Fans of actor, comedian, and musician Jack Black might be wondering if they share an ethnicity with the multi-talented star. Although it isn’t a topic that Black ever particularly feels the need to mention, he has given the odd clue here and there with regards to his mother’s side of his ethnicity.
Jack Black is part German, Northern Irish, Scottish, English, and Ashkenazi Jewish. The European mix comes from his father’s side, and his Jewish heritage comes from his mother, the famous aerospace engineer, and author.
Genealogy is a fascinating topic not just for those who wish to uncover the origins of their family and discover their roots, but even for those who find the heritage of their favorite stars and celebrities fascinating. Having a look at Black’s family tree, how far down can we drill into the specifics of his ancestry?
The Family Name
On the paternal side of things, Black’s father Thomas Black has a mixture of all the aforementioned European ethnicities. Sources for his father’s side are far more fleshed out than that of his mother, with both grandfather and grandmother having some solid multi-generation information available.
If you follow the family tree on Black’s grandfather’s side, you will discover his lineage beginning somewhere in Ireland. That ancestor who called Ireland his home was Charles Black, living in Sligo County with his Scottish wife Margaret Roberts.
His paternal grandmother Gladys Zachman is where the German gets mixed in. Though she was born in America, she was the daughter of Johann, a German who lived in Romania, with the family line going even further back to Ukraine.
Even though they divorced, both Black’s relationship with his parents and theirs with each other have remained on good terms. Black was staying with his father after the divorce but still saw his mother very frequently.
The Cohen Connection
Prominent and prolific author and engineer Judith Love Cohen is Black’s mother and is also where he gets both his Jewish heritage and, even though it isn’t something that dominates his life, his religious beliefs.
The New York native’s parents were both Russian Jewish immigrants, Morris Cohen, and Sarah Roisman. There’s no other information about the rest of her family tree, perhaps due to their status as immigrants, but it’s clear that this is where Cohen inherited her strong connection to her Jewish ethnicity from.
Although Black is more likely to call himself an atheist now, his mother’s upbringing was what led to him being raised around the Jewish culture, even attending a Hebrew school for a period of time during his childhood. Black’s father even converted to her faith, solidifying Judaism as Black’s faith.
A lot of the way we are raised is impacted and affected by the heritage of our parents. They draw traditions and cultures from their parents, passing on a sense of identity to their children and grandchildren.
Although it is of the utmost importance to some, Black has rarely ever publically made any comments about his ancestry or displayed any obvious interest in it. Even the attending of the Hebrew school that he was enrolled in doesn’t seem to have made a significant cultural impact on Black, as he now considers himself an atheist.
Even though his upbringing for the first ten or so years of his life was around his mother’s culture, that soon diminished after the divorce proceeded and Black lived with his father.
Especially in regards to the Jewish side of his heritage, it’s unclear if Black even sees his identity in such simple terms, which makes sense considering the singular and unique personality that he brings to all of his projects.
Regardless of the ethnicities that he inherited from his parents, the one that’s clear about his upbringing is that Black not only inherited an incredible sense of humor but also the vast intellect that his two satellite engineer parents possessed.
One thing that he has been doing to honor his mother’s heritage is by passing on the faith of his mother’s ancestors to his children, despite having some atheistic leanings. His intention for them is to have them attend a Hebrew school, just as he did when he was a child.