It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jewish people love finding out which celebs are Jewish. Similarly, Canadians get a hint of pride and pleasure knowing which international celebs hail from up North.
You may have known these stars are either Canadian or Jewish, but did you know they’re both? Cue kvelling from Canadian Jews everywhere.
Drake is the golden boy of Canada.
Aubrey Drake Graham was born in Toronto, Ontario. His father, Dennis Graham, is African American and a practicing Catholic from Memphis, Tennessee, who worked as a drummer. His mother, Sandra “Sandi” Graham is Jewish (Ashkenazi) Canadian and worked as an English teacher and florist. Drake’s parents divorced when he was five years old. After the divorce his father returned to Memphis while he and his mother stayed in Toronto.
Drake grew up in Toronto, attended a Jewish day school, and had a bar mitzvah.
In an iconic SNL sketch parodying his Bar Mitzvah, Drake spoke about growing up Jewish in Toronto.
The Levy’s: Eugene, Dan and Sarah
If Drake is the golden boy of Canada, the Levy’s are the golden family.
Eugene Levy was born to two Jewish parents in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1977 he married Deborah Divine, who is Protestant, and they raised Dan and Sarah in Toronto.
The trio starred together in Schitts Creek, which was written, produced and filmed all out of Ontario, Canada.
Want a glimpse into Dan’s Toronto home? Watch him answer 73 questions and walk you through it:
Seth Aaron Rogen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a Jewish family of Ukrainian and Russian origin. He’s both a Canadian and American citizen, but he’s said, “I definitely associate with being Canadian much more than being American” because he grew up in Canada.
He has described his parents, who met on kibbutz Beit Alfa in Israel, as “radical Jewish socialists” and his comedy career apparently started all the way back at Jewish summer camp where he was known for stand-up comedy at Camp Miriam, a Habonim Dror camp.
In 2018, he was the voice of Vancouver’s Skytrain providing etiquettes and tips while using SkyTrain and buses.
Leonard Cohen was born and raised in Westmount, a suburb of Montreal. His Lithuanian-born mother, Marsha Klonitsky, was the daughter of a Talmudic writer, Rabbi Solomon Klonitsky-Kline, and emigrated to Canada in 1927. His paternal grandfather, whose family had moved from Poland to Canada, was Lyon Cohen, the founding president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. His family was Orthodox and belonged to Congregation Shaar Hashomayim. Cohen’s Hebrew name was “Eliezer.”
Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003, Cohen was awarded the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour.
You may know him from Titanic, Star Trek, Legally Blonde or others, but you might not know that Victor Garber is a Jewish Canadian. He was born in London, Ontario and is of Russian-Jewish descent!
In the ultimate Jewish Canadian collaboration, Garber appeared in Dan and Eugene Levy’s Schitts Creek!
William Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek, but off-screen, Shatner grew up as your typical Canadian Jewish guy.
He was born in the Cote Saint-Luc neighbourhood of Montreal and grew up in a Conservative Jewish household. In his book, William Shatner shared that his paternal grandfather, Wolf Schattner, anglicized the family name to “Shatner.”
All four of Shatner’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants. They came from Austria-Hungary and the Russian Empire (present-day Ukraine and Lithuania).
In 2019 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor.
Deal or No Deal’s Howie Mandel was born and raised in North York, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. His ancestors emigrated to Canada from Romania and Poland. Mandel is actually a distant cousin of the Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman.
Jake Epstein got his start alongside Drake in the Canadian TV drama, Degrassi. Epstein was born in Toronto and raised in a Conservative Jewish home. His mother, Kathy Kacer, is a Norma Fleck Award-winning writer of children’s stories about the Holocaust.
“I would consider myself spiritually Jewish rather than religiously Jewish. It was certainly a big part of my upbringing and certainly a big part of my identity,” Epstein said in an interview.
You probably know Emmanuelle Chriqui as Entourage’s Sloan McQuewick, or Adam Sandler’s love interest, Dalia, in You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. Chriqui was born in Montreal and raised in Markham, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto. Her family is Moroccan Jewish and she grew up practicing Orthodox Judaism.
Okay fine, Paul Rudd isn’t actually Canadian… But we’re counting him as an honorary member of the Canadian Jewish club because of this one fun fact: he officially became a man in Canada.
Paul Rudd’s Bar Mitzvah was held in Ontario!
“I technically became a man in Canada,” he said in an interview. He had family in Ontario and didn’t want to drag them out to Kansas City, where he grew up.
Originally Published Jul 2 2021 10:02AM EDT