Bernie Sanders

by follers on April 28, 2015

Birth Name: Bernard Sanders

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 8, 1941

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Bernie Sanders is an American politician. He has served as a United States Senator from Vermont, since January 3, 2007. He was an Independent from 1979 to 2015, and became a Democrat in 2015. He was previously Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, from April 6, 1981 to April 4, 1989, and a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Vermont, from January 3, 1991 to January 3, 2007.

He was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2016.

While he was not on the ballot, he received an electoral vote for President from a faithless elector in the 2016 presidential election.

Bernie is the son of Dorothy “Dora” (Glassberg) and Elias Ben Yehuda Sanders. His father was a Polish Jewish emigrant, who was born in Słopnice, and moved to the U.S. in 1921. His mother was born in New York, to Jewish emigrant parents (from Poland and Russia). Bernie had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony. Bernie’s uncle, Abraham Schnützer, was killed in the Holocaust in Poland in 1942. Abraham was Bernie’s father’s half-brother.

Bernie is married to social worker, college administrator, and political staffer Jane O’Meara Sanders. He has a son with his former partner, Susan Campbell Mott.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2017) stated that Bernie’s genetic ancestry is:

*97.7% Ashkenazi Jewish
*0.1% East Asian/Yakut

The DNA test found a close genetic relation between Bernie and comedian, actor, writer, and producer Larry David, to whom he is often compared.

Bernie’s paternal grandfather was named Leibisch “Leon” Yehuda Sander.

Bernie’s paternal grandmother was Ettel/Etla/Jetti “Ethel” Guttman (the daughter of Elias Horn and Chaia Guttman). Ettel was born in Słopnice.

Bernie’s maternal grandfather was Benjamin/Benyamin Ben Avraham Meier Glassberg (the son of Abraham Moshe/Avraham Meir Ben Eliezer Glassberg and Frejda/Frajda Mindla Mlynarz). Benjamin was born in Radzyń Podlaski, Lulbeskie, Poland. Bernie’s great-grandfather Abraham Moshe was the son of Eliezer “Louis” Glassberg/Glasberg and Sarah Feige/Fajge. Frejda was the daughter of Chaim Mlynarz and Zelda Appeloig.

Bernie’s maternal grandmother was named Breine “Bessie” Greenberg. Breine was born in Russia.

Bernie Sanders is the first person of Jewish religion to win a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination. He won 23 contests in 2016, with the New Hampshire primary being the first.

Two people of Jewish heritage have been nominated for President of the United States by a major party. Barry Goldwater, nominated by the Republican Party in 1964, was the first (Goldwater was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and was raised an Episcopalian). John Kerry, nominated by the Democratic Party in 2004, was the second (Kerry’s paternal grandparents were born Jewish, though Kerry’s father and Kerry himself were raised Catholic).

Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Democratic Party in 2000.

Other than Bernie Sanders, three people of Jewish heritage have won a major party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary:
*Barry Goldwater (1964, the year he was nominated; Republican; won 7 states; Goldwater also sought the 1960 Republican nomination)
*John Kerry (2004, the year he was nominated; Democratic; won 51 contests)
*Wesley Clark (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination; won 1 state, Oklahoma; Clark was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and is a practicing Catholic)

Of the four, only Bernie Sanders is Jewish by religion.

Other people of significant Jewish heritage who have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*Milton Shapp (who sought the 1976 Democratic nomination)
*Larry Agran (who sought the 1992 Democratic nomination)
*Arlen Specter (who sought the 1996 Republican nomination)
*Joe Lieberman (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination)
*John H. Cox (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*Fred Karger (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination)

Shapp, Agran, Specter, Lieberman, and Karger were/are all Jewish by religion. Shapp was the first person of Jewish religion to mount a prominent campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Sources: Genealogies of Bernie Sanders –

Genealogies, and obituaries, of Bernie’s parents –

Bernie’s parents on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Bernie Sanders (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Bernie’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Photo: “Bernie Sanders” by United States Congress – Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

bearboy January 24, 2017 at 8:18 pm

I really doubt if Bernie Sanders was to get DNA tested he would come up as 100% or even close to 100% European Jewish. He must have some Italian/Greek, Iberian, Irish, Scandinavian, Eastern European, Western European, British, Middle Eastern, and Finish ancestry.

follers October 3, 2017 at 10:10 pm

Well, he has now gotten a DNA test.

bearboy October 4, 2017 at 11:24 am

Is that through 23andme? Also I am shocked how much Ashkenazi DNA he has.

bearboy October 4, 2017 at 11:32 am

Like how is it that other people with 4 Jewish grandparents (Jack Kaminer’s family) and Jewish friends of mine come up as 80% and in some cases only 65%?

follers October 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm

His result is typical.

Larry David’s result was almost identical.

passingtime85 October 4, 2017 at 12:52 pm

bearboy Results like your friends received happen either because of family lore being lost, and they have limbs on the family tree that were not 100% Jewish, or because they took shoddy tests. Or in more rare cases they could be from gene pools that have not been well researched.

andrew December 26, 2016 at 3:49 pm
cwm85 July 15, 2016 at 5:04 pm

Sell out…

Adamina September 10, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Buzz off

bearboy July 14, 2016 at 11:44 am

Follers about our topic about Ashkenazi Jews having Polish (or Eastern European) non-Jewish ancestry along with Irish ancestry I found some facts. According to ancestry DNA I looked up European Jewish (which is one of their 26 regions) among the people native to the the Ashkenazi Jewish region 2% have some Irish and 2% have some Eastern European (non-Jewish) ancestry. Even though there is no reason to think Bernie Sanders is either ethnicity I don’t think we can say it’s 100% impossible.

bearboy April 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

I think Bernie Sanders should be tagged as Israeli being that he lived there.

follers April 27, 2017 at 1:34 pm

If Sanders (or anyone else from the modern era) had Israeli citizenship, I would tag them as Israeli. But I don’t think Sanders ever did.

passingtime85 April 27, 2017 at 5:00 pm

bearboy, ancestryDNA is terribly unreliable, it’s the least reliable among the three big commercial testing companies. Bernie Sanders is probably 99% Ashkenazi, with some of the DNA probably being unassignable, but that too is probably Ashkenazi, it’s just from DNA pools that haven’t been categorized yet.

bearboy April 27, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Good point @Passingtime85 but I sorta doubt that 99% of his ancestry is Jewish going back 500-1000 years back. but you’re right ancestryDNA does have flaws

passingtime85 April 28, 2017 at 7:20 am

On the 99%, I’m not sure. I have relatives that look very much like him, and that side of the family is +99% Ashkenazi, with fractions of a percent attributed to as Middle Eastern/North African, and then oddly enough East Asian, but I suspect that’s most likely just genetic “noise”. Looks are not always a strong indicator of heritage. I think this site actually sort of helps prove that.

follers April 28, 2017 at 8:15 am

I don’t think he’s talking about Sanders’ looks, I just think he’s referring to some kind of non-Jewish ancestry from 500+ years ago that all Jews have, like the Chinese ancestor he apparently found for Judge Judy 1000 or so years ago. I don’t think such ancestry even appears on most DNA tests.

bearboy April 28, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Yes, I wasn’t referring to Bernie Sanders appearance (however I find Jewish woman the most attractive). But I guess I was wrong and Ashkenazi Jews are more homogeneous in only the past 500 years than I used to think, ending of course a few generations ago when intermarriages became very common. BTW speaking of Judaism either one of you heard anything about the new Dirty Dancing movie and whether it is going to be good? Also wanted to get down to the answer of what led the NYP to write Abigail Breslin has Jewish ancestry???

passingtime85 April 28, 2017 at 10:38 pm

Haven’t heard anything review wise, but television remakes rarely outshine theatrical releases. No idea where the NY Post got that impression.

bearboy May 1, 2017 at 5:16 pm

okay and about Sanders, I have a friend who is half Jewish, half Northern European (British, Irish, German etc.) took the 23andme test and was only 44.2% Ashkenazi. so clearly his Jewish parent had some non-Jewish ancestry that they could detect.

passingtime85 May 1, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Yes, it seems almost no one is designated 100% Ashkenazi on 23andme. On 23andme you can share your DNA composition with other users. I’m linked with two users that are 99.9% Ashkenazi, their remaining tenths of percents are attributed to East Asian, and one has the designation of having .1% as unassigned. Which I find odd. Because that’s what my makeup percentages, that I received from my paternal side, reflect as well. Although it’s been said that Ashkenazi merchants would travel to East Asia and bring home brides, I personally I feel like when Ashkenazi Jews show those East Asian genes, I feel like it’s more likely genetic noise or mislabeling.

A few years back when Larry David took a DNA test for George Lopez, he showed up has having Native American heritage. A geneticist, Megan Smolenyak, said that NA DNA actually looks like Ashkenazi DNA and that’s what was the cause of confusion. Well Native American DNA signatures are basically East Asian signatures. So when I see Ashkenazis with East Asian DNA I personally just chalk it up to the DNA’s looking similar, and the individuals with those results are not actually descended from East Asian ancestors.

Long story short DNA tests haven’t been perfected yet and should not be treated as gospel. In addition to that however I don’t believe anyone from a major industrialized country really could have a 100% pure pedigree. There’s just too much immigration for that to be possible. Even in groups that are generally considered endogamous, miscegeny is bound to happen, especially over the course of centuries. Although smaller countries, with not a whole lot immigration, could very well produce people with backgrounds that are completely rooted in said countries.

neiltennant June 23, 2016 at 1:44 pm

unfortunately this guy has no chance against CLINTON and HITLER 2.0 TRUMP

cwm85 July 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

You are ignorant…

bearboy March 31, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama are two people I would be interested in seeing their DNA results if they ever were to take a test like on, “Finding Your Roots.” I always thought Sanders could have a drop of Irish in him, a lot of my Ashkenazi Jewish friends who were tested came up very mixed as well.

follers March 31, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Irish ancestry is incredibly common among Polish Jews, yes. Polish Jews also have a lot of Welsh, Mexican, and Indonesian DNA, for whatever weird reason.

bearboy March 31, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Yes very true actually, I have a friend who has four Jewish grandparents I believe three from Poland. He came up 81% European Jewish and 3% Irish.

follers March 31, 2016 at 5:56 pm

Probably 12% Indonesian as well (Pribumi).

bearboy March 31, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Bernie really should go on the George Lopez DNA show! My guess based on the history of the Ashkenazi Jews would be he would come up as 20% Sub-Saharan African, 30% Native American, (probably from the Mayan tribe), 12% East Asian (yes Indonesia), and the European side without a doubt Irish Catholics who converted to Judaism.

follers October 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm

You got half of your wish.

bearboy February 9, 2016 at 8:13 pm

I have to say Bernie you really impressed @Bearboy tonight!

bearboy September 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm Bernie Sanders if you see this video on your profile, bearboy says hi :)

cwm85 July 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm

I’ve noticed from my friend who is polish jew and Hungarian jew that polish people sorta have a round head shape, very symmetrical features and their noses are that big. My partners nose is small too. English, polish mix.

bearboy July 25, 2015 at 2:44 pm

Along with Ashkenazi Jews having a lot of Roman ancestry i read that they are on average 3% black/Sub Saharan African if you go back thousands of years where there was mixing in the Roman Empire.

follers July 25, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Yes, I know. Like I said, the “ancient” Jews were not a particularly homogeneous ethnic group, partly due to the relative frequency of conversions back then (which stopped 1000+ years ago and have now started again), and partly due to their geographic location.

bearboy July 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Not sure if you agree but I would find DNA testing a lot cooler if they had the technology to go back more than only 500 years to find out how much Roman, Viking, Celtic etc. blood everyone has. I look up random people’s DNA tests (too much free time) and a lot of Ashkenazi Jews don’t see a drop of Sub Saharan African because the mixing was before 500 years ago.

bearboy July 25, 2015 at 4:05 pm

And yea you’re right people haven’t started converting to Judaism until recent years but there have been a lot of conversions out of Judaism such as the Spanish Inquisition.

cwm85 July 23, 2015 at 4:17 pm

A friend of mind is a polish jew and Hungarian Jew. His mom is polish and dad Hungarian. He has blondish hair, blue eyes with a round head… very much resembles Bernie sanders head shape.

follers July 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm

Makes sense. Ashkenazi Jews are genetically very tight-knit. Your friend is likely to be genetically as close as a fifth cousin to Bernie Sanders.

cwm85 July 23, 2015 at 6:32 pm

Fifth? Wow my friend is also I think 45. If they are related he doesn’t now. My friend was also born in Australia. His mom fled Poland before world world two because Hilter invaded Poland. Her family fled to Australia. His dad fled Hungary doing the revolution there. Budapest. His parents met at a Jewish gather in 1962. Some trivia for you. :-)

cwm85 July 23, 2015 at 3:59 pm

I knew he had polish with his round head! Polish people tend to have those round facial structures.

bearboy July 23, 2015 at 4:02 pm

He is part Polish.

follers July 23, 2015 at 4:12 pm

What makes you think that? Polish Jews have very little to no non-Jewish Polish ancestry.

bearboy July 23, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Sorry, Meant to write part Polish Jewish. As I was shocked to figure that out you’re right. I have a Jewish friend who is of Polish Jewish ancestry got DNA tested by ancestry DNA mostly “European Jewish” and absolutely no “Europe East.” I would have thought there would of been some mixing or something over the years. Oh and is Dwight Eisenhower part Irish?

follers July 23, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Ashkenazi Jews have very little to no ancestry from the countries they recently lived in. On the rare occasion when a Polish Jew married a Polish Christian, the Polish Jew usually converted to Christianity and the children were raised Christian.

Ashkenazi Jews have Roman ancestry, though, as well as much other ancestry they’ve picked up over the centuries from various groups, both “European” and “Middle Eastern”, from 1500-3000 years ago, when conversions to Judaism were much more common than they later became.

The funny thing is that the Jews who lived 1800 years ago or so (the time NeilTennant harkens back to) were actually far less homogeneous (they were much more “mixed” with this group or that) than today’s Ashkenazi Jews/Sephardi Jews/etc. are (although of course now they’re “mixing” again). It’s pretty funny to physically compare a modern-day homogeneous group to their “ancient” non-homogeneous predecessors.

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