What? Why you may ask? What does this have to do with Jewliciousness? Well, that’s a good question! I’ve had reason to contemplate red hair and Jews of late, and in doing so I recalled reading somewhere that red hair is indigenous only to Scots, the Irish and Jews. I had also always heard that King David was a ginger so perhaps there may have been some credence to these rumors. So I did some research and this is what I discovered from Wikipedia:

Red hair is also fairly common amongst the Ashkenazi Jewish populations, possibly because of the influx of European DNA over a period of centuries. In European culture, prior to the 20th century, red hair was often seen as a stereotypically Jewish trait: during the Spanish Inquisition, all those with red hair were identified as Jewish. In Italy, red hair was associated with Italian Jews, and Judas was traditionally depicted as red-haired in Italian and Spanish art. Writers from Shakespeare to Dickens would identify Jewish characters by giving them red hair. The stereotype that red hair is Jewish remains in parts of Eastern Europe and Russia.

And Moment Magazine posed the following question – Do Jews have more red hair than the Irish? To which was offered the following response:

FALSE! The association of Jews with red hair has a long history, dating back even to the Bible, in which rugged Esau and the harp-playing warrior king David were both believed to be redheads. Some more sinister Jews, too, were thought to be “gingers”: Judas and Shylock are often depicted with flaming locks. In fact, the link has become so widespread in popular culture that some believe there are more auburn-haired Jews than there are Irish, those most famous redheads. Not so, says Abel. “Scotland and Ireland have the highest proportion of people with red hair,” he says. The myth may be the result of confounded expectations: “There’s a higher percentage of Jews with red hair than you might expect from the fact that they came from the Middle East and most people in the Middle East have dark hair,” says Abel, though the number appears to be no higher than the approximately four percent of the world’s population who are endowed with red tresses.

Interesting right? Well worth delving into I think. And while you check out the existence, or lack thereof, of historical evidence that our greatest King ever was a redhead, listen to the following tunes, which represent the 6 best songs ever written or performed about redheads. If you have any faves, let me know in the comments!

The White Stripes – Fell In Love With a Girl

Red hair with a curl
mellow roll for the flavor
and the eyes for peeping
can’t keep away from the girl
these two sides of my brain
need to have a meeting

REM – Redhead Walking

Don’t get close
She’ll warn you with her growl
She’s a bud cuttin’, star studded, leather chested girl
Out there a redhead walkin’
Redhead walkin’
The redhead walkin’
Better listen keep your distance from the crimson

Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – Valerie
‘Cause since I’ve come on home, well my body’s been a mess
And I’ve missed your ginger hair and the way you like to dress
Won’t you come on over, stop making a fool out of me
Why won’t you come on over Valerie?

Bruce Springsteen – Red Headed Woman

Well brunettes are fine man
And blondes are fun
But when it comes to getting a dirty job done
I’ll take a red headed woman
A red headed woman
It takes a red headed woman
To get a dirty job done

Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton – Jolene

Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jolene
Please don’t take him just because you can
Your beauty is beyond compare
With flaming locks of auburn hair
With ivory skin and eyes of emerald green

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue

Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wondering if she’d changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was going to be rough
They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
Papa’s bankbook wasn’t big enough

The White Stripes – Icky Thump

Redhead senorita
Looking dead
Came and said
Need a bed
In Espanol

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • You should have added the rest of Dylan’s Tangled Up in Blue lyrics:

    She was married when we first met
    Soon to be divorced
    I helped her out of a jam, I guess
    But I used a little too much force
    We drove that car as far as we could
    Abandoned it out West
    Split up on a dark sad night
    Both agreeing it was best
    She turned around to look at me
    As I was walking away
    I heard her say over my shoulder
    “We’ll meet again someday on the avenue,”
    Tangled up in blue

    Spooky, right?

  • Don’t forget Richard Thompson’s ’52 Black Vincent-

    Oh, says Red Molly to James, “That’s a fine motorbike
    A girl could feel special on any such like”
    Says James to Red Molly, “My hat’s off to you
    It’s a Vincent Black Lightning, 1952”

    And I’ve seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
    Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme
    And he pulled her on behind
    And down to Box Hill, they did ride

    Oh, says James to Red Molly, “Here’s a ring for your right hand
    But I’ll tell you in earnest I’m a dangerous man
    For I’ve fought with the law since I was seventeen
    I robbed many a man to get my Vincent machine

    Now I’m twenty-one years, I might make twenty-two
    And I don’t mind dying, but for the love of you
    And if fate should break my stride
    Then I’ll give you my Vincent to ride”

    “Come down, come down, Red Molly,” called Sergeant McRae
    “For they’ve taken young James Adie for armed robbery
    Shotgun blast hit his chest, left nothing inside
    Oh, come down, Red Molly to his dying bedside”

    When she came to the hospital, there wasn’t much left
    He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
    But he smiled to see her cry
    And said I’ll give you my Vincent to ride

    Says James, “In my opinion, there’s nothing in this world
    Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
    Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves’s won’t do
    Ahh, they don’t have a soul like a Vincent 52”

    Oh, he reached for her hand then he slipped her the keys
    He said, “I’ve got no further use for these
    I see angels on Ariels, in leather and chrome
    Swooping down from heaven to carry me home”

    And he gave her one last kiss and died
    And he gave her his Vincent to ride

  • How about Willie Nelson’s Redhead Stranger?

    The red-headed stranger from Blue Rock, Montana,
    Rode into town one day.
    And under his knees was a ragin’ black stallion,
    And walkin’ behind was a bay.
    The red-headed stranger had eyes like the thunder,
    And his lips, they were sad and tight.
    His little lost love lay asleep on the hillside,
    And his heart was heavy as night.
    Don’t cross him, don’t boss him.
    He’s wild in his sorrow:
    He’s ridin’ an’ hidin his pain.
    Don’t fight him, don’t spite him;
    Just wait till tomorrow,
    Maybe he’ll ride on again.

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