“Funny you do not look Jewish?”

Nutshell SMS

THE DROP OF BLOOD   According to the Wikipedia, the term race was first used to refer to speakers of a common language, for example Semites, Bantu people, the Han, or Germanic speakers.                                                                                                                               Later the language idea was broadened to peoples from different parts of the world who could be identified by distinctive physical traits.  Blond  Aryans were a different breed then the red men of the Americas of the Black men of Africa.                                                                                                                                 Of course physical traits are heritable .. if one could breed different kinds of dogs then human races must be like dog breed.  That idea became central to  the concept of a Jewish race tied by blood, that is genetics, to the Jews who killed the Christian God, Jesus.  Spaniards descended from Jews, even generations after intermarriage and conversion to Christianity,  carried a genetic guilt because of the Crucifixion.  Even generations after conversion and intermarriage, the muranos, descendants of Jews were still considered of impure blood.                                                                                   As Spain spread across the Atlantic and needed people to grow yucca, tobacco and cotton, this idea ..a drop of blood … proved to be a blessing to European colonialism. According to the Christian beliefs, black people, Africans, were uncivilized because they were descended from one of Noah’s sons, Ham.  Ham was different from the Europeans, a lesser breed.                           Chattel slavery, the treatment of humans as cattle, was born.

Is There a Jewish Race? 

Dear Aaron,

 So much of what I read today is about a racial divide.  My problem is I do not understand how there can be a racial divide without someone telling me how to define “race.”
So am I, a “Jew,” part of a Jewish “race?”  Can I use Jewish history to define the term?
Despite the racist ideas arising from European antisemitism (right) , being a Jew has nothing to do with race except for the fact that some 20,000 years ago the Semites arose in Northern Arabia .. giving rise to a number of peoples who spoke Semitic languages.
Modern Arabs and most Jews are descendants of those Semites.  Some 17,ooo years after that small group of ancestors began speaking a Semitic language, another  small small group of people, living in the  in the hills of Canaan became a tribe.  Their version of  the Canaanite language became Hebrew.  Other Semitic peoples rose and fell, some becoming great empires. The  Judean tribe .. the Hebrews  .. was to become the only distinct culture to survive to modern times.  
The Hebrews moved around .. first as traders with the Phoenicians (another ancient Semitic people).  Other Jews lived in Babylon and became traders following the Silk Road as far as China. The Roman empire spread  the tribe further, across the worlds of Europe, Asia and Africa.  
As we spread, non Jews joined the tribe .. an event that helped our people survive when in 70 CE the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and banished us from Judea. This began the 2000 years of diaspora in Europe.   After Columbus, hidden Jews came to the Americas, usually fleeing the Inquisition. 

The descendants of the now ancient root in the hills of Judea do not account for all of today’s Jews.  Even the 6 millions killed by the Nazis included descendants of converts.  Jews intermarried with people of other cultures and often the non Jewish parent joined the Jewish people. My own paternal


Since the second half of the 20th century, the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the use of the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts, race has often been replaced by other words which are less ambiguous and emotionally charged, such as populations, people(s), ethnic groups, or communities, depending on context.

genome traces back to the Cro Magnons, the early inhabitants of Europe dating before there even were Semites. That genome lived in Spain until modern times. Presumably some male impregnated a female Jew who became pregnant with my ancestor. Today genetic Jews with ancient lineages can look like Swedes, Bantus, Hindus or Chinese.  All with valid, deep roots. 

Some  non Jews choose to become Jews. by choice  This includes Igbo people in Nigeria, African Americans in Chicago,  and Americans as white as my son in law and Chelsea Clinton who married into our tribe and give birth to children growing up as a Jews.  Even Chinese people, at least a few, are making a choice by intermarriage or reviving their own roots from the migrations across the Silk Road three millennia ago.!1

Today we Jews come from several populations .. including Africans, Hindustani, Chinese and, yes, many European peoples.  You would need to look like an Eskimo or an aboriginal Australian for there to be any meaning to the old questions “Funny you do not look Jewish?”.

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