Paul Rudd has become famous in Hollywood comedy films. Is he religious?
Paul Rudd is Jewish. Both of his parents were descendants of Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants. Rudd’s father’s family surname was originally Rudnitsky, before being changed by Paul Rudd’s grandfather. Rudd was raised as a practicing Jew, although he has stated his family was “laid back [about Judaism].” It’s not known if the actor still practices Judaism, although evidence suggests not.
Stick around to learn more about Paul Rudd’s Jewish upbringing.
Paul Rudd’s Jewish Family
Paul Rudd’s parents both came from London, England. Both were descended from Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants who had immigrated to England from Belarus, Poland, and Russia.
Rudd’s father’s family surname was originally Rudnitsky, and his mother’s was Goldstein.
Growing Up Jewish
Paul Rudd revealed in an interview with Jewish Journal that growing up he “always felt a little bit like an outsider, not only because [he] was Jewish, but because [his] parents are European.”
Paul learned early on that the best way to fit in was through humor. He explained:
“I didn’t go to a school where there were a bunch of Jewish kids, and I realized growing up that my way of not getting beaten up was to try and make people laugh—and to deal with any kind of trauma was to make people laugh. That’s still at work; it’s still very much part of my psyche.”
Paul Rudd in his teenage years:
However, Paul feels he did experience some prejudice growing up, saying:
“I did kind of realize at a young age that if I made Jewish jokes about myself, that a lot of kids in my school would laugh, like harder than other stuff. I never quite realized that maybe that was a little messed up.”
He also revealed on Finding Your Roots, that he used to be called “Jewboy” at one of his schools.
Watch a young Paul Rudd, starring as the DJ for a relatives bar mitzvah:
Is Paul Rudd a practicing Jew?
Paul has mentioned that growing up he felt somewhat “detached” from his religion.
However, he did have a bar mitzvah and attended a synagogue with his parents. Talking about being influenced by Judaism, he said, “I know the culture and I know the food. I know what a Haggadah [Jewish text] is!”
A Jewish friend of Paul’s would tell the actor, “‘You know, if you are Jewish, it almost doesn’t even matter how religious you are. If you’re Jewish, it’s just in the marrow of your bones.’”
Paul agrees with this sentiment, saying, “We have a lineage that is so many thousands of years old, that you just relate. It is a tribe; it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s my team,’ and I feel that for sure.”
Paul Rudd discusses his Jewishness during this short segment of—Between Two Ferns, a comedic talk show hosted by Zach Galifianakis:
So, it seems that even though Paul Rudd is not an overtly religious Jew, he still firmly feels part of the culture and feels inherently “Jewish.”
Watch this awkward scene from This Is 40 (2012), where Paul’s character’s family have a tense argument, with someone declaring “The Jew Card” is being used: