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    Tony Shalhoub

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    October 9, 1953 —

    Award-winning actor Tony Shalhoub is not Jewish. Yes, the man who just finished playing one of the most Jewy characters in recent memory, Abe Weissman on "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is a goy. Yes, despite those rather Semitic looks...

    About those Semitic looks: Shalhoub, is, well, Semitic, while a large percentage of Jews you know and love are, well, not Semitic. Confused yet? Let's explain.

    The term "Semitic" originally referred to a group of languages that started spreading around 2500 BCE. That group encompassed much of the Middle East, as well as the Horn of Africa. The term was coined in the late 1700s and comes from Shem, the son of Noah.

    With time, the term began to evolve to denote a race, separate from "Caucasian". And with more time, "Antisemitic" became a thing, meaning specifically anti-Jewish, despite "Semitic" covering a much larger group of ethnicities.

    So why do we say that not all Jews are actually Semitic? As recent research has shown, Ashkenazi Jewish DNA is pretty much split into two parts: one with Middle Eastern ancestry, and one with Central and Eastern European. Yes, there has been a lot of mixing through the centuries, but, technically speaking, this makes a lot of Asheknazi Jews not exactly Semitic.

    As for Shalhoub? His ancestry lies in Lebanon. High score on SemiticOrNotSemitic.com!

    Verdict: Not a Jew.

    May 29, 2023

    See Also

    Alex Borstein

    Rachel Brosnahan

    Zachary Levi

    Ted Levine

    Kevin Pollak
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