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A Yiddish genetics

Do all Jews have a common genetic past? Recent studies provide possible answers

The Traves family, Italy. Photo: Beit HaTfusot, Photo Archive, courtesy of Yoel de Malachi
The Traves family, Italy. Photo: Beit HaTfusot, Photo Archive, courtesy of Yoel de Malachi

Gal Chaimovich Galileo

From the kingdom of David through the exile in Babylon to the expulsion from Spain: about 4,000 years ago, according to Jewish and Muslim traditions, Abraham our father was the founding father of the people of Israel (the path of Isaac) and of the Arab people (the path of Ishmael). However, so far no archaeological findings have been found that support what is described in the Bible about the period of the ancestors. However, many archaeological findings confirm some important later landmarks of the Jewish people, including three postcards: the Assyrian exile of the Kingdom of Israel in the 8th century BC; Exile in Babylon at the beginning of the 6th century BC; and Roman exile in the 1st century AD.

The Jewish people are currently scattered in various communities around the world, where the explanation is that the origin of the various communities is in the Babylonian exile (the communities in Iraq and Iran) and the Roman exile (European and North African communities). The Jews of Spain, whose archaeological evidence suggests an ancient settlement of at least the 3rd century AD, were expelled from Spain in 1492 and clashed with the Jewish communities in the Balkans, Italy and North Africa; Hence the nickname of these communities "Spreads".

The origin of the Ashkenazim is unclear. The main explanation is that a group of Jews settled in the Rhine region at the beginning of the second millennium AD. However, another theory claims that the origin of the Ashkenazi Jews is generally from the Khazarian people. The Khazars ruled a large part of northeastern Europe in the 7th to 11th centuries AD. In the 9th century AD, apparently, the Khazarian king Bulan converted and with him several thousand others from the royal court and the capital city. One of the explanations is that with the fall of the Khazar kingdom, some of them moved to Central Europe and became part of the infrastructure of the Ashkenazi community.

Do those Jewish communities, which are located in places thousands of kilometers apart, indeed originate from a lineage that begins in the Bible? Did the Jewish communities in the Diaspora really maintain genetic continuity over a period of hundreds and thousands of years? And perhaps the intermingling of the exiles with the local population created a Jewish community that preserved the tradition, but not the genetic continuity?

Such questions were initially examined by comparing anthropological physical characteristics (such as facial features, bone structure, etc.) or using simple Mendelian genetics, one trait at a time (e.g. Joseph Jacobs (1891) and Maurice Fishberg (1911), or works by Koviliansky from the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, in the 70s). However, such comparisons are problematic since the physical characteristics are relatively subjective; Also, today it is known that they are often determined by more than one shield. Indeed, the results of these comparisons contradicted each other many times. Starting in the 60s of the last century, genetic studies were conducted among Jews, but these were mainly focused on the identification of hereditary diseases, such as Tay Sachs.

From the north to Yemen

An initial genetic study that attempted to answer the questions presented above was only published in 1979. In the study, which was conducted by Bat-Sheva Buna-Tamir from the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with researchers from the faculties of mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science and Stanford University, the researchers compared alleles of 14 different blood-related traits (such as ABO, Rh, HLA and other blood types, as well as blood proteins such as hepatoglobin and adenylate kinase).

The comparison was made among nine Jewish communities in the Diaspora (four Ashkenazi communities, two Sephardic communities and three Mizrahi communities) against three Middle Eastern populations and three European populations. Buna-Tamir's conclusion was that most Jewish communities are genetically closer to each other than to the neighboring non-Jewish population (surprisingly, Iraqi Jews were found to be closest to...Polish Jews!) The exceptional communities were Yemenite Jewry and Cochin Jewry in India. We will return to them later.

Beginning in the 20s, more than XNUMX studies were published comparing genetic markers on the Y chromosome (which is inherited only from the father) between different Jewish communities, and between them and non-Jewish populations. The reason why the Y chromosome was chosen is mainly convenience - because the chromosome regularly passes from only one parent, and this facilitates the statistical analysis of the results. These studies also revealed a strong genetic kinship between Ashkenazi Jews and Sephardic Jews, compared to non-Jewish Europeans, and the kinship of the Jews to the Lebanese, Turks, Armenians and Kurds. The findings regarding Ethiopian and Yemenite Jews indicated Jewish genetic markers, but also genetic mixing with the local population.

A very interesting finding regarding the Y chromosome emerged from the research of Karl Skorki from the Faculty of Medicine at the Technion. Skorki discovered that there are some genetic markers on the Y chromosome that are unique to priests, regardless of their ethnic affiliation (Ashkenazim or Sephardi). Later studies extended the founding of the priestly dynasty to a period of about 1,000±3,000 years ago, a number that corresponds to the beginning of the priestly dynasty according to tradition.

Prof. Ariela Oppenheim from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published a study in 2005 in which she examined the distribution of the R-M17 genetic marker on the Y chromosome among Ashkenazim and compared her data to data from various Jewish and non-Jewish populations collected in previous studies.

First, she found that the frequency of this genetic marker is higher in Ashkenazim (12%) compared to Sephardic Jews and Kurdish Jews (about 4%) and is different from most European populations (50%-30% prevalence in Eastern European nations and very low prevalence in Western European nations) ). Since a similar prevalence was found among Ashkenazim from various parts of Europe, her hypothesis is that this does not stem from interbreeding with local non-Jews, but from a common founding father for those 12%, in the period from 900 to 2,800 years ago.

It is possible that that founding father was a Khazar (since the period is appropriate, and as mentioned the frequency of this marker is particularly high in Eastern European nations), but even if that genetic marker came from the Khazars, this means that out of the entire Ashkenazi population, only 12% are descendants of the Khazars.

In another study, by David Goldstein (Goldstein) from University College London, genetic markers were compared on the mitochondrial DNA, that is, DNA that is inherited only from the mother. As from similar studies, this study also revealed that there are considerable differences between the Jewish community and the local population. However, in the mitochondrial DNA lies evidence that each of the eight communities examined was founded by a small number of mothers, but each such group of mothers differed from one another.

After the establishment of the communities there was almost no leakage of mitochondrial genes from the external population. This result is in good agreement with the statement that a Jew is one whose mother is Jewish, since this statement almost completely prevented, apparently, the addition of non-Jewish women to the Jewish communities.

In all the studies mentioned so far, only relatively few genetic markers were tested (a few markers to a few dozen at most), this is due to limitations of the DNA sequencing technology. The statistical distribution of a small number of markers is not enough to get unequivocal answers regarding the proximity and/or distance of the different populations.

A question of geography

In recent years there has been tremendous progress in the technology of determining DNA sequences. In fact, two different technologies (at least) have been developed, which make it possible to simultaneously determine the sequence of millions of short DNA segments. Thanks to these developments (and advanced computer programs that are able to compare the sequences), today it is possible to carry out a much more comprehensive comparative study than those carried out in the past.

In June of this year, two studies were published, one in the prestigious science weekly Nature and the other in the American Journal of Human Genetics. In both studies, a comparison of hundreds of thousands to millions of genetic markers was made between 14-7 Jewish communities from around the world and between dozens of non-Jewish populations from around the world, including the Middle East.

The research published in Nature was conducted by Richard Willems (Villems) from the University of Tartu in Estonia, and Karl Skorki from the Technion, in collaboration with many other researchers, including Batsheva Buna-Tamir. In the study, they compared the genotype of 121 Jews from 14 different communities around the world, to the genotypes of 1,166 non-Jews from 69 different populations of the "Old World" (Africa, Europe and Asia), this in combination with data from about 8,000 Y chromosomes and 14,000 Mitochondrial DNA sequences found in databases.

The researchers used software called EIGENSOFT to analyze the main genetic component of each population and its adaptation to a geographic area. Compared to this software, which divides the population according to the main genetic component, there are programs which break down the genetic composition according to presumed ancestors, which are attributed to certain populations. These programs also make it possible to determine to what level of complexity to reach, i.e. how many ancestors to break down the genetic makeup of that person.

Willems and Skorski's initial analysis of genotypes versus geography divided the population map into several regions: South and Central Africa, North and East Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and East Asia.

Most of the individuals belonging to the Jewish communities (Ashkenazim, Mizrahim [Iran and Iraq], Sephardim [Bulgaria and Turkey], Moroccans, and Caucasians [Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan]) were grouped together in a certain area in the graph, to which individuals from the Druze and Samaritan populations were also grouped.

The Yemenite Jews, who in general also clustered in the area of ​​the graph that contains populations from the Middle East, were again found a little far from the rest of the Jewish populations, but they overlap with the Bedouins and the Saudis. These results strengthen the claim that the origin of the Jewish people is in the Middle East.

Are we all Jews?

What do we learn from all this genetic data? We have presented here the results of two independent studies, which used samples of different individuals from different populations, the DNA sequences were determined by different methods and even analyzed with the help of different software.

All the genetic findings from these two studies and the cumulative findings from previous studies clearly indicate that all the Jewish communities examined are related by a distant genetic link. Moreover, the genetic closeness to contemporary non-Jewish populations in the Middle East point to an origin of the Jewish people in the Levant region.

How far is the genetic link? At the moment it is impossible to give an exact answer. Skorki and others previously dated the "Priests' Mark" on the Y chromosome to about 3,000 years ago. Gil Atzmon tried to build a model to measure the time of the split between the different communities. According to his model, the split between the Eastern Jews and the European Jews occurred about 100-150 generations ago (a generation was defined as 20 years), that is, during the first millennium BC - a result that corresponds to the Assyrian and Babylonian exiles.

However, Atzmon's model failed to reveal when the split between the Mizrahim and the non-Jewish Middle Eastern population happened. The non-Oriental Jewish communities were created during the Roman exile, but these also included a large population of Greeks/Romans who converted at the same time. That is, among the exiled communities during the Roman exile there were also many who were not of Semitic origin. Hence the genetic proximity of the European/Syrian Jews (and probably also Moroccans, according to Willems) to southern European populations.

Regarding the Ashkenazim, the genetic closeness to both the other Jewish communities and European-Mediterranean populations does not fit the hypothesis that they originate from the Khazars. It is possible that the Khazars interbred in the existing Ashkenazi population, according to Ariela Oppenheim's findings described above - but this is only an assumption and there is no proof that the same genetic marker actually came from the Khazars, since the genetic marker could equally come from Ukrainians, Russians or Poles.

Many questions remain open. For example, what is the origin of the Jews in the genetically "distant" communities? Is the origin of the Ethiopian and Yemenite Jews from the time of the Queen of Sheba? Or is the origin of the Yemeni Jews even in the conversion of King Jara Yusuf in the 6th century AD? Does the genetic data of the "Children of Israel" from India correspond to the tradition that they originate from only seven men, who arrived in India in the 2nd century BC?

The eastern communities are considered more "ancient", since they probably originated in the Babylonian exile. However, Gil Atzmon said he was unable to construct a model describing when the split of the Middle Eastern Jewish and non-Jewish populations occurred. In his opinion, the split occurred in a more complex historical process than the split of a source population, but he does not provide an example of such a process.

Also, it is strange that in both studies, the Druze, who originated from an Islamic movement at the beginning of the second millennium AD, were found to be the closest to the Jews. Both studies do not discuss at all the possible genetic origins of the Druze and their closeness to the Jews.

We started with Abraham our father, almost 4,000 years ago. According to the traditions and historical and archaeological evidence, the people of Israel went through exile after exile until finally it was divided into separate and closed Jewish communities. Nevertheless, the connection between the communities was not severed, as can be learned from Jewish travelers such as Benjamin of Tudela.

Now, genetic information collected from many communities confirms the claim that all Jewish communities originate from a population from several thousand years ago, which originates in the Levant. Today, with the grouping of the exiles in the Land of Israel on the one hand and the assimilation of Jews with host populations on the other, we have a narrow window of opportunity to deepen and study the genetics of the Jewish people, before the genetic information of the separate communities is mixed into a more homogeneous and global population.

35 תגובות

  1. For all the historiologists who are trying to discover their Jewishness, the many mistakes in your words, as we have gone through, are the stories of the Haggadah that were intended to give strength to the rabbinic sect that took over Judaism, abandoned Jerusalem in order to build it, and probably abandoned the masses of the people to the Romans. It was the rabbis' desire to eliminate any good Jewish power that created their connection to the Romans and the rest is history for them to write

  2. 1 . After the destruction of the house, the Roman commissioner sent about one hundred thousand slaves, most of them from the tribe of Judah, to the Roman Empire, so that they would engage in forced labor to build fortifications against the Germanic tribes (yes, when the Jews knew how to write from old age to toddler, the Germanic tribes and some of the Romans still ate raw meat), there was a good chance that their wives were as a result of their conversion. The phrase Khazar is used by Ashkenazi haters to slander. I know a man in the Be'er Sheva area who has a tradition that he is a descendant of the Khazars who rebelled, I am not allowed to publish his name.
    2, Arabs descended from Jewish tribes were found on Mount Hebron whom Muhammad forced to convert to Islam. A genetic closeness was found between them and Ashkenazi Jews, and some of them still keep Jewish markers, in a television interview, a Muslim showed them a wrapped mezuzah that was kept by his family and passed down from generation to generation.
    2. The ruler of Abyssinia called himself Haile Selassie Gor Aryeh Yehuda. It was nice to be adorned with a magnificent pedigree. There were also Jews who decided that they were the reincarnation of the souls of Ghanaians and heroes. There was also a heathen who decided she was a Norwegian princess and I thought she was the reincarnation of a Dutch cow. This is far from genetics, but it is required and there were unexplained phenomena, for another discussion.

  3. Leave the Khazars who are not Khazars 1 Asian and 2 Barbarians

  4. From a Jewish point of view, almost the entire genetic discussion is irrelevant!
    "Jew" is a purely halachic definition. And when in terms of the halachic definition a person is considered a "Jew" then it does not matter what his genetic origin is. The only NAM that can apparently be is the issue of the priesthood and Levia and the kingdom of the house of David. But also regarding priesthood and funeral there is a concept in Judaism called "hezka" which will be impossible to disprove until "God the prophet comes".
    I never understood why Jews came from "Kazars" or from "Europeans" or from another source... As long as it is a person who observes the Jewish Law and married according to the Jewish Law, then he has the part of the Jews.
    Besides, can anyone guarantee the rate of changes in genetic mutations? Are there enough years of research to prove genetic theories? It is not necessary at all that if we found 6 generations of genetic identity then also 7 generations back it was the same and about 50 generations back...

  5. Here is everything you wanted to know about the genetics of the Ashkenazim (spoiler: about 55% ancient Levant and another about 45% European), and a few more things you wanted to know and didn't even know you wanted:

    Don't panic - it does look complicated and long in English, but it's quite simple (just read step by step and look at the illustrations)...

  6. Perhaps in the first century when the pagan world became Christian, a small part accepted Jerusalem Jewish Christianity, ZA joined the people, and a large part accepted Christianity after Paul's transformation. Maybe there were whole groups that accepted "Christianity" that remained Jewish?

  7. Each of you does your genetic testing for a company that has a lot of technology, do it for a neutral company.
    And you know 80% or 95% of your genetics, they know if you have or don't have 40% more or less admixture with Europeans.

  8. Research in the English language is not limited to what is found in Hebrew or the Hebrew language. If you go to see the autosomal test of the Jews you will find that they are 40% European and 60% Middle Eastern.
    Does the same research in English not get stuck in one source or research in one language.

  9. The truth is that there were genetic differences and differences in appearance already at the dawn of the Jewish people. Yosef married Asnat the Egyptian, so Ephraim and Manasseh looked half-Egyptian. Yehuda married the Canaanite Bat Shua, so her son had half-Canaanite gardens. That is, there were big differences in appearance even though they were both Jacob's grandsons. And all the wives of the sons of Jacob were of a different origin than Jacob.

  10. According to the Torah, Ishmael's mother was Egyptian and so was his wife. While Yitzchak's mother was Hebrew (from Hebrews) and so was his wife. So Ishmael has three quarters of Egyptian genes, and a quarter of Hebrew genes. And it is not known with which populations the Ishmaelites mixed while they were in the Arabian desert, at the beginning of their formation as a people.

  11. haplogroup R1a does not indicate a Khazarian origin, but Eastern/Northern European, Scythian or Iranian (Iranic) India.
    The Khazars were a nomadic Turkic people who came to Eastern Europe from the west of Central Asia, and according to what I understand, they were ethnic Turks and not peoples who "became" Turks. Although some of the Turkic peoples in Central Asia belong to haplogroup R1a, this is as a result of assimilation with the peoples who lived in the region.
    If the Ashkenazim are indeed descendants of the Khazars, most of them would belong to haplogroup C, Q TU N.

  12. One-of-a-kind research/article. Give strength to writers and practitioners in the field. "Know where you came from." There are many implications regarding your current life, in terms of abilities in the field of personalization, and your abilities in various areas that make up the texture of your life. Who like me knows!!!

  13. Abraham, our father, was of the "Shem" race and he gave birth to both Isaac and Ishmael.
    Thus the brothers Yitzchak and Ishmael are both of the "Shem" race,
    The Ishmaelites of today are the Saudis and the Bedouins - they are "of the same race" and are not mixed compared to the other Arab peoples who were genetically mixed.
    Therefore, a true Jew with "pure Semitic" Jewish genetics must have a common gene with the Saudi and Bedouin Ishmaelites... After all, our father Yitzchak and Ishmael were brothers and they have a common gene.
    Hence, Yemeni Jewish communities are the most genetically authentic Jews....
    (What's more, they are the only community that were all Torah-observant Jews and non-secular - during the entire exile, from the days of the First Temple until they immigrated to Eretz Yisrael when the state was established, they were very jealous of their Judaism)
    On the other hand, the other communities mixed during the Second Temple period and also after the destruction with Geri Tzedek Romans and Greeks who are not of the race of Shem but of the race of Jephthah...

  14. are you a geneticist interesting! Because you don't seem to understand anything about population genetics research. None of the sections you wrote as a reservation are serious (like your assertions that lack the research basis that Jews were found to be closer to the source populations - what is true is that there is little evidence from a non-Jewish origin, little evidence - and they are not Ashkenazi).

    In general, more than a hundred studies have been done to date and a total of several tens of thousands of subjects have been sampled. Statistically, the results are much more significant and repeat themselves from study to study.

    I doubt you graduated high school.

  15. They omitted from their conclusions some basic data that skewed the entire 'research'. I am a geneticist just as much as they are. I read the data of the report and found many question marks about all the populist conclusions put forward by the researchers:

    1. Looking at the distribution bar of the global genetic distribution, it can be clearly seen that the communities are all close to their non-Jewish environment.

    2. The same kinship between Ashkenazim and Spaniards lies in a natural racial genetic kinship of Mediterraneans with Ashkenazim, and therefore the kinship described in the report.

    3. Those communities that were noted as different are isolated communities that are far from the Mediterranean and European genetic pattern (which we said are close anyway) and therefore the distinct difference between them and the communities of Ashkenazi Jews and Mediterranean Jews.

    4. The genetic closeness of the Diaspora Jews to their diasporas lies in marriages with local women and men, the genes were mixed into a mix which for the most part tends to the regional pattern without any shadow of a doubt.

    5. The measurement itself - 121 Jews from 14 different communities, come on... is it scientific? Does it represent something coherent? shame on you.

    6. And just by the way, I noticed that Indian Jews (both communities) have Mediterranean traits that do not appear in the locals, they forgot to mention that and it's a shame they just did an injustice.

    In conclusion, the hasty conclusions of the report are a warning sign of a study that pretends to be portrayed as scientific and a pity.

    Come to my training at the Weizmann Institute, dear researchers, and I will teach you some scientific research etiquette, and above all scientific modesty and honesty.

  16. I remember reading in one of Dawkins or Gould's books that it took something like 5000 years for the black skinned people who migrated from Africa to Northern Europe to become white and even fair. The advantage of dark skin in Africa against the heat of the sun was replaced by the advantage of light skin that allowed the creation of vitamin D, in areas with little sun.

  17. to the 'sparrow bird'
    And on the other hand, if you arrive in Italy (even the northern one..) they will ask you if you are from Central/Eastern Europe.. so you probably don't look like a Smith..

  18. Lezio:
    Let's assume that there is migration in a low but significant percentage of a light phenotype.. say: 5% of the population.. and in addition there is some environmental advantage for this phenotype for various reasons.. (perhaps a less hostile environment.. or an advantage in finding a mate) for evolution in the given situation, there is no need to choose A unique allele from zero.. and the spread of the trait can be much faster. For example: a mixed couple with 3 children when one of them has a very bright appearance, let's say he is the only one who had children, there is more chance that his children will be bright like him and so on.. (as in artificial selection which can be very fast..)

  19. to David,
    It probably takes many, many generations! There is no other example of color changing so quickly.
    Blacks in America 400 generations - no change.
    The whites in North Africa, 3000 years, no change.
    The Asians in Indonesia, thousands of years, without change..

    From a historical point of view it is important to note that even if the exile was significant around the years of the Holocaust
    (And here, too, there are many problems of numbers and the ability of the Romans to perform such an act)
    It should be remembered that Judaism spread widely throughout the Roman Empire also based on Jewish and Roman evidence
    About large communities developed in Rome in the Levant (among the barbarians for example). In the interior of Europe in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.
    They have distinct Jewish symbols including Jewish burial.
    Before Christianity conquered Rome, it was Judaism that threatened to become the dominant religion in the empire!
    In order to reach a spread of this magnitude, a mass conversion is necessary, which was probably acceptable in those times.
    Therefore, there may be a large bias in the results of the study.

  20. Tori
    Indeed the external appearance shows the geographical area where they originally developed North/Southeast/West
    But there are exceptions
    See how many Druze in our country are blonde with blue/green eyes and there is an explanation for this too
    Regarding Masuda Menhariya (yes, I understood that the intention was a bit of a homer) but you missed it
    Compared to the last sentence which was more successful

  21. A theory that supports the "change of appearance"
    Dark skin helps survival in warmer areas (skin cancer) - therefore, those with dark skin will be more likely to inherit genes to their offspring. Thus, from generation to generation, Jews (and non-Jews) in a warm climate - will be slightly darker
    Light skin helps survival in colder areas (better absorption of vitamin D) - therefore, those with light skin will be more likely to inherit genes to their offspring. Thus, from generation to generation, Jews (and non-Jews) in cold climates - will be slightly lighter
    The remaining question - how many generations are supposed to pass until the change is visible

  22. Bird sparrow, I believe you when you claim that there is a difference between you and a Russian or German gentile, but agree with me that it is nevertheless something similar, if only when you compare yourself to a Jewess of Yemeni, Iraqi, Ethiopian, etc. origin. As far as I know, I haven't met many Yemeni or Ethiopian blondes with green eyes. It may still happen, but until then I remain of the opinion that you are more similar to North/Eastern Europeans according to the description than to a restaurant from the kiosk in Nahariya.

    On the other hand, I once met a blonde Yemeni but we should leave that for another time...

  23. Tori:
    As they said before, similar but different. I'm blonde with green eyes, and so are half of my siblings. Our origins are in Europe - partly in Germany and partly in Slavic areas. Sometimes I'm asked if I'm Russian, but just put me next to a Russian or a German, and you'll see the difference in the eyes. The same goes for the male part of the family.
    We do have similar features, but we are so different.

  24. For the student who drops out:
    The Jews of the Caucasus are the only community that officially claims that there are some who are descendants of the Khazars (and this is the answer to all the non-smart people who try to stick it to the Ashkenazim). Look for more information on their official website, I think it's called "Mountain Jews". (I previously researched their origins for work, not in a genetic way but in a historical way, and that's how I was exposed to this piece of information).

  25. And a very surprising finding is that 52% of the Ashkenazi Levites have a Y chromosome of type R1a1 (probably of Khazarian origin).

    The reason is, apparently, that in order to be accepted among the Jews, they adopted the title of Levi. As an example, I will take the Kiev letter which lists Jewish-Slavic-Turkish names at the end of the letter.. Cohen.

    In Khazria Muslims, Christians, Jews and Pagans lived together. The sectarian divide - multiplicity of ethnic nationalities - was one of the causes of the fall of the empire.

    There is much more information that is known about it. Like the fact that Khazar Jews had holiday names ("Hanukkah" as an example). In which denomination are there Jews who call their children names like "Hanukkah"? The Jews of the Caucasus.

  26. A comprehensive and in-depth article.
    I agree with "Tori's" question, how did the visual difference come about?
    Isn't the sample of the latest study that included only 121 Jews from 14 communities small?
    Increasing the sample to a larger number of subjects. For the purpose of several hundred people preferably from each community. Lower the percentage of errors and confirm the results that may change completely but will explain the visual difference and more for example topics such as disease genes.

  27. A comprehensive and in-depth article.
    I agree with "Tori's" question, how did the visual difference come about?
    Isn't the sample of the latest study that included only 121 Jews from 14 communities small?
    Increasing the sample to a larger number of subjects. For the purpose of several hundred people preferably from each community. You will lower the percentage of errors and confirm the results that may change completely but will explain the difference in visuals and other subjects for example genes of diseases.

  28. Tori
    Let's start with the fact that the Jews are outwardly different from the nations they lived next to. There are effects but most of the time you can see a difference with the naked eye.
    Second, in order to change the external form, a few mixings over a long period of time are enough to have an effect. This is a visible and possible effect in a quick time. On the other hand, the study examines deeper genetic findings and not external form.
    Judging by external appearance, one might think that US President Obama is African to all intents and purposes, but in reality his mother is white. Of course, a genetic test will easily reveal that he is half white, but just by looking at it, you can't tell. And it teaches us that in one generation it is possible to achieve a considerable external change.

  29. One thing is not clear - if there is such a strong and clear genetic connection between the different Jewish communities, and also in the social aspect the main idea of ​​those Jewish communities was to differentiate from the others and not to allow mixing between the populations, then how did the visual difference between the different communities to the point of resembling the local population actually come about ?

    Ethiopians look Ethiopians, Yemenis look Yemenis, Eastern Europeans look Eastern Europeans, etc.

    If the populations were indeed "closed" then they should resemble each other with only minor changes, right?

  30. Of course, the study does not have any practical implications, since the Halacha only tests the mother and allows conversions regardless of race. But the article is beautiful, the genetic discoveries instigated several claims that were made in unsympathetic circles, in a thin language:

    1. "The origin of the Ashkenazim in the Khazars".
    Even without the genetic research, this claim is questionable. Ashkenazi Jews speak Yiddish which is mainly based on German. If the Khazars were a significant percentage, then the language would have been Turkish. In addition to this, the Ashkenazi prayer custom is originally influenced by the Haaretz-Israeli customs (the Sephardim were more influenced by the center in Babylon), so it is likely that the origin of the community is in Jewish captives who came to Italy after the destruction of the Second Temple.

    2. "Judaism was determined by the mother because of pogroms..."
    This law has been applied at least since Ezra and Nehemiah who ordered husbands to expel their foreign wives along with the children.

    By the way, only the Christian Ethiopians claim to be descendants of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon. The Jewish Ethiopians have a tradition that they are descendants of the tribe of Dan and other tribes that fled the land with the Assyrian exile. In any case, it turns out according to the research that there was probably a large Jewish population there since they left a genetic mark.

  31. "It is possible that the same founding father was a Khazar (since the period is appropriate, and as mentioned, the frequency of this marker is particularly high in Eastern European nations), but even if that genetic marker came from the Khazars, this means that out of the entire Ashkenazi population, only 12% are descendants of the Khazars."

    Hmm... only if all Khazars had this gene, which is unlikely considering the prevalence of the gene in Eastern Europe today. What's more, it's about men only.

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