against both Gulf Wars. He died in a mysterious plane crash several months before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Paula Abdul (1962–), American singer, songwriter, record producer, actress, dancer, and prominent choreographer.
Peter Green, guitarist Fleetwood Mac.

Peter Falk (1927–), American actor (Columbo).
Peter Lorre (1904–1964) born in Austria-Hungary (later American) stage and screen actor.
Peter Sellers, British comedian & actor.
Phil Spector, songwriter, singer, and music producer, who influenced everyone from The Beatles and the Beach Boys to Bruce Springsteen.
Ralph Miliband (1924-94) (né Adolphe Miliband) Belgian born Polish-Jewish Marxist theorist and father of David and Ed Miliband.
René Goscinny (1926 - 1977) French author, editor and humorist, who is best known for the comic book Astérix. Goscinny was born in Paris in 1926, to a family of Polish and Jewish descent; his parents were Stanislaw "Simkha" Goscinny, a chemical engineer from Warsaw, Poland, and Anna Beresniak-Goscinna from Chodorkow, a small village in the Second Polish Republic, now Ukraine. René Goscinny was buried in the Jewish cemetary in Nice.
Richard Dreyfuss (1947–), American actor.
Richard Marx, American pop/rock singer, songwriter, and record producer.
Richard Tauber, singer and composer (naturalised British citizen, 1940)
River Phoenix (1970–1993), American film actor.
Rob Reiner (1947–) American actor, director, producer, writer, political and anti-tobacco activist; son of Carl Reiner.
Robbie Robertson, (real name Jaime Robert Klegerman) acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter, lead guitar player, and pianist of The Band.
Rosa Luxemburg, Polish-born Marxist theorist, socialist philosopher, and revolutionary of the SPD.
Rosanna Arquette (1959–), American actress, film director, and film producer.
Roseanne Barr, also known as Roseanne Arnold, (born November 3, 1952) is an American actress, comedian, writer, television producer and director. Barr's grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants from Ukraine, Russia, Lithuania and Austria-Hungary, and her paternal grandfather changed his surname from "Borisofsky" to "Barr" upon entering the United States. Barr's parents kept their Jewish heritage secret from their neighbors and were partially involved in The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints. Barr has stated, "Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning I was a Jew; Sunday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon, and Wednesday afternoon we were Mormons"; her Jewish upbringing was influenced by her devoutly Orthodox Jewish maternal grandmother.
Sacha Baron Cohen, British comedian, notable for his comedy characters Ali G, Borat and Brüno.
Sacha Distel (1933 - 2004) French singer.
Sam Jaffe (1891–1984) Academy Award-nominated film and stage actor.
Samuel Goldwyn, founder of MGM with Canadian Mayer (also of Jewish descent).
Sarah Jessica Parker (1965–) Golden Globe, Emmy-winning actress.
Saul Bellow, writer, Nobel Prize (1976) (Canadian-born).
Sean Penn (1960–), American film actor.
Serge Gainsbourg (1928 - 1991) French singer-songwriter.
Shelley Winters (1920–2006) two-time Academy Award-winning actress.
Sigmund Freud, Austrian founder of psychoanalysis.
Simon Wiesenthal, hunter of Nazis.
Simone Signoret (1921-1985) Academy, Emmy, BAFTA and César Award-winning film, stage and television actress.
Stanley Kubrick, legendary film director, screenwriter, producer, photographer of films.
Stephen Fry, British comedian, actor and TV-presenter.
Steven Seagal (1951–), American action movie actor, producer, writer, director and singer.
Susanna Hoffs, lead singer/songwriter for The Bangles, and songwriter of their hit Eternal Flame.
Sydney Pollack, Oscar-winning director.
Theodor Herzl, Austrian born Zionist leader.
Tony Curtis (1925–), American film star.
Tony Randall (1920–2004), American comic actor.
Tristan Tzara (1896 - 1963) French poet.
Victor Gollancz, British publisher and political activist.
Walter Matthau (1920–2000), American actor.
Warner Brothers, Canadian founders of the film studio.
Winona Ryder (1971–) (real name Winona Horowitz), American film actress.

Woody Allen (1935–) American director, writer, actor, musician and stand-up comedian who was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family.
Yehudi Menuhin, Lord Menuhin of Stoke d'Abernon; conductor & violinist (UK-based).
Yoram Kaniuk (1930-2013) Israeli writer, painter, journalist, and theater critic. Outside of Israel most noted for his novel Adam Resurrected, which was the basis of the film with that title, starring Jeff Goldblum and Willem Defoe. Yoram Kaniuk was born in Tel Aviv in 1930. His father, Moshe Kaniuk, born in Ternopil, Galicia (Central Europe), was the first curator of Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His grandfather was a Hebrew teacher who wrote his own textbooks. Kaniuk's mother, born in Odessa, was also a teacher. Her family immigrated to Palestine in 1909, the year Tel Aviv was founded, and settled in Neve Tzedek. In May 2011, Kaniuk petitioned the Israeli Interior Ministry to change his religion status from "Jewish" to "no religion." He cited the fact that his child and infant grandson, because they are descended from a mixed Jewish/Christian marriage, are legally of "no religion", and his desire not to belong to a "Jewish Iran" or "what is today called the religion of Israel." In October 2011, a district court judge approved his petition, meaning that Kaniuk was then considered a Jew by nationality, but not by religion. Hundreds of other Israelis intend to do the same; a new verb, lehitkaniuk (to Kaniuk oneself) was coined to refer to this process.

Index | Introduction | Ethnic Groups | Culture | History | Jewish migration | Right to Exist | Addendum | Site Map

© Copyright 2010 - 2014 Nathan Pinto and Jack Vanderwyk | pintonathan@ymail.com

Back to content | Back to main menu