1. Here is Adam’s first Chanukah Song, from 1996.
NOTE: This is an alternate version where, instead of “The Late Dinah Shore-ah,” he mentions “The Weasel Pauly Shore-ah.”
2. And here is the second, from 1999.
3. And here is Part 3, from 2002.
NOTE: In some edits of this song, the bit about Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Connelly is replaced by a bit about Sean Penn and Marlon Brando. This video includes the (far funnier) Gwyneth Paltrow bit.
4. David Lee Roth (b. 1954)
aka “Diamond Dave” was the lead singer of hard rock band Van Halen from 1974-1985, then had a successful (albeit somewhat weird) solo career, then re-joined the band in 2006. He was born in Bloomington, Indiana to an eye surgeon, and was raised in the Jewish faith.
5. James Caan (b. 1940)
Known for his long and varied movie and TV career, notably as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and, most recently, Terry “The Cannon” Gannon on ABC’s Back in the Game. He was born in the Bronx to Jewish immigrant parents.
6. Kirk Douglas (b. 1916)
Legendary film actor and father of Michael Douglas, Kirk was born Issur Danielovitch in New York to Jewish immigrants from what is now Belarus. They were dirt poor; Michael’s father eked out a living collecting rags and other scrap. Kirk wrote a book about it, entitled The Ragman’s Son.
7. Dinah Shore (1916-1994)
Frances Rose Shore was an actress, singer, and TV personality whose career lasted several decades. She was born to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Winchester, Tennessee. Being Jewish in rural Tennessee in those days was likely difficult, to say the least.
8. Bowser From Sha Na Na, aka Jon Bauman (b.1947)
Jon Bauman was the deep-voiced, lovable lug who fronted Sha Na Na under the pseudonym “Bowser.” If you’re not familiar with Sha Na Na, they were a group that both celebrated, and made fun of, the ’50s sound and culture. They even performed at Woodstock! Jon was born in Queens Village, New York.
9. Arthur Fonzarelli, aka Henry Winkler (b. 1945)
Henry Winkler, known mainly for his role as “The Fonz,” was born to German Jewish immigrant parents in Manhattan. NOTE: The character, Arthur Fonzarelli, isn’t actually Jewish. In Happy Days episode #88, Fonzie is baptized Catholic.
10. Paul Newman (1925-2008)
Legendary film actor, race car driver, and salad dressing entrepeneur Paul Newman was born to a Jewish father and a nominally Catholic mother in the suburbs of Cleveland. Having a Jewish father makes Paul half-Jewish, although whether or not he practices Judaism (or any religion at all) is unclear.
11. Goldie Hawn (b. 1945)
Everyone’s favorite girl-next-door actress, better half of Kurt Russell, and mother of Oliver and Kate Hudson. Adam’s song describes Goldie as “Half-Jewish.” Actually, her mother is Jewish; traditionally, having a Jewish mother makes one Jewish. So that makes her full-Jew, whether she practices Judaism or not (she doesn’t).
12. Captain Kirk, aka William Shatner (b. 1931)
William Shatner is known mostly for being a parody of William Shatner. There’s also that whole Star Trek thing, and the Priceline commercials, and probably a bunch of stuff in between. The Shat, as I like to call him, was born in Montreal, the grandson of Jewish immigrant parents, and raised Jewish.
13. Mister Spock, aka Leonard Nimoy (b. 1931)
Leonard Nimoy was a poet and bit actor who rose to fame thanks to Star Trek. He was born in Boston to Jewish immigrant parents from what is now The Ukraine.
14. The Owner of the Seattle Supersonics, aka Barry Ackerley (1934-2011)
Barry Ackerley was a business owner and philanthropist who was well-loved by all who knew him. We’re just going to have to take Adam’s word that he’s Jewish; after diligently searching for more information about him on the web, I can’t find confirmation of his Jewish-ness.
15. Rod Carew (b. 1945)
Hall of Famer Rod Carew did not actually convert to Judaism, as Adam alleges (“He converted.”). He did, however, marry a Jewish woman and raise their kids Jewish. He was born in what was then known as the Panama Canal Zone; now it’s just Panama.
16. Ann Landers, aka Eppie Lederer (1918-2002)
The syndicated advice columnist known as Ann Landers was born Esther Pauline Friedman to Russian Jewish immigrants in Sioux City, Iowa. She went by the nickname “Eppie,” and worked under her married name, “Lederer.”
17. Dear Abby, aka Pauline Phillips (1918-2013)
Pauline Esther Friedman was the twin sister of Eppie Lederer, who worked by the pen name “Ann Landers.” For decades, the two women ran competing advice columns. Their relationship was contentious, to put it mildly, although rumor has it they reconciled shortly before Eppie’s death.
18. Harrison Ford (b. 1942)
Mr. Callista Flockhart was born in Chicago to an Irish father and a Jewish mother. Since tradition holds that having a Jewish mother makes you Jewish, this makes Ford a full-time Jew, not a quarter Jewish, as Adam alleges. Either way; not too shabby (see what I did there?).
19. All Three Stooges: Moe Howard, aka Moses Harry Horowitz (1897-1975); Curly Howard, aka Jerome Lester Horowitz (1903-1952); and Larry Fine, aka Louis Feinberg (1902-1975)
The “classic” Three Stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly) were all Jewish; brothers Moses and Jerome Horowitz were born in Brooklyn to parents of Lithuanian Jewish descent; Louis Feinberg was born in Philadelphia to Jewish parents. HOWEVER, there were some other Stooges over the years, as illness took its toll on the lineup. Shemp Howard, aka Samuel Horowitz, appeared in a few Stooges shorts and was the brother of Moe and Curly, so: Jewish. Temporary replacement Joe Besser (1907-1988) was also Jewish. Curly Joe, aka Joe DeRita (1909-1993) was not Jewish; he was most likely Catholic, if he acknowledged any religion at all.
20. Tom Cruise’s Agent
Tom Cruise is currently represented by Kevin Huvane and Rick Nicita of Creative Artists Agency. No word on whether or not either of these men are Jewish (those names don’t appear to be stereotypically Jewish-sounding names) or whether they represented Tom in 1996, when the first Chanukah Song was written.
21. Winona Ryder, aka Winona Laura Horowitz (b. 1971)
Winona Ryder was born in rural Minnesota to an atheist dad and a Buddhist mom, although her father is of Jewish ancestry. Winona practices Buddhism; she most likely does NOT drink Manischewitz Wine.
22. Ralph Lauren, aka Ralph Lipshitz (b. 1939)
It simply wouldn’t do for a fashion line to have the word “shit” in its name, so Ralphie Lipshitz changed his name to Ralph Lauren, and the rest is history. Ralph was born in New York to Jewish parents of Polish/Belarusian descent.
23. Calvin Klein (b. 1942)
Calvin was born in the same Jewish immigrant neighborhood in The Bronx that Ralph Lauren hails from; his parents were of Hungarian Jewish ancestry. Whether or not Calvin still practices Judaism (and thus, spins the Dreidel with Ralph Lauren) is unclear.
24. The Girls From Veruca Salt, aka Nina Gordon (b. 1967) and Louise Post (b. 1966)
Veruca Salt is the name of a Chicago alternative rock band that takes its name from a character in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The girls from Veruca Salt are Nina Gordon and Louise Post. There are also two boys in the band; no word on whether or not either of them are Jewish (they probably aren’t).
25. All Three Beastie Boys: Mike D, aka Michael Diamond (b. 1965); MCA, aka Adam Yauch (1964-2012); Ad-Rock, aka Adam Horovitz (b. 1966)
Mike D is the most Jewish of the three; both his mother and father were Jewish. Ad-Rock has the most Jewish name of the three, but only a dad for a Jew; mom was Catholic. MCA (may he Rest In Peace) was brought up non-religious and had a Catholic dad and a Jewish mom (making him traditionally full Jewish, but let’s not quibble). All three were born in New York.
26. Lenny Kravitz (b. 1964)
Adam says that Lenny Kravitz is half-Jewish (and, together with half-Jewish Courtney Love, would make a funky, bad-ass Jew). Lenny’s mother was black and Christian; his father was white and of Russian Jewish descent. Lenny did not grow up particularly religious until he was 13, when he became a Christian.
27. Courtney Love, aka Courtney Harrison (b. 1964)
Courtney Love is many things: frontwoman to punk band Hole; widow of Kurt Cobain; mother of Frances Bean. One thing she is not, however, is Jewish. She was not raised in any particular religion, and neither of her parents have significant Jewish ancestry. Adam got this one wrong.
28. Harvey Keitel (b. 1939)
Known mostly for playing tough guys (and you can see why) in films such as Reservoir Dogs, Taxi Driver, and Little Nicky, Keitel was born in New York to Jewish immigrants of Romanian and Polish ancestry.
29. Jennifer Beals (b. 1963)
Flash Dancer Jennifer Beals is, in fact, NOT Jewish; Adam got this one wrong. She was born on the south side of Chicago to a black dad and an Irish mom. She currently practices Buddhism.
30. Yasmine Bleeth (b. 1968)
Yasmine Bleeth from Baywatch was born in New York to parents of Lebanese and Algerian descent. Although many different sources on the web claim she’s Jewish, I couldn’t find any independent confirmation (like, say, an interview where she confirms she’s Jewish). And yes, her boobs are real.
31. Dustin Hoffman (b. 1937)
Two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman(-icah) couldn’t be more Jewish if he tried: look at that schnozz, for Pete’s sake. He was born in Los Angeles to Jewish parents of Romanian descent, although they were not particularly observant.
32. The Guy Who Does the Voice for Scooby Doo, aka Don Messick (1926-1997)
You’ve probably heard legendary voice actor Don Messick without even realizing it; he provided dozens of voices for Hanna-Barbera cartoons over the years. He was not, however, Jewish.
33. Bob Dylan, aka Robert Zimmerman (b. 1941)
Bob Dylan was born a Jew (to parents of Russian Jewish descent in Duluth, Minnesota, and raised in the tight-knit Jewish community in Hibbing, Minnesota), then he wasn’t (he was into born-again Christianity for a while in the early ’80s), but now he’s back (by the late ’90s he had distanced himself from Christianity and gone back to Judaism).
34. Mary Tyler Moore’s Husband, aka Robert Levine (b. 1954)
Apparently he’s a doctor (cardiologist), and apparently he is, in fact, Jewish. He’s also quite a bit younger than MTM. No word on whether or not he’s any good in the sack.
35. Mr. Happy Gilmore, aka Adam Sandler (b 1966)
Funny that Adam waits until the last Jew mentioned in the second song before he gets to himself, but there it is. He was born in New York to Russian Jewish immigrants (one of his albums is called Stan and Judy’s Kid), and has drawn on his Jewish faith consistently for his comedy routines, songs, and movies.
36. Ross from Friends, aka David Schwimmer (b. 1966)
David Schwimmer was born in New York (but grew up in Los Angeles); his parents are Jewish. Oddly enough, his character, Ross (on Friends) claimed to be half-Jewish; he appeared as the Holiday Armadillo to teach his son Ben about Chanukah in Season 7.
37. Phoebe from Friends, aka Lisa Kudrow (b. 1963)
Lisa Kudrow is Jewish- she was born in Los Angeles to Jewish parents of Belarusian descent; her character, Phoebe, is not. Like David Lee Roth, Lisa’s has a doctor for a dad: headache specialist Dr. Lee Kudrow.
38. Lenny’s Pal Squiggy, aka David Lander (b. 1947)
David Lander (born David Landau in New York, to Jewish parents) and his acting/comedy partner Michael McKean created the characters Lenny & Squiggy, and even appeared on stage as Lenny & Squiggy, before being cast on Laverne & Shirley. Since L&S, David has done comedy, voice acting and charity work.
39. Debra Messing (b. 1968)
Will & Grace’s Debra Messing is all kinds of Jewish; her character, Grace Adler, was made Jewish on Debra’s insistence. Debra was born in New York to Jewish parents of Russian and Polish descent.
40. Melissa Gilbert (b. 1964)
Melissa Gilbert was born in Los Angeles to unwed parents and put up for adoption, and was adopted by Ed McMahon (no kidding: her father was born Edward McMahon but changed his name to Paul Gilbert to avoid confusion with the other Ed McMahon) and his Jewish wife, Barbara Crane. Melissa never underwent any sort of conversion ceremony, and it’s unclear exactly how devoutly Jewish she was/is.
41. Michael Landon, aka Eugene Michael Orowitz (1936-1991)
Michael Orowitz was born in New York to a Jewish dad and an abusive, Irish-Catholic mom. Unlike his screen daughter Melissa Gilbert, Michael was raised to be devoutly Jewish and was Bar Mitzva’d. Maybe they really should have called that show Little Kosher House on the Prairie.
42. Jerry Lewis, aka Joseph (or possibly Jerome) Levitch (b. 1926)
The years have not been kind to the legendary actor, comedian, philanthropist, and father of tens of thousands of “Jerry’s Kids.” Drug addiction, injuries and illness are taking their toll. Jerry was born in Newark, New Jersey to Jewish parents of Russian descent.
43. Ben Stiller (b. 1965)
The well-known actor and comedian was born to another well-known actor and comedian, Jerry Stiller, who is Jewish and of Eastern European descent, and his performing partner Anne Meara, who is of Irish-Catholic descent but converted to Judaism. His family celebrated both Chanukah and Christmas; Ben claims to be half-Jewish, but he was Bar Mitzva’d, which makes him full-Jew.
44. Jack Black (b. 1969)
Jack Black was born in Santa Monica to Jewish parents, was brought up Jewish, and was Bar Mitzva’s. Though he describes himself as an atheist, his family attends synagogue and he and his wife are raising their kids in the Jewish faith.
45. Tom Arnold (b. 1959)
Actor, comedian, writer, sports commentator, and restaurant owner Tom Arnold was born in Ottumwa, Iowa. He was raised culturally Christian but converted to Judaism when he married Roseanne Barr (a Jew). Although Adam says “You guys can have him back,” Tom still practices Judaism, even though he’s long since divorced from Roseanne.
46. Deuce Bigalow, aka Rob Schneider (b. 1963)
A talented comic actor with a long string of B-movie credits, Rob Schneider was born in San Francisco to a Jewish dad and a Catholic mom of Filipino descent, making him a Filipino Jew. Rob tried, and failed, to mine his Filipino Jewish-ness for comedy gold in the execrable CBS sitcom Rob, which [mercifully] only lasted for a few episodes.
47. The Guy in Willie Nelson’s Band Who Plays Harmonica, aka Mickey Raphael (b. 1951)
Mickey Raphael was born in Texas and eventually wound up in the local folk music scene, before hitting it big in Willie Nelson’s band. Not much is known about Mickey’s Jewish-ness, although in an interview he said [paraphrased and tongue-in-cheek] that playing the harmonica in Willie’s band, controlling the media, and manipulating the world economy could get tiring.
48. Sarah Hughes (b. 1985)
Sarah Hughes is a gold-medal-winning figure skater who, for a time, was America’s Sweetheart after winning the gold at age 17 in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Sarah was born in Great Neck, New York, to an Irish-Canadian dad and a Jewish mom (“her mama’s Jewish”). Having a Jewish mom technically makes Sarah full-Jew, but Sarah has said that Christmas is her favorite holiday, and that her family doesn’t practice any religion.
49. Harry Houdini, aka Erik Weisz (1874-1926)
Born the son of a Rabbi in Hungary (so, yeah: Jewish), Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss, began performing under the stage name Harry Houdini, largely in honor of French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin. He died of appendicitis at age 52.
50. David Blaine, aka David Blaine White (b. 1973)
David Blaine straddles the fine line between genius entertainer and pompous douche. He also straddles the fine line between Jewish and not Jewish; his dad was Puerto Rican/Italian, his mom was of Jewish descent. Having a Jewish mom would make him technically Jewish, but it’s unclear whether or not his family practiced Judaism. So that means that it’s quite possible that he did get out of his painful circumcision.
51. Gwyneth Paltrow (b. 1972)
Full-time Oscar winner (Best Actress, 1998, for Shakespeare in Love) Gwyneth Paltrow was born in Los Angeles. Her dad (Jewish) was producer Bruce Paltrow, and her mom (Christian) is actress Blythe Danner. She was raised celebrating both Christmas and Chanukah. She is raising her kids Jewish.
52. Jennifer Connelly (b. 1970)
Jennifer’s dad is Catholic and her mom is Jewish, so technically that makes her full-Jew. However, she went to Catholic school, so maybe we’ll go with half-Jewish. Since this article is tagged SFW, we won’t mention how Adam plans to remedy that.
53. Lou Reed (1942-2013)
The music world lost a legend earlier this year when guitarist, singer and songwriter Lou Reed died at age 61 from liver disease. He was born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents, and raised Jewish, though as an adult he didn’t practice any religion.
54. Perry Farrell, aka Peretz Bernstein (b. 1959)
The lead singer of Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros, and a couple of other, not-as-successful groups, and father of Lollapalooza, was born in New York. Perry has given interviews in which his describes his fondness for the Jewish faith and scriptures.
55. Beck, aka Beck Hansen, aka Bek David Campbell (b. 1970)
Adam is really reaching with this one: Beck, who was born to hippie/artist/musician parents in L.A., had a maternal great-grandmother who was Jewish. Beck practices Scientology.
56. Paula Abdul (b. 1962)
Unlike her predecessor in this song, Beck (who is only barely Jewish), there is no ambiguity about Paula’s Jewish-ness. Both parents were Jewish; she was born in San Fernando, CA, to a Syrian-Jewish dad and a mom of Russian/Ukrainian Jewish descent. Paula still practices Judaism, and was Bat Mitzva’d (at age 51) in Israel.
57. Joey Ramone, aka Jeffrey Ross Hyman (1951-2001)
Whether or not Joey Ramone invented punk rock music is a matter of debate; he certainly helped develop it. And he definitely went to Hebrew School; he was raised in Forest Hills, Queens, a predominately Jewish neighborhood in New York. A Star of David appears on his gravestone.
58. Natalie Portman, aka Natalie Herschlag (b. 1981)
After Harry Houdini (whose father was a Rabbi), Natalie Portman-icah is the most Jewish person on this list. She was born in Israel, attended Jewish schools in New York, and even speaks Hebrew. She’s stated that, if she ever has kids, it’s important for her to raise them Jewish.