Sunday, April 28, 2013

What are Ashkenazi Jews and Where Do They Come From?

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                  

              German-born Albert Einstein, Ashkenazi    Isaac Mizrahi, Sephardi, family from Syria
Ashkenazi Jews are from the same group of Jews who are Sephardi or their subgroup, Mizrachim.  They all came from the Jews held as slaves for 400 years in Egypt and had left with Moses in the Exodus 1:1-2:4 of the Torah.   Our Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was born to Ashkenazi parents from Warsaw, Poland.  Benjamin himself was born in Tel Aviv in 1949. Einstein was from Germany.   I am Ashkenazi being my paternal grandfather and grandmother came from Lithuania and Poland.  We have a German surname that had been Goldfus.  My grandmother was so tiny, under 5 feet tall,  and listed on the 1910 census as being dark complected.  She had black hair and brown eyes, but when I knew her, her skin tone wasn't any different than mine.  Her husband had brownish hair and possibly a red beard.  He was 6 feet or more.

Abraham's family, who lived at the beginning of the 2nd millennium BCE,  had resettled in Canaan as they felt they had to leave Ur (today in Iraq),  a city of idol worshipping and child sacrifice, and Abraham had had a revelation that there was only one real G-d and wanted his descendants to believe this as well.  The environment of Ur was detrimental to their upbringing and belief system.

  Abraham  was our known  ancient ancestor and his younger son Isaac and grandson, Jacob who are our ancestors are our Patriarchs   Jacob had 12 sons and a daughter, Dinah.  Those 12 sons had sons and daughters who became the family of 70 that went into Egypt seeking refuge from starvation and stayed.   Son Joseph had already been taken to Egypt and awaited the surprise of meeting up with his estranged family.  He was now a mighty man working right under the Pharoah. The family and their descendants became  slaves and lived in Egypt for a total of  400 years.  

It was Moses, from the tribe of Levi, who came back for them and led them out in the Exodus.  The family and their friends had grown to be 600,000 who left with him.  All 600,000 were with Moses as he received the 10 commandments, and so all people followed Moses in respect to these commandments and are later called "Jews."

 Moses had written in the Torah that Abraham, who would have been Moses's 3rd great grandfather, was with the group called the Israelites who had settled in Ur where he was born.  Jacob later was called Israel after wrestling with an angel and overcame him, thus was conferred upon him this more auspicious family name of Israel.

Jews were at odds with each other politically and over taxes and the south revolted from the north when King Solomon of Israel had died in 933 BCE (before the common era-also called BC-before Christ by some).  The south broke off and called itself Judah, after one of the 12 sons who was ancestor of the tribe of Judah. Judah was Jacob's 4th son by Leah, his first wife.  It was the largest of the 12 tribes.  So we had two kingdoms then, the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah.  Judah chose for their first king, Rehoboam (933-917 BCE).  Israel chose for their king, Jeroboam (933-912).   Rehoboam  was Solomon's son and successor, serving Judah.  Sometimes Israel at this period is referred to as Samaria because the city of Samaria  became the capital of of the kingdom of Israel.    Jerusalem was still the capital of Judah as it had been in Israel.

   The tribes of Ephraim, the leader, and Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Naphtali, Asher, Dan, and living  in Transjordan's area were the tribes of Reuben, Gad and part of Manasseh who all remained in the kingdom of  Israel.  It was a wealthier kingdom.  It had greater political importance.  It lasted for 210 years and had 19 kings with 9 dynasties.  It's very first king was King Saul in the 11th century BCE, son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin.  King David, the next king, was from the tribe of Judah.

The kingdom of Judah was the smaller of the two. It was made up of the tribes of Judah and most of Benjamin and had also absorbed the tribe of Simeon which was isolated in the extreme southern part of Eretz Israel.  They had no normal access to the sea which was the trade route most took.  It occupied no more than 1/3 of the area that  Israel occupied.  It was poor and unimportant to the world.  For this reason it never was involved with international rivalries like Israel was.  Life in Judah was more tranquil.  Because Jerusalem and the Temple was in their kingdom, they preserved the Mosaic monotheism in a purer form.  The monarchy went peacefully from father to son in this House of David, which started with King David (1010 -970 BCE).  Judah had 20 kings with the last being Zedekiah in 597-586 BCE, all descendants of King David.  The kingdom of Judah lasted from 933 to 586;  347 years.  May I remind readers that the United States of America will only be 237 years old on July 4th, 2013.

By 40 BCE the Parthians captured Jerusalem.  It fell to Herod in 37 BCE who ruled it as a Roman vassal until his death in 4 BCE.  The Romans crucified Jesus in 29 CE and the Romans rule was unbearable for the Jews.  The people revolted in 66 CE.  They had 3 years of independence only to be retaken in 70 CE with the Romans burning Jerusalem down.  Bar Kochba in 132 CE was the last to fight against the Roman power and lost.

Many Jews of course were killed in the struggle.  Jews fled to all parts of the world   Those that were familiar with the outside world in trading or having been slaves knew about Rome, so because there were already Jews from their families living there, they  headed for Rome.  From there they moved slowly into France, then Germany and finally, eastern Europe.  These were to be called the "Ashkenazis" a term from the Hebrew language meaning "Germany."  They must have lived in Germany for several generations before being forced to move out.  Ashkenazi Jews speak Yiddish, a mixture of Hebrew and German and a little extra from lands they traveled through.

The Jews in the USA are mostly Ashkenazim though we do have Sephardim as well.  They both came to America starting in the 1850's onto the 1920's by boat. Actually, there were Sephardim who came to America very early, just after 1620.   The first synagogue in America was built by the Sephardim.  They were the first to arrive. Germans came over and were more economically established.  The poor eastern Europeans, my grandparents among them,  were the last to arrive escaping pogroms and a very hard isolated life in the Pale of Settlement controlled by Russia.

The Jews who remained in the Middle East moved in the other direction and settled in Spain,  Portugal and North Africa.  They are the Sephardim, which is another Hebrew word meaning "Spain."  They speak Ladino, a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish, which show where they have lived. They had gone through the Spanish Inquisition of 1492, leaving their beloved Spain for Portugal, which turned against them as well in the fever of oppressing Jews.  The name also refers to those Jews  who were merchants in Holland and those that settled in Morocco, Italy, Palestine, Syria and Balkans and central areas of the Turkish empire, like Salonica and Constantinople.

 A sub-group of the Sephardim are the Mizrachim, people who settled in North Africa and the Middle Eastern countries.  It comes from the Hebrew word  of Mitzrayim meaning "Eastern." and is also the word in Hebrew for Egypt.  I taught English in the junior high in Safed (Tzfat) in the Galilee and one of the other English teachers was a very young lady from Egypt, a Mizrachi.  She said that there weren't any Jews except a few old ones left in Egypt.  This was in 1981.

55-60 % of the Jews in Israel are Mizrachim.  There was a big discrepancy in the education between Ashkenazis and Sephardis in Israel.  The Mizraichim -Sephardis were not given the opportunities that the Ashkenazis managed to get for their secular education, especially those Ashkenazi from  France and Germany.  the places of enlightenment.   Mizrachim were 2nd class citizens or dhimmis in the Arab world.  Life must have been hard there as well.  Israel is a good place to make all equal.  There, they are just Jewish.   The army is another place that  irons out any differences.  Here, they are all getting the same education.  Isaac Mizrachi, pictured above,  is a Brooklyn-born Sephardi who is a famous American fashion designer.  Brooklyn has been the bastion of Ashkenazis.   His family was from Syria.

However, what's nice is that any Jew can walk into any synagogue service and it will be understood as all are schooled in Hebrew and the service will have some % of it in Hebrew, from all to a little.  They follow the same format, as decided long ago.

The differences we have had between each other started in the 16th century CE. in the synagogue rite and tradition.  The Sephardim went back to the time of Babylonian Jewry and Ashkenazim went back to Palestine after 132 CE when Eretz Yisrael was named Palestine or Palestaena by the Romans.  Their differences also showed up in how they pronounced some Hebrew words, reflected by the language they had learned to speak as a 2nd language.  During Passover the Sepharis allow rice to be eaten while Ashkenazis don't allow it during our 8 days.  We maintain family traditions in this custom.

I was told a story by a fellow teacher in Safed in that if you go to a Sephardi's home for Shabbat, he will leave the wine bottle on the table, but if you go to an Ashkenazi's home for Shabbat, the wine bottle is taken away after the first glass.  That's a little snippy, but Sepharis are known for their generosity.  They are most gracious hosts.  You see, I, as an Ashkenazi, received a better education this way by being with both groups of Jews.

The surprise is that an Ashkenazi group, the Hasidim, adopted the Sephardic ritual though not its pronunciation.  In the world, Ashkenazis make up 4/5 of the Jewish population of 0.02% of world population except in Israel, which has 6 million Jews.  There, the non-Ashkenazi communities are the majority.  One of the strongest groups of Ashkenazi immigrant aids is ACI-Americans and Canadians in Israel.  Perhaps we'll see more Jews move to Israel from these countries.  I was one of them, but am now a Yored, a returnee, due to family circumstance.

What tickles me is that the Arab nations have had to deal with Jews who are made up of Mizrachis and Sephardis, Jews who know the ways of the Arabs in business and in politics as they lived among them are hep to dealing with Arabs.    You can't pull any wool over their eyes, like you might with  the American Ashkenazis.  Jews in Arab lands were treated as 2nd class citizens and suffered through several pogroms, themselves.  When it happened that Israel was pronounced a state among the world's nations on May 14, 1948, the Arab world fell apart!  Jews had to move out, most going to Israel or face persecution.  This is why Abbas can't face dealing with Netanyahu, who is a native Sabra.   A Sabra is a person born and raised in Israel.  The word refers to a cactus called the "prickly pear" which is native to Israel.  The word refers metaphorically to both the person and the cactus of having a prickly exterior with a tender interior.  An Israeli may come on strong, but has a heart of gold, thanks to our Torah teaching.

Today we see Ashkenazim and Sephardim marrying each other.  Speaking for myself, those Sephardim and Mizrachim are beautiful people.  Ofra Haza was a Yemenite, a beautiful woman.  My Turkish Jewish relatives who married my Ashkenazi cousins are to die for, they are so good looking.  Somehow my paternal Ashkenazi aunt was blessed with her black curly hair and dark brown eyes and milky white skin so that it's hard to tell her from any Sepharic Jewish lady.  The Jewish Iranian doctor who married my Ashkenazi cousin looks like any other Ashkenazic Jew.  It's too hard to tell us apart by looks.

DNA testing shows that there is a Cohen gene identified as J1 haplogroup in the Ydna found in testing men.  It is presumed that it goes back to Aaron, who was the first Cohen of our religious rites in Judaism.  Moses, his brother selected him for this responsibility.   J, J2 and J1 rose up 10,000 to 15,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent and includes Jews and Arabs, Armenians and Kurds.  Most are from Iran and Iraq where it is thought to have originated and then carried by traders into Europe, central Asia, India and Pakistan.  While the majority of J is not of Jewish people, the majority of Jewish men fall into J.

We have a family friend who knew he was Cohen and performed in the synagogue as a Cohen. This is a fact handed down from father to sons.  He had his dna tested.  Yes, he was a J1 or J-M267, a Cohen.   His family surname was not Cohen.  Surnames have had to be bought from the country one lived in.  They finally demanded that we have surnames for tax and army purposes.  A name with Gold in it was more expensive than some other names.

There are a few other haplogroups found in Jews.  Not all of us were direct descendants of Jacob who came out of Egypt in the Exodus.  We even have had a few converts along the way, such as Sammy Davis, the singer and dancer.  We did have in about the 7th century CE the Khazarian Empire whose king or Kagan converted to Judaism.  His royal house followed suit.  The rest of his constituents were free to chose as they saw fit any religion they had a fancy to, such as Christianity or Islam.

We have Jews who test having E.  This originated out of Africa 50,000 years ago.  Groups in Africa and the Middle East have been found to have this one.  Even some people near the Mediterranean, showing an ancient genetic influence from the Middle East to Europe have this.  E3a is a common lineage among African Americans.  E3b evolved in the Middle East before going into the Mediterranean and is found in Arab populations, east and north Africa,  among Berbers and in SE Europe.

There are Jews with G, a haplogroup originating along the eastern edge of the Middle East or India or Pakistan 30,000 years ago.  Moses only lived about 3,500 years ago, so this is going WAY back.  The G2 branch with a P15 mutation is found in the Caucasus, Balkans, Italy and Middle East.

My own paternal family haplogroup is Q1b1a and Q's are found in northern and central Asian population s as well as in Native Americans., who also are tribal, by the way.  It is thought to have originated in central Asia 15,000 to 20,000 years ago and migrated through northern Eurasia into the Americas.  Native Americans are Q3's.  

R,R1, R2 came from NW Asia between 30,000 and 35,000 years ago.  R2 is found in India, Iran and central Asian population while R1 is very common in Europe.  There is an R branch that is Jewish.
R1b are the common European which expanded throughout Europe after the last ice age 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.  It contains the Atlantic Modal Haplotype.

We have only 14 million Jews in the world of 7 billion people.  We Jews all came from the same source unless we came through some conversion.  Conversion was not common.  It happened only occasionally as we did not proselytize.  That's what makes us so interesting for population dna scientists to study.  Our lives have been held in isolation by other countries.  Their population did not allow marriage to Jews.  We say that if the mother is Jewish, so is the child.  In Italy we were kept in isolation, locked in at night in ghettos.  In Russia we were kept in the Pale of Settlement, isolated from other people, living in Jewish shtetls.  Some Jewish men in their trading travels  did marry foreign  women who would convert.  Their children were Jewish.

Update 11/13/14 Here is the history of my Goldfoot family, which had been Goldfus coming from Germany originally. Having had information now from familyfinder on Family Tree DNA in Houston, Texas, and connecting to 2 great researchers of segments of chromosomes, I find that the Jonah (Iones) Goldfus I found in Telsiai, Lithuania born in 1730 there came from Jews in Germany. Goldfus (anglicized to Goldfoot in England) came from a branch of Wertheimers around Worms, Germany (Rhineland) from Rabbi Samson or his brother, Moses Wertheimer born 1658-1724. From him I share chromosome segments from Rabbi Solomon Yitzhake, known famously as RASHI, and from him is the oral history of being descended from King David of Jerusalem. 1010 BCE to 970 BCE. At the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, my line shows segments from the Kalonymos family which is very well known originally from Lucca, Italy who also had family members in Mainz and Speyer, Germany. Kalonymos-a Greek name from the Hebrew "Good name", a translation of Shem Tov, showing that Jews were taken to Rome first, staying as slaves in that part of the world, then moving on to Germany. This is the usual trail taken by Jews later called Ashkenazi Jews. RASHI was born in 1040 and died in 1105 in Troyes, France, but had studied in Worms, Germany which was a big important center for Jewish studies. So the history was that at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE, we went to Rome, then later on to France and Worms, Germany.  Later, my Goldfus line migrated up to Lithuania and finally in around 1880-1890 was able to go to England, then Ireland and finally the USA.  

When a Jew converts we say that his soul must have stood with us at Mt Sinai when we received the Torah in the first form as the 10 Commandments from Moses.  There is to be no distinction between him and the other Jews.  He is a member of Israel.
                                                                         The Imperium   
                                                                                         Roman Empire 117 CE 
Update 2/25/16  The Romans  and their army went into SW Germany in 15 BCE  and occupied it. Probably Jews from Judah had been there either in trading or taken by the Roman soldiers to do manual labor for them in Germany.  They knew the route and when the Temple in Jerusalem was burned down and Jerusalem as well, people fled and were not allowed to return.  Those that took the route to Germany were a little later called Ashkenazim.  Those that fled to Spain were the Sephardim.

Resource:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Abraham's Children; race, identity, and the DNA of the chosen people by Jon Entine
added 10/16/13  about Jon Entine's findings
The Jews of Khazaria 2nd edition by Kevin Alan Brook
Finding Our Fathers:  A guidebook to Jewish Genealogy by Dan Rottenberg  updated 2/25/16  


  1. I like this post, but I must say, E3b is thought to have originated in E. Africa not the Middle-East. Of course, you are talking about the Jewish E3b. Because of its age, there is Jewish-specific E3b, other Middle-Eastern specific E3b, and European-specific E3b.

  2. Yes, Newntown, E originated in Africa 50,000 years ago and shares a common ancestry with haplogroup D. Contains groups in Africa and the Middle East. Some derived clades found in europe, among those that lieve near the Mediterranean, which is believed to represent ancient genetic influence from the Middle East to Europe. E1b, on the other hand, evolved in the Middle Est before spreading into the Mediterranean during the Pleistocene Neolithic expansion. It's found in many Arab populations and in areas around the Mediterranean; in East and North Africa, particularly among the Berbers, and in SE Europe as well. (from Abraham's Children by Jon Entine.

  3. Excellent article. I have never found it necessary to find my genealogy. Not that I did not think it important - but through both my grandmother's and my grandfather - I learned about who we are and where we came from. My father's father Solomon Abenmoha - was the local Mohel - as well as the local kosher butcher. Go figure. Any way - I am proud of my descendants and I am proud that I am a
    Sephardi Jew - on both sides of the family. Both grandmothers and both grandfathers.

    Thank you for the lesson it was great

    1. Thanks, Lyz. We should all be proud of being Jewish, but occasionally I do find self haters which is very sad. I can't understand it, either, because if you read about our history, what is there not to be very proud of. We've had to go through so many trials and tribulations throughout history. I see I have Sephardim in my family now, and being my father was a Q haplotype, makes me wonder if he wasn't both, from the Sephardi realm and had moved into the Ashkenazi group. That did happen in Italy and some other places where both lived in the same vicinity. My family intermarried so I'm sure it went on in the past as well.

  4. There's no such thing as a "Cohen Modal Haplotype". It is IMPOSSIBLE to discern who's a Cohen and who isn't. The whole predicament is SILLY, since Leui (the letter "V" did NOT exist in paleo-hebrew. What's being spoken today is NOT a shemetic language anymore. It has been infested with Germanic & Slavic words to the point where modern day "hebrew" doesn't even sound remotely like Paleo-hebrew.) had the same mother & father (obviously) as some of his other siblings, so their DNA shouldn't be any different from "his" (and his descendants) .

    Secondly, they haven't compared the DNA from an ACTUAL levite (from let's say, 800BCE) to those of today, so how would anyone know who's who? They did however, sample the remains of some people from the time when the Assyrians besieged the city of Lachish, and the remains were found to be related to Nubians & Egyptians, who obviously are an African people (and no, there is no such thing as a pale-skinned African) . The Assyrians themselves depicted the Hebrew citizens of Lachish looking like this :

    They sure don't look like Europeans with all that kinky hair, flared nostrils & full lips at all.

    I mean, really?

    These stone reliefs were carved between 700-681BCE, and were found at Sennacherib's palace in Niniveh (it's in Iraq) , it is exhibited at the British Museum in London.

  5. Richard, evidently you know nothing about dna testing. I take it you are not a geneticist. There is what is called the Cohen Model Haplotype, named by the scientists who study such things. It comes from the fact that so many men who are Cohens in the synagogue had this dna. Are you Jewish? Do you know anything about being a Cohen? It's a lot more than just a surname. It's a position in the synagogue of some of the congregants. They were descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses and were given special jobs to do in the synagogue or Temple at that time. Many Cohens to day have differerent surnames. They know they are Cohens because of oral tradition, something handed down from father to son. I love how this is proved through science now with DNA. Talk about amazing. I have a friend who is a Cohen, tested and has this. It also is found in Muslims such as King Abdullah of Jordan. This proves the story that Abraham had 2 sons and that his first by Hagar, an Egyptian "princess", was Ishmael who went out on his own to live and is said to be the father of the Arabs. There is a difference, however, between the Jewish Cohen line and the Arab line-enough of a difference to tell them apart. The Cohen line has been found in the Lemba tribe in Africa. Evidently Jewish traders went into Africa and wound up settling there and married into the tribe, teaching them Judaism. They have been found and are still practicing Judaism in many ways. Remember, Israel was very close to Africa. As for the Assyrians, they managed to take as prisoners for slavery 10 of our 12 tribes of Jacob in 722 BCE. Judah was left and parts of Benjamin, I believe it was, etc. No telling what the Assyrians did, but I'll have to look at your websites.

  6. Sorry, Richard. I don't know who wrote your website you listed, but it is not correct at all. Whoever wrote them knows nothing about Judaism. I'm amazed that there are people writing such things. I'm speechless! Your first website listed didn't open up.

  7. Can't we dig a few graves in jerusalem and test some DNA?

  8. DH, about being able to test some bones in Jerusalem for DNA, we would want the graves of Jews buried before 70CE, I would imagine. I don't believe this would be allowed. We have found Neanderthal bones in Israel in some cave or caves, though. I know that to sit in the Sanhedrin, etc, people had to prove they were Cohens by keeping a family tree. That's something we can all work on. is a free site where you can upload your tree and search others. Don't forget yo can also take autosomal tests to see who matches segments of your chromosomes today, and then explore those people's trees. That's how I found out my connections to the Rabbi of Worms, Rabbi Samson Werthheimer , an their connections back to King David.

  9. Jews are no longer a "race". That ended with the huge number of conversions during the time of Esther. Read it for yourself. Jews are only a religion and a culture and a wannabe "race". Only God knows where those genes have trickled down to. There is NO way that anyone alive today could trace their bloodline back to Aaron or any of the original 12 tribes.

  10. Melinda, I never said we were a race. We were a family to start with stemming from Abraham with Jacob and his family of 70 including servants going into Egypt. From Jacob and the males desecending from him we trace the J1 called the Cohen gene of which is traced back to Aaron, Moses's brother who was picked as the Cohen. That's the beauty of DNA. It helps us to find out things like this. It just so happens that a good majority of the Cohens in the synagogue (the job of being a Cohen-not the surname necessarily, are found to be of J1 haplogroup. My own father, very Jewish, had the haplogroup of Q1b1a. We've been in the mix, too.

  11. Nick Agyei, Genesis 10 may have given the genealogy for Ashkenaz as a son of Gomer, but it also gives the genealogy for Moses and Aaron. Look. Descendants of Shem

    1 Shem
    . 2 Elam
    . 2 Asshur
    . 2 Arpachshad b: in 2 years after flood
    ..... 3 Shelah
    ......... 4 Eber
    ............. 5 Peleg-Abraham
    ............. 5 Joktan the Arab
    . 2 Lud
    . 2 Aram
    ..... 3 Milkah
    ......... +Levi
    ......... 4 [2] Jochebed
    ............. +[1] Amram
    ............. 5 Mirium
    ............. 5 Aaron
    ................. +Elisheba
    ............. 5 Moses b: in Egypt
    ................. +Zipporah
    ......... 4 Gershon
    ............. 5 Livni Laadan
    ............. 5 Shimei
    ......... 4 Kohath
    ............. 5 [1] Amram
    ................. +[2] Jochebed
    ............. 5 Izhar
    ............. 5 Hebron
    ............. 5 Uzziel
    ......... 4 Merari
    ............. 5 Mahli
    ............. 5 Mushi
    ..... 3 Uz
    ..... 3 Hul
    ..... 3 Gether
    ..... 3 Mash
    We recognize Abraham, son Isaac and grandson Jacob as our original ancestors. We are therefore half brothers to Ishmael, his first son with Hagar. Our whole history up till 70 CE when Jerusalem fell has been with the other Jews that are Mizrachim and Sephardim-from Egypt and other parts of the Middle East and Spain and Portugal. Our DNA confirms this. I have no idea how we chose or others, rather, chose to call us Ashkenazim, except today it refers to Jews that made their way to France and Germany (Rhineland)in the 9th century CE and then whose 2,000 years of living in the Diaspora meant picking up German to mix with Hebrew, etc, and became Yiddish speakers. Read more than Genesis 10:3. Also read Jer.51-27. Here it speaks of the nation of Ashkenaz fighting against Babylonia. Ashkenazim Jews were not a nation at all during Babylonian times, so this is a completely different group. Ashkenaz must have a different meaning that I am not aware of other than German Jews being called Ashkenazim of which I am part of. Our DNA takes us through Rabbi Samson Wertheimer to Rabbi RASHI of 1040-1105 CE in France and mainly in Germany and his genealogy tree connects to King David,youngest son of Jesse, a member of the tribe of Judah.

  12. Genesis chapter 10 states clearly that the Ashkenaz is a descendant of Gomer son of Japheth, so how did the Ashkenazi Jews become part of the Jews held as slaves for 400 years in Egypt?

    Genesis 10:1-3New King James Version (NKJV)
    Nations Descended from Noah

    10 Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood.

    2 The sons of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. 3 The sons of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath,[a] and Togarmah.

  13. Nick, evidently I didn't explain well enough. Ashkenazi Jews were first member of the tribe of Judah, one of the 12 sons of Jacob. They all went into Egypt and then were held there as slaves-a period of 400 years. It was way after that, almost 2,000 years later, that Rome occupied Jerusalem and then burned it and the Temple down in 70 CE. Some 300 or more years later, many of the Jews from Judah (southern part of Israel) were in Rome-either taken there as slaves or went there and then to France and finally to Germany. While in Germany, their Hebrew language mixed with a lot of German and they were called Ashkenazi Jews.

  14. Nadene, I received my results for my DNA via 23andme and it states I am 2.4% Ashkenazi Jew. What does this actually mean? I am curious and found this information great!. Any help is well appreciated. Thank you!

  15. Tencha, it means that way back in your ancestor's history, there was a Jewish person that was one who went to Germany from Jerusalem. Read the update above I added after reading your question. You have a few segments of genes from this person who is one of your ancestors. Looking at your surname, I would have thought maybe a Jewish person who was a Sephardi, but there were cities where both Ashkenazi and Sephardi lived and could have intermarried. Also, your surname of Rivera could be your husband's surname. I don't know. If I were you, I would also transfer my results to Family Tree DNA where you can actually see the 23 chromosomes and the length of the segments that connect you to other people of your matches. Both companies are terrific. Anyway, that's what I did. They both give a little different kind of information. Now I'm going to go back to 23and me and see what it says about me again. I know I'm 2.9% Neanderthal from 23&Me.

  16. Nadene, I have recently found out from genetic testing that it appears I am ashkenazi jew. I'm adopted and had no connection with my father. Unfortunately, I had to find out from my Breast Cancer that I had the Brac 1 gene and that is what later turned up my Ashkenazi genes. I have so many questions and want to learn all that I can. I have always had a special love for Israel and visited the Holy Land in 2000. Your article was very informative and I look forward to additional research.

  17. GradyMilitaryMom, This is so interesting! At least now you'll find relatives from your father's side if you took an autosomal DNA test with Family Tree DNA or 23&Me or I prefer Family Tree, myself. It's very easy to receive a relative's email and correspond and find out necessary facts. Now you can or should be able to transfer your results to and find out more and also relatives to correspond with. What's interesting to me is this feeling you've had of your special love for Israel and you had no idea you were Jewish. This shows the power of DNA, I think. It's wonderful you've already visited Israel. Was that before you knew of your Jewish heritage? I hope you do more research. There's so much to know. You can start with 4 of my 6 blogs; this one-; which has a lot of history in it as well as DNA information, genealogy stuff
    Also, it's best to get some good books on it as well.