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Whoopi Goldberg Labels Herself A ‘Jewish-American Princess’ Despite Having No Jewish Ancestry & Not Practicing Judaism

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Is Whoopi Goldberg Jewish? Details On Her Real Name & Religion

Whoopi Goldberg’s recent faux pas on "The View" in which she stated that the Holocaust "wasn’t about race," has landed her in hot water online.

Goldberg has faced criticism for her comments which she seems to have taken to heart, issuing an apology and bringing the CEO of the Anti Defamation League onto her show to discuss how race factored into the Holocaust.

Her response could not save her, however, from the two-week suspension that she has since received.

Goldberg’s comments also have people looking back at Goldberg’s past comments about Judaism, including the times when she has claimed to be Jewish herself.

All of this has left some confused as to what exactly is Goldberg's connection to the Jewish community.

Is Whoopi Goldberg Jewish?

Goldberg has claimed to be Jewish and has faced backlash for calling herself by the pejorative term, “Jewish-American Princess,” but she doesn't seem to have clarified what exactly that means since she neither has Jewish lineage nor does she seem to practice Judaism.

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Whoopi Goldberg has never converted to Judaism.

By her own admission, Goldberg isn’t interested in going to Temple or practicing Judaism in a traditional manner.

She said in a 2016 interview, “I just know I am Jewish. I practice nothing. I don't go to temple, but I do remember the holidays. Religion is a lot of work, it's exhausting. So I keep it simple, I have a pretty good relationship with God. We talk.”

Of course, observing Jewish practices and/or believing in Jewish theology are neither prerequisites to be Jewish, nor are they in and of themselves enough to "make" one Jewish. Being Jewish is an ethno-religious nationality — an indigenous peoplehood that originates from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah dating as far back as the second millennium BCE.

If you are born of Jewish ancestry, you are still Jewish whether or not you believe in or practice any religious aspects of Judaism, whereas, if you are not born of Jewish ancestry, believing in or feeling somehow connected to Jewish religious thought and teachings does not make you Jewish.

Goldberg may feel Jewish. She may well know every single Jewish holiday. She may love everything about the religion. None of that would make her Jewish.

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Whoopi Goldberg does not appear to have any Jewish ancestry.

The best information available online comes from the mid-2000s when a DNA test determined that Goldberg’s heritage was 92% African and 8% European with seemingly no specific indication of Jewish ancestry.

With all of that being said, Goldberg has insisted, without evidence, that her last name is part of her heritage and that she there she feels a connection with Israel.

“I feel a real connection there, but also with Palestine as well. We are one people, we really are,” she has said.

It’s difficult to say how “valid” Goldberg’s claim that she’s Jewish is given how muddy both the story and definitions are.

Whoopi Goldberg's real name is Caryn Johnson.

Many could assume that Goldberg has Jewish ancestors due to her last name, but even that isn't accurate.

Goldberg was originally born Caryn Johnson, but over the years she took on the name “Whoopi Goldberg,” which she has implied may come from somewhere on her mom’s side of the family.

Goldberg has said of the unique name situation of her name, “My mother did not name me Whoopi, but Goldberg is my name, it's part of my family, part of my heritage. Just like being black.”

However, it has also been said that her mother suggested she use Goldberg for a last name because Johnson was "not Jewish enough" for her to become famous.

This also reflects another deeply troubling aspect of Goldberg's view of Jews and Judaism, as it suggests she chose to adopt a Jewish identity in order to benefit from privileges she believed would come with a Jewish name and identity, without being aware those privileges were actually just stereotypes, and without doing any research on what it truly means to be part of the Jewish people.

Regardless of where Goldberg perceives herself in relation to Judaism, hopefully her recent actions will lead her to reach out to the Jewish community for education in order to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of the Jewish people and help her be a better ally to the people she claims to feel so strongly connected with.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.

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