Unless you have been sleeping under a rock, you know the saga of David Shor. You have read about him in New York Magazine, The Atlantic, and New York Magazine again. Shor’s firing by Civis Analytics was so craven that even social justice scolds think it was ridiculous.
But there is another aspect of David Shor that people don’t know: his parents are Moroccan Jews. About a decade ago Shor sent me his DNA when I was doing deep-dives into peoples’ genomes. He got some strange results since there weren’t any Sephardic Jewish reference populations in 23andMe and such at the time. I didn’t have Moroccan Jews to test against, but I do now. This is relevant for two reasons
- Shor has a family legend that his father may have substantial Ashkenazi ancestry
- Until Shor’s rise to prominence, Emmanuelle Chriqui was arguably the most famous Moroccan Jew in America (she being Canadian in origin). As he’s mentioned on every third podcast I listen to (and this has been true for a month or so), he’s definitely more “Razib famous” than Emmanuelle Chriqui, who I had to Google to find out about (she’s starting as a secondary character in a new Superman television series next year).
What are the results? David Shor seems to be 100% Moroccan Jewish. Whatever that means.
One of the things with Moroccan Jews is that they descend from Sephardic Jews expelled from the Iberian peninsula, but there were Jews in North Africa when they arrived. Some of the results above, and this paper, indicate that some affinity with the Berber people of North Africa. This is probably due to the conversion of some Berbers to Judaism in antiquity and their assimilation into the identity of Sephardic newcomers (who assimilated all the Jews of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, with the exception of the Romaniote Jews).