(Photographic Supplement, Plate 44)

The Jews: I


The Jews have been left to the end because they do not as a whole fit into any single racial classification heretofore outlined. Historically the Jews of the Biblical period in Palestine were a Semitic-speaking people composed of various Mediterranean strains which had blended together at the time of the formation of the Jewish nation. These Mediterranean strains must have included a small Mediterranean type comparable to the present Yemeni Arabs; a taller, longer-faced strain with a tendency to nasal convexity, as is found among Irano-Afghan peoples today; and a straight-nosed, presumably Atlanto-Mediterranean element contributed by the Philistines.

The Jews began their expansion from Palestine as early as the time of the Babylonian Captivity; at this time they settled  Mesopotamia in large numbers, and from there began an expansion into central Asia of which colonies still remain. In the Hellenistic period they migrated into Asia Minor arid the Black Sea region, as well as into Egypt; these emigrants became Hellenistic Jews. Under the Romans they settled in Italy, France, and Spain, with especial concentrations in Spain and in the cities of the Rhineland. The Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 and during previous expulsions became the Sephardim, whose descendants are to be found in various countries bordering on the Mediterranean, especially Morocco, the Salonika region of what is now Greece, and Turkey. The Rhineland Jews, persecuted at the time of the First Crusade, moved eastward into Poland, the Ukraine, and other central European countries, and met there and absorbed a group of Hellenistic Jews moving westward, among whom were some who had lived among the Turkish Khazars in the Crimea and elsewhere. The two groups blended, and the Germanic speech of the more numerous western element prevailed. The modem Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazim are the descendants of this amalgamated body. Racially they preserve to a large measure their Mediterranean character, altered partly by Alpine admixture which has in many cases produced Dinaricization. This Alpine, as well as some Nordic, admixture was probably obtained largely in France and Germany before their departure eastward. The most persistent Palestinian Mediterranean traits which the Jews preserve is a narrowness of the face. The Jewish facial expression, by which many Jews may be distinguished, is a cultural and not a genetic character.

FIG. 1 (1 view, photo W. E. Forbes). A group of Yemenitic Jews photographed in Sana'a, the Capital of Yemen. These Jews are derived from more than one early Jewish source, but the bulk of their ancestors left Palestine for Arabia very early. Their purely Mediterranean and essentially Jewish facial and cranial character may be easily observed. They probably come as close to the original Jewish prototype as do any living Jews.

FIG. 2 (1 view). The Sheikh of the Jewish village of Zerekten, Glawa tribe, Atlas Mountains, Morocco. These Berber-speaking mountain Jews have lived in Morocco since not only pre-Islamic but probably also pre-Christian times; nevertheless they are easily distinguishable from the Berbers with whom they live. The sheikh here represented is aberrantly brachycephalic.

FIG. 3 (1 view). A much more typical mountain Jew from the same colony.

FIG. 4 (1 view). A group of Berber-speaking Jews. The man on the left has a concave nasal profile; he belongs to a coarser Mediterranean type than does the man in Fig. 3, or the tall Yemenitic Jew in Fig. 1.