Photo Credit:
Zooey Deschanel.

Another Hollywood star has discovered and converted to Judaism, but it is not clear if the change was carried out according to Jewish law.

Zooey Deschanel revealed she converted, shortly before giving birth to a baby girl, at the request of her husband, Jacob Pechenik in June, while she was pregnant. Pechenik is producing an upcoming movie in which his new wife stars.


A wild guess is that it was not an Orthodox conversion, which means that their child is not recognized as Jewish by traditional Jewish law.

Her mother is a Catholic, and her father is a Quaker, but she said they did not object to her conversion.

The star of the New Girl sitcom was quoted by US Weekly as having said:

I don’t attach myself to any one religion. My family is liberal. I was raised in the ‘you can be whatever you want’ kind of way. And in the end, I was like, ‘Eh.’

Zooey, 35, and her husband named their daughter “Elsie Otter,” which sounds as Jewish as “Zooey.”

She said on the Today Show:

We just really liked the name Elsie and then we both love otters, they’re very sweet and they’re also smart. They use tools…they hold hands while they sleep…They’re wonderful animals.

Zooey previously was married to a non-Jew and divorced after two years.


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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


  1. She may or not be halachically Jewish, but the nasty, snarky comments have no place in a news article. They demean the paper and the student whose callous editor has now allowed this unfortunate piece of slander and Loshon Horah to be permanently attached to his name. I can only hope that this student journalist will learn to treat his future subjects with more respect, whomever they are.

  2. Alan Kardon Pinchas and I speak as Orthodox Jews. I don't care if she has a flamethrower designed to look like a Chanukah menorah. If she's converted by the Coservative or Reform movements, then she is not Jewisdh. But hell, throw her a parade if you like. Don't let anything stupid like religious technicalities get in your way.

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