Lea Michele

by ethnic on May 12, 2010

Birth Name: Lea Michele Sarfati

Place of Birth: The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 29, 1986

*Sephardi Jewish (father)
*Italian (mother)

Lea Michele is an American actress, singer, songwriter, and author. She is known for playing Rachel Berry on the show Glee.

Lea is the daughter of Edith Thomasina (Porcelli) and Mark David Sarfati. Lea’s father is a Sephardi Jew, from a family that moved to the U.S. from Turkey and Greece (and had originally left Spain, likely in the 1400s). Lea’s mother is of Italian descent, and is Catholic. Lea stated on Inside the Actors Studio (2012) that she was raised in her mother’s Catholic faith, and that her Jewish father “gladly” attended church with them.

Lea’s paternal grandfather was Albert Sarfati (the son of Yomtov Sarfati and Sol/Celia). Albert was born in New York, to Sephardi Jewish immigrants from Turkey.

Lea’s paternal grandmother was Celia Sylvia Veissy (the daughter of Moise “Morris” Joseph Veissy and Benuta “Bessie” Kouenkas/Cohenka). Celia was born in New York, to Jewish parents from Thessaloniki, Greece. Moise was the son of Joseph Veissy and Dona. Benuta was the daughter of Isaac Shemtov Couenca/Cohenka and Meriam Arania.

Lea’s maternal grandparents had the surnames Porcelli and Mariano. Their families were from Rome and Naples, respectively.

Sources: JVibe interview about Lea’s heritage – http://archive.is

Information about Lea’s appearance on Who Do You Think You Are? (2016) – http://ancestraldiscoveries.blogspot.ca

Genealogy of Lea Michele – https://www.geni.com

Lea’s paternal grandfather, Albert Sarfati, on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org


{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

neiltennant March 26, 2017 at 5:56 am

how many nights i have dreamt of LEA MICHELE ?

JOHN MAYER also had interest in her but she had no interest

Ardor February 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Jewish/Semitic eye shape.

Italian mouth.


cdonorab May 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Correction. Her father’s family was actually from Greece. On Who do you think you are she found out her great grandparents were from thessaloniki.

neiltennant August 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm

she is stunning. I do like her so much

and her nose which is seen by many as a problem is not a problem.

If i make her nose smaller i do have FRAN DRESCHER

neiltennant August 11, 2015 at 3:08 pm
andrew August 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm

her mother’s maiden name is “Edith Porcelli”.

andrew August 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm

In her Italian profile on Wikipedia there’s written her maternal grandparents’s surnames were “Porcelli” (from Rome) and “Mariano” (from Naples).

cwm85 July 29, 2015 at 6:53 am

She omitted her last name to sound more “american” it seems like it. Albeit fully European American.

cwm85 July 29, 2015 at 6:52 am

So her dad ks from Turkey but her ancestors are originally from Spain. Wouldn’t that make her Spanish and Italian?

margot August 19, 2015 at 4:42 am

No, because nowadays Turkish Jews are not 100% of Spanish Jewish background. Her dad’s family lived in Turkey for a long time..(i guess they came to Turkey from Spain in 1492 like most Spanish Jews).. Turkey already had a Jewish population (Turkish Jews).. Turkey also welcomed Jews from all around the world..
I guess they mixed with them…No way her dad is 100% Spanish Jew.

cwm85 August 19, 2015 at 8:19 am

But you don’t really no…

lelo4 January 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm

No, because like Ashkenazim, Sephardi Jews have little to no blood from the local population of their host countries.

Gurrl July 29, 2015 at 6:37 am

I was thinking maybe she got her nose from her Italian mother, because many Italians can also have such noses.
Her mom has a bit of a shorter nose but it looks like she got her nose from both parents.

neiltennant July 29, 2015 at 3:59 am

i think she is good looking

and if i google her name there are many things like




neiltennant July 29, 2015 at 3:45 am

can anybody tell me why she claims that first she was refused by hollywood producers ?

I mean she is really hot and good looking

even john mayer likes her and most of my male friends say she is hot

ashash November 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Why does she describe her father as a “Spanish Jew” when he’s from Turkey?

shobohunter November 26, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Turkish is a nationality and I am pretty damn sure her father was not ethnically Turkish.. he was just living there.

margot June 30, 2015 at 9:33 am

Her dad’s family probably came to Turkey from Spain in 1492 like most Spanish Jews who are located in Turkey…Turkey already had Jews before the Spanish Inquisition, so maybe her dad’s family (Spanish Jews) mixed with Turkish Jews?

Tom Lloyd July 29, 2015 at 12:06 am

She doens’t refer to him as a Spanish Jew but as a Sephardi Jew

chatelet7 June 8, 2014 at 9:58 am

Lea’s paternal great grandfather’s name was Yomtov, not Yontov. Yontov is not a name. Yomtov is Hebrew for “Good Day”, it basically means holiday. Many people of Jewish origin have the name Yomtov. There’s proof here:

Her paternal great grandparents are listed as passengers of this ship. It says, Mr. Yomtov Sarfati, from the Bronx, NY. Her great grandmother, Mrs. Celia Sarfati, is listed underneath. The names on the census are written in a messy script. Yomtov was probably read as Yontov by several websites. The census is known for making little errors with people’s names.

follers June 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

Thank you. If you know anything else about Lea’s genealogy, please feel free to share.

Nikki May 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm

She is spanish, turkish and italian

aroxysimon June 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm
tinasheeeee August 22, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Stfu. She’s Turkish Jewish & Italian. She has no Spanish in her.

Tom Lloyd July 29, 2015 at 12:07 am

She doesn’t claim to be Jewish, she says her father’s family are Sephardi Jews

alberto.r7 September 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

She isn´t ethnically Spanish, she is sephardi.

neiltennant January 30, 2014 at 2:12 am

the name SARFATI is not italian nor turkish

it sounds very persian
i know a few people with the new sawari, sarfathi and sawadi

which sounds similar

neiltennant January 30, 2014 at 2:09 am

she reminds me of a brunette +young Barbra streisand

but she looks also like the younger ELLIE KAZAAN
who is also of sephardic jewish background

follers January 30, 2014 at 4:53 am

Elia Kazan was of non-Jewish, Greek, background.

neiltennant February 2, 2014 at 3:25 am

first of all. she is still alive and she has sephardic roots as well ashkanazi roots

follers February 2, 2014 at 3:43 am

You mean Lainie Kazan, not Elia Kazan.

JasonBaker December 1, 2013 at 1:28 pm

She doesn´t look White. Actually, when I saw her on the early Glee trailers, I thought she was East Indian. I´m confused about her ethnicity, I can recall last time I check this website it was stated that she was half-Jewish Spanish, now she´s half-Jewish Turkish?

follers December 1, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Jews who didn’t convert to Catholicism were expelled from Spain in 1492, and Jews didn’t live openly in Spain again until fairly recently. She is likely descended from Jews who left Spain around 1492 (as she says), but they most recently lived in Turkey.

JasonBaker December 2, 2013 at 8:21 am

Thank you very much!

aaa December 28, 2013 at 10:07 pm

I also thought she was part Indian

pookerella April 16, 2013 at 7:48 am

Gladly? Sorry, but that’s f’d up, even to say that.

nnnnn April 17, 2013 at 12:17 am

Why not? If he married a catholic woman

eMI February 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm


pookerella April 16, 2013 at 7:49 am

WTF does that mean? Sounds racist to me.

me January 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

She is not among the patterns of beauty, but I think she’s beautiful. The her olive skin and her nose is different and beautiful.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 7:39 pm


But I seriously hate Glee.

Like, I cannot stand it.


me March 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm
I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm

The first season was good, but after that, it went downhill. Just became ridiculous and contrived.

me March 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I agree.I’ve noticed that you like Buffy.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Haha. I do! The seventh season and parts of the sixth season are horrible, but for the most part, I love it.

me March 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm

So, you must like these current series, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, right?

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Ew. No.

me March 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I know that. I was just kidding.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm

What’s your favorite television series right now?

me March 8, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I watch many , House M.D. is one of them. And your ?

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm

I like House M.D. as well. I also like Breaking Bad. I heard Game of Thrones is good. I might try to watch it one day.

me March 8, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I heard that The Walking Dead is good,but I got tired of watching zombie movies, all look the same today.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm

SVU us my guilty pleasure. :D

me March 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

I like

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I haven’t been going to the movies lately. Everything out has sucked. It’s like the industry has lost its passion. :(

me March 8, 2012 at 9:18 pm

seems that you like more of the classics ,like me, right?

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Yes, ma’am.

neiltennant July 29, 2015 at 3:57 am

are you a guy or a girl

i actually think that most men would say that she is attractive

Naomi December 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I thought she was lebanese and itallian

Quinn December 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

I saw people saying that she seems Gypsy, this is serious? Gypsies (from India) have very thin nose and large eyes, Lea Michele dont has these features!Penelope Cruz is an example of someone who has characteristics(light).

Maria December 26, 2011 at 11:36 am

I taught she was just Italian.I saw her before on E news going on that she was Italian and loves cooking Italian food she did not mention any other country.Maybe she just recognizes with her Italian side?

Tom Lloyd May 7, 2016 at 1:58 am

Her mother’s side is 100% Italian and she spent most of her time with that side of the family.

revolutionary bio November 15, 2011 at 7:26 pm

she looks gypsy

me December 19, 2011 at 9:35 am

i agree

me November 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm

She looks like a Latino for me

Maria October 2, 2011 at 11:00 pm

In the early days of Glee, some websites said she was Persian Jewish, her last name definitely sounds Middle Eastern.

glook June 30, 2011 at 9:12 am

She looks sooooooooooooo arabic, very kuwaiti

Samantha April 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Lea Michele is awesome.. I have almost the same heritage like her the Spanish part the other is Mestizo

Melanie Lombardi January 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I’ve always wondered why when an interviewer would ask her about her ethnicity she’d just say she’s Italian. :|

cher February 6, 2011 at 6:04 pm

in what interview did lea say italian ? just wondering

Melanie Lombardi February 6, 2011 at 6:49 pm

It was awhile ago on tv, I think she was on Extra with Mario Lopez. I can’t really recall it, but I do remember what she said.

anonymous January 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Love her :) she’s gorgeous!

Kurt January 26, 2011 at 5:36 pm

like Italian and like Jewish.

fuzzybear October 28, 2010 at 11:08 am

Glee sucks!

giovana June 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm

lea michele is awesome…………..im a total gleek

newone May 14, 2010 at 9:48 am

She was raised in a Catholic religion.

Angel Syrene January 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm

Shut up my friend

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