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Suspect Charged With 29 Federal Counts In Pittsburgh …

Posted By on October 28, 2018

A woman kneels to place a candle outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

A woman kneels to place a candle outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Updated at 12:14 a.m. ET on Sunday

Federal prosecutors have charged Robert Bowers, the 46-year-old suspected gunman who carried out a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, with 29 counts in the deaths of 11 people, The Associated Press reports.

"Please know that justice in this case will be swift and it will be severe," Scott Brady, the chief federal prosecutor in western Pennsylvania, said at a news conference, according to the AP, describing the massacre as a "terrible and unspeakable act of hate."

Officials in Pittsburgh reported 11 people, none of them children, were killed in the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in what is being investigated as a hate crime. The federal charges issued to Bowers Saturday night include hate crimes and weapons offenses.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich told reporters six people were injured in the attack. Four police officers were among the injured.

First responders surround the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a shooter opened fire Saturday morning. Gene J. Puskar/AP hide caption

First responders surround the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a shooter opened fire Saturday morning.

Bowers surrendered to the police inside the synagogue and was taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds but officials say he's in fair condition.

His voice breaking, Hissrich said it was a "very horrific crime scene."

"It's one of the worst that I've seen and I've been on some plane crashes," Hissrich said. "It's very bad."

In a statement, the Anti-Defamation League called the shooting one of the deadliest attacks on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.

Bob Jones, FBI special agent in charge of the bureau's Pittsburgh office, said that the investigation is still in the early stages, but that agents plan to look at everything in the suspect's life, including his social media activity and movements in the last few days.

Tammy Hepps, Kate Rothstein and her daughter, Simone Rothstein, 16, pray from a prayerbook a block away from the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images hide caption

Tammy Hepps, Kate Rothstein and her daughter, Simone Rothstein, 16, pray from a prayerbook a block away from the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Jones said authorities do not believe the suspect was known to law enforcement before the attack.

Reports of a shooting began at about 9:54 a.m., just nine minutes after a Saturday service was scheduled to begin at the synagogue. Officers were dispatched to the scene at 9:55 a.m., according to law enforcement officials.

Bowers was said to have been in the synagogue for about 20 minutes with an assault-style rifle and three handguns.

As Bowers was exiting the synagogue, a Pittsburgh police officer engaged with him. The officer was subsequently wounded, and as he withdrew, the suspect went back into the synagogue in order to hide from a SWAT team that was moving toward the scene, according to officials.

Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert praised the bravery of the officers who arrived on the scene.

"Watching those officers run into the danger to remove people and get them to safety was unbelievable," Schubert said.

An FBI agent stands behind a police cordon outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

An FBI agent stands behind a police cordon outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a shooting there left 11 people dead in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

On his way to Air Force One on Saturday afternoon, President Trump addressed the shooting, remarking that if there were an armed guard inside the temple, the shooter might have been stopped. He also suggested that bringing "the death penalty into vogue" would help deter such attacks.

Speaking to reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, he said of the lack of an armed guard: "They didn't have any protection. They had a maniac walk in, and they didn't have any protection."

He added: "And, that is just so sad to see. So sad to see. The results could have been much better."

The president said the nation should "stiffen up laws in terms of the death penalty" in order to prevent such shootings from happening in the future.

"I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue," Trump said.

Police rapid response team members respond to the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images hide caption

Police rapid response team members respond to the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

"Anyone that does something like this to innocent people that are in temple or church, we've had so many incidents with churches ... They should really suffer the ultimate price, they should really pay the ultimate price. I've felt that way for a long time."

Pennsylvania is one of 31 states where capital punishment remains legal, but it has been almost 20 years since the state has carried out an execution.

In a statement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the shooting "reprehensible and utterly repugnant." Sessions said the Justice Department "will file hate crimes and other criminal charges against the defendant, including charges that could lead to the death penalty."

Upon arriving at the Future Farmers of America Convention in Indianapolis, Trump again addressed the shooting in speech, saying it was "hard to believe" and "frankly something that is unimaginable."

"This was an anti-Semitic act," Trump said. "You wouldn't think this would be possible in this day and age, but we just don't seem to learn from the past."

Vice President Pence commended law enforcement officers for their swift response.

"There is no place in America for violence or anti-Semitism and this evil must end," Pence said at an event in Las Vegas.

Members of the Squirrel Hill community come together for a student-organized candle vigil in rememberance of those who died earlier in the day during a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Dustin Franz/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

Members of the Squirrel Hill community come together for a student-organized candle vigil in rememberance of those who died earlier in the day during a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

He echoed Trump, agreeing that anyone who opens fire on worshippers should pay the ultimate price.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement that he was "heartbroken and appalled" by the shooting.

"The entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead. We stand together with the Jewish community of Pittsburgh. We stand together with the American people in the face of this horrendous anti-Semitic brutality. And we all pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded," Netanyahu said.

Neighbors around the corner from the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue embrace one another. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images hide caption

Neighbors around the corner from the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue embrace one another.

According to the Tree of Life website, Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers usually leads its Saturday service. In July, Myers wrote an essay for the synagogue's website titled "We Deserve Better," which focused on several issues, including gun control. Myers wrote:

"Despite continuous calls for sensible gun control and mental health care, our elected leaders in Washington knew that it would fade away in time. Unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the mid-term elections, I fear that that the status quo will remain unchanged, and school shootings will resume. I shouldn't have to include in my daily morning prayers that God should watch over my wife and daughter, both teachers, and keep them safe. Where are our leaders?"

The 11 victims killed in Pittsburgh on Saturday morning are part of the 289 people who have died so far as a result of a mass shooting in 2018, Vox reports. (The outlet cites data from the Gun Violence Archive, which defines mass shootings as incidents in which at least four people, not including the shooter, are shot but not necessarily killed.)

Residents talk to the media near the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue. Jeff Swensen/Getty Images hide caption

Residents talk to the media near the site of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

This is a developing story. Some things that get reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from police officials and other authorities, credible news outlets and reporters who are at the scene. We will update as the situation develops.

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Suspect Charged With 29 Federal Counts In Pittsburgh ...

Anti-Defamation League seeks denial of governor’s Miracle …

Posted By on October 25, 2018

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster participates in a gubernatorial primary debate at the University of South Carolina Tuesday June 5, 2018 in Columbia,S.C.. (Pool photo by Grace Beahm Alford / Post and Courier)(Photo: Pool photo by Grace Beahm Alford / Post and Courier)

The Anti-Defamation League is asking federal officials to deny Gov. Henry McMaster's request to allow Miracle Hill Ministries and other faith-based organizations to select only Christian foster parents, calling such practice "immoral."

McMaster in March signed an executive order directing the state Department of Social Servicesnot to punish organizations such as Miracle Hill if their actions limiting clientele are due to religious beliefs, and heasked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver along the same lines.

Miracle Hill, which is based in Greenville,does not place foster children withgay couples or non-Christian familiesbecause of the organization's religious views.

"No child should be denied a loving foster or adoptive home simply because a prospective parent is Jewish, another faith, a different race or LGBTQ," Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of the ADL, wrote in a letter to federal officials. "Granting the requested waiver is immoral because it would only serve to harm the most vulnerable in our society."

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is a civil rights organization that seeks to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of hate.

More: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster defends Miracle Hill's Christian requirement

Brian Symmes, a spokesman for McMaster, issued a statement saying the ADL's concerns are "unfounded."

The governor believes the concerns raised in this letter are both unfounded and off-base," Symmes said. "The issue is the constitutionally protected religious beliefs of all South Carolinians, regardless of their faith. The governor would fight just as hard on behalf of Miracle Hill if they were a Jewish organization, a Muslim organizationor an organization of any other faith. We need more organizations engaged in finding foster care home for children, not less."

Greenblatt argued that federal taxpayers should not be asked to pay for discrimination.

"The prospective, publicly-funded discrimination sought by the waiver is not only grossly unfair, but it raises serious legal issues," he wrote. "For example, a child placement agency refusing, based on its religious beliefs, to place a child with an otherwise qualified Jewish, Muslim, African-Americanor Hispanic family could violate 42 U.S.C. 1981 (U.S. code of law providing equal rights)."

Greenblatt also wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not allow discrimination while protecting religious freedoms.

Granting such a waiver request also might violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by improperly advancing or endorsing the religious missions of faith-based foster care agencies, Greenblatt argued.

More: Scrutiny of Miracle Hill's faith-based approach reaches new level

"Our nations religious liberty protections such as RFRA are intended as a shield for exercise of religion, and not a sword to harm or discriminate against others," Greenblatt wrote. "In light of the detrimental impact granting the requested waiver would have on the neediest children and the serious legal issues raised by the waiver request, we urge its rejection in the strongest terms."

McMaster argued last week in a gubernatorial debatethat Miracle Hillshould be allowed to exercise its faith. "They are not hurting anybody," he said.

But Democratic gubernatorial nominee James Smith countered that in addition to protecting religious freedom, the government should also not allow discrimination.

"South Carolina's values don't reflect saying we're going to deny you access to being a foster parent because you're Jewishor because you're Catholic or because you are gay or lesbian," Smithsaid.

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Babylonian Talmud.dctx.exe – Bible Support

Posted By on October 19, 2018

NEW EDITIONOF THEBABYLONIAN TALMUDOriginal Text Edited, Corrected, Formulated, and Translated into EnglishBYMICHAEL L. RODKINSONFirst Edition Revised and CorrectedBYTHE REV. DR. ISAAC M. WISEPresident Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, O.

Rodkinsons' ten-book edition, the only extensive one currently in the public domain, contains complete translations of the 'Festivals' and 'Jurisprudence' sections of the Talmud. Rodkinson only finished about a third of the Talmud. All ten volumes were prepared at Sacred-texts and are available here in their entirety.

Rodkinson has been widely criticized, both from traditionalist Jews who feel that translating the Talmud is not an acceptable practice, as well as from those hostile to the Talmud and Judaism in general. As often seems to be the case, the political spectrum seems to be a Mobeius loop. All of these viewpoints are abundantly represented on the Internet. Some quote material out of context, or ascribe hostile intent to innocent passages. The most hurtful critics are those who claim that Rodkinson deliberately left out material to conceal an evil Jewish agenda. After completion of this etext, I can unequivocably state that this is hogwash. Rodkinson's Talmud is, by definition, an abridgement for modern readers. He left out only the sections where the debate spins off into complete obscurity, and was careful to document where he did so. Now that this incredible text, lovingly translated, is on the Internet perhaps these criticisms can finally be put to rest.

Bibliographic note on Rodkinsons' TalmudRodkinson's translation went through at least two editions. The sacred-texts version was prepared from the second edition. All of these were from the 1918 printing, with the exception of book 1, which was scanned from a 1903 printing. The numbering of the volumes changed radically between the first and second edition; to add to the confusion the second edition was bound into a ten book set, two volumes per book. This numbering is consistent, for instance, the second edition book 1 contains volumes 1 and 2; book 5 contains volumes 9 and 10, and so on. However, the volume sequence of the first edition was completely shuffled in the second edition; for instance, volumes 9 and 10 of the second edition (in book 5) correspond to volumes 1 and 2 of the first edition. This confusion will be evident if you shop the used book market for individual books of this set (which are fairly abundant at reasonable prices).

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YIVO | Hasidism: Historical Overview

Posted By on October 17, 2018

Hasidism is a movement of religious revival with a distinctive social profile. Originating in the second quarter of the eighteenth century, it has continued to exist without interruption up to the present day. Its ideological and historical origins are generally associated with the figure and unique teachings of Yisrael ben Eliezer (1698/17001760), known as the Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name; abbreviated Besht), his self-awareness as a leader of his people, and his activities as the purveyor of a new religiousmessage. The emergence and rapid expansion of Hasidism, coupled with the feelings of identification it continues to arouse, have helped it to withstand persistent opposition and become a central phenomenon of Jewish history in the modern eraone of the most prominent features in the religious, social, and experiential world of East European Jewry.

The beginnings of Hasidism may be traced to spontaneously formed, elitist groups of Torah scholars and kabbalists in the southeastern region of the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth, particularly in the province of Podolia. In the generation following the death of the Besht, his admirers called themselves Hasidim (Heb., more properly asidim)a highly charged term applied previously to individuals recognized in the community as exceptionally pious or as kabbalists, who were as such allowed to adopt certain distinctive ritual practices. Members of the Beshts circle of Hasidim and their disciples became charismatic leaders in numerous communities in the regions of Ukraine, Subcarpathian Rus, and Belorussia, attracting admirers and curious individuals, particularly young Torah scholars unable to satisfy their spiritual needs by traditional methods of scholarship.

Poland experienced dramatic political changes during the 1700s, culminating in the last quarter of the century with that countrys partition among the surrounding absolutist states; at the same time, the autonomous Jewish community began toweaken, making way for new sources of religious inspiration and authority. Hasidism prospered and spread against the background of the collapse of the old social order, a collapse that saw the abolition of the Council of Four Lands in 1764; the loss of faith in traditional institutions of community leadership, including the rabbinate, which were increasingly identified with the interests of the Polish nobility; and many manifestations of social and interclass tensions. These were further compounded by a religiousethical crisis due to the remnants of Sabbatian messianism and Frankism, as well as the weakened position of the rabbis, many of whom were suspected of owing their posts largely to their wealth and contacts with authorities.

Despite attempts by Misnagdim (opponents) to vilify Hasidism and describe its leaders as ignorant and corrupt, most ordinary people rejected these charges and considered Hasidic leaders, the tsadikim (lit., righteous ones), to be superior spiritual figures. The weakening of the authority of communal institutions provided an opportunity for the leaders of Hasidism, thanks to their personal prestige and moral position. While originally they had intended not to replace the old institutions but only to reinforce and become part of them, they essentially appropriated powers that had previously been held by the community.

Court of the Tshortkever Rebbe, David Mosheh, Czortkw, Poland (now Chortkiv, Ukr.). (YIVO)

Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Hasidism experienced processes of transformation and institutionalization that changed its historical character. As it penetrated all corners of Eastern Europe and split into numerous subdivisions, it grew into a popular movement that appealed to the masses and not only to the elite. It garnered supporters in all classes of traditional society, whatever their education or socioeconomic positions. Each such group was headed by a tsadik (also known as rebbe or admor [Hebrew acronym for our master, our teacher, and our rabbi]), who represented a new type of religious leadership. They enjoyed a status, prestige, and authority different from those of the rabbis or elders who had been the traditional leaders of the community. The tsadik was not formally appointed or elected to his post; nor was he expected to prove his mettle in Torah scholarship. He was accepted as leader by his followers (including those not living in his own community) by virtue of his charismatic personality or spiritual eminence, and, from the nineteenth century, by dint of his descent from a dynasty ofprevious tsadikim. Membership in a Hasidic community was voluntary and informal, depending on experience; one joined by merely expressing ones allegiance to the tsadik. The literature of Hasidism, which elaborated the special mystical and social status of the tsadik as divinely elected to his post, also ultimately upheld the dynastic principle as the sole basis of legitimacy in Hasidic leadership once this custom had taken hold near the end of the eighteenth century. The leadership of the dynastic tsadik is still the salient characteristic of all Hasidic groups and communities (with the exception of Bratslav Hasidism).

Hasidism has never been a movement in the modern sense of having a centralized organization. Hasidism is essentially a collective term for a great variety of groups and subgroups that took shape over the centuries, whether owing to different approaches or ideological and social emphases, or because of personal conflict within the leadership. Since the nineteenth century, Hasidic groups have been identified with the dynasties to which their leaders belong, and are generally designated by the names of the East European towns where the courts of those dynasties were established or first became known.

Purim painting, untitled. Safed, Israel, 19th century. Hasidic Jews celebrating Purim with a Sephardic Jew (left). The inscription is part of a passage from the Talmud urging Jews to imbibe enough alcohol so that they will not know the difference between the phrases cursed is Haman and blessed is Mordechai. Collection of Isaac Einhorn, Tel Aviv. (Erich Lessing/Art Resource NY)

The organized struggle against Hasidism, beginning in Vilna in 1772 when Hasidim in the community were excommunicated, reflected the perception of the movement as a threat to traditional structure and order partly because it proclaimed new sources of authority and leadership. The struggle of the Misnagdim against Hasidism, whatever its motives, failed utterly after only one stormy generation, but it left its mark on the general social and spiritual features of the traditional Jewish community, namely, the persisting distinction between the two main groups comprising ultra-Orthodox society: Hasidim and Misnagdim or, as the latter are often called today, Litvaks (Heb., Litaim; Lithuanians).

Since the first quarter of the nineteenth century, hostility has given way to coexistence. Nonetheless, Hasidism soon found itself facing a new, far more determined and sophisticated enemythe Haskalah. The clash between Hasidim and maskilim (followers of the Haskalah or Jewish Enlightenment) was not just a dispute between different groups in Jewish society over the correct way to worship God. Nor was it motivated by competition over economic interests and positions of influence. It also represented a peak in the basic tension that has characterized Jewish history throughout the modern era: this ill feeling results from the conflicting views of innovators and conservatives with respect to the religious and cultural identity of Jewish society, as well as from the significance of modern times and their spirit in shaping the future of the Jewish people.

Hasidisms followers generally led the conservative front and waged a determined, uncompromising struggle against the Haskalah, as well as against secularization, nationalism, and Zionism. In its early days, Hasidism played a radical, innovative role in Jewish society but remained confined within the bounds of traditional norms (halakhah). When the movement found itself confronting modernity and a dichotomized Jewish society, conservative tendencies came to the fore. Hasidism was thus not only a religious and social movement but also a rival and competitor to other religious and social currents that shook East European Jewry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These currents, Hasidism included, sought to shape the identity of Jewish society in the present and the future, not only through innovation and inner creation, but also through delegitimizing the opposing camp and posing an unyielding struggle against its influence.

Hasidism was rooted in the milieu of the old world of Polish Jewry. When the movement emerged at the time of the Besht, it rose on the one hand from a coherent, traditional society with an ancient tradition of communal organization, a well-defined economic and legal profile, a characteristic spoken and written language (Yiddish), and a lifestyle shaped by halakhah and its authoritative interpreters. On the other hand, it was bred by a popular ethos that was reflected in a literature of customs, ethics, and homiletics, profoundly shaped by kabbalistic ideas.

The Vizhnitser rebbe Yisroel Hager (right) and another member of the Kosov-Vizhnits Hasidic Dynasty, ca. 1920s. (YIVO)

The social and ideological substrata from which the leaders of both Hasidism and its opposition emerged were circles of pietists and kabbalists known as Hasidim. They were active in the southeastern districts of Poland (now Ukraine) as individuals and as avurot (Heb., groups), but they lacked unifying links. They operated in a variety of ways. Some individuals, reputed to be privy to the holy spirit, devoted themselves to religious and mystical activities of an ascetic, reclusive nature; others studied Torah and Kabbalah, engaging in prayer and religious observance with an emphasis on such values as ecstasy, joy, and religious devotion.

The main scene of the Beshts activities was the province of Podolia. After a period of concealment and religious preparation, he revealed himself to the public (probably in 1733) as a baal shem (professional healer), proficient in the use of holy names, and as a mystic possessing magical powers and bearing a new religious message.

The Besht directed his first efforts at members of the aforementioned pietist elites, hoping they would recognize both his exceptional spiritual powers (which were particularly obvious in his ecstatic prayer) and the legitimacy of his charismatic leadership. After achieving some recognition, he began to propound his unique teachings in these circles. Admirers were attracted to him mainly in the last 20 years of his life (17401760), when helived in the town of Mezhbizh (mod. Ukr., Medzhibizh; Pol., Midzybo) and was recognized and respected by the whole community.

The Besht and his group formed an elitist nucleus that followed the distinctive religious lifestyle and customs of similar groups of kabbalists and mystics in the eighteenth century. For example, they adopted the Sephardic version of the prayer book with added kabbalistic kavanot (intentions) attributed to Yitsak Luria and his disciples, purified themselves regularly by immersion in a mikveh (ritual bath), and used highly polished knives for ritual slaughter.

The Beshts disciples and colleagues, some of whom were associated with other pietist groups, included community rabbis and Torah scholars (such as Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye or Meir Margoliot of Ostrg), preachers (itinerant and otherwise, such as Menaem Mendel of Bar, Dov Ber of Mezritsh, or Aryeh Leib of Polnoye), ritual slaughterers, cantors, and teachers of young children. While the Besht was also active among the lower classes and was heedful of their troubles and needs, they were not members of his closest circle and his new religious doctrines were not meant for them.

A group of boys outside the Belzer kloyz, Mukaevo, Czechoslovakia (now Mukacheve, Ukr.), ca. 1930s. (YIVO)

Despite the concurrent activities of undercover Sabbatians in the region, there is no convincing evidence of a link between them and the Beshts circle, or of their ideological influence. In any case, Hasidism vehemently denied this accusation by its opponents, though it has been accepted by some scholars of the history of Hasidism. In addition, there is no proof of a relationship between early Hasidism and non-Jewish pietist groups that were then active in Eastern Europe.

The Beshts associates were not content merely to share their religious values and ideas, but also tried to exert spiritual and scholarly influence on their communities and leaders. Criticizing existing priorities in the area of religious worship, they proposed new directions of religious revival and innovation, and advocated ecstatic fervor in religious observance, especially in prayer. They expanded the concept of Torah study to other areas of knowledge, such as kabbalistic ethical literature, and favored a new mode of religious leadership that was committed to the community in which it was operating. At this stage, opposition to Hasidism was not organized and systematic but was confined to sporadic criticism of a local nature. This chapter in the history of Hasidism ends with the Beshts death in 1760.

At the center of the second periodthe transitional stage from an intimate circle of Hasidim to a mass movementstood Dov Ber of Mezritsh (d. 1772), known as the Magid, and his disciples, who were active mainly in Volhynia and Belorussia. Many of the Magids followers became leaders of Hasidic communities while he was still alive (including Aharon ha-Gadol [the Great] in Karlin and Menaem Mendel [of Vitebsk] in Minsk) and to an even greater extent after his death. The Magid was not seen as the Beshts formal successor, but only as one of his major disciples. Other leaders who were active around the same time, such as Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye (d. 1783) and Pinas Shapira of Korets (d. 1790), also considered the Besht as their spiritual mentor, but did not accept the Magids leadership and were in fact critical of his ideas.

The partitions of Poland (in 1772, 1793, and 1795) and the collapse of the kingdom that had hitherto combined all of East European Jewry into one political unit provided the backdrop to the first formation of Hasidic courts on a permanent basisa phenomenon that became particularly widespread in the nineteenth century. Emissaries and propagandists representing the tsadikim (or operating on their own) spread Hasidism and its doctrines beyond its original homelands, enabling it to reach communities in western Galicia, central Poland, Belorussia, and Lithuania.

The new Hasidic communities, thanks to their predominantly young membership and pioneering fervor, adopted patterns of activity appropriate to a vibrant youth culture, and achieved coherence on the basis of unique shared religious, social, and economic experiences. Young men began to travel to their rebbes court and to stay with him on Sabbaths and festivals. These visits frequently led to their becoming Hasidim. Some, in fact, remained for long periods and were known as yoshvim (Heb., residents). The court became the main unifying center for the devotees. It was filled not only with Hasidim coming there to bask in the rebbes teaching and guidance, but also with outsiders motivated by curiosity or a hope of finding solace for their troubles.

With the consolidation of the Hasidic community and an ensuing demand for the teachings of the tsadikim, Hasidism developed a dynastic style of leadership, regular institutions, and organized channels of dissemination. Different types of leaders emerged. Among its heads were theoretical tsadikim devoted mostly to spiritual matters and worship; these contrasted with practical leaders whose major activity was to give advice and help to all seekers. Separate prayer groups in communities distant from the mother courts were established. Demand arose for Hasidim to ensure the economic welfare of the tsadik, his family, and his court. The tsadik and his followers were increasingly involved in the community at large, attempting to gain power in the corridors of community government by influencing the dismissals and appointments of communal officials and clergy.

As devotees gathered around differentcharismatic tsadikim and established themselves around their courts, theoretical schools also began to emerge, interpreting the principles of the Hasidic system of worship and stressing the new, unique role of the tsadik as religious leader. The 1780s saw the publication of the first Hasidic books. In particular, three classic works on Hasidic doctrine were issued: Toldot Yaakov Yosef by Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye (first published in Korets, 1780); Magid devarav le-Yaakov, by Dov Ber of Mezritsh (Korets, 1781); and Noam Elimelekh by Elimelekh of Lizhensk (Lww, 1788).

A systematic, organized campaign against Hasidism began in 1772 in several communities, notably Shklov, Vilna, and Brody. It was inspired and driven by the outspoken opposition to Hasidism of Eliyahu ben Shelomoh Zalman, the Gaon of Vilna, then considered a supreme religious authority and a venerated figure. The struggle itself was waged by rabbis, preachers, community officials, and lay leaders. Moreover, communal authorities used the sanctions at their disposal to enforce their opposition. These opponents objected to the popularization of the Hasidic mode of worship and other practices and doctrines. Opponents feared these would undermine the existing religious and social order in which only a few exceptional personalities (that is, Hasidim in the old sense of the term) were entitled to adopt uniquely pietistic modes of behavior. These elite included groups of pietists and kabbalists (such as the group in the kloyz of Brody). Opponents of Hasidism were also anxious to avert a new outbreak of heresy and quasi-Sabbatian inclinations.

Anti-Hasidic bans and agitation continued even after the Gaons death in 1797, but they gradually diminished, whether because of ineffectiveness, the lack of a central authority to oversee the struggle and arouse popular zeal, or the growing realization that Hasidic doctrines were not so heretical after all. The death of the preachers Yisrael Leibel of Slutsk (ca. 1800) and David of Makeve (Makw; d. 1814), who had considered themselves tobe the Gaons personal emissaries in their vigorous anti-Hasidic activities, also added to the decline of the campaign.

An important turning point in the history of Hasidism occurred when the Russian authorities agreed to allow the Hasidim toestablish separate minyanim (prayer groups) and elect their own spiritual leadership. Such minyanim had already been recognized in Galicia, then a part of the Austrian Empire, by the Toleranzpatent of1789, but in Russia recognition came later, with the Jewish Statute of 1804. This official recognition of the legitimacy of the religious dichotomy in Jewish society dealt a further blow to the traditional community, ultimately enabling not only Hasidism but also other groups (such as maskilim) to break free of their previously enforced affiliation with the traditional community. During this period, some ofthe most important Hasidic dynasties took shape, and new types of tsadikim (representing the many faces of the phenomenon) appeared in various areas of Eastern Europe.

In the northeast provinces of Vitebsk and Mohilev, the most prominent Hasidic leaders were disciples of the Magid of Mezritsh: Menaem Mendel of Vitebsk (17301788), who moved to Vitebsk from Minsk; Avraham of Kalisk (17411810); and, after the latter two had immigrated to the Land of Israel (1777), Shneur Zalman (17451812), who founded the intellectually leaning abad (an acronym for Hebrew words meaning wisdom, understanding, and knowledge), known as Lubavitch Hasidism, first in Liozno and later (from 1804) in Liady.

Even before Elimelekhs death, some of his disciples founded new centers. The most prominent of these was Yaakov Yitsak Horowitz of Lantset (acut; ca. 17451815), known as the Seer of Lublin. He was a charismatic personality who explored mystical Hasidism and also had the qualities necessary for leading a large community. His study house in Lublin was the first Hasidic court located in an urban milieu (rather than a small town). Nearly all leaders of Hasidism in Poland and Galicia, in his generation and later, considered themselves to be his disciples. Other important followers of Elimelekh of Lizhensk who headed large communities were the magid Yisrael Hapstein of Kozhenits in Poland; Menaem Mendel of Rimanov in Galicia (d. 1815), whose court, which attracted many scholars, had previously been in Prishtik (Przytyk); and Avraham Yehoshua Heshel of Apt (17481825), who after much wandering finally settled in Mezhbizh, and was considered in the last decade of his life to be the oldest living tsadik.

A unique and later highly influential figure in Polish Hasidism was a disciple ofthe Seer, Yaakov Yitsak of Pshiskhe (Przysucha; 17661813), generally known as Ha-Yehudi ha-Kadosh (the Holy Jew). His relationship with his teacher, who had from the start singled him out as a successor, was marred by tension and jealousy. An elite group of admirers gathered around Yaakov Yitsak and challenged the Seers leadership. The new trail blazed by Yaakov Yitsaks followerswho combined Hasidic and scholarly values with intense criticism of practical Hasidism, which they saw as a vulgarizationas well as their custom to begin prayers at a late hour, aroused considerable opposition. One of these opponents was Meir ha-Levi of Apt (d. 1827), author of the work Or la-shamayim, who had considered himself a worthy successor of the Seer. After the Holy Jews death, many of his devotees flocked to his disciple Simah Bunem of Pshiskhe, who organized them as a distinct Hasidic community and defied the leaders of Lublins Hasidic center.

By the end of the eighteenth century, asmall Hasidic presence existed within the borders of the main areas of Jewish settlement in Eastern Europe including Bessarabia (Russia), Moldavia, and Bucovina (Austria). While various tsadikim visited these districts, none of them settled for any length of time, and local disciples affiliated themselves with far-off Hasidic centers in Ukraine, Galicia, or Poland. One influential figure who helped to spread Hasidism in these parts was ayim Tyrer (17601816/17), a rabbi in Czernowitz and Kishinev who later immigrated to the Land of Israel, and an important Hasidic thinker (author of Beer mayim ayim and Siduro shel Shabat).

As had been the custom for generations, individual Jews including Hasidim immigrated to the Land of Israelit was said that even the Besht had made an abortive attempt to do so. In 1777, a large group of Hasidimnot just a few individualsled by Menaem Mendel of Vitebsk and Avraham of Kalisk, immigrated to Palestine. This wave of immigration, motivated, according to some, by messianic expectations, created a sizable Hasidic presence in the Holy Land, mainly in Tiberias and Safed, and laid the organizational foundation for the collection of funds in the Diaspora for members of the Hasidic community in the Holy Land. While Hasidic immigration never actually ceased, most leaders of the movement preferred to preserve Jewish life in Eastern Europe, rather than settle either in Palestine or in Western countries.

Lubavitch Hasidism, for example, experienced a bitter struggle after the death of its founder, Shneur Zalman of Liady inlate 1812. The rivals were his son, Dov Ber, known later as the Middle Rebbe (17731827) and a disciple, Aharon ha-Levi Horowitz of Starosielce (17661828). Their struggle, which was both personal and theoretical, centered over who was authorized to interpret the founders teachings and what ways represented the proper mode of worship. The dispute ended in the victory of the genetic heir, but the movement split, and from that point on, outsiders not descended from previous tsadikim (or married into their families) had very little chance of assuming Hasidic leadership.

The years 18101815 witnessed the deaths not only of Hasidisms most vehement opponents, but also of many founding figures of Hasidic leadership. Their places were now taken by a new generation of tsadikim, members of dynasties or disciples who had reached maturity and earned fame on their own merits.

The year 1815 was also of literary significance. Two of the most important works of Hasidic narrative were published then in Hebrew and Yiddish: Shive ha-Besht (In Praise of the Baal Shem Tov)an anthology of hagiographic stories about the lives of the Besht and his disciples, compiled and edited by Dov Ber of Linits, whose father-in-law, Aleksander, had been one of the Beshts close companions; and Sipure maasiyot (Tales)a collection of 13 stories, replete with a profound symbolism, that Naman of Bratslav had told to his followers. Reacting to these books, a prominent maskil,Yosef Perl, published a brilliant satire titled Megaleh temirin (Revealer of Secrets; written in 1816, with publication delayed by censorship until 1819). These three books, each of which also had a Yiddish version, were highly influential in shaping the ethos of Hasidism and the Haskalah and helped to sharpen the messages and positions of the warring factions; to this day, they provide an invaluable key to the historical and ideological worlds of Hasidim and their opponents.

Following the Congress of Vienna (1815), Jews in Congress Poland and in the Russian Pale of Settlement again were under the rule of the same government, despite differences in legal status that still effectively separated the two communities.

The acceptance of Hasidism in most East European Jewish communities, and its new status as a multigenerational mass movement, led to the formation of institutionalized social mechanisms. One was not just a Hasid, with no further affiliation; one had to be associated with a specific tsadik or Hasidic court. As a result, the tsadik, his family, and the attendant court establishment became a major focus of identification and social cohesion. The fact that all parts of the traditional Jewish community, including Misnagdim, accepted the existence of Hasidism and recognized it as a religious movement, reflecting legitimate, though different, norms of behavior and religious lifestyle, contributed to the continuing spread of Hasidism. Hostility gave way to coexistence, generally enabling the two groups to live harmoniously, each cultivating its own specific culture. Still, the increase in the strength of the Lithuanian yeshiva world, as well as the rise of the Musar Movement, were spiritual phenomena that must be understood not only in terms of their inner logic, but also as responses to the Hasidic challenge.

During this periodthe last in which major new dynasties were establishedHasidism spread rapidly into the provinces of Congress Poland, and was generally accepted there without particular friction. In spite of many communal tensions in that region and periodsome of them so acute that they reached the ears of government authoritiesissues mainly concerned economic or personal conflict rather than ideology. Hasidism also expanded its influence in the southern provinces of the Russian Empire (New Russia, Moldavia, and Bessarabia) and the eastern parts of the Austrian Empire (Bucovina, western Galicia, and northeastern Hungary). In fact, Hasidisms reach almost completely matched the distribution of Yiddish as a living, spoken language, and was blocked only where Jews had adopted the local languageHungarian in Budapest, German or Czech in Prague, and German in Pozna.

The expansion of the number of Hasidic courts in this period and their increasing diversity arose partly as a result of significant improvements in communication networks, particularly due to the railroad, beginning in the 1860s. The railroads facilitated mobility, which resulted in considerable change in everyday life, making the courts more accessible as well.

Almost all the descendants of these dynasties set up courts of their own: Mordekhai of Chernobils eight sons were active in Ukraine, the best known of them being David of Talnoye (the Talner Rebbe; 18081882) and Yitsak of Skvira (18121885). The most renowned of Yisrael of Ruzhins six sons, active in Galicia, Moldavia, and Bessarabia, were Avraham Yaakov of Sadagora (18191883) and David Mosheh of Tshortkev (Pol., Czortkw; Ukr., Chortkiv; 18271903). These two dynasties and their offshoots were the dominant Hasidic groups of their respective districts.

Despite attempts by Russian authorities, in the 1860s, to restrain the activities of the tsadikim in Ukraine and curtail their freedom of movement, these restrictions could not stem the expansion of Hasidism. Another well-known Hasidic group was made up of Bratslav Hasidism, whose devotees were led after the death of Naman by his faithful disciple and scribe, Natan Sternhartz of Nemirov (17801844). This small, lively, and restless Hasidic community attracted considerable attentionbut also sharp opposition, and was constantly persecuted by other Hasidim.

In Lithuanian Polesye, Karlin-Stolin Hasidism had become an important group under Aharon Perlov (the Second) of Karlin (18021872), grandson of the founder. Because of a dispute with members of a powerful Pinsk family, Aharon and his court were expelled from Karlin (probably in 1864) and resettled in Stolin. Karlin-Stolin Hasidism had four main offshoots that developed into independent dynasties. These were headed by Noa of Lakhovits (17741832), Mosheh Polier of Kobrin (17841858), Shelomoh ayim Perlov of Koidanov (17971862), and Avraham Weinberg of Slonim (18041883).

Members of the Eichenstein family headed dynasties representing a special aspect of kabbalistic Hasidism; the most prominent tsadikim in this dynasty were Tsevi Hirsh of Zhidachov (or Zhidetshoyv; 17631831) and his nephew Yitsak Yehudah Yeiel Safrin of Komarno (18061874). Both were prolific authors, profound mystics, and venerated leaders. [See Zhidachov-Komarno Hasidic Dynasty.]

The most important Galician tsadik wasayim Halberstam (17971876), who lived from 1830 on in Sandz (often Zanz or Tsanz; Pol., Nowy Scz), where he served as rabbi and gained recognition as a distinguished halakhic authority, whose rulings were also accepted by non-Hasidic circles. His best known book is the collection of his responsa, Divre ayim. Thousands of Hasidim flocked to his court, which he ruled with a conservative, zealous hand, exemplified in his excommunication in 1869 of the Sadagora dynasty and their followers. His descendants established courts in Shinyeve (Sieniawa), Gorlits (Gorlice), Tsheshenev (Cieszanw), and Bobov (Bobowa).

Other important figures in Galician Hasidism were Kalonymos Kalman Epstein of Krakw (ca. 17511823), whose work Maor va-shemesh is one of the fundamental works of Hasidism, and his son Yosef Barukh (17921867), a renowned miracle worker known as the Guter Yid (tsadik) of Neustadt (Nowe Miasto). Uri ben Pinas of Strelisk (17571826), known as the Seraph because of his ecstatic style of prayer, headed a group known for their poverty and asceticism. His disciple and successor was Yehudah Tsevi Brandwein of Stratin (17801844), who had been a ritual slaughterer before he became a tsadik.Tsevi Elimelekh of Dinov (17851841) was a rabbi and kabbalist, a prolificauthor (among his texts were Bene Yisakhar and Derekh pikudekha), and a fanatical foe of Haskalah. His descendants headed the Munkatsh dynasty (Hun., Munkcs; now Ukr., Mukacheve).

Other leaders included Meir of Premishlan (Peremyshlany; 17801850), known as a miracle worker whose court attracted admirers seeking his blessing for welfare and livelihood. His descendants headed the dynasties of Nadvorne and Kretshniv(Rom., Crciuneti). Tsevi Hirsh of Rimanov (17781846), nicknamed Mesharet (Attendant), was recognized as a tsadik by his own mentor, Menaem Mendel of Rimanov, but began to lead his flock only after the death of Naftali of Ropshits (1827). Famed for his religious fervor, Tsevi Hirsh was not known for his scholarship, and for that reason, as well as his lowly social origins (he had been a tailors apprentice in his youth), other tsadikim were critical of him.

Toward the end of 1839, a kind of rebellion shook the Kotsk court: Mordekhai Yosef Leiner (18011854), one of Morgensterns favorite pupils, left him, taking with him a group of leading Hasidim. Following and perhaps even before these events, the Rebbe of Kotsk began to exhibit strange behavior, effectively becoming a recluse in his own house. This self-imposed seclusion lasted some 20 years until his death; over those years, the inner cohesion of his Hasidim was undermined.

Mordekhai Yosef Leiner founded a dynasty in Izhbits (Izbica) and adopted a doctrine of radical determinism with distinct antinomian overtones, as reflected in his book Me ha-Shiloa. He was succeeded by his son Yaakov (d. 1878), who moved the court shortly before his own death to Radzin (Radzyn), and then by his grandson Gershon Henikh (18391891), an imperious, stormy, innovative personality. Gershon Henikh was known for writing a New Talmud to the order Tohorot of the Mishnah (to which there is no real Talmud), and even more for his claim to have rediscovered the secret of producing the blue dye (Heb., tekhelet) for the tsitsit (fringes of the prayer shawl)his Hasidim zealously observed this commandment but most others did not accept his claim.

Another important dissenting disciple of the Kotsk court who moved to Izhbits was Yehudah Leib Eger of Lublin (18161888), scion of a well-known rabbinic family of Pozna, who had been attracted to Hasidism in his youth. In 1854, after the death of his mentor Mordekhai Yosef, he returned to Lublin, where he headed a Hasidic community committed to the Izhbits school of Hasidism.

Some disciples of the rebbe of Kotsk kept faith with him during his years of seclusion. Among these were his brother-in-law, Yitsak [Itche] Meir Alter of Warsaw (17991866), an astute Torah scholar and halakhist (author of idushe ha-Rim), and Zeev Volf Landau of Strikov (18071891). In 1859, after the rebbes death, Yitsak Meir led a large group of Hasidim and settled in the town of Gra Kalwaria, near Warsaw, where he founded the Ger school of Hasidism, which grew into the largest Hasidic dynasty in pre-Holocaust Poland. David, son of Menaem Mendel of Kotsk (18091873), continued to lead Hasidim in Kotsk, and his descendants established small courts in Pileve (Piawa) and Sokelove (Sokow).

Other branches of Pshiskhe Hasidism are represented by the Vurke and Aleksander schools. Vurke-Amshinov (Mszczonw) Hasidism was established by Yitsak Kalish of Vurke (17791848), disciple of Simah Bunem of Pshiskhe, a close friend of the rebbe of Kotsk, as well as a well-known intercessor for the interests of Polish Jewry. Aleksander Hasidism, an offshoot of Vurke, was established after Yitsaks death by his disciple Shraga Feivel Danziger of Gritsa (Grjec), who officiated as tsadik for a very brief period (he died in 1848). He was succeeded by his son Yeiel (18281894), who established a court at Aleksander (Aleksandrw, near d), ultimately making it the second largest Hasidic dynasty in Poland (after Ger).

Among other tsadikim identified with Pshiskhe-Kotsk were David Biederman of Lelov (17461814) and his son Mosheh (17771850), who immigrated to Palestine in his last years. Yeezkel Taub of Kuzmir (Kazimierz Dolny; 17721856), known for his musical talent, was a forerunner of Modzits Hasidism, celebrated for its melodies. anokh Henikh Levin of Aleksander (17981870) was considered the major disciple of Yitsak-Meir of Ger. After the latters death in 1866, many of his disciples went to anokh Henikhs court in Aleksander, but returned after his death to the courts of Ger and Sokhachev (Sochaczew). Yaakov Aryeh Guterman of Radzymin (17921874) was a disciple of Yitsak of Vurke; after the latters death, Guterman led thousands of Hasidim and was famed for writing amulets and working miracles. Some descendants of the Holy Jew who rejected the doctrines of Simah Bunem of Pshiskhe headed Hasidic courts at Purisev (Parysw), Bekhev (Bychawa), Shidlovtse (Szydowiec), and Kaleshin (Kauszyn).

Confronting the Pshiskhe school of Hasidism was another school of the Seers disciples, which placed emphasis on material well-being as a basis for religious life. This school considered the tsadik a major channel for reception of divine abundance and responsible for the subsistence of his Hasidim. Among its most prominent advocates were Meir of Apt, who assumed the leadership of opponents to Pshiskhe; Yeshayah of Pshedborzh (Przedbrz; 17581831); Yisakhar Ber of Radeshits (Radoszyce; 17651843), famed for working miracles and known as Ha-Saba ha-Kadosh (Holy Old Man); Shelomoh Rabinovich of Radomsk (18031866), leader of an important dynasty oftsadikim that attracted many followers;and Avraham Landau of Chekhanov (17841875), father of Zeev Volf of Strikov and the only tsadik in the history of Hasidism who insisted on using the traditional Ashkenazic prayer rite. The descendants of the Magid Yisrael of Kozhenits, who headed courts in that town, Moglnitse (Mogielnica), Blendev (Bdw), and Grodzisk, formed another distinct group that rejected the doctrines of Pshiskhe.

The first to spread Hasidism in Hungary was Mosheh Teitelbaum (17591841), a disciple of the Seer of Lublin and a scholar and kabbalist also known for his amulets. In 1808, he left Sieniawa in Galicia and settled in Uyhel (Storaljajhely), Hungary. Hasidism gained strength in those regions, especially in Transylvania and Subcarpathian Rus, only in the 1850s, especially in Munkcs (Yid., Munkatsh; mod. Ukr., Mukacheve), Mramarossziget (Sighet Marmaiei), and Satu Mare (Satmar).

The influence of the Sadagora and Sandz dynasties and their offshoots in these parts was considerable, but even more so was that of the tsadikim of Vizhnits (Rom., Vijnia; Ukr., Vyzhnytsa) in Bucovina. The leader of the Vizhnits Hasidim was Menaem Mendel Hager (18301884), younger son of the Galician tsadik ayim of Kosov (ca. 17951854) and son-in-law of Yisrael of Ruzhin. [See Kosov-Vizhnits Hasidic Dynasty.]

These splintering processes also reflected contradictory spiritual and social currents, contributing to the extreme diversification of the Hasidic mosaic. Flanking innovative trends, sometimes approaching the radical and even the anarchic, one also finds a nostalgic longing for the pre-Hasidic values of pietism and asceticism, an emphasis on the value of traditional Torah study, and a preference for halakhic stringency. Numerous personal power struggles, often presented as ideological arguments, also reflected elements of decline and decay. Attempts to excommunicate Pshiskhe Hasidism (between 1815 and 1825); the persecution of Bratslav Hasidim in the 1830s by Savran Hasidim and in the 1860s by Talnoye and Skvira Hasidim; and the stormy controversy in 1869 between the tsadik ayim of Sandz and the Sadagora dynasty are just examples of the internal friction that agitated and split Hasidic communities for several decades.

The period of pogroms and the waves of emigration in the last decades of the nineteenth century had their effects on Hasidism, but the secularizing trends in Jewish society were its greatest enemy. Dozens of tsadikim, major and minor alike, were active at the time in hundreds of Hasidic communities all over Eastern Europe, but the history of Hasidism at theturn of the twentieth century has received little if any scholarly attention. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that the Hasidic court was severely shaken by the storms pounding its walls from without. It was generally felt that modern life and the secular-revolutionary atmosphere sweeping over the Jews of Eastern Europe would do much more damage to Hasidism than the distribution of satires and polemical tracts or attempts to enlist the help of the authorities.

Secularization derived its strength not only from modern Jewish ideologies of nationalism and socialism, but also from increasing acculturation, decline of the shtetl (life in which was identified with the stagnation of the tradition), changes in traditional economic patterns, accelerated industrialization and urbanization, crowded living conditions, the tremendous increase in the Jewish population of the Pale of Settlement, and numbing povertyall of which created an entirely new spiritual and social climate. Though new forms of literature and journalism, in Hebrew and in Yiddish, became major factors in Jewish public discourse, there was almost no representation of Orthodoxy, including Hasidism, in that medium. The Orthodox struggle against these new currents only heightened their inclination to close ranks in defense, painting their leaders with a conservative, even fanatical color.

Hasidism gradually lost its attractiveness. Wealthy courts found themselves in financial straits; the old, traditional educational system, incapable of giving its graduates a general education or vocational training, was undermined; and Torah scholarship and piety lost their primacy in the internal hierarchy of the Jewish community. Hasidic leaders, not blind to this unprecedented spiritual crisis, took various steps in an attempt to halt the erosion.

As early as 1878, several Galician admorim, headed by Yehoshua Rokea of Belz, established Makhzikey ha-Das (Defenders of Faith), to oppose the maskilim of Lww and promote the interests of Hasidic Orthodoxy using modern, political tools. They published a newspaper and participated in Austrian parliamentary elections. The most significant turning point, however, came at the end of the period. Building on contacts that had already begun in 1909, in 1916 a group of German rabbis joined forces with the tsadikim of the Ger dynasty to establish, in Warsaw, the political arm of Agudas Yisroel. While the movement considered itself to be theguardian of ultra-Orthodox Jewry as awhole (seeking to unite Polish Hasidim,Lithuanian Misnagdim, and German Neo-Orthodox), it was largely dominated by the Polish Hasidic element, and its leadership generally reflected this domination.

Another innovation of this period was the foundation of Hasidic yeshivas. Until then, yeshivas had been identified with the Misnagdim or the Musar movement in Lithuania; their adoption by Hasidic courts may be attributed not only to a return to the conservative values of classic Torah study, but also to the realization that the yeshiva study method was a fitting response to the threat and seductive power of secularization. The first Hasidic yeshivas were founded in the early 1880s, in Vishnitsa, Galicia (Pol., Winicz), by Shelomoh Halberstam (18471905), grandson of ayim of Sandz and founder of the Bobov dynasty; and in Sokhachev, Congress Poland, by the rebbe of Kotsks son-in-law Avraham Bornstein (18391910), known as a Torah scholar whose books (Avne nezer; Egle tal) were also studied in the non-Hasidic yeshiva world.

Subsequently, yeshivas, large or small, were established in almost every Hasidic court. Among the best known is Tomkhe Temimim, founded in Lubavitch (1897) on the initiative of the fifth admor Shalom Dov (Ber) Shneerson (18601920). The emergence of the Hasidic yeshiva exemplified the processes of Orthodoxization that gradually blurred religious differences between Hasidim, non-Hasidim, and Misnagdim, combining them into what would later be known as aredi societya loose coalition of diverse, sometimes conflicting groups that waged a common war against all manifestations of Haskalah, modernization, and secularization.

At this time, the admorim of the three major Polish dynastiesGer, Sokhachev, and Aleksanderemphasized the traditional values of Torah scholarship and halakhic stringency, thus giving Polish Hasidim a more scholarly coloring. The leaders of the Ger Hasidim were the second admor Yehudah Leib Alter (18471905), grandson of the founder of the dynasty, and known for his multivolume work Sefat emet, and his son and successor, Avraham Mordekhai Alter (18661948), one of the founders of Agudas Yisroel and its driving force. Sokhachev Hasidism, founded in 1870, was led by Avraham Bornstein and, after his death in 1910, by his son Shemuel (18551926). The leader of the Aleksander dynasty from 1894 was Yeramiel Yisrael Yitsak Dantsiger (18541910), later succeeded by his brother Shemuel Tsevi (d. 1923).

A unique figure in the world of late Hasidism was Tsadok ha-Kohen of Lublin (18231900), a disciple of the Izhbits school, who became a leader of Hasidim only after the death of his mentor, Yehudah Leib Eger. He was known as a prolific author who wrote several works of original Hasidic-kabbalistic thought (including Tsidkat ha-tsadik, Peri tsadik, and Resise lailah) that aroused considerable interest outside the Hasidic world as well.

World War I and the disintegration of the multinational empires of Austria and Russia resulted in the physical destruction of some of the greatest Hasidic centers in Ukraine, Poland, and Galicia (including the courts of Sadagora, Chortkiv, and Belz). The tsadikim, their families, and associates were forced to relocate, departing for other countries or large cities such as Vienna. The shift of Hasidic courts from the small town to the great city was one of the signs of the times.

Civil wars in Ukraine and the creation of the Soviet regime, which sealed its borders, all but liquidated Hasidic activities within the Soviet Union. Only Lubavitch managed to maintain an underground presence under the iron fist of the anticlerical regime. Hundreds of Bratslav Hasidim in Poland, unable to assemble at the grave of Naman in Uman, moved the location of their Holy Gathering during the High Holy Days to Lublin. They lodged and prayed in the spacious halls of the akhme Lublin Yeshiva, enjoying the hospitality of its principal, Meir Shapira, himself a Hasidic rabbi.

Even in independent Poland, however, Hasidism could not recoup its losses, although a few of its centers seemed to enjoy some quantitative and qualitative success, particularly in the larger cities (Warsaw and d) and medium-sized towns. Typically Polish branches of Hasidism, such as Ger or Aleksander, which favored a combination of Hasidic piety with a tradition of deep political involvement in Jewish community affairs, still attracted thousands of followers and admirers, but even these successes could not stem the tide of secularization, socialism, and Zionism (including religious Zionism) that swept over large numbers of Jewish youth in Eastern Europe.

In reaction to the threat of secular heresy and Zionism, ultra-Orthodox society (including Hasidism), especially in Galicia and Hungary, closed its ranks, adopting ever more stringent and conservative positions. Leading Hasidism at this time, and largely dictating the fanatical tone, were the rebbes of Belz, Sandz, and Satmarand their offshoots, who opposed not only Zionism but even Agudas Yisroel. Most prominent were the venerated leader of Belz Hasidism, Yisakhar Dov Rokea (18541926), and his rival, ayim Elazar Shapira of Munkatsh (18721937), leader of the Carpatho-Rusyn Hasidim from 1914, who was known for his scholarship but also for his belligerent personality.

One particularly outspoken figure was Yoel Teitelbaum (18871979). In 1934, he settled in Satmar where, thanks to his vigorous activities as rabbi, principal of the yeshiva, and tsadik, he became a revered Hasidic figure throughout Transylvania. In 1944, he escaped the Germans in the Zionist rescue train organized by Rezs Kasztner, reaching Switzerland and going from there to Palestine. After a brief stay, he left for the United States, where he reestablished his court, making it the largest Hasidic community in existence after the Holocaust, and continuing to be an indefatigable foe of the State of Israel. Another fierce opponent of Zionism and Agudas Yisroel was Yosef Yitsak Shneerson (18801950), leader of the Lubavitch Hasidim in Soviet Russia. Imprisoned in 1927 and then released, he wandered through Russian, Latvian, and Polish cities, finally reaching New York in 1940, where he reestablished his court.

One of the most colorful Hasidic leaders was Aharon Roth of Beregsas (Hun., Beregszsz; now Ukr., Berchove; 18941947), who founded a new, extreme, Hasidic community known as Shomre Emunim, with centers in Satmar, Beregsas, and Jerusalem. His Hasidim followed strict rules of simplicity and modesty, and were known for their fierce stance against Zionism.

The terrors of the Holocaust and the diabolical implementation of the Final Solution dealt a mortal blow to ultra-Orthodox Jewry in general and to Hasidim in particular. Besides the physical threat, Hasidim had to grapple with grave theological misgivings, a desperate quest for divine providence, profound guilt feelings, and attempts to explain the catastrophe as a divine punishment. Impassioned faith was mingled with bitterness and doubt about the wisdom of Hasidic leaders who had despised Zionism before the Holocaust, some of whom had urged their followers to remain in the Diaspora but had unhesitatingly taken the opportunity to escape to safety in their own time of need.

Unique Hasidic voices could be heard even during the Holocaust. One such voice was Esh kodesh (Holy Fire), an anthology of sermons delivered by Kalonymus Kalmish Shapira of Pisetsne (Piaseczno; 18891943) to his Hasidim in theWarsaw ghetto, reflecting on the horrors of the Holocaust from a sober, anguished, Hasidic perspective. Another text, Em ha-banim semeah (Happy Mother of Children), by Slovakian rabbi Yisakhar Shelomoh Teichthal (18851945), is a rare expression of personal and communal self-reckoning written in Budapest in the midst of the war (1943). Teichthal, formerly a foe of Zionism, did not hesitate to castigate contemporary tsadikim for their fanatical opposition to the national movement, and for their loss of the opportunity to save the Jewish people from extermination.

The destruction of the centers of Hasidism during the Holocaust, especially in Poland and Hungary, signaled the historical end of Hasidism as a Jewish experience on East European soil. From then on, its history has belonged to those countries where remnants of the movement, having escaped or survived the European inferno, managed to reconstitute their communitiesin particular, the eastern regions of North America and the State of Israel. Despite the inherently East European character of Hasidism, leaders and devotees were able to adjust to entirely new political and economic conditions, in fact taking advantage of them to consolidate their communities anew.

In the course of the 1950s, thanks to an impressive series of charismatic leaders with organizational talents who knew how to instill their followers with faith and self-confidence, the world of Hasidism began successfully to rebuild itself. Within a single generation, it has again established itself on spiritual, social, and demographic planes. In so doing it has once more proved its unbelievable power of survival and its inherent vitality and creativity.

Despite sea changes in Hasidism in this period, its East European features are still evident, whether in the names of the various courts (which preserve the names of the East European towns that were once their centers), in their customs of everyday clothing, culinary traditions, and religious lifestyle, but particularly with the survival of Yiddish as the main spoken language among most Hasidic communities.

Since the collapse of Communist rule, Hasidim have been expressing their East European roots through ritual pilgrimages to the tombs of tsadikim and other historical sites associated with Hasidism, and through vigorous activities aimed at repairing tombstones and memorials of famous rebbes. These developments are especially evident in the Ukrainian towns of Mezhibezh, where the Besht and some of his disciples and successors are buried, and Uman, site of Naman of Bratslavs grave, which has becomeespecially during the High Holy Daysa favorite pilgrimage site for thousands of visitors, many of whom are not Bratslav Hasidim themselves. Hasidic hotels have in fact been built in these towns to accommodate the many visitors.

Hasidic emissaries are active today in Russia, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, particularly members of the Lubavitch and Karlin dynasties, but their activities are aimed primarily at reinforcing religion and traditional education among the Jewish community at large and not at creating new Hasidic communities.

Read more here:

YIVO | Hasidism: Historical Overview

Genetic studies on Jews – Wikipedia

Posted By on October 12, 2018

Genetic studies on Jews are part of the population genetics discipline and are used to better understand the chronology of migration provided by research in other fields, such as history, archaeology, linguistics, and paleontology. These studies investigate the origins of various Jewish populations today. In particular, they investigate whether there is a common genetic heritage among various Jewish populations.Studies of autosomal DNA, 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 Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jewish populations show significant amounts of shared Middle Eastern ancestry.[1][2][3] According to Behar and colleagues (2010), this is "consistent with a 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".[4][5] Jews living in the North African, Italian, and Iberian regions show variable frequencies of admixture with the historical non-Jewish population along the maternal lines. In the case of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews (in particular Moroccan Jews), who are closely related, the source of non-Jewish admixture is mainly southern European. Behar and colleagues have remarked on an especially close relationship between Ashkenazi Jews and modern Italians.[4][6][7] Some studies show that the Bene Israel and Cochin Jews of India, and the Beta Israel of Ethiopia, while more closely resembling the local populations of their native countries, have some ancient Jewish descent.[5]

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.[8] 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.[9] Ostrer also refuted the Khazar theory of Ashkenazi ancestry.[10] Citing autosomal DNA studies, Nicholas Wade estimates that "Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews have roughly 30 percent European ancestry, with most of the rest from the Middle East." He further noticed that "The two communities seem very similar to each other genetically, which is unexpected because they have been separated for so long." Concerning this relationship he points to Atzmon's conclusions that "the shared genetic elements suggest that members of any Jewish community are related to one another as closely as are fourth or fifth cousins in a large population, which is about 10 times higher than the relationship between two people chosen at random off the streets of New York City"[11] Concerning North African Jews, autosomal genetic analysis in 2012 revealed that North African Jews are genetically close to European Jews. This finding "shows that North African Jews date to biblical-era Israel, and are not largely the descendants of natives who converted to Judaism,"[12]Y DNA studies examine various paternal lineages of modern Jewish populations. Such studies tend to imply a small number of founders in an old population whose members parted and followed different migration paths.[13] In most Jewish populations, these male line ancestors appear to have been mainly Middle Eastern. For example, Ashkenazi Jews share more common paternal lineages with other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than with non-Jewish populations in areas where Jews lived in Eastern Europe, Germany and the French Rhine Valley. This is consistent with Jewish traditions in placing most Jewish paternal origins in the region of the Middle East.[14][3]

A study conducted in 2013 found no evidence of a Khazar origin for Ashkenazi Jews and suggested that "Ashkenazi Jews share the greatest genetic ancestry with other Jewish populations, and among non-Jewish populations, with groups from Europe and the Middle East. No particular similarity of Ashkenazi Jews with populations from the Caucasus is evident, particularly with the populations that most closely represent the Khazar region. In this view, analysis of Ashkenazi Jews together with a large sample from the region of the Khazar Khaganate would corroborate earlier results that Ashkenazi Jews derive their ancestry primarily from populations of the Middle East and Europe, that they possess considerable shared ancestry with other Jewish populations, and that there is no indication of a significant genetic contribution either from within or from north of the Caucasus region."[15]

In 2016, together with R. Das, P. Wexler and M. Pirooznia, Elhaik advanced the view that the first Ashkenazi populations to speak the Yiddish language came from areas near four villages in Eastern Turkey along the Silk Road whose names derived from the word "Ashkenaz", arguing that Iranian, Greek, Turkish, and Slav populations converted on that travel route before moving to Khazaria, where a small-scale conversion took place.[16][17] The study was dismissed by Sergio DellaPergola as a "falsification", noting it failed to include Jewish groups such as the Italkim and Sephardic Jews, to whom Ashkenazi Jews are closely related genetically. Shaul Stampfer, a professor of Soviet and East European Jewry at the Hebrew University, called Elhaik's research "basically nonsense". Elhaik replied that the DNA of non-Ashkenazic Jews would not affect the origin of DNA hypothesized for the former.[18] Prof. Dovid Katz, founder of Vilnius Universitys Yiddish Institute criticized the studys linguistic analysis. The authors have melded accurate but contextually meaningless genetic correlations with laughable linguistic theories that now proliferate, sadly, as a consequence of a much weakened Yiddish academic environment internationally ... there is not a single word or sound in Yiddish that comes from Iranian or Turkish".[19] In joint study published in 2016 by Genome Biology and Evolution, Pavel Flegontov from Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, A.A. Kharkevich Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Mark G. Thomas from Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, UK, Valentina Fedchenko from Saint Petersburg State University, and George Starostin from Russian State University for the Humanities, dismissed both the genetic and linguistic components of Elhaik et al. study arguing that "GPS is a provenancing tool suited to inferring the geographic region where a modern and recently unadmixed genome is most likely to arise, but is hardly suitable for admixed populations and for tracing ancestry up to 1000 years before present, as its authors have previously claimed. Moreover, all methods of historical linguistics concur that Yiddish is a Germanic language, with no reliable evidence for Slavic, Iranian, or Turkic substrata." The authors concluded:

"In our view, Das and co-authors have attempted to fit together a marginal and unsupported interpretation of the linguistic data with a genetic provenancing approach, GPS, that is at best only suited to inferring the most likely geographic location of modern and relatively unadmixed genomes, and tells nothing of population history and origin."[20]

The authors, in a non peer-reviewed response, defended the methodological adequacy of their approach.[21] In 2016 Elhaik having reviewed the literature searching for a Jdische Typus argued that there is no genomic hallmark for Jewishness. While he allows that in the future it is possible that a Jewish marker may turn up, so far, in his view, Jewishness turns out to be socially defined (a socionome), determined by non-genetic factors.[22] On 31 October 2016 a corrigendum to the initial GPS paper by Elhaik et al. 2014 was published in Nature Communications. The corrigendum included a conflict of interests statement in which one of the authors (Tatiana Tatarinova) acknowledged a relationship with Prosapia Genetics. The GPS tool, remained freely available on the lab website of Dr. Tatiana Tatarinova, but as of December 2016 the link is broken. In 2017, the same authors further supported a non-Levantine origin of Ashkenazi Jews claiming that "Overall, the combined results (of linguistics study and GPS tool) are in a strong agreement with the predictions of the Irano-Turko-Slavic hypothesis and rule out an ancient Levantine origin for AJs, which is predominant among modern-day Levantine populations (e.g., Bedouins and Palestinians)."[23] Elhaik's and Das' work was among others, strongly criticized by Marion Aptroot from University of Dsseldorf, who in the study published by Genome Biology and Evolution claimed that "Das et al. create a narrative based on genetic, philological and historical research and state that the findings of the three disciplines support each other...Incomplete and unreliable data from times when people were not counted regardless of sex, age, religion or financial or social status on the one hand, and the dearth of linguistic evidence predating the 15th century on the other, leave much room for conjecture and speculation. Linguistic evidence, however, does not support the theory that Yiddish is a Slavic language, and textual sources belie the thesis that the name Ashkenaz was brought to Eastern Europe directly from a region in the Near East. Although the focus and methods of research may be different in the humanities and the sciences, scholars should try to account for all evidence and observations, regardless of the field of research. Seen from the standpoint of the humanities, certain aspects of the article by Das et al. fall short of established standards".[24]

The maternal lineages of Jewish populations, studied by looking at mitochondrial DNA, are generally more heterogeneous.[25] Scholars such as Harry Ostrer and Raphael Falk believe this may indicate that many Jewish males found new mates from European and other communities in the places where they migrated in the diaspora after fleeing ancient Israel.[26]

Two studies in 2006 and 2008 suggested that about 40% of Ashkenazi Jews originate maternally from just four female founders which are likely of Near-Eastern origin, while the populations of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jewish communities "showed no evidence for a narrow founder effect".[27][25]

With the exception of Ethiopian Jews and Indian Jews, it has been argued that all of the various Jewish populations have components of mitochondrial genomes that were of Middle Eastern origin.[28][5]

In 2013, however, Richards et al. published work suggesting that an overwhelming majority of Ashkenazi Jewish maternal ancestry, estimated at "80 percent of Ashkenazi maternal ancestry comes from women indigenous to Europe, and [only] 8 percent from the Near East, with the rest uncertain",[29] suggesting that Jewish males migrated to Europe and took new wives from the local population, and converted them to Judaism. Another study by Eva Fernandez and her colleagues argues that the K lineages (claimed to be European in origin by Richards et al.) in Ashkenazi Jews might have an ancient Near Eastern source.[30]

In 1992 G. Lucotte and F. David were the first genetic researchers to have documented a common paternal genetic heritage between Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews.[31][32] Another study published just a year later suggested the Middle Eastern origin of Jewish paternal lineages.[33]

In 2000, M. Hammer, et al. conducted a study on 1371 men and definitively established that part of the paternal gene pool of Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa and Middle East came from a common Middle East ancestral population. They suggested that most Jewish communities in the Diaspora remained relatively isolated and endogamous compared to non-Jewish neighbor populations.[13][5][34]

In a study of Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslim Arabs, more than 70% of the Jewish men and 82% of the Arab men whose DNA was studied, had inherited their Y chromosomes from the same paternal ancestors, who lived in the region within the last few thousand years. "Our recent study of high-resolution microsatellite haplotypes demonstrated that a substantial portion of Y chromosomes of Jews (70%) and of Palestinian Muslim Arabs (82%) belonged to the same chromosome pool."[35] In relation to the region of the Fertile Crescent, the same study noted; "In comparison with data available from other relevant populations in the region, Jews were found to be more closely related to groups in the north of the Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks, and Armenians) than to their Arab neighbors."[14]

Approximately 35% to 43% of Jewish men are in the paternal line known as haplogroup J[Note 1] and its sub-haplogroups. This Haplogroup is particularly present in the Middle East, Southern Europe, and Northern Africa.[36] Fifteen to 30% are in haplogroup E1b1b[Note 2], (or E-M35) and its sub-haplogroups.

The Y chromosome of most Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews contains mutations that are common among Middle Eastern peoples, but uncommon in the general European population, according to a study of haplotypes of the Y chromosome by Michael Hammer, Harry Ostrer and others, published in 2000.[13] According to Hammer et al. this suggests that the paternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced mostly to the Middle East.

Hammer et al. add that "Diaspora Jews from Europe, Northwest Africa, and the Near East resemble each other more closely than they resemble their non-Jewish neighbors." In addition, the authors have found that the "Jewish cluster was interspersed with the Palestinian and Syrian populations, whereas the other Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations (Saudi Arabians, Lebanese, and Druze) closely surrounded it. Of the Jewish populations in this cluster, the Ashkenazim were closest to South European populations (specifically the Greeks) and also to the Turks." The study estimated that Ashkenazi Jews are descended on their paternal side from a core population of approximately 20,000 Jews that migrated from Italy into the rest of Europe over the course of the first millennium, and that "All European Jews seem connected on the order of fourth or fifth cousins."[13]

The estimated cumulative total male genetic admixture amongst Ashkenazim was, according to Hammer et al., "very similar to Motulsky's average estimate of 12.5%. This could be the result, for example, of "as little as 0.5% per generation, over an estimated 80 generations", according to Hammer et al. Such figures indicated that there had been a "relatively minor contribution" to Ashkenazi paternal lineages by converts to Judaism and non-Jews. These figures, however, were based on a limited range of paternal haplogroups assumed to have originated in Europe. When potentially European haplogroups were included in the analysis, the estimated admixture increased to 23 per cent (7%).[Note 3]

The frequency of haplogroup R1b in the Ashkenazim population is similar to the frequency of R1b in Middle Eastern populations.[citation needed] This is significant, because R1b is also the most haplogroup amongst non-Jewish males in Western Europe.[38] That is the commonness of nominally Middle Eastern subclades of R1b amongst Ashkenazim tends to minimize the Western European contribution to the ~10% of R1b found amongst Ashkenazim. A large study by Behar et al. (2004) of Ashkenazi Jews records a percentage of 58% European contribution to the Ashkenazi paternal gene pool.[Note 4] In the words of Behar:

Because haplogroups R-M17 (R1a) and R-P25 (R1b) are present in non-Ashkenazi Jewish populations(e.g., at 4% and 10%, respectively) and in non-Jewish Near Eastern populations (e.g., at 7% and11%, respectively; Hammer et al. 2000; Nebel et al. 2001), it is likely that they were also present at low frequency in the AJ (Ashkenazi Jewish) founding population. The admixture analysis shown in Table 6suggests that 5%8% of the Ashkenazi gene pool is, indeed, comprised of Y chromosomes that may have introgressed from non-Jewish European populations.

For G. Lucotte et al.,[39] the R1b frequency is about 11%.[Note 5] In 2004, When the calculation is made excluding Jews from Netherlands the R1b rate is 5% 11.6%.[38]

Two studies by Nebel et al. in 2001 and 2005, based on Y chromosome polymorphic markers, suggested that Ashkenazi Jews are more closely related to other Jewish and Middle Eastern groups than to their host populations in Europe (defined in the using Eastern European, German, and French Rhine Valley populations).[14][35] Ashkenazi, Sephardic, and Kurdish Jews were all very closely related to the populations of the Fertile Crescent, even closer than to Arabs. The study speculated that the ancestors of the Arab populations of the Levant might have diverged due to mixing with migrants from the Arabian Peninsula.[14] However, 11.5% of male Ashkenazim, and more specifically 50% of the Levites while 1.7% of the Cohanim,[40] were found to belong to R1a1a (R-M17), the dominant Y chromosome haplogroup in Eastern European populations. They hypothesized that these chromosomes could reflect low-level gene flow from surrounding Eastern European populations, or, alternatively, that both the Ashkenazi Jews with R1a1a (R-M17), and to a much greater extent Eastern European populations in general, might partly be descendants of Khazars. They concluded "However, if the R1a1a (R-M17) chromosomes in Ashkenazi Jews do indeed represent the vestiges of the mysterious Khazars then, according to our data, this contribution was limited to either a single founder or a few closely related men, and does not exceed ~12% of the present-day Ashkenazim.".[14][41] This hypothesis is also supported by the D. Goldstein in his book Jacob's legacy: A genetic view of Jewish history.[42] However, Faerman (2008) states that "External low-level gene flow of possible Eastern European origin has been shown in Ashkenazim but no evidence of a hypothetical Khazars' contribution to the Ashkenazi gene pool has ever been found.".[43] On the other hand, a 2017 study, concentrating on the Ashkenazi Levites where the proportion reaches 50%, while signalling that there's a "rich variation of haplogroup R1a outside of Europe which is phylogenetically separate from the typically European R1a branches", precises that the particular R1a-Y2619 sub-clade testifies for a local origin, and that the "Middle Eastern origin of the Ashkenazi Levite lineage based on what was previously a relatively limited number of reported samples, can now be considered firmly validated."[44]

Furthermore, 7%[38][45] of Ashkenazi Jews have the haplogroup G2c, which is found mainly among the Pashtuns and on a lower scale among all major Jewish groups, Palestinians, Syrians, and Lebanese. Behar et al. suggest that those haplogroups are minor Ashkenazi founding lineages.[38]

Among Ashkenazi Jews, Jews of Netherlands seem to have a particular haplogroups distribution since nearly one quarter of them have the Haplogroup R1b1 (R-P25), in particular sub-haplogroup R1b1b2 (R-M269), which is characteristic of Western European populations.[38]

Ashkenazi men show low Y-DNA diversity within each major haplogroup, meaning that compared to the size of the modern population, it seems there were once a relatively small number of men having children. This possibly results from a series of founder events and high rates of endogamy within Europe. Despite Ashkenazi Jews representing a recently founded population in Europe, founding effects suggest that they probably derived from a large and diverse ancestral source population in the Middle East, who may have been larger than the source population from which the indigenous Europeans derived.[38]

The term "Sephardi" refers to significantly different populations from one study to another, so much care must be taken when interpreting and comparing data from different studies and research. On the one hand, the term "Sephardi" is used in some studies in a very restrictive meaning, only referring to Jews with attested family origins to Jews exiled from Iberia (Spain and Portugal) wherever they may have ended up settling (and who traditionally spoke a form of Judeo-Spanish). At the opposite end of the spectrum, the term "Sephardi" is used by other studies to designate all non-Ashkenazi populations from predominantly Muslim lands, such as the Jews indigenous to North Africa and Jews from the Greater Middle East who do not descended from Spanish or Portuguese Jewish exiles (although Ethiopian Jews, Yemenite Jews, and Kurdish Jews, are always excluded from any definition of Sephardi in genetic studies). Between these two extremes of defining the "Sephardi" population, all kinds of variations in results and conclusions exist.

Investigations made by Nebel et al.[14] on the genetic relationships among Ashkenazi Jews, Kurdish and Sephardi (North Africa, Turkey, Iberian Peninsula, Iraq and Syria) indicate that Jews are more genetically similar to groups in northern Fertile Crescent (Kurds, Turks and Armenians) than their Arab neighbors. Considering the timing of this origin, the study found that "the common genetic Middle Eastern background (of Jewish populations ) predates the ethnogenesis in the region and concludes that the Y chromosome pool of Jews is an integral part of the genetic landscape of Middle East.[14]

The largest study to date on the Jews of North Africa has been led by Gerard Lucotte et al. in 2003.[39] This study showed that the Jews of North Africa[Note 7] showed frequencies of their paternal haplotypes almost equal to those of the Lebanese and Palestinian non-Jews.

The authors also compared the distribution of haplotypes of Jews from North Africa with Sephardi Jews and Ashkenazi Jews and found significant differences between the Ashkenazim and the other two groups.[39] The Jewish community of the island of Djerba in Tunisia is of special interest, Tradition traces this community's origins back to the time of the destruction of the First Temple. Two studies have attempted to test this hypothesis first by G. Lucotte et al. from 1993,[47] the second of F. Manni et al. of 2005.[48] They also conclude that the Jews of Djerba's paternal gene pool is different from the Arabs and Berbers of the island. For the first 77.5% of samples tested are of haplotype VIII (probably similar to the J haplogroup according Lucotte), the second shows that 100% of the samples are of Haplogroup J *. The second suggests that it is unlikely that the majority of this community comes from an ancient colonization of the island while for Lucotte it is unclear whether thishigh frequency is really an ancient relationship.

These studies therefore suggest that the paternal lineage of North African Jews comes predominantly from the Middle East with a minority contribution of African lineages, probably Berbers.

A recent study by Ins Nogueiro et al. (July 2009) on the Jews of north-eastern Portugal (region of Trs-os-Montes) showed that their paternal lines consisted of 35.2% lineages more typical of Europe (R: 31.7%, I: 3.5%), and 64.8% lineages more typical of the Near East than Europe (E1b1b: 8.7%, G: 3.5%, J: 36.8%, T: 15.8%) and consequently, the Portuguese Jews of this region were genetically closer to other Jewish populations than to Portuguese non-Jews.[49]

Lucotte et al. 2003 study found that (Oriental, Sephardic, Ashkenazic Jews and Lebanese and Palestinians), "seem to be similar in their Y-haplotype patterns, both with regard to the haplotype distributions and the ancestral haplotype VIII frequencies." The authors stated in their findings that these results confirm similarities in the Y-haplotype frequencies of this Near-Eastern populations, sharing a common geographic origin."[39]

Hammer et al.[13] maintained that the paternal lines of Jews from Rome were close to those of Ashkenazi Jews. They also assert that these mostly originated from the Middle East.

In the article by Nebel et al.[14] the authors show that Kurdish and Sephardi Jews have indistinguishable paternal genetic heritage. The study shows that mixtures between Kurdish Jews and their Muslim hosts are negligible and that Kurdish Jews are closer to other Jewish groups than to their long term host population. Hammer[13] had already shown the strong correlation between the genetic heritage of Jews from North Africa with Kurdish Jews.Kurdish Jews Judeo-Aramaic Central Semitic Kurdistan sample size 19/99 19.2%Kurdish Jews Judeo-Aramaic Central Semitic Kurdistan sample size 9/50 18% 10% T1a1a1a1a1a1-P77 and 8% T1a1-L162 Haplogroup T (Y-DNA)

The studies of Shen[46] and Hammer et al.[13] show that the paternal genes of Yemenite Jews are very similar to that of other Jewish populations.Y haplogroups (A3b2, E3b3a, E3b1, E3b1b, J1a, J2e, R1b10 and the lowest frequency found was Haplogroup T (Y-DNA) 2/94 2.1% in one sample.

A 2002 study by geneticist Dror Rosengarten found that the paternal haplotypes of Mountain Jews "were shared with other Jewish communities and were consistent with a Mediterranean origin."[50] A 2016 study by Karafet at all found, with a sample of 17, 11.8% of Mountain Jewish men tested in Dagestan's Derbentsky District to belong to Haplogroup T-P77.[51]

A study of [52] Lucotte and Smets has shown that the genetic father of Beta Israel (Ethiopian Jews) was close to the Ethiopian non-Jewish populations. This is consistent with the theory that Beta Israel are descendants of ancient inhabitants of Ethiopia, not the Middle East.

Hammer et al. in 2000[13] and the team of Shen in 2004[46] arrive at similar conclusions, namely a genetic differentiation in other people in the north of Ethiopia, which probably indicates a conversion of local populations.

A 2010 study by Behar et al. on the genome-wide structure of Jews observed that the Beta Israel had similar levels of the Middle Eastern genetic clusters as the also Semitic-speaking Ethiopian non-Jewish Tigrayans and Amharas. However, compared to the Cushitic-speaking non-Jewish Ethiopian Oromos, who are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, the Beta Israel had higher levels of Middle Eastern admixture.[citation needed]

Genetic analysis shows that the Bene Israel of India cluster with the indigenous populations of western India, but do have a clear paternal link to the populations of the Levant.[4]A recent more detailed study on Indian Jews has reported that the paternal ancestry of Indian Jews is composed of Middle East specific haplogroups (E, G, J(xJ2) and I) as well as common South Asian haplogroups (R1a, H, L-M11, R2).[53]

Nephrologist Dr. Karl Skorecki decided to analyze the Cohanim to see if they were the descendants of one man, in which case they should have a set of common genetic markers.

To test this hypothesis, he contacted Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona, a researcher in molecular genetics and a pioneer in research on chromosomes.[54] Their article, published in Nature in 1997, has had some impact. A set of special markers (called Cohen Modal Haplotype or CMH) was defined as one which is more likely to be present in the Cohanim, defined as contemporary Jews named Cohen or a derivative, and it was proposed that this results from a common descent from the ancient priestly lineage than from the Jewish population in general.

But, subsequent studies[55] showed that the number of genetic markers used and the number of samples (of people saying Cohen) were not big enough. The last study, conducted in 2009 by Hammer and Behar et al.,[45] says 20 of the 21 Cohen haplogroups have no single common young haplogroup; five haplogroups comprise 79.5% of all haplogroups of Cohen. Among these first 5 haplogroups, J-P58 (or J1E) accounts for 46.1% of Cohen and the second major haplogroup, J-M410 or J2a accounts for 14.4%. Hammer and Behar have redefined an extended CMH haplotype as determined by a set of 12 markers and having as "background" haplogroup determining the most important lines J1E (46.1%). This haplotype is absent among non-Jews in 2099 analyzed in the study. It appeared there would be a 3000 1000 years. This study nevertheless confirms that the current Cohen lineage descended from a small number of paternal ancestors.

In the summary of their findings the authors concluded that " Our estimates of the coalescence time also lend support to the hypothesis that the extended CMH represents a unique founding lineage of the ancient Hebrews that has been paternally inherited along with the Jewish priesthood."[45]

A 2003 study of the Y-chromosome by Behar et al. pointed to multiple origins for Ashkenazi Levites, a priestly class who comprise approximately 4% of Ashkenazi Jews. It found that Haplogroup R1a1a (R-M17), which is uncommon in the Middle East or among Sephardi Jews, but dominant in Eastern Europe, is present in over 50% of Ashkenazi Levites, while the rest of Ashkenazi Levites' paternal lineage is of apparent Middle Eastern origin. Behar suggested a founding event, probably involving one or very few European men, occurring at a time close to the initial formation and settlement of the Ashkenazi community as a possible explanation.[40] Nebel, Behar and Goldstein speculated that this may indicate a Khazar origin.[42]

A 2013 study by Rootsi et al. found that R1a-M582, the specific subclade of R1a to which all sampled Ashkenazi Levites with R1a belonged, was completely absent of a sample of 922 Eastern Europeans and was only found in one of the 2,164 samples from the Caucasus, while it made up 33.8% of non-Levite Ashkenazi R1a and was also found in 5.9% of Near Easterners bearing R1a. The clade, though less represented in Near Easterners, was more diverse among them than among Ashkenazi Jews. Rootsi et al. argued this supports a Near Eastern Hebrew origin for the paternal lineage R1a present among Ashkenazi Levites:[56] R1a-M582 was also found among different Iranian populations, among Kurds from Cilician Anatolia and Kazakhstan, and among non-Ashkenazi Jews.

"Previous Y-chromosome studies have demonstrated that Ashkenazi Levites, members of a paternally inherited Jewish priestly caste, display a distinctive founder event within R1a, the most prevalent Y-chromosome haplogroup in Eastern Europe. Here we report the analysis of 16 whole R1 sequences and show that a set of 19 unique nucleotide substitutions defines the Ashkenazi R1a lineage. While our survey of one of these, M582, in 2,834 R1a samples reveals its absence in 922 Eastern Europeans, we show it is present in all sampled R1a Ashkenazi Levites, as well as in 33.8% of other R1a Ashkenazi Jewish males and 5.9% of 303 R1a Near Eastern males, where it shows considerably higher diversity. Moreover, the M582 lineage also occurs at low frequencies in non-Ashkenazi Jewish populations. In contrast to the previously suggested Eastern European origin for Ashkenazi Levites, the current data are indicative of a geographic source of the Levite founder lineage in the Near East and its likely presence among pre-Diaspora Hebrews."[56]

Studies of mitochondrial DNA of Jewish populations are more recent and are still debatable.[25][Note 8]

According to Thomas et al. in 2002, a number of Jewish communities reveal direct-line maternal ancestry originating from a few women. This was seen in independently founded communities in different geographic areas. What they shared was limited genetic additions later on the female side. Together, this is described as the founder effect. Those same communities had diversity in the male lines that was similar to the non-Jewish population.[57]

Reflecting on previous mtDNA studies carried out by Behar, Atzmon et al. conclude that all major Jewish population groups are showing evidence for founder females of Middle Eastern origin with coalescence times >2000 years.[28] A 2013 study, based on a much larger sample base, drew differing conclusions, namely, that the Mt-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews originated among southern European women, where Diaspora communities had been established centuries before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE.[58] A 2014 study by Fernandez et al. found that Ashkenazi Jews display a frequency of haplogroup K which suggests an ancient Near Eastern origin, stating that this observation clearly contradicts the results of the study led by Richards which suggested a predominantly European origin for the Ashkenazi community's maternal lines. However, the authors of the 2014 study also state that definitively answering the question of whether this group was of Jewish origin rather than the result of a Neolithic migration to Europe would require the genotyping of the complete mtDNA in ancient Near Eastern populations.[30]

In 2004, Behar el al found that approximately 32% of Ashkenazi Jews belong to the mitochondrial Haplogroup K, which points to a genetic bottleneck having taken place some 100 generations prior.[59] Haplogroup K itself is thought to have originated in Western Asia some 12,000 years ago.

A 2006 study by Behar et al.,[27] based on high-resolution analysis of Haplogroup K (mtDNA), suggested that about 40% of the current Ashkenazi population is descended matrilineally from just four women, or "founder lineages", likely of mixed European and Middle Eastern origin. They concluded that these founder lineages may have originated in the Middle East in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, and later underwent expansion in Europe. Moreover, a maternal line "sister" was found among the Jews of Portugal, North Africa, France, and Italy. They wrote:

Both the extent and location of the maternal ancestral deme from which the Ashkenazi Jewry arose remain obscure. Here, using complete sequences of the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), we show that close to one-half of Ashkenazi Jews, estimated at 8,000,000 people, can be traced back to only four women carrying distinct mtDNAs that are virtually absent in other populations, with the important exception of low frequencies among non-Ashkenazi Jews. We conclude that four founding mtDNAs, likely of Near Eastern ancestry, underwent major expansion(s) in Europe within the past millennium[5][27]

A 2007 study by J. Feder et al.[60] confirmed the hypothesis of the founding of non-European origin among the maternal lines. Their study did not address the geographical origin of Ashkenazim and therefore does not explicitly confirm the origin "Levantine" of these founders. This study revealed a significant divergence in total haplogroup distribution between the Ashkenazi Jewish populations and their European host populations, namely Russians, Poles and Germans. They concluded that, regarding mtDNAs, the differences between Jews and non-Jews are far larger than those observed among the Jewish communities. The study also found that "the differences between the Jewish communities can be overlooked when non-Jews are included in the comparisons." It supported previous interpretations that, in the direct maternal line, there was "little or no gene flow from the local non-Jewish communities in Poland and Russia to the Jewish communities in these countries."[61]

Considering Ashkenazi Jews, Atzmon (citing Behar above) states that beyond four founder mitochondrial haplogroups of possible Middle Eastern origins which comprise approximately 40% of Ashkenazi Jewish mtDNA, the remainder of the mtDNA falls into other haplogroups, many of European origin. He noted that beyond Ashkenazi Jews, "Evidence for founder females of Middle Eastern origin has been observed in other Jewish populations based on non-overlapping mitochondrial haplotypes with coalescence times >2000 years".[28]

A 2013 study at the University of Huddersfield, led by Professor Martin B. Richards, concluded that 65%-81% of Ashkenazi Mt-DNA is European in origin, including all four founding mothers, and that most of the remaining lineages are also European. The results were published in Nature Communications in October 2013. The team analyzed about 2,500 complete and 28,000 partial Mt-DNA genomes of mostly non-Jews, and 836 partial Mt-DNA genomes of Ashkenazi Jews. The study claims that only 8% of Ashkenazi Mt-DNA could be identified as Middle Eastern in origin, with the origin of the rest being unclear.[58]

They wrote:

If we allow for the possibility that K1a9 and N1b2 might have a Near Eastern source, then we can estimate the overall fraction of European maternal ancestry at ~65%. Given the strength of the case for even these founders having a European source, however, our best estimate is to assign ~81% of Ashkenazi lineages to a European source, ~8% to the Near East and ~1% further to the east in Asia, with ~10% remaining ambiguous... Thus at least two-thirds and most likely more than four-fifths of Ashkenazi maternal lineages have a European ancestry.[62]

Regarding the origin of Ashkenazi admixture, the analyses suggest that "the first major wave of assimilation probably took place in Mediterranean Europe, most likely in Southern Europe, with substantial further assimilation of minor founders in west/central Europe."[62] According to Richards, who acknowledged past research showing that Ashkenazi Jews' paternal origins are largely from the Middle East, the most likely explanation is that Ashkenazi Jews are descended from Middle Eastern men who moved to Europe, and married local women who they converted to Judaism. The authors found "less evidence for assimilation in Eastern Europe, and almost none for a source in the North Caucasus/Chuvashia, as would be predicted by the Khazar hypothesis."[62]

The study was criticized by geneticist Doron Behar, who stated that while the Mt-DNA of Ashkenazi Jews is of mixed Middle Eastern and European origins, the deepest maternal roots of Ashkenazi Jews are not European. Harry Ostrer said Richards' study seemed reasonable, and corresponded to the known facts of Jewish history. Karl Skorecki of the Rambam Health Care Campus stated that there were serious flaws of phylogenetic analysis.[63] Both Behar and Skorecki claim that the Mt-DNA used in the study did not represent the full spectrum of mitochondrial diversity. Eran Elhaik, a geneticist at the University of Sheffield[2], argues that the evidence ruled out a Near Eastern origin for many Ashkenazi mitochondrial lineages but he challenged the conclusion that a Khazarian contribution is absent.

David B. Goldstein, the Duke University geneticist who first found similarities between the founding mothers of Ashkenazi Jewry and European populations, said that, although Richards' analysis was well-done and 'could be right,'[63] the estimate that 80% of Ashkenazi Jewish Mt-DNA is European was not statistically justified given the random rise and fall of mitochondrial DNA lineages. Geneticist Antonio Torroni of the University of Pavia found the conclusions very convincing, adding that recent studies of cell nucleus DNA also show a very close similarity between Ashkenazi Jews and Italians".[62][64][58] Diaspora communities were established in Rome and in Southern Europe centuries before the fall of the Second Temple in 70 CE.[58]

A 2014 study by Fernandez et al. found that Ashkenazi Jews display a frequency of haplogroup K which suggests ancient Middle Eastern origins, stating that this observation clearly contradicts the results of the study led by Richards which suggested a predominantly European origin for the Ashkenazi community's maternal line. However, the authors also state that definitively answering the question of whether this group was of Jewish origin rather than the result of a Neolithic migration to Europe would require the genotyping of the complete mtDNA in ancient Near Eastern populations.[30] On the study by Richards:

According to that work the majority of the Ashkenazi mtDNA lineages can be assigned to three major founders within haplogroup K (31% of their total lineages): K1a1b1a, K1a9 and K2a2. The absence of characteristic mutations within the control region in the PPNB K-haplotypes allow discarding them as members of either sub-clades K1a1b1a or K2a2, both representing a 79% of total Ashkenazi K lineages. However, without a high-resolution typing of the mtDNA coding region it cannot be excluded that the PPNB K lineages belong to the third sub-cluster K1a9 (20% of Askhenazi K lineages). Moreover, in the light of the evidence presented here of a loss of lineages in the Near East since Neolithic times, the absence of Ashkenazi mtDNA founder clades in the Near East should not be taken as a definitive argument for its absence in the past. The genotyping of the complete mtDNA in ancient Near Eastern populations would be required to fully answer this question and it will undoubtedly add resolution to the patterns detected in modern populations in this and other studies.

Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of the Jewish populations of North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya) was the subject of further detailed study in 2008 by Doron Behar et al.[25] The analysis concludes that Jews from this region do not share the haplogroups of the mitochondrial DNA haplogroups (M1 and U6) that are typical of the North African Berber and Arab populations. Similarly, while the frequency of haplogroups L, associated with sub-Saharan Africa, are present in approximately 2025% at the Berber populations studied, these haplogroups are only present in 1.3%, 2.7% and 3.6% respectively of Jews from Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.[25]

Behar et al. conclude that it is unlikely that North African Jews have significant Arab, or Berber admixture, "consistent with social restrictions imposed by religious restrictions," or endogamy. This study also found genetic similarities between the Ashkenazi and North African Jews of European mitochondrial DNA pools, but differences between both of these of the diaspora and Jews from the Middle East.[25]

The data (mt-DNA) recovered by D. Behar et al. were from a community descended from crypto-Jews located in the village of Belmonte in Portugal. Because of the small size of the sample and the circumstances of the community having been isolated for so long, It is not possible to generalize the findings to the entire Iberian Peninsula.

According to the 2008 study by Behar, 43% of Iraqi Jews are descended from five women.[25]

According to Behar, 39.8% of the mtDNA of Libyan Jews "could be related to one woman carrying the X2e1a1a lineage".[25]

Behar's study found that 43% of Tunisian Jews are descended from four women along their maternal lines.[25]

The results are similar to those of the male population, namely, genetic characteristics identical to those of surrounding populations.[57]

Mt-DNA of the Jews of Turkey and does not include to a large extent mt-DNA lineages typical of West Asia,.[25] An Iberian-type lineage has been documented, which is consistent with historical data, i.e., the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and their resettlement in Ottoman lands.[Note 9]

According to the study of G. Thomas et al., 51% of Georgian Jews are descended from a single female.[57] According to Behar, 58% are descended from this female ancestor.[25] Researchers have not determined the origin of this ancestor, but it is known that this woman carried a haplotype, which can be found throughout in large area stretching from the Mediterranean to Iraq and to the Caucasus.[65]

The Mountain Jews showed a striking maternal founding event, with 58.6% of their total mtDNA genetic variation tracing back to one woman from the Levant carrying an mtDNA lineage within Hg J2b.[66][25]

In a study by Richards et al., the authors suggest that a minor proportion of haplogroup L1 and L3A lineage from sub-Saharan Africa is present among Jews from Yemen. However, these lines occur 4 times less frequently than among non-Jewish Yemenis.[67] These sub-Saharan haplogroups are virtually absent among Jews from Iraq, Iran and Georgia and do not appear among Ashkenazi Jews.[67]

The Jewish population of Yemen also reveals a founder effect: 42% of the direct maternal lines are traceable to five women, four coming from western Asia, and one from East Africa.[25]

Genetic studies show that Persian and Bukharan Jews descend from a small number of female ancestors.[65]

Genetic research shows that about 27% of Moroccan Jews descend from one female ancestor.[65]

According to the study of 2008 by Behar et al., the maternal lineage of some Jews of India has a local origin for the vast majority of the community. The maternal gene pool also includes some minor maternal lineage originating in the area of Iraq/Iran or Italy.[25] Genetic research shows that 41.3% of Bene Israel descend from one female ancestor, who was of indigenous Indian origin.[65] Cochin Jews also have genetic similarities with other Jewish populations, in particular with Yemenite Jews, along with the indigenous populations of India.[68]

These studies focus upon autosomal chromosomes, the 22 homologous or autosomes (non sex chromosomes), rather than on the direct paternal or maternal lines. The technology has changed rapidly and so older studies are different in quality to newer ones.

An initial study conducted in 2001 by Noah Rosenberg and colleagues on six Jewish populations (Poland, Libya, Ethiopia, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen) and two non-Jewish populations (Palestinians and Druze) showed that while the eight groups are close, the Jews of Libya have a distinct genetic signature related to their genetic isolation and a possible combination with Berber populations.[69][Note 10] This same study suggested a close relationship between Jews of Yemen and those of Ethiopia.[69]

A 2006 study by Seldin et al. used over five thousand autosomal SNPs to demonstrate European genetic substructure. The results showed "a consistent and reproducible distinction between 'northern' and 'southern' European population groups". Most northern, central, and eastern Europeans (Finns, Swedes, English, Irish, Germans, and Ukrainians) showed >90% in the 'northern' population group, while most individual participants with southern European ancestry (Italians, Greeks, Portuguese, Spaniards) showed >85% in the 'southern' group. Both Ashkenazi Jews as well as Sephardic Jews showed >85% membership in the "southern" group. Referring to the Jews clustering with southern Europeans, the authors state the results were "consistent with a later Mediterranean origin of these ethnic groups".[70]

A 2007 study by Bauchet et al. found that Ashkenazi Jews were most closely clustered with Arabic North African populations when compared to the global population of that study. In the European structure analysis, they share genetic similarities with Greeks and Sicilians, reflecting their east Mediterranean origins.[71]

A 2008 study by Price et al. sampled Southern Italians, Jews and other Europeans, and isolated the genetic markers that are most accurate for distinguishing between European groups, achieving results comparable to those from genome-wide analyses. It mines much larger datasets (more markers and more samples) to identify a panel of 300 highly ancestry-informative markers which accurately distinguish not just northwest and southeast European, but also Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry from Southern Europeans.[72]

A 2008 study by Tian et al. provides an additional example of the same clustering pattern, using samples and markers similar to those in their other study. European population genetic substructure was examined in a diverse set of >1,000 individuals of European descent, each genotyped with >300 K SNPs. Both STRUCTURE and principal component analyses (PCA) showed the largest division/principal component (PC) differentiated northern from southern European ancestry. A second PC further separated Italian, Spanish, and Greek individuals from those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry as well as distinguishing among northern European populations. In separate analyses of northern European participants other substructure relationships were discerned showing a west to east gradient.[73]

A 2009 study by Goldstein et al. shows that it is possible to predict full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with 100% sensitivity and 100% specificity, although it should be noted that the exact dividing line between a Jewish and non-Jewish cluster will vary across sample sets which in practice would reduce the accuracy of the prediction. While the full historical demographic explanations for this distinction remain to be resolved, it is clear that the genomes of individuals with full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry carry an unambiguous signature of their Jewish heritage, and this seems more likely to be due to their specific Middle Eastern ancestry than to inbreeding. The authors note that there is almost perfect separation along PC 1, and, they note that most of the non-Jewish Europeans who are closest to the Jews on this PC are of Italian or Eastern Mediterranean origin.[8]

In a 2009 study by Kopelman et al., four Jewish groups, Ashkenazi, Turkish, Moroccan and Tunisian, were found to share a common origin from the Middle East, with more recent admixture that has resulted in "intermediate placement of the Jewish populations compared to European and Middle Eastern populations". The authors found that the "most similar to the Jewish populations is the Palestinian population". The Tunisian Jews were found to be distinct from three other Jewish populations, which suggests, according to the authors, a greater genetic isolation and/or a significant local Berber ancestry, as in the case of Libyan Jews. Concerning the theory of Khazar ancestry in Ashkenazi Jews, the authors found no direct evidence. Although they did find genetic similarities between Jews, especially Ashkenazi Jews, and the Adyghe people, a group from the Caucasus, whose region was formerly occupied by the Khazars, the Adyghe, living on the edge of geographical Europe, are more genetically related to Middle Easterners, including Palestinians, Bedouin, and non-Ashkenazi Jews, than to Europeans.[5][74]

Another study of L. Hao et al.[28] studied seven groups of Jewish populations with different geographic origin (Ashkenazi, Italian, Greek, Turk, Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian) and showed that the individuals all shared a common Middle Eastern background, although they were also genetically distinguishable from each other. In public comments, Harry Ostrer, the director of the Human Genetics Program at NYU Langone Medical Center, and one of the authors of this study, concluded, "We have shown that Jewishness can be identified through genetic analysis, so the notion of a Jewish people is plausible."[28]

A genome-wide genetic study carried out by Need et al. and published in 2009 showed that "individuals with full Jewish ancestry formed a clearly distinct cluster from those individuals with no Jewish ancestry." The study found that the Jewish cluster examined, fell between that of Middle Eastern and European populations. Reflecting on these findings, the authors concluded, "It is clear that the genomes of individuals with full Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry carry an unambiguous signature of their Jewish heritage, and this seems more likely to be due to their specific Middle Eastern ancestry than to inbreeding."[75]

The current study extends the analysis of European population genetic structure to include additional southern European groups and Arab populations. While the Ashkenazi are clearly of southern origin based on both PCA and STRUCTURE studies, in this analysis of diverse European populations, this group appears to have a unique genotypic pattern that may not reflect geographic origins.[76]

In June 2010, Behar et al. "shows that most Jewish samples form a remarkably tight subcluster with common genetic origin, that overlies Druze and Cypriot samples but not samples from other Levantine populations or paired Diaspora host populations. In contrast, Ethiopian Jews (Beta Israel) and Indian Jews (Bene Israel and Cochini) cluster with neighboring autochthonous populations in Ethiopia and western India, respectively, despite a clear paternal link between the Bene Israel and the Levant.".[4][11] "The most parsimonious explanation for these observations is a common genetic origin, which is consistent with an historical formulation of the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelite residents of the Levant."[4] The authors say that the genetic results are concordant "with the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World".[4] Regarding the samples he used, Behar says, "Our conclusion favoring common ancestry (of Jewish people) over recent admixture is further supported by the fact that our sample contains individuals that are known not to be admixed in the most recent one or two generations."[4]

A study led by Harry Ostrer published on June 11, 2010, found close links between Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews, and found them to be genetically distinct from non-Jews. In the study, DNA from the blood of 237 Jews and about 2,800 non-Jews was analyzed, and it was determined how closely related they were through IBD. Individuals within the Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi groups shared high levels of IDB, roughly equivalent to that of fourth or fifth cousins. All three groups shared many genetic features, suggesting a common origin dating back more than 2,000 years. The study did find that all three Jewish groups did show various signs of admixture with non Jews, with the genetic profiles of Ashkenazi Jews indicating between 30% and 60% admixture with Europeans, although they clustered more closely with Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews.[77]

In July 2010, Bray et al., using SNP microarray techniques and linkage analysis,[78] "confirms that there is a closer relationship between the Ashkenazim and several European populations (Tuscans, Italians, and French) than between the Ashkenazim and Middle Eastern populations," and that European "admixture is considerably higher than previous estimates by studies that used the Y chromosome." They add their study data "support the model of a Middle Eastern origin of the Ashkenazim population followed by subsequent admixture with host Europeans or populations more similar to Europeans," and that their data imply that modern Ashkenazi Jews are perhaps more similar to Europeans than modern Middle Easterners. The level of admixture with European population was estimated between 35 and 55%. The study assumed Druze and Palestinian Arabs populations to represent the reference to world Jewry ancestor genome. With this reference point, the linkage disequilibrium in the Ashkenazi Jewish population was interpreted as "matches signs of interbreeding or 'admixture' between Middle Eastern and European populations". Also, in their press release, Bray stated: "We were surprised to find evidence that Ashkenazi Jews have higher heterozygosity than Europeans, contradicting the widely-held presumption that they have been a largely isolated group". The authors said that their calculations might have "overestimated the level of admixture" in case that the true Jewish ancestors were genetically closer to Southern Europeans than to Druze and Palestinian Arabs. They predict that using the non-Ashkenazi Jewish Diaspora populations as reference for a world Jewry ancestor genome would "underestimate the level of admixture" but that "however, using the Jewish Diaspora populations as the reference Jewish ancestor will naturally underestimate the true level of admixture, as the modern Jewish Diaspora has also undergone admixture since their dispersion.[79][80]

Zoossmann-Diskin (2010) argues, that based upon the analysis of X chromosome and seventeen autosomal markers, Eastern European Jewish populations and Jewish populations from Iran, Iraq and Yemen, do not have the same genetic origins. In particular, concerning Eastern European Jews, he believes the evidence points to a dominant amount of southern European, and specifically Italian, ancestry, which he argues is probably a result of conversions during the Roman empire. Concerning the similarity between Sephardi and Ashkenazi, he argues that the reasons are uncertain, but that it is likely to be caused by Sephardic Jews having "Mediterranean" ancestry also, like the Ashkenazi. Concerning mitochondrial DNA, and particularly Y DNA, he accepts that there are superficial signs of some Middle Eastern ancestry among Ashkenazi Jews, but he argues that this can be ignored as it is may have come from a small number of ancestors.[6]

An autosomal DNA study carried out in 2010 by Atzmon et al. examined the origin of Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Turkish, Greek, Sephardic, and Ashkenazi Jewish communities. The study compared these Jewish groups with 1043 unrelated individuals from 52 worldwide populations. To further examine the relationship between Jewish communities and European populations, 2407 European subjects were assigned and divided into 10 groups based on geographic region of their origin. This study confirmed previous findings of shared Middle Eastern origin of the above Jewish groups and found that "the genetic connections between the Jewish populations became evident from the frequent IBD across these Jewish groups (63% of all shared segments). Jewish populations shared more and longer segments with one another than with non-Jewish populations, highlighting the commonality of Jewish origin. Among pairs of populations ordered by total sharing, 12 out of the top 20 were pairs of Jewish populations, and "none of the top 30 paired a Jewish population with a non-Jewish one". Atzmon concludes that "Each Jewish group demonstrated Middle Eastern ancestry and variable admixture from host population, while the split between Middle Eastern and European/Syrian Jews, calculated by simulation and comparison of length distributions of IBD segments, occurred 100150 generations ago, which was described as "compatible with a historical divide that is reported to have occurred more than 2500 years ago" as the Jewish community in Iraq and Iran were formed by Jews in the Babylonian and Persian empires during and after Babylonian exile. The main difference between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi/Sephardic Jews was the absence of Southern European components in the former. According to these results, European/Syrian Jewish populations, including the Ashkenazi Jewish community, were formed latter, as a result of the expulsion of Jews from Palestine, during Roman rule. Concerning Ashkenazi Jews, this study found that genetic dates "are incompatible with theories that Ashkenazi Jews are for the most part the direct lineal descendants of converted Khazars or Slavs". Citing Behar, Atzmon states that "Evidence for founder females of Middle Eastern origin has been observed in all Jewish populations based on non overlapping mitochondrial haplotypes with coalescence times >2000 years". The closest people related to Jewish groups were the Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze, Greeks, and Italians. Regarding this relationship, the authors conclude that "These observations are supported by the significant overlap of Y chromosomal haplogroups between Israeli and Palestinian Arabs with Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jewish populations".[2][28][5][81]

In 2011, Moorjani et al.[82] detected 3%5% sub-Saharan African ancestry in all eight of the diverse Jewish populations (Ashkenazi Jews, Syrian Jews, Iranian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Greek Jews, Turkish Jews, Italian Jews) that they analyzed. The timing of this African admixture among all Jewish populations was identical The exact date was not determined, but it was estimated to have taken place between 1,6003,400 years ago. Although African admixture was determined among South Europeans and Near Eastern population too, this admixture was found to be younger compared to the Jewish populations. This findings the authors explained as evidence regarding common origin of these 8 main Jewish groups. "It is intriguing that the Mizrahi Irani and Iraqi Jewswho are thought to descend at least in part from Jews who were exiled to Babylon about 2,600 years ago share the signal of African admixture. A parsimonious explanation for these observations is that they reflect a history in which many of the Jewish groups descend from a common ancestral population which was itself admixed with Africans, prior to the beginning of the Jewish diaspora that occurred in 8th to 6th century BC" the authors concludes.[5][83]

In 2012, two major genetic studies were carried out under the leadership of Harry Ostrer, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The results were published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences. The genes of 509 Jewish donors from 15 different backgrounds and 114 non-Jewish donors of North African origin were analyzed. Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews were found to be closer genetically to each other than to their long-term host populations, and all of them were found to have Middle Eastern ancestry, together with varying amounts of admixture in their local populations. Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews were found to have diverged from each other approximately 2,500 years in the past, approximately the time of the Babylonian exile. The studies also reconfirmed the results of previous studies which found that North African Jews were more closely related to each other and to European and Middle Eastern Jews than to their non-Jewish host populations.,[84] The genome-wide ancestry of North African Jewish groups was compared with respect to European (Basque), Maghrebi (Tunisian non-Jewish), and Middle Eastern (Palestinian) origins. The Middle Eastern component is found to be comparable across all North African Jewish and non-Jewish groups, while North African Jewish groups showed increased European and decreased level of North African (Maghrebi) ancestry [85] with Moroccan and Algerian Jews tending to be genetically closer to Europeans than Djerban Jews. The study found that Yemenite, Ethiopian, and Georgian Jews formed their own distinctive, genetically linked clusters. In particular, Yemenite Jews, who had been previously been believed to have lived in isolation, were found to have genetic connections to their host population, suggesting some conversion of local Arabs to Judaism had taken place. The study also found that Syrian Jews share more genetic commonality with Ashkenazi Jews than with other Middle Eastern Jewish populations.[86][87][88][89] According to the study:

"distinctive North African Jewish population clusters with proximity to other Jewish populations and variable degrees of Middle Eastern, European, and North African admixture. Two major subgroups were identified by principal component, neighbor joining tree, and identity-by-descent analysisMoroccan/Algerian and Djerban/Libyanthat varied in their degree of European admixture. These populations showed a high degree of endogamy and were part of a larger Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish group. By principal component analysis, these North African groups were orthogonal to contemporary populations from North and South Morocco, Western Sahara, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Thus, this study is compatible with the history of North African Jewsfounding during Classical Antiquity with proselytism of local populations, followed by genetic isolation with the rise of Christianity and then Islam, and admixture following the emigration of Sephardic Jews during the Inquisition."[84]

A 2012 study on Ethiopian Jews showed that while they are primarily related to the local populations, Ethiopian Jews have very distant genetic links to the Middle East from some 2,000 years ago, and are likely descended from a few Jewish founders. It was speculated that the community began when a few itinerant Jews settled in Ethiopia in ancient times, converted locals to Judaism, and married into the local populations.[90]

A 2012 study by Eran Elhaik analyzed data collected for previous studies and concluded that the DNA of Eastern and Central European Jewish populations indicates that their ancestry is "a mosaic of Caucasus, European, and Semitic ancestries".[91] For the study, Bedouins and Jordanian Hashemites, known to descend from Arabian tribes, were assumed to be a valid genetic surrogate of ancient Jews, whereas the Druze, known to come from Syria, were assumed to be non-Semitic immigrants into the Levant. Armenians and Georgians were also used as surrogate populations for the Khazars, who spoke a Turkic language unrelated to Georgian or Armenian. On this basis, a relatively strong connection to the Caucasus was proposed because of the stronger genetic similarity of these Jewish groups to modern Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijani Jews, Druze and Cypriots, compared to a weaker genetic similarity with Hashemites and Bedouins. This proposed Caucasian component of ancestry was in turn taken to be consistent with the Khazarian Hypothesis as an explanation of part of the ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews.

A study by Haber et al. (2013) noted that while previous studies of the Levant, which had focused mainly on diaspora Jewish populations, showed that the "Jews form a distinctive cluster in the Middle East", these studies did not make clear "whether the factors driving this structure would also involve other groups in the Levant". The authors found strong evidence that modern Levant populations descend from two major apparent ancestral populations. One set of genetic characteristics which is shared with modern-day Europeans and Central Asians is most prominent in the Levant amongst "Lebanese, Armenians, Cypriots, Druze and Jews, as well as Turks, Iranians and Caucasian populations". The second set of inherited genetic characteristics is shared with populations in other parts of the Middle East as well as some African populations. Levant populations in this category today include "Palestinians, Jordanians, Syrians, as well as North Africans, Ethiopians, Saudis, and Bedouins". Concerning this second component of ancestry, the authors remark that while it correlates with "the pattern of the Islamic expansion", and that "a pre-Islamic expansion Levant was more genetically similar to Europeans than to Middle Easterners," they also say that "its presence in Lebanese Christians, Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews, Cypriots and Armenians might suggest that its spread to the Levant could also represent an earlier event". The authors also found a strong correlation between religion and apparent ancestry in the Levant:

"all Jews (Sephardi and Ashkenazi) cluster in one branch; Druze from Mount Lebanon and Druze from Mount Carmel are depicted on a private branch; and Lebanese Christians form a private branch with the Christian populations of Armenia and Cyprus placing the Lebanese Muslims as an outer group. The predominantly Muslim populations of Syrians, Palestinians and Jordanians cluster on branches with other Muslim populations as distant as Morocco and Yemen."[92]

Originally posted here:

Genetic studies on Jews - Wikipedia

Jewish Humor Central

Posted By on October 12, 2018

Their repertoire includes traditional Jewish melodies, current Israeli pop, classic rock, current Broadway hits, and contemporary radio hits, all rounded out with their unique Mezumenet parodies.

Let us Bench is a parody of Be Our Guest from the animated film Beauty and the Beast. It's about the only thing that's left to do after a long Shabbat lunch -- saying the Grace After Meals (Benching). The lyrics appear below the video.

Enjoy, and Shabbat Shalom!


Let us bench, let us benchLet us daven like a menschWe've been sitting here and talking and we really need a restChallah's gone, cholent tooSo there's one thing left to doIt's halacha and I don't lieDon't believe me? Ask the rabbi!

Time is short, I'm in a crunchAfter all it's way past lunchAnd I've already digested all this foodGo on and take that stepThis is no time to schlepSo let us benchLet us benchLet us bench

I got here at twelve o'clock And you never stopped your talkGossiping, oh it was funOh have you seen the rabbi's son?But politics don't thrill meAnd I have somewhere to beI don't mean to be complainingYou're no longer entertaining

We told jokesHeard your schtickNow come on, let's be quickOh the food was really great, I've no regretsBut drain that kiddush glassGet up and off your--tuchus!And let us benchLet us benchLet us bench

Life is so unnervingFor a girl who's so observingAnd my head just needs a bed to lay uponAh, those Shabbos naps when I was littleSuddenly those good old naps are gone

For hours we've been sittingAnd for me it's time for quittingI need exercise, a chance to use my limbsToday we just sat around the tableFlabby, fat, and lazyAnd it's making me go crazy

Let's not bench, let's not benchIt's not something we suggestYou haven't been here all that long And dear quite frankly you're our guestSo sit down, eat more foodIt's not time yet to conclude'Til the moonlight starts a-glowingLet us help you, we'll keep going

Course by courseSong by songWe'll stay here 'til day is doneThen Mez can sing you off to sleep as you digestWe know you love to schmooze(But I've just got to snooze!)So let's not bench (So let us bench!)Let's not bench (Let's bench!)Let's not bench (Miriam, you pulled this last week, I'm not doing it again!)Please let's not bench (The rabbi's son would be so disappointed!)

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Jewish Humor Central

Summer Camp FAQ B’nai B’rith Camp

Posted By on October 11, 2018

The recommended amount of money for a camper to bring is $25.00 $50.00 per week spent at camp. We put all camper money in a bank account, and refund balances by check at the end of the session. Campers do not need spending money for any off-site trips. The only exception is for Teen Village and Leadership units where they have the option to eat in town one night. Spending money will be withdrawn from the camp bank and given to the participants on the trip. We cannot stress enough that campers should never keep money in their possession.

Camp Store:

We continue to expand our B.B. Camp Store to provide our campers with a variety of new items. You may set up an account for your child at Camp, so they may enjoy a treat from the store, or to take home that special B.B. Camp souvenir. All money raised from the Camp Store goes camp scholarships.

The recommended amount of money for a camper to deposit in their account is $25 $50 per week spent at camp. We will only sell items to campers who have turned in money to the Camp Store. We put all camper money in a bank account. Please do not pack money in your childs luggage. B.B. Camp is not responsible for money that is lost or stolen.

Additionally, campers do not need spending money for any off site trips. The exception is for the Teen Village and Leadership Units overnight trips. Teen Village and Leadership campers spending money will be placed in the camp bank, and then will be given to the participants on the trip. We will withdraw up to $50 for each Teen Village and Leadership camper for spending money for their trips. We cannot stress enough that campers should never keep money in their personal possession. You can deposit camp store money when you register your child for camp.

We understand thatpersonalvalues in regards to finances and what is and is not appropriate differ from family to family and we encourage you to discuss the camp store with your child prior to their arrival at camp.

Any balance at the end of the camp session will be donated to camper scholarships unless otherwise stated on your enrollment form. If you choose the raimaning balance from the camp store to be refunded, a check will be sent at the end of the session. Only balances over $5 will be refunded.Our specialty items may vary from summer to summer. Prices are subject to change.

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Summer Camp FAQ B'nai B'rith Camp

B’nai B’rith – Temple Adas Shalom, the Harford Jewish Center

Posted By on October 8, 2018

Bnai Brith Meetings are on Sundays, click here for information.

Temple Adas Shalom is a proud member of Bnai Brith International.


Bnai Brith is an international Jewish organization committed to the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, defending human rights, combating anti-Semitism, bigotry and ignorance, and providing service to the community on the broadest principles of humanity. Its mission is to unite persons of the Jewish faith and to enhance Jewish identity through strengthening Jewish family life and the education and training of youth, broad-based services for the benefit of senior citizens, and advocacy and action on behalf of Jews throughout the world.

About Founded in 1843, Bnai Brith International is universally recognized as one of the worlds largest and oldest Jewish human rights, community action, and humanitarian organizations. A constant source of innovation and charity for populations around the world, Bnai Brith has founded hospitals, orphanages, senior housing communities, disaster relief campaigns, libraries, anti-hatred programs, and countless other initiatives in the public interest. Bnai Brith is also a tireless advocate for Israel and the Diaspora in a variety of governmental and political arenas. With more than 180,000 members and affiliates in more than 50 countries, Bnai Brith truly spans the globe in its efforts to make Jewish communities better for all their inhabitants.


Sunday, April 7th, BNai Brith breakfast: Professor Ernie Silversmith to speak: From Nuremburg to Baltimore

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B'nai B'rith - Temple Adas Shalom, the Harford Jewish Center

B’nai B’rith – en-Rightpedia

Posted By on October 8, 2018

Jewish freemasonry redirects here, for other uses see Judeo-Masonry.

The Independent Order of B'nai B'rith (Hebrew: , "Sons of the Covenant") is the oldest continually-operating Jewish supremacist group in the world. It was founded in New York City by Henry Jones and 11 others on October 13, 1843. The name B'nai translates as "sons," and b'rith which is often pronounced "briss" by Jews refers to the ritual circumcision of Jewish males which according to Jewish tradition is a sign of their "chosenness" or their special covenant with the Hebrew tribal deity Yahweh.[1]

The organization is engaged in a wide variety of political lobbying, including the promotion of Jewish group interests in social, economic, political and media forums, thought its so-called Human Rights and Public Policy. B'nai B'rith is a hawkish advocate of Israeli foreign policy interests. Together with AIPAC, it created in 2002 an initiative called "BBYO 4 Israel".

Also, until 2001, B'nai B'rith sponsored the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO), which is now BBYO, Inc. BBYO, an organization for high school-age Jewish teens, was founded in 1923, and comprises the boys' order, Aleph Zadik Aleph (AZA), and the girls' order, B'nai B'rith Girls (BBG).

Noted members of the organisation have included the sexual deviant and cultural terrorist Sigmund Freud[2] amongst others.

The fraternity was founded as Bundes-Brueder (League of Brothers) at Sinsheimer Caf near Wall Street in New York on 13 October 1843. Its founders were all Ashkenazi Jews in their twenties or thirties, who had immigrated from Germany to the United States. The ring leader was one Henry Jones (real name Heinrich Jonas) born in Hamburg in 1811, after moving to New York he was allegedly head of the Anshe Chesed Hebrew School.[3] The other founding members were Isaac Rosenbourg, William Renau, Reuben Rodacher, Henry Kling, Henry Anspacher, Isaac Dittenhoefer, Jonas Hecht, Michael Schwab, Hirsch Heineman, Valentine Koon and Samuel Schaefer.[4]The social demography of the founders, was said to be for the most part, that of small shop-keepers.[4]

During the 19th century, the community witnessed a growing need for Jewish organizations, societies and movements that would maintain their Jewish character and develop Jewish solidarity and a strong awareness of group solidarity, without being defined in a religious way.

Although all of them had immigrated from Germany to the United States, it is claimed that they first became acquainted with each other through their membership in the Freemasons.[4] The group changed the name of their project to B'nai B'rith (Sons of the Covenant) on 21 October of the same year it was founded.[3] While freemasonry at least pretended to be about the so-called "international brotherhood of mankind", where "all are equal", B'nai B'rith didn't bother with the facadeits focus was explicitly group identity based, ethnocentric and racially exclusive from the start. No goyim were allowed to join, only "God's Chosen".[4] Its openly professed aim was "uniting and elevating the Sons of Abraham."[4]

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B'nai B'rith - en-Rightpedia

Sephardi Jews | Religion-wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Posted By on October 8, 2018

Sephardi Jews (Yahadut Sfarad) Total population Sephardi Jews1.52.0 million (estimate)up to 20% of the total 'Jewish World' population Regions with significant populations Israel 725,000 France 350,000 United States 100,000 Argentina 60,000 Canada 60,000 Brazil 60,000 Mexico 40,000 Venezuela 35,000 Uruguay 30,000 Italy 30,000 Turkey 25,000 United Kingdom 18,000 Spain 12,000 Greece 8,500 Chile 8.000 Morocco 6,000 Bulgaria 5,000 Colombia 5,000 Cuba 3,500 Serbia 3,000 Croatia 3,000 Peru 3,000 Portugal 2,500 Tunisia 1,000 Puerto Rico 1,500 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,200 Netherlands 1,000 Gibraltar 600 Philippines 500 Republic of Macedonia 200 Egypt 100 Languages

Historical: Ladino, Haketia, Judeo-Portuguese, Catalanic, Shuadit, local languages Modern: Local languages, primarily Hebrew, French, English, Spanish, Arabic


Ashkenazi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, other Jewish ethnic divisions, Arabs, Spaniards, Portuguese.

Sephardi Jews (Hebrew: , Standard Sfaradi Tiberian Spard; plural , Standard Sfaradim Tiberian Spardm; Spanish Sefardes; Portuguese Sefarditas, Greek , Bulgarian sefaradi, Turkish Sefarad, Ladino Sefardies) are Jews who define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and traditions which originated in the Iberian Peninsula, present day Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar, before the expulsion of Jews from that area in the late fifteenth century, and usually defined in contrast to Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews.

A Sephardi Jew is a Jew who follows the customs and traditions followed by Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) before their expulsion in the late fifteenth century. This includes both the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain under the Alhambra decree of 1492, or from Portugal by order of King Manuel I in 1497, and the descendants of crypto-Jews who left the Peninsula in later centuries to North Africa, Asia Minor, the Philippines and elsewhere around the world, and the descendants of crypto-Jews who remained in Iberia. In modern times, the term has also been applied to Jews who may not have been born Sephardi (or even Jewish) but attend Sephardic synagogues and practice Sephardic traditions. Today there are around 12,000 Sephardic Jews in Spain and 2,500 in Portugal(although it must be taken account that, when expelled from Portugal, Jews were allowed to stay if they converted to Christianity, resulting in a big percentage being assimilated in the Portuguese population. See: History of the Jews in Portugal). There is also a community of 600 in Gibraltar.[1]

The name comes from Sepharad (Hebrew: , ModernSfard TiberianSpar / Spra; Turkish: Sefarad), a Biblical location.[2] This was probably the "Saparda" mentioned in Persian inscriptions: the location of that is disputed, but may have been Sardis in Asia Minor. "Sepharad" was identified by later Jews as the Iberian Peninsula, and still means "Spain" in modern Hebrew.

For religious purposes, and in modern Israel, "Sephardim" is often used in a wider sense to include most Jews of Asian and African origin, who use a Sephardic style of liturgy. This article is mostly concerned with Sephardim in the narrower ethnic sense, rather than in this broader Modern Israeli Hebrew definition.

The term Sephardi can also describe the nusach (Hebrew language, "liturgical tradition") used by Sephardi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition's choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Sephardim traditionally pray using Minhag Sefarad, which is quite similar to Nusach Edot haMizrach (liturgy of the Eastern Congregations). For more details of the Sephardic liturgy see Sephardic Judaism.

Note that the term Nusach Sefard or Nusach Sfarad does not refer to the liturgy generally recited by Sephardim, but rather to an alternative Eastern European liturgy used by many Hasidim.

Historically, Sephardim are those Jews associated with the Iberian Peninsula.

From the perspective of the present day, the first three sub-groups look in retrospect like separate branches, each with its own traditions, though some degree of merger is taking place as Spanish and Portuguese congregations increasingly include Jews of other backgrounds. In earlier centuries, and as late as the editing of the Jewish Encyclopedia at the beginning of the twentieth century, they were usually regarded as together forming a continuum, with the Jewish community of Livorno acting as the clearing-house of personnel and traditions between the three sub-groups as well as the main publishing centre. In some ways the relationship was a symbiotic one, with the Western (Spanish and Portuguese) sub-group contributing the publishing facilities, the secular learning and the political protection and the other two sub-groups contributing the religious learning.

For religious purposes, the term Sephardim means all Jews who use a Sephardic style of liturgy, and therefore includes most Jews of Arabic and Persian background, whether or not they have any historical or ethnographic connection to the Iberian Peninsula. Most of these communities (with some exceptions such as the Yemenites) do in fact use much the same religious ritual as the Sephardim proper and, like them, base their religious law on the Shulchan Aruch without the glosses of Moses Isserles. When used in this sense, "Sephardim" should be translated not as "Spanish Jews" but as "Jews of the Spanish rite". (In the same way, Ashkenazim means "Jews of the German rite", whether or not their families actually originate in Germany.)

Accordingly, in the vernacular of modern-day Jews in Israel and worldwide, especially many Ashkenazi Jews, "Sephardi" has come to be used as an umbrella term for any Jewish person who is not Ashkenazi. This nomenclature is often perceived as unsatisfactory, and a variety of other terms have been coined. For example, Jews of Arabic-speaking backgrounds are sometimes referred to as Musta'arabim or "Arab Jews", though for political reasons this last description is disputed.

A term in common use for all Jewish communities historically associated with Africa and Asia and not of Spanish descent is Mizrahim, which in Hebrew means "Easterners". In current use, Mizrahi Jews is a convenient way to refer collectively to a wide range of Jewish communities, most of which are as unrelated to each other as they are to either the Sephardi (in the narrower sense) or Ashkenazi communities. They include in particular the communities living in, or coming from, Southern Arabia (Yemen), North Africa, Mesopotamia (Iraq), Syria, Persia (Iran) and India. The distinction between Sephardim and Mizrahim is not watertight as many communities (e.g. Syrian and Moroccan Jews) are ethnically speaking a mixture between native Arab Jews and later arrivals from Spain and Portugal. Moroccans in particular sometimes object to being called "Mizrahim", given that it makes no geographical sense to describe Morocco as "eastern". In Arabic the equivalent term (Mashriqiyyun) specifically denotes the inhabitants of the Near East as opposed to those of North Africa (Maghribiyyun). Conversely Turkish Jews, who are mostly of Spanish descent and therefore ethnic Sephardim, are geographically "easterners" and could logically be called "Mizrahim".

Prior to 1492, substantial Jewish populations existed in most Spanish provinces. Among the more prominent were in Toledo, Crdoba, and Granada. Smaller towns such as Ocaa, Guadalajara, Bentrago, and Almazan were founded or inhabited principally by Jews. Castile, Aranda, vila, Calahorra, Carrion de Los Condes, Cuellar, Herrera, Medina, Segovia, Soria, and Villalon were home to large Jewish communities. Aragon and Catalonia had substantial Jewish communities in the famous Calls of Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona, Valencia and Palma de Mallorca.

Following the 1492 expulsion from Spain, and the subsequent expulsions in Portugal (1497), these Jews, the nascent Sephardim, settled mainly in Morocco, the Ottoman Empire (the modern-day Balkans, Anatolia, the Levant and North Africa - see also History of the Jews in Turkey), southern France, Italy, Spanish North America, (Southwest United States New Mexico, Texas (Tejano), Arizona, and Mexico), Spanish South America and the Philippines and Portuguese Brazil, as well as the Netherlands (whence a number of families continued on to the former Dutch possessions of Curaao, Suriname, Aruba and New Netherland (now New York)), England (as well as English colonies such as Jamaica), Germany, Denmark, Austria and Hungary.

As a result of the Jewish exodus from Arab lands, many of the Sephardim from the Middle East relocated to either Israel or France, where they form a significant portion of the Jewish communities today. Other significant communities also exist in New York City, Argentina, and Montreal, Canada and Gibraltar.

The traditional language of the majority of Sephardim is Ladino, also called Judeo-Spanish or Djudezmo. It is a Romance language derived mainly from Old Castilian (Spanish) and Old Portuguese, with many borrowings from Turkish, and to a lesser extent from Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and FrenchUntil recently, two different dialects of Ladino were spoken in the Mediterranean region: Eastern Judeo-Spanish (in various distinctive regional variations) and Western or North African Judeo-Spanish (also known as akita), once spoken, with little regional distinction, in six towns in Northern Morocco and, because of later emigration, also in Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish cities in North Africa), Gibraltar (colony of Great Britain), Casablanca (Morocco), and Oran (Algeria).

Sephardi chazan

Sephardi Chazan

The Eastern dialect is typified by its greater conservatism, its retention of numerous Old Spanish features in phonology, morphology, and lexicon, and its numerous borrowings from Turkish and, to a lesser extent, also from Greek and South Slavic. Both dialects have (or had) numerous borrowings from Hebrew, especially in reference to religious matters, but the number of Hebraisms in everyday speech or writing is in no way comparable to that found in Yiddish.

The North African dialect was, until the early 20th century, also highly conservative; its abundant Colloquial Arabic loan words retained most of the Arabic phonemes as functional components of a new, enriched Hispano-Semitic phonological system. During the Spanish colonial occupation of Northern Morocco (1912-1956), akita was subjected to pervasive, massive influence from Modern Standard Spanish and most Moroccan Jews now speak a colloquial, Andalusian form of Spanish, with only an occasional use of the old language as a sign of in-group solidarity, somewhat as American Jews may now use an occasional Yiddishism in colloquial speech. Except for certain younger individuals, who continue to practice akita as a matter of cultural pride, this splendid dialect, probably the most Arabized of the Romance languages apart from Mozarabic, has essentially ceased to exist.

Eastern Judeo-Spanish has fared somewhat better, especially in Israel, where newspapers, radio broadcasts, and elementary school and university programs strive to keep the language alive. But the old regional variations (i.e. Bosnia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, Turkey, and Italy for instance) are already either extinct or doomed to extinction. Only time will tell whether Judeo-Spanish koin, now evolving in Israelsimilar to that which developed among Sephardic immigrants to the United States early in the 20th century will prevail and survive into the next generationJudeo-Portuguese (Lusitanic) has been conserved by the crypto-Jewish marranos of Portugal and Brazil and is still spoken by a few of them. It is also spoken by Sephardim still remaining in Turkey and amongst the Sephardi immigrants of Israel of Portuguese and Brazilian descent.

Judeo-Portuguese has also been used by Sephardim especially among the Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Western Europe. The pidgin forms of Portuguese spoken among slaves and their Sephardic owners were an influence in the development of Papiamento and the Creole languages of Suriname.

Other Romance languages with Jewish forms, spoken historically by Sephardim, include Judo-Aragonese, and Catalanic atalan). The Gibraltar community has had a heavy influence on the Gibraltar dialect Llanito contributing several words to this English/Spanish patois.

Other languages associated with Sephardic Jews are mostly extinct, i.e., formerly spoken by some Sephardic communities in Italy. Low German (Low Saxon), formerly used as the vernacular by Sephardim around Hamburg and Altona in Northern Germany, is also no longer in use as a specifically Jewish vernacular.

See also

The precise origins of the Jewish communities of the Iberian peninsula are unclear. There is fragmentary and inconclusive evidence of a Jewish presence on the Iberian Peninsula dating from pre-Roman times. More substantial references date from the period of Roman occupation.

Evidence which suggests Jewish connections with the Iberian Peninsula includes:

It is thought that substantial Jewish immigration probably occurred during the period of Roman occupation of Hispania. The province came under Roman control with the fall of Carthage after the Second Punic War (218-202 BC). Exactly how soon after this time Jews made their way onto the scene in this context is a matter of speculation. It is within the realm of possibility that they went there under the Romans as free men to take advantage of its rich resources.

Although the spread of Jews into Europe is most commonly associated with the Diaspora which ensued from the Roman conquest of Judea, emigration from Judea into the greater Roman Mediterranean area antedated the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans under Titus. Any Jews already in Hispania at this time would have been joined by those who had been enslaved by the Romans under Vespasian and Titus, and dispersed to the extreme west during the period of the Jewish Wars, and especially after the defeat of Judea in 70 AD One account placed the number carried off to Hispania at 80,000. Subsequent immigrations came into the area along both the northern African and southern European sides of the Mediterranean.

Among the earliest records which may refer specifically to Jews in the Iberian peninsula during the Roman period is Paul's Epistle to the Romans. Many have taken Paul's intention to go to Hispania to preach the gospel (Romans 15:24, 28) to indicate the presence of Jewish communities there, as well as the fact that Herod Antipas's banishment by Caligula in 39 AD may have been to Hispania. From a slightly later period, Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus 29.2 makes reference to the return of the Diaspora from Hispania by 165 AD

Perhaps the most direct and substantial of early references are the several decrees of the Council of Elvira, convened in the early fourth century, which address proper Christian behavior with regard to the Jews of Hispania.

As citizens of the Roman Empire, the Jews of Hispania engaged in a variety of occupations, including agriculture. Until the adoption of Christianity, Jews had close relations with non-Jewish populations, and played an active role in the social and economic life of the province. The edicts of the Synod of Elvira, provide evidence of Jews who were integrated enough into the greater community to cause alarm among some: of the Council's 80 canonic decisions, all which pertain to Jews served to maintain a separation between the two communities. It seems that by this time the presence of Jews was of greater concern to Christian authorities than the presence of pagans; Canon 16, which prohibited marriage of Christians with Jews, was worded more strongly than canon 15, which prohibited marriage with pagans. Canon 78 threatens Christians who commit adultery with Jews with ostracism. Canon 48 forbade the blessing of Christian crops by Jews, and canon 50 forbade the sharing of meals by Christians and Jews.

Yet in comparison to Jewish life in Byzantium and Italy, life for the early Jews in Hispania and the rest of western Europe was relatively tolerable. This is due in large measure to the difficulty which the Church had in establishing itself in its western frontier. In the west, Germanic tribes such as the Suevi, the Vandals, and especially the Visigoths had more or less disrupted the political and ecclesiastical systems of the Roman empire, and for several centuries western Jews enjoyed a degree of peace which their brethren to the east did not.

Barbarian invasions brought most of the Iberian Peninsula under Visigothic rule by the early fifth century. Other than in their contempt for Orthodox Christians, who reminded them of the Romans and also because they were Arians, the Visigoths did not generally take much of an interest in the religious creeds within their kingdom. It was not until 506, when Alaric II (484-507) published his Brevarium Alaricianum (Breviary of Alaric) (wherein he adopted the laws of the ousted Romans), that a Visigothic king concerned himself with the Jews.

The situation of the Jews changed after the conversion of the Visigothic royal family under Recared from Arianism to Christianism in 587. In their desire to consolidate the realm under the new religion, the Visigoths adopted an aggressive policy towards Jews. As the king and the church acted in a single interest, the Jews' situation deteriorated. Under successive Visigothic kings and under ecclesiastical authority, many orders of expulsion, forced conversion, isolation, enslavement, execution, and other punitive measures were made. By 612 - 621 AD, the situation for Jews became intolerable and many left Spain for nearby northern Africa. In 711 AD, thousands of Jews from North Africa accompanied the Moslems who invaded Spain, subsuming Catholic Spain and turning much of it into an Arab state, Al-Andalus. (N.H.Finkelstein, p.13, 14)

The Jews of Hispania had been utterly embittered and alienated by Catholic rule by the time of the Muslim invasion. To them, the Moors were perceived as, and indeed were, a liberating force. Wherever they went, the Muslims were greeted by Jews eager to aid them in administering the country. In many conquered towns the garrison was left in the hands of the Jews before the Muslims proceeded further north. Thus were initiated the two centuries of Muslim rule in the Iberian peninsula which became known as the "Golden Age" of Sephardi Jewry.

With the victory of Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711, the lives of the Sephardim changed dramatically. In spite of the stigma attached to being dhimmis (non-Muslim members of monotheistic faiths), the coming of the Moors was by-and-large welcomed by the Jews of Iberia.

Both Muslim and Christian sources tell us that Jews provided valuable aid to the invaders. Once captured, the defense of Cordoba was left in the hands of Jews, and Granada, Malaga, Seville, and Toledo were left to a mixed army of Jews and Moors. Although in some towns Jews may have been helpful to Muslim success, they were of limited impact overall. However it was frequently claimed by Christians in later centuries that the fall of Iberia was due in large part to Jewish perfidy.

In spite of the restrictions placed upon the Jews as dhimmis, life under Muslim rule was one of great opportunity and Jews flourished as they did not under prior Christian Visigoths. Many Jews came to Iberia, seen as a land of tolerance and opportunity, from the Christian and Muslim worlds. Following initial Arab victories, and especially with the establishment of Umayyad rule by Abd al-Rahman I in 755, the native Jewish community was joined by Jews from the rest of Europe, as well as from Arab lands, from Morocco to Babylon. Thus the Sephardim found themselves enriched culturally, intellectually, and religiously by the commingling of diverse Jewish traditions.

Arabic culture, of course, also made a lasting impact on Sephardic cultural development. General re-evaluation of scripture was prompted by Muslim anti-Jewish polemics and the spread of rationalism, as well as the anti-Rabbanite polemics of Karaite sectarianism (which was inspired by various Muslim schismatic movements). The cultural and intellectual achievements of the Arabs, and much of the scientific and philosophical speculation of Ancient Greek culture, which had been best preserved by Arab scholars, was made available to the educated Jew. The meticulous regard which the Arabs had for grammar and style also had the effect of stimulating an interest in philological matters in general among Jews. Arabic came to be the main language of Sephardic science, philosophy, and everyday business, as had been the case with Babylonian geonim. This thorough adoption of the Arabic language also greatly facilitated the assimilation of Jews into Moorish culture, and Jewish activity in a variety of professions, including medicine, commerce, finance, and agriculture increased.

By the ninth century, some members of the Sephardic community felt confident enough to take part in proselytizing amongst Christians. Most famous were the heated correspondences sent between Bodo Eleazar, a former Christian deacon who had converted to Judaism in 838, and the Bishop of Crdoba Paulus Albarus, who had converted from Judaism to Christianity. Each man, using such epithets as "wretched compiler", tried to convince the other to return to his former faith, to no avail.

The Golden Age is most closely identified with the reign of Abd al-Rahman III (882-942), the first independent Caliph of Cordoba, and in particular with the career of his Jewish councilor, Hasdai ibn Shaprut (882-942). Within this context of cultural patronage, studies in Hebrew, literature, and linguistics flourished.

Hasdai benefitted world Jewry not only indirectly by creating a favorable environment for scholarly pursuits within Iberia, but also by using his influence to intervene on behalf of foreign Jews: in his letter to Byzantine Princess Helena, he requested protection for the Jews under Byzantine rule, attesting to the fair treatment of the Christians of al-Andalus, and perhaps indicating that such was contingent on the treatment of Jews abroad.

One notable contribution to Christian intellectualism is Ibn Gabirol's neo-Platonic Fons Vitae ("The Source of Life;" "Mekor Hayyim"). Thought by many to have been written by a Christian, this work was admired by Christians and studied in monasteries throughout the Middle Ages, though the work of Solomon Munk in the 19th century proved that the author of Fons Vitae was the Jewish ibn Gabirol.[1]

In addition to contributions of original work, the Sephardim were active as translators. Texts were translated between Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin. In translating the great works of Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek into Latin, Iberian Jews were instrumental in bringing the fields of science and philosophy, which formed much of the basis of Renaissance learning, into the rest of Europe.

In the early 11th century centralized authority based at Cordoba broke down following the Berber invasion and the ousting of the Umayyads. In its stead arose the independent taifa principalities under the rule of local Arab, Berber, or Slavonic leaders. Rather than having a stifling effect, the disintegration of the caliphate expanded the opportunities to Jewish and other professionals. The services of Jewish scientists, doctors, traders, poets, and scholars were generally valued by Christian and Muslim rulers of regional centers, especially as order was restored in recently conquered towns. Rabbi Samuel ha-Nagid (ibn Naghrela) was the Vizier of Granada. He was succeeded by his son Joseph ibn Naghrela who was slain by an incited mob along with most of the Jewish community. The remnant fled to Lucena.

The decline of the Golden Age began before the completion of the Christian Reconquista, with the penetration and influence of the Almoravides, and then the Almohads, from North Africa. These fundamentalist sects abhorred the liberality of the Islamic culture of al-Andalus, including the position of authority which some dhimmis held over Muslims. When the Almohads gave the Jews a choice of either death or conversion to Islam, many Jews emigrated. Some, such the family of Maimonides, fled south and east to the more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.

Meanwhile the Reconquista continued in the north throughout the 12th century. As various Arab lands fell to the Christians, conditions for some Jews in the emerging Christian kingdoms became increasingly favorable. As had happened during the reconstruction of towns following the breakdown of authority under the Umayyads, the services of Jews were employed by the victorious Christian leaders. Sephardic knowledge of the language and culture of the enemy, their skills as diplomats and professionals, as well as their desire for relief from intolerable conditions the very same reasons that they had proved useful to the Arabs in the early stages of the Muslim invasion made their services very valuable.

However, the Jews from the Muslim south were not entirely secure in their northward migrations. Old prejudices were compounded by newer ones. Suspicions of complicity with the Muslims were alive and well as Jews immigrated, speaking Arabic. However, many of the newly-arrived Jews of the north prospered during the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries. The majority of Latin documentation regarding Jews during this period refers to their landed property, fields, and vineyards.

In many ways life had come full circle for the Sephardim of al-Andalus. As conditions became more oppressive during the 12th and 13th centuries, Jews again looked to an outside culture for relief. Christian leaders of reconquered cities granted them extensive autonomy, and Jewish scholarship recovered somewhat and developed as communities grew in size and importance. However, the Reconquista Jews never reached the same heights as had those of the Golden Age.

Among the Sephardim were many who were the descendants, or heads, of wealthy families and who, as Marranos, had occupied prominent positions in the countries they had left. Some had been state officials, others had held positions of dignity within the Church; many had been the heads of large banking-houses and mercantile establishments, and some were physicians or scholars who had officiated as teachers in high schools.Their Spanis or Portuguese was a lingua franca that enabled Sephardim from different countries to engage in commerce and diplomacy.

With their social equals they associated freely, without regard to religion and more likely with regard to equivalent or comparative education, for they were generally well read which became a tradition and expectation. They were received at the courts of sultans, kings, and princes, and often were employed as ambassadors, envoys, or agents. The number of Sephardim who have rendered important services to different countries is considerable, from Samuel Abravanel (or "Abrabanel" financial councilor to the viceroy of Naples) to Benjamin Disraeli. Among other names mentioned are those of Belmonte, Nasi, Francisco Pacheco, Pedro de Herrera, Palache, Pimentel, Azevedo, Sasportas, Salvador, Costa, Curiel, Cansino, Schonenberg, Toledo, Toledano, Pereira and Teixeira.

The Sephardim have distinguished themselves as physicians and statesmen, and have won the favor of rulers and princes, in both the Christian and the Islamic world. That the Sephardim were selected for prominent positions in every country in which they settled was only in part due to the fact that Spanish had become a world-language through the expansion of Spain into the world spanning Spanish Empirethe cosmopolitan cultural background after long associations with Islamic scholars of the Sephardic families also made them extremely well educated for the times, even well into the European Enlightenment.

For a long time the Sephardim took an active part in Spanish literature; they wrote in prose and in rhyme, and were the authors of theological, philosophical, belletristic (aesthetic rather than content based writing), pedagogic (teaching), and mathematical works. The rabbis, who, in common with all the Sephardim, emphasized a pure and euphonious pronunciation of Hebrew, delivered their sermons in Spanish or in Portuguese. Several of these sermons have appeared in print. Their thirst for knowledge, together with the fact that they associated freely with the outer world, led the Sephardim to establish new educational systems wherever they settled; they founded schools in which the Spanish language was the medium of instruction.Theatre in Istanbul was in Judo-Spanish since it was forbidden to Muslims.

In Portugal the Sephardim were given important roles in the sociopolitical sphere and enjoyed a certain amount of protection from the Crown (e.g. Yahia Ben Yahia, first "Rabino Maior" of Portugal and supervisor of the public revenue of the first King of Portugal, D Afonso Henriques). Even with the increasing pressure from the Catholic Church this state of affairs remained more or less constant and the number of Jews in Portugal grew with those running from Spain. This changed with the marriage of D. Manuel I of Portugal with the daughter of the Catholic Monarchs of the newly born Spain. In 1497 the Decree ordering the expulsion or forced conversion of all the Jews was passed, and the Sephardim either fled or went into secrecy under the guise of "Cristos Novos", i.e. New Christians (this Decree was symbolically revoked in 1996 by the Portuguese Parliament). Those who fled to Genoa were only allowed to land provided they received baptism. Those who were fortunate enough to reach the Ottoman Empire had a better fate: the Sultan Bayezid II sarcastically sent his thanks to Ferdinand for sending him some of his best subjects, thus "impoverising his own lands while enriching his (Bayezid's)". Jews arriving in the Ottoman Empire were mostly resettled in and around Selanik (Thessaloniki in Greek) and to some extent in Istanbul and zmir. This was followed by a great massacre of Jews in the city of Lisbon in 1506 and the establishment of the Portuguese Inquisition] in 1536. This caused the flight of the Portuguese Jewish community, which continued until the extinction of the Courts of Inquisition in 1821; by then there were very few Jews in Portugal.

In Amsterdam, where Jews were especially prominent in the seventeenth century on account of their number, wealth, education, and influence, they established poetical academies after Spanish models; two of these were the Academia de los Sitibundos and the Academia de los Floridos. In the same city they also organized the first Jewish educational institution, with graduate classes in which, in addition to Talmudic studies, instruction was given in the Hebrew language. The most important synagogue, or Esnoga, as it is usually called amongst Spanish and Portuguese Jews, is the Amsterdam Esnoga usually considered the "mother synagogue", and the historical centre of the Amsterdam minhag.

A sizable Sephardic community had settled in Morocco and other Northern African countries, which were colonized by France in the 19th century. Jews in Algeria were given French citizenship in 1870 by the dcret Crmieux (previously Jews and Muslims could apply for French citizenship, but had to renounce the use of traditional religious courts and laws, which many did not want to do). When France withdrew from Algeria in 1962, the local Jewish communities largely relocated to France, which today has the largest Sephardic population of any country other than Israel. There are some tensions between some of those communities and the earlier French Jewish population (who were mostly Ashkenazi Jews), and with Arabic-Muslim communities.

Today, the Sephardim have preserved the romances and the ancient melodies and songs of Spain and Portugal, as well as a large number of old Portuguese and Spanish proverbs.[4] A number of children's plays, like, for example, El Castillo, are still popular among them, and they still manifest a fondness for the dishes peculiar to Iberia, such as the pastel, or pastelico, a sort of meat-pie, and the pan de Espaa, or pan de Len. At their festivals they follow the Spanish custom of distributing dulces, or dolces, a confection wrapped in paper bearing a picture of the magen David (six pointed star).

In Mexico, the Sephardim community numbers approximately 5,500 and they originated mainly from Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. In 1942 the Colegio Hebreo Tarbut was founded in collaboration with the Ashkenazi family and instruction was in Yiddish. In 1944 the Sephardim community established a separate "Colegio Hebreo Sefarad" with 90 students where instruction was in Hebrew and complemented with classes on Jewish customs. By 1950 there were 500 students. In 1968 a group of young Sephardim created the group Tnuat Noar Jinujit Dor Jadash in support for the creation of the state of Israel. In 1972 the Majazike Tora institute is created aiming to prepare young male Jews for their Bar Mitzva (History of the Sephardim Community in Mexico).

While the majority of American Jews today are Ashkenazim, in Colonial times Sephardim made up the majority of the Jewish population. For example, the 1654 Jews who arrived in New Amsterdam fled from the colony of Recife, Brazil after the Portuguese seized it from the Dutch. Through most of the 18th Century, American synagogues conducted and recorded their business in Portuguese, even if their daily language was English. It was not until widespread German immigration to the United States in the 19th Century that the tables turned and Ashkenazim (initially from Germany but by the 20th Century from Eastern Europe) began to dominate the American Jewish landscape.

The Sephardim usually followed the general rules for Spanish and Portuguese names. They generally bear Portuguese and Spanish names. Many of the names are associated with non-Jewish (Christian) families and individuals, and are by no means exclusive to Jews. After 1492, many marranos changed their names to hide their Jewish origins and avoid persecution. It was common to choose the name of the Parish Church where they have been baptised into the Christian faith, such as Santa Cruz or the common name of the word "Messiah" (Salvador), or adopted the name of their Christian godparents.[5]

In contrast to Ashkenazic Jews, who do not name newborn children after living relatives, Sephardic Jews often name their children after the children's grandparents, even if they are still alive. The first son and daughter are traditionally named after the paternal grandparents, and then the maternal parent's names are next up in line for the remaining children. After that, additional children's names are "free", so to speak, meaning that one can choose whatever name, without any more "naming obligations." The only instance in which Sephardic Jews will not name after their own parents when one of the spouses shares a common first name with a mother/father-in-law (since Jews will not name their children after themselves.) There are times though when the "free" names are used to honor the memory of a deceased relative who died young or childless. These conflicting naming conventions can be troublesome when children are born into mixed Ashkenazic-Sephardic households.

A notable exception to the distinct Ashkenazi and Sephardi naming traditions is found among Dutch Jews, where Ashkenazim have for centuries followed the tradition otherwise attributed to Sephardim. See Chuts.

Great authority was given to the president of each congregation. He and the rabbinate of his congregation formed the "ma'amad," without whose approbation (often worded in Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian) no book of religious content might be published. The president not only had the power to make authoritative resolutions with regard to congregational affairs and to decide communal questions, but he had also the right to observe the religious conduct of the individual and to punish anyone suspected of heresy or of trespassing against the laws.

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