Skip to comments.Genetic Roots of Ashkenazi Jews
Posted on 10/08/2013 11:57:29 AM PDT by ek_hornbeck
The majority of Ashkenazi Jews are descended from prehistoric European women, according to study published today (October 8) in Nature Communications. While the Jewish religion began in the Near East, and the Ashkenazi Jews were believed to have origins in the early indigenous tribes of this region, new evidence from mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on exclusively from mother to child, suggests that female ancestors of most modern Ashkenazi Jews converted to Judaism in the north Mediterranean around 2,000 years ago and later in west and central Europe.
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You’re right, but apparently this wasn’t always so.
No, it is not complicated at all.
Halachically, since the women converted, they are Jews.
The convert’s “merit” is that they CHOSE to convert to believe in HaShem and follow Torah, rather than being born into it. Rut ( Ruth), the Moabite was a virtuous woman who converted, married Boaz and became the great-grandmother of King David. She lived to see him crowned king of Israel.
There is no complication as long as the woman converts. Once she converts, she follows Torah and performs the Mitzvot. She is as Jewish as any other Jew. She may not be Israelite/ Hebrew. But, by marrying a Jew, her children will be of her husband’s tribe. By 3 generations, her descendants will be Hebrew lineage.
>>I have read that Ashkenazi Jews have a much higher frequency of above genius level IQ than any other group of people on earth.<<
They do. That’s a given. It’s been known for decades. They are .2 percent of the world’s population, but 20 percent of Nobel laureates. (Something like that.)
I don't think that's what they're saying. Mitochondria is passed down through Mothers with no paternal contribution. So, you can trace the female line back into time.
No, the Orthodox do not frown on the convert. The convert is actually respected because they made an actual choice to follow Torah. The convert is regarded as a Jewish Soul who is returning to the Jewish people.
The story of Rut ( Ruth) the Moabite, wife of Boaz and great-grandmother of King David is a shinning example of a woman who converts to Judaism and how the convert is regarded among us.
I am 1/2 ethnically Jewish. As my father is 100% Ashkenazi (Lithuanian and Romanian). My mother is a Protestant of almost perfectly equally divided Irish, Swedish and German ancestry.
I would say I look Southern European. I’m usually accused of being ‘Italian’ and tan easily but have green eyes. My brother of the same genetic disposition as I has blond hair. My mother’s side has many blonds, my father’s side is what you would expect of Ashkenasim (but athletic!)
I took a DNA test some years ago and without a desire to get too technical here, it looked like a tour of Europe.
My personal belief is that Ashkenazi Jews do have some lineage that traces back to the ancient Israelites, but I believe the vast majority of Ashkenazi blood comes from Europe. The Sepphardic Jews, again in my opinion, are the Jews that most ancestrally tie back to ancient Israel.
You can still tell them, you just have to know your audience very well.
Sicily was under Arab rule for a period in the Middle Ages (conquered in the 800s) and later was ruled by the Normans (who had Norse ancestry)...although the actual infusion of Arab or Norse blood into the local population may have been limited.
Wilma and Betty could be Jewish...their last names are their married names, after all.
The local arabs are, indeed, are closest genetic relatives to Jewish people, aside from the Samaritans.
Almost seems like the Torah is true or something.
There’ve been converts on both sides. At one point, the Khazar king and many, if not most, of his followers converted to Judaism. There’ve also been rapes and rebellious teenage girls, resulting in children of mixed lineage.
But the female convert thing is understandable. Supposing that a 1st Century French shiksah converted to Judaism. She might have changed her faith, but her prehistoric hotness remains intact, and is passed on to her daughters, who then became desirable matches to all those horny Jewish exile teenage boys, and thus grandma ex-shiksah’s legacy is passed down through the generations in ever-widening ripples, until the original hot genes dissipate at the edges of the gene pool.
As for Italians, like the Arabs, Jews and Italians are related.
“funny, for some reason i thought the orthodox frowned on converts”
A Jew-by-choice is no less of a Jew than someone born Jewish.
It’s actually expressly forbidden to treat a Jew-by-choice any different than any other Jew.
Now, is being Jewish a hard road? Do people hate you randomly? Is it sometimes lonely? Yes. And so conversion is discouraged because there is seldom any reason for a good gentile to convert to Judaism. But if one is persistent, he (or she) is welcome.
“That may explain the stereotype that Jews are so miserable. Smart people arent the happiest people around.”
No, it’s the gefeltefish.
Your post is slightly mis-informed. See my reply above.
I always thought that that was a function of surviving by one’s wits in a hostile world, plus a cultural tendency to breed smart kids with other, female smart kids, rather than making them take a vow of celibacy.
Yes, and the fact that the mitochondrial haplotype is similar to those of Europeans rather than to Middle Eastern peoples suggests that the maternal ancestors of Ashkenazi Jews were European rather than Middle Eastern.
Something more is needed than mitochondria, though. For about 900 years after the destruction of the Temple, the Gaonim kept up a lively correspondence with the Jews of the diaspora, dealing with a lot of marital issues. Their correspondence has survived and been printed, and are an important primary source of information of Jewish life in early-Mideival Europe and the Middle East. I’d like to see the mitochondria and hypotheses built thereon corroborated with some Gaonic correspondence frequently dealing with issues of conversion, which is a complicated, exacting process in Judaism.
It might well be that the shiksaik mitochondria of a few converts became wide spread due to the carriers’ underlying hotness, as per my previous post.
“I have read that Ashkenazi Jews have a much higher frequency of above genius level IQ than any other group of people on earth.”
That seems true, except for a blind spot related to politics. ;-)
My brother-in-law is mixed German/French/English lineage, but I always thought he looks rather stereotypical Jewish. The Jews apparently think so too - when he vacationed in Israel, everyone insisted on speaking Hebrew to him.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
That’s interesting, but I suspect they’re counting the Jewish population of the Levant in the Empire population. In which case 10% could be low.
The Vikings, the group often referred to as Normans, established a presence in Sicily and southern Italy in the 11th century. Being social people, I presume they socialized with the local population. As did Arabs who arrived later.
A Jewish soul returning to it's roots, in my experience that's not the case. Though in general it's not a big issue, I've on occasion heard commentary from Reform, more accurately non-religious Jews. I'm a real one, so and so isn't
I love the way you put that. I have read that back in the day, for Jewish merchants engaged in long journeys, months at a time, spreading hotness amongst the local populations was not condoned, but understood. Not so for the hotness of the wife left at home.
I thank you for your exhaustive reply.
The census cited was of the entire Empire, probably at least 65 million people total. Seems unlikely that more than 6.5 million of them were Jews.
Same with a friend from work. He was Japanese and had people talk to him in Spanish all the time.
My mom was Mexican (ancestry), and in her elder years, she was mistaken for my Chinese sister-in-laws mom. And I saw a Chinese woman at an asian market who could have been my mom’s sister.
Based on MtDNA, my mom had almost 60% native halogroup origin, with the highest concentration amongst Peru and Bolivia. B2b MtDNA.
Yes, you’re right. Though perhaps in the millions, it wouldn’t have been that large.
At the sushi place I noticed Asian looking Mexicans are the new itamae.
Live with it. It is the truth, it is well documented, and you cannot change it.
Am I the only person in Judaism who *likes* gefilte fish?
The Roman renamed the Jews and Israel “Palestine” as a demeaning insult to remind the Jews of the humiliation of the Greek invasion and take over centuries earlier. ( Google the holiday of Hannukah- that is where it comes from) The Romans gave the Jews and Israel this name during the siege of Jerusalem which took place on Tisha B’Av, 70 A.D. (See the writtings of Josephus Flavius and Titus.)
As a side note, the writtings of Josephus are translated into English and are a fascinating read.
I seem to remember hearing once that a would-be convert has to be turned away something like four times, but that when they return the fifth time, the rabbi begins instructing them.
I can’t imagine mistaking a Japanese person for a Mexican
I know a handsome young college student with a Latino last name and with a blonde Caucasian mom, and I assumed his looks descended from his Hispanic dad. Well one day I was talking with him, and it turns out that the guy I thought was his bio dad was his step dad and he adopted him, hence the Latino name. His bio dad was Japanese! He did not look at all Japanese. Interesting. He had darker skin than mom, and curly brown hair and almond eyes like his mexican adoptive dad!
I didnt know when I married Mrs. Right
that HER first name is Always.................
In earlier times, place names or area names varied by size, thru time, and between beholders. Like today, where does west Texas end and begin or where is the border between S. California and N. California. There were no nation states or borders back then. Places like Palestine or Syria waxed and waned.
I still have a copy of Josephus. I used to have a sizable library of books dealing with history, archeology, religion, etc. I sold almost all of them when I retired but kept a few for reference, including Josephus. On one hand I regret selling them but I didn't have to haul them around.
So today's Zionist Jews are mostly Ashkenazi Jews? It seems like I recall that the Christian Long Haired Kings of France were originally part of the Jewish diaspora. But I'm not sure about Charles de Gaulle. Or Prince Charles.
It sounds like the “1st” Ashkenazi moms (or at least a good many of them) were the local (northern mediterranean and further north) wives of Jewish men from the diaspora from Israel, caused by the deteriorting state of affairs, and two wars, between the Romnans who demanded submission and the Jews of Israel/Palestine who did not want to submit.
One of the 6th-century Merovingian kings forced a number of Jews in his kingdom to convert to Christianity. Presumably those people have many living descendants who are unaware of what happened to their 6th-century ancestors. There are undoubtedly a lot of Europeans who an unaware of being descended from someone who was Jewish but converted either under compulsion or voluntarily--probably it would be impossible for a European to prove he has no Jewish ancestry whatever (expect possibly Icelanders).