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Thread: Red hair among the Jewish population

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    Red hair among the Jewish population

    From my observations at least, it seems like many Jews have red hair. My girlfriend is Ashkenazi Jewish from Israel and she is a redhead, as is most of her family. I've also noticed many red haired Jewish people here in the USA.

    It is my understanding that the red hair gene is most common in the British Isles and Scandinavia, places with low jewish populations historically, so how is it that many Jews seem to be redheads?

    I'm not particularly knowledgeable in hair color among certain ethnic groups but according to stereotypes Jewish people should have dark hair, this has not been my experience though.

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    Yeah, red hair is surprisingly pretty common amongst Ashkenazi Jews. All of my Jewish ancestors had red in their hair including me. My hair is not red, but my beard is. Normally when people see it they automatically assume I am Irish, but nobody else in my family but my Ashkenazi relatives had red hair.

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    interestingly true, I've never thought about it though.

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    It is very common trait amongst endogamous populations to my knowledge, it is because of genetic bottleneck

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboy View Post
    Yeah, red hair is surprisingly pretty common amongst Ashkenazi Jews. All of my Jewish ancestors had red in their hair including me. My hair is not red, but my beard is. Normally when people see it they automatically assume I am Irish, but nobody else in my family but my Ashkenazi relatives had red hair.
    Same here with the beard, my beard is red blond mix with my hair color being brown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyrylBojarski View Post
    It is very common trait amongst endogamous populations to my knowledge, it is because of genetic bottleneck
    Interesting, you may be on to something. I've noticed red hair also common among Mormons in the USA and the Amish too

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    According to multiple studies, Ashkenazim are about 40 percent light eyed. In one Anthropolgical study from 1907 I read, the rate of rufosity among Dutch Jews and Dutch gentiles was very similar. Ashkenazim are even more red haired than many Southern European populations.

    Jews have also been stereotyped as red haired. European culture, before 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. The stereotype that red hair is Jewish remains in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia.

    Red hair is also found amongst the Ashkenazi Jewish populations. In a 1903 study, 5.6% of Polish Jews had red hair. Other studies have found that 3.69% of Jewish women overall were found to have red hair, but around 10.9% of all Jewish men have red beards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azbuzz View Post
    According to multiple studies, Ashkenazim are about 40 percent light eyed. In one Anthropolgical study from 1907 I read, the rate of rufosity among Dutch Jews and Dutch gentiles was very similar. Ashkenazim are even more red haired than many Southern European populations.

    Jews have also been stereotyped as red haired. European culture, before 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. The stereotype that red hair is Jewish remains in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia.

    Red hair is also found amongst the Ashkenazi Jewish populations. In a 1903 study, 5.6% of Polish Jews had red hair. Other studies have found that 3.69% of Jewish women overall were found to have red hair, but around 10.9% of all Jewish men have red beards.
    Isn't red hair native to Russia as well? Particularly the Udmurt people, but in other ethnic groups as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiden View Post
    Interesting, you may be on to something. I've noticed red hair also common among Mormons in the USA and the Amish too
    It's a recessive allele (actually several)* so you can inherit red hair from many generations back. But you need two copies of the allele to have red hair. Endogamy probably plays into things because endogamous populations tend to have more homozygosity. But it's also just more common in some populations than others.

    *SNP list here:
    https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Re...D%207581459%5D

    My mother has the most beautiful shade of reddish black hair: she almost certainly has 1 copy of a red haired gene because a parent had red hair. I wonder if that is caused by the red haired gene as well.
    Last edited by lana6765; 06-10-2021 at 09:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azbuzz View Post
    Jews have also been stereotyped as red haired. European culture, before 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. The stereotype that red hair is Jewish remains in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia.
    My grandmother and her mother (my great grandmother) are Eastern Sephardic Jews belonging to the community in Turkey and they had dark auburn red hair.

    Red hair is simply just a trait neither spelling out a European or Middle Eastern origin. Samaritan Sofi Tsedaka for example has red hair.

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    I was curious so I checked out the frequencies of the 3 top SNPs in Ashkenazi Jewish and other European samples:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/snp/rs1...#frequency_tab

    European: G=0.98640, C=0.01360
    Ashkenazi Jewish: G=1.000, C=0.000

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/snp/rs1...#frequency_tab

    European: C=0.928360, T=0.071640
    Ashkenazi Jewish: C=0.93437, T=0.06563

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/snp/rs1...#frequency_tab

    European: C=0.921978, T=0.078022
    Ashkenazi Jewish: C=0.9421, T=0.0579

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