Gyllenhaal was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of film producer and screenwriter Naomi Foner (née Achs) and film director Stephen Gyllenhaal. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, his older sister, appeared with him in the film Donnie Darko. Gyllenhaal's father, who was raised as a Swedenborgian, is of Swedish and English descent, and is a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. Jake's last ancestor to be born in Sweden was his great-great-grandfather, Anders Leonard Gyllenhaal. Jake's mother is Jewish, and was born in New York City to a Jewish family from Russia and Poland. Gyllenhaal has said that he considers himself Jewish. On his 13th birthday, Gyllenhaal performed a "barmitzvah-like act, without the typical trappings", volunteering at a homeless shelter because his parents wanted to give him a sense of gratitude for his privileged lifestyle. His parents insisted that he have summer jobs to support himself and he thus worked as a lifeguard and as a busboy at a restaurant operated by a family friend. Gyllenhaal said his parents encouraged artistic expression: "I do have parents who constantly supported me in certain ways. In other ways, they were lacking. Definitely, it's in expression and creativity where my family has always been best at."