Black and white Jews

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  • #10358

    Mary M.
    Member

    I had always heard that Jewish people are Semites, and that this means they have black and white ancestors, and this is why some white Jews have nappy hair just like black folks. Why don’t more white Jews acknowledge their black ancestors? And do they feel obligated to help the African Jews? Are the African Jews considered ‘real’ Jews?

    User Detail :  

    Name : Mary M., Gender : F, Sexual Orientation : Straight, Race : Black/African American, Religion : Christian, Age : 19, City : Columbus, State : OH Country : United States, Occupation : college student, Education level : 2 Years of College, Social class : Lower class, 
    #20229

    Rhiannon
    Member

    I’m sure my family has black ancestry. My father has nappy black hair and a nose and lips that look pretty African. He almost looks biracial. My cousin uses black hair care products. I’ve never actually heard Jews try to deny black ancestry, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it. It bothers quite a bit that there is so much animosity between African Americans and Jewish Americans. We have a lot in common, ancestrally and otherwise.

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    Name : Rhiannon, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 29, City : Eden Prairie, State : MN Country : United States, Occupation : Professor, Social class : Middle class, 
    #46765

    marcia22189
    Participant

    I’m not a sociologist or anthropologist, so somebody please correct me if I’m wrong, but here goes. . . As far as I know, Jews are Semites (and we’re talking here only about Jews who are descended from generations and generations of Jews, not the people from different ethnic/religious backgrounds who converted) and Merriam Webster defines Semites as ‘a member of any of a number of peoples of ancient southwestern Asia including the Akkadians, Phoenicians, Hebrews, and Arabs or a descendant of these peoples.’ Thus we’re not talking about Blacks. If you want a physical stereotype (which is, of course, not generally applicable) think Mediterranean (Italian/Greek/Jewish/Arab): olive skin, dark eyes, dark curly hair, ‘big’ nose. However, just to confuse the issue, Jews have migrating all over the globe for many centuries and thus one finds Jewish communities in countries as far flung as India and China. Because of centuries of intermarriage, there are (still, I believe) very small communities of Chinese Jews who look Chinese and Indian Jews who look Indian. And there are, indeed, Jews who are Black. They are from Ethiopia, they are known as Falashas, and, I believe, the vast majority of them were airlifted to Israel a number of years ago. So, most Jews are not descended from Blacks. The Falashas are real Jews. Jews tend, in general, to feel a responsibility to help othe Jews wherever they are. Thus the airlift out of Ethiopia was done by the Israeli government to help the Falashas.

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    Name : marcia22189, Religion : Jewish, City : NY, State : NY Country : United States, 
    #24351

    Dan
    Member

    When I looked up Semite, it was defined as any descendant of a region in southwest Asia. The way I consider this is that we are probably all descendants of people who were more black than white. It’s the whole Fertile Crescent/African birth of man idea. As a Jew I don’t think much about the color of my ancestor’ skin. Instead I consider their struggles and the way they persevered. As far as the curly hair idea, it’s not a very realistic perspective. There are lots of blondes with straight hair in my family and at my Temple. I’ll agree that the image you present is the typical American perspective of what a Jew “looks like.”

    I have been told many times that I don’t “look Jewish.” I am Jewish, so isn’t the way I look by definition a Jewish look? My fair-skinned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter looks like a surfer girl, not a typically Jewish look. As far as accepting and helping African Jews, a very common idea in the Jewish community is that a large group of Ethiopian Jews are actually the “lost tribe.” They are believed to be descendents of one of the original 12 tribes of Israel. Well, during the terrible famine in Ethiopia a few years ago, with support from the United States, Israel and private foundations (read Jewish Americans), the entire tribe was airlifted out of Ethiopia and re-settled in Israel.

    Jews in general don’t have a single answer to anything. It’s the adage “Ask three Rabbis get, four answers!”

    User Detail :  

    Name : Dan, Gender : M, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 35, City : Orange County, State : CA Country : United States, Education level : Over 4 Years of College, Social class : Upper middle class, 
    #24771

    Rhiannon
    Member

    I’m sure my family has black ancestry. My father has nappy black hair and a nose and lips that look pretty African. He almost looks biracial. My cousin uses black hair care products. I’ve never actually heard Jews try to deny black ancestry, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it. It bothers me quite a bit that there is so much animosity between African Americans and Jewish Americans. We have a lot in common, ancestrally and otherwise.

    User Detail :  

    Name : Rhiannon, Gender : F, Race : White/Caucasian, Religion : Jewish, Age : 29, City : Eden Prairie, State : MN Country : United States, Occupation : Professor, Social class : Middle class, 
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