Life & Culture

How Jewish is Zoe Kravitz? The star actress and daughter of creative half-Jews

Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet both have their own interesting Jewish backgrounds


LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 22: Zoë Kravitz attends the Omega Aqua Terra Shades, International Launch Event at Embankment Galleries, Somerset House on March 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)


American A-List actress. The 34-year-old star of Catwoman, Fantastic Beasts and Big Little Lies she is also one of the most beautiful women in the world.


Both of Zoe’s famous grandparents are a mix of black and Jewish. Her rocker father Lenny Kravitz is the son of Jewish NBC television news producer Sy Kravitz and African American actress Roxie Roker. He was named after his uncle Leonard M Kravitz who was killed in action in the Korean War.

Although Lenny started attending church as a teenager and later became a non-denominational Christian, he also grew up proud of his Jewish heritage and would attend synagogue and family dinners on the high holy days.

‘My family went to church, we went to temple [synagogue] we celebrated both [Christmas and Chanukah] and ate cuisine from both sides,’ he wrote in his biography. ‘Life was full of colour and different traditions and it was never discussed.’

He has also described himself as ‘deeply two-sided’ explaining he is: ‘Black and white. Jewish and Christian. Manhattanite and Brooklynite.’

Zoe’s mother Lisa Bonet, who found fame as a teenager in The Cosby Show, also has a Jewish parent and an African American one. Her mother Arlene Joyce Litman was a Jewish schoolteacher while her father Allen Bonet was an African American opera singer.


Zoe was performing for her family from a young age and says she inadvertently fulfilled a Jewish stereotype: ‘I’d stage performances in my grandparents’ living room, charging them and their friends one-dollar admission. Real Jewy, huh?’

What Jewish things does she say and do?

She was brought up keenly aware of the history of being both black and Jewish saying: ‘Jews and African-Americans have had so much pain, carried so much on their shoulders, and come so far.’ She describes herself as a secular Jew and is also deeply invested in her black heritage.

‘I am mixed, my parents are mixed,’ she says. ‘The more I experience life, I am identifying more and more with being black and what that means – being more proud of that and feeling connected to my history. And now I’m so in love with my culture and so proud to be black. It’s still ongoing but a big shift has occurred.’

Meanwhile, she loves the Jewish side of herself when it comes to her humour, admitting she is ‘obsessed’ with Larry David.


Her Jewishness forms an important part of her identity.

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