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

139 Responses

  1. cwm85 says:

    She is Caucasian, white. Jewish white.

  2. lelo4 says:

    Very Lebanese looking.

  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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