Sunday, April 7, 2013

Is Gene Simmons Jewish ?

Just in case you wonder if Gene Simmons is Jewish, the truth is that Simmons (real name: Chaim Witz) is Jewish.  

In detail, the Israeli-born American rock bassist, singer-songwriter, producer and entrepreneur Gene Simmons, 63, best known for his stage persona The Demon, was born at the Rambam Hospital in Tirat HaCarmel, Haifa, Israel in 1949.

With his mother, he emigrated to Jackson Heights, Queens in New York City at the age of eight, speaking no English. His mother Flóra "Florence" Klein was born in Jánd, Hungary. The name Klein, which means "small" in German, is sometimes used informally in Hungarian as Kis; this however, did not give the band its name. Florence and her brother, Larry Klein, were the only members of the family to survive the Holocaust.

Simmons' father, Feri Witz, also Hungarian-born, remained in Israel, where he had one other son and three daughters. Simmons claims the family was "dirt poor," scraping by on bread and milk. In the United States, Simmons changed his name to Eugene Klein (later Gene Klein), adopting his mother's maiden name. He was a part of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath in Williamsburg, Brooklyn as a child, from 7 am to 9:30 pm.

It has to be noted that in 2011 Simmons visited his father's grave in Israel. It was actually the first time Simmons came back to Israel in more than half a century, having left at 8 with his mother, a Hungarian survivor of Auschwitz. He stood at the grave and said "Kaddish" with half-siblings he did not even know he had until this "Family Jewels" trip; they were his father's children from subsequent marriages.

Gene Simmons is Jewish but he does not keep any Jewish traditions. His children and his partner, Shannon Tweed, are not Jewish.

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