Is Joe Goldberg Jewish? What is the background of Netflix's You anti-hero

Goldberg is a common Jewish surname, but is Joe Goldberg one of the tribe?


Joe Goldberg, the stalker protagonist of Netflix's smash hit You is many things. He's a bibliophile, he's a mass murderer, he's a man that seemingly has endless resources for his twisted plots. But, is he Jewish?

Many online have speculated as to whether the Antihero played by Penn Badgley has a Jewish background. The name Goldberg, commonly taken by Jews in Europe as an ornamental name in the 17th and 18th centuries is one of the most well-known Jewish names, even among gentiles.

For Joe Goldberg however, it may not be that straightforward. According to an interview with the 'culturally Jewish' writer behind the TV show, Goldberg wasn't chosen to be an identifiably Jewish name and indeed, his background is not mentioned in any of the show's seasons.

Sera Gamble told the JC: “In the book he’s half Jewish on his father’s side,” says Gamble. “Caroline said first in her mind was to give him a name that was really hard to Google. Because it’s so common, it feeds into the ways that he hides in plain sight and can move through the world online and in real life with ease.”

Gamble, the daughter of parents who fled Soviet Poland after the antisemitic purges of the late 60s and early 70s, Gamble grew up in Cincinnati and then California, attending Jewish day school.

Similarly to Gamble, Caroline Kepnes, who wrote the book that inspired the show, is also half-Jewish on the patrilineal side, the same as Badgley's character Goldberg.

Despite Goldberg's identity never being addressed in the show, many fans of Badgley's character are coming to the conclusion that he is. Several Twitter users have claimed him as a member of the tribe with some even asking whether he would say Kaddish for his murder victims.

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