Paula Abdul

by ethnic on December 28, 2007

Birth Name: Paula Julie Abdul

Place of Birth: San Fernando, Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: June 19, 1962

*Syrian Jewish (father)
*Ukrainian Jewish, Russian Jewish (mother)

Paula Abdul is an American dancer, choreographer, singer, songwriter, actress, and television personality. She is known for being a judge on the show American Idol.

Paula’s father, Harry Abdul, was a Syrian Jew from Aleppo who immigrated to Brazil, and then to the U.S. Paula’s mother, Lorraine (Rykiss), is Ashkenazi Jewish, and is originally from Saint Boniface, Winnipeg, Canada. All four of Paula’s maternal great-grandparents were born in Eastern Europe (Russia and Ukraine).

Some have associated her with the black community, because of her style of music.

Paula’s maternal grandfather was William Alexander Rykiss (the son of Avram/Avraham Rykiss and Bessie “Passy” Peshe Malamed). William was born in Katerburg, Ukraine. Bessie was the daughter of Moishe Malamed and Dvora/Dovrah Berg.

Paula’s maternal grandmother was Sally/Sarah Naomi Riceberg (the daughter of Moishe “Maurice” Leib Riceberg and Mariam Goldbreski/Golubitsky). Sally was born in Manitoba, Canada, to parents who were born in Russia and Ovruch, Ukraine.

Sources: Genealogy of Paula Abdul –

Genealogy of Paula Abdul (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Paula talks about being Jewish –

joe seer/

{ 116 comments… read them below or add one }

bakchoyhurl February 5, 2016 at 8:32 pm

I remember when she got pissed off as bikini girl on american idol.

xoxo November 26, 2015 at 2:42 am

She looks related to Michael Jackson and the rest of the Jacksons. She does look part black.

neiltennant September 28, 2017 at 11:25 am

shame on you

why the hell you are this gruesome?

she was superhot when she was in her 20s and 30s
she never looked like MJ

even with her original big nose she looked cute

lelo4 October 15, 2015 at 6:11 pm

VERY Jewish looking, she looks like your average Israeli, who is half Sephardi half Ashkenazi

lelo4 October 15, 2015 at 6:12 pm

like her

neiltennant May 11, 2016 at 11:14 am
Capricious October 11, 2015 at 6:47 am

She looks 100% Syrian

sparkles180 August 20, 2015 at 1:49 am

She’s annoying now.

neiltennant July 21, 2015 at 12:30 pm

she was cute and she is still good looking

i remember 1991 when nearly all men loved her

Gurrl July 21, 2015 at 12:27 am

It’s interesting how she’s half sephardi/half ashkenazi but could pass as a middle eastern Jew (usually half sephardi Jews like Nora Arnezeder and Eva Green for example look not much diff than ashkenazi)

neiltennant June 5, 2017 at 10:59 am

Absolutely right

but thats GENETICS

there is not a formula for 2 people making a baby and a final accurate result how it could look like

And please don’t forget that her mother is Russian and Ukrainian Jewish
she could have been pale but with brown eyes etc.

plus NORA has an Egyptian Jewish mother. It can be that her parents and ancestors had pale skin and blue eyes

andrew June 5, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Nora’s mother, Piera Schinasi, is Italian Jewish.

neiltennant November 29, 2017 at 3:19 pm

the same

she is very dark(her mother)

California July 19, 2015 at 12:19 pm

She looks like a Caribbean Latina.

cwm85 July 19, 2015 at 11:50 am

Always thought she was of Spanish, native mestizo orgin. Nope. She is Jewish, european.

lelo4 November 3, 2016 at 11:21 am

European? She’s Jewish/Middle Eastern

M June 6, 2015 at 6:52 am

She looks like the biracial actress, Jasmine Guy.

sarahle April 23, 2015 at 8:30 am


Ashkenazi Jewish & (I assume)Sephardi Jewish


Russian/Ukrainian Jewish
Syrian Jewish

neiltennant April 23, 2015 at 7:53 am

She looks so arabic like her name..

Interesting that she is jewish

she was so cute.
i WATCHED two minutes ago the COLD HEARTED videO so hot

noneofyourbusiness February 6, 2015 at 8:40 am

She looks part black. A lot of people thought she was black when she first came out.

RuTH bELL September 29, 2014 at 10:20 am

i thought she was puertorican?

SEEXYPUREBLOODLATINA July 5, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Ohhhh, I always wondered what the f she I know. Yea I remember waay back in the 80s ppl thinking she’s black. She definetly does NOT look black.

WTF October 6, 2014 at 7:47 am

Um she actually does look part black. Obviously not 100% black, but maybe like a quarter black… She’s racially ambiguous. She looks Hispanic as well.

WTF June 3, 2014 at 12:49 pm

she looks like a quadroon. i know a girl who looks like a younger version of her and she’s only 1/4 black

Check7t February 25, 2014 at 11:19 pm

Some pictures she looked part black.

ihatemostpeople January 18, 2014 at 2:13 am

I thought she was part black.

the punisher November 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Israeli some one from israel

andrew November 23, 2013 at 5:01 am

most Jews dont live in Israel

rajaredhilu November 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

does it matter where someone lives anymore everyone has immigrated everywhere nationslity does have anything to do with race… Jews originated in israel and moved outwards.

TAMTAM November 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm
follers November 22, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Ashkenazi Jews are one of the most homogeneous (genetically close to each other) ethnic groups.

sarahle February 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

i know another homogeneous group. they called arameans. they do live all over the world (diaspora – from mesopotamia) and lived a live similar to jewish culture. just read about them. similarities are pretty amazing.

rajaredhilu November 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

jewish is an ethnoreligion. Jews are an ethnic group from the tribe of Judah.

the punisher November 21, 2013 at 2:34 pm

no wonder her father was jewish Syrian Arab and Jewish can’t mix

ShawntheGod November 2, 2013 at 1:21 am

Looks white, but not really Mediterranean more of an Alpine in my opinion.

mariian93 December 30, 2012 at 6:44 am

If she looks mediterranean, she is not an arab, she could be spanish, italian, greek, portuguese… and in case you didn’t know, mediterranean are mostly catholic and white, although not all of them have light hair and skin.

victoria February 21, 2013 at 11:10 am

Arabics are Mediterranean

Indiablack July 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Idont care what nobody says
Ms.abdul got black in her
Somewhere thats a fact, I
Know that genetics play a role
In mixed people to comeout
Looking like other races but ,i put money on her d.n.a. Tested ms. abdul got black blood somewhere, and I will
Always think that, because she does
Good day, lol

J.J. July 1, 2013 at 4:18 am

all arabs and mediterraneans have some sort of black blood in them

andrew July 1, 2013 at 6:09 am

blood is red, not black

loveliya1998 August 13, 2013 at 10:52 pm

haha :)

driko November 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

i agree, abdul,abnegro..same difference..Lol

christianz June 15, 2012 at 8:22 am

she looks 100 percent mediterranian, she looks like an arab

victoria February 21, 2013 at 11:11 am

i agree

Shanika March 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

She look very middle eastern…

theropod June 24, 2013 at 3:29 am

Yep…lol…that’s why it says “Syrian” up there.

andrew June 24, 2013 at 6:53 am

She’s Jewish. And Syria is bordered to Israel, in Middle East of course.

MANCHESTER March 23, 2012 at 6:56 am









delredd March 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

i LOVE PAULA ABDUL, she has always looked “hispanic” not black. she has a lot of movement shake it like a black person. i have seen lots of photos of paula abdul parents etc none of them look black. if she was a black person i believe she’ll step up 2 the plate and admitted it. she’s such a BEAUTIFUL human begin inside/out, can’t wait 2 see her on tv. again. paula will always be my #1 american idol once she left ai/the other singing show i stop watching it. paula 2 me is worth looking at the hell with the rest of them. paula abdul ur 4-ever my GIRL!!!!

Memphis February 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Although, I don’t think everyone is part “black” but the history of Africans and Arabs are intertwined specially due to slave trade. All Jews carry the Y DNA E1b1b1 varient that African Amazigh (Berber), Somali, Nubians, Ethiopian as well as, Greeks and Arabs also possess.

mids February 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm

what are you guys blind or something, she doesn’t look half black at all. It’s like anyone who looks a little exotic is half black. Idiots

me February 3, 2012 at 10:05 am

i thought she was hispanic

Mac January 28, 2012 at 11:16 am

She looks like a half black half white person, or Latino mixed!

Myesha Snipe January 17, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I know what you mean! Im a light skin black woman, and everyone thinks its their job to remind me that im still black. Its because most wish that they had my skin color. So Sad.

Amanda January 13, 2012 at 9:17 am

If she is black in anyway she is obviously mixed.

Angel Syrene January 2, 2012 at 1:50 am

she look like very much a black girl

chase January 6, 2012 at 5:42 am

im italian and i look biracial i am 100percent white im tanned

me January 6, 2012 at 5:53 am

You always say that,100% Italian white, do not make me laugh…

carrie January 28, 2012 at 5:20 am

i am you dont know me lady

Memphis February 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Southern Italians and Sicilians have a mixed ancestry, Northern Italians not so much. Mainly Arabic with some Afro Arab influences as well as African soldiers that were part of the Roman Empire. Overall maybe 2 to 10% African, maybe 10 to 20% Arab.

kristy January 6, 2012 at 5:47 am

she looks like she has arabic in her if she knows her backround that is what she is

Jose Lomba November 6, 2011 at 10:13 am

Why is it that black people always point out that every group has African lineage even when it’s ridiculas, but when a mixed claims they are mixed, black people say it’s ridiculous to claim a white person five generations ago?

missy January 6, 2012 at 5:43 am

i agree all of us are not half black im italian and russian

Mixed Girl Who REALLy IS MIXED--Not Just BLACK! September 26, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I can’t believe some of the idiotic comments from people so obsessed with being black and wanting everyone else to join them! lol :)

I don’t get this obsession, but if someone says they’re not black, maybe you should just believe them and then leave them the hell alone! ….No one else would know a person detailed racial makeup, but them, so stop trying to act like you’re some ‘super detective’ with the race BS! lol :)

…LOL …It’s no wonder that the rest of the world thinks we’re a bunch of dumbasses….just reading these stupid comments says it all! lol :)

amanie July 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

so happy shes not racist.

delredd July 4, 2011 at 10:25 am

for 1 sure thing paula is beautiful inside/out. she looks more like her dad.

delredd March 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm

why should her race matter, get with it folks she’s not black how stupid are u. if she was a black woman i believe she would ‘ve said it. but 1 thing is for sure paula abdul can shake & dance her butt off like a black person, no one in this world could dance like but only black people. i love her still and that’s 4-ever in my heart.

Sillau September 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm

what,okay that was ridiculous,black people are not the only ones that can dance,every culture has their own beautiful or traditional dance that represents them,your comment was just pride,stereo type and ignorant and ridiculous.

thecompulsivelife November 8, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Jewish doesn’t mean you’re not black. The Moors were Jewish, and they ruled in Portugal, but thanks for the info!! ;)

acj October 9, 2010 at 6:32 am


Ialways thought Paula Abdul was Black.I remember in the late 1980’s(maybe around 1987 or 88) Her first song called “Knocked Out” was played on black radio stations and the song’s video was shown first on BET music video station with music host Donnie SimpsonLOLOL

Also Paula has always hunged out w/black people.I mean she was Janet Jacksdon’s choreographer for mostly all of the music videos on Janet’s “Control” Album.She also dated Janet’s older brother for a short time.
Finally Paula was the Captain of The Los Angeles Lakers Cheerleading team for many years. So she definitely has rhythm.

Anonymous September 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

She’s not from San Francisco, she’s from San Fernando in the San Fernando Valley. And I already knew she was jewish, I just wanted to check the page.

tman February 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

paula abdul is african descent, and the orginal jew is black.

Sillau September 26, 2011 at 8:12 pm

it says it right on this site,what the heck

aps July 31, 2010 at 2:57 pm
aps July 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm
Anonymous May 28, 2010 at 1:03 pm

paula is not black.she jewish

fuzzybear September 18, 2010 at 9:17 pm

It’s a well known trick to hide your black ethnicity by saying your just jewish,and the same thing for Syrian,they have African lineage to.If you do see black people it’s usually because of assimilation,since black skin is looked down on.Not that I’m saying Paula has recent heritage,I’ll just saying it’s and old trick.So go ahead call me this,call me that it still want change it

Amber Berg July 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

It depends on what type of Jew you talkin about I know all about because I am part European Jew, and African American- My grandmother is a white Jew but hates to call her self white she would rather call herself black and she does agree that the original Jews were black, however she is not black and most European Jews arent

tman February 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

the orginal jew is black, her dad is black

ladyyLike February 28, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Uhmm . Jewish is an ethnicity not an race..
My ethnicity is Jewish ok, & my race is Black & I look rican..
Sooo, your wrong

Anonymous May 26, 2010 at 3:59 am

Some Syrian have dark skin, like Southern Asian, and some very light. I hve two Syrian friends, one of them is dark arabic and the other one is very light. I could say that Paula is half white, and half arabic with the dark skin just like Teri Hatcher who also a quarter Syrian.

Bombpants May 26, 2010 at 6:32 am

To be honest I always thought Paula was African American.

OMG September 13, 2010 at 8:31 pm

me too. kinda like Teena Marie. you start associating people sometimes with whomever group they hand around. so thought she was some sort of caribbean mixture

Aquarius7384 July 8, 2011 at 12:07 am

That’s because she is. Her father is North African. There are black jews, so just because someone says that there jewish it doesn’t mean they are white, because that isn’t a race it’s a religion.

Amber Berg July 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Syria is not in North Africa, it is in the Middle East

delredd February 21, 2010 at 6:41 am

to me she’s always a beautiful woman inside & out, i just love me some paula abdul. she looks spanish but she’s not. paula abdul looks more of her dad. i been a big fan of hers since ’89 and still is. i know she dances like a black person and that’s all. i believe hen she says she’s not a black person. i really miss her so freakin’ bad on a. i. please come baby.

ethnic January 24, 2010 at 10:24 am

yeh Thats what I thought.

Samm January 24, 2010 at 3:48 am

Paula’s 47 years old. What are you talking about ‘in her 50’s? The only time she’s said she was 50 on American Idol is when Simon jokes about her age, even though HE just turned 50.

chico January 8, 2010 at 4:32 am

that arabian knight dude is smart.

Somebody December 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm


We are proud to have you as part of the Black Community and that is the race that you identify with. Maybe you can teach Tiger Woods to be proud of his heritage. That boy has a problem! Paula you are the BOMB!

ethnic December 3, 2009 at 1:07 am

Id like to see that video. i wonder if its on Youtube?

Anonymous December 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Nope. I know for a definate shes in her 50’s. They announced her fiftieth birthday on american idol two or three years back. But most stars are older than they claim to be. Thats hollywood for you though.

ethnic December 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm

hmm most sites say 1962.

Anonymous December 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Her birthdate is wrong. Shes 52 or 53. If it was right, she would be the same age as my daddy. But i remember a few years ago she turned 50.

?? May 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm

no shes 47…simon has made pleny of jokes saying shes in her 50’s when in reality he is.

ethnic November 12, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I agree we should be talking ethnicity.

... November 10, 2009 at 6:28 am

hei we talk about Ethnicity not religion,but when u said “A true Christian loves others and does not hate anyone who is different. We are not afraid of other religions because we don’t believe in religion” u mean r Islam?…come on,don’t say u r such a tolerate while in the same time u only think ur religion r the best,the rightest other especially Islam r the otherwise…don’t u remember Nazi?…they r christians but kill so many in Africa,Asia countries…next time before u judge others please judge urself & ur fellow christians,ty

Dakota November 6, 2009 at 2:18 am

Jesus did everything in the open and it doesn’t cost one dime to belive in HIM and go HIGHER. He’s as HIGH as you can go people and it’s AWESOME AND ALL FREE.

dakota November 1, 2009 at 9:10 am

Christians don’t pray to Allah, we don’t believe in Allah. Our Lord is Jesus Christ the only Son of God. We are His slaves, yet He set us free, but we love Him so much that we are willing to give our lives for HIM and serve Him. He gives us the freedom to enjoy life and enjoy Him in peace and happiness. A true Christian loves others and does not hate anyone who is different. We are not afraid of other religions because we don’t believe in religion. Christianity is not a religion, it is relationship with the MOST HIGH GOD! Unfortunately almost all “Christian churches” misrepresent christianity and it’s true meaning.

ethnic September 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm

She has a unique look so Im not surprised that people are curious about her ethnicity.

somebody September 18, 2009 at 11:41 am

who cares!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

someone May 27, 2009 at 7:09 am

im Syrian and French Canadian…and im white…

3ZOMBIES May 7, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Who cares what ethnicity Paula Abdul is. This woman is arguably one of the
beautiful females both inside and out that has graced the entertainment
community. Talent, beauty and and beautiful spirit emanates from inside
of her which only manifests her natural beauty even more. She is so vulnerable
yet crystaline. The world would be a better place with more Paula Abduls and
less concerns of ethnicity

Arabian Knight May 3, 2009 at 1:48 am

Abdul is, without a doubt, arabic for “Slave of” or “Wirshipper of”. As you can see, “Abdul” alone does not make sense if used alone (According to Arabic). However, many Arab-Americans (Like myself), use short names just to make it easy to pronounce. So “Abdul” can be short for an Arabic name (Not necessary “Abdullah”). There are tons of Arabic names that start with “Abdul”. In conclusion, I would say Paula Abdul is a Caucasian, half Arab & half Canadian. “Jewish” is not really a race but rather a religion. Syrian is also a nationality not a race either. Syrians are mostly caucasians. At the end, who cares what race she is! What matters is her personality and what she stands for and her impact on society. Color or race is only for us to distinguish between one another (We can’t all look the same). Thanks

ethnic April 27, 2009 at 10:08 am

in summary she is just middle eastern in origin being of Syrian and Jewish ancestry.

coolcat April 27, 2009 at 5:25 am

so paula is a creole? or is she just middle eastern?

christinaa April 10, 2009 at 6:47 pm

I am arabic(jordanian palestinian) from my fathers side and nicaraguan from my mothers side. I speak spanish and I know a few words in arabic. I am also learning german.

Pete March 2, 2009 at 4:00 am

Syrian is a caucasian ethnicity, as are the Lebanese & most Middle Eastern people. Paula is white on both sides, just not Anglo-Saxon.

ethnic January 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm

“Paula Abdul’s father is a Sephardic Jew and her mom is an Ashkenazi Jew”

thanks your right on that one. i just updated the profile.

Anonymous January 28, 2009 at 10:43 am

Paula Abdul’s father is a Sephardic Jew and her mom is an Ashkenazi Jew (i think…)

King of Arabia January 25, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Although Abdullah is commonly considered to be the complete word, Adbul is also used very frequently names. Abdul means slave and Allah means God, hence Abdullah means slave of God. So if only ‘Abdul’ is used, it means slave.

No wonder many people think Paula has Black roots as well…

ethnic January 16, 2009 at 12:06 pm

great comment. thanks for that.

Sami David January 16, 2009 at 10:00 am

Abduallah means the slave of God … this is the most commonly used for for Abdul and it is never used alone. He must have dropped part of his name to make it easier to write. Us Arabs weather we are muslims chrisitans or Jew pray to God Allah in arabic.

Cat November 18, 2008 at 11:21 am

Not everyone with an Arab sounding name is a Muslim. The historical language of the “Middle East” is Arabic. Please jump into the 21st century, the water’s fine.

ethnic September 5, 2008 at 11:48 pm

She is middle Eastern. Her father is from Syria but he is Jewish Syrian.

Yusrah September 5, 2008 at 11:19 pm

then whey does she have a muslim name and surname?she looks very middle eastern to me

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