Page 4«..3456..1020..»

Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European

Posted By on June 23, 2017

An Orthodox Jewish man with the traditional peyos, or long sidelocks.

The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.

Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England.

Tangled legacy

Little is known about the history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century. On average, all Ashkenazi Jews are genetically as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins, said Dr. Harry Ostrer, a pathology, pediatrics and genetics professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the author of “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People” (Oxford University Press, 2012).

But depending on whether the lineage gets traced through maternal or paternal DNA or through the rest of the genome, researchers got very different answers for whether Ashkenazi originally came from Europe or the Near East.

Past research found that 50 percent to 80 percent of DNA from the Ashkenazi Y chromosome, which is used to trace the male lineage, originated in the Near East, Richards said. That supported a story wherein Jews came from Israel and largely eschewed intermarriage when they settled in Europe. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

But historical documents tell a slightly different tale. Based on accounts such as those of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, by the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, as many as 6 million Jews were living in the Roman Empire, but outside Israel, mainly in Italy and Southern Europe. In contrast, only about 500,000 lived in Judea, said Ostrer, who was not involved in the new study.

“The major Jewish communities were outside Judea,” Ostrer told LiveScience.

Maternal DNA

Richards and his colleagues analyzed mitochondrial DNA, which is contained in the cytoplasm of the egg and passed down only from the mother, from more than 3,500 people throughout the Near East, the Caucusus and Europe, including Ashkenazi Jews.

The team found that four founders were responsible for 40 percent of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA, and that all of these founders originated in Europe. The majority of the remaining people could be traced to other European lineages.

All told, more than 80 percent of the maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to Europe, with only a few lineages originating in the Near East.

Virtually none came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas.

The finding should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire, Richards and Ostrer said.

The genetics suggest many of the founding Ashkenazi women were actually converts from local European populations.

“The simplest explanation was that it was mainly women who converted and they married with men who’d come from the Near East,” Richards told LiveScience.

Another possibility is that Jews actively converted both men and women among local populations at this time, although researchers would need more detailed study of paternal lineages to test that hypothesis, Richards said.

Follow Tia Ghose on Twitterand Google+.FollowLiveScience @livescience, Facebook& Google+. Original article onLiveScience.

Read the original here:

Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European

Salad shmalad – is there really such a thing as a Jewish salad? – Jewish Chronicle (blog)

Posted By on June 23, 2017

Jewish Chronicle (blog)
Salad shmalad – is there really such a thing as a Jewish salad?
Jewish Chronicle (blog)
She's talking about NY Ashkenazi Jewish… Those famous salad-eaters. At Monty's Deli – one of London's recent non-kosher New York-style delis described in this article as a “Jewish soul food emporium” is apparently dishing up 'contemporary takes on

Read this article:

Salad shmalad – is there really such a thing as a Jewish salad? – Jewish Chronicle (blog)

APS Superintendent Honored By Anti-Defamation League –

Posted By on June 23, 2017
APS Superintendent Honored By Anti-Defamation League
ATLANTA, GA — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Southeast Region honor the leader of Atlanta Public Schools on Thursday for the district's success in implementing an anti-bullying initiative. The ADL bestowed APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen with …

Read more here:
APS Superintendent Honored By Anti-Defamation League –

Atlanta Public Schools, Carstarphen honored by ADL –

Posted By on June 23, 2017

The Anti-Defamation Leagues Southeast region awarded its Stuart Lewengrub Torch of Liberty Award to Atlanta Public Schools and its superintendent, Meria J. Carstarphen, at the annual Torch of Liberty Corporate Breakfast June 22 at 103 West in Buckhead.

This award recognizes the incredible work that Atlanta Public Schools has done over the past two years to implement the leagues No Place for Hate program throughout the entire school district, Shelley Rose, the leagues interim regional director, said in a news release. 52,000 students have been inspired to stand up to hate by this program.

No Place for Hate is a league initiative offered free to schools. The initiative is designed to rally the entire school around the goal of creating a welcoming community committed to stopping all forms of bias and bullying. In 2012, as the Austin Independent School Districts superintendent, Carstarphen was so impressed with the leagues No Place for Hate initiative, she announced plans to bring the program to the entire district. That passion and commitment continued when she became superintendent of the Atlanta district in July 2014. The following year, it introduced the leagues flagship education initiative district-wide. The Atlanta district continues to see progress as they work aggressively to address and prevent bullying and cyberbullying, as well as educate against all forms of hatred.

The No Place for Hate initiative provides our district with a clear framework to fight bias, bullying and hatred, leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate, Carstarphen said in accepting the award. We are sending a clear message that hate, bullying and disrespect have no place in our schools. We want our schools to be places where students, staff and families feel safe, welcomed and respected.

Success! An email has been sent with a link to confirm list signup.

Error! There was an error processing your request.

The leagues Southeast region annually presents the Stuart Lewengrub Torch of Liberty Award to an individual, entity or company making outstanding contributions to the welfare of our community. The accolade, which was renamed in honor of Lewengrub, who served as the leagues Southeast regional director from 1965 until his death in 1995, symbolizes the organizations profound commitment to translating its democratic heritage into a way of life for all Americans.


See the original post:
Atlanta Public Schools, Carstarphen honored by ADL –

Regional, global disputes beneficial to Zionism, terrorism – Mehr News Agency – English Version

Posted By on June 22, 2017

President Rouhani made the remark in the session of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, while inviting the entire Iranian nation to take part in Quds Day rallies.

“Quds Day is highly respected by Iranian people, all Muslims, and other nations around the world,” said Rouhani adding that the issue of Palestine and the Holy Quds is very important to the world.

“It has been 70 years now that the people of the region, especially the people of Palestine and the neighboring countries are suffering from aggression by the occupying Zionist regime, Rouhani said, adding the issue of Palestine can never be forgotten, despite all attempts by the Zionist regime.

“Today, the Zionists’ overt and covert intervention can be seen in almost every dispute among countries of the region,” the Iranian president said.

He went on to add, “terrorists who sustain injuries in the region, are sent to Zionist Regime’s hospitals for treatment. Terrorists are provided with arms and tasked with bombing the region to serve Israels interests. It is crystal clear that the Israeli regime is sponsor of terrorism in the region.

Rouhani further maintained that disputes in the region and the Islamic world, such as disagreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt and Turkey, are beneficial to Zionism and terrorism.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has helped the Iraqi nation in their fight against terrorism and we hope to see Mosul liberated in the near future and serve as a symbol of victory of regional countries against the terrorists plots, he said.

Iran will not let terrorism to spread in the region, said Rouhani adding: “If the masters of terrorism decide to spread terrorist acts to the sacred land of Iran, they must know that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not let terrorists and their masters to do so”.

The president warned terrorists that Iran would not allow them to carry out their inhumane acts inside the Iranian terrorist, adding “combatting terrorism is a decision made by the entire Iranian nation. Acting against terrorist headquarters has been decided in the Supreme National Security Council and we have given our armed forces even more authority for countermeasure.

He also said: “”We will not let terrorists to turn Iran into a battlefield. Their masters must know that Iran is different from other countries of the region,” Rouhani continued.

“The new US administration must know that the Iranian nation will neither remain silent not tolerate any intimidation and pressure, but rather it will respond adequately, he warned.


Regional, global disputes beneficial to Zionism, terrorism – Mehr News Agency – English Version

Korach: Strip-mining Mount Sinai – The Jewish Standard

Posted By on June 22, 2017

In this weeks Torah portion, Korach, we read of simultaneous multiple rebellions against the regime of Moses, his brother Aaron the Kohen Gadol, and their silent partner, God. Strangely enough, although we know the rebellions failed to topple the leadership and we have more quotes from Korach and his cohorts than we often find from major figures in the Bible, we dont actually know what the content of their arguments was. Scandal yes. Revolt yes. Challenge withstood yes. But the essence of their arguments was as the talmud tells us of any dispute that is not for the purpose of heaven not destined to remain (en sofa lehitkayem).

Rabbinic midrashim, of course, go to town on explanations! We should (of course) be cautioned at the outset that there is a danger in seeing too much of contemporary issues in ancient texts, even for those living in the rabbinic period who projected their own concerns onto Biblical texts that predated their own times by more than a thousand years. Having said that, the method of combing the textual vicinity for hints is beautifully accomplished in this case. At the end of last weeks portion, the laws of the tzitzit with its requirement of ablue thread prompt the rabbis to challenge the law in the (virtual) voice of Korach: Why a thread of tchelet? What if the entire garment were dyed that shade of blue? Would it still require the addition of a blue string on the corner? Korach and his buddies, the midrash tells us, proceeded to make 250 totally blue tallitot. Considering that the requirement for a single blue string was discontinued in the Talmudic period because the particular dye was prohibitively expensive to obtain and use and too many poor people were substituting cheaper colors, one can only imagine how much those 250 royal blue garments cost! And what, said the Korach character, of a house filled with Torah scrolls z- does it need a mezuzah (with only two paragraphs from the Torah) on its doorposts? Again, we notice that the question seems ludicrous in an age before the printing press made publication of books affordable to anybody outside the most elite.

How can following the rules that Moses dictated to us satisfy Gods requirements when a more complete expression will not? Korach uses his best legal arguments to tear down Moses authority. Maybe people would not be swayed by such legalisms in normal times, but another midrash about Korach has him representing the case against Moses and Aaron brought by a poor widow and two orphan girls who are thwarted by their laws at every step they unfortunately take. Their subsistence depends on a small field, but Moses and Aaron demand they leave aside the corners, forgotten sheaves, and also that they pay ten percent to the Kohanim (maaser). They shear what few sheep they own to try to make a living selling the wool, but Aaron demands the first cuttings (reishit ha-gez), and when they decide that they cant afford to keep the sheep and that they would eat them instead, Aaron demands that which is due to the kohanim from all slaughterings. These poor ladies cannot catch a break, because at every turn, the system takes from them until helpful Korach comes along to argue their cause.

We know from experience that no system works perfectly for everybody. Even more so, the mathematician Kurt Godel proved in 1931 that no system can possibly be complete. Try to work out all the rules to be efficient and consistent, and there will always be something that doesnt fit, that cant be proven, that destroys the completeness of whatever system of rules you may create. As Douglas Hofstadter analogizes in his classic book Godel, Escher, Bach; an Eternal Golden Braid, there always exists a phonograph record that when it is played on a turntable of sufficient fidelity will produce sounds that will destroy the machine. Any and every complete system can be manipulated in such a way that it can destroy itself by its own rules, even the system of halacha or the laws and rules and regulations that govern life in the United States.

According to this reading, Korach pushed the process along to bring the system crashing down, ostensibly to help the poor lady. No matter that Moses and Aaron, in following Gods laws, helped the entire Israelite nation survive (receive manna, be guided by a pillar of fire, win battles against enemies). If one person suffers, says Korach, better to bring the entire structure crashing down! Like Osama bin Laden, the trained engineer from the wealthy Saudi Arabian family who could have used some of his vast reserves of money to help poor Arabs whom he claimed to represent (so, too with Yasser Arafat and others), Korach found it suited him better to tear down an entire society rather than actually giving assistance to those who most needed it. The many suffer at the hands of these demagogues and saviors, ostensibly in the name of the few who suffer.

It is always easier to tear down than to build up, to destroy a system rather than improve it. As they greatest sages of their generation, the talmudic rabbis Rav Yosef and Rabbah are nicknamed Sinai and Uprooter of Mountains. Rav Yosefs knowledge was encyclopedic, full and useful. Rabbah, on the other hand, had a keen analytic mind, able to find chinks in every argument to riposte and ultimately, improve the clarity and strength of anyones thinking, especially in pursuit of the Truth. They were each outstanding academics up for leadership of the great academy of Pumbedita. In Horayot 14a, the question is raised as to which should be in charge, Sinai or Uprooter. The answer was that Sinai takes precedence because everybody needs a provider of grain. When, however, the position was offered to Rav Yosef, he turned it down. Rabbah served for twenty two years, after which Rav Yosef succeeded him.

It is always easier to stripmine all the beauty and profit from a system as Korach tried to do. But to build up and maintain a mountainscape, a community dedicated to what is true and good and helpful to those who most need it to build a Sinai is never easy. Ultimately, if they are of good character and join in the fray for the good of the community, both mountain building and gradual erosion serve to maintain a healthy and ever-improving balance in the world. When we can find the best in us all and dedicate ourselves to the hard work of perfecting rather than merely repealing or uprooting, we will always find Sinai to be a revelation.

View post:

Korach: Strip-mining Mount Sinai – The Jewish Standard

Jerusalem synagogue vandalized with swastikas, holy books burned – RT

Posted By on June 22, 2017

Published time: 22 Jun, 2017 08:24 Edited time: 22 Jun, 2017 08:38

A Jerusalem synagogue was vandalized with Nazi swastikas spray-painted on the walls, police say, adding that the perpetrators also tried to burn holy books. A mentally unstable Ultra-Orthodox Haredi man was reportedly arrested in connection with the incident.

Worshippers discovered the vandalism in the Lelov synagogue in the Nachlaot neighborhood on Wednesday morning. The area is known for its many small synagogues.

Swastikas were spray-painted on the walls of a synagogue in Jerusalem. Also there was an attempt to set fire to books, the police statement, posted on Twitter, read.

The vandals tried to set at least three Torah books on fire, the Jerusalem Post reported, adding that there were at least four swastikas painted on the walls.

READ MORE: Vandals desecrate 80% Jewish graves at small French cemetery

Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau described the incident to the Jerusalem Post as unthinkable.

It is unthinkable that worshipers come to a synagogue in the heart of the holy city and discover such a terrible sight, said Lau.

Following the incident, police also found the entrances of two residential apartments vandalized with swastikas in the neighborhood, the Times of Israel reported, adding that a preliminary forensic investigation revealed that they were painted by the same people.

Read more

Later on Wednesday, police said they arrested a 38-year-old man in connection with the act of vandalism, adding that he is also suspected of other, similar acts. Police, however, have not confirmed that he also desecrated the entrances to the residential apartments.

According to Israeli media, the man was a mentally unstable Haredi Jew. Haredi is a collective term for groups of ultra-Orthodox Jews who consider themselves most religiously authentic and reject modern secular culture.

Israeli Interior Minister Arie Deri said he was horrified by the incident, Arutz Sheva reported.

I was horrified to hear about the disturbing act of vandalism committed in the Lelov study hall [a part of the synagogue] in Jerusalem. This is a serious attack against all of us. It is hard to believe that a terrible hate crime like this against religious Jews could take place in the heart of the State of Israel.

READ MORE: We know where you live: Swedish Jewish center closed after Nazi threats

This is not the first time Israeli synagogues or places near them have been desecrated. In April this year residents of the city of the Petah Tikva were shocked to discover swastikas spray-painted near a synagogue and a market in two separate neighborhoods. In the 2000s, the Great Synagogue of Petah Tikva in the city center was vandalized on several occasions.

In November 2016, a Reform synagogue in the central Israeli city of Raanana was vandalized with threatening graffiti that included biblical passages, including death threats to senior Reform leaders.

Read the rest here:

Jerusalem synagogue vandalized with swastikas, holy books burned – RT

The torched landmark LES synagogue can’t be saved – New York Post

Posted By on June 22, 2017

The Lower East Side synagogue torched in a May inferno cannot be salvaged, according to shul reps seeking to demolish what remains of the landmark structure.

Many locations cannot be shored in a safe or practical manner, said Bryan Chester, an engineer for fire-gutted temple Beth Hamedrash Hagadol.

There is a danger of some locations of partial collapse.

Chester and congregation rabbi Mendel Greenbaum need the citys blessing to tear down the 167-year-old synagogue, because it was landmarked in 1967.

A raging, three-alarm fire ripped through the building on May 14, causing the roof to partially collapse and sending up a thick column of smoke that could be seen as far north as 14th Street and even from across the East River.

Whats left is beyond repair, and the site is so unsafe that firefighters and city workers cant even go in to complete inspections, Chester told the local community board on Tuesday night, according to blog Bowery Boogie.

A Louisiana teen landed in jail after he reportedly shot…

At the end of the day, we werent even able to get investigators all the way in to finish the investigation due to the instabilities, he said.

In some places, only a single brick is keeping walls from collapsing, he said. But the shuls southern tower and back wall may be preserved, according to Chester.

The structure was built at the corner of Broome and Norfolk streets in 1850 and was first known as the Norfolk Street Baptist Church.

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol bought the building in 1885 for $45,000 about $1.2 million today and it became home to one of the nations oldest Russian Orthodox Jewish congregations.

But declining membership forced the shul to shutter in 2007.

The synagogue was nearing a deal to sell its air rights to the neighboring Chinese American Planning Council and use the cash to fix up the building.

Greenbaum estimates the property would be worth about $18 million if the synagogue can be demolished. He has said he is committed to re-establishing the shul, according to blog The Lo-Down.

Police picked up David Diaz, 14, in connection with the fire on May 16, but he was later released without charges.

See original here:

The torched landmark LES synagogue can’t be saved – New York Post

Community Synagogue moves place of worship – Home Town Media Group

Posted By on June 22, 2017

Due to an extensive renovation project, at the Community Synagogue of Rye will be holding its services at Rye Presbyterian Church for the next 14 months.

The Community Synagogue, located on Forest Avenue, will be undergoing construction from June 26 through August 2018. According to Rabbi Daniel Gropper, changes will be made to the sanctuary and more space will be created for communal gatherings.

During construction, the Community Synagogue required a new place to hold their services, leading them to rent out the chapel in Rye Presbyterian.

Gropper explained that the choice to rent out room for their services at Rye Presbyterian was easy.

[Theres] really a long, established friendship that we have with the folks of Rye Presbyterian Church, Gropper said. They were just a natural community to reach out [to].

Both Gropper and the Rev. Daniel Love, co-pastor at Rye Presbyterian, explained that the Community Synagogue and Rye Presbyterian have a history of working together.

In 2014, Gropper and Love led an interfaith trip to Israel where they took 55 members from both places of worship on a tour of the country.

The Community Synagogues temporary change of location to the Boston Post Road church was signified with a parade, also known as Hachnasat Sefer Torah, which was held on Sunday, June 18. The event included the transferring of the sacred ritual objects, the Torah scrolls and eternal light, from the Community Synagogue to Rye Presbyterian.

Gropper explained this type of ceremony is part of a public demonstration meant to serve as an announcement of the transfer.

It involves the whole community, [and] becomes sort of a public demonstration, Gropper told the Review.

The Torah scrolls were carried by members of the synagogue under a huppah, or wedding canopy, throughout the streets of Rye along with the eternal light, carried by Gropper.

Love said that the church ended their worship services early on Sunday morning to be able to welcome the Community Synagogue upon their arrival, estimating that the celebration brought in more than 140 people.

Members of Rye Presbyterian gathered outside, clapping at the arrival of the parade, while children held signs saying, Welcome to our church.

Everybody spilled outside to welcome [the Community Synagogue], Love said.

Gropper said that the event was very moving and very joyous.

The location change will not affect the Community Synagogues days of worship, which are Friday evenings and Saturday mornings.


Go here to see the original:

Community Synagogue moves place of worship – Home Town Media Group

Sons Of Jacob: Inside The Last Synagogue On Smith Hill – Rhode Island Public Radio

Posted By on June 22, 2017

Audio version of the story.

The Smith Hill neighborhood in Providence has seen waves of immigrants over the years. The Irish were first, in the early 19th century. Now the neighborhood is almost half Hispanic and Asian, according to the 2010 census. But at one time, it was the center of a sizeable Jewish community.

Between about 1890 and 1910, an influx of Jews from Russia came to the eastern part of Smith Hill, driven largely by increased persecution by the Russian government. As their numbers increased, they built several synagogues in the area, including one for the Congregation of the Sons of Jacob, on the corner of Douglas Avenue andOrmsSt., in 1906.

One hundred and eleven years later, it still stands, a solitary reminder of the thriving Jewish community that once existed there.

Inside the Sons of Jacob synagogue on a recent Tuesday, the president of the congregation, Harold Silverman, described how he came to this place, became its leader and also its caretaker, more than 30 years ago.

I came here when I was 10 years old, and we settled in South Providence, he said. And when I lost my mother in the mid-70s, I needed a synagogue to say Kaddish, which is the solemn prayer that you say for a departed person. You say it for 11 months, and then theres another portion you say for the last month, which is 12 months.”

At the Sons of Jacob Synagogue, Silverman found house of worship where he could follow the traditional Jewish mourning ritual, and he soon felt right at home.

So, grateful for that,” Silverman said, “a lot of the ‘old timers’ said, ‘lets give this guy the mantle.’ So I took it over around the mid-80’s, and Ive been here since.

Silverman estimates the congregation included about 75 to 80 members when he joined in the 1970s. At its peak, Sons of Jacob had as many as 300 families, but that was earlier, probably in the 1940s. By the 50s and through the 60s, demographic changes in the neighborhood spurred a reduction in the Jewish population, and the construction of Interstate 95 brought about almost complete elimination of the commercial district around the synagogue.

I asked Silverman to describe what the neighborhood was like back in its heyday, and he took out a list of dozens of establishments that existed at the time along Douglas Ave.

“Torgans drug store, Bermans candy store, Harans butcher shop, Cohns dairy,” Silverman read out loud, and the list went on and on.

As he spoke each name in turn, it was as if he were reciting Kaddish for the departed neighborhood.

These days, the Sons of Jacob synagogue sits isolated on its corner, facing a highway overpass. Everyday, no matter what the weather, Silverman opens the doors for services, but there are many mornings he prays alone.

Still, there is reason for hope, in the form of a plan for a Rhode Island Jewish Museum, to be housed in the Sons of Jacob synagogue. President of the effort, Joshua Jasper, says the need is there.

I know where the hole in the Jewish community is, said Jasper. And theres really no history gallery, history museum, art gallery. That doesnt really exist within the Jewish community per se in Rhode Island.

Jasper says the effort has already been launched to bring this about. Funds are being raised, and plans are being drawn up to combine an active synagogue with a museum and community space.

My vision for the building, my personal vision, is that you look at it as a piece of art,” said Jasper. “What does it represent? It represents, in three words, Jewish, immigrant, Providence.

The Sons of Jacob Synagogue is on the National Register of Historic Places, due in part to a surprising and rarely seen second-floor sanctuary, with high ceilings and historic murals depicting animals and the mystical Jewish zodiac, all lit by a crystal chandelier.

Its not fancy on the outside, said Jasper. But it sort of sticks with you, you want to see it, you want to go inside. Personally, I see the building, inside and out, as one giant art piece.

The public will have a chance to see the building, inside and out, on Sunday, June 25th. The organization Doors Open Rhode Island is holding an open house from 12 to 3, for anyone interested in seeing this unique space. Sundays event also features klezmer music and President Harold Silverman, ready to talk about the synagogues history, and its plans for the future.


Sons Of Jacob: Inside The Last Synagogue On Smith Hill – Rhode Island Public Radio

Page 4«..3456..1020..»