Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Tammuz 5760 - July 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







DNA and the Chain Of Tradition

by R. Yaakov Kleiman


The field of genetics is experiencing a knowledge explosion. The Human Genome Project of the United States Government is analyzing and mapping the entire DNA of mankind. With this new information comes consequences. Improvement in health, longer life, gene-engineered food, genetic screening, and much more, are all areas of new power and concern requiring wisdom and guidance from our sages.

On Monday, June 26 -- 23 Sivan, the U.S. and British governments, as well as a private corporation, announced that it had basically mapped the human genetic information. What this means technically we will explain in more detail below, because it is necessary in order to understand what we have to report. But the achievement of reading the human genetic code holds promise and power for important new achievements.

We wish to stress that this research does not appear to have any halachic consequences whatsoever, but the results are a tremendous kiddush Hashem (see editorial "Judaism is a Family-Based Way of Life" in this issue).


Genetics is the study of biological inheritance. Molecular genetics studies the DNA -- which is the molecule which carries the genetic information.

DNA is in virtually every cell of every living organism -- the code is universal. It has been called the "fundamental molecule of life."

DNA has the capacity to split and replicate itself, which is the mechanism for passing information, which is heredity. When it splits and replicates then two new DNA molecules are formed where before there was only one.

The DNA molecule is a double-helix chain of nucleotides -- organized like the rungs of a spiral staircase. The nucleotides are distinguished by their bases -- adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cytosine (C).

It is the particular sequence of the nucleotides that determines what the DNA will code for. One order of nucleotides will produce a particular protein, and ultimately a particular organ, and a different order will produce something else.

Altogether, the human genome has about 3 billion of these base pairs, which are the "letters" in which the genetic code for making the human body is written. The Human Genome Project is trying to find out the entire sequence of base pairs in the human genome.

However, as far as science knows today, not all of the long human DNA strings (a total of about two meters) carry information that is used to make the human body. Large parts of the DNA, in fact the vast majority of it, seem to have no genetic function and to carry no genetic information. These parts of the DNA are called "non-coding" and they appear to make up about 90 percent of the total. The non- coding DNA is still arranged in a specific order and that order is nonetheless passed on reliably from parent to children.

The areas of the DNA which code for proteins are called "genes." These produce a physical trait and directly affect the makeup of the body. Estimates of the number of genes in human DNA are uncertain at this time, but they range from 70,000 to 250,000.

In the copying process, rare, apparently random changes occur in the sequence of the DNA nucleotides. These are called mutations. If a mutation occurs in a gene-coding area of the DNA it can cause a malfunction in the body. In that case, if the problem is serious, the descendants with that mutation will not survive.

However, a mutation can also occur in the non-coding area and there it does not physically affect the person and it is passed on down the generations with no ill effects. Because of these mutations in the non-coding areas of the DNA, people can have different DNA which seems to make no physical difference.

Population genetics studies use these rare mutations as markers which can distinguish peoples' lineage. Since the DNA is passed down from parent to child, a study of the particular mutations present in a person's DNA can shed light on who his ancestors were.

DNA is contained in chromosomes which are located in the nucleus of each human cell. In people, 23 pairs of chromosomes contain the human genome -- the totality of a person's genetic information. They are of varying lengths. Females have 2 copies of chromosomes 1 through 22 plus two copies of the X chromosome; males have 2 copies of chromosomes 1 through 22 and one X and one Y chromosome

Thus, the biological determiner of maleness is the "Y" chromosome. The mother provides an "X" (female) chromosome to all of her children. The father provides either an "X" inherited from his mother and thereby producing a daughter, or a "Y" producing a son, which in turn he inherited from his father.

The Y chromosome is unique among all the other chromosomes in that it does not exchange DNA and is passed virtually unchanged from father to son. Therefore, a man's lineage through his father and his father's father and so on can be traced through his Y chromosome. This is done by identifying and comparing combinations of those rare, non-coding mutations in the Y chromosome. A particular combination of these rare mutations is called a haplotype, and it is used to distinguish an ancestral paternal line.

Population geneticists also study maternal lineage by examining the mitrochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is found in each cell. This information is passed by the mother to both her sons and daughters virtually unchanged. This research has indicated that all of mankind is genetically related, sharing its mtDNA in common.

Using these newly developed research tools, researchers hope to learn more about world history and population origins and migrations.

The Jewish people provides an unique opportunity to study a population with ancient roots and many modern branches. Genetic research into the history and lineage of the Jews has thus far confirmed tradition and shown that the lineage of the Jews is remarkably pure. Jews from all over the world, even if they look like the non-Jewish populations in which they lived for many generations, remain genetically closer to other Jews than to non-Jewish populations.

The first study discussed here focused on the Cohanim. It indicates, on the basis of the genetic evidence, that Cohanim today all descended from a single common ancestor who lived about 3,300 years ago -- just about the time that Aharon Hacohen lived.

The second study indicates that all the Jewish communities throughout the far-flung Diaspora, originated in the Middle East and retained their genetic identity for thousands of years displaying a remarkable genetic purity indicative of a very low rate of intermarriage.

Cohanim Forever: The Common DNA Signature of Cohanim

Going to shul is meant to be an uplifting spiritual experience. Sometimes, it provides the catalyst for an insight which leads to a scientific breakthrough and a sanctification of the name of Hashem.

Dr. Karl Skorecki was attending services one morning. The Torah was removed from the ark and a Cohen was called for the first aliya. The Cohen called up that particular morning was a Jew of Sephardic background, whose parents were born in North Africa. Skorecki is also a Cohen, though he is of Ashkenazi background: his parents were born in Eastern Europe.

Karl (Kalman) Skorecki looked at the Sephardic Cohen's physical features and considered his own physical features. The two of them were significantly different in stature, skin coloration and hair and eye color. Yet both had a tradition of being Cohanim -- which means that they must be direct descendants of one man: Aharon Hacohen.

Aharon was the original Cohen, appointed by Hashem in the desert for special duties and to lead a special life of dedicated service to Hashem. The line of the Cohanim is patrilineal; it passes from father to son. If the tradition is correct, it was passed without interruption from Aharon for 3,300 years until today, which adds up to more than 100 generations.

Dr. Skorecki considered, "According to tradition, this Sephardic Cohen and I have a common ancestor. Could this line have been maintained since Sinai, and throughout the long exile of the Jewish people?"

As a scientist, he wondered: Could such a claim be tested?

Being a nephrologist and a top-level researcher at both the University of Toronto and the Rambam-Technion Medical Center in Haifa, he was involved in the breakthroughs in molecular genetics which are revolutionizing medicine and the study of the life sciences. He was also aware of the newly developing application of DNA analysis to the study of history and population diversity.

He considered a hypothesis: if the Cohanim are descendants of one man, they should have a common set of genetic markers -- a common haplotype. They should all have the genetic haplotype of their common ancestor: Aharon Hacohen.

The Y chromosome, aside from the genes determining maleness which are pretty short, consists almost entirely of non- coding DNA. For that reason, it tends to accumulate mutations in those non-coding areas. Since the Y chromosome is passed from father to son without change, the genetic information on a Y chromosome of a man living today is basically the same as that of all his male ancestors from the recent to the ancient, except for some rare mutations that may have occurred along the hereditary line.

A particular combination of these neutral mutations in the Y chromosome that can be used to identify a line of males is known as a haplotype.

Dr. Skorecki made contact with Professor Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, a leading researcher in molecular genetics and a pioneer in Y chromosome research. Professor Hammer uses DNA analysis to study the history of populations, their origins and migrations. His previous research included work on the origins of the Native American Indians and the development of the Japanese people.

A study was undertaken to test the hypothesis of a common ancestor for all Cohanim. If there was a common ancestor, the Cohanim should have common genetic markers. These may not be in 100 percent of all the Cohanim, but they would be expected to occur in the population of Cohanim at a much higher frequency than in the general Jewish population.

In the first study, as reported in the prestigious British science journal, Nature on January 2, 1997, 188 Jewish males were asked to contribute some cheek cells from which their DNA was extracted for study. Participants from Israel, England and North America were asked to identify whether they were a Cohen, Levi or Israelite, and to identify their ethnic family background.

The results of the analysis of the Y chromosome markers of the Cohanim and non-Cohanim indeed showed significant differences. A particular marker, (called YAP-) was detected in 98.5 percent of the Cohanim, and in a significantly lower percentage of non-Cohanim Jews.

Cohen Modal Haplotype

In a second study, Dr. Skorecki and associates gathered more DNA samples and expanded their selection of Y chromosome markers. Solidifying their hypothesis of the Cohanim's common ancestor, they found that a particular array of six chromosomal markers was found in 97 of the 106 Cohanim they tested. This collection of markers has come to be known as the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH) -- and is now considered the standard genetic signature of the Jewish priestly family. The chances of these findings happening at random are less than one in 10,000.

The finding of a common set of genetic markers in both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Cohanim worldwide clearly indicates an origin and common ancestor predating the separate development of the two communities that began not later than around the year 1000 (4760). Date calculation based on the variation of the mutations among Cohanim today yields a time frame of 106 generations from the ancestral founder of the line, which adds up to about 3,300 years -- the approximate time of the Exodus from Egypt, the lifetime of Aharon Hacohen.

Professor Hammer was recently in Israel for the Jewish Genome Conference. He confirmed that his findings are consistent that over 80 percent of self-identified Cohanim have a common set of genetic markers.

The finding that less than one-third of the non-Cohen Jews who were tested possess these markers is not surprising to the geneticists. Jewishness is not defined genetically. Other Y-chromosomes can enter the Jewish gene pool through conversion or through a non-Jewish father. Jewish status is determined by the mother. Tribe membership within the Jewish people, however, also follows the father's line. Therefore, though this marker may have once been present in all Jews, it remains only in Cohanim whose heritage guarantees an unbroken male line back to Aharon Hacohen.

Calculations based on the high rate of genetic similarity of today's Cohanim resulted in the highest "paternity- certainty" rate ever recorded in population genetics studies - - a scientific testimony to the family faithfulness of the Jewish people and especially the Cohanim.

No Levi Marker

In their second published paper in Nature (July 9, 1998) the researchers included an unexpected finding. Those Jews in the study who identified themselves as Levites did not show a common set of markers as did the Cohanim. The Levites did cluster in three marker groupings, one of them the CMH. Levy was Aharon's great-grandfather, only three generations earlier than Aharon. Thus, all the Levites should also show the same genetic signature from their common paternal patrilineal ancestor.

It is interesting to note that the tribe of Levi has a history of small numbers. The census of Bamidbar shows Levi to be the smallest of the tribes.

After the Babylonian exile, the Levites failed to return en masse to Jerusalem, though urged by Ezra Hasofer to do so. They were therefore fined by losing their exclusive rights to ma'aser. Though one might expect that the Levites should be more numerous than Cohanim, today in synagogue, it is not unusual to have a minyan with a surplus of Cohanim and yet without even one Levite.

The researchers are now focusing effort on the study of the Levites' genetic makeup to learn more about their history in the Diaspora.

Using the CMH as a DNA signature of the ancient Hebrews, researchers are pursuing a hunt for Jewish genes around the world. The search for lost tribes, whether the Biblical ten lost tribes of Malchus Yisroel which were uprooted from Eretz Yisrael by the Assyrians, or other would-be Jews, Hebrews or "chosen peoples," is not new. Now, using the genetic markers of the Cohanim as a yardstick and guideline, these genetic archaeologists are using DNA research to discover historical links to the Jewish people. It should be stressed that this research has as yet no halachic recognition.

Many individual Cohanim and others have approached the researchers to be tested. The researchers' policy is that the research is not a test of individuals, but an examination of the extended family as a whole.

Having the CMH is certainly not a proof of one's being a Cohen. For one, a significant number of non-Cohanim also have the marker. Also, there may be family problems which nullify their status as Cohanim, known as pesulei Cehuna. Chalolim, for example, the children of a Cohen who entered into a forbidden union such as marrying a divorced woman, should have genetic markers identical to those of a regular Cohen even though their status is more similar to that of a Yisroel. The mother's side is also significant in determining one's Cohanic status.

At present, there are no halachic ramifications of this discovery and it is not clear that there ever will be or can be. No one is certified nor disqualified as a Cohen because of his Y chromosome markers or lack thereof.

The research, which began with an idea in shul, has shown a clear genetic relationship amongst Cohanim and their direct lineage from a common ancestor. The research findings support the Torah statements that the line of Aharon will last throughout history. That our Torah tradition is supported by these findings should be a reinforcement for Cohanim and for all those who know that the Torah is truth, and that Hashem surely keeps His promises.

May we soon see Cohanim at their service, Levites on their Temple platform and Israelites at their places.

A Blessing Forever

Just as the Cohanim's lineage spans more than 3,000 years, so does the blessing which they deliver (daily in Eretz Yisroel, on holidays elsewhere) span Jewish history. Since its inception at the inauguration of the Mishkan on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, 2449 (1311 BCE), the blessing of the Cohanim has been recited daily by descendants of Aharon Hacohen somewhere in the world, every day.

It is a remnant of the Temple service which was never lost. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the mishmoros -- family service groups of Cohanim -- kept their tradition of knowing the week of their particular watch at the Temple. Jewish communities have always included the Bircas Cohanim in their communal service as a Biblical commandment.

Sephardic custom, as written in the Shulchan Oruch, is for the Cohanim to bless the congregation every day. Following the Rema, the Ashkenazic custom was to bless only on Holidays. Presently in Eretz Yisroel, following the approach of the Vilna Gaon that was adopted by his talmidim who came to Eretz Yisroel, the custom has been restored to recite the Blessing every day, twice on Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh and yom tov and three times on Yom Kippur and in some places also three times on other fast days.

Also interesting is the fact that the oldest archaeological find of Biblical text is that of the Bircas Cohanim. Two small silver scrolls were found near the Old City of Jerusalem in the area of burial caves from the First Temple period with the three-phrase blessing inscribed in ancient Hebrew script. They are currently on display at the Israel Museum.

Cohanim Forever: From The Sources

Hashem's promise to Aharon and his sons of continuity throughout all generations is mentioned repeatedly in the Written Torah, the Prophets and the Oral Torah.

The following pesukim in the Torah indicate that Cohanim will continue: "Bring close Aharon your brother and his sons with him from among the children of Israel to become Cohanim to Me" (Shemos 28:1) (Every use of the Hebrew word "Li," means for all time -- Midrash Hagodol)

"...and they shall have the Cehuna as a statute forever, and you shall consecrate Aharon and his sons." (Shemos 29:9)

"And anoint them as you anointed their father, that they may serve Me, and it shall be for them an appointment to an everlasting Cehuna / Priesthood throughout their generations." (Shemos 40:15)

"You and your sons with you shall keep your Cehuna / Priesthood ... I give your Cehuna / Priesthood as a gift of service." (Bamidbar 18:17)

"... It is an everlasting covenant of salt before G-d with you and with your descendants." (Bamidbar 18:19)

"And it shall be to him and to his descendants after him a covenant of everlasting Cehuna / Priesthood." (Bamidbar 25:13)

"For G-d your G-d has chosen him of all your tribes to stand and serve with the name of G-d he and his sons forever." (Devorim 18:5)

The following sources in the Nevi'im also show this: "The Cohanim, the Levites, the sons of Tzadok kept the charge of my Sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near to Me to serve Me and stand before Me to offer before Me the fat and the blood, says the L-rd, G- d." (Yechezkel 44:15)

"For the Cohen's lips shall keep knowledge, and Torah you shall seek from his mouth, for he is a messenger of G-d." (Malachi 2:7)

"Behold I shall send to you Eliyahu the Prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of G-d." (Malachi 3:21)

In the Mishna and Gemora we find the following: "The Sanhedrin sat and judged the Cohanim . . . if no disqualifications were found, they made a holiday and proclaimed, `Blessed is G-d, that no disqualification was found in the descendants of Aharon, and blessed is He that chose Aharon and his sons to stand and serve before Him in the holy Temple.' " (Mishna Middos 5:4)

"When the Holy One, blessed be He, will purify the tribes, the tribe of Levi will be purified first..." (Kiddushin 17a)


DNA Evidence for Common Jewish Origin and Maintenance of an Ancestral Jewish Genetic Profile

Recently published research (May, 2000) in the field of molecular genetics also indicates that Jewish populations of the various Diaspora communities have retained their genetic identity throughout the exile. Despite large geographic distances between the communities and the passage of thousands of years, far removed Jewish communities share a similar genetic profile. This research confirms the common ancestry and common geographic origin of world Jewry.

Jewish men from communities which developed in the Near East - - Iran / Iraq, Kurds, Yemenites, Roman Jews, and Ashkenazim / European Jews -- have very similar, almost identical, genetic profiles.

Discussing these findings, Professor M. F. Hammer wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (May 9, 2000): "Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora."

The basis of this new field of population research is the study of the Y-chromosome, which is passed virtually unchanged from father to son. As explained above, the rare mutations -- which are changes in the non-coding portion of its DNA -- can serve as markers which can distinguish peoples. By studying the genetic signatures of various groups, comparisons can be made to determine the genetic relationships between the groups.

Y-chromosome research of the Jewish people began as an outgrowth of the study of Cohanim described earlier.

This genetic research proceeds by obtaining DNA samples, and then doing laboratory analysis and comparison of the DNA markers on the Y-chromosome -- which is passed from father to son, and on the mtDNA (mitrochondrial DNA) -- which is passed intact from mother to both her sons and daughters. This genetic anthropology promises to be particularly informative for tracking the history of Jewish populations, and helping to show the utter falsity of various libels that have been raised about the origins and migrations of Jewish communities in the Diaspora and their intermarriage with the non-Jewish populations among which they lived for hundreds and thousands of years.

The researchers proposed to answer the question whether the scattered groups of modern Jews are really the descendants of the ancient Hebrews of the Bible, or are instead converted non-Jews and or are so diluted by intermarriage that little remains of their "Jewish genes."

The complex recorded history of dispersal from the Land of Israel and subsequent residence in various countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East and the migrations made over the centuries (mostly involuntary) could be expected to produce a complex pattern of genetic relationships among Jewish populations and between them and the non-Jewish peoples among whom they lived.

The research was based on samples from 29 populations -- seven of them Jewish -- in five major divisions: Jews, Middle- Eastern non-Jews, Europeans, North Africans, and sub- Saharan Africans.

The Results

The findings were that most Jewish communities, even those long separated from one another in Europe, North Africa, the Near East and the Arabian peninsula, do indeed seem to be genetically similar and closely related to one another, and thus they all seem to share a common geographical origin.

These Jewish communities are more closely related to each other -- and also to other Middle Eastern Semitic populations such as Palestinians, Syrians, and Druse -- than to their neighboring non-Jewish populations in the Diaspora.

The results also indicate a low level of admixture (intermarriage, conversion, and other relations with the non- Jewish community) into the gene pool of these various Jewish communities.

Among the Jewish communities sampled, North Africans (Moroccans, Algerians, Libyans and others) were most closely related to Babylonian (Iraqi) Jews. These populations may best represent the paternal gene pool of the ancient Jewish / Hebrew population dating back to the First Temple period, before the Babylonian exile (approximately 2,500 years ago).

The Y-chromosome signatures of the Yemenite Jews, who were more isolated than other communities, are also similar to those of other Jewish and Semitic populations.

In contrast, the paternal gene pool of Ethiopian Jews more closely resembles that of non-Jewish Ethiopian men.

Although the Ashkenazic (European) community largely separated from their Mediterranean coreligionists some 1,200 years ago and lived among Central and Eastern European gentiles, their paternal gene pool still resembles that of other Jewish and Semitic groups that originated in the Middle East.

A low rate of intermarriage between Diaspora Jews and local gentiles was the key reason for this continuity. Since the Jews first settled in Europe more than 50 generations ago, the intermarriage rate implied by the genetic results was estimated to be only about 0.5% in each generation.

Intermarriage in the sense used by these scientific researchers includes marriages between Jews and geirei tzedek, since such unions would introduce the non-Jewish genes of those geirim into the Jewish community. The Jewish community, which does not define itself in racial but in religious terms, has never considered those marriages to be intermarriages. The low rate of genetic intermarriage is consistent with the assumption that virtually all of the marriages were between Jews or Jews and true converts, of which there were generally very few given the low status of Jewry, over the generations.

Intermarriage in the modern sense, which refers to marriages between Jews and unconverted non-Jews, typically takes place on a much larger scale than what is indicated by the genetic purity.

Ashkenazic Jews are not Descendants of the Khazars

Another finding is that the Ashkenazi paternal gene pool does not appear to be similar to that of present-day Turkish speakers. This finding opposes the suggestion that Ashkenazim are descended from the Khazars, a Turkish-Asian empire that converted to Judaism en masse in or about the 8th century CE. It is the king of that community who is represented in the famous work, the Kuzari, though that work is primarily philosophical and includes very little historical information.

The researchers are continuing and expanding their studies, particularly of the Ashkenazi community. They are hoping that by examining the DNA markers in Jewish populations from different parts of Europe, they will be able to infer the major historical and demographic patterns in Ashkenazi populations. It may be possible to trace social relations and migration patters using such genetic information.

In addition to questions of medical interest, there are many interesting possibilities concerning the origin of Ashkenazi populations and how they migrated in Europe.

The first Jewish settlements in Europe were in Western Europe, mainly in what is today Italy, France and Germany, when those were areas under Roman rule starting even before the destruction of the Bayis Sheini.

It seems likely that Jews began to arrive in Eastern Europe perhaps only 1,000-1,200 years ago -- well after the fall of the Roman Empire when the general non-Jewish settlement was already sufficiently civilized and developed enough to provide them with opportunities to make a living.

One theory claims that the Jews of Eastern Europe derive predominantly from Jewish migrants from Western Europe, from the Rhineland or from Italy, being fairly direct descendants of the original ancient Jewish Hebrew populations in Western Europe.

A second theory suggests a northerly migration from the Balkans or from Central Asia that would be of Jews from Oriental backgrounds such as the Babylonian community, with the possibility of large scale additions by conversions of Slavs and/or Khazars to Judaism.

This argument parallels the controversy over the origin and development of Yiddish -- the language of Eastern European Jews. One theory proposes that Jews migrating from the Rhineland and neighboring regions spoke an old form of German which was later the basis of Yiddish.

Other scholars reject the German origin of Yiddish. These linguists see Yiddish grammar as fundamentally Slavic, with modern Yiddish developed by incorporating large numbers of German and Hebrew words into the framework of a basically Slavic grammar and syntax.

There has not been enough historical evidence to decide between these theories. Now, with the newly developed genetic methods, it is possible to test these ideas, for example to see if there was any significant Slavic genetic contribution to modern Ashkenazic Jewry. Early indications from this study seem to support the first alternative: that the pattern was Mediterranean Jews who moved to Western Europe and then to Eastern Europe.

The researchers plan to continue their research by investigating genetic variation in populations that can trace their Jewish ancestry to localized communities of Europe, in order to better understand the history and development of Ashkenazic Jewry.

Proof of Jewish Loyalty for over 2,000 Years

In general these genetic research findings support Jewish tradition -- both written and oral. After over one thousand years in the Land of Israel in the times of the shofetim, nevi'im and the Kings of the Davidic line, Jews dispersed to many and distant locations throughout the world.

Some Jewish exile communities were relatively stable for two millennia -- such as in Babylon (modern Iraq), Persia (Iran) and Yemen. Others developed centuries later, following successive migrations to North Africa and Europe.

All of these communities maintained Jewish customs and religious observance despite prolonged periods of persecution. Jews remained generally and culturally isolated from their host communities. These genetic studies are a strong testimony to Jewish family faithfulness.

Only the Jewish people in the history of mankind has retained its genetic identity for over 100 generations while being spread throughout the world -- a truly unique and inspiring finding.

Fulfillment of a Prophecy

Perhaps, even more unique and inspiring is that this most unlikely scenario was a prophecy and a promise.

"And Hashem shall scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth" -- Devorim 28:64.

"And G-d shall return your captivity and be merciful to you, and will return and gather you from all the nations whither G- d has scattered you." -- Devorim 30:3

"As the natural laws are set before Me, so shall the seed of Israel never cease from being a nation before Me, forever." -- Yirmiyahu 31:36


Thanks to Professor Edward Simon, microbiologist at Purdue University, lecturer and board member of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists, for his expert input on the part about Cohanim.

Rabbi Yaakov Hacohen Kleiman is a lecturer at Aish HaTorah, Jerusalem, specializing in Temple studies. He is co- director, with Rabbi Nachman Kahana, of the Center for Cohanim.

Cohanim and Levites interested in participating in the DNA research and/or receiving further information please contact: Mail: Center For Cohanim at 3 Rechov HaMekubalim, Old City Jerusalem, 97500, Israel Phone/Fax: (02) 628-9243 h. 627-2226, 127 Rechov HaYehudim, Old City, Jerusalem



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