Sandler was born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 9, 1966, to Judith "Judy" (née Levine), a nursery school teacher, and Stanley Sandler, an electrical engineer. His family is Jewish and descends from Russian Jewish immigrants on both sides. His patrilineal great-grandfather, Joseph Jacob Sandler, was born in Pagėgiai Municipality, Tauragė County, Lithuania. Adam grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire, after moving there at the age of six. He attended Manchester Central High School. As a teen, Sandler was in BBYO, a Jewish youth group. Sandler graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in 1988.