Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who Were the Armenian Jews? DNA Finds for Q-L245

Cher, descent from Armenia

Setting the Scene of Where Jews were Living
Nadene Goldfoot
King Saul was the first king of Israel.  He lived in the 11th century BCE.  King David ruled Israel from 961-920 BCE.  King Solomon ruled Israel and lived from 961-920 BCE.  When Solomon died,  Jereboam ruled Israel from 933 to 912 BCE. Hoshea was the last king and ruled from 730-721 BCE.

At the same time when Solomon died, the kingdom split in two, creating Judea.  The first king to rule this southern part of what was Israel was Rehoboam from 933 to 917 BCE.  Their last king was Zedekiah who ruled from 597-586 BCE.
                                         Armenian Jew-from Dean

Assyria was an ancient state in Western Asia made up of aggressive Semites.  The Assyrian, Tiglath-Pileser III overthrew the Syrian confederacy from 745-27 BCE.   The Assyrian, Sargon  captured Samaria.in about 721 BCE when Israel fell to them. Then he annexed the country and deported 27,290 Israelites to Assyria and Media, replacing them with Syrian and Babylonian prisoners. By 700 BCE Sennacherib took Ashkelon and Joppa, sacked Lachish and Jerusalem.  Judah was ravaged but its king Hezekiah (730-692) held out and received more moderate terms by paying tribute and ceding some territory.   Historian Tournebize feels that the Jews may have been deported directly to Armenia but not to the Khabur Valley.  Historian Aslan thought that the Jews of Samaria were deported to Armenia.       Jews settling in Armenia goes back to the destruction of the 1st Temple by  Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE.  It had been built by King Solomon of Israel. who lived from 961 BCE to 920 BCE.

When Assyria lost their power, the Babylonians took over. Nebuchadnezzar II 604-561 BCE  took Judah in 597 and 586 BCE.  Many Jews were then exiled to Babylon.

King Tigranes II the Great (140-55 BCE) brought with him 10,000 Jewish captives to Armenia when he left Israel and Judea  during his conquests because of the Roman attack on Armenia in 69 BCE.  He became king of Armenia. They were Jewish, practicing Judaism, but I wonder if their origins were the Syrian and Babylonian prisoners who might have become Jewish.   He had even invaded Syria and probably northern Israel as well.

By 360-370 CE there were many Jews from the Hellenistic states immigrating into Armenia and many Armenian towns because predominately Jewish."Hellenistic Judaism was a movement which existed in the Jewish diaspora that sought to establish a Hebraic-Jewish religious tradition within the European culture and language of Hellenism after the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great."

During this time, the Persian Shapur II (309-379 CE) began deporting thousands of Jews to Persia (Iran) to the city of Isfahan. Isfahan is one of the main modern cities for finding the haplogroup for Q L245 in the Middle East. The Assyrian Y-DNA Q belongs to the Q1b1a-L245 subclade. Were these Jews the original Jews of Israel and Judea, or were they the prisoner swaps of Syrians and Babylonians?
They also settled in Artashat, Vaghasabat, Yervandashat, Sarchavan, Sarisat, Van, and Nakhichivan.  .  It looks like Jews were the desired commodity in the economics of slavery  I don't believe Jews here were able to carry on their Halakhic studies and the religion started to dissipate through intermarriage and  slavery as there were few references to Judaism found in the Hellenistic sources.  By Medieval times, it vanished or became part of the Kurdish Jewry.

An ancient Jewish cemetery was found by Vayots Dzor in the city of Eghegis, SW of Yerevan.  There 40 tombstones from  the 13th century have been found of which 16 tombstones had Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions on them.

Eastern Armenia came under Russia rule in the early 1800's and Jews began arriving from Poland and Iran, creating Ashkenazic and Mizrahi communities in Yerevan.  More Jews moved to Armenia as the Soviet republic had more tolerance here than in Russia or Ukraine.

Polish and Persian Jews arrived in the early 19th century.  There have been both Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities in Yerevan since 1840.  By 1924, the Sephardic synagogue, Shick Mordechai, was the leading house of prayer in the Jewish community.

By 1939 when the Nazis were starting their attacks on exterminating the Jews, there were only 512 Jews remaining in Armenia.  Though the population had gone as high as 1,049 by 1970, by 2010 there were only 100 left, probably all older Jewish residents.

Update: 6/12/13 Cher was born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946 in California to John Sarkisian, of Armenian heritage and her English-Cherokee mother.

Resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Armenia
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03068374708731250?journalCode=raaf19 , Khabur Valley


  1. There were no more Jews in Armenia and probably most converted to Christianity... According to the New Testament after Christ's resurrection he told only Paul to go preach his word among the gentiles and the bible is very clear about Paul's travels but not the others, but Christ did say to the other Apostles to go and "find his lost sheep of the house of Israel" and we know 3 or 4 went to Armenia and turned Armenia in to the first Christian nation!?

    1. I think it should be obvious and safe to assume the following statement below:

      The Armenian Apostolic Church (Armenian: Հայ Առաքելական Եկեղեցի, Hay Aṙak’elakan Yekeghetsi)[a] is the national church of the Armenian people. Part of Oriental Orthodoxy, it is one of the most ancient Christian communities.[3] Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion, in the early 4th century.[4] The church claims to have originated in the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century.

  2. Agree with the poster above /\

  3. This picture is of an Armenian Jew dated 1926, Ellis Island USA.


  4. Dean, I tried this address and nothing happened. A picture wouldn't come up. Couldn't get to the address.

  5. Dean, I tried again and this time it worked. What a lovely picture! I'll try posting it here. Thanks

  6. Verse 1 was cut off but reads" For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem," Also Isaiah 14 says the whole world will be at peace when true Israel is back in their land, sorry lady youve been mistaught. Here's what the bible says about the so called jew in the land today. Rev 3:9-"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee"

  7. Caleb: We Jews do not use the New Testament including Revelations. I have not been mistaught, Caleb. That's your opinion, not a fact. You, however, do not understand all the movements of people that have occurred. For instance, in 722 BCE the Assyrians took Israelis and brought in unwanted people from their holdings. It happened in 597 and 586 BCE when the Babylonians took Judeans and Israelis to their lands and in turn brought in others in their place. Jews have returned. We have Israel again after 2,000 years. That's a fact.