Moravian Jewish

Damian Lewis

by scott on December 30, 2013

Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2013 - Arrivals

Birth Name: Damian Watcyn Lewis

Place of Birth: Paddington, London, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 11 February, 1971

*Welsh (father)
*1/16th Jewish [Sephardi and Ashkenazi]

Damian Lewis is a British actor and producer. His roles include Soames Forsyte on the ITV remake of The Forsyte Saga, Detective Charlie Crews in the NBC drama Life, Major Richard Winters in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers, and Marine Sergeant Nicholas Brody in the Showtime series Homeland. Damian is married to actress Helen McCrory, with whom he has two children.

Damian was born in St John’s Wood, to Charlotte Mary (Bowater) and John Watcyn Lewis, a city broker. Damian’s paternal grandparents were Welsh. Damian’s mother, who has many prominent antecedents, is of mostly English ancestry, and has some Scottish roots; also, one of her great-great-grandparents was Sephardi Jewish, and another of her great-great-grandparents was Ashkenazi Jewish.

Damian’s paternal grandfather was named John Lewis.

Damian’s maternal grandfather was Sir Ian Frank Bowater, a Lord Mayor of London (the son of Sir Frank Henry Bowater, 1st Baronet, and of Ethel Anita Fryar). Ian was born in Lewisham, London, England. Damian’s great-grandfather Frank was the son of William Vansittart Bowater and Eliza Jane Davey. Ethel was born in India, the daughter of Mark Lindsay Fryar and Annie Isabella Eleanor Stewart.

Damian’s maternal grandmother was Ursula Margaret Dawson (the daughter of Bertrand Edward Dawson, 1st Viscount Dawson of Penn, and of Minnie Ethel Yarrow). Ursula was born in Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Bertrand was the son of Henry Dawson and Frances Emily Wheeler.

Damian’s great-grandmother Minnie Yarrow was the daughter of Sir Alfred Fernandez Yarrow, 1st Baronet, and of Minnie Florence Franklin. Alfred was the son of Edgar Williams Yarrow, who was of English background, and of Esther Lindo, who was a Sephardi Jew. Damian’s great-great-grandmother Minnie Franklin was the daughter of Frank Franklin, who was of Ashkenazi Jewish (from Germany, Moravia, and Poland) background, and of Theodosia Balderson, who was of English background. It appears that both Alfred Yarrow and Minnie Franklin were raised as Christians. Much of Damian’s mother’s other ancestry is English, with some Scottish roots.

Sources: Genealogies of Damian Lewis (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Damian’s maternal great-grandmother, Minnie Ethel Yarrow (focusing on her own father’s side) –

Genealogy of Damian’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Frank Franklin –

Photo by PrPhotos


Rafi Gavron

by follers on October 19, 2012

7th Annual "Dressed To Kilt" Charity Fashion Show - Arrivals

Birth Name: Raphael Pichey Gavron

Place of Birth: Hendon, London, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 24 June, 1989

*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*French-Canadian (maternal grandfather)
*German or German Jewish (maternal grandmother)

Rafi Gavron is a British actor. He is the son of Simon Gavron, a British-born publisher, and Martha Pichey, an American-born writer.

Rafi was raised in a Jewish household.

Rafi’s paternal grandparents were born in London, England, and Tel Aviv, Israel, respectively, both of them to Ashkenazi Jewish families. The family surname was originally spelled Gavronsky. Rafi’s maternal grandfather was from a French-Canadian (Catholic) family. Rafi’s maternal grandmother is of German or German Jewish background.

His father’s half-brother is director Sarah Gavron.

Rafi’s paternal grandfather was Robert Gavron, Baron Gavron (born Israel Gavron, the son of Nathan/Natie Gavron and Lily/Lilly Ettman). Robert was a printing millionaire, philanthropist, and Labour Life Peer. He was born in Hampstead, London, England, to a Jewish family with ancestors who lived in Lithuania, Moravia, Belarus, Germany, and Poland. Nathan was the son of Israel Gavronsky, who was born in Klikole, Lithuania, and of Esther Katz. Lily was the daughter of Lazar Etman and Jenny Jawitz/Yaabetz Zusman.

Rafi’s paternal grandmother was Hannah Fyvel (the daughter of T. R. Fyvel, Tosco Raphael Fyvel, and of Mary Kirschner). Hannah was a sociologist, and was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, which was then part of the British Mandate for Palestine. T. R. was an author, journalist, and literary editor, and was born as Raphael Joseph Feiwel in Cologne, Germany, to a Moravian-born Jewish father, Berthold Feiwel, and to a Belarusian Jewish mother, Sterna Schneersohn, who was from the Schneerson family, and whose own father was a rabbi. Mary was born in Benoni, South Africa, to Lithuanian Jewish parents, Nikolai Kirschner and Rosie Hillman.

Rafi’s maternal grandfather was J. Raymond Pichey (the son of Joseph Pichey and Yvonne). J. Raymond was born in Massachusetts, to French-Canadian parents. His family was Catholic.

Rafi’s maternal grandmother was born Alberta Meyer. It is unclear if she is of German and/or German Jewish background.

Rafi is a descendant of Naphtali Hirsch Treves, a 15th century scholar and kabalist, and of the famous Judah Loew ben Bezalel (c. 1520-1609), a leading Rabbi, mystic, and scholar in Prague. It should be noted, however, that most or all Ashkenazi Jews likely descend from Naphtali and Judah.

Sources: Genealogy of Rafi Gavron (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Rafi’s father’s family –

Rafi’s maternal grandfather, J. Raymond Pichey (“Raymond Piche”), on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Rafi’s maternal grandfather, J. Raymond Pichey –

image via Prphotos


John Kerry

by ethnic on May 12, 2010

Birth Name: John Forbes Kerry

Place of Birth: Aurora, Colorado, U.S.

Date of Birth: December 11, 1943

*Ashkenazi Jewish (father; who was raised Catholic)
*English, Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Dutch, Welsh, distant French (mother)

John Kerry is an American diplomat and politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he has served as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, from March 6, 1983 to January 2, 1985, a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, from January 2, 1985 to February 1, 2013, and the United States Secretary of State, from February 1, 2013 to January 20, 2017.

He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in 2004.

He is the only Democratic Party nominee for President to have lost the popular vote since 1988.

John is the son of Rosemary Isabel (Forbes) and Richard John Kerry, a diplomat, lawyer, and writer. John is married to businessperson and philanthropist Teresa Heinz Kerry. He has two children with his former wife, late writer Julia Thorne.

John’s paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Central Europe (Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary). They converted to Catholicism, and John’s father was raised Catholic (as was John). John was initially unaware of his Jewish heritage; he was thought by the public to have been of Irish ancestry, because of the surname Kerry, which his grandfather was said to have picked from a map.

John’s mother, who was Protestant, was born in Paris, France, to American parents. She descended from the Dudley-Winthrop political family. Most of her American-born antecedents were born in New England. Her ancestry was largely English, and also included Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Dutch, Welsh, and distant French. One of John’s maternal great-great-grandfathers was Robert Charles Winthrop, Speaker of the House of Representatives, a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, and a Senator from Massachusetts. John’s maternal ancestors also include several Governors of Massachusetts.

John is one of three Roman Catholics nominated for President of the United States by a major American political party. Al Smith, in 1928, and John F. Kennedy, in 1960, are the others. All were/are Democrats.

John’s paternal grandfather was Frederick A. Kerry (born Fritz Kohn, the son of Benedikt/Benedict Kohn and Mathilde Fränkel). Frederick was born in Bennisch, Austria (then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), to a father from Troubky, Přerov District, Olomouc Region, Moravia, and a mother from Oberglogau, Prussia. Mathilde was the daughter of Jacob Fränkel and Johanna Fischer.

John’s paternal grandmother was Ida Löwe (the daughter of Siegfried/Szigfrid Löwy/Löwe and Josefa/Jozefina Löw/Löwe). Ida was born in Zoltán utca 2, Lipótváros district, Budapest, Hungary (also then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire), to a father from Úsov/Olomouc, Moravia, and a mother from Boskovice/Boskowitz, South Moravia. Siegfried was the son of Leopold Löwy/Löwe and Katharina/Katti/Katty Stern. Josefa was the daughter of Benjamin Viktor Löw and Betty Spitzer.

John’s maternal grandfather was James Grant Forbes (the son of Francis Blackwell Forbes and Isabel Clark/Clarke). James was born in Shanghai, China, to parents from New York. Francis was the son of The Rev. John Murray Forbes and Anne Howell. Isabel was the daughter of William Mather Clark and Isabella Staples.

John’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Tyndal Winthrop (the daughter of Robert Charles Winthrop, Jr. and Elizabeth Mason). Margaret was born in Massachusetts, to a father from Boston, Massachusetts, and a mother who was also from Massachusetts. Robert was the son of Robert Charles Winthrop and Elizabeth Cabot Blanchard. John’s great-grandmother Elizabeth Mason was the daughter of Robert Means Mason and Sarah Ellen Francis.

John Kerry is one of two people of Jewish heritage to be nominated for President of the United States by a major American political party. Barry Goldwater, nominated by the Republican Party in 1964, was the other (Goldwater was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and was raised an Episcopalian).

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

John is one of four people of Jewish heritage to have won a major party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary. He won 51 contests in 2004, the year he was nominated. The other three people are:
*Barry Goldwater (1964, the year he was nominated; Republican; won 7 states; Goldwater also sought the 1960 Republican nomination)
*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)
*Bernie Sanders (who sought the 2016 Democratic nomination; won 23 contests)

Of the four, only Bernie Sanders is Jewish by religion, and he is the first person of Jewish religion to win a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination (the 2016 New Hampshire primary).

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.

John is a fifth cousin, once removed, of writer and filmmaker Maya Forbes and singer and songwriter China Forbes, who are sisters. John’s maternal four times great-grandparents, The Rev. John Forbes and Dorothy Murray, were also Maya and China’s paternal five times great-grandparents.


Genealogies of John Kerry –

Genealogies of John Kerry (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Genealogy of John’s mother –

Photo : “John Kerry official Secretary of State portrait” by United States Department of StateDepartment of State. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.