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Is it possible to provide scientific proof for the hypothesis that certain Jewish men are descendants of priestly families?

The analysis of the genetic sequence of Y chromosomes showed that the Jewish men who carry the tradition of belonging to the priesthood probably had a common ancestor who lived 2,000 or 3,000 years ago

Is there a doctor in the lab? Guest of the section: Prof. Karl Skortsky, Rambam Medical Center and the Technion "The Weizmann Institute of Science does a huge service to medicine in Israel by bringing the doctors to the laboratories and teaching them to think like scientists"

From the right: Prof. Ehud Shapira and Prof. Karl Skortsky. outside the box
From the right: Prof. Ehud Shapira and Prof. Karl Skortsky. outside the box

Are certain Jewish men related by family ties to the biblical Aaron? Are millions of Ashkenazi Jews the offspring of a small number of "founding mothers"? Do all cancer metastases arise from the same primary tumor? These are some of the questions asked in the research of Prof. Karl Skortsky, a doctor from the Rambam Medical Center, and head of the Rappaport Research Institute at the Technion, who recently worked, as part of a sabbatical year, in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics of the Weizmann Institute of Science.
How does a doctor fit into a group of computer scientists? Prof. Skortsky divides his time between treating patients at the Rambam Medical Center and researching population genetics. He believes that regular communication and collaborations with computer scientists can help achieve unconventional solutions - "outside the box" - to research questions in the fields of life sciences. He came to the institute after reading about the research of Prof. Ehud Shapira from the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Biological Chemistry, who developed an innovative computational approach to examining biological issues. In fact, Prof. Skortsky was already on sabbatical at the Weizmann Institute in 1991 (see frame). "The Weizmann Institute is an excellent place, which surpasses many places in the world in terms of the research environment and research support," he says.
Prof. Shapira developed an approach that combines advanced biochemistry with computational methods, and utilizes certain markers in the DNA molecule to find out the origin of body cells. This is especially the DNA parts called microsatellites, which include genetic "letters" that repeat themselves, and therefore tend to accumulate errors every time the cell divides. So, for example, it is easy to make a mistake in the word "Mississippi" and write it as "Mississippi". By analyzing genetic errors of this type, the scientists can tell how many times the cell has divided in the past and what the relationship between the cells is.
During his sabbatical, in joint research with Dr. Shalu Itzkovits, a post-doctoral researcher from Prof. Shapira's laboratory, Prof. Skortsky focused on the study of cancer cells. For example, determining how many times leukemia cells have divided may allow scientists to assess how aggressive the leukemia is. Additional studies, which are based on microsatellites in DNA, can help determine when cancerous metastases formed from a certain tumor, and from how many cells in the original tumor they developed.
"These studies," says Prof. Skortsky, "are similar to studies in population genetics that I carried out for many years at the Technion. You check the proximity between cells instead of people, but in both cases you use DNA analysis to build genealogies that reveal common ancestry and the different 'family' branches." his research
At the Technion he focused on the origins of different population groups. In one study he studied the Y chromosomes which determine the male sex and are passed unchanged from father to son - therefore they serve as an important tool for tracing roots. The research revealed that modern Jewish men, presumed descendants of priestly families, probably had a common ancestor who lived 2,000 or 3,000 years ago - a finding that apparently confirms the Jewish tradition that the Jewish priests are the descendants of Aaron, the brother of Moses. In another study, Prof. Skortsky and his research partners found that almost half of the Ashkenazi Jews have genetic roots that go back to a small group of four women who lived about two thousand years ago. Another finding: the Druze populations living in the north of the country and in the neighboring countries are genetically very diverse, which confirms the Druze tradition, according to which the origin of the tribe is rooted in many roots.
In the future, Prof. Skortsky may collaborate with Prof. Shapira's laboratory on medical issues not related to cancer, such as regeneration of the kidney after injury. Prof. Shapira says that Prof. Skortsky's deep knowledge of biology and medicine helped the institute's scientists to think about new clinical applications and develop connections in the medical community in Israel and around the world.
Prof. Skortsky: "The Weizmann Institute of Science does a huge service to medicine in Israel by bringing the doctors to the laboratories and teaching them to think like scientists. The more knowledgeable doctors are in scientific thinking, the better they will be able to treat patients. Modesty is an important quality for every person, and especially for a doctor. When you work with scientists, you realize how much you don't know, how much we all must recognize the limitations of our knowledge and always strive to know more."


Prof. Skortsky arrived in Israel and the Weizmann Institute two weeks before Iraqi Scud missiles began to fall on Israel, in early 1991. He studied medicine at the University of Toronto and Harvard, worked at the University of Toronto, and came to the Weizmann Institute to work with Prof. David Gavol and Prof. Yossi Yordan, who were known as experts In the study of growth factors. He then considered immigrating to Israel, and wanted to make sure that it was possible to engage in high-level research in Israel. "The stay at the institute had a decisive influence on our decision to immigrate to Israel," he says. When the first Scuds began to hit the cities of Israel, he received a phone call from his parents (who have since passed away). The parents, both Holocaust survivors, did not ask their only son to return to Canada. Instead they boarded the plane and joined their son's family in Rehovot, in the sealed room. "We decided that if we got through it, we could live in Israel," he recalled. Since he wanted to engage in both scientific research and patient care, he chose to join the medical staff of the Rambam Medical Center. There he managed the kidney department for a decade. He currently serves as the director of medical and research development at the center.

in brief:

The question: Is it possible to provide scientific proof for the hypothesis that certain Jewish men are descendants of priestly families?

The findings: The analysis of the genetic sequence of Y chromosomes showed that the Jewish men who carry the tradition of belonging to the priesthood probably had a common ancestor who lived 2,000 or 3,000 years ago.

26 תגובות

  1. The Abel telescope?

    2 studies regarding Jewish origin are mentioned here -
    One shows the origin of many of the Jews who are considered priests today from a common ancestor 2000 or 3000 years ago (Aharon the priest was 3000 or so years ago. I assume that if the range is 2000 3000 years then another few hundred years is not impossible)

    The second one shows that almost half of the Ashkenazi Jews came (I assume that this means maternal lineage - that is, mother's mother...) from 4 common mothers about 2000 years ago. It is unlikely that these are the 4 mothers in the Bible for several reasons:
    A. There is about a 1500 year difference here (although you have to check here as well what is the reasonable range of error).
    B. This is a common origin only for some of the Ashkenazi Jews. If it is one of the 4 mothers in the Bible, it should also be among Sephardic Jews (although it is possible that this has not been tested).
    third. I assume that the research on mothers is done on genes that pass from mother to children (and the father has no influence on them). Since only one daughter of Yaakov was mentioned in Pesht (although according to the Midrash, twins were also born with each and every tribe) it must be assumed that the relevant descent is from the wives of the sons of Yaakov and not from Yaakov's wives.
    We do not know where the wives of Bnei Jacob came from (with the exception of Tamar, who was obviously not related by origin to the Jacob family). In the simplicity of the verses there is no reason to assume that they were relatives of the mothers of the tribes or of each other.

  2. I just read Ra'anan's response and wanted to answer what a point answered at the end: the priesthood simply passes with the Y chromosome and nothing else. It's as simple as that. Regarding the assessment of 50% foreign genes - it is not familiar to me and is not clear enough. It is also not clear what causes the "foreign" genes to be considered "foreign" (not that, in principle, there is no way to define things correctly, but this way was not taken in the response, so it is difficult to understand).
    The numbers I have heard are completely different and I would love to see a place to substantiate the above claim.

  3. Sorry Raanan, I got confused. You're right.

    It's just that with the priests it does apply because a priest is someone whose father is a priest... and therefore the Y chromosome applies to them

    But by the way. That Y chromosome drops all the ground under Noah's box. Because according to Noah's story, all the Y that exist in the world today came from Noah himself. What a quick check showed that this is not the case because there is a very large difference compared to 5000 years since Noah..

  4. Refresh the chromosomes get mixed up a bit before they are transferred to the sperm

  5. 1) Zelda wrote in her time: Everyone has a name...and if a person bears the name Cohen for example, for God's sake why do we need scientific proof for that? His name is binding.
    2) Regarding the 'elite' of the Khazari descendants that you mentioned (there is a problem with this definition because 'pride' lowers their value, and their modesty does not allow their revelations/publication) but, indeed, many of their families are in the Land of Israel and founded it, and are being investigated quietly. Quietly.
    These are: the 'Geri HaTzedek' - the sabbathniks (yes, yes) the 'sworn' to the Jewish 'core' for the sake of 'the brightness of their light and the sanctification of all other nations'.
    How do you say in French? Nobility obliges (reluctantly, and for the good of all).
    To our dismay, 'strange deaths' happen in a 'creative land' when they are harmed, because 'they' (representing the sacred animals and the keepers!) are not 'allowed' to harm others - they are forbidden, by virtue of being "derived" from their genetic-spiritual obligation to the "Neshgab the Noble ', which guides them in hidden and revealed ties after their special return and in 'full recognition' and love for the source of the "core" being: the Jewish/Hebrew memory treasures: both as destiny-circumstance: and as the products of a succession of events 'in selective- deterministic-dynastic' and in rounds of blowing rituals And again: such as the 'Seventh' of the Khazarian Monarchy and the scroll of Ruth and more that are not yet aware..

  6. I know that the Y chromosome is passed from father to son only
    Let's say there is an inverted pyramid where you are at the bottom and above you are your parents and above them are four of your grandfathers and above 8 are your great grandfathers. Let's say that this is the whole pyramid, meaning only 4 generations and not thousands of years.
    Even in such a small pyramid it can already be seen that your Y chromosome came from only one person among your eight ancestors, meaning that something significant can only be said about one eighth of your ancestors. Of course, as you go back in time, your Y chromosome represents a smaller and smaller proportion of all your ancestors.

  7. Fresh, the Y chromosome is passed from father to son only.
    If I'm wrong, studies have shown that 50% of the Jews' genes are foreign genes. In other words, the Jews married, on average, a half-Gentile, half-Jewish person.

  8. How can the whole lineage be deduced from the Y chromosome that is passed from father to son? "The father of the father of the father of the father …." This is only a tiny part of the lineage, what if the mother? What if the mother's father and the mother's mother and the father's mother? The most that can be deduced is about some tiny fraction of a percent of a person's total lineage

  9. to Ruthie,
    The Druze are of Middle Eastern origin, similar to the Jews, therefore they have common genetic markers that characterize the inhabitants of the Middle East, this does not necessarily mean any direct connection between the peoples.

  10. The Wandering Jew, unfortunately you are talking off the topic.
    Eye color and hair are traits that can be acquired even without "Aryan genetics".

  11. Jonathan, there are several reasons why the connection between the Jews and the Khazars was not examined.
    Historical reason: only a few Khazars, the elites, converted.
    Another reason: the Jews were in Germany (Ashkenaz) before the Khazars were converted (if at all).

  12. Michael this is not accurate, Bahar showed that some of the Ashkenazim have 4 mothers (about 40% of them), but not precisely those mothers are the ancestors of all the Israeli tribes.

  13. In honor of Passover, it is worth remembering that the authors of "Ahad Mi Yode" already predicted Becher's research and taught him that we had "four mothers"

  14. To Simon

    I would love to receive links to the studies you mentioned, although I am satisfied.

  15. Answer to the Wandering Jew.
    Intrusion of foreign genes is indeed possible, but probably to a very low extent. So where are the Jewish blondes from? Apparently strong selection resulting from less exposure to light and vitamin D deficiency

  16. The fact that the esteemed scientist discovered that all the priests had a common father is only half the proof because it is also necessary to prove that this common father is not the common father of the rest of the Jews.
    Just for good measure.
    good evening
    Sabdarmish Yehuda

  17. European Jews are partly descendants of Jewish merchants who converted Slavic/Aryan slaves

    In the Biblical and Second Temple period there were no blue-eyed and blondes

    It is Aryan genetics that is well established in European Jews

    By the way, the Khazars were a Turko-Tatar nation, so the probability that they are their ancestors is extremely weak

  18. Jonathan, you are wrong. All the genetic findings show that the Ashkenazim have a distinct Middle Eastern origin.
    Starting with mitochondrial DNA, the Y chromosome, and ending with mutations that cause hereditary diseases such as G6PD. There is no doubt about it. Of course, there may be a certain degree of gene flow from the host populations, but its rate is extremely low and does not obscure the significance of the Middle Eastern origin.
    Another proof of this was published about a year ago when we characterized and compared thousands of genetic mutations (branches) in Ashkenazim compared to Europeans and found that the population is clearly different from Europeans.
    You probably feed on the biased publications of anti-scientists such as Zend and his gang.

  19. It doesn't seem logical to me at all that the Ashkenazim have any connection to the Middle East and the ancient Jewish race.
    Why doesn't he check the relationship between the Ashkenazim and the Khazars?

    Confused and unfocused article. I hope the studies themselves don't look like the article.

  20. To the extent that this can improve relationships between citizens, or at least reduce tensions, or at least promote the development of future medicine, it would be right to devote valuable time and resources to research; But for those who are in the medical field, it is known: that diseases, like bacteria, have incredible abilities to adapt in a direct ratio (as a function), to the conditions that allow their existence, and also no less abilities, in the development of mutations.

  21. 2000 - 3000 years back places the four mothers in question at the end of the Second Temple, the time of the Sadducees, the Roman Pharisees and all the rest. Or at the earliest the period of David and again Zadok and the company. There is a long distance to Aaron, the brother of Moshe, and Pharaoh Ramses II

    I did not understand anything else from the article.
    Isn't it obvious that a cancer starts with a single stem cell that goes crazy? Health in the blood or liver or in any other part, and from there spreads its offspring in metastases along the paths that are convenient for it, to the whole body?
    Does the difference between a lung cancer cell and a brain cancer cell lie in the cancer or the original cell type gone mad?

    Thanks for any answer

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