Jameel is an expert at Jewish Geography. Whenever he meets someone he’ll find at least 2 people that are 1 degree apart between them. It’s astounding. It’s incredible. It’s really, really annoying.
But the fact is, as Jews most of us are related to one another by (way) extended family – which is pretty cool.
While anti-Semites like saying Ashkenazi Jews are descendents from Khazars, and the rest of the Jews are the result of intermarriage and assimilation with their local cultures, the facts indicate otherwise.
Research was done on the Y-chromosome DNA of quite a large number of Jewish people and it was found that nearly all Cohanim share some very specific genetic markers, be they Sephardim, Yemenites, or Ashkenazim (indicating a single common ancestor). In fact most Jews share a number of important DNA markers indicating we are almost all related and of Semitic origin.
There’s a very cool conference on all this coming up in Jerusalem. It’s being sponsored by the Cohen-Levy Family Heritage Center.
While I’m from the tribe of Judah, and a descendent of King David (well, who knows, but it certainly sounds good) so some of it isn’t directly applicable to me, the science and the tours look really interesting.
There will be speakers on Genetics, Jewish Genealogy, (of course if they had something on Jewish Geography then Jameel would have to speak), on laws that apply to Cohanim and Leviim in contemporary times, common halachically-created issues such as marriage and divorce (something that unfortunately affects a few friends of mine – and yes I have friends who are Cohanim), and my always favorite - interesting tours of Jerusalem (and other areas related to historical Cohanim).
And best of all, did I mention that (I am pretty sure that) it is FREE.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael