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Jews are, perhaps, the originators of the modern Nerd stereotype. Why? Maybe their long, scholarly tradition, maybe their immigrant past (comparable to Asian and Nerdy and the Bollywood Nerd), maybe their overbearing Education Mamas, maybe for some other weird reason. But for whatever reason, you will rarely see a stupid Jew on TV (unless they're more of a Ditzy Genius or Genius Ditz).

Compare Asian and Nerdy and Bollywood Nerd, two other ethnic nerd stereotypes; and Hollywood Nerd for the general appearance. Contrast Matzo Fever and Black and Nerdy, which is an inversion of a more prevalent ethnic stereotype. Intelligence as a character trait may lead to instances of Ambiguously Jewish, thanks to this trope.

Examples of Jewish and Nerdy include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • Billy/Wiccan from Young Avengers. In a team where every member is some degree of Ascended Fanboy, he's still one of the biggest nerds, and goes from Ambiguously Jewish to canonically Jewish during The Children's Crusade.
  • Gert from Runaways
  • Kitty Pride from X-Men; in the comic she wears a Star of David necklace.



  • Butters from The Dresden Files is also a total geek and mentions in Dead Beat that he is Jewish.
  • Everybody in The Chosen.
  • Simon Lewis from The Mortal Instruments.

Live Action TV


  • Mark Cohen from Rent.

Video Games

  • The entire Emmerich family line from the Metal Gear series, but Otacon most of all.

Western Animation

  • South Park: Kyle is the smartest kid in his group and has a poster of Einstein on his wall. He also sports a classic, unfortunate Jewfro underneath his hat. However, he's cool enough to be just one of the guys. His cousin from New York, on the other hand, is extremely nerdy, delicate and stereotypical, to Kyle's annoyance.
  • Professor John Frink of The Simpsons was always Ambiguously Jewish until he cleared everything up by admitting that his father enjoyed kosher food.
  • Hey Arnold!: Inverted with Harold, who is one of the least intelligent characters on the show. Also played straight with Ambiguously Jewish Eugene (confirmed by Word of God)
  • Arnold from The Magic School Bus. In the highly hated Christmas special, Chanaukah is mentioned. That can only mean one thing.
  • Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls is heavily implied to be ethnically Jewish, but Word of God states he was raised non-religiously. His great-uncle Ford, the author of the journals, is a straighter example, since he was raised Jewish.
  • Andrew on Big Mouth. Also possibly Missy, whose mother is Ambiguously Jewish whose father is a black man. Jessi may also qualify, being more intellectually oriented than most girls in her school except for Missy.

Real Life

  • Logan Lerman.
  • Albert Einstein.
  • Natalie Portman, for starters she's a Harvard University graduate with a 140 IQ and wrote two essays there.
  • As mentioned in the "Film" section, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.
  • Eddie Deezen might well be the Trope Codifier, at least for younger viewers.
  • Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens had an Israeli father.)
  • Andrew Garfield
  • Seth Green
  • Rick Moranis (a Canadian-Jew)
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jake Gyllenhaal are both often mentioned in discussions about "nerd chic", and are practically the poster children for both Nerds Are Sexy and Matzo Fever.
  • Leelee Sobieski
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Pennant-winning MLB general managers Jon Daniels, Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman.
  • Mayim Bialik (yes, the girl from Blossom. She's a neuroscientist now!)