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Three different Jewish people giving Selichot prayers at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

Can Jewish People be a Nation, and a Religion, and a Race?

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Although Jewish people usually, but not always, share a common gene pool, they are not a race because any non-Jew who converts to Judaism will be recognized as being Jewish by all those rabbis who share a commitment to the same denomination of Judaism as the rabbi who did the conversion. 

Racial diversity amongst Jewish people

For example, a few years ago a Korean American woman, Angela Buchdahl, was named Senior Rabbi of Manhattan’s Central Synagogue. She is the first Asian-American senior rabbi of one of the North America's largest (2,400 families) Reform synagogues.

Born in South Korea in 1972, Rabbi Buchdahl, and Chinese American Reform Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, rabbi of Temple Sinai in Oakland, California. exemplify the new, ethnically and racially diverse face of the worldwide Jewish community, which now includes between 300-500,000 non-Jews who have become Jewish - formally by conversion or informally by acculturation into the Jewish people and its culture.

Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, first Asian-American Senior Rabbi. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl, first Asian-American Senior Rabbi. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Orthodox Rabbis would not accept these two Reform Rabbis because (1) they do not want to accept any Jewish woman as a Rabbi, (2) they do not want to accept any Reform Rabbis as Rabbis, and (3) because they do not want to accept Reform converts to Judaism in general. They only want to maintain a monopolistic control over Judaism.

When it comes to Jews who are non-religious or even anti-religious, they are considered secular or cultural Jews, unless they are converts to another religion. Orthodox Jewish law still considers even apostates to be Jewish because for over fifteen centuries Jews were frequently subjected to persecutions and forced conversions, which meant that thousands of Jews who were baptized still believed in the One God of Israel. 

Some Jews today who have converted to a Protestant Fundamentalist denomination call themselves “Jews for Jesus” or Messianic Jews; but almost all non-Orthodox Jews think they are simply mixed up.

People of the Jewish faith giving prayers at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem. (CC0)

People of the Jewish faith giving prayers at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem. ( CC0)

What might be considered the Jewish Nation?

Like most nations, Jews have a national language, a shared history, which is much longer than most nations, and a style of cooking and thinking that is as distinctive as that of many other nations. 

What they have lacked for most of their 4,000 year history is an independent State in one geographical area. However, states come and go (Yugoslavia) and go and come (Poland and Israel) so having a state is not the most important aspect of being a nation. 

More important is that the majority of Jews do not view “Jews for Jesus” or Messianic Jews as belonging to the Jewish community. 

The answer to the question of ‘what are Jews?’ is that since Judaism and the Jewish People are so deeply intertwined they cannot and should not be separated. Individuals Jews act in all kinds of ways, but the historical community is a blend of Jews: by birth (genes), belief, behavior and belonging.

New genetic studies show how over the centuries many non-Jews have entered the Jewish community and many Jews have, voluntarily or not, left the Jewish community. Today we can answer the complex question: are all present day Jews really the biological descendants of the Jews who inhabited the Land of Israel 3,000 years ago?

The answer is: Yes and No.

Ethiopian Jews celebrating Sigad

Ethiopian Jews celebrating the Sigad Festival at Jerusalem's Haas Promenade. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

The Genetic Jew

Genetic analysis does support the historical record of Middle Eastern Jews settling in North Africa during Classical Antiquity, actively proselytizing and marrying into the local populations, and, in the process, forming distinct populations that stayed largely intact for more than 2,000 years. 

The study, led by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, was published online August 6, 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

"Our new findings define North African Jews, and enhance the case for a biological basis for Jewishness," said study leader Harry Ostrer, M.D., professor of pathology, of genetics and of pediatrics at Einstein and director of genetic and genomic testing for the division of clinical pathology at Montefiore Medical Center. 

However, as anyone who has been to present day Israel knows, Jews come in many shades and looks. This is because even in the diaspora, and even against the will of the ruling religious authorities, Jews have almost always proselytized their neighbors, and quietly welcomed converts into the Jewish community, even against the formal rules of medieval rabbis. 

That is why most Jews in different geographical locations tend to look similar to the local majority after several generations. The rabbinical rule that one should not refer to any Jew's convert status is evidence of the desire of Jewish leaders to keep proselytizing and conversion activities secret from the ruling religious authorities.

In a previous genetic analysis, the researchers showed that modern-day Sephardic (Greek and Turkish), Ashkenazi (Eastern European) and Mizrahi (Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian) Jews that originated in Europe and the Middle East are more related to each other than to their contemporary non-Jewish neighbors, with each group forming its own cluster within the larger Jewish population.

Further, each of the four geographical groups genes demonstrated Middle-Eastern ancestry, plus varying degrees of inclusion of converts to Judaism from the surrounding populations. This is true even though two of the major Jewish populations -- Middle Eastern and European Jews -- were found to have diverged from each other approximately 2,500 years ago.

Shepardic Jewish couple in traditional clothing 1900

Shepardic Jewish Couple in tradtional clothing, 1900. ( Public Domain )

The Close Pool of North African Jews

The current study which extended the analysis to North African Jews, the second largest Jewish Diaspora group found that they also were more related to each other than to their contemporary non-Jewish North African neighbors. 

The current study also included members of Jewish communities in Ethiopia, Yemen and Georgia. In all, the researchers analyzed the genetic make-up of 509 Jews from 15 populations along with genetic data on 114 individuals from seven North African non-Jewish populations. 

North African Jews exhibited a high degree of endogamy, or marriage within their own religious group in accordance with Jewish custom. Ethiopian and Yemenite Jewish populations also formed distinctive genetically linked clusters, as did Georgian Jews. 

Reincarnation and the Jewish Soul

Yet some converts to Judaism, and their genes, have always entered the Jewish gene pool. In the west today, many converts to Judaism are descendants of ex-Jews in previous generations who are now returning to the Jewish People, and bringing many non-Jewish genes with them. 

This unusual form of religious conversion, as a result of reincarnation, is a special aspect of Kabbalah: the Jewish mystical tradition. Unlike Buddhism and Hinduism, Kabbalah does not teach that reincarnation (gilgul) occurs over the course of millions of years to millions of different sentient species. 

The Kabbalist by Isidor Kaufmann. (Public Domain)

The Kabbalist by Isidor Kaufmann. ( Public Domain )

According to Kabbalah, only the souls of self-conscious moral creatures like human beings reincarnate; and they reincarnate only when they have not fulfilled the purpose of their creation. 

Since Judaism is an optimistic religion, most Kabbalists teach that most people can accomplish their life’s purpose in one or two lifetimes. 

A few souls may take 3-5 lifetimes or more. The bright souls of great religious figures like Moses or Miriam can turn into dozens of sparks that can reincarnate several times. 

The souls of Jews whose children have been cut off from the Jewish people, either through persecution or conversion to another religion, will reincarnate as one of their own no longer Jewish descendants. 

These descendant souls will seek to return to the Jewish people. A majority of people who end up converting (or reverting) to Judaism and the Jewish people, have Jewish souls from one of their own ancestors. However, their genes are mostly from their non-Jewish ancestors. 

Rabbi Maller's web site is: www.rabbimaller.com. His new book ‘Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms: A Reform Rabbi's Reflections on the Profound Connectedness of Islam and Judaism’ (a collection of 31 articles by Rabbi Maller previously published by Islamic web sites) is now for sale ($15) on Amazon .

Top image: Three different Jewish people giving Selichot prayers at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem                  Source: © yokypics / via Fotolia

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

Comments

there is no such thing ethnically as a jew. It is a belief system, and a culture. In other words it is simply a religion, period.
The problem for religious people is that all are fundamentally in error, because there is God.
God does not have a religion, and God certainly does not espouse beliefs about reincarnation, even the very very odd references to it, and this guys definitions of it here.
Initiation by God results in reincarnation, or spiritual rebirth, as all religions document, but no evidence exists for historical reincarnation, whether as a beetle, or as an Elephant, let alone as a Jew, or Catholic or New guinea cannibal- these are all simply the play of our imaginations, what we wish for rather than what is.
When you die, you are dead. End of.

From the familytree of religions we see that all present day and a number of ancient religions west and east started from Sumer (and not judaism which like they are used to annexed it) and before it was concentrated like in Tengrism and before on the source of life: Mother Universe Sun Earth and Nature, yes even in Middle East and Palestine up to 5500/3500 BCE when man-god were introduced, and domestic/sexual violence Aand WAR were introduced(no massgraves were found from before) and the link with nature was broken. That change can be seen in Abrahamic religions (which are just made up from older texts) by the 2 wives of Adam , first Lilith then Eve, which christianity and Islam simply "forgot" to mention, like they forgot much more. see also Origins of War, Violence in Prehistory, 2005, Jean Guilaine and Jean Zammit(Authors) -Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire Kindle Edition by Eric Berkowitz (Author)

NOT true. Ashkenazim and sephardic cluster closest together as they are BOTH semitic and Mediterranean. Ashkenazim are 100% Mediterranean like sephardic.

Jews are NOT European.
Upload Ashkenazim and sephardic DNa on Gedmatch and it breaks it down into levantines and Mediterranean. BOTH of are semitic and Mediterranean. Ashkenazim cluster with levantines and Samaritans as well as palestinian . You guys always forget that their is BOTH a paternal line (male) and a female line. Ashkenazim are semitic and Mediterranean. We overlap with Sicilians southern Italians Greeks (Cretans mainly) Maltese as well as Cypriots Greek ones as well as the levantines including lebanese, sephardic , syrians, palestinian, jordanians, druze, bedouins, Samaritans, Mizraim etc. By the way Samaritans descend from the tribe of Joseph. Jews descend from JUDEA (Judah Benjamin simeon and Levi) . Samaritans are from Joseph as they are like JEWS Am Y'Israel.

Nonsense it isn't absent . Ashkenazim and sephardic cluster closest together as they are BOTH semitic and Mediterranean. Ashkenazim are genetic 100 % Mediterranean. The paternal line (male) is levantines and the female line of their DNa is Mediterranean from southern Italian central Italian and Greek women. This is known as the Graeco-Roman admixture in Ashkenazim. It was roman JEWS from ITALY who settled in Germany (Ashkenaz ) and later migrated eastwards. You probably haven't seen an Ashkenazim most look levantine and southern Italian. That's why we overly with Sicilians southern Italian Greeks ( Cretans mainly) Maltese and sephardics. Ashkenazim are Italkim .
Ashkenazim and sephardic are genetically the same. Even if you upload our DNa on Gedmatch it breaks it down into levantine and Mediterranean admixture .Ashkenazim and sephardic BOTH are semitic and Mediterranean. IT was Roman jews WHO settled in Germany from italy. We Ashkenazim are EXILED Judeans and southern ITALIAN. Upload Ashkenazim and sephardic DNa on Gedmatch and it breaks IT down into levantine and Mediterranean admixture BOTH are semitic and Mediterranean. SAMARITANS are the PUREST ISRAELITES as they never left the middle East and Mizraim too. Yet Samaritans are purer.

I am 25 % Jew my dad is half atheist Jew and me , my father , his brothers look southern Italian , my grandfather looked Greek and my great grandfather looked like a dark skinned Arab and his siblings had the Jewish semitic look. Jews are genetically different than eastern Euros we lived there as a minority like gypsys or Inuits or tatars in Russia. We are exiled Semites.

Ashkenazi Jews are semites and southern Italians even tough they lived in Eastern Europe and Western Europe. After the three roman Jewish wars 66ad to 70ad , 114 to 117 ad and 132 ad to 135 ad the Roman exiled the Jews from judea on Ships and brought them to Europe (Rome) . Most of the population was exiled into slavery from Judea by the Romans. It is historically wrong to call ashkenazi European because they trace their DNA back to the Levant in Israel. Many idiots think they are European because they lived there but the reason is it is because they were exiled from the middle East 2000 years ago. In Rome those middle eastern men were scattered some left for Spain and became known later as sephardic Jews (genetically a mix of levantine from biblical Israel and Spanish/Portuguese) while their brothers the ashkenazi Jews stayed and we're scattered in other parts of southern Italy ( Sicily, Naples, Sardinia, apulia, basilicata, molise, Rome and Calabria) . These ashkenazi Jews took on local wives that's why they are a Mix of levantine Judeans from Israel and southern Italian . Generations later many Jews left Italy and migrated to the Rhineland in Germany(Ashkenaz Hebrew name for the region where the Roman Jews settled). Due to persecution, oppression and discrimination Jews were forced to flee and many of them went to Eastern Europe where later they suffered from the pogroms against them. Jews are the only ethnic group which preserved it's identity, culture, tradition and history in exile. Ashkenazi Jews are from judea (Israel) and the Mediterranean (both ashkenazi and sephardic). Even tough they lived in eastern Europe they are NOT Slavic. Slavs are Indo European and have the Haplogroup R1a from Ukraine (dnjepr and dnjestr river) and Slavic people are a mix of scythians/sarmatians and balts.

Sephardic Jews (levantine and Spanish/Portuguese)

Ashkenazi Jews (levantine and southern Italian).

Ashkenazim are semitic and southern Italian

sephardic are Israelites and Spanish / Portuguese

Mizraim and Samaritans are the purest Israelites

If the links don't work just copy and paste them

Gallery :

http://ashkenazim.weebly.com/gallery.html . This how ashkenazi jews look (middle eastern and mediterrenean) like

Other famous Jews: Gina bellman, Gina gershon, oded fehr, peter falk, Paul Ben Victor, David proval who played richie aprile on the sopranos is in fact a Jew, the guy who played Bobby is half Italian and half Jewish, Sarah Silverman, Zach braff, Ben Stiller, Jeff Goldblum, David Schwimmer, Josh radnor, jermemy stoppelman, Ari arison, Josh Gad, Gal Gadot, Sasha Baron Cohen, Adam Sandler, Jon bernthal, Alan arkin, Richard Benjamin, Maggie siff, Ali McGraw, Ben Shapiro and even the guy who played Hector salamanca on breaking bad is a Jew in real life

GENETIC VERIFIED ALL PROVEN BY SERIOUS EDUCATED SCIENTIST Studies: READ ALL OF THEM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_studies_on_Jews#Y-DNA_of_Ashkenazi...

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Levantine-or-Middle-Eastern-ance...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3543766/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ngOuW68xB8

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/canaanite-bible-ancient-...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i9IkAPhX_I

http://ashkenazim.weebly.com/gallery.html . This how ashkenazi jews look (middle eastern and mediterrenean) like

https://www.cell.com/ajhg/fulltext/S0002-9297(17)30276-8

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380316/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-canaanites-werent-annihilated-they-jus... over 90% of modern Lebanese ancestry, a trait they share with ancient Israelites.

This is what archaeologists a.o. Zev herzog and Israel Finkelstein have learned from their excavations in "the Land of Israel" in Palestine : the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel. Perhaps even harder to swallow is that the united monarchy of David and Solomon, which is described by the Bible as a regional power, was at most a small tribal kingdom. And it will come as an unpleasant shock to many that the God of Israel, EL later YHWH, had a female consort (Aserah) and that the early Israelite religion adopted monotheism only in the waning period of the monarchy and not at Mount Sinai.Professor Yoni Mizrahi, an independent archaeologist who has worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency, agreed with Israel Finkelstein.Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass “Really, it’s a myth. This is my career as an archaeologist. I should tell them the truth. If the people are upset, that is not my problem.” The jewish/christian bible is not a history book it's made up.

NOT true. The khazar Bullshit has been debunked. Sand, Elhaik and koestler are frauds. Ashkenazim and sephardic cluster closest together as they are BOTH semitic and Mediterranean. Ashkenazim are 100% Mediterranean like sephardic.

Jews are NOT European.
Upload Ashkenazim and sephardic DNa on Gedmatch and it breaks it down into levantines and Mediterranean. BOTH of are semitic and Mediterranean. Ashkenazim cluster with levantines and Samaritans as well as palestinian . You guys always forget that their is BOTH a paternal line (male) and a female line. Ashkenazim are semitic and Mediterranean. We overlap with Sicilians southern Italians Greeks (Cretans mainly) Maltese as well as Cypriots Greek ones as well as the levantines including lebanese, sephardic , syrians, palestinian, jordanians, druze, bedouins, Samaritans, Mizraim etc. By the way Samaritans descend from the tribe of Joseph. Jews descend from JUDEA (Judah Benjamin simeon and Levi) . Samaritans are from Joseph as they are like JEWS Am Y'Israel.

Nonsense it isn't absent . Ashkenazim and sephardic cluster closest together as they are BOTH semitic and Mediterranean. Ashkenazim are genetic 100 % Mediterranean. The paternal line (male) is levantines and the female line of their DNa is Mediterranean from southern Italian central Italian and Greek women. This is known as the Graeco-Roman admixture in Ashkenazim. It was roman JEWS from ITALY who settled in Germany (Ashkenaz ) and later migrated eastwards. You probably haven't seen an Ashkenazim most look levantine and southern Italian. That's why we overly with Sicilians southern Italian Greeks ( Cretans mainly) Maltese and sephardics. Ashkenazim are Italkim .
Ashkenazim and sephardic are genetically the same. Even if you upload our DNa on Gedmatch it breaks it down into levantine and Mediterranean admixture .Ashkenazim and sephardic BOTH are semitic and Mediterranean. IT was Roman jews WHO settled in Germany from italy. We Ashkenazim are EXILED Judeans and southern ITALIAN. Upload Ashkenazim and sephardic DNa on Gedmatch and it breaks IT down into levantine and Mediterranean admixture BOTH are semitic and Mediterranean. SAMARITANS are the PUREST ISRAELITES as they never left the middle East and Mizraim too. Yet Samaritans are purer.

I am 25 % Jew my dad is half atheist Jew and me , my father , his brothers look southern Italian , my grandfather looked Greek and my great grandfather looked like a dark skinned Arab and his siblings had the Jewish semitic look. Jews are genetically different than eastern Euros we lived there as a minority like gypsys or Inuits or tatars in Russia. We are exiled Semites.

Ashkenazi Jews are semites and southern Italians even tough they lived in Eastern Europe and Western Europe. After the three roman Jewish wars 66ad to 70ad , 114 to 117 ad and 132 ad to 135 ad the Roman exiled the Jews from judea on Ships and brought them to Europe (Rome) . Most of the population was exiled into slavery from Judea by the Romans. It is historically wrong to call ashkenazi European because they trace their DNA back to the Levant in Israel. Many idiots think they are European because they lived there but the reason is it is because they were exiled from the middle East 2000 years ago. In Rome those middle eastern men were scattered some left for Spain and became known later as sephardic Jews (genetically a mix of levantine from biblical Israel and Spanish/Portuguese) while their brothers the ashkenazi Jews stayed and we're scattered in other parts of southern Italy ( Sicily, Naples, Sardinia, apulia, basilicata, molise, Rome and Calabria) . These ashkenazi Jews took on local wives that's why they are a Mix of levantine Judeans from Israel and southern Italian . Generations later many Jews left Italy and migrated to the Rhineland in Germany(Ashkenaz Hebrew name for the region where the Roman Jews settled). Due to persecution, oppression and discrimination Jews were forced to flee and many of them went to Eastern Europe where later they suffered from the pogroms against them. Jews are the only ethnic group which preserved it's identity, culture, tradition and history in exile. Ashkenazi Jews are from judea (Israel) and the Mediterranean (both ashkenazi and sephardic). Even tough they lived in eastern Europe they are NOT Slavic. Slavs are Indo European and have the Haplogroup R1a from Ukraine (dnjepr and dnjestr river) and Slavic people are a mix of scythians/sarmatians and balts.

Sephardic Jews (levantine and Spanish/Portuguese)

Ashkenazi Jews (levantine and southern Italian).

Ashkenazim are semitic and southern Italian

sephardic are Israelites and Spanish / Portuguese

Mizraim and Samaritans are the purest Israelites

If the links don't work just copy and paste them

Gallery :

http://ashkenazim.weebly.com/gallery.html . This how ashkenazi jews look (middle eastern and mediterrenean) like

Other famous Jews: Gina bellman, Gina gershon, oded fehr, peter falk, Paul Ben Victor, David proval who played richie aprile on the sopranos is in fact a Jew, the guy who played Bobby is half Italian and half Jewish, Sarah Silverman, Zach braff, Ben Stiller, Jeff Goldblum, David Schwimmer, Josh radnor, jermemy stoppelman, Ari arison, Josh Gad, Gal Gadot, Sasha Baron Cohen, Adam Sandler, Jon bernthal, Alan arkin, Richard Benjamin, Maggie siff, Ali McGraw, Ben Shapiro and even the guy who played Hector salamanca on breaking bad is a Jew in real life

GENETIC VERIFIED ALL PROVEN BY SERIOUS EDUCATED SCIENTIST Studies: READ ALL OF THEM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_studies_on_Jews#Y-DNA_of_Ashkenazi...

https://www.researchgate.net/figure/The-Levantine-or-Middle-Eastern-ance...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3543766/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ngOuW68xB8

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/07/canaanite-bible-ancient-...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6i9IkAPhX_I

http://ashkenazim.weebly.com/gallery.html . This how ashkenazi jews look (middle eastern and mediterrenean) like

https://www.cell.com/ajhg/fulltext/S0002-9297(17)30276-8

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5380316/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/the-canaanites-werent-annihilated-they-jus... over 90% of modern Lebanese ancestry, a trait they share with ancient Israelites.

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