RuPaul Is Getting In Touch With His Jewish Roots—And Learning Yiddish!

Is Mama Ru a member of the Tribe?

He may not have had a bris, but RuPaul is fascinated with Judaism.

“RuPaul is obsessed with Jews, obsessed with Yiddish,” declared Michelle Visage in a recent interview with Jewish Journal. During Season 8, she added, Ru even kept an English-to-Yiddish dictionary under his chair so he could incorporate choice phrases at a moment’s notice.

We already know he sports Star of David necklaces and, asJewcy pointed out, RuPaul even used the word bashert, or “destiny,” correctly in a late-night TV interview. (Getting the pronunciation right and everything.)

Is Ru Jewish? We don’t know—but he’s got a pretty good grasp of the Jewish identity.

“If you know anything about Jewish culture, you know that the teachings of the elders remind children what the history is, so that the same history isn’t repeated,” he told Dazed in 2015. “I wish that, in gay culture, we had what Jewish culture has. Which is to teach children where we come from and teach them to avoid finding ourselves in situations from the past.”

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Visage is Jewish herself, of course: She was adopted by Marty and Arlene of South Plainfield, New Jersey, when she was just four months old. “True story, when I met my biological mother, I was 25 years old,” she recalls. “I told her I was raised by Jews and she said, ‘I am so happy, I was praying you’d be adopted by a Jewish family.’”


And several notable Drag Race queens have been of the Jewish persuasion, as well—including Season 5 winner Jinkx Monsoon and Season 9 champion Sasha Velour, a.k.a. Alexander Hedges Steinberg. “Whenever there’s a Jew it’s an automatic identity,” said Visage. “I love it when it becomes part of their [drag] identity. It’s mishpucha.”

So does that mean Tic-Tacs are kosher?

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.