Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrachi Jews: How Jews Became Divided After 70 CE

Nadene Goldfoot
Way back in King Solomon's day (961 BCE-920 BCE) , we find that he ruled over all the kingdoms of his day; from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, and onto the border of Egypt.  People from far lands brought him many tributes and served Solomon all the days of his life.  He ruled over other kings of the lands, even from Tiphsah to Gaza, and he was at peace with all of them.  The land of Israel including the tribe of Judah lived with security.  The saying was that each man lived under his grapevine and under his fig tree from Dan to Beer-Sheba.
One reason, other than marrying a daughter of each king, was that Solomon believed in trading, and had a fleet of ships.  He was good friends with the king of Tyre, Hiram, and Hiram had been a friend of his father, King David.  Tyre was the main seaport of the Phoenicians at that time.  Solomon had other trading alliances with the cities of Chittim, Ophir and Tarshish.  Solomon was a ruler of international reputation.
Therefore, Israel had a large naval force used for trading.  He also used his ability to travel for diplomatic purposes, as he was a shrewd diplomat and had alliances to the kingdoms of Sheba, Egypt and Phoenicia.  They all had seafaring capabilities at this time.  The Queen of Sheba was credited with having over 400 ships that she used for trading with other countries.
The 6th century BCE was the period of Obadiah, a minor prophet.  He was saying what would happen to the 12 Tribes of Jacob one day:  The exiled of Jerusalem which is in Sepharad will inherit the cities of the South.  Sepharad must have been Spain, as that name is what the Jews of Spain took for themselves; the Sephardim.  The place-name is only mentioned this one time in Obadiah.  Jews had settled here from the destruction of Solomon's 1st Temple.  "It is certain that they were to be found in the 1st century CE and were specifically mentioned in the canons of the Catholic Church Council at Elvira in the year 312.  Tombstones of Jews from the Classical period have been found.  . 
Spain was  called Iberia, then later called Hispania.  From that comes Spain.  Obadiah may have called it Sepharad but we're not sure.
One theory was that Sepharad was an Asiatic  region north of Israel to which exiles from Jerusalem were deported when the 1st Temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. Tyre would have been north.  I believe they meant the land now called Spain. 

"When did the Jews first arrive in Spain? There are hints from the Bible that the lands of the western Mediterranean were well known to the Israelites. Around 970 BCE Solomon formed an alliance with Hiram of Tyre, the king of the Phoenicians, providing Hiram with sailors who had a knowledge of the sea equivalent to that of the Phoenician sailors. The territories of the Israelite tribes of Asher, Zebulon, and Dan were part of Phoenicia and some early Spanish Jewish documents actually refer to those tribes as having descendants living in Iberia. The Bible implies that expeditions to Spain were routine as early as the tenth century BCE."

The Jews actually started colonies in Spain.  So when the Romans occupied Jerusalem and then finally destroyed the 2nd Temple and city itself in 70 CE, people were forced to leave.  Some were taken as prisoners to Rome which later led them to go to Germany.  These would become the Ashkenazim.   Others followed their more seafaring leaders to their well known route leading to Spain where the Sephardim were born.  Those that were able to stay in the area are called the Mizrahim (East).  Israel and Judah always had Jews living there that never left and their descendants remained as well.  
Typical Ashkenazim IDF soldiers:  'European' ancestry in the Ashkenazi Jews is predominitely South European.

          Ashkenazim or German and Hebrew (Yiddish);   Sephardim or Spanish and Hebrew (Ladino)  and Mizrahim (East in Hebrew)  or Arabic and Hebrew.                
Image: Four women complete the Sargeant-First-Class Course for the IDF Infantry Corps in 2007. We can’t tell whether they are Ashkenazi, Sephardic, or Mizrahi Jews by looking at them, but all are Jewish. Photo by the IDF

"Studies of autosomal DNA, such as familyfinder from FTDNA, which look at the entire DNA mixture, show that Jewish populations have tended to form relatively closely related groups in independent communities with most in a community sharing significant ancestry.    For populations of the Jewish diaspora, the genetic composition of AshkenaziSephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations show significant amounts of shared Middle Eastern ancestry.    According to Behar and colleagues (2010), this is "consistent with an historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelites of the Levant" and "the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World."

"Recent studies have been conducted on a large number of genes homologous chromosomes or autosomes (all chromosomes except chromosomes X and Y). A 2009 study was able to genetically identify individuals with full or partial Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.   In August 2012, Dr. Harry Ostrer in his book Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People, summarized his and other work in genetics of the last 20 years, and concluded that all major Jewish groups share a common Middle Eastern origin."

Bible:  Kings: Chapter 5
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia

The Plight of the Kurds and Israel's Relationship

Nadene Goldfoot                                     
The Kurds are people who have the closest DNA to Jews.  We both go back to the time of the scribe, Ezra, when Jews were settlers in what would later be called, Kurdistan.  Remember that it was the Babylonians who captured the Judean Jews in 597-586 BCE and Nebuchadnezzar took them to Babylonia which came under Persian rule by Ezra's day.  

"The Battle of Chaldiran of 1514 is an important turning point in Kurdish history, marking the alliance of Kurds with the Ottomans."
" The Sharafnameh of 1597 is the first account of Kurdish history.  Kurdish history in the 20th century is marked by a rising sense of Kurdish nationhood focused on the goal of an independent Kurdistan as scheduled by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920."                                                                             
Kurdistan was a mountainous region now divided since the 1920s between Turkey or the Ottoman Empire into Iran and Iraq as well as the country of Turkey.
 Ezra existed in the 5th Century BCE.  Ezra had been a scribe in the Persian (Iran) government.  In 458 BCE, it was he who was given permission by Artaxerxes I of Persia to return to Jerusalem with 1,754 returning Jewish exiles from Babylonia.  There, they rebuilt their destroyed Temple with the Persian government blessings. " Even after the 2nd Temple was rebuilt in 349 BCE, the level of holiness of the 1st Temple era did not return."   This is all documented in his book, The Book of Ezra, by Ezra himself, in the TANACH, or Old Testament.  In the Tanach, it is in the end of the book, just before chronicles and is titled, Ezra-Nehemiah.                                                                           

So we Jews lived in the same lands that Kurds have been living in.  Our DNA has been studied as well. "Genetic analysis has shown that the Kurdish people are closely related to the AzeriArmenianGeorgian, and Jewish peoples, descending from some common ancestors in the northern Near East region.

Some of the studies cited below have haplogroup frequencies for various populations of Kurds. We can add to that small-scale results from Family Tree DNA's "Kurdish DNA Project"; at present the following Y-DNA (paternal DNA) haplogroups were found among its grouped members: G2a, G2a3b1, I1, J1, R1a1a1, R1b1a2a1a1b4i, and one instance of Q1b1a.   My father's Jewish haplogroup is Q1b, now upgraded to be called QBZ67.  These are haplogroups passed on from father to son.

Women pass on their mtDNA to their daughters.  The  mtDNA haplogroup HV1b2 is found among a Yezidi Kurd as well as Ashkenazi Jews. The Ashkenazim are tested through Family Tree DNA's "HV1b - MtDNA Match Mates" project.

Language is an important marker as well.  "The Kurds speak an Iranian language. Their traditional homeland, known as Kurdistan, includes some regions in the present-day nations of Turkey (southeastern quadrant), Syria (northeastern corner), Iraq (northern areas), and Iran (western areas) and small numbers have lived in parts of Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Kurds were promised an independent nation in 1920 by the Treaty of Sèvres but never got one. The Kurds' identity — even their use of the Kurdish language — was widely suppressed in Turkey and Syria. In Iraq beginning in the 1990s the Kurds managed to assert their political autonomy but they are still part of that country and since the fall of Saddam Hussein they've reintegrated into the countrywide Iraqi political system.
Kurdish Leaders meeting about Peshmerga forces winning against ISIS,
 on all fronts along a 1050-kilometer border, but they also stressed that the forces needed better arms and political support.

Peshmerga are the military forces of the federal region of Iraqi Kurdistan. Because the Iraqi Army is forbidden by Iraqi law from entering Iraqi Kurdistan, the peshmerga, along with their security subsidiaries, are responsible for the security of the regions in Iraqi Kurdistan.

February 22, 2015 - ISIS releases a video that appears to show at least 21 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in cages carried down Iraqi streets.

November 13, 2015 - After a two-day battle, the Peshmerga Iraqi Kurdish military force declares victory in liberating the Iraqi town of Sinjar from ISIS. The battle was backed by the US coalition air power.

October 17, 2016 - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi makes a televised statement announcing the start of the mission to retake the key city of Mosul, the last remaining ISIS stronghold. He says a coalition of about 100,000 troops will play a role in the operation, though some will have a holding role behind the front lines or other support roles. The force includes about 54,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces, 40,000 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, 14,000 members of paramilitary units - 9,000 Sunni fighters and 5,000 from other minorities including Christians, Turkmen and Yazidis - and approximately 500 US service members who will serve mainly in a logistical capacity. US military officials have estimated up to 5,000 ISIS fighters are in Mosul, but the terror group's supporters say there are 7,000.
The Kurds have been living together with other Kurds in 4 different areas, in Eastern, Western, northern and Southern Kurdistan that lie in northern  Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.  It is the Northern sector who has been the most vocal in leading the drive toward independence.  They all feel they have been betrayed during the past 100 years by Baghdad.  Now, they were not thrown out of their own land, but lost their right to administer themselves as before and want and deserve independence.
They feel as the Americans had felt towards England who had to fight for their independence from her in 1776, yet the USA is not backing the Kurds in this endeavor.  However, Israel is.
Kurdish leader in exile, Dr. Jawad Mella surrounded by his bodyguards
born in Damascus, Syria 1946

Dr. Mella says, " I established Kurdistan National Congress in 1985. I wanted it to be an umbrella organisation to unite all Kurdish parties and to sit down to chart a united strategy for Kurdish problem and rights. We organised several meetings but we faced many difficulties because some parties would attend the meeting and other won’t. The next meetings it would vice versa. That’s why so far they have not been successful to unite all the parties. I will continue struggle to unite the Kurds on one table because the only way to gain freedom is the unity of the Kurds, without unity it impossible to have freedom."
Israel has been the Kurdish supporter since the 1960's in northern Iraq and supported their insurgency against Saddam Hussein.  They have been fighters against ISIS.  You'd think for this reason the USA would be also.  Instead, we have told the Kurds to just be patient.  Then they've been told to engage the Baghdadi leaders instead as they did to Kurdish Representative Tanya Gilly in 2006.   Last year as recent as September 14th, 2017, our US special presidential envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS told the KRG the same thing in their city of Erbil.  The USA remains their ally, but their dialogue is not always in good faith, I see.   "The USA diplomats in Baghdad also have been critical of demands for too much Kurdish autonomy as it seemed to go against their plans for rebuilding a "unified" Iraq."   I ask, "Why?"
Former President Ahmadinejad of Iran and his threats to bomb Israel with A bombs.
That's why they work so long and hard on their nuclear project.  
                   Kurdish leaders of Iran who are not for change                               
They dare not.  They're in Iran under the Ayatollahs.
Freedom of thought?  Not in Iran

 Iran's influence is growing steadily in Baghdad, and Iran has replaced Saddam's Iraq as the main opposition to an independent Kurdistan once again.  Of course not.  Once a country gets land, they don't intend to lose it.  Russia had  a terrible time after being the USSR.  We see them today trying to regain Ukraine again, which was part of the Pale of Settlement where Jews were allowed to live instead of being allowed into Russia proper.  Of course today there are no Jews in  Ukraine, having been all killed by either the Nazis or their Ukrainian helpers.  I have a feeling that these Kurdish leaders dare not disagree with Iran's  Ayatollahs or else!

Strangely or not, being under 4 dictatorships makes it very hard for the Kurds to unite since they are already on their own soil of Kurdistan.  One of the dangers they had already is behind them.  It was Saddam Hussein who had gassed them!  " The Halabja Massacre or Bloody Friday, was a massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War in the Kurdish city of Halabja in Southern KurdistanThe attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people and injured 7,000 to 10,000 more, most of them civilians.  That's how crazy Saddam was.   The Iraqi High Criminal Court recognized the Halabja massacre as an act of genocide on March 1, 2010, a decision welcomed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The attack was also condemned as a crime against humanity by the Parliament of Canada.

Kurdish relations with Israel is a close one.  Kurds held up Israeli flags at rallies in Europe and in Kurdish cities of Dohuk and Akre.  Turks were angry after a vote which resulted in pressure on Israel to tone down its public support.  Kurdistan is being painted for this as a 2nd Israel, which may actually be quite true, as they admire Israel.  Former PM of Kurdistan mentioned that he saw on September 17th in the Kurdish regions, SUVs with Israeli flags and many Kurds told him that Israel was the one country they could count on for support.  It is Netanyahu who supports and independent Kurdistan in Turkey while Erdogen supports Hamas.  Turkey has some great people.  I don't know how someone like Erdogen got in.  He's more Iranian-acting than Turkish.  He's all for the newer orthodox Islam of the Ayatollas; far more hateful than his own people.  It must be paying off for him.  

The Kurds, wherever they live; Iran, Iraq, Syria or Turkey, are great fighters and great friends of Israel.  They are our cousins.  

Update: 3/8/2018 11:27am  "Since USA's McMaster’s speech ijn mid-December, Erdo?an of Turkey has invaded Afrin, Syria (a city then controlled by America’s Kurdish allies), massacring women, children and the elderly; promoted the use of child soldiers in his fight against the Kurds; and undermined U.S. sanctions against Iran."

1:32pm:  "The Yazidis, or Yezidis (/jəˈzdz/ (About this sound listen) yə-ZEE-deez) (Kurmanji KurdishÊzidîIPA: [eːzɪˈdiː]), are a Kurdish religious minority indigenous to a region of northern Mesopotamia (known natively as Ezidkhan) who are strictly endogamous.   Beginning in August 2014, the Yazidis were targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in its campaign to rid Iraq and its neighbouring countries of non-Islamic influences."

"The Kurds and Yazidis are not the same.  The Yazidis are a very small group who live in the north of Iraq.  The largest contingent of Kurds outside Turkey rule the northern third of Iraq, as a result of the US invasion and various other factions, post-Hussein.  (They were brutally repressed under Hussein.)"  I have not found any shared customs of Yazidis with Kurds or Jews.  The Yazidis are an ancient Persian people, and their religion is based on Zoroastrianism.

Ezra-Book of Ezra
The Jerusalem Report, magazine,  October 18, 2017, p:  12-17.
Jewish Encyclopedia

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sarai , the Elizabeth Taylor of 4,000 years ago and Abram, Father of Three Religions And Documenting Evidence

Nadene Goldfoot                                           
Sarai was the niece of Abram and his wife.  They lived 4,000 years ago where tents were homes.  She was beautiful.  He and Sarai  went down into Egypt from Canaan, for the famine was grave in the land of Canaan.  Canaan was a land of idol worshippers who held human sacrifices and engaged in deviant sex, practices seen as a threat to an emerging monotheism that Abram would soon proclaim.  This is documented in the Bible.
Hieroglyphs from the Great Hypostyle Hall in Karnak (Seti I, 13th century BC)
In that day and age, Egypt's only writing was in hieroglyphics.  Abram was born in about 1948 BCE which is called the 2nd millennium BCE.  Most scholars understand that this was the time of the Hyksos.  This is an Egyptian word meaning "foreign rulers".  Some scholars think he came at an even earlier time.  

The chairman of the Institute of Egyptology at the University of Vienna is Manfred Bietak.  He was leading an excavation of a site in Egypt.  When asked about what the Egyptian historical sources,  said about Abraham,   which was the name the Bible says Abram took later in life, that has more meaning to it,  confessed that they said nothing at all.  "It's as if Abraham never set foot in the delta."  

Abraham would have come with sheep and a wife.  This was probably not unusual that they were not the only wanderers entering Egypt's land.  It went unrecorded.  

However, Abram came to today's Iraq from the East, probably the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and came in a  family group  led by his father, Terah, called the Ivreem (Hebrews). The city was Ur.   Terah was an idol maker.                       

24 years later, Abram and Sarai leave for Canaan from Ur.  This is when their names change.  What writing style could have recorded any history?  

Later, when they leave because of famine and as they got close to the Egyptian border, Abraham told Sarai, "You are a beautiful woman.  When the Egyptians see you, they will kill me to get you if they know you are my wife.  So please say that you are my sister instead.  Then I will survive this.  "  She was taken to the Pharaoh, and though she wasn't 15 years old aymore, they still thought she was indeed beautiful and included her in his harem.  
              It's one thing to write, but another to understand what we read.
       Our 2 religions interpret this event quite differently. 

Roman Catholics
In the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, says that Abraham's deception calls into question his faith that G-d would protect him and fulfill the promise that (TO YOUR SEED I WILL GIVE THIS LAND.)  This implies that he had lost his faith.  

JPS Torah Commentary, says that the point is that Abraham would have erred if he had expected G-d to work a miracle to get him out of this fix.  As it turned out, G-d did intervene. 
Torah, the Stone Edition, Genesis 12:6-10   
from Rambam: a fundamental principle in understanding the Torah's narrative concerning the Patriarchs is that whatever happened to the Patriarchs is a portent for the children, meaning that the events of their lives symbolized the future.  Thus, Abraham's trip to Egypt in the face of a famine portended the exile of Jacob and his family. 
 Midrash: This was another test of Abraham's faith when he had settled into Canaan and G-d commanded him to leave for the land of Egypt.  He went through many tests.  
My comment: is that this is an example of G-d expecting us to use our own brains in solving our problems with the knowledge that G-d will help to lead us to the right conclusions.  We were told that man was made in G-d's image. That meant we were above animals in reasoning and should think.   Abram knew they would die if they stayed in Canaan during a famine and had to go to Egypt to exist.  He also knew he would be killed in order for the Egyptians to steal Sarai away from him.  He prayed for the outcome that would keep both of them safe.  It worked. 

Writings have been found in excavations in Ur and elsewhere on clay tablets.  This is the land known as Mesopotamia, and writing was created by scratching into wet clay with a tool.  

Image result for history of writing in MEsopotamia
The earliest writing was based on pictograms. ... Over time, the need for writing changed and the signs developed into a script we call cuneiform. Over thousands of years, Mesopotamian scribes recorded daily events, trade, astronomy, and literature on clay tablets

 Cuneiform is a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia c. 3500-3000 BCE. The Gilgamesh of Mesopotamia was written in cuneiform. 


Image result for hebrew writing, history
According to contemporary scholars, the original Hebrew script developed alongside others in the region (the region is the Land of Cannan and Arabia) during the course of the late second and first millennia BCE; it is closely related to the Phoenician script, which itself probably gave rise to the use of alphabetic ... 
As we have learned from African tribes, history was handed down orally and memorized over and over.  Now we have these clay tablets which also record events.  By the time that Moses came along in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt.s 400 years of slavery enduring building for them, the year was already about 1,311 BCE.  
Moses speaking to the 600,000 Israelites and other
slaves that came with them out of Egyptian slavery.
He was 80 when he started a trek that would take
him 40 years to reach Canaan.  
Moses, a prince of Egypt, knew how to write as he was among the elite that were educated.  He also knew about recording facts, so started recording what he knew to be a fantastic accomplishment:  obeying G-ds wisdom and orders to free the Israelites and take them back to Canaan to create their own land and to keep his way of living.  
He started from the beginning of their history that he had been handed down, probably by Aaron, his lost but found brother.  He wrote every day.   What he wrote were the first 5 books of the Bible, known as the Five Books of Moses. 

Edited: 3/3/18; 9:22am. 
Parshas Lech Lecha