Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

Why is red hair associated with jewish ancestry in eastern europe?

I always wondered that---the jewish stereotype here in Romania is having red hair.

The only country that i can think of that has lots of (non-jewish) redheads(in eastern europe) is Russia


From what i've red in america it's the oposite:dark hair,dark features.

10 Answers

  • JamesT
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I think American Jews are just as likely to have light brown hair and blue eyes. It depends on where their families came from in Europe. If German, many are light.

    I'm glad you said red hair in EASTERN EUROPE. Because there's a very high percentage of redheads in Scotland, about 6% of the population, supposedly the highest in the world. But we've all seen pictures of Australian Aborigines with red hair, so what does this mean? That there are redheads EVERYWHERE.

  • 4 years ago

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    Why is red hair associated with jewish ancestry in eastern europe?

    I always wondered that---the jewish stereotype here in Romania is having red hair.

    The only country that i can think of that has lots of (non-jewish) redheads(in eastern europe) is Russia

    Source(s): red hair jewish ancestry eastern europe:
  • 6 years ago

    It is most likely is because many of the orginal jews had red hair, like Abraham, Sarah, Issac, Joseph, Solomon, and maybe David. These are just the one where it states they had red hair or decribes them as in such a maner to infer they had red hair.

    Rebeca did not have red hair and neither did her so Jacob, but since his father did it was still passed on. Esau most likely did.

    But jews were not all completely from the line of Abraham, and converts also married jews, red hair and lighter skin is not a dominant feature, so most jews now a days don't have it.

    Too many people assume that today's middle easterner represent what Jews should look like, but today's middle east better represents what a mixture of different people look like, including Indians, Persians, Arabs, Nubians, Caucasians, and Mediterraneans.

  • knodel
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Jewish Redhead

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  • 1 decade ago

    "On the other hand, in Caucasia, where the natives are dark, the Jews show 96 per cent of dark hair. The proportion of red hair is also quite high, reaching 4 per cent in some observations. This has been considered characteristic of the Jews by some anthropologists. It appears to be not of recent origin, and was not unknown among the ancient Hebrews (Esau was "red, all over like a hairy garment"; Gen. xxv. 25).

    Andree ("Zur Volkskunde der Juden," pp. 34-40) points out that the fact that red and blond Jews are found in North Africa, Syria, Arabia, Persia, etc., is proof that intermarriage has had little to do with the production of the blond type in eastern Europe. He is of the opinion that there were blonds among the ancient Hebrews, and that the modern red and blond Jews are their descendants. Luschan agrees in this view. Jacobs attributes the erythrism of the Jews to defective nutrition, and shows that it is present not only among the European Jews, but also among those in Algiers, Tunis, Bosnia, Constantinople, Smyrna, and Bokhara, where the presence of Aryan blood could not be admitted."

    (There is usually some kernel of truth in any stereotype.)

    Also...." Khazar Jews described by their contemporaries had blue eyes and reddish hair; this generalized light coloring could be a heritage of the medieval Khazar infusion.[4]

    According to Koestler, “the colour of the complexion of Khazar Jews was white, their eyes were blue and their hair was mainly reddish, their bodies were big, powerful and their behaviour was cold, distant. Their general outlook was wild.” That’s where the association with the Giants in Romanian mythology comes from.

    The popular Jewish legends do not mention a Khazar kingdom but a kingdom of the red Jews, red being the color of their hair and maybe due to the mongoloid pigmentation of many Khazars."

  • 1 decade ago

    I was born and raised in Bucharest, Romania. I have never heard that if someone had red hair they were Jewish. Maybe in the countryside...

    From what I heard from my grandparents, who had Jewish friends when they were young, all of them had dark hair and dark eyes. No one told me that they were redheads(roscati).

    Maybe it's because I'm from the new generation(born in '92) and moved to US four years ago that I don't know about this stereotype.

    Source(s): Born and raised in Bucharest.
  • Maybe it is because Jews had red hair, the men red beards! Not all, but some, such as the Macabbees!

    Wherever the Jews went, they interbred with the natives and became more and more like the locals. (Of course, much of it was the Jewish women being raped!)

    Most of the Jews in the U.S. came from Germany, Austria, the Baltic...

    Source(s): history
  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    There are quite many red haired Jews.

  • 1 decade ago

    Red hair occurs in all human ethnic groups. More frequently in some and less so in others. In the case of European Jews it might have something to do with the widespread Indo-European genes ( specifically, Celtic, Germanic and Slavic) in the gene pools of east and central European Ashkenazi and Spanish Shephardic Jews also.

    You know there has long been a tradition of Jesus of Nazareth being a redhead. He was from the region of Galilee which got it's name from a Celtic tribe that had settled there. Celts have a high incidence of red hair and they tended to use the syllable "gal" in the names of their tribes and settlements.

    Also you must remember that Edom/Esau in the Bible is described as a redhead. His fraternal twin brother Jacob/Israel was the ancestor of the Jews and would have passed on the same genes that their parents carried. And lastly, Adam, the name of the first man, is a name closely related to Edom, which means red.

  • 1 decade ago

    use of the word 'stereotype' is your answer.

    Genealogists are well aware that physical characteristics prove nothing.

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