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Old 09-17-2012, 09:04 PM   #111
Korkscrew
 
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Originally Posted by yossarian View Post
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Originally Posted by KF<3 View Post
I never knew curls had anything to do with religion. Interesting. Lmao. Hilariously Jewish people tend to be the least curly people of all the Levant IMO.
Interestingly, the field of genetics recognizes "Jewish" ethnic genes. For example, the Askenazi Jews are the group whose ethnic origins can be traced to Eastern Europe. What's true is this genetic assignment is based on a high correlation between Ashkenazim and our associated long-standing social practice of Judaism as a religion. Certain diseases - like Tay-Sachs Disease, Crohn's Disease, Factor XI Deficiency, Familial Dysautonomia, to name a few - are far more likely to occur in Ashkenazi people because of how rare it was for them to inter-mix with other ethnic groups prior to about 1944 (they missed out on the would-be benefits of hybrid vigor). And it might not be all Jews, but it does seem like a disproportionate number of Jews do have curly - if not very curly - hair. Not sure why.
Just to add a couple of points:

In all of Europe, by order of the Pope in 1204, Jews were legally restricted to ghettos and intermarriage with Christians was strictly prohibited (think the segregation and anti-miscegenation laws in the US), and those laws remained in place in many countries until the late 1800s . So hybrid vigor was not really available to European Jews until the spread of democracy in the 20th century, which was of course rudely interrupted by the Nazis.

As Korkscrew noted, 80% of Jews are Ashkenazi, which are western and central European Jews. The other 20% are Sephardic Jews, who originated in Spain (until their expulsion in 1492), Northern Africa (Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia etc) and the Middle East (Syria, Yemen, Persia/Iran etc).

My mother's side is predominantly Ashkenazi, most of whom had/have straight reddish-blonde hair. My boys and I take after my father's Sephardic side, with waves/curls, frizz etc. (Their father is half-Jewish and totally bald, so go figure!)

Jewish identity can be very confusing, I know - part of it is based on beliefs, but there is also an ancestral genetic component. For many Jews, it's more a matter of heritage than anything else.

L'shana tova to all of you, Jewish and non-Jewish alike
Right. I mentioned Eastern Europeans as the predominant Ashkenazi group because currently they tend to outnumber other groups of Ashkenazi Jewish Europeans, but yes, the gene is also found among Western and Central Europeans as well.

I think part of the reason "Jewish identity" confuses, is that technically a person can be genetically of the Ashkenazim of Sephardim, but not necessarily practice Judaism. Then the question becomes: is that person Jewish because they have a gene connected to the historical practice of judaism, or are they not Jewish because they don't believe in/practice Judaism. ... And then you have silly rules that confuse everything further, like, "Well, you aren't Jewish unless your mother is Jewish". Or the equally silly, "You're only Jewish if your father is Jewish". That of course, makes no sense in the context of people who carry a so-called Jewish gene.

So in some ways genetic facts do get conflated with religious beliefs/practices or the lack thereof.
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