A surprise in Paul Ryan’s ancestry: He’s slightly Jewish

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) attends a news conference following a GOP caucus meeting on July 24 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By Allyson Chiu

August 1 at 4:17 AM

Email the author

A new fact about House Speaker Paul D. Ryan has emerged, one that until recently, he didn’t even know himself.

Ryan, a practicing Catholic, is 3 percent Jewish. More precisely, he’s 3 percent Ashkenazi Jewish, with eastern European roots.

His family history was revealed during the filming of an upcoming season of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” a TV series in which famous guests learn about their ancestral histories.

At a TV critics event Tuesday, Gates, the show’s host and a professor at Harvard University, told reporters that Ryan was surprised, but proud of his previously unknown heritage, according to the Associated Press.

CONTENT FROM DISCOVER STUDENT LOANS

Transferring College Wasn’t The Easy-Choice

READ MORE

Saving money in college can be tough—but these everyday techniques can make it easier

READ MORE

I gave up my scholarship. But I still found a way to afford my tuition – here’s how.

READ MORE

<IMG SRC=”https://pixel.adsafeprotected.com/rfw/st/161303/24799393/skeleton.gif&#8221; BORDER=0 WIDTH=1 HEIGHT=1 ALT=””>

“You could have knocked him over with a feather and then he was very proud of it,” Gates said. “We don’t know who that Jewish person was, but we know it was on his mother’s German line, which makes sense. So somebody who was a Christian German slept with a Jewish German person and that’s where that came from.”

Gates said his research took him all the way back to Ryan’s 10th great-grandfather who was born in 1531 in Germany, AP reported.

View image on Twitter

Paul Ryan

@SpeakerRyan

I hope all my friends in the Jewish community had a joyous and meaningful #Hanukkah.

7:28 PM – Dec 31, 2016


1,746


611 people are talking about this

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Naturally, the news of Ryan’s Jewish roots sparked social media frenzy.

“Paul D. Ryan is the first Jewish speaker of the House,” Politico senior writer Jake Sherman joked.

Jake Sherman

@JakeSherman

Paul Ryan is the first Jewish speaker of the House.

TV Club

@AVTVClub

Revelations from the upcoming #FindingYourRoots S5: .@SpeakerRyan is 3% Ashkenazi, and Gloria Steinem is a distant cousin of .@TigNotaro #TCA18

3:11 PM – Jul 31, 2018


75


39 people are talking about this

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Ryan’s press secretary AshLee Strong joined in the fun, retweeting Sherman and writing, “Breaking.”

AshLee Strong

@AshLeeStrong

Breaking

Jake Sherman

@JakeSherman

Paul Ryan is the first Jewish speaker of the House.

https://

twitter.com/AVTVClub/statu

s/1024359153114828800 

3:33 PM – Jul 31, 2018


27


See AshLee Strong’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

While his heritage was only recently brought to light, Ryan has long voiced support for Israel. In 2016, in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, he addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and stressed that the United States needed to give Israel “more than vague assurances that we’ve got their back.”

In January last year, Ryan delivered an impassioned speech on the House floor in defense of a measure calling for the repeal of a U.N. Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlements on disputed land.

“I am stunned at what happened last month. Our government abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most,” Ryan said at the time.

Some reactions were less than welcoming.

“I’m sorry but no, we don’t want him,” Israeli American novelist Ayelet Waldman tweeted.

Ayelet Waldman

@ayeletw

I’m sorry but no, we don’t want him. “House Speaker Paul Ryan Discovers Ashkenazi Jewish Heritage On ‘Finding Your Roots’ – TCA”

https://

deadline.com/2018/07/house-

speaker-paul-ryan-ashkenazi-jewish-ancestors-finding-your-roots-tca-1202437453/ 

via @deadline

8:44 PM – Jul 31, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan Discovers Ashkenazi Jewish Heritage On ‘Finding Your Roots’ – TCA

House Speaker Paul Ryan particpated in the upcoming 5th season of PBS’s Finding Your Roots and discovered he is 3% Ashkenazi Jewish “which about knocked his head off, to tell you the tr…

deadline.com


43


See Ayelet Waldman’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

In a second tweet, Waldman wrote, “Yo, Jews, let’s take up a collection to refund him his 3%.”

Many echoed her sentiments.

Mandy Slutsker

@MandySlutsker

Paul Ryan?!? Haven’t us Jews been through enough?????

FOX6 News

@fox6now

House @SpeakerRyan uncovers Jewish roots on PBS show

http://

via.fox6now.com/39zOh

 

10:12 PM – Jul 31, 2018


8


See Mandy Slutsker’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Michelle Brence

@mbrence

Hey, @SpeakerRyan, I invite you to read up on Jewish values. Because you have a lot of ground to make up. #אמת

The Associated Press

@AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan discovers Jewish ancestry in upcoming season of PBS series ‘Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.’

http://

apne.ws/5qJClL6

 

12:27 AM – Aug 1, 2018


114


39 people are talking about this

Twitter Ads info and privacy

hil.i.am

@hilaryluros

Paul Ryan:

Part Jewish? Skeptical.

Part gefilte fish? More likely.

The Times of Israel

@TimesofIsrael

House Speaker Paul Ryan uncovers Jewish heritage on TV show

https://www.

timesofisrael.com/house-speaker-

paul-ryan-uncovers-jewish-heritage-on-tv-show/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter 

12:06 AM – Aug 1, 2018


30


See hil.i.am’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

Others, however, seemed to be more accepting.

“apparently @SpeakerRyan is 3% #jewish on his mothers’ side. that’s cool,” Rabbi Daniel Kraus tweeted.

Daniel Kraus

@rabbidkraus

apparently @SpeakerRyan is 3% #jewish on his mothers’ side.

that’s cool.

https://www.

timesofisrael.com/house-speaker-

paul-ryan-uncovers-jewish-heritage-on-tv-show/ 

@TimesofIsrael

9:26 PM – Jul 31, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan uncovers Jewish heritage on TV show

The Wisconsin Republican is apparently 3 percent Ashkenazi Jewish on his mother’s side of the family

timesofisrael.com


2


See Daniel Kraus’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

“Welcome to the tribe,” another user wrote.

Bob Kemins

@Pulver58

Welcome to the tribe. House Speaker Paul Ryan uncovers Jewish roots on PBS show (from @AP)

https://

apnews.com/d9c0f80445fb4b

22afbd2217873822da 

10:13 PM – Jul 31, 2018

Correction: Paul Ryan story

In a story July 31 about the upcoming season of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” The Associated Press erroneously reported the name of Gates’ wife. Her na

apnews.com


3


See Bob Kemins’s other Tweets

Twitter Ads info and privacy

But, the revelation of Ryan’s ancestry is only modestly significant. A person is only considered Jewish if they are born to a Jewish mother or if they formally convert to Judaism.

Ryan will appear in the fifth season of “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” set to premiere in January. The show’s other guests include Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Seth Meyers and Ann Curry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s