Why the family suspect "Jewish" roots? If he was Jewish in old country why change in new country? Makes no sense.
I would say your ancestor or the surname seems he was Byzantine Catholic - Ruthenian.
Have you requested his SS-5Form? I know a bit pricey $27 but it would have his place of birth and parents names.
Was Madeleine of Polish/Ruthenian ancestry?
Have you found John/Jan PODRAZA's manifest?
Written as L~e,ki in Polish and when pronounced it sounds like Lenki. http://say.expressivo.com
When I need to find a distribution of a surname in mokrewni site I find it first in www.herby.com.pl copy it and print it so the correct diacritical marking comes up.
Maria and Jacob PODRAZA show up in www.castlegarden.org
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