Whether you know career funnyman Jack Black for his musical exploits or his onscreen shenanigans, the main traits of his character that spring to mind will likely be his exuberant personality and seemingly limitless energy. Seeing as how he doesn’t often touch on controversial or excessively personal topics, you won’t often hear him make mention of subjects such as his religion, but does he have any particular faith?
Jack Black was raised Jewish by his mother, who was born Jewish, and his father who converted, though he drifted away from the religion later in life. It is unclear if there was any particular event or cause for Black to become more atheistic.
Whilst a parent will hope to pass down their beliefs to their child, sometimes the personal experiences that one goes through in their lives, whether they are negative or positive, can slowly erode their faith. In other cases, whatever glue kept them bound to their faith may have simply gone missing from their life.
What happened in Black’s case? Was there any particular reason that he stopped associating as heavily with his Jewish roots?
A Religious Upbringing
Long before he had made his stage name Jack Black famous, two new parents in Santa Monica, California had welcomed newly born Thomas Jacob Black into the world. The lucky mother and father were Judith Cohen and Thomas Black.
Black’s mother, Judith, was a lifelong practitioner of Judaism and, likely due to her influence, her husband Thomas had also converted. Black was essentially raised with the religion as a huge part of his life, which also meant that he experienced many of the traditions commonly associated with the faith whilst growing up.
As well as a bar mitzvah, the coming of age ceremony reserved for boys, Black also received some education at a Hebrew school. Even now, decades later, the memories of his education there can still be recalled with ease, as he has been seen on a podcast belting out a Hebrew prayer with all the excitement one might expect from him.
Although the seeds were planted early, there were a few events that may have served to disturb them slightly. One prime example would be the fact that after Black’s parents divorced, his father who he moved with also became divorced from his religious beliefs.
Black still regularly visited his mother, though it’s hard to imagine that the divorce and subsequently seeing a parental figure abandon their faith may have made an impact on him.
It might be a little unfair to say that Black also abandoned his faith, as he has still stated on multiple occasions that he still considers himself technically Jewish. He has, however, made multiple statements about feeling “kind of” like an atheist.
His comment makes more sense when he expands on it, as he gives off the impression that instead of him losing any particular interest or belief in his faith, it was just that music is what has given him the most spiritual value at that time.
We can actually see the two worlds intersect, his fond memories of different aspects of his Jewish upbringing, and the love for music that he now possesses. In a display of the combination of the two, Black expresses his love for a Passover – which is a major Jewish holiday – song.
Slightly leaning towards atheism or no, there is still respect there for the religion of his childhood.
Passing On Your Beliefs
If there’s anything that could make you change your mind about your core values, it’s becoming a mother or a father. Despite any tendencies otherwise, when it came to his own children Black clearly felt that raising them with the faith of his childhood was the right decision to make.
He was so invested in the idea that he provides a similar style of schooling, at a private Hebrew school, that he even went as far as to perform the aforementioned song, “Chad Gadya,” in an effort to win over the school so that their children could get a placement there.
So, although he may not be as devout as some may prefer, there’s clearly still some part of him that values his religion. Black rarely comments on it, however, so exactly how strict he is on himself is probably only known to him and his family.