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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Using DNA to Learn About Our Jewish Ancestors

 Nadene Goldfoot 
 With the discovery of DNA and the ability to figure what haplogroup we all belong to, we can now find out how far back in time our roots go in this time period of Homo Sapiens on earth. For instance, my Jewish family’s Ydna haplogroup of Q1b1a's go back about 1,000 years to a common ancestor.  Our original ancestor of Q lived  in and around the Altai Mountain range in Russia/Siberia/Mongolia/and parts of Turkey and possibly were a Turkish type of people. In fact, we’re distantly connected to Native Americans who are Q3's. They had separated from us a long time ago and wound up entering North America in their wanderings.

 To the surprise of some, we only constitute just 5 % of the Jewish population. It is thought that we were of a tribe that was part of Khazaria. Though we entered Eastern Europe in Poland, Lithuania, Russia, etc, we were a very small minority of the Jews.

 My interest in history has deepened. What was happening in those days? Where do we Jewish people fit in? How far back do we go? Abraham was the father of Judaism. It was his descendants who wandered into Egypt and wound up having to remain there for 400 years.

 Abraham was born in the year 1948 or as we understand it, 1800 BCE.-before the common era. He was the son of Terach, an idol merchant. So even in the beginning we were merchants and not farmers. This was in Ur, which is in present day Iraq.

 Joseph was his descendant that marked the period of the Exodus’s beginning. This has been dated to have happened during the Hyksos domination of Egypt in the 18th to 16th centuries BCE. The Hyksos were semitic people who had taken over Egypt. Their names were similar to Hebrew. Remains have been uncovered in Palestine. They ruled in Egypt 1720-1580 BCE. During this time it is said the Hebrews entered Egypt. Bondage of Hebrews began after the Hyksos were expulsed. The name is Egyptian meaning “rulers of the foreign lands.”

 In the beginning there weren’t many people. Moses left Egypt with 600,000 slaves; Jewish ones and others that had been kept against their will. That’s about the size of Portland and Gresham, Oregon which would make about 617,191 people. This happened in the year 2,368 or as we know it, 1400 BCE.  I've heard a discussion on TV where the speaker thought the math using "aleph", Hebrew for 1,000, was wrong and that it also meant troop or unit, making the group taken out to be only 600.  I feel this is an incorrect theory.  Where do they come up with this stuff?

 Moses was the son of Amram of the tribe of Levi. His mother was Yocheved, Levi’s daughter. The Egyptian princess who adopted him named him Menios, and the Hebrew translation is Moshe, so we call him Moses.

 They were the tomb builders, the pyramid workers. This was the nastiest of jobs, perfect for slavery. They didn’t even get a chance to nibble food such as field workers would. It was mix mud and straw to make bricks, and tote those rocks, bend and carry all the time. They worked every day without any rest. The religion of the Egyptians demanded that this task be done.

 There was Moses after leaving Egypt, happily living a great life in the desert with his family, the only thought in his mind was the welfare of his sheep. Then one day, probably as he was walking in the morning, he heard a voice telling him to go back to Egypt and bring out the Jewish slaves that had been incarcerated there for about 400 years. He alone could do it. He had the Pharoah’s ear and knew how to argue, even though he stuttered. The poor man was already 80 years old and rather out of shape to be trecking back to Egypt in the hot sun.

 The Egyptians were devastated when Moses actually carried out his threat and led out their workers. There was no one left to continue the tasks. The peasants that were native Egyptians had other important tasks to work on; baking, farming, clothing workers, etc. Their life as they knew it had come to a halt.

 Can you imagine looking out at such a sea of people and traveling for 40 years with them? One wonders how they did it. What did they eat? They missed the food they were used to as slaves. Now on the march they were depending on something left on the ground in the morning called “manna” which sounds to me like some sort of mushroom that was left there and would disappear with the rising sun. They were told that if they picked more than one loaf, it would rot, and it did. It was full of vitamins, however, and kept them going. But one thing we can count on is that these 600,000 were as thin as can be. There were no fatties in the group. I just hope that this “manna” had an appetite appeaser in it so that they weren’t constantly hungry.

How was Moses receiving all these instructions? It sounded like the words were amplified into bushes by an outside force. Was Moses the only one who heard these conversations? I could swear that some UFO was up in the sky leading them onwards from the descriptions.  I heard another discussion about the brain where doctors are testing for the G-d gene.  They are finding that people who pray live longer. If they're really into prraying they do transcend and can concentrate so hard that they are unaware of their surroundings.  This shows up on MRI testing.  They thought it possible that he did hear a voice.  I love it when science gets involved and proves things in the Torah are indeed possible.  

 He was educated and could read and write, so he constantly wrote what came to be known as the “Five Books of Moses”, which is our Torah. All the other 600,000 had been  slaves and were uneducated. That came to a halt.  Jews started having schools, teaching reading and writing right away.

 The world’s population hadn’t had a chance to multiply much in those days. Between bottlenecks killing off groups such as earthquakes, volcanoes, slaughter of baby boys and starvation, it was growing slowly. Because of the small numbers, viruses were kept in check and hadn’t really had a chance to develop as they do in dense populations like ours today. People could live very long lives. Moses was destined to live for 120 years. His brother, Aaron, lived a little longer.

 He never made it to his new homeland with all his 600,000 people, but almost did. He had lost his temper along the way and his punishment was not to enter the homeland. That was an occasion of getting high blood presssure, no doubt. Trying to handle 600,000 was of course stressful. No one knows where he's buried on purpose.  He didn't want to be worshipped.

 He picked Joshua to lead the people there. He was much younger and physically fit. All this happened about 3,409 years .ago. Our haplogroup came on the scene about 2,409 years after Judaism’s beginnings.

Our dna is not the more widely seen J1 haplogroup of Jewish people of the area of the Middle East. . However, the people who converted to Judaism were exposed to Judaism by Jews from the Middle East, and who is not to say that there could have been some romancing and intermarriage going on between them and the royal dynasty? Some of us could be carrying a few genes of intermixing from that period.

 Then again, we eventually mingled with the Jews of Europe and no doubt there was more intermixing of dna. We had at least 40 generations of mixing and mingling of dna to deal with to pick up a few more genes from J1. What we have learned is that there was very little mixing of the population they were living amongst of the gentiles. It was against the law for them to marry us and the same for us in our religious views to marry gentiles. This kept us with the same dna for such a long period of time that we are now a most interesting case study for genetic science.

Reference: Torah

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