Sunday, November 6, 2016

Miracles in Israel 4: Return of Lost Tribes: Kurdish Jews and Khazarian Jews

Nadene Goldfoot                                          
Kurdistan's Kurdish Jews are said to be the descendants of the 10 Tribes of Israel that were taken by the Assyrians in 723 BE,  They had been taken to today's area known as Kurdistan in northern Iraq, Iran and eastern Turkey.   According to tradition, the first Jewish settlers in Kurdistan came there as early as the time of Ezra. of the 5th century BCE.  He was a Cohen from the family of Zadok and was a scribe in Persia for the government who returned to Israel from Babylon under Zerubbabel.    The early Jewish immigration are known by the Aramaic dialect they have spoken right up to modern times.  It is very similar to the language of the Babylonian Talmud and the speech of the Nestorian Christians in Kurdistan.  By the end of the 19th century, the Jewish community had about 12,000 to 18,000 scattered in the many villages where they lived as merchants, peddlers and craftsmen.  during the 20th century, they increased, numbering in the Iranian section of Kurdistan to 12,000 to 14,000.  After 1948, when Israel was announced to be a state once again, the majority of Jews from all the Kurdistan areas emigrated back home to Israel and most settled in or near Jerusalem.
Boez (Boaz) Yona, Jewish Kurdish Musician now living in Israel
Here they have lived as a separate people until they made aliyah to Israel in the 1950s.  They show  a much greater affinity to their fellow Jews in other places than to the Kurdish Moslems.
Kurdish festival time 
The Kurds were found to have haplogroup J, the Cohen gene.  It used to be known as Eu9/Eu10.  It is defined by the 12f2.1genetic marker, or the equivalent M304 marker.
Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent;  the Kurds, Turks and Armenians, than to their Arab neighbors.  The 2 haplogroups, Eu9 (J2)  and Eu10 (J1) make up a major part of the Y chromosomes that were tested.  Eu9 came from the northern part, and Eu10 haplotpes were found in the southern part of the Fertile Crescent.
"A sample of 526 Y chromosomes representing six Middle Eastern populations (Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Kurdish Jews from Israel; Muslim Kurds; Muslim Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian Authority Area; and Bedouin from the Negev) was analyzed for 13 binary polymorphisms and six microsatellite loci. The investigation of the genetic relationship among three Jewish communities revealed that Kurdish and Sephardic Jews were indistinguishable from one another."
Admixture between Kurdish Jews and their former Muslim host population in Kurdistan appeared to be negligible. D"
Kurdish States
They were self-made mystics and gifted storytellers and humble peddlers who dwelt in harmony with their Muslim and Christian neighbors in the mountains of northern Iraq. To these descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, Yona Sabar was born, author of the book below, Dream of my Father. 
I think they deserve to be awarded a gold star (Magan David of course) for maintaining their Judaism in the face of their Islamic neighbors who must have pressured them.  That truly is a miracle.  That they were so close to their homeland and yet stayed where they were is pretty amazing.  Did they know what was going on in the outside world?  

Kurdish Jews

"Y chromosomes of 99 Kurdish Jews from all over Israel, unrelated at the paternal great-grandfather level, were analyzed. Most of the DNA samples (79) were anonymously obtained from the DNA collection established in our laboratory for the study of hematological disorders. The remainder (20 samples) were collected, by mouth swab, from randomly selected volunteers of self-identified Kurdish Jewish descent. The paternal ancestors of the majority of the subjects had lived in northern Iraq."
A must to read; I have.  It's about Kurdish Iraq and a son who goes back and
rediscovers his father's roots and language of which he is now a professor.  It's good
they left when they did.  The ISIS War was very rough on the Iraq troops who entered Mosul today;
amid grenade and machine gun attacks.  They had to be rescued themselves.  
" Interestingly, the position of the Muslim Kurds on this tree is between Kurdish and Sephardic Jews on the one hand and Ashkenazim on the other. The most-distant group from the four non-Arab populations were the Bedouin.   Ashkenazi Jews differed slightly from the other two Jewish communities.
Palestinan Arabs and Bedouin are different from the other Middle Eastern populations in the study, especially in the high-frequency Eu10 haplotypes   which were not found in the non-Arab groups.  These chromosomes might have come to the people through migrations from the Arabian Peninsula during the last 2 millennia.

Khazaria's Jews are also carrying the legend that they were the descendants of  Simeon, of one of the lost tribes of Israel.  Simeon was the brother of the founder of the tribe of Levi.  Khazaria's people had come to the point in the 8th  century CE  of having to make a choice about the religion they followed, so invited a Jew, Christian, and Muslim speaker to talk to their royal court.  They chose Judaism.  They already had decided in their conversion to adopt the Levite status, which made them assistants to the Cohens, the high priests.  The tribe of Levi had 2 important roles; those descended from Aaron, Moses's brother, were called Cohens, high priests.  The rest were Levites, people who were not given a section of land because they were to go to everyone and teach them.  When Assyria and Babylon attacked Israel and then Judah, they took people from the tribes and the Levites were living among them.

Khazaria  was a vast land with many large Jewish settlements that were centers of commerce, especially Atil, Samkarsh and Samandar.  The original Khazars had 100 cities or clans.  The empire expanded from the 6yh to the 9th century.  Zhazaria included  lands now called western Kazakhstan and NW Uzbekistan.  They controlled the steppes between the Aral and the Manghishlaq Peninsula.  By the 9th century they had the northern Caucasus and the Volga delta and as far west as Kiev.  Jewish Khazars of the 10th century were called Cherson or Shurshun,  the name of a Greek city on the Crimean peninsula that had been a Jewish settlement during ancient days.

They needed Jews to help them to convert and learn so they spoke to the Jews of Kiev and it was signed by Khazarians with traditional Turkic names; and their Khazar ancestors had adopted 2nd names showing that they thought they really were descendants of the tribe of Levi.  This is forbidden to do by Jewish law.  Converts cannot take on the Cohen or Levitic status, and it is thought that the Khazarians then made up this legend of their history.

Now, the modal haplotype of Ashkenazi Levites of today is found to be at reasonably high frequency throughout the eastern European region R1a1.  About 38% of Ashkenazi Levites share a haplotype found among about 11% of Serbs and about 8.5% of Belerusians who are both Slavic peoples.  The DNA affinity with Serbs may be significant but may not be the only explanation.  Ashkenazi non-Levite Jews in general do not have a major Khazar or European origin in their Y-DNA.

At first I thought that my father's Q1b1a haplogroup could have come from Khazaria as we are only 5% of the Jewish male Ashkenazic population.  But this is not the case.  At any rate, our history is from Lithuania.
Jewish children in Ukraine-where Kiev lies.  Some may carry the R1a1a
Y Haplogroup 

As it turns out, "The R1a1 haplogroup is very common throughout Europe and Western Asia. For this reason, and because the R1a1 haplogroup is found among R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites but is not commonly found in other Jewish populations and because the R1a1a Ashkenazi Levite progenitor was believed to have lived about 1,000 years ago, researchers have theorized that the progenitor may have been a Jewish convert fromKhazaria or Adiabene.  Actually, Simeon should have been a J1-the Cohen gene since Abraham had to hand it to his son Isaac, who would have given it to Jacob whose 12 sons would have had it as their haplogroup.   The Kurds do have a high instance of J1 and its mutation, J2, so they are excellent examples, especially since they have been quite isolated and had to have been marrying within their own people for almost 3,000 years.

Another theory is that "R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites could be descended from (1)Nethinim of Iranian origin who returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian Exile. 

Yet another thought is that the founding father was a member of a Levite tribe in Arabia who came to Spain with the Moors

A more recent analysis of STR data, indicates that the ancestor of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites was likely Jewish going back to the founding of Judaism, in Abrahamic times."  If it was indeed Simeon, this does not bode well for Leah, as she was his mother and he was her 2nd son.  Simeon was allotted a section of the Negev to live in.  Later some settled in the Mountains of Ephraim. 
Abram-Abraham, son of Terah
b: c.1948 BCE (2nd millennium BCE)

Actually, "In January 2014, Anatole Klyosov posted an article, originally in Russian, translated to English on this site, and summarized here, that concluded, based upon analysis of STR data, that the ancestor of R1a1a Ashkenazi Levites was likely a Jew who lived in Abrahamic times, when Judaism began.  Could he have been one of Abraham's servants who traveled with him to Canaan?  Did his descendant go with Jacob into Egypt and become a slave there-leaving with Moses?  Undoubtedly he married into the family.  

According to Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman, the tribe of Levi "developed separately from the other tribes of Israel because during the Egyptian bondage of 400 years, they avoided the slavery by maintaining their separateness in the land of Goshen immersed in the tents of learning, and maintained the spiritual tradition of the ancestors. "   Then again, it is said, "In Egypt the Levites were the only tribe that remained committed to God. During the Exodus the Levite tribe were particularly zealous in protecting the Mosaic law in the face of those worshipping the Golden Calf, which may have been a reason for their priestly status.

I went on a Khazarian website and found nothing but anti-Semitic literature towards Ashkenazi Jews.  The writers were trying to say that Ashkenazis were not Jews, thus had no business living in Israel or there even being an Israel.  

Khazaria was a haven for Jews to live in during horrid times in Europe and Russia towards Jews.  The people themselves were animists, and were on the silk route, so were traders.  They held no animosity towards Jews, and when they decided to convert to Judaism did not force their people to do so.  However, the royal family converted and numbered probably several thousand.  My family of Ashkenazis can trace our route with the help of DNA testing from the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE to Rome (my Italian DNA segments), then to France where I connect to RASHI, and the Rhineland (Germany), with my father's German name of Goldfoot (Goldfus) and on into Lithuania.  So much for theories held by Arthur Koestler and his 13th Tribe.  Judaism is also a religion, not just the name of a family line.  We welcome any Khazarian converts.  I have a DNA match of one of the R1a1a Levites.  The point is, whatever any of us is, be a good one.   

DNA studies are part of the miracle in discovering Lost Tribal members.  No doubt among all the returning Russian Jews to Israel that commenced in the 1980s, there are some with Kazarian ancestry of Jews who fled from other parts to Kazaria for refuge and remained, helping to convert the native population at their request.  

Resource: DNA Tradition by Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman ..Rabbi Yaakov HaKohen Kleiman is a lecturer at Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem, specializing in Temple studies. He is co-director with Rabbi Nachman Kahana, of the Center For Kohanim.  You can find other articles as well as his latest book, DNA & Tradition Yaakov Kleiman
Book:  THE JEWS OF KHAZARIA 2nd edition, by Kevin Alan Brook
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia,+pictures&biw=933&bih=579&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiahubL2ZXQAhVB1GMKHRsTCOwQ7AkIMQ  most interesting pictures-


  1. i absolutely love these articles about the tribes and learning of their jewish dna. thanks for posting them. flies right in the face of the lies of anti-semitism, showing us that God knows how to preserve His people----no matter what they have come against! and how to once again reunite them :)
    i have always thought it interesting that sarah's maternal dna (as well as her y-dna as abraham's niece and wife) had to have been very similar to his, because their father terah very likely married sisters (as was often the custom and shown to have happened in pandan-aram where sarah's family was from and isaac's wife came from which was of course abraham's relatives too). that was from what would be known as kurdish northern iraq, so the tie is to both abraham and sarah through bethuel, rebecca, leah, laban and milcah (wife of nahor abraham's brother). there was much cousin dna swapped back and forth and intertwined in this group if i am keeping this fairly straight dna-wise in both paternal and maternal haplogroups.

    1. Hi Andre. After finding your other comment, I thought I'd better check some more! You are so right. We are such an endogamous society. I'm finding that I am related to so many Ashkenazim Jews! Most are labeled as 5th cousins or more. We go way back, but I have found a few recent ones. Cousins did marry cousins. The Torah lists who we are not to marry, like siblings, etc. DNA findings have made me stronger about the validity of our Torah, too. It's beautiful. In my blog, I tell a lot about my DNA findings about my family. I've found that I am connected to a Rabbi Wertheimer born in the 1600s who was connected to another famous rabbi, called Rashi, a biblical commentator whose name is in our prayer books, and he in turn was a direct relative of King David. With that information I found out a lot and wrote about it.

  2. Nadene,

    I'm hoping you can help me a question I have regarding mtDNA results:

    I'm confused regarding my mtDNA HVR1 matches. I show a base haplogroup of K, with a subclade of k1b1c. In my base haplogroup i match with Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Mizrahi Jews throughout many regions. In some areas the only matches I have are Sephardic and Mizrahi (as well as Kurdish Jews, which i understand k1b1c is found highly in the Druze and Kurds?). My understanding is that k1b1c hasn't been shown in any way to be represented in Jewish populations, or can/has it?

    I don't understand why FTDNA shows base haplogroup matches if there isn't any relation whatsoever, and I can't imagine that all of my base k matchs are shown just because? Could it be that what is shown represents everyone who has had their mtDNA tested through FTDNA and are base k matches? (Does that even make sense?). If that's the case then there aren't many people at all who have mtDNA tested through FTDNA and are base haplogroup k!

    Aby help/feedback is much appreciated.