Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Part III Lost Ten Tribes of Israel and Future DNA Revelations

Nadene Goldfoot
Back in 2011 I wrote about the lost tribe of Manassah, or the Bnei Menashe, who have been practicing Jews for the past 3,000 years.  They also had been one of the exiled tribes by the Assyrian Empire in 723 BCE, along with the others.  For some reason or other, they wound up in NE India, which might by why they have managed to keep practicing Judaism this long.  They were found on the border of Burma.

Many have immigrated to Israel already.  They are to be commended.  This group has prayed 3 times a day to be returned to Zion.  Manasseh had been one of two sons of Joseph.  The other son was Ephraim.  Joseph and his brother Benjamin had been the children of Rachel, the major love of Jacob.

Literature on the Lost Tribes of Israel is spotty at best.  Originally, Israel was a Jewish state, but a piece broke off, calling themselves Judah.  The tribes of Israel were attacked by Assyrians in 723 BCE and the kingdom was destroyed.  The tribes were of the House of David, 1000-960 BCE  whose family continued to rule in the southern kingdom of Judah.  Recorded history differs from legend.  Historians cannot find a record of this happening in other sources, but it is in the Jewish Tanakh, or "Old Testament."  There are descriptions of deportation of people from Reuben, Gad, Manasseh in Gilead, Ephraim and Naphtali.  It shows that only a part of these tribes were deported and the places where they were deported to are known locations given in the accounts.  The communities are mentioned as still existing at the time of when "Kings and Chronicles" were written and didn't completely disappear by assimilation into the Assyrian communities, although part certainly probably did.

One correlating fact is that the story told takes the lost tribes to Medes, which was a place in Persia before Persia even became a state, and today is called Iran.  Our Jewish ancestors were also taken to Persia.  Benjamin of Tudela took a dangerous trip in to Persia and the Arab peninsula 1165 and found Jews saying they were descendants of the Lost Tribes.  He wrote about it in his "Book of Travels."

Writers on this subject are coming from their religious tradition and speculations as well as what is seen in practice.  A complete answer may never be found.  That's why I think that DNA testing will help.  It may not be a complete answer, but it will make a fuzzy picture more complete.  There are many different tests coming up now.  One is to find the haplogroups of the Ydna (male line going back thousands of years) as well as the MTdna (female line which won't tell us a whole lot.)  Then there are tests such as 23&Me and FamilyTreeDNA can give that look at the 23 chromosomes and can tell if you are related to a stranger by looking at the segments on the chromosomes. This is the autosomal test that checks on the SNP's.    Another test is autosomal and checks on the STR's.    By tomorrow there can be others that might answer our questions.

One fact is that probably any people that might be descended from a lost tribe will be a Muslim today just because the land they are most likely living in has become Muslim.  Finding people in India that still maintained their Jewish connection is like a miracle after 3,000 years.

What convinces me about the Pathans of Afghanistan which now includes 15 million people is that culturally, though they are devout Muslims, they circumcise their males at 8 days like Jews do instead of at age 13 which is the Muslim custom.  They follow dietary laws which must be checked further as Muslims follow a few Jewish ones such as not to eat pork.  Their naming process also follows the Lost Tribal names.

Ethiopians have finally convinced Israel's rabbis that they have Jewish roots.  65,000 have moved to Israel, and started in 1974.  They say they are either from the tribe of Dan, or are descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba of Ethiopia, who had come for a visit to Jerusalem.  DNA did not turn up any evidence of a Jewish connection, but they have been practicing Judaism up to a point in our ancient history.

DNA did turn up the a southern African tribe called the Lemba who tested and were found to have the Ydna haplogroup of the Cohanim, from Aaron and Moses, which would be J1. Moses was of the tribe of Levi.   What a surprise!  They seem to be more Middle Eastern in practices  than African yet speak Bantu and are black.  It's thought they may have come from Yemen.  They had been keeping kosher when discovered.  This doesn't connect them to one of the lost 10 tribes unless you figure a lost tribe had wandered into Yemen after 723 BCE.  Also, couldn't our Jewish salesmen of long ago, working the silk route and other places have gone into Africa?  They would have been carriers of the J1 haplogroup.  They could have even settled down, took wives from the populace, and taught their religion to the others, which must be had had happened at some time in history.  .

Author Tudor Parfitt's" life work has been tracking down the lost tribes of Israel in Africa and Asia.  He's from London.  He came to the Lemba who claimed to be of Israelite origin.  Their story is that they had left Israel and settled in Senna.  The tribe in 1987 was made of 40,000 -70,000people.  They looked African, didn't intermarry with other tribes or eat with other groups, circumcised their boys, had ritual slaughter of animals using a special knife, didn't eat pigs or other forbidden animals, still sacrificed animals on high places, and followed many laws from Moses.  The new moon was important, as in Judaism.  Clan names were from a Semitic language, either Hebrew or Arabic, which can be similar.
Book:  The Lost Ark of the Covenant by Tudor Parfitt- about Lemba Tribe of south Africa, etc.

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