Zoë Kravitz’s Jewish identity

Kravitz plays a Jewish-inspired role in the new 'Batman'
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 01: Actress Zoe Kravitz attends 2019 Hulu Upfront at Scarpetta on May 1, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Zoë Kravitz is an American actress, singer, model and most recently, she’s set to play Catwoman in the new Batman movie. She will be starring alongside Robert Pattinson in The Batman which premiered on March 4. 

Given that the character of Catwoman was inspired by a Jewish woman (we’ll get to that later), let’s unpack Zoë’s own Jewish identity.

The Basics

Zoë was born in Los Angeles to famous actress Lisa Bonet and musician Lenny Kravitz. 

Both Lisa and Lenny are of mixed Black American and Jewish descent. Lenny’s father, Sy Krazitz and Lisa’s mother, Arlene Litman, were both Ashkenazi Jewish.

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)

Zoë identifies as mixed

“I am mixed. My parents are mixed,” she told Allure in an interview.

“The more I experience life, I am identifying more and more with being black and what that means — being more proud of that and feeling connected to my history . . . And now I’m so in love with my culture and so proud to be black. It’s still ongoing, but a big shift has occurred. My dad especially has always been very connected to his history, and it’s important to him that I understand where I come from.”

She calls herself very “Jewy”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kravitz said she has wanted to act since infancy. 

“I’d stage performances in my grandparents’ living room, charging them and their friends one-dollar admission,” she recalled. “Real Jewy, huh?”

She lives in a really Jewish neighborhood

Despite identifying as a secular Jew, Kravitz lives in one of the most orthodox Jewish areas in the world: Brooklyn, New York.

Kravitz lives in Williamsburg, according to New York Magazine. 

Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood is a hub of gentrification. On one hand, it’s the spot for the young hipsters of New York City. On the other, it’s home to one of the most concentrated Hasidic Jewish communities in New York.

It seems to be the perfect fit for Zoë who, although being a massive Hollywood star, is somehow simultaneously the indie cool kid.

“That’s why my daughter’s in Brooklyn. She knows where to go,” Lenny Kravitz said in an interview. 

She’s obsessed with Larry David

In an interview with Elle, Kravitz geeked out when she thought she spotted Larry David at a restaurant.

“Is that Larry David?” she stopped midway through her interview, thinking that she spotted David in the distance, and exclaimed excitedly, “That looks like Larry David, but it’s not Larry David. Do you see what I’m talking about? I would die if that was him. I’m obsessed.”

What’s more Jewish than that?

She plays a ‘Jewish inspired’ role in The Batman

Though not explicitly Jewish, the character of Catwoman was inspired by a Jewish woman.

Apparently, the character was based in part on Ruth Steel, the cousin of Batman’s Jewish co-creator Bob Kane.

“He said he loved the way I looked, and copied what he thought I looked like,” Steel said in an interview with her grandson, posted to YouTube.

“It was quite an honour,” she added. “The Catwoman became famous, so I thought it was fun that he did that.”

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