I’ve been noticing just how many prominent families are from interfaith backgrounds. Turns out a whole lot of musicians, filmmakers, actors, writers and intellectuals have found their bashert (meant to be) from a different faith. Here are 10 of our favorite families making moves in the limelight.
Kamala, who is from a Black and South Asian background, and Doug, who is Jewish, made American history as the first interfaith Vice President couple. And with Kamala being the first female VP, Doug became the first ever Second Gentleman. Did I mention that Doug’s kids, Ella and Cole, are sort of Jewish millennial icons? This family is the epitome of inspirational.
Hollywood filmmaker Steven, who is Jewish, and actress Kate have seven children between the two of them. They met on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in 1991 and have been together ever since. Kate converted to Judaism, and are on this list to represent the many families we serve who are navigating the complexity of Jewish life after conversion. Steven told the BostonParents Paper, “I will always drop everything and go meet [my kids’] needs. That’s the priority. They always need mom and dad, and I am either there with my kids or my wife is, but they’re never without us.”
Writer, director and actor Elizabeth Banks and sportswriter and producer Max Handelman are college sweethearts raising a Jewish family. Elizabeth is a great example of someone who was raised Catholic and didn’t convert, but practices Judaism and is creating a Jewish home with Max and their two kids. She says, “We work very well together. We have a good yin and yang. I’m a passionate artist and he’s an even-keeled politician. It’s a very good balance. We have a lot of mutual respect.” We just wish they’d share a photo or two of their whole family on social media! Yeah, yeah, privacy. We get it.
Before they were married and with two children, Tanya and Jack knew each other from Crossroads School. Jack was too afraid to ask Tanya out, though, and it wasn’t until 2005 that they reconnected. The musically inclined, interfaith pair (Tanya wasn’t raised in any faith and Jack is Jewish) have a hilarious cover of “Shallow.” The pair keeps their family away from the spotlight, but have two teenage boys: Samuel and Thomas. Jack spoke to Balance Media about the possibility of an early retirement, citing his family as a big reason. “I don’t like going away from Tanya and the boys. I spend too much time away from home.”
I’ve had my eye on these two recently for Leslie’s Oscar performance and the welcoming of their second baby, Able Phineas (born March 2021). Nicolette was raised in Los Angeles to a Jewish mother and a Black father. The pair were married under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) with Nicolette’s father officiating. When Able was born, Leslie captioned a beautiful photo of their first child, Lucille Ruby, holding him: “More life! One whole week with our Abe. Watching Nicolette give birth to these kids…? Simply, the bravest acts I’ve ever witnessed from a foot away. I love you, sweetheart and I am in awe. Our little family bursts at the seams with joy! And gratitude.” What a family full of love, am I right?
Judith and her partner, Wendy, are well known in the academic world for their work with universities and academia. Aka, two genius ladies. Judith grew up with a Jewish Orthodox mother and a Jewish Reform father and has left her mark on the world with radical theories. The two have a son, Isaac. Judith told The Cut: “Once, when he was younger, I said, ‘So, how is it for you having queer parents?’ He said, ‘That’s not the hard part. The hard part is having two academics.’ ” We can’t get enough of this smart and talented family.
Quincy is one of the first Black Americans to hold a top executive position at a major record label. And Peggy—who passed away in 2019 of cancer— was a Jewish actress, model and singer who starred in many shows, including Twin Peaks and had a Golden Globe under her belt for her role in The Mod Squad. If that isn’t enough, they had two successful daughters—Kidada and Rashida. Kidada works for Disney as a designer and Rashida, well, you’ve probably heard of Rashida Jones. She’s been in The Office, Parks and Recreation, several movies and is in a committed relationship with Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig. Ezra is also Jewish and the pair is raising a Jewish family.
Former Saturday Night Live comedian and actress Maya is the daughter of African American singer Minnie Riperton, who died when she was 7. She was raised by her Jewish father and identifies as Jewish. She refers to Paul as her “husband,” despite the fact that they never actually married. He is known for several films, including There Will Be Blood and The Master. In addition to their busy lives, the pair is raising three little girls and a boy in California—who apparently thinks he’s Michael Jackson. In an interview with The Guardian, Paul’s longest answer was about what he feeds Maya and the kids for breakfast, and it ranges from miso soup, pancakes, eggs, bagels and Cheerios.
When Amy and Chris first found out that they were expecting a child, Amy said, “Chris and I are thrilled and almost positive he’s the father. I look forward to competing with [Megan] Markle every step of the way.” Amy has been outspoken about her husband’s Autism diagnoses, hoping to remove the stigma and expressing that “Being tested and diagnosed has helped us communicate and support each other better.” Together, they’re raising 2-year-old Gene. We caught the cutest glimpses of their son during “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” on the Food Network, where Amy and Chris experimented with foods (including Jewish dishes like latkes) while their nanny held the camera.
Lisa, who we all know as Phoebe from Friends, was raised in a Jewish household in Los Angeles and Michael, a French American advertising executive, have been inseparable for almost three decades. Lisa told Glamour Magazine, “We’re committed to our marriage working. It turns out after you have a history, there’s such a bond, and love takes another shape.” Their son, Julian, just graduated from the School of Cinematic Arts at USC at the end of May. Lisa posted an adorable photo of them on Instagram with him in his graduation garb, captioning the post: “Happy proud HAPPY. And a little crying. By me not him. @juls_magewls.” Mazel Tov, Julian!