Rachel Weisz

rachel weisz

Weisz in 2009, cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com

Birth Name: Rachel Hannah Weisz

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

Date of Birth: 7 March, 1970

*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*Ashkenazi Jewish and Austrian-Italian (mother)

Rachel Weisz is a British actress and model. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Constant Gardener (2005). She has also starred in The Mummy (1999), Enemy at the Gates, and My Cousin Rachel, among many other films.

Rachel is the daughter of Edith Ruth (Teich), a teacher and psychotherapist, and George Weisz, a mechanical engineer and inventor. Her sister, Minnie Weisz, is a photographic artist. Rachel is married to actor Daniel Craig. She has a son with her former partner, American director and filmmaker Darren Aronofsky; and a daughter with Daniel. Rachel has also become a U.S. citizen.

Rachel’s father was born in Hungary and her mother was from Vienna, Austria; both moved to the U.K. around 1938.

Rachel’s father was Jewish, and among his ancestors were Hungarian Jews, Austrian Jews, Polish Jews, Czech Jews, Slovak Jews, German Jews, and Lithuanian Jews.

Rachel’s maternal grandfather was an Austrian Jew. Rachel’s maternal grandmother was Catholic, and of Italian, and possibly non-Jewish Austrian, background. Rachel’s mother attended a Catholic school. Rachel’s mother later formally converted to Judaism when marrying Rachel’s father.

Scholar The Rev. James Parkes helped Rachel’s mother’s family leave for the U.K., as he did many Jews during the Holocaust.

Rachel’s paternal grandfather was named Joir/Yair/Yoir Weisz/Weiss (the son of Moshe Weisz/Weiss, and of a mother whose surname was Klein). Yair was born in Pressburg or Bratislava, Slovakia, to a Jewish family.

Rachel’s paternal grandmother was Kato/Katherine/Katherina Glickel Sternberg (the daughter of József Sternberg and Asenath/Osnat Nitzevet/Nina Hirschler). Katherine was born in Budapest, Hungary, to Jewish parents. József was the son of Rabbi Moshe Sternberg, whose own father was from Sighetu Marmatiei, Maramureș County, Romania. Asenath was born in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Moshe Nahum/Nachum Hirschler and Glickel Kaethi/Katie Rivka Gins-Schlesinger, whose own father was a rabbi, from Rogasen, Poland.

Rachel’s maternal grandfather was Alexander Teich (the son of Pinkas Teich and Jochweda Wassermann). Alexander was a secretary of the World Union of Jewish Students.

Rachel’s maternal grandmother was possibly Anna Bassi.

Weisz in 2008, photo credit: christopherharte

Sources: Information about Rachel’s Jewish background – http://www.jewishjournal.com

Genealogy of Rachel Weisz – http://www.geni.com

Genealogy of Rachel Weisz (focusing on her father’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com


Curious about ethnicity

29 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    I read her maternal grandmother, or even great-grandmother (bisnonna), was Italian.


  2. andrew says:

    she could be related to Houdini (Erik Weisz)

  3. Nikki says:

    She is beautiful.

  4. levangelista36 says:

    She is pretty. Tony Curtis was also a Hungarian Jew and his daughter, Jaime Lee Curtis, is as well.

    “Rachel Weisz’s father is Jewish-Hungarian and her mother is of Austrian and Italian descent.”

    I am confused by this, though. I thought her mother was Jewish as well?

    • guurl says:

      She is possibly not halachically Jewish. Of course she is socially seen as a Jew. She has a maternal grandmother who is not Jewish, even though she has three full Jewish grandparents out of four. But it’s the mother who determines If you are a Jew. That’s where it counts. Rachael’s mother has a Jewish father but she is not Jewish, and unless she went through a conversion before Rachael’s conception, Rachael Weisz is not Jewish either under Jewish law. Some people may have three grandparents who are not Jewish but are Jewish through their maternal grandmother(Kate Hudson) while some people may not be Jewish(through maternal grandmother) with three Jewish grandparents. Interesting to note that Adam Levine did not have a bar mitzvah and his maternal grandmother is non-Jewish. He also isn’t practicing Judaism and “has rejected formal religious practice…” Of course socially they are seen as Jews by Jews and non-Jews alike, but unless they converted to Judaism or their mothers did before they were conceived they are not Jewish under Jewish law. Some Jews will point out a “half-Jew” paternally is not Jewish, and since the father doesn’t determine if you are Jewish, discount it in Rachael’s case. Rachel Weisz has a maternal grandmother who is not Jewish. A non-Jewish grandmother makes a non-Jewish mother. And so fourth. Not halachically Jewish.
      “In some interviews, she identifies herself as Jewish. In another, she makes a point that only her father is.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.