Natalie Portman

Portman in 2011, Helga Esteb /

Birth Name: Neta-Lee Hershlag

Place of Birth: Jerusalem, Israel

Date of Birth: June 9, 1981

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Natalie Portman is an Israeli and American actress, director, and producer. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Black Swan (2010). She is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Best Actress Oscar, and thus could be considered the first millennial to have done so (Eddie Redmayne is the first millennial to have won the Best Actor Academy Award, for The Theory of Everything, 2014).

Natalie was born in Jerusalem, Israel, and moved with her family to the U.S. East Coast during her early childhood. Natalie’s father, Avner Hershlag, is Israeli-born; his family were Jews from Poland and Romania. Two of Natalie’s paternal great-grandparents were killed in the Holocaust. Natalie’s mother, Shelley (Stevens), is American, from Ohio; her family were Jewish emigrants from Austria, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. Natalie is able to speak Hebrew, and studied French, Japanese, Arabic, and German. She attended Solomon Schechter, a Jewish day school.

Natalie is married to French dancer Benjamin Millepied, with whom she has two children.

Natalie’s paternal grandfather was Zvi Yehuda Hershlag (the son of Eliezer “Leiser” Hershlag and Leah Penzak). Zvi was an economics professor and author. He was a Polish Jew, who was born in Rzeszów, Poland. Eliezer was born, in 1885, in Dembitz, Poland, the son of Israel Hershlag and Miriam. Leah was born in 1888, in Rzeszow, Poland. Natalie’s great-grandparents Eliezer and Leah were both killed in 1942 in the Holocaust, in Belzec, Poland.

Natalie’s paternal grandmother, Mania/Manya Portman, was a Romanian Jew. Natalie has stated that Mania’s mother spied for the British during World War II.

Natalie’s maternal grandfather was Arthur “Art” Stevens (born Arthur Edelstein; the son of Moses Edelstein and Helen Klar). Arthur was born in New York, to Jewish immigrant parents; Arthur’s paternal grandparents were from Austria and Ukraine, and Arthur’s maternal grandparents were from Russia. Moses Edelstein was the son of Avraham Edelstein (who was born in Kawsko, Stryj, Galicia, the son of Baruch Edelstein [the son of Yosef Edelstein and Neche Ettinger/Ettginger] and Henie Scheninger [the daughter of Abraham Seinwel Scheninger and Eidel]) and Bruche Hendel/Handel/Handler (born in Bolekhiv, Ivano-Frankivs’ka oblast, Ukraine, the daughter of Leib Hendel/Handel and Breine/Brenner Kiwak). Natalie’s great-grandmother Helen Klar was the daughter of Hershel Klar and Sarah.

Natalie’s maternal grandmother was Bernice Hurwitz (the daughter of Michael Hurwitz and Esther Schiff). Bernice was born in Maryland, as were her parents. All of Bernice’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe; according to one census, all of her grandparents were born in Lithuania; other censuses list all of her grandparents as having been born in Russia. Michael Hurwitz was the son of Israel Hurwitz and Bosie “Bessie.” Esther Schiff was the daughter of Aaron Harry Schiff and Lizzie/Libby.

Portman in 2006, Creative Commons License photo credit: Erik Vanden

Sources: Genealogy of Natalie Portman –

Natalie’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Edelstein, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Natalie’s maternal grandmother, Bernice Hurwitz, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Natalie’s maternal great-grandfather, Michael Hurwitz, on the 1900 U.S. Census –
Michael Hurwitz on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Natalie’s maternal great-grandmother, Esther Schiff (Shiff), on the 1900 U.S. Census –
Esther Schiff (Scheff), on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Natalie talks about her background, 2006 –


Curious about ethnicity

153 Responses

  1. cwm85 says:

    She is Caucasian, white. Jewish white.

  2. lelo4 says:

    Very Lebanese looking.

    • andrew says:

      Totally European looking to me.

      • ashash says:

        Yeah. She doesn’t look like most Lebanese people I have seen.

      • Capricious says:

        @Andrew, Andrew Andrew…you need to realize that not all Middle Easterners are brown looking, afro-haired nomads. Many of them, especially the Levants and Assyrians can in fact “pass” as European (Spaniard, Greek, Italian).

        She indeed does look Lebanese. And they’re the “lighter” Arabs, so don’t panic.

        • andrew says:

          You stated Ryan Reynolds looks Turkish. Nuff said. Stfu.

          • andrew says:

            I know very well how they look, and I know than no more than 10% of them could pass as Europeans. Because even when they’re light-complexioned, they stand out because of their features. The fact you’re lucky enough to live very far from your ancestral land doesn’t allow you to troll people of European descent, dear Theropod.

          • Capricious says:

            You’re pathetic. I really feel sorry for you. Making this like a big deal when it isn’t. You were probably dropped in your head.

            Ryan Reynolds looks perfectly Turkish. But because you’re so vastly ignorant you wouldn’t know the diversity of Turks. What a feeble comeback.

            You’re probably someone who is of Southern European descent with an inferiority complex. You get irked when people say Middle Easterners look like YOU. Or maybe an ignorant Neo-Nazi who wants to claim every attractive person as European.

            Oh, wake the hell up, Portman is Jewish. They have Middle Eastern ancestry! Are you blind? You’re so mental, honestly.

          • Capricious says:

            Looool I am actually living in the heart of my ancestral homeland. Try harder you guido dimwit.

          • andrew says:

            “Ryan Reynolds looks PERFECTLY Turkish”, your wannabeism has reached its peak LOL, he looks like a normal guy of British Isles descent.

          • guzel says:

            No Ryan doesnt looks Turkish. He doesnt have middle east roots lol. Dont listen them. Is not good example. Natalie portman has jewish ancestry so is make sense if she has Arab/Hebrew feature. You must figure out Yael shelbia she is pure middle eastern jewish with north african roots,she has blue eyes and dark skin. I dont say middle east part of Europe but they have unique features and some of them can have green or blue eyes even they dont have European ancestry at all. Please dont be mad, i just try to give you some knowledge. Peace Andrew you are such a great person.

          • andrew says:

            Thank for letting me know Yael Shelbia. Really stunning.

            Djerba is an holiday resort island for Euro tourists in Tunisian So she is per Sephardi

          • andrew says:

            So she is part Sephardi but I would not say part “North African”.

          • guzel says:

            Her grandmother spoke arabic. She is indeed from north african dear…

          • guzel says:

            Hmm sometimes is confusing. Sephardi can prefer to north african jewish. Even mizrahi jewish like Sarit Avitan she has grey eyes and middle eastern features. But if you see sephardic jewish from north Africa ,most of them looks arab like mizrahi than spanish jewish to me. Today israeli are mixed . I give you example again Roni Dalumi is sephardi jewish from north africa,for me she looks like arab with beautiful blue eyes. Jewish and arab basically are related.

          • andrew says:

            There are plenty of Sephardi Jews in France, the difference between them and North African Arabs/Berbers is like night and day on average. Roni Dalumi may pass for Syrian but most people would not guess her “Arab”.
            Sephardi Jews of course spoke Arabic to survive in daily life.

          • guzel says:

            Okay we have different opinions about them. Basically arabs are also diverse like jewish. Majority of jewish today are ashkenazi .
            You can see video of dna test from them. They are jewish. The woman has mizrahi and ashkenazi ancestry. She is more than half middle eastern/west asia. But if you see their appearance, she looks ashkenazi to me. Probably because italian and ashkenazi are related. She has 10% italian. Honestly man from that video is full ashkenazi and nothing special Lol.

          • guzel says:

            Syrians are arab Lol

          • andrew says:

            Isn’t the woman in the video a Sephardi Jew? That is maybe the reason why she scored some “Italian”, even though regional categories in these Tests are often controversial. Ashkenazi Jews have lived for millennia in Eastern and Mitteleuropa: why should they be related to Italians??

          • guzel says:

            You must learning again. Majority of israeli are mizrahi/sephardic descent.

          • andrew says:

            Majority of Israeli citizens are AJ

          • guzel says:

            Lol you never heard real israeli songs and probably you thought them are arabs. More than half israel population are from middle eastern background. Then every years always increased intermarriage between Ashkenazi and Mizrahi. Population of ashkenazi more little than that,majority of them in United States. Learn israel demography and cultures again please. You only saw media not even portrayed the real Israeli. I have best friend who mixed her mother is morrocan jews and father is ashkenazi from french. Mostly israeli are mixed. You can see example noa kirel,eden ben zaken,shefita. Not only wikipedia hahaha inaccurate. If you dont believe go to Israel and look by yourself.

          • guzel says:

            Do you know Ofra Haza? She is a famous Israeli singer and if you know famous cartoon movie “Prince of Egypt ” she sings deliver us in hebrew and english version. She is portrayed israeli culture and Hebrew Yemenite Jews are much closer with biblical hebrew than modern hebrew. Just like arabic and aramean letters read from right to left. They are semitic. I support peace or coexist between arabs and jewish because they are related even sometimes fighting or war in past until now. But not all of them hate each others. Ofra haza has many fans from Arab countries and she is symbol of peace for me. This is ethno religious song from Ofra Haza

          • andrew says:

            QUOTE from “Ethnic origin and identity in the Jewish population of Israel” in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies:

            _ About 44.9% percent of Israel’s Jewish population identify as either Mizrahi or Sephardi, 44.2% identify as Ashkenazi, about 3% as Beta Israel and 7.9% as mixed or other.

            You won.

    • sarahle says:

      very not…

  3. NextHlywdartistpredictedbypastor says:

    Has she got English roots by her paternal grandmother’s surname?

  4. ectag says:

    @Brian: This isn’t about you. By the way, eye colors don’t change back and forth. But why would someone saying you had hazel eyes warrant an “lmao”? That’s like saying “I’m 5’10”, but some think I’m 5’11”, lmao”.

    • J.J. says:

      you’re exactly right, eye colours do not change, most light eyes aren’t a perfectly solid colour which makes them appear to change under different lighting circumstances due to rayleigh scattering not to mention there are many eyes that contain central heterochromia (2nd colour around the pupil) but the true colour of the iris is always the outer colour, when people say their eyes change colour my attitude is, no they don’t you just haven’t bothered to look at them properly, have a look at them closely in the mirror one day and you’ll see what their true colour/s is. Many people who can’t define their eye colour becuase it supposedly changes or has more than one colour present immediately chooses to use hazel as a description which is innacturate as hazel isn’t a combination of colours but a colour of it’s own; a lighter reddish/golden shade of brown, only light brown iris’ with tints of golds & reds and sometimes very minimal amounts of green can be properly defined as hazel

  5. J.J. says:

    correction; her eyes are light brown but they’re hazel, hazel is not a mixture of blue, grey, green, amber and brown, that’s a north American myth, hazel eyes are a light honey and/or reddish brown resembling the colour of a hazelnut, hence the word hazel, they can contain minimal green but it is by no means a requirement

    • ashash says:

      Are you sure? I think light brown and hazel are separate eye colors.

      She’s gorgeous.

      • J.J. says:

        the colour “hazel” is a light yellowish and sometimes reddish brown as in the colour of a hazelnut, so light brown and the hazel colour are virtually synonymous, however the colour hazel is meant to be luminous as in the glow/shine of the hazelnut shell. People will debate that the colour “hazel” has a different meaning in terms of eye colour, but that’s just a misconceived meaning which frankly doesn’t make any sense, hazel is not a combination of colours, like blue & brown or green & brown, it’s a colour of it’s own

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