Rand was born Alyssa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her right-wing philosophy included a rejection of any religion, including that of her family. I hate to claim her for secular Jewishness, but there it is.
Paul Krugman’s favorite quote about her: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”