Is Rachel Zegler Jewish? An Investigation

I scrolled way back on her mom's Instagram so you don't have to.

Rachel! I’ve just met a girl named Rachel! And suddenly the name will never be the same to me…

Ever since her star turn as Maria in the 2021 Steven Spielberg adaption of “West Side Story,” actress Rachel Zegler has been everywhere. She entered the Hunger Games universe in 2023’s “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” playing Lucy Gray Baird. She’s slated to make her Broadway debut in an adaption of “Romeo & Juliet” in 2024. And in 2025 she’ll be starring as Snow White in an updated, live-action version of the Disney animated movie.

For the Jewish community at least, this all begs the question: Is Rachel Zegler Jewish? There are a few signs which point to maybe. Her name is Rachel, after all, which is also the name of one of the biblical Jewish matriarchs. And, the surname Zegler sounds like it could have Ashkenazi Jewish origins.

So, let’s investigate.

As I laid out previously in the article “Is Jeremy Allen White From ‘The Bear’ Jewish? An Investigation,” here’s what we’re looking for in terms of Jewishness. In order to determine if Rachel Zegler is Jewish, we’re looking to check at least one of two boxes. Does Rachel Zegler identify as culturally or religiously Jewish? And/or, does Rachel Zegler have Jewish ancestry? If the answer to either of those questions is a resounding yes, she’s a member of the tribe!

Let’s start with question number one: Does Rachel Zegler identify as culturally or religiously Jewish? In Rachel Zegler’s case, this question is fairly easy to answer. Through a quick search of Rachel’s Twitter profile, a couple tweets surface in which she references attending an all-girls’ Catholic high school (she graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi, New Jersey in 2019) and identifying as a Christian. So we can definitively put a big ol’ red X in the first column. Rachel Zegler does not culturally or religiously identify as Jewish.

Let’s move on to the second question. Does Rachel Zegler have Jewish ancestry? In 2021, Zegler told TIME magazine that her abuelita (her mom’s mom) emigrated to the United States from Colombia. Of course, being Latina doesn’t preclude a person from also being Jewish — as Hey Alma contributors Arielle Egozi and Tori Avila will happily remind you. However, some Instagram posts from Rachel’s mom Gina displaying a collection of no less than 26 Santa figurines and saying “They must be filled with the Holy Spirit” about Rachel’s confirmation class make it less likely that Rachel has Jewish ancestry on her mother’s side.

Rachel’s dad’s side is where things get a little more murky. In the same TIME interview, Rachel identified herself as a “white Latina,” meaning that she has both Colombian and European heritage. According to an article from classicfm.com, Rachel’s dad has a Polish background. (Though I’m not seeing this information confirmed anywhere else.) At the same time, the last name “Zegler” has German origins. While both Poland and Germany are important sites of the Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora, I wasn’t able to find anything specific to point to any Ashkenazi heritage in Rachel’s family.

So, ultimately…

Verdict: As far as I can tell, no Rachel Zegler is not Jewish. 

Evelyn Frick

Evelyn Frick (she/they) is a writer and associate editor at Hey Alma. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. In her spare time, she's a comedian and contributor for Reductress and The Onion.

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