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Why is it that Jews from all parts of the world, do not look the same? We are, essentially, from the same forefathers, and how then does it seem that many Jews often look like nation that housed them in exile?

I once heard an answer that it is due to the constant "rape and pillage" the Jews were subjected to in their host countries, thereby marginalising the differences in appearance between Jew and gentile. But would that have such an extreme effect on the whole demographic of Jews? (e.g. most Yemenite Jews look Yemenite, and European Jews look European, so if only a few were subjected to rape, would the whole population look like them?). Is there any other answer to this question?

marked as duplicate by msh210 Jun 12 '14 at 6:24

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    Duplicate? judaism.stackexchange.com/q/432 – Fred Jun 12 '14 at 4:03
  • Thank you @Fred In future is there a way to check if my question has been asked before, or is it just the suggested similar topics that come up as you write the title of your question? – AKayser Jun 12 '14 at 4:09
  • Another good idea is to search through questions with relevant tags. In this case, that wouldn't have helped, though. I just remembered that this came up before. – Fred Jun 12 '14 at 4:12
  • One could ask why people from different places look different at all. After all, everyone is descended from Noah – Daniel Jun 12 '14 at 4:20
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    I saw an article that claimed that the maternal mitochondrial DNA showed more of a connection with the host nation population than the paternal DNA. This claimed that instead of "rape and pillage", more local women converted to Judaism than is normally thought. Note that the reason for assuming conversion rather than intermarriage is that usually, children of intermarriage do not remain in the Jewish community (for multiple reasons). However, converts were accepted and became the ancestors of Jews. Merchants who were often the first ones in an area would convert local women and marry them. – sabbahillel Jun 12 '14 at 13:04

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