Monday, January 14, 2013

Claiming to be One of Lost 10 Tribes? The Maasais, and How It Is Affecting Israel

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  
                                                     Maasai Tribe
For the little state of Israel, being only 8,000 square miles big, and under constant threat of attack, there are a lot of people and tribes claiming to be one of the Lost Tribes of Israel.    Right now it could use the original boundaries as given to Moses from G-d as to just how big Israel should be.  Today's Israel missed out on the original size as decided by the mandate given to Britain to create the Jewish Homeland.   Jews only wound up with 20% of what was planned.

We have had the Beta Israel of  Ethiopia return and accepted as Jews.  Following them have come the Bene Israel of India and recently and still arriving are members of the Shinlung tribe from the Indian-Burmese border.  "Thousands more are desirous of coming.  Other claims waiting in line are the Ibos of Nigeria, the Berbers of North Africa, various Armenian, Afghan and Persian groups of the Black and Caspian Sea regions, the Chiang-Min of Tibet, Khazars and Karaites.  Now the Maasai of southeast Africa have claims and references as well as Yemenis, Abyssinians, Ganges Indians, Kareens of Burma, the Shindai tribe of Japan and Indian groups in the New World (America)."

The Maasais, monotheistic,  numbering 841,622 in 2009,  were recently visited by an Israeli who reports that they have long considered themselves as one of the Lost Ten Tribes, or Israelites. They are known as warriors and cattle rustlers as they raise and eat cattle. A Maasai religious belief relates that God gave them all the cattle on earth, leading to the belief that rustling cattle from other tribes is a matter of taking back what is rightfully theirs, a practice that has become much less common. They have adopted customs from their neighbors, a Cushitic group, such as circumcision.  Originally they came from the lower Nile Valley.    "Maasai" is found in Chronicles I, chapter 9, verse 12.  Adaiah son of Jeroham, the son of Pashhur, the son of Malkijah; and Maasai son of Adiel, the son of Jahzerah, the son of Meshullam, the son of Meshillemith, the son of Immer."  A custom they share with Jews is the use of the shofar (ram's horn blown on high holidays, wars and Jubilees).  .  The Maasai also do not mix milk and meat.   They have an aversion to eating game and birds.  They do not eat the sciatic nerve as according to Genesis 32,36-33, part of the laws of Kashrut (keeping kosher) They are Christians today, mostly Pentecostal but always have Israel in their daily prayers. DNA testing shows the DNA to be 50% of E1b1b of 26 men tested.  Also A3b2 and E1b1a (E-P1) was found.   My Israeli contact said she heard some ladies repeat in their morning prayers, "Yesu, Israel, Maasai" which was asking G-d to keep Israel and the Maasai safe and strong.

One thing that is not acceptable in orthodox Judaism is the eating of blood.  "Traditionally, the Maasai rely on meat, milk and blood from cattle for protein and caloric needs. People drink blood on special occasions. It is given to a circumcised person (o/esipolioi), a woman who has given birth (entomononi) and the sick (oltamueyiai). Also, on a regular basis drunk elders, ilamerak, use the blood to alleviate intoxication and hangovers. Blood is very rich in protein and is good for the immune system. However, its use in the traditional diet is waning due to the reduction of livestock numbers.  This would tell me that they are not from one of the Lost Tribes.  Also, they borrowed circumcision from their neighbors who were Cushites.  Can it be that some of Judaism's practices were carried over in intermarriage with others and only some things were remembered?  

This can also be a genealogist's and genetic dream.  Lots of American Jews have been taking DNA tests to find out their background.  The Cohen gene (directly presumed from Aaron and his brother, Moses,) has been discovered among Jews.  Personally, I know of a man who is a Cohen in the synagogue who tested and is a J1 Y haplogroup (Cohen gene).

Ethiopians have been tested and have not been found to have the Ydna or MT dna of known Jewish lines, but their culture and history is so conclusive, that before the discovering of DNA, Rabbis were convinced of their claims.  As DNA testing is advancing, and it already is past the usual Y and MT tracing, checking the individual 23 chromosomes for segments leading to Jewish connections might turn up facts.  They were being horribly mistreated in Ethiopia.  This is what Israel was created for; the return of Jews, especially those under duress. Also, the end of times has prophesied the return of the Lost Ten Tribes to Israel.  Those that have been accepted and have returned want to practice Judaism and some have been doing so as they understand it.  Some show traces of practices of long ago Judaism.

The group I believe to be one or more of the Lost 10 tribes are the Parthans or Pashtuns of Afghanistan, Pakistan and parts of India. I have heard reports claiming several of the tribes such as Benjamin, for one.   People I have corresponded with  and very proud of their heritage and origins but have no desire to leave Islam. It's like reading a DAR tree of claims to ancestors of the American Revolution.   They would like to visit Jerusalem, though, and even may have thoughts of taking it for their Islamic believers, as those I have heard from do not hide their hatred for Zionists.    Their culture and practices reflect much of Judaism, but they are most reluctant to do DNA testing.  They say they know the facts and that's it.  However, one such brave male has tested and is very close to my father's Q1b1a Ydna, which is most exciting for me.  It connects us somewhere on the timeline. " Scholars believe the 10 tribes were resettled in the region now embracing parts of Kurdistan, Afghanistan, northern Syria and Iran. But no one knows for sure where their descendants are today. “Can we really assume that in all these years they didn´t move?” rhetorically asks Shalva Weil, a Hebrew University anthropologist and one of the few recognized experts on the lost tribes."

“In Somalia, a Muslim majority country of  9,558,666 population with 100% Sunni Islam, and Djibouti, 496,374 population  Muslim majority country of 94% Sunni Islam,  both in Eastern Africa, “there are 20,000 members of a group called `Ivru Adokeit,´ who see themselves as part of the Jewish people.” said Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban of Israel.

Jewish people today are from the southern kingdom of Judah (also referred to as Jerusalem).  Others living in Judah were  the Levites from Levi and some from Benjamin as Queen Esther and her Uncle Mordecai were from Benjamin, and they lived in Judah after the division of Israel.  The northern Ten Tribes of Israel (also referred to as Ephraim, Samaria or Joseph) that were taken away by force were "prophesied to be scattered through the nations and become like Gentiles ("not My people").  Hosea 1-3 puts this most clearly."  Knowing that this has happened and was prophesied gives me goose pimples of awe!  

In end times is the restoration of all Israel to the land which means the recovery of the Lost Ten Tribes to both their identity and their destiny as Israelites or as we say today, as Israelis.  This is found in "dozens of chapters in Hebrew Prophets, beginning with Jeremiah 30-31, Ezekiel 37; Hosea 1-3; and Isaiah 11."

Scandinavian, Celtic and England also have claims.  Research so far is lacking in high standards in academic circles.  Everyone wants to lay claim to the lost tribes but there are few who recognize Israel's rights to even exist.  Israel has been hit with mortars, missiles and rockets since 2001 without any country doing anything to stop Hamas.

As it is today, this present major problems for Israel because hundreds of 3rd World groups are already claiming Israelite ancestry.  Some may just want to get into the industrial world.  An estimate of Africans is at 100 million!  Most all Israelis today are living in small high rise apartments.  Space is limited.

Most people have thought of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel as just legend or myth, which so many think of our Torah or (Old Testament) anyway.  The Jerusalem Report, Israel's major weekly news magazine had a cover story called "Return of the Lost Tribes" in their September 9, 1993 issue.  Discovery and acceptance has been happening, but must go through an exhaustive and reliable check.

1/17/13 Update: The 2,000th Bnei Menasha olah just arrived in Israel from Manipur, India.  She was from the tribe of Manasseh, son of Joseph whose mother was Rachel, 2nd wife of Jacob.  .  

10/18/13 Update:  Israel is allowing Shavei Israel to bring 899 Bnei Menashe from India to Israel.  This makes a 300% increase of Bnei Menashe who will come in the next 15 months beginning  in December this year.  They are of the tribe of Manasseh, exiled by Assyrian empire over 2,700 years ago.  This next group coming are from the Mizoram region of India.  It is costing Israel $2.7 million to bring them in.  Donations would be great to help with this expense.  

Resource: for the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel!"  on What Haplogroup We Be?
Bat Zion Susskind-Sacks, report on Maasai Tribe of Kenya


  1. My mother is Jews and a Maasai father, we have been practising Judaism since I was born.the case of the Maasai with Dna E1b1b1(M35) and blood dringing, drive me to ask, what does a Lost mean? It mean that they have lost the Judaism practice, those who

    have been visiting us and live with us do observe Sabath as well as keep Kosher,etc.I do not support the comment that Maasai are Christian, only 5% are now christian as Majority do not believe that God can die, the Maasai Worship one God, they also do sacrifice of a bull, and placing 12 stone, when pray they face Jerusalem, and they Mention Mt Sinai, Enkai pa Sinai my God gave me order in mt Sinai, its not true that the Maasai learned the male cut from the Cushite, the thing was the Maasai before used to practice a Male cut seven days after the birthday, but they learned from the Cushite that they can wait until 12 years so as to have an age set.lastly but not list, I am Jewish have visited the holy land several time but I never wished to settled there and leave my properties in East Africa, Even all the Maasai share the same with me that let the Rabbi of Jerusalem recoginise us but we do not want to leave east Africa as we are very proud to be in the land that we bought by blood using only a spear and a shield. Shalom

  2. Shalom Seneto Parpai,
    So nice to hear from you and share information about your people, the Maasai. The "Lost" refers about 3,000 years ago in 722 BCE when the Assyrians attacked Israel and took away many of the people to be slaves in other parts of their empire. They weren't heard from again. To those who remained in Israel, they were "lost." Evidently, like you, Judaism continued and was not lost. Through time, some have converted to Christianity.There are Spaniards called Conversos who kept on with some Jewish practices. After 622 CE Islam became a strong religion and caused many of the "lost" to convert, such as those in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, etc. Even so, many of the Pashtuns of Afghanistan have kept a few of the practices and the oral history of their origins. Jews in Israel are interested in finding all the "Lost" people of the 10 tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, some of Benjamin, Manasseh, Ephraim, Gad, Asher, Dan, and Naphtali.
    The tribes that had remained in Israel and were not lost were Levi and Judah and some of Benjamin. The reason for the interest is that it is said that when all the "Lost" are found again, there will be peace in the land. Also, for DNA science, it is most interesting to discover what has happened to us all, I think. To learn that the Maasai have E1b which is also a main haplogroup for many Jews is absolutely exciting. I'm so glad to read about you and that you have been "found" once again.

  3. Shalom tov my sister, thank you so much for the information, you can also request me in my facebook site seneto pere ole parpai so as we get know each other better, Wish you a very happy holidays as passover approach on 26 Mar 2013-first day and 02 April last day, followed by Yom Hashoah and Yom Hazikaron, hope the calender is the same.




  4. Shalom Seneto, I did just now request you for a friend. Was that you with the prayer shawl in the middle? That is a big prayer shawl like the ones used in Israel. It is your tent that you can be under and pray. Happy Passover to you and your family, too. Thank you. It's a time to relate our story of leaving Egypt to our family. Yes, Passover starts the night of the 25th here, on a Monday so Tuesday is counted as the 1st day with the 8th day on April 2nd, a Tuesday. Where you are might be a difference of about 12 hours. Yom ha-Sho'ah is on the 28th and Yom ha-Zikkaron is on the 15th, a Monday. I live in Oregon, USA now, so our timing may off a little from yours.

  5. I am Maasai but I do not believe we are Jewish. It is the church and evalengelical Christians who have been continuously pushing the idea of the connection with Jews.

    We are immigrants from North Africa and Middle East. Except for one verse in the bible and some cultural similarities, there is really no hard evidence on the connection between us and the Jewish people.

    Does any one has more info on the DNA testing?

  6. Hi Rovin, did you read Seneto Parpai's first comment? Most likely it is not all Maasai who have Israelite connections, but he does and has known since he was born. He wrote: "
    My mother is Jewish and I have a Maasai father,and we have been practicing Judaism since I was born. He must have tested his dna as he wrote he has the dna E1b1b1(M35). This also happens to be the haplogroup of many Jewish men.

    I don't know why the church and evangelical Christians are pushing it but it is wonderful to find out about this connection and that some people are still practicing Judaism from the time they were disconnected from the rest of the Jewish population. It only takes one generation to lose this connection somehow, so to keep it up for possibly thousands of years is wonderful. If you get your dna tested, that should tell you more about your history.

  7. It is written in DEUT 30:3 and 4, That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
    4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
    This article literally makes no logical sense. God is awakening his people and beginning the gathering. Who are you to decide or dictate whom God's people are? Try resolving your own identity issues before imposing your beliefs and opinions on another. And when I say identity issues, I mean; what or who is a Jew? I personally consider a Jew to be those people who were imported into Jerusalem after the true Israelites fled or were captured in 722 B.C. by the Assyrians. Am I wrong?

  8. Who am I? I have nothing to do with deciding and I'm certainly not dictating who G-d's people are, but I am one of them. Or do you mean anyone in particular? I feel you're wrong, but I'm not a rabbi. I suggest you talk to one, and I think a Chabad rabbi would be able to tell you. If Israel followed your advice, anybody would be able to enter this tiny state. Do you understand what happened to create this state? There happens to be an ingathering of all the lost happening right now.. There are ways of making sure through our history and DNA to make sure these are the Lost Tribes of Israel. The rabbis of Israel have the say about it, not you or I. Right now DNA is the science that is being used for finding out more about our history and migratory patterns. The Masais that have returned happen to have the dna that proves their oral history. Not all are nor want to be. The Ethiopians don't at the level dna has developed so far, but they have other factors that prove their right to be in Israel, but are not one of the 10 tribes. There's a lot of facts known to decide this. Then again, we seem to have found some lost members who are happy to be Muslims and want no part of claiming to be one of the Lost tribes. As far as that goes, if a person has a Jewish mother, they can enter Jerusalem to live and gain citizenship. That's the one claim we have that's standard practice. Israel is not Texas. The area is very tiny. Remember that. I don't have any identity issues. If you read a lot of my posts you'll see that.