US/World News

Amy Schumer says learning about her Jewish ancestors ‘will change me’

By Josefin Dolsten/(JTA) — Amy Schumer teared up while learning details about her relatives’ journey from Eastern Europe to the United States on the PBS series “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” Seeing an immigration document with the names of her great-grandmother and her parents, who left what is now Ukraine in 1912, brought tears to the Jewish comedian’s eyes on the Dec. 19 episode of the series. Gates, a Harvard historian and the show’s host, also showed Schumer a photo of the grave of her great-great-grandfather, who died within a year of coming to the country. Schumer’s great-great grandfather is buried at the United Hebrew Cemetery in Staten Island. “I’m excited to find out about that town and think about them more,” Schumer told Gates of the town where her relatives came from. “And I know I’ll go see this grave. I think this will change me.”

Schumer also learned that her eight-great maternal grandfather and his two siblings were captured by Native Americans in Massachusetts and taken as prisoners to Canada. While one sister was ransomed, the two brothers were given the choice to return a few years later. Both chose to remain with their captors. Schumer’s mother converted to Judaism before marrying her father, according to Vogue.

By the way, Sen. Charles Schumer, the Senate minority leader, is the first cousin of Amy Schumer’s father Gordon. The senator and the comedian have worked together to promote gun control.

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