Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 9 years ago

Is there a such thing as red-headed Jews?

Or is it likely that the person must have some Irish descent mixed in with it?

One of my friends has red hair and he's Jewish. The first time I met him I asked him if he was Irish but he said that he wasn't

10 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    To cite some examples of well-known Jewish-Americans with red hair, Madeline Kahn, Danny Kaye, and Art Garfunkel all were natural redheads. Stereotypically, red hair has long been associated with Ashkenazi Jews both in Italy and in Spain during the Inquisition as well as in Eastern Europe and Russia. The Bible also makes reference to the ruddy complexion of David and Esau.

    Red hair results due to a lack of negative selection; for example, in Equatorial Africa red hair is selected against because high levels of sun harm fair skin. Since red hair has been around between 20,000 to 100,000 years, red hair is found in varying degrees of rarity primarily among European populations, most particularly, in Scotland and Ireland and among East Europeans Jews, but it also occasionally occurs in populations not normally associated with red hair. Christopher Columbus, for instance, was a red head.

    Source(s): Red Hair. (2010, December 9). Wikipedia. Retrieved from
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  • zimmer
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Famous Red Headed Actors

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  • 9 years ago

    I know about a dozen redheaded Jews. I know a redheaded Mexican Jew who to my mind looks like Thomas Jefferson.

    You are the victim of two ethnic stereotypes:

    1) All Jews are of dark complexion, dark hair and brown eyes.

    2) all Irish are of very fair skin, red hair and light eyes.

    Red hair occurs in all ethnicities in all populations of the world. It is the result of a genetic mutation. It is more frequent in Ireland (about 10%)and Scotland (about 13%) than other countries, but even there is the exception rather than the rule. Most Irish people look like I do, brown to dark brown hair that might have a reddish highlight under bright light. European countries have a higher incidence of red hair than do Asian, African or South American countries. The USA, Canada and Australia also have a fairly high incidence. Mexico has less red hair than the rest or North America, but it happens; there are several redheads in my Mexican wife's family.

    Most of the Jews in the world are Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jews) and they are followed in number by the Sephardic (Spain and Portugal) Jews. These groups, especially the Ashkenazi have been in contact European populations who have a comparatively higher incidence of red hair so it is not at all uncommon to see redheaded Jews. Actor Seth Green is a redheaded Jew.

    According to the Bible the first man was called Adam. Adam or Edom means red. Biblical patriarch Isaac had fraternal twin sons. The first born was named Edom and the Bible leads us to believe he was a red head. Of course the Jews descend from Edom's (Esau) brother Jacob ( Israel), but they carried the same genes.

    You know how Jesus is often depicted in Medieval art as a red head or strawberry blond and that seems to go against what you think you know about Jews? Well he was from Galilee and place names in Europe and western Asian that begin with GAL are or were at one time settled by Celts. The Irish and Scots are Celts and it has been suggested that some extra ginger genes could have found their way into many Jewish familes in and around Galilee. I could go on about recent DNA findings that indicate that the ancestors of most modern Irish people had a Middle Eastern connection...but I think by now you get my point.

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  • 9 years ago

    Yes, there are also red-headed Arabs & other semitic groups.

    They don't have to have any Irish in their family for it. Actually I'm not sure all that many Irish are red-heads.

    Just told by family member that a lot of Moroccan Jews have red hair. Including ones she's met now in Israel.

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  • I'm from Spain and my hair is red/ blonde. And I have no Irish blood in me. Just 85% Spanish 10% Native American and 5% English. So it's possible to have a Jewish person to have red hair even though they aren't Irish.

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  • So, you have never read the Bible. You should try it; it has excellent stories, great history. If you had read it, starting with Genesis, you would have read about Esau, a reddish man with red hair!

    So, yes, Jews can have red hair, all by themselves, from thousands of years ago.

    Also, read "The 7 Daughters of Eve" which traces the redheads from the Middle East to Italy, Spain, France, and then northward to the B.I.

    Source(s): Bible; history; The 7 Daughters of Eve
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  • 9 years ago

    Red-headed Jewish woman here (OK, more grey now, but you get the idea).

    My background is Russian and Ukranian and Lithuanian and Polish and English

    Born American (2nd gen on dad's side, 3rd on mom's side).

    My cousin (dad's side) is also a red head. So is my other cousin (mom's side).

    You will find a lot of Russians with red hair.

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  • 9 years ago

    For some well-researched, well-referenced information on red hair, I recommend you read this Wikipedia article:

    From that article:

    "Red-hair is found commonly amongst Ashkenazi Jewish populations, possibly due to the influx of European DNA over a period of centuries, or in the original founding of their communities in Europe, although both Esau and David are described in the Bible as red-haired. In European culture, prior to the 20th century, red-hair was often seen as a stereotypically Jewish trait: during the Spanish Inquisition, all those with red-hair were identified as Jewish. In Italy, red hair was associated with Italian Jews, and Judas was traditionally depicted as red-haired in Italian and Spanish art. Writers from Shakespeare to Dickens would identify Jewish characters by giving them red-hair. he stereotype that red-hair is Jewish remains in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia."

    Keep in mind that physical traits do not always mean much when it comes to the ethnic origins or religious beliefs of human beings. :-)

    Source(s): Professional genealogist + Over 30 years experience as a reference/information librarian
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  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    So you really think the Irish nation is full of red heads.........sorry to burst your stereotyping of the Irish........its not...........

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  • 9 years ago

    Yeah, right here.

    Source(s): Jew
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