The Biggest Jewish Genetic Myths of All Time

By | Jul 28, 2012
2012 July-August, Issues, Science


Though many now believe the idea is passé, the thorny question of what constitutes race—or if it even exists—is fraught with political, economic and social implications. The concept largely came into being in the 17th century as colonizing Europeans began to classify humans based on physical differences such as skin color, head shape, hair texture and eye color. One of the first to publish reflections on the subject was French physician François Bernier in 1684. A century later, others—such as Carolus Linnaeus, inventor of zoological taxonomy—followed suit. The first canonized definition of Jews as a race appeared earlier, in 15th-century Spain, with the establishment of blood purity laws by the Catholic Church in Toledo. The 1442 laws dictated that conversos—Jews who had converted to Christianity—could not hold ecclesiastical roles and certain other jobs within the government and church because they still carried Jewish blood. This marked the “first time in any European laws that there was a kind of definition of religious difference as biological,” says Rachel Burk, professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University, suggesting that the Catholic Church was instrumental in the creation of the concept of race.


Have you had genetic testing?



The DNA of any two people on Earth is, on average, 99.9 percent identical, but that 0.1 percent leaves a lot of room for variation. It’s that variation that provides clues to a person’s ancestry. Jews, for example, are identifiable through genetic analysis—as accurately as being able to tell if a person is half-Jewish or possibly even a quarter Jewish, says Neil Risch, director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Institute for Human Genetics. The clues are not genes, but mutations that are found in higher frequency in some groups than in others. These mutations largely occur in parts of the DNA with no specific function, but they can lead to diseases such as Tay-Sachs or dysautonomia.

Mutations are the result of two genetic phenomena known as founder effect and bottleneck effect. A founder effect occurs when a new population emerges as a result of migration or some other cause; a genetic bottleneck, on the other hand, occurs when an already-existing population shrinks due to a cataclysmic event, such as a famine or massacre. In populations in which people marry within a small group, both genetic events lead to fluctuations in frequencies of genetic mutations. The DNA of those who survive continues into the future, while the DNA of those who don’t becomes extinct. Ashkenazi Jews are a good example of a people with this experience: Two major genetic bottlenecks or founder effects seem to have occurred in their history, one around the year 900 CE and a second during the 14th century, both likely tied to persecution and immigration. These events narrowed the genetic range of Ashkenazi Jewry.

The key to genetic similarities among people, says Risch, is not religion but endogamy—the practice of marrying within a specific group, which leads to its genetic differentiation. “Endogamy can be tied to religion as a social phenomenon,” says Risch, but “there’s endogamy that’s not just religious. You can end up with limited mating groups that have nothing to do with religion that have founder effects.” Risch cites French-Canadians, for example, who are Catholic but who also carry Tay-Sachs disease—the result of endogamous behavior when the small group settled in Canada. “It is very much a universal phenomenon,” says Risch.




For centuries, rumors have circulated that Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of Khazars, a medieval confederation of semi-nomadic Turkic tribes—a view famously articulated in The Thirteenth Tribe, the 1976 book by Arthur Koestler, the well-respected author of Darkness at Noon. The Khazars were led by a semi-religious figure called the khagan, who, according to sources, converted to Judaism along with much of the ruling class around 740 CE, a decision possibly motivated by political expedience in a region flanked by Muslims and Christians. The conversion is documented in Sefer HaEmunot, a 15th-century text by Rabbi Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov, and the philosopher and poet Yehuda HaLevi’s 12th-century book, The Kuzari, which tells of a dialogue between the Khazar king and a Jew asked to guide him through the basic tenets of Judaism. When the Khazar empire collapsed, Koestler argues, the new Jews migrated west—to places like Lithuania, Ukraine, Germany and others, giving birth to Ashkenazi Jewry. Basing his theory on the work of earlier scholars, he hoped to counteract anti-Semitism, but his book was derided by critics. They argued that the theory—which called into question historic claims to the land of Israel—was unsound. Genetic mapping has since laid the controversy to rest. Though the history is murky, it’s clear that all Jews originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, and that over centuries some migrated. “It’s all very speculative,” says Risch. “There’s not a lot of actual history written down, but the belief is that the Ashkenazis derived from settlers who probably came into the Rhineland around the 9th or 10th century and formed this distinct endogamous group.” The 14th-century founder effect was likely also the result of immigration, largely to Lithuania and the surrounding region.



A 2005 study by a team of three anthropologists at the University of Utah argued for an attention-grabbing premise: that the genes that caused four typically Ashkenazi diseases (Tay-Sachs, Gaucher, Niemann-Pick and mucolipidosis type IV) were so prevalent because they were also linked to increased intelligence, an evolutionary benefit for Jews who typically held occupations that demanded mental acuity. Forced primarily into money-lending starting in Europe as early as the 9th century, Jews needed sharper mathematical skills, and the more successful among them, the Utah anthropologists argued in the study published in the Journal of Biosocial Science, tended to have more children, leading to selection of genes that promoted intelligence. These genes, however, had the nefarious side effect of causing the diseases that plague the Ashkenazi community. The argument makes some uneasy, a fact acknowledged by one of the study’s authors, Henry Harpending, who said at the time, “Absolutely anything in human biology that is interesting is going to be controversial,” given the possibility of using such information for promoting the superiority or inferiority of certain groups. The implication that Jews have a higher IQ than other groups is bolstered by the disproportionate number of Ashkenazi Jews who are Nobel Prize winners and world chess champions, say Harpending and the rest of the Utah team. The study also suggests that the Parsis of India, another endogamous group known for economic and intellectual achievement, might be an additional population in which disease and intelligence have an underlying connection; they also suffer from high rates of breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

“It would be hard to overstate how politically incorrect this paper is,” Steven Pinker, cognitive scientist at Harvard, told The New York Times when the study was published. Nonetheless, he said, “it’s certainly a thorough and well-argued paper.” Others disagree, saying that the study, which contained no footnotes and was written in an impassioned tone not typical of academic literature, was not scientifically rigorous enough. “It’s bad science,” Harry Ostrer, medical geneticist at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, toldNew York magazine. “It’s bad genetics and bad epidemiology.” Some of the mutations the study discusses can even lead to mental retardation, says Risch, who adds, “In my view, there is currently no scientific evidence that Jewish achievement or intelligence has a genetic basis.”



It is true that many biblical figures are said to have lived for centuries. But though studies of Ashkenazi Jews may give the perception that Jews live longer than others, that’s not necessarily the case, says Nir Barzilai of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Ashkenazi Jews are simply studied more frequently than other groups since their homogeneity makes it is easier for researchers to find similarities. Beginning in 1998, Barzilai began to track a group of more than 500 “super agers”—healthy Ashkenazi Jews between the ages of 95 and 122. The results of the Longevity Genes Project, as it is called, found that longevity is connected to genes and some Jews are indeed blessed with good DNA: Researchers identified at least seven markers associated with longevity, including the CETP gene, which protects against dementia and heart disease. And another Jewish population’s longevity may also hold clues to the secrets of aging—a group of dwarfs living in Ecuador believed to be the descendants of Spanish or Portuguese conversos. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre, an Ecuadorean physician, discovered the people—who have Laron syndrome and are generally less than three-and-a-half feet tall—in remote villages. His findings over the past 25 years have shown that those with Laron syndrome almost never got cancer and never developed diabetes, despite not-uncommon obesity. Their health and longevity are believed to be related to a Laron-linked genetic mutation that makes them unable to react to growth hormone. Jews aren’t the only alter kockers. Researchers at Hawaii’s Kuakini Medical Center have tracked a group of Japanese-American men since the 1960s, and discovered that they have a gene known as FOXO, which doubles its possessor’s chance of living to 100.



Studies have borne out what stomachaches have long suggested: Jews are among the many ethnic groups that display increased sensitivity to dairy products. The National Institutes of Health estimate that some 65 percent of all adults have a form of lactose intolerance; the highest rate is among East Asian populations, where nearly 90 percent of adults are sensitive to lactose, though West Africans, Arabs, Greeks and Italians are all particularly prone to the condition. A 1985 study of 110 Jewish Israeli children strengthened the connection between Jews and dairy woes: Nearly 62 percent were lactose malabsorbers. Gastrointestinal troubles like Celiac disease, which makes gluten difficult to digest, are also common among Jews, according to gastroenterologist Joseph A. Murray of the Mayo Clinic. So are irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), writes Ernest Abel, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Wayne State University and author of Jewish Genetic Diseases: A Layman’s Guide. Some geneticists theorize that there might have been historic perks to a sensitive stomach: The affliction may be a defensive response to substances that come in contact with the lining of the digestive system, a selective advantage in unhygienic conditions. This might explain why gastrointestinal troubles are prevalent among Jews, suggests Abel. It may have been a genetic advantage for Jews forced to live in tightly packed, often unsanitary ghettoes.



Manischewitz may be an acquired taste, but that’s not the reason Jews tend to have fewer drinking problems than other groups. A 2002 study conducted by Deborah Hasin of Columbia University shows that at least 20 and as many as 30 percent of Jews carry a genetic mutation that makes them less susceptible to alcoholism. The mutation, called ADH2*2, is believed to increase levels of acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical byproduct of alcohol metabolism that causes headaches, nausea and flushing. The trait is also common among Asians but is very rare in white Europeans. Without this mutation, less acetaldehyde is produced, making drinking a more pleasurable experience. The 2002 study, which focused on 75 Israeli Jews between the ages of 22 and 65, found that ADH2*2 had the strongest effect on Ashkenazis, Jews who had arrived from Russia before 1989, Sephardi Jews and Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent; less protected by the genetic mutation were more recent Russian immigrants.



The association of Jews with red hair has a long history, dating back even to the Bible, in which rugged Esau and the harp-playing warrior king David were both believed to be redheads. Some more sinister Jews, too, were thought to be “gingers”: Judas and Shylock are often depicted with flaming locks. In fact, the link has become so widespread in popular culture that some believe there are more auburn-haired Jews than there are Irish, those most famous redheads. Not so, says Abel. “Scotland and Ireland have the highest proportion of people with red hair,” he says. The myth may be the result of confounded expectations: “There’s a higher percentage of Jews with red hair than you might expect from the fact that they came from the Middle East and most people in the Middle East have dark hair,” says Abel, though the number appears to be no higher than the approximately four percent of the world’s population who are endowed with red tresses.



Many Jewish families proudly claim to be from the line of King David (himself believed to be descended from Abraham), a link that, without access to the DNA of biblical figures, has traditionally been made through genealogy and family lore. Science can now weigh in for the first time in human history, although it remains imprecise. The strongest genetic evidence linking contemporary Jews to their ancient counterparts has been the discovery of a Y-chromosome connection to the Kohanim. In 1997, Karl Skorecki, a nephrologist and Director of Medical and Research Development at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, led a study that found that men who identified as Kohanim shared certain genetic traits passed from father to son on the Y chromosome—results that suggest they may share a single male ancestor, often referred to as Y-chromosomal Aaron, for Moses’s brother, the original Kohen in the Bible. (The identification of this marker has also boosted the credibility of other groups who claim to be descended from ancient Hebrews. The Lemba, a Bantu-speaking group in southern Africa who have long believed that they are the progeny of distant Jews, also have the DNA sequences indicative of Kohen status. This sequence is also found in the tiny population of modern-day Samaritans in Israel. Interestingly, their mitochondrial DNA, passed from mother to child, doesn’t match the mitochondrial DNA of other Jews, leading researchers to believe that the sect is descended from Jewish men who married non-Jewish women after the Assyrians conquered ancient Israel.)

Jews are not the only ones who trace themselves back to past religious figures. Certain Muslim families claim to be the offspring of the Prophet Muhammad. Three years ago, their claims were strengthened when geneticists discovered an overlapping DNA signature that connects several men who believe themselves to be Muhammad’s descendants. Bennett Greenspan, president and CEO of Family Tree DNA, says that the shared signature “clearly indicated that they were related via a shared common male ancestor. If the claim is true, and they really are descendants of the Prophet, we agreed that these men do indeed share DNA to prove that point.” There is no similar proof that connects Jews back to King David. As of now, no overlapping DNA signature has been found among the many families that claim descent.



It’s just not the Eve you’re thinking of. Testing of mitochondrial DNA, passed from mother to child, has proven that all of humanity—male and female—descends from one female progenitor: mitochondrial Eve, as she is colloquially known. Believed to have lived about 200,000 years ago in East Africa, mitochondrial Eve was not the first woman to exist (or the only woman who lived at the time), but she is the originator of a piece of DNA that, unlike the DNA of her female contemporaries, did not go extinct. All men and women, across countries, continents, ethnicities, religions and other markers of difference, have DNA passed down to them from this mother of humankind.



All humans are related, but several shared genetic mutations suggest that Jews and Palestinians, as well as other Arabs, share a common but distant ancestry. The predominant mutation of cystic fibrosis, one of the most common genetic diseases among Europeans, is known as DeltaF508; the most common mutation of cystic fibrosis among Ashkenazi Jews, however, is one called W1282X—a mutation shared only by Arabs. And LRRK2, a rare Parkinson’s mutation, appears to be carried mainly by Ashkenazi Jews and the Arab population of North Africa. Why the shared mutations? “If you make a two-dimensional geographic map,” says Risch, “and you ask where do Jews fit genetically, they come out in the Eastern Mediterranean—south of Italy and Greece, so they’re somewhere in between southern Europe and the Middle East.” Doron Behar, a population geneticist at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, notes that it is hard to thoroughly trace the genetic origins of the heterogeneous Palestinian people, but that “if you’re looking at a global map of genetic distribution, all of the populations of the Levant will fall very close to each other—Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze, Jews, Jordanians, Lebanese.” Still, although Jews have “a closer resemblance to Palestinians than Irish would to Palestinians, they’re not inseparable. They’re clearly separable,” says Risch. According to Behar, inspecting the DNA of Jews and Palestinians at a closer level reveals clusters that separate slightly, with Jews and Druze in one cluster and Palestinians, Bedouins, Jordanians and Saudi Arabians in another.



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37 thoughts on “The Biggest Jewish Genetic Myths of All Time

  1. The statistic about 6 of 8 current Nobel Prize winners being Jewish, as well as 20% of all winners in the past 100 years, just blew me away! Also, very
    interesting article about Jewish Genetics and myths.

    Sign me up!

    1. d mcadam says:

      when people find out that Jews are carriers of down syndrome and product of insanity because of this ,together being out run of a new genetic race of Jew as the 1900s zana Almasty ,breed Romania the humanize project Stalin then Germany then every country in the world tried to eliminate in the Jews while not informing the world a hybrid of Jews, 1900, mostly hermaphrodite humanize females, had broken out and , had escaped from the vast genetic laboratories in Romania. now the ethnic problem on the earth. remember Jude i have the files on Romania and your exact genetic profile on line.

  2. Stanley says:

    Are You really sure about point 3 – False statement: Ashkenazi Jews are not Real Jews? I’ve been thought different. I read that real Jews are Hebrews, who lived in Palestine. Ashkenazi’s are ones coming from Turks converted to Judaism. There are some DNA studies behind that, free for online studying.

    1. pkbrandon says:

      That’s the Koestler (actually he lifted it from Dunlop’s article in the Jewish Encyclopedia) speculation, that has been thoroughly dismantled. The article covers this.

      1. Uriah goldberg says:

        The evidence is inconclusive on this. There is not enough DNA material to determine this.

        1. Jood says:

          The long history of pogroms make it impossible for genealogical records to assist, but my DNA sure does. I’m Ashkenazi on both sides, yet my mother’s DNA shows a strong percentage originating in East Africa. I’d call that conclusive.

    2. eugene says:

      no dark hair ,skin or dark eyes !! not jewish !! european !

      1. Jack says:

        Modern and ancient Levantine peoples, including Jews, often had/have very light skin, and not infrequently light hair and eyes. These traits have all been present in the Levant for at least 3000 years, probably longer.

      2. Knowledgeispower says:

        Genetically European Jews are far closer to middle eastern than European. The fact that ppl evolve to have less vitamin D further from the equator is not a measurement of ethnicity. Further, the word is Caucasian, it has no defined color. It’s white to dark brown. That’s anthropology. Also, the word Asian is in there for a reason. Many Jews in 6 CE lived in the mountains of Caucasia and spoke hun as well as Yiddish & Hebrew. Some as a result of the first Roman- Israeli war.

    3. Hafez says:

      The Sons of Israel (Jacob 2nd name) were living in the Israel/ Juda Kingdoms, current Israel of today.
      The term “Palestiane” is error given by the Romans who conquer the Judah Kingdom and changed its name after the acient “philistines” people who lived in Gaza area and had nothing to do with the current Arab race.

    4. Jack says:

      The Khazar myth never had any historical, linguistic, or archaeological substance, and it has since been completely refuted by genetic evidence. The “studies” you’re referring to don’t actually prove what they claim and their claims have been disproved by earlier and later evidence. Ashkenazi Jews, like the vast majority of modern Jews, are heavily descended from Jewish inhabitants of Palestine who left the region during the Roman period.

    5. Knowledgeispower says:

      First the idea of “real Jews” vs non real or fake is entirely anti- Semitic. Semitic is a group of Afro – asiatic languages. Hebrew is a semitic language, hence why they were called “Hebrews” in texts. Biblically speaking, Abraham is the patriarch father of many religions. He has several sons Ishmael, Isaac, Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. Ishmael stopped on the way to Cannon from Sumeria (present day Iraq) and helped birth Islam, Isaac had his sons Esau & Jacob. Esau led the Edomites & Isaac would go on to lead the Isrealites. He completed the trip to Cannon. Many other religions came out of this. When Abraham’s father told him to worship a statue he said he wouldn’t. That was it. One g-d. Abraham was descended from Noah & at that point had at the very least Noah’s 7 laws from g-d. Esau married his cousin and Isaac married 2 cannonite women & had children w their hand maids to make the 13 children/ 12 tribes. With Jacobs Y chromosome or the mitochondrial DNA it’s traceable to him and 1 of 4 women. The 12 tribes broke apart and some went on worship and additional diety. Everyone is using the first 5 books w exception of Genesis in the Quran. Jews don’t worship messiahs, just g-d. Elijah was 1 of the 4 messiah’s and he’s not worshipped & celebrated once a year. Hebrews were dispersed during Mesopotamia. When the Persians & Assyrians conquered Israelites were forced to move. Some north, some East which really had an uptick when China’s Tang Dynasty took them further and incorporated shamanism. Others were as far south as Sudan. Ashkenazi jews were jews taken to Turkey and eventually shifted & seperated. There are many genetic studies that say we haven’t moved far from where we were because we were stuck in small groups together, sometimes marrying outside the religion. The Levi tribe specifically didn’t have land allotted to them in Judah, just refuge. They were the priests & the only tribe to not worship the golden calf, passing g-d’s test. Many of which went into Eurasia. 1 g-d, no diety or idol worship. The Old Testament picks up where Sumerian tablets drop off for one man and his sons. Between genetic markers & beliefs is where judaism lies. Several of the tribes didn’t keep the no diety rule and so while they are genetically connected, they aren’t Jewish. Esau was Abraham’s son and led the Edomites- Esau meaning red as he had “red hair & red skin”, after Assyria collapsed their empire and killed the men it’s unlikely their belief system was followed as its “extinct” but ppl are still born with red hair, commonly Jews aside from the Irish. If anyone survived its possible they started following their Hebrew brethren. If you have to go back to a time when before Christianity Europe was pagan to tell a Jew they aren’t a Jew because they were forced out then the only real Christians are his first followers because King Henry VII: VIII burnt bibles and wrote in divorce. Still Le Precipus isn’t even a book in it. See how screwed up that sounds?

  3. Brian Foley says:

    As for the Red Hair:
    The Only Ancient Jewish Male Hair Ever Found –
    One of the more fascinating finds in this tomb, one that has not received much attention, was the preservation of a sample of Jewish male hair. The hair was lice-free, and was trimmed or cut evenly, probably indicating that the family buried in this tomb practiced good hygiene and grooming. The length of the hair was medium to short, averaging 3-4 inches. The color was reddish.

    Looks like they were all Woody Allens back in the day!

    1. Knowledgeispower says:

      Esau, Isaacs first child had red hair and red skin. Jacob born from Rachel was likely more olive as he’s described as dusty, like the sand.

      That may have been the first they found but biblically speaking red haired Abrahamic descendents start with Esau and he led the Edomites.

  4. Hannu Keskinen says:

    “Certain Muslim families claim to be the offspring of the Prophet Muhammad.”

    I understood that prophet Muhammad didn’t have male offspring. ;?)

    1. fill says:

      But he did have daughters. Study up, bro. You don’t seem to be very well educated if you like to cherry pick false info.

      1. Rikster says:

        Daughters do not possess so cannot pass their father’s Y chromosome. The lineage studies require the Y chromosome because the Y remains intact and down the make line. Consider yourself now studied.

        1. Knowledgeispower says:

          Daughters would have mitochondrial DNA linking them to Rachel, Leah, Zilpah, or Bilhah. There are several studies on this

  5. Mary says:

    what about the mummies with red hair found in the gobi desert?

  6. Veronica Newman says:

    Very interesting..;-)
    Is it true Jewish have darker hair aND eyes genes compared to Europeansome with the same lightness of skin?

    1. Jack says:

      Yes, Jews have darker features than all Northern and Central Europeans, but they are similar to Southern Europeans in pigmentation.

  7. Steven Walker says:

    So, since the Messiah is described in Revelation 1:14 “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.” How are there no Jews that fit this description today? With that, since the Messiah is from the House of David, there would be a lineage of other people that would look like “fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace”. Plus it is said by the Messiah that “those who call themselves Jews are not” Revelation 3:9. Then I looked in the Book of I Maccabees, Chapter 3:48 where it says that “And laide open the booke of the Law, wherein þe heathen had sought to paint the likenesse of their images.48 Or, for the which the heathen had made diligent search that they might paint therein the likenesse of their idols. ” I ask this because it seem that the original Jews were black. Based on a book that has been dealing with them since the beginning of time.

    1. Proud Jew says:

      As this article clearly states, as do all genetic studies of Jews and also ancient Israelite (Jewish people) found in Israel, they were/are not black. There are plenty of Jewish people who are darker, such as Jeff Goldblum, also Aviv Alush, and many others especially Sephardics and Yemenite Jews, but all of us (Jews) are very closely related genetically to each other. You must be one of those crazy “Black Hebrew Israelite” people, if you are you are of West African descent, you’re not Jewish!

      1. Mika says:

        Contrary to your ideaology of Jewery, I am of East African heritage and I am a Jew. It’s amazing that a marginalized group of people who have been discriminated against practice the same hatred towards others.

    2. Yesandno says:

      The description is polished bronze. Have you looked at polished bronze? Yes, there are dark brown Caucasians that by today’s standards would be considered black. Caucasian doesn’t have 1 color it’s white to dark brown. Egypt had Persia come through well before Hebrews became slaves. Also, Greek & Roman trade. Abraham came from Sumeria, Ur (modern day Iraq). Jesus was dark but he wasn’t anthropologically negroid.

    3. Cartoonist here who loves Jewish people and just trying to see if biological Jewish people can have red hair or not (I’m coloring a comic), and stumbled onto your webpage. As for the first part, I’m certain that the idea of biological Jewish people being their own race had it’s roots in the Torah. G-d called out Abraham and his descendants to be His Chosen People and a distinction between Jewish and Gentile was created through the ages due to this. By the time of the Christian New Testament, written by Jewish authors, there is such a heavy distinction between Jewish and Gentile people that the non-Jewish are called “dogs” by some, Gentile people aren’t allowed into the Jewish only area of the Temple but must stay in the Courtyard of the Gentiles, etc. Rabbi Yeshiua is recorded as not wanting to minister to Gentiles but does go out of his way to minister to Samaritans, half Jewish people whom were at odds with pure blooded Jewish people of the day both because they were half Gentile but also because they had a formed their own version of Judaism, rejecting worship at the Jerusalem Temple (so it wasn’t completely race based). My point is, even if we accept late dating of the Scriptures or don’t consider them reliable, they were historical written well before the Catholic Church actually formed. I believe that the opinion that the Jewish people were considered a separate people group no earlier than the 15th century, and by the Catholic Church, is far too late given the evidence. I would say it came about sometime in the BCE centuries, potentially during Hebrew captivity in Egypt, and had come well into its own by the first century CE. Unless I’m misunderstanding the topic of race, of course.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Is the genetic mutation causing red hair in various Celtic and Germanic populations shared among red-haired Jews? I thought all red- haired people inherited this mutation through a common ancestor.

    1. Themoreuknow says:

      There are 4 mutations that cause the red hair. There are some likely shared but not necessarily the same. Esau was born w red hair and “red skin” & was closer to Iran when he stopped and then later completed the journey to Cannan. The bodies production of beta keratin & vitamin d plays a role in melanin mutations and occurs further from the equator

  9. John says:

    What do you mean, “Super Myth: Jewish Nose”. I’m Jewish, and i have a massive schnoz.

  10. John says:

    “Genetic mapping has since laid the controversy to rest.”
    WHICH genetic mapping? This article offers zero sources for it’s claims.

    “GPS localized most AJs along major ancient trade routes in northeastern Turkey adjacent to primeval villages with names that resemble the word “Ashkenaz.” These findings were compatible with the hypothesis of an Irano-Turko-Slavic origin for AJs and a Slavic origin for Yiddish and at odds with the Rhineland hypothesis advocating a Levantine origin for AJs”

    1. Knowledgeispower says:

      The transition into Turkey occurred during the Roman- Isreali war, the Tang Empire, Persian wars. The Bible talks about Ashkenaz around 6 CE. There’s documentation that Cyrus from Alexander the Great let Jews leave Turkey to build the 2nd temple and return if they chose. This article isn’t great at giving the science on the genetic mapping but you can settle that by googling medical journals on genetics. My brother has the Jewish nose and we both have the hair. We’re Ashkenazi/ Sephardic mix, hes olive and I’m fair. Same parents, Jewish on both sides traced way back including my great great grandmother who was born in Egypt & her parents came from Israel. The nose is a stereotype but not all of us have it. If we want ppl to stop being anti Semitic Jews have to stop saying other Jews aren’t real Jews, it only plays into white supremacy and further divides a marginalized community.

  11. Laurie Berry says:

    Being Ashkenazie Jewish descent won’t help
    stop me from becoming an alcoholic. I am part Abenaki. I am a lot of stuff. I don’t want to go over everything that would make me alcoholic. I am lonely and bored. I guess that I am a little like Frieda Kahlo, but I am not smart like her. I
    claim a lot of Northern European ancestry and some Mediterranean. People say that I look Scandinavian. I think it’s my siblings and my height. They say we don’t look Jewish. I can’t say what I am because people disagree. They always say that everyone is who they look like. Does that make sense? They say that since I don’t look Jewish, I am not even though I lost a crazy amount of Jewish relatives in the holocaust. Are we who we look like only?

  12. Sheena says:

    I really enjoyed your article. I am an adult female who has just discovered in the last 8 years or so that I too, am Ashkenazi Jew. Its a long story, but it’s through my father, and his father. Unfortunately, he has passed, so all I have now to trace this y chromosome is my brother’s DNA. After both of us doing our DNA – turns out I got the lion’s share – 34% compared to his 24% lol. At any rate – I have been researching and researching and can’t figure out where it came from, but I do find everything here fascinating. I know that it came through his father’s line but interestingly – that family has been here in the US pre-revolution! One day, I’m going to figure this out. It has to have come in within the last 3 generations I think because of the amount I have. Oh, and my mother also contributed her DNA – no Jewish heritage on her part 🙂
    Any advice?

    1. Nancy Illman says:

      There have been Jews in America since before the revolutionary war. But somebody (your father or grandparent) may have been adopted and not even realized it. I recently found out the opposite happened in my family. My father was raised Jewish and yet, he was adopted and never knew of his English, Scottish and Irish ancestry. It was only revealed this year, when my DNA showed I am 50% Ahskenazi and the rest WASP.

    2. Wayne says:

      I love that, a mystery! One suggestion: If you share your DNA on Family Tree DNA, GedMatch or Avotaynu you may find near matches that lead you to finding your missing Jewish ancestors. Interesting story. If you have Spanish, Portugese, French or English ancestors you may be a decendent of crypto-jews who gave up their religion under threat of life and limb. There are also studies on several Jewish sites (among those listed above) that are researching this phenomenon.

  13. Steve says:

    Is it true that when someone is half-Jewish, whether on the Mother’s or Father’s side, they still end up looking Jewish, that the Jewish half is dominant
    Many Secular Jews and half-Jews are Uncomfortable looking Jewish

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