Faith & Trust

Why Has the Jews’ External Appearance Changed Over the Exile?

Hello, Rabbi. I wanted to ask how it could be that Jews went into exile over a thousand years ago and they took on the external appearance of the peoples among whom they settled? For instance, Jews from a Moroccan background have dark skin. Jews from Russia and Germany have blond hair, etc. It can’t be because they intermarried the non-Jews among whom they lived (or maybe it can?). It also doesn’t make sense that there were so many non-Jewish converts that they completely changed the genetic material of the Jewish people. Could this be a proof that we didn’t go into exile or that large numbers of Jews intermarried non-Jews and assimilated? Thanks.

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All the people in the world are the descendants of the first man Adam, so that all the varieties that you see among them were generated by the different climates they lived in. It is just genetic variation, not evolution.

Over thousands of years, the climate had an effect on individual genes in changing skin color, hair color, etc. In our days, we’ve known of several rare cases where a white-skinned child was born to blacks or a dark-skinned child was born to whites.

Another possibility is that non-Jews converted and joined the Jewish community, and their genes, which were more suited to the climate, spread through the local Jewish populace.

Assimilation was impossible, because Jews who assimilated over the generations forgot their Judaism and lost their Jewish identity. The only reason that you and I know that we are Jews, is because our ancestors married only with Jews.

Yours truly,
Daniel Blass


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