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Puertorriquenos Vote in Plebiscite on Statehood – Which Appears to Be The Only Possibility for Relief from Crushing Debt – Will This Congress Approve This? It is Highly Unlikely and Always Has Been

June 12, 2017

 

Puerto Rican voters back statehood in questioned referendum

Gov. Ricardo Rossello shows his ballot at the San Jose Academy during the fifth referendum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday, June 11, 2017. Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell U.S. Congress on Sunday which political status they believe best benefits the U.S. territory as it remains mired in a deep economic crisis that has triggered an exodus of islanders to the U.S mainland. Congress ultimately has to approve the outcome of Sunday's referendum that offers voters three choices: statehood, free association/independence or current territorial status. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)
© The Associated Press Gov. Ricardo Rossello shows his ballot at the San Jose Academy during the fifth referendum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday, June 11, 2017. Puerto Ricans are getting the chance to tell U.S. Congress on Sunday which political…
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico’s governor announced that the U.S. territory has overwhelmingly chosen statehood in a nonbinding referendum Sunday held amid a deep economic crisis that has sparked an exodus of islanders to the U.S. mainland.

 

Nearly half a million votes were cast for statehood, more than 7,600 for free association/independence and nearly 6,700 for the current territorial status, according to preliminary results. The participation rate was just 23 percent with roughly 2.26 million registered voters, leading opponents to question the validity of a vote that several parties had boycotted.

“From today going forward, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello said, announcing the victory. “It would be highly contradictory for Washington to demand democracy in other parts of the world, and not respond to the legitimate right to self-determination that was exercised today in the American territory of Puerto Rico.”

U.S. Congress, however, has final say in any changes to the island’s political status.

It was the lowest level of participation in any election in Puerto Rico since 1967, according to Carlos Vargas Ramos, an associate with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in New York. He also said that even among voters who supported statehood, turnout was lower this year compared with the last referendum in 2012.

“Supporters of statehood did not seem enthusiastic about this plebiscite as they were five years ago,” he said.

Puerto Rico’s main opposition party rejected the pro-statehood result.

“The scant participation … sends a clear message,” said Anibal Jose Torres, a party member. “The people rejected it by boycotting an inconsequential event.”

Rossello, however, vowed to push ahead with his administration’s quest for statehood, which was his top campaign promise. He said he would create a commission to ensure that Congress validate the referendum’s results.

“In any democracy, the expressed will of the majority that participates in the electoral processes always prevails,” he said. “Puerto Rico voted for statehood.”

The referendum coincides with the 100th anniversary of the United States granting U.S. citizenship to Puerto Ricans, though they are barred from voting in presidential elections and have only one congressional representative with limited voting powers.

Among those hoping Puerto Rico will become a state is Jose Alvarez, a 61-year-old businessman.

“Now is the moment to do it,” he said. “We’ve spent a lot of years working on a socioeconomic model that has not necessarily given us the answer.”

Many believe the island’s territorial status has contributed to its 10-year economic recession, which has prompted nearly half a million Puerto Ricans to flee to the U.S. mainland and was largely sparked by decades of heavy borrowing and the elimination of federal tax incentives.

Puerto Rico is exempt from the U.S. federal income tax, but it still pays Social Security and Medicare and local taxes and receives less federal funding than U.S. states.

Those inequalities and the ongoing crisis prompted 66-year-old Maria Quinones to vote for the first time in such a referendum, the fifth on Puerto Rico’s status.

“We have to vote because things are not going well,” she said. “If we were a state, we would have the same rights.”

Quinones said many of her relatives are among the nearly half a million Puerto Ricans who have moved to the U.S. mainland in the past decade to find a more affordable cost of living or jobs as the island of 3.4 million people struggles with a 12 percent unemployment rate.

Those who remain behind have been hit with new taxes and higher utility bills on an island where food is 22 percent more expensive than the U.S. mainland and public services are 64 percent more expensive.

Those who oppose statehood worry the island will lose its cultural identity and warn that Puerto Rico will struggle even more financially because it will be forced to pay millions of dollars in federal taxes.

“The cost of statehood on the pocketbook of every citizen, every business, every industry will be devastating,” Carlos Delegado, secretary of the opposition Popular Democratic Party, told The Associated Press. “Whatever we might receive in additional federal funds will be cancelled by the amount of taxes the island will have to pay.”

His party also has noted that the U.S. Justice Department has not backed the referendum.

A department spokesman told the AP that the agency has not reviewed or approved the ballot’s language. Federal officials in April rejected an original version, in part because it did not offer the territory’s current status as an option. The Rossello administration added it and sent the ballot back for review, but the department said it needed more time and asked that the vote be postponed, which it wasn’t.

No clear majority emerged in the first three referendums on status, with voters almost evenly divided between statehood and the status quo. During the last referendum in 2012, 54 percent said they wanted a status change. Sixty-one percent who answered a second question said they favored statehood, but nearly half a million voters left that question blank, leading many to claim the results weren’t legitimate.

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Danica Coto on Twitter: www.twitter.com/danicacoto

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This story has been corrected to say that third option was ‘current territorial status.’

 

Ashkenazi Jews and My Family

June 12, 2017

It appears that there is a questionable accounting historically for where we all belong in the history of humanity. Interestingly, we are all here still continuing to over populate an already troubled and dissonant relationship with all life.  We have survived miraculously  up until this juncture.

 

My Sister’s DNA was tested since I am the oldest surviving member of our immediate family and I didn’t want to take my DNA information to the grave with me — in case any of our relatives are interested or become interested. According to Family Tree DNA Finder I am 100 percent Ashkenazic Jewish. I have commissioned a second test whose results I don’t yet have to track my mitochondrial DNA, which is transmitted intact from mother to daughter, back through the generations. At any rate, I thought you might be interested in knowing that all Ashkenazic Jews alive today descended from 330 people who lived in the 13th century — and because of a high rate of intermarriage and frequent pogroms, Ashkenazic Jews are of great interest to geneticists. Among other things, we are genetically predisposed to mood disorders, specifically schizophrenia and bipolar. Here’s an article about that from Haaretz.com: Scientists Discover Gene That Predisposes Ashkenazi Jews to Schizophrenia

Haaretz.com
Nov. 25, 2013

http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.560128?=&ts=_1497192781990

Scientists Discover Gene That Predisposes Ashkenazi Jews to Schizophrenia
Variations of the DNST3 gene make Ashkenazi Jews 40 percent more likely to develop schizophrenia and similar diseases
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.560128?=&ts=_1497192781990

 

Ashkenazi Jews

 

Ashkenazi Jews

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
Ashkenazi Jews
(יהודי אשכנז Y’hudey Ashkenaz in Ashkenazi Hebrew)
Total population
(10[1]–11.2[2] million)
Regions with significant populations
 United States 5–6 million[3]
 Israel 2.8 million[1][4]
 Russia 194,000–500,000
 Argentina 300,000
 United Kingdom 260,000
 Canada 240,000
 France 200,000
 Germany 200,000
 Ukraine 150,000
 Australia 120,000
 South Africa 80,000
 Belarus 80,000
 Hungary 75,000
 Chile 70,000
 Belgium 30,000
 Brazil 30,000
 Netherlands 30,000
 Moldova 30,000
 Poland 25,000
 Mexico 18,500
 Sweden 18,000
 Latvia 10,000
 Romania 10,000
 Austria 9,000
 New Zealand 5,000
 Azerbaijan 4,300
 Lithuania 4,000
 Czech Republic 3,000
 Slovakia 3,000
 Estonia 1,000
Languages
Yiddish[5]
Modern: Local languages, primarily:English, Hebrew, Russian
Religion
Judaism, some secular, irreligious
Related ethnic groups
Sephardi Jews, Mizrahi Jews, Samaritans,[6][6][7][8] Kurds,[8] other Levantines (Druze, Assyrians,[6][7] Arabs[6][7][9][10]), Mediterranean groups[11][12][13][14][15]

 

The Jews in Central Europe (1881)

Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or simply Ashkenazim (Hebrew: אַשְׁכְּנַזִּים‎, Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation: [ˌaʃkəˈnazim], singular: [ˌaʃkəˈnazi], Modern Hebrew: [aʃkenaˈzim, aʃkenaˈzi]; also יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכֲּנַזY’hudey Ashkenaz),[16] are a Jewish diaspora population who coalesced as a distinct community in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium.[17] The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (which incorporates several dialects), with Hebrew used only as a sacred language until relatively recently. Throughout their time in Europe, Ashkenazim have made many important contributions to philosophy, scholarship, literature, art, music, and science.[18][19][20][21]

Ashkenazim originate from the Jews who settled along the Rhine River, in Western Germany and Northern France.[22] There they became a distinct diaspora community with a unique way of life that adapted traditions from Babylon, The Land of Israel, and the Western Mediterranean to their new environment.[23] The Ashkenazi religious rite developed in cities such as Mainz, Worms, and Troyes. The eminent French Rishon Rabbi Shlomo Itzhaki (Rashi) would have a significant impact on the Jewish religion.

In the late Middle Ages, the majority of the Ashkenazi population shifted steadily eastward,[24] moving out of the Holy Roman Empire into the Pale of Settlement (comprising parts of present-day Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine).[25][26] In the course of the late 18th and 19th centuries, those Jews who remained in or returned to the German lands experienced a cultural reorientation; under the influence of the Haskalah and the struggle for emancipation, as well as the intellectual and cultural ferment in urban centers, they gradually abandoned the use of Yiddish, while developing new forms of Jewish religious life and cultural identity.[27]

The genocidal impact of the Holocaust (the mass murder of approximately six million Jews during World War II) devastated the Ashkenazim and their culture, affecting almost every Jewish family.[28][29] It is estimated that in the 11th century Ashkenazi Jews composed only three percent of the world’s total Jewish population, while at their peak in 1931 they accounted for 92 percent of the world’s Jews. Immediately prior to the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world stood at approximately 16.7 million.[30] Statistical figures vary for the contemporary demography of Ashkenazi Jews, oscillating between 10 million[1] and 11.2 million.[2] Sergio DellaPergola in a rough calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, implies that Ashkenazi Jews make up less than 74% of Jews worldwide.[31] Other estimates place Ashkenazi Jews as making up about 75% of Jews worldwide.[32]

Genetic studies on Ashkenazim—researching both their paternal and maternal lineages—suggest a significant proportion of Middle Eastern ancestry. Those studies have arrived at diverging conclusions regarding both the degree and the sources of their European ancestry, and have generally focused on the extent of the European genetic origin observed in Ashkenazi maternal lineages.[33] Ashkenazi Jews are popularly contrasted with Sephardi Jews (also called Sephardim), who are descendants of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula (though there are other groups as well). There are some differences in how the two groups pronounce certain Hebrew letters, and in points of ritual.

Etymology

The name Ashkenazi derives from the biblical figure of Ashkenaz, the first son of Gomer, son of Japhet, son of Noah, and a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10). The name of Gomer has often been linked to the ethnonym Cimmerians. Biblical Ashkenaz is usually derived from Assyrian Aškūza (cuneiform Aškuzai/Iškuzai), a people who expelled the Cimmerians from the Armenian area of the Upper Euphrates,[34] whose name is usually associated with the name of the Scythians.[35][36] The intrusive n in the Biblical name is likely due to a scribal error confusing a waw ו with a nun נ.[36][37][38]

In Jeremiah 51:27, Ashkenaz figures as one of three kingdoms in the far north, the others being Minni and Ararat, perhaps corresponding to Urartu, called on by God to resist Babylon.[38][39]

In the Yoma tractate of the Babylonian Talmud the name Gomer is rendered as Germania, which elsewhere in rabbinical literature was identified with Germanikia in northwestern Syria, but later became associated with Germania. Ashkenaz is linked to Scandza/Scanzia, viewed as the cradle of Germanic tribes, as early as a 6th-century gloss to the Historia Ecclesiastica of Eusebius.[40] In the 10th-century History of Armenia of Yovhannes Drasxanakertc’i (1.15) Ashkenaz was associated with Armenia,[41] as it was occasionally in Jewish usage, where its denotation extended at times to Adiabene, Khazaria, Crimea and areas to the east.[42] His contemporary Saadia Gaon identified Ashkenaz with the Saquliba or Slavic territories,[43] and such usage covered also the lands of tribes neighboring the Slavs, and Eastern and Central Europe.[42] In modern times, Samuel Krauss identified the Biblical “Ashkenaz” with Khazaria.[44]

Sometime in the early medieval period, the Jews of central and eastern Europe came to be called by this term.[38] In conformity with the custom of designating areas of Jewish settlement with biblical names, Spain was denominated Sefarad (Obadiah 20), France was called Tsarefat (1 Kings 17:9), and Bohemia was called the Land of Canaan.[45] By the high medieval period, Talmudic commentators like Rashi began to use Ashkenaz/Eretz Ashkenaz to designate Germany, earlier known as Loter,[38][40] where, especially in the Rhineland communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, the most important Jewish communities arose.[46] Rashi uses leshon Ashkenaz (Ashkenazi language) to describe German speech, and Byzantium and Syrian Jewish letters referred to the Crusaders as Ashkenazim.[40] Given the close links between the Jewish communities of France and Germany following the Carolingian unification, the term Ashkenazi came to refer to both the Jews of medieval Germany and France.[47]

History

History of Jews in Europe before the Ashkenazim

Outside of their origins in ancient Israel, the history of Ashkenazim is shrouded in mystery,[48] and many theories have arisen speculating on their emergence as a distinct community of Jews.[49] The most well-supported theory is the one that details a Jewish migration from Israel through what is now Italy and other parts of southern Europe.[50] The historical record attests to Jewish communities in southern Europe since pre-Christian times.[51] Many Jews were denied full Roman citizenship until 212 CE when Emperor Caracalla granted all free peoples this privilege. Jews were required to pay a poll tax until the reign of Emperor Julian in 363. In the late Roman Empire, Jews were free to form networks of cultural and religious ties and enter into various local occupations. But, after Christianity became the official religion of Rome and Constantinople in 380, Jews were increasingly marginalized.

The history of Jews in Greece goes back to at least the Archaic Era of Greece, when the classical culture of Greece was undergoing a process of formalization after the Greek Dark Age. The Greek historian Herodotus knew of the Jews, whom he called “Palestinian Syrians”,[citation needed] and listed them among the levied naval forces in service of the invading Persians. While Jewish monotheism was not deeply affected by Greek Polytheism, the Greek way of living was attractive for many wealthier Jews.[52] The Synagogue in the Agora of Athens is dated to the period between 267 and 396 CE. The Stobi Synagogue in Macedonia, was built on the ruins of a more ancient synagogue in the 4th century, while later in the 5th century, the synagogue was transformed into Christian basilica.[53] Hellenistic Judaism thrived in Antioch and Alexandria, many of these Greek-speaking Jews would convert to Christianity.[54] Sporadic[55] epigraphic evidence in grave site excavations, particularly in Brigetio (Szőny), Aquincum (Óbuda), Intercisa (Dunaújváros), Triccinae (Sárvár), Savaria (Szombathely), Sopianae (Pécs) in Hungary, and Osijek in Croatia, attest to the presence of Jews after the 2nd and 3rd centuries where Roman garrisons were established,[56] There was a sufficient number of Jews in Pannonia to form communities and build a synagogue. Jewish troops were among the Syrian soldiers transferred there, and replenished from the Middle East, after 175 C.E. Jews and especially Syrians came from Antioch, Tarsus and Cappadocia. Others came from Italy and the Hellenized parts of the Roman empire. The excavations suggest they first lived in isolated enclaves attached to Roman legion camps and intermarried with other similar oriental families within the military orders of the region.[55] Raphael Patai states that later Roman writers remarked that they differed little in either customs, manner of writing, or names from the people among whom they dwelt; and it was especially difficult to differentiate Jews from the Syrians.[57][58] After Pannonia was ceded to the Huns in 433, the garrison populations were withdrawn to Italy, and only a few, enigmatic traces remain of a possible Jewish presence in the area some centuries later.[59]

No evidence has yet been found of a Jewish presence in antiquity in Germany beyond its Roman border, nor in Eastern Europe. In Gaul and Germany itself, with the possible exception of Trier and Cologne, the archeological evidence suggests at most a fleeting presence of very few Jews, primarily itinerant traders or artisans.[60] A substantial Jewish population emerged in northern Gaul by the Middle Ages,[61] but Jewish communities existed in 465 CE in Brittany, in 524 CE in Valence, and in 533 CE in Orleans.[62] Throughout this period and into the early Middle Ages, some Jews assimilated into the dominant Greek and Latin cultures, mostly through conversion to Christianity.[63][better source needed] King Dagobert I of the Franks expelled the Jews from his Merovingian kingdom in 629. Jews in former Roman territories faced new challenges as harsher anti-Jewish Church rulings were enforced.

Charlemagne‘s expansion of the Frankish empire around 800, including northern Italy and Rome, brought on a brief period of stability and unity in Francia. This created opportunities for Jewish merchants to settle again north of the Alps. Charlemagne granted the Jews freedoms similar to those once enjoyed under the Roman Empire. In addition, Jews from southern Italy, fleeing religious persecution, began to move into central Europe.[citation needed] Returning to Frankish lands, many Jewish merchants took up occupations in finance and commerce, including money lending, or usury. (Church legislation banned Christians from lending money in exchange for interest.) From Charlemagne’s time to the present, Jewish life in northern Europe is well documented. By the 11th century, when Rashi of Troyes wrote his commentaries, Jews in what came to be known as “Ashkenaz” were known for their halakhic learning, and Talmudic studies. They were criticized by Sephardim and other Jewish scholars in Islamic lands for their lack of expertise in Jewish jurisprudence (dinim) and general ignorance of Hebrew linguistics and literature.[64] Yiddish emerged as a result of Judeo-Latin language contact with various High Germanvernaculars in the medieval period.[65] It is a Germanic language written in Hebrew letters, and heavily influenced by Hebrew and Aramaic, with some elements of Romance and later Slavic languages.[66]

High and Late Middle Ages migrations

Historical records show evidence of Jewish communities north of the Alps and Pyrenees as early as the 8th and 9th century. By the 11th century Jewish settlers, moving from southern European and Middle Eastern centers, appear to have begun to settle in the north, especially along the Rhine, often in response to new economic opportunities and at the invitation of local Christian rulers. Thus Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, invited Jacob ben Yekutiel and his fellow Jews to settle in his lands; and soon after the Norman Conquest of England, William the Conqueror likewise extended a welcome to continental Jews to take up residence there. Bishop Rüdiger Huzmann called on the Jews of Mainz to relocate to Speyer. In all of these decisions, the idea that Jews had the know-how and capacity to jump-start the economy, improve revenues, and enlarge trade seems to have played a prominent role.[67] Typically Jews relocated close to the markets and churches in town centres, where, though they came under the authority of both royal and ecclesiastical powers, they were accorded administrative autonomy.[67]

In the 11th century, both Rabbinic Judaism and the culture of the Babylonian Talmud that underlies it became established in southern Italy and then spread north to Ashkenaz.[68]

Numerous massacres of Jews occurred throughout Europe during the Christian Crusades. Inspired by the preaching of a First Crusade, crusader mobs in France and Germany perpetrated the Rhineland massacres of 1096, devastating Jewish communities along the Rhine river, including the SHuM cities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz. The cluster of cities contain the earliest Jewish settlements north of the Alps, and played a major role in the formation of Ashkenazi Jewish religious tradition,[23] along with Troyes and Sens in France. Nonetheless Jewish life in Germany persisted, while some Ashkenazi Jews joined Sephardic Jewry in Spain.[69] Expulsions from England (1290), France (1394), and parts of Germany (15th century), gradually pushed Ashkenazi Jewry eastward, to Poland (10th century), Lithuania (10th century), and Russia (12th century). Over this period of several hundred years, some have suggested, Jewish economic activity was focused on trade, business management, and financial services, due to several presumed factors: Christian European prohibitions restricting certain activities by Jews, preventing certain financial activities (such as “usurious” loans)[70] between Christians, high rates of literacy, near universal male education, and ability of merchants to rely upon and trust family members living in different regions and countries.

 

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at its greatest extent.

By the 15th century, the Ashkenazi Jewish communities in Poland were the largest Jewish communities of the Diaspora.[71] This area, which eventually fell under the domination of Russia, Austria, and Prussia (Germany), would remain the main center of Ashkenazi Jewry until the Holocaust.

The answer to why there was so little assimilation of Jews in central and eastern Europe for so long would seem to lie in part in the probability that the alien surroundings in central and eastern Europe were not conducive, though contempt did not prevent some assimilation. Furthermore, Jews lived almost exclusively in shtetls, maintained a strong system of education for males, heeded rabbinic leadership, and scorned the lifestyle of their neighbors; and all of these tendencies increased with every outbreak of antisemitism.[72]

Medieval references

 

Jews from Worms (Germany) wear the mandatory yellow badge.

In the first half of the 11th century, Hai Gaon refers to questions that had been addressed to him from Ashkenaz, by which he undoubtedly means Germany. Rashi in the latter half of the 11th century refers to both the language of Ashkenaz[73] and the country of Ashkenaz.[74] During the 12th century, the word appears quite frequently. In the Mahzor Vitry, the kingdom of Ashkenaz is referred to chiefly in regard to the ritual of the synagogue there, but occasionally also with regard to certain other observances.[75]

In the literature of the 13th century, references to the land and the language of Ashkenaz often occur. Examples include Solomon ben Aderet‘s Responsa (vol. i., No. 395); the Responsa of Asher ben Jehiel (pp. 4, 6); his Halakot (Berakot i. 12, ed. Wilna, p. 10); the work of his son Jacob ben Asher, Tur Orach Chayim (chapter 59); the Responsa of Isaac ben Sheshet (numbers 193, 268, 270).

In the Midrash compilation, Genesis Rabbah, Rabbi Berechiah mentions Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah as German tribes or as German lands. It may correspond to a Greek word that may have existed in the Greek dialect of the Jews in Syria Palaestina, or the text is corrupted from “Germanica.” This view of Berechiah is based on the Talmud (Yoma 10a; Jerusalem Talmud Megillah 71b), where Gomer, the father of Ashkenaz, is translated by Germamia, which evidently stands for Germany, and which was suggested by the similarity of the sound.

In later times, the word Ashkenaz is used to designate southern and western Germany, the ritual of which sections differs somewhat from that of eastern Germany and Poland. Thus the prayer-book of Isaiah Horowitz, and many others, give the piyyutim according to the Minhag of Ashkenaz and Poland.

According to 16th-century mystic Rabbi Elijah of Chelm, Ashkenazi Jews lived in Jerusalem during the 11th century. The story is told that a German-speaking Jew saved the life of a young German man surnamed Dolberger. So when the knights of the First Crusade came to siege Jerusalem, one of Dolberger’s family members who was among them rescued Jews in Palestine and carried them back to Worms to repay the favor.[76] Further evidence of German communities in the holy city comes in the form of halakhic questions sent from Germany to Jerusalem during the second half of the 11th century.[77]

Modern history

Material relating to the history of German Jews has been preserved in the communal accounts of certain communities on the Rhine, a Memorbuch, and a Liebesbrief, documents that are now part of the Sassoon Collection.[78] Heinrich Graetz has also added to the history of German Jewry in modern times in the abstract of his seminal work, History of the Jews, which he entitled “Volksthümliche Geschichte der Juden.”

In an essay on Sephardi Jewry, Daniel Elazar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs[79] summarized the demographic history of Ashkenazi Jews in the last thousand years, noting that at the end of the 11th century, 97% of world Jewry was Sephardic and 3% Ashkenazi; by the end of the 16th century, the: ‘Treaty on the redemption of captives’, by Gracian of the God’s Mother, Mercy Priest, who was imprisoned by Turks, cites a Tunisian Hebrew, made captive when arriving to Gaeta, who aided others with money, named: ‘Simon Escanasi’, in the mid-17th century, “Sephardim still outnumbered Ashkenazim three to two”, but by the end of the 18th century, “Ashkenazim outnumbered Sephardim three to two, the result of improved living conditions in Christian Europe versus the Ottoman Muslim world.”[79] By 1931, Ashkenazi Jews accounted for nearly 92% of world Jewry.[79] These factors are sheer demography showing the migration patterns of Jews from Southern and Western Europe to Central and Eastern Europe.

In 1740 a family from Lithuania became the first Ashkenazi Jews to settle in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem.[80]

In the generations after emigration from the west, Jewish communities in places like Poland, Russia, and Belarus enjoyed a comparatively stable socio-political environment. A thriving publishing industry and the printing of hundreds of biblical commentaries precipitated the development of the Hasidic movement as well as major Jewish academic centers.[81] After two centuries of comparative tolerance in the new nations, massive westward emigration occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries in response to pogroms in the east and the economic opportunities offered in other parts of the world. Ashkenazi Jews have made up the majority of the American Jewish community since 1750.[71]

In the context of the European Enlightenment, Jewish emancipation began in 18th century France and spread throughout Western and Central Europe. Disabilities that had limited the rights of Jews since the Middle Ages were abolished, including the requirements to wear distinctive clothing, pay special taxes, and live in ghettos isolated from non-Jewish communities, and the prohibitions on certain professions. Laws were passed to integrate Jews into their host countries, forcing Ashkenazi Jews to adopt family names (they had formerly used patronymics). Newfound inclusion into public life led to cultural growth in the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, with its goal of integrating modern European values into Jewish life.[82] As a reaction to increasing antisemitism and assimilation following the emancipation, Zionism was developed in central Europe.[83] Other Jews, particularly those in the Pale of Settlement, turned to socialism. These tendencies would be united in Labor Zionism, the founding ideology of the State of Israel.

The Holocaust

Of the estimated 8.8 million Jews living in Europe at the beginning of World War II, the majority of whom were Ashkenazi, about 6 million – more than two-thirds – were systematically murdered in the Holocaust. These included 3 million of 3.3 million Polish Jews (91%); 900,000 of 1.5 million in Ukraine (60%); and 50–90% of the Jews of other Slavic nations, Germany, Hungary, and the Baltic states, and over 25% of the Jews in France. Sephardi communities suffered similar depletions in a few countries, including Greece, the Netherlands and the former Yugoslavia.[84] As the large majority of the victims were Ashkenazi Jews, their percentage dropped from nearly 92% of world Jewry in 1931 to nearly 80% of world Jewry today.[79] The Holocaust also effectively put an end to the dynamic development of the Yiddish language in the previous decades, as the vast majority of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, around 5 million, were Yiddish speakers.[85] Many of the surviving Ashkenazi Jews emigrated to countries such as Israel, Canada, Argentina, Australia, and the United States after the war.

Following the Holocaust, some sources place Ashkenazim today as making up approximately 83–85 percent of Jews worldwide,[86][87][88][89] while Sergio DellaPergola in a rough calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, implies that Ashkenazi make up a notably lower figure, less than 74%.[31] Other estimates place Ashkenazi Jews as making up about 75% of Jews worldwide.[32] Ashkenazi Jews constitute around 35–36% of Israel’s total population, or 47.5% of Israel’s Jewish population.[90][91]

Israel

In Israel, the term Ashkenazi is now used in a manner unrelated to its original meaning, often applied to all Jews who settled in Europe and sometimes including those whose ethnic background is actually Sephardic. Jews of any non-Ashkenazi background, including Mizrahi, Yemenite, Kurdish and others who have no connection with the Iberian Peninsula, have similarly come to be lumped together as Sephardic. Jews of mixed background are increasingly common, partly because of intermarriage between Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi, and partly because many do not see such historic markers as relevant to their life experiences as Jews.[92]

Religious Ashkenazi Jews living in Israel are obliged to follow the authority of the chief Ashkenazi rabbi in halakhic matters. In this respect, a religiously Ashkenazi Jew is an Israeli who is more likely to support certain religious interests in Israel, including certain political parties. These political parties result from the fact that a portion of the Israeli electorate votes for Jewish religious parties; although the electoral map changes from one election to another, there are generally several small parties associated with the interests of religious Ashkenazi Jews. The role of religious parties, including small religious parties that play important roles as coalition members, results in turn from Israel’s composition as a complex society in which competing social, economic, and religious interests stand for election to the Knesset, a unicameral legislature with 120 seats.[93]

People of Ashkenazi descent constitute around 47.5% of Israeli Jews (and therefore 35–36% of Israelis).[4] They have played a prominent role in the economy, media, and politics[94] of Israel since its founding. During the first decades of Israel as a state, strong cultural conflict occurred between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews (mainly east European Ashkenazim). The roots of this conflict, which still exists to a much smaller extent in present-day Israeli society, are chiefly attributed to the concept of the “melting pot“.[95] That is to say, all Jewish immigrants who arrived in Israel were strongly encouraged to “melt down” their own particular exilic identities within the general social “pot” in order to become Israeli.[96]

The Ashkenazi Chief Rabbis in the Yishuv and Israel include:

Definition

By religion

Religious Jews have Minhagim, customs, in addition to Halakha, or religious law, and different interpretations of law. Different groups of religious Jews in different geographic areas historically adopted different customs and interpretations. On certain issues, Orthodox Jews are required to follow the customs of their ancestors, and do not believe they have the option of picking and choosing. For this reason, observant Jews at times find it important for religious reasons to ascertain who their household’s religious ancestors are in order to know what customs their household should follow. These times include, for example, when two Jews of different ethnic background marry, when a non-Jew converts to Judaism and determines what customs to follow for the first time, or when a lapsed or less observant Jew returns to traditional Judaism and must determine what was done in his or her family’s past. In this sense, “Ashkenazic” refers both to a family ancestry and to a body of customs binding on Jews of that ancestry. Reform Judaism, which does not necessarily follow those minhagim, did nonetheless originate among Ashkenazi Jews.[97]

In a religious sense, an Ashkenazi Jew is any Jew whose family tradition and ritual follows Ashkenazi practice. Until the Ashkenazi community first began to develop in the Early Middle Ages, the centers of Jewish religious authority were in the Islamic world, at Baghdad and in Islamic Spain. Ashkenaz (Germany) was so distant geographically that it developed a minhag of its own. Ashkenazi Hebrew came to be pronounced in ways distinct from other forms of Hebrew.[98]

In this respect, the counterpart of Ashkenazi is Sephardic, since most non-Ashkenazi Orthodox Jews follow Sephardic rabbinical authorities, whether or not they are ethnically Sephardic. By tradition, a Sephardic or Mizrahi woman who marries into an Orthodox or Haredi Ashkenazi Jewish family raises her children to be Ashkenazi Jews; conversely an Ashkenazi woman who marries a Sephardi or Mizrahi man is expected to take on Sephardic practice and the children inherit a Sephardic identity, though in practice many families compromise. A convert generally follows the practice of the beth din that converted him or her. With the integration of Jews from around the world in Israel, North America, and other places, the religious definition of an Ashkenazi Jew is blurring, especially outside Orthodox Judaism.[99]

New developments in Judaism often transcend differences in religious practice between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. In North American cities, social trends such as the chavurah movement, and the emergence of “post-denominational Judaism”[100][101] often bring together younger Jews of diverse ethnic backgrounds. In recent years, there has been increased interest in Kabbalah, which many Ashkenazi Jews study outside of the Yeshiva framework. Another trend is the new popularity of ecstatic worship in the Jewish Renewal movement and the Carlebach style minyan, both of which are nominally of Ashkenazi origin.[102]

By culture

Culturally, an Ashkenazi Jew can be identified by the concept of Yiddishkeit, which means “Jewishness” in the Yiddish language.[103] Yiddishkeit is specifically the Jewishness of Ashkenazi Jews.[104] Before the Haskalah and the emancipation of Jews in Europe, this meant the study of Torah and Talmud for men, and a family and communal life governed by the observance of Jewish Law for men and women. From the Rhineland to Riga to Romania, most Jews prayed in liturgical Ashkenazi Hebrew, and spoke Yiddish in their secular lives. But with modernization, Yiddishkeit now encompasses not just Orthodoxy and Hasidism, but a broad range of movements, ideologies, practices, and traditions in which Ashkenazi Jews have participated and somehow retained a sense of Jewishness. Although a far smaller number of Jews still speak Yiddish, Yiddishkeit can be identified in manners of speech, in styles of humor, in patterns of association. Broadly speaking, a Jew is one who associates culturally with Jews, supports Jewish institutions, reads Jewish books and periodicals, attends Jewish movies and theater, travels to Israel, visits historical synagogues, and so forth. It is a definition that applies to Jewish culture in general, and to Ashkenazi Yiddishkeit in particular.

As Ashkenazi Jews moved away from Europe, mostly in the form of aliyah to Israel, or immigration to North America, and other English-speaking areas such as South Africa; and Europe (particularly France) and Latin America, the geographic isolation that gave rise to Ashkenazim has given way to mixing with other cultures, and with non-Ashkenazi Jews who, similarly, are no longer isolated in distinct geographic locales. Hebrew has replaced Yiddish as the primary Jewish language for many Ashkenazi Jews, although many Hasidic and Hareidi groups continue to use Yiddish in daily life. (There are numerous Ashkenazi Jewish anglophones and Russian-speakers as well, although English and Russian are not originally Jewish languages.)

France’s blended Jewish community is typical of the cultural recombination that is going on among Jews throughout the world. Although France expelled its original Jewish population in the Middle Ages, by the time of the French Revolution, there were two distinct Jewish populations. One consisted of Sephardic Jews, originally refugees from the Inquisition and concentrated in the southwest, while the other community was Ashkenazi, concentrated in formerly German Alsace, and mainly speaking a German dialect similar to Yiddish. (A third community of Provençal Jews living in Comtat Venaissin were technically outside France, and were later absorbed into the Sephardim.) The two communities were so separate and different that the National Assembly emancipated them separately in 1790 and 1791.[105]

But after emancipation, a sense of a unified French Jewry emerged, especially when France was wracked by the Dreyfus affair in the 1890s. In the 1920s and 1930s, Ashkenazi Jews from Europe arrived in large numbers as refugees from antisemitism, the Russian revolution, and the economic turmoil of the Great Depression. By the 1930s, Paris had a vibrant Yiddish culture, and many Jews were involved in diverse political movements. After the Vichy years and the Holocaust, the French Jewish population was augmented once again, first by Ashkenazi refugees from Central Europe, and later by Sephardi immigrants and refugees from North Africa, many of them francophone.

Then, in the 1990s, yet another Ashkenazi Jewish wave began to arrive from countries of the former Soviet Union and Central Europe. The result is a pluralistic Jewish community that still has some distinct elements of both Ashkenazi and Sephardic culture. But in France, it is becoming much more difficult to sort out the two, and a distinctly French Jewishness has emerged.[106]

By ethnicity

In an ethnic sense, an Ashkenazi Jew is one whose ancestry can be traced to the Jews who settled in Central Europe. For roughly a thousand years, the Ashkenazim were a reproductively isolated population in Europe, despite living in many countries, with little inflow or outflow from migration, conversion, or intermarriage with other groups, including other Jews. Human geneticists have argued that genetic variations have been identified that show high frequencies among Ashkenazi Jews, but not in the general European population, be they for patrilineal markers (Y-chromosome haplotypes) and for matrilineal markers (mitotypes).[107] Since the middle of the 20th century, many Ashkenazi Jews have intermarried, both with members of other Jewish communities and with people of other nations and faiths.[108]

A 2006 study found Ashkenazi Jews to be a clear, homogeneous genetic subgroup. Strikingly, regardless of the place of origin, Ashkenazi Jews can be grouped in the same genetic cohort – that is, regardless of whether an Ashkenazi Jew’s ancestors came from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or any other place with a historical Jewish population, they belong to the same ethnic group. The research demonstrates the endogamy of the Jewish population in Europe and lends further credence to the idea of Ashkenazi Jews as an ethnic group. Moreover, though intermarriage among Jews of Ashkenazi descent has become increasingly common, many Haredi Jews, particularly members of Hasidic or Hareidi sects, continue to marry exclusively fellow Ashkenazi Jews. This trend keeps Ashkenazi genes prevalent and also helps researchers further study the genes of Ashkenazi Jews with relative ease. It is noteworthy that these Haredi Jews often have extremely large families.[11]

Customs, laws and traditions

The Halakhic practices of (Orthodox) Ashkenazi Jews may differ from those of Sephardi Jews, particularly in matters of custom. Differences are noted in the Shulkhan Arukh itself, in the gloss of Moses Isserles. Well known differences in practice include:

 

The example of the chevra kadisha, the Jewish burial society, Prague, 1772

  • Observance of Pesach (Passover): Ashkenazi Jews traditionally refrain from eating legumes, grain, millet, and rice (quinoa, however, has become accepted as foodgrain in the North American communities), whereas Sephardi Jews typically do not prohibit these foods.
  • Ashkenazi Jews freely mix and eat fish and milk products; some Sephardic Jews refrain from doing so.
  • Ashkenazim are more permissive toward the usage of wigs as a hair covering for married and widowed women.
  • In the case of kashrut for meat, conversely, Sephardi Jews have stricter requirements – this level is commonly referred to as Beth Yosef. Meat products that are acceptable to Ashkenazi Jews as kosher may therefore be rejected by Sephardi Jews. Notwithstanding stricter requirements for the actual slaughter, Sephardi Jews permit the rear portions of an animal after proper Halakhic removal of the sciatic nerve, while many Ashkenazi Jews do not. This is not because of different interpretations of the law; rather, slaughterhouses could not find adequate skills for correct removal of the sciatic nerve and found it more economical to separate the hindquarters and sell them as non-kosher meat.
  • Ashkenazi Jews frequently name newborn children after deceased family members, but not after living relatives. Sephardi Jews, in contrast, often name their children after the children’s grandparents, even if those grandparents are still living. A notable exception to this generally reliable rule is among Dutch Jews, where Ashkenazim for centuries used the naming conventions otherwise attributed exclusively to Sephardim such as Chuts.
  • Ashkenazi tefillin bear some differences from Sephardic tefillin. In the traditional Ashkenazic rite, the tefillin are wound towards the body, not away from it. Ashkenazim traditionally don tefillin while standing, whereas other Jews generally do so while sitting down.
  • Ashkenazic traditional pronunciations of Hebrew differ from those of other groups. The most prominent consonantal difference from Sephardic and Mizrahic Hebrew dialects is the pronunciation of the Hebrew letter tav in certain Hebrew words (historically, in postvocalic undoubled context) as an /s/ and not a /t/ or /θ/ sound.
  • The prayer shawl, or tallit (or tallis in Ashkenazi Hebrew), is worn by the majority of Ashkenazi men after marriage, but western European Ashkenazi men wear it from Bar Mitzvah. In Sephardi or Mizrahi Judaism, the prayer shawl is commonly worn from early childhood.[109]

Ashkenazic liturgy

The term Ashkenazi also refers to the nusach Ashkenaz (Hebrew, “liturgical tradition”, or rite) used by Ashkenazi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition’s choice of prayers, the order of prayers, the text of prayers, and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Two other major forms of nusach among Ashkenazic Jews are Nusach Sefard (not to be confused with the Sephardic ritual), which is the general Polish Hasidic nusach, and Nusach Ari, as used by Lubavitch Hasidim.

Ashkenazi as a surname

Several famous people have Ashkenazi as a surname, such as Vladimir Ashkenazy. However, most people with this surname hail from within Sephardic communities, particularly from the Syrian Jewish community. The Sephardic carriers of the surname would have some Ashkenazi ancestors since the surname was adopted by families who were initially of Ashkenazic origins who moved to Sephardi countries and joined those communities. Ashkenazi would be formally adopted as the family surname having started off as a nickname imposed by their adopted communities. Some have shortened the name to Ash.

Relations with Sephardim

Relations between Ashkenazim and Sephardim have not always been warm. North African Sepharadim and Berber Jews were often looked upon by Ashkenazim as second-class citizens during the first decade after the creation of Israel. This has led to protest movements such as the Israeli Black Panthers led by Saadia Marciano, a Moroccan Jew. Nowadays, relations are getting better.[110] In some instances, Ashkenazi communities have accepted significant numbers of Sephardi newcomers, sometimes resulting in intermarriage.[111][112]

Notable Ashkenazim

Ashkenazi Jews have a noted history of achievement in Western societies[113] in the fields of exact and social sciences, literature, finance, politics, media, and others. In those societies where they have been free to enter any profession, they have a record of high occupational achievement, entering professions and fields of commerce where higher education is required.[114] Ashkenazi Jews have won a large number of the Nobel awards.[115][116] While they make up about 2% of the U.S. population,[117] 27% of United States Nobel prize winners in the 20th century,[117] a quarter of Fields Medal winners,[118] 25% of ACM Turing Award winners,[117] half the world’s chess champions,[117] including 8% of the top 100 world chess players,[119] and a quarter of Westinghouse Science Talent Search winners[118] have Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

Time magazine‘s person of the 20th century, Albert Einstein,[120] was an Ashkenazi Jew. According to a study performed by Cambridge University, 21% of Ivy League students, 25% of the Turing Award winners, 23% of the wealthiest Americans, and 38% of the Oscar-winning film directors, and 29% of Oslo awardees are Ashkenazi Jews.[121]

Genetics

Genetic origins

Efforts to identify the origins of Ashkenazi Jews through DNA analysis began in the 1990s. Currently, there are three types of genetic origin testing, autosomal DNA (atDNA), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and Y-chromosomal DNA (Y-DNA). Autosomal DNA is a mixture from an individual’s entire ancestry, Y-DNA shows a male’s lineage only along his strict paternal line, mtDNA shows any person’s lineage only along the strict maternal line. Genome-wide association studies have also been employed to yield findings relevant to genetic origins.

Like most DNA studies of human migration patterns, the earliest studies on Ashkenazi Jews focused on the Y-DNA and mtDNA segments of the human genome. Both segments are unaffected by recombination (except for the ends of the Y chromosome – the pseudoautosomal regions known as PAR1 and PAR2), thus allowing tracing of direct maternal and paternal lineages.

These studies revealed that Ashkenazi Jews originate from an ancient (2000 BCE – 700 BCE) population of the Middle East who had spread to Europe.[122] Ashkenazic Jews display the homogeneity of a genetic bottleneck, meaning they descend from a larger population whose numbers were greatly reduced but recovered through a few founding individuals. Although the Jewish people, in general, were present across a wide geographical area as described, genetic research done by Gil Atzmon of the Longevity Genes Project at Albert Einstein College of Medicine suggests “that Ashkenazim branched off from other Jews around the time of the destruction of the First Temple, 2,500 years ago … flourished during the Roman Empire but then went through a ‘severe bottleneck’ as they dispersed, reducing a population of several million to just 400 families who left Northern Italy around the year 1000 for Central and eventually Eastern Europe.”[123]

Various studies have arrived at diverging conclusions regarding both the degree and the sources of the non-Levantine admixture in Ashkenazim,[33] particularly with respect to the extent of the non-Levantine genetic origin observed in Ashkenazi maternal lineages, which is in contrast to the predominant Levantine genetic origin observed in Ashkenazi paternal lineages. All studies nevertheless agree that genetic overlap with the Fertile Crescent exists in both lineages, albeit at differing rates. Collectively, Ashkenazi Jews are less genetically diverse than other Jewish ethnic divisions, due to their genetic bottleneck.[124]

Male lineages: Y-chromosomal DNA

The majority of genetic findings to date concerning Ashkenazi Jews conclude that the male line was founded by ancestors from the Middle East.[125][126][127] Others have found a similar genetic line among Greeks, and Macedonians.[citation needed]

A study of haplotypes of the Y-chromosome, published in 2000, addressed the paternal origins of Ashkenazi Jews. Hammer et al.[128] found that the Y-chromosome of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews contained mutations that are also common among other Middle Eastern peoples, but uncommon in the autochthonous European population. This suggested that the male ancestors of the Ashkenazi Jews could be traced mostly to the Middle East. The proportion of male genetic admixture in Ashkenazi Jews amounts to less than 0.5% per generation over an estimated 80 generations, with “relatively minor contribution of European Y chromosomes to the Ashkenazim,” and a total admixture estimate “very similar to Motulsky’s average estimate of 12.5%.” This supported the finding that “Diaspora Jews from Europe, Northwest Africa, and the Near East resemble each other more closely than they resemble their non-Jewish neighbors.” “Past research found that 50–80 percent of DNA from the Ashkenazi Y chromosome, which is used to trace the male lineage, originated in the Near East,” Richards said.

The population has subsequently spread out. Based on the accounts of Syrian Orthodox bishop Bar Hebraeus who lived between 1226 and 1286 CE, by the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, as many as six million Jews were already living in the Roman Empire. Recently Gregory Cochran largely disproved him. One comment by Tacitus mentioned the presence of 4,000 Jews in Rome, enough to sustain a number of synagogues, including a Samaritan synagogue.[129]

A 2001 study by Nebel et al. showed that both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish populations share the same overall paternal Near Eastern ancestries. 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. The authors also report on Eu 19 (R1a) chromosomes, which are very frequent in Central and Eastern Europeans (54%–60%) at elevated frequency (12.7%) in Ashkenazi Jews. They hypothesized that the differences among Ashkenazim Jews could reflect low-level gene flow from surrounding European populations or genetic drift during isolation.[130] A later 2005 study by Nebel et al., found a similar level of 11.5% of male Ashkenazim belonging to R1a1a (M17+), the dominant Y-chromosome haplogroup in Central and Eastern Europeans.[131]

Female lineages: Mitochondrial DNA

Before 2006, geneticists had largely attributed the ethnogenesis of most of the world’s Jewish populations, including Ashkenazi Jews, to Israelite Jewish male migrants from the Middle East and “the women from each local population whom they took as wives and converted to Judaism.” Thus, in 2002, in line with this model of origin, David Goldstein, now of Duke University, reported that unlike male Ashkenazi lineages, the female lineages in Ashkenazi Jewish communities “did not seem to be Middle Eastern”, and that each community had its own genetic pattern and even that “in some cases the mitochondrial DNA was closely related to that of the host community.” In his view, this suggested, “that Jewish men had arrived from the Middle East, taken wives from the host population and converted them to Judaism, after which there was no further intermarriage with non-Jews.”[107]

In 2006, a study by Behar et al.,[132] based on what was at that time 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”, that were “likely from a Hebrew/Levantine mtDNA pool” originating in the Middle East in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. Additionally, Behar et al. suggested that the rest of Ashkenazi mtDNA is originated from ~150 women, and that most of those were also likely of Middle Eastern origin.[132] In reference specifically to Haplogroup K, they suggested that although it is common throughout western Eurasia, “the observed global pattern of distribution renders very unlikely the possibility that the four aforementioned founder lineages entered the Ashkenazi mtDNA pool via gene flow from a European host population”.

In 2013, however, a study of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA by a team led by Martin B. Richards of the University of Huddersfield in England reached different conclusions, corroborating the pre-2006 origin hypothesis. Testing was performed on the full 16,600 DNA units composing mitochondrial DNA (the 2006 Behar study had only tested 1,000 units) in all their subjects, and the study found that the four main female Ashkenazi founders had descent lines that were established in Europe 10,000 to 20,000 years in the past[133] while most of the remaining minor founders also have a deep European ancestry. The study states that the great majority of Ashkenazi maternal lineages were not brought from the Near East (i.e., they were non-Israelite), nor were they recruited in the Caucasus (i.e., they were non-Khazar), but instead they were assimilated within Europe, primarily of Italian and Old French origins. Richards summarized the findings on the female line as such: “[N]one [of the mtDNA] came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas. All of our presently available studies including my own, should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire.”[134] The 2013 study estimated that 80 percent of Ashkenazi maternal ancestry comes from women indigenous to Europe, and only 8 percent from the Near East, while the origin of the remainder is undetermined.[13][133] According to the study these findings “point to a significant role for the conversion of women in the formation of Ashkenazi communities.”[13][14][135][136][137][138] Karl Skorecki at Technion criticized the study for perceived flaws in phylogenetic analysis. “While Costa et al have re-opened the question of the maternal origins of Ashkenazi Jewry, the phylogenetic analysis in the manuscript does not ‘settle’ the question.”[139]

A 2014 study by Fernández et al. has found that Ashkenazi Jews display a frequency of haplogroup K in their maternal DNA that suggests an ancient Near Eastern origin, similar to the results of Behar. He stated that this observation clearly contradicts the results of the study led by Richards that suggested a European source for 3 exclusively Ashkenazi K lineages.[140]

Association and linkage studies

In genetic epidemiology, a genome-wide association study (GWA study, or GWAS) is an examination of all or most of the genes (the genome) of different individuals of a particular species to see how much the genes vary from individual to individual. These techniques were originally designed for epidemiological uses, to identify genetic associations with observable traits.[141]

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”.[11]

A 2007 study by Bauchet et al. found that Ashkenazi Jews were most closely clustered with Arabic North African populations when compared to Global population, and in the European structure analysis, they share similarities only with Greeks and Southern Italians, reflecting their east Mediterranean origins.[142][143]

A 2010 study on Jewish ancestry by Atzmon-Ostrer et al. stated “Two major groups were identified by principal component, phylogenetic, and identity by descent (IBD) analysis: Middle Eastern Jews and European/Syrian Jews. The IBD segment sharing and the proximity of European Jews to each other and to southern European populations suggested similar origins for European Jewry and refuted large-scale genetic contributions of Central and Eastern European and Slavic populations to the formation of Ashkenazi Jewry”, as both groups – the Middle Eastern Jews and European/Syrian Jews – shared common ancestors in the Middle East about 2500 years ago. The study examines genetic markers spread across the entire genome and shows that the Jewish groups (Ashkenazi and non Ashkenazi) share large swaths of DNA, indicating close relationships and that each of the Jewish groups in the study (Iranian, Iraqi, Syrian, Italian, Turkish, Greek and Ashkenazi) has its own genetic signature but is more closely related to the other Jewish groups than to their fellow non-Jewish countrymen.[144] Atzmon’s team found that the SNP markers in genetic segments of 3 million DNA letters or longer were 10 times more likely to be identical among Jews than non-Jews. Results of the analysis also tally with biblical accounts of the fate of the Jews. The study also found that with respect to non-Jewish European groups, the population most closely related to Ashkenazi Jews are modern-day Italians. The study speculated that the genetic-similarity between Ashkenazi Jews and Italians may be due to inter-marriage and conversions in the time of the Roman Empire. It was also found that any two Ashkenazi Jewish participants in the study shared about as much DNA as fourth or fifth cousins.[145][146]

A 2010 study by Bray et al., using SNP microarray techniques and linkage analysis found that when assuming Druze and Palestinian Arab populations to represent the reference to world Jewry ancestor genome, between 35 and 55 percent of the modern Ashkenazi genome can possibly be of European origin, and that European “admixture is considerably higher than previous estimates by studies that used the Y chromosome” with this reference point. Assuming 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”.[147] On the Bray et al. tree, Ashkenazi Jews were found to be a genetically more divergent population than Russians, Orcadians, French, Basques, Italians, Sardinians and Tuscans. The study also observed that Ashkenazim are more diverse than their Middle Eastern relatives, which was counterintuitive because Ashkenazim are supposed to be a subset, not a superset, of their assumed geographical source population. Bray et al. therefore postulate that these results reflect not the population antiquity but a history of mixing between genetically distinct populations in Europe. However, it’s possible that the relaxation of marriage prescription in the ancestors of Ashkenazim that drove their heterozygosity up, while the maintenance of the FBD rule in native Middle Easterners have been keeping their heterozygosity values in check. Ashkenazim distinctiveness as found in the Bray et al. study, therefore, may come from their ethnic endogamy (ethnic inbreeding), which allowed them to “mine” their ancestral gene pool in the context of relative reproductive isolation from European neighbors, and not from clan endogamy (clan inbreeding). Consequently, their higher diversity compared to Middle Easterners stems from the latter’s marriage practices, not necessarily from the former’s admixture with Europeans.[148]

The genome-wide genetic study carried out in 2010 by Behar et al. examined the genetic relationships among all major Jewish groups, including Ashkenazim, as well as the genetic relationship between these Jewish groups and non-Jewish ethnic populations. The study found that contemporary Jews (excluding Indian and Ethiopian Jews) have a close genetic relationship with people from the Levant. The authors explained that “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”.[149]

The Khazar hypothesis

In the late 19th century, it was proposed that the core of today’s Ashkenazi Jewry are genetically descended from a hypothetical Khazarian Jewish diaspora who had migrated westward from modern Russia and Ukraine into modern France and Germany (as opposed to the currently held theory that Jews from France and Germany migrated into Eastern Europe). The hypothesis is not corroborated by historical sources[150] and is unsubstantiated by genetics, but it is still occasionally supported by scholars who have had some success in keeping the theory in the academic consciousness.[151]

The theory has sometimes been used by Jewish authors such as Arthur Koestler as part of an argument against traditional forms of antisemitism (for example the claim that “the Jews killed Christ”), just as similar arguments have been advanced on behalf of the Crimean Karaites. Today, however, the theory is more often associated with antisemitism[152] and anti-Zionism.[153][154]

A 2013 trans-genome study carried out by 30 geneticists, from 13 universities and academies, from 9 countries, assembling the largest data set available to date, for assessment of Ashkenazi Jewish genetic origins found no evidence of Khazar origin among Ashkenazi Jews. “Thus, analysis of Ashkenazi Jews together with a large sample from the region of the Khazar Khaganate corroborates the 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”, the authors concluded.[155]

Medical genetics

There are many references to Ashkenazi Jews in the literature of medical and population genetics. Indeed, much awareness of “Ashkenazi Jews” as an ethnic group or category stems from the large number of genetic studies of disease, including many that are well reported in the media, that have been conducted among Jews. Jewish populations have been studied more thoroughly than most other human populations, for a variety of reasons:

  • Jewish populations, and particularly the large Ashkenazi Jewish population, are ideal for such research studies, because they exhibit a high degree of endogamy, yet they are sizable.[156]
  • Jewish communities are comparatively well informed about genetics research, and have been supportive of community efforts to study and prevent genetic diseases.[156]

The result is a form of ascertainment bias. This has sometimes created an impression that Jews are more susceptible to genetic disease than other populations.[156] Healthcare professionals are often taught to consider those of Ashkenazi descent to be at increased risk for colon cancer.[157]

Genetic counseling and genetic testing are often undertaken by couples where both partners are of Ashkenazi ancestry. Some organizations, most notably Dor Yeshorim, organize screening programs to prevent homozygosity for the genes that cause related diseases.[158][159]

See also

References

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  14. ^ Jump up to:a b “Jewish Women’s Genes Traced Mostly to Europe – Not Israel – Study Hits Claim Ashkenazi Jews Migrated From Holy Land”. The Jewish Daily Forward. 12 October 2013.
  15. Jump up^ Shai Carmi; Ken Y. Hui; Ethan Kochav; Xinmin Liu; James Xue; Fillan Grady; Saurav Guha; Kinnari Upadhyay; Dan Ben-Avraham; Semanti Mukherjee; B. Monica Bowen; Tinu Thomas; Joseph Vijai; Marc Cruts; Guy Froyen; Diether Lambrechts; Stéphane Plaisance; Christine Van Broeckhoven; Philip Van Damme; Herwig Van Marck; et al. (September 2014). “Sequencing an Ashkenazi reference panel supports population-targeted personal genomics and illuminates Jewish and European origins”. Nature Communications. 5: 4835. Bibcode:2014NatCo…5E4835C. PMC 4164776Freely accessible. PMID 25203624. doi:10.1038/ncomms5835. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
  16. Jump up^ Ashkenaz, based on Josephus: PACE: Antiquities of the Jews, 1.{{{chap}}}.{{{sec}}} (Whiston), Perseus Project AJ1.6.1, . and his explanation of Genesis 10:3, is considered to be the progenitor of the ancient Gauls (the people of Gallia, meaning, the people from Austria, France and Belgium), and the ancient Franks (of, both, France and Germany). According to Gedaliah ibn Jechia the Spaniard, in the name of Sefer Yuchasin (see: Gedaliah ibn Jechia, Shalshelet Ha-Kabbalah, Jerusalem 1962, p. 219; p. 228 in PDF), the descendants of Ashkenaz had also originally settled in what was then called Bohemia, which today is the present-day Czech Republic. These places, according to the Jerusalem Talmud (Megillah 1:9 [10a], were also called simply by the diocese “Germamia”. Germania, Germani, Germanica have all been used to refer to the group of peoples comprising the German Tribes, which include such peoples as Goths, whether Ostrogoths or Visigoths, Vandals and Franks, Burgundians, Alans, Langobards, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Suebi and Alamanni. The entire region east of the Rhine River was known by the Romans as “Germania” (Germany).
  17. Jump up^ Mosk, Carl (2013). Nationalism and economic development in modern Eurasia. New York: Routledge. p. 143. ISBN 9780415605182. In general the Ashkenazim originally came out of the Holy Roman Empire, speaking a version of German that incorporates Hebrew and Slavic words, Yiddish.
  18. Jump up^ Henry L. Feingold (1995). Bearing Witness: How America and Its Jews Responded to the Holocaust. Syracuse University Press. p. 36.
  19. Jump up^ Eric Hobsbawm (2002). Interesting Times: A Twentieth Century Life. Abacus Books. p. 25.
  20. Jump up^ Glenda Abramson (ed.), Encyclopedia of Modern Jewish Culture, Routledge 2004 p. 20.
  21. Jump up^ T. C. W. Blanning (ed.), The Oxford History of Modern Europe, Oxford University Press, 2000 pp. 147–148
  22. Jump up^ Ashkenazi (Encyclopædia Britannica)
  23. ^ Jump up to:a b ShUM cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz
  24. Jump up^ Ben-Sasson, Haim Hillel, et al (2007). “Germany.” Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. p. 518-546; here: p. 524.
  25. Jump up^ Mosk (2013), p. 143. “Encouraged to move out of the Holy Roman Empire as persecution of their communities intensified during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Ashkenazi community increasingly gravitated toward Poland.”
  26. Jump up^ Harshav, Benjamin (1999). The Meaning of Yiddish. Stanford: Stanford University Press. p. 6. “From the fourteenth and certainly by the sixteenth century, the center of European Jewry had shifted to Poland, then … comprising the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (including today’s Byelorussia), Crown Poland, Galicia, the Ukraine and stretching, at times, from the Baltic to the Black Sea, from the approaches to Berlin to a short distance from Moscow.”
  27. Jump up^ Ben-Sasson, Haim Hillel, et al (2007). “Germany.” Encyclopaedia Judaica. 2nd ed. Vol. 7. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. p. 518-546; here: p. 526-528. “The cultural and intellectual reorientation of the Jewish minority was closely linked with its struggle for equal rights and social acceptance. While earlier generations had used solely the Yiddish and Hebrew languages among themselves, … the use of Yiddish was now gradually abandoned, and Hebrew was by and large reduced to liturgical usage” (p. 527).
  28. Jump up^ Yaacov Ro’i, “Soviet Jewry from Identification to Identity”, in Eliezer Ben Rafael, Yosef Gorni, Yaacov Ro’i (eds.) Contemporary Jewries: Convergence and Divergence, BRILL 2003 p. 186.
  29. Jump up^ Dov Katz, “Languages of the Diaspora”, in Mark Avrum Ehrlich (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences, and Culture, Volume 1, ABC-CLIO 2008 pp. 193ff., p. 195.
  30. Jump up^ “The Jewish Population of the World (2010)”. Jewish Virtual Library., based on American Jewish Year Book. American Jewish Committee.
  31. ^ Jump up to:a b Sergio DellaPergola (2008). “”Sephardic and Oriental” Jews in Israel and Countries: Migration, Social Change, and Identification”. In Peter Y. Medding. Sephardic Jewry and Mizrahi Jews. X11. Oxford University Press. pp. 3–42. DellaPergola does not analyze or mention the Ashkenazi statistics, but the figure is implied by his rough estimate that in 2000, Oriental and Sephardi Jews constituted 26% of the population of world Jewry.
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b Focus on Genetic Screening Research edited by Sandra R. Pupecki P:58
  33. ^ Jump up to:a b “Summary of Recent Genetic Studies”. Science Magazine. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
  34. Jump up^ Russell E. Gmirkin, Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus: Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 2006 pp.148, 149 n.57.
  35. Jump up^ Sverre Bøe, Gog and Magog: Ezekiel 38–39 as Pre-text for Revelation 19, 17–21 and 20, 7–10, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001, p. 48: “An identification of Ashkenaz and the Scythians must not … be considered as sure, though it is more probable than an identification with Magog.” Nadav Naʼaman, Ancient Israel and Its Neighbors: Interaction and Counteraction, Eisenbrauns, 2005, p. 364 and note 37. Jits van Straten, The Origin of Ashkenazi Jewry: The Controversy Unraveled. 2011. p. 182.
  36. ^ Jump up to:a b Vladimir Shneider, Traces of the ten. Beer-sheva, Israel 2002. p. 237
  37. Jump up^ Sverre Bøe, Gog and Magog: Ezekiel 38–39 as Pre-text for Revelation 19, 17–21 and 20, 7–10, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001, p. 48.
  38. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Paul Kriwaczek, Yiddish Civilisation, Hachette 2011 p. 173 n. 9.
  39. Jump up^ Otto Michel “Σκύθης”, in Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey William Bromiley, Gerhard Friedrich (eds.) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, William B. Erdmanns, (1971) 1995 vol. 11, pp. 447–50, p. 448
  40. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Ashkenaz” in Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik (eds.) Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, Gale Virtual Reference Library, 2007. 569–571. Yoma 10a
  41. Jump up^ Gmirkin (2006), p. 148.
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b Abraham N. Poliak 0 “Armenia”, in Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik (eds), Encyclopaedia Judaica, 2nd.ed. Macmillan Reference USA Detroit, Gale Virtual Reference Library 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 472–74
  43. Jump up^ David Malkiel, Reconstructing Ashkenaz: The Human Face of Franco-German Jewry, 1000–1250, Stanford University Press, 2008, p. 263 n.1.
  44. Jump up^ Malkiel (2008),p. 263, n.1, citing Samuel Krauss, “Hashemot ashkenaz usefarad” in Tarbiz, 1932, 3:423–430. Krauss identified Ashkenaz with the Khazars, a thesis immediately disputed by Jacob Mann the following year.
  45. Jump up^ Michael Miller, Rabbis and Revolution: The Jews of Moravia in the Age of Emancipation Stanford University Press,2010 p. 15.
  46. Jump up^ Michael Brenner, A Short History of the Jews Princeton University Press 2010 p. 96.
  47. Jump up^ Malkiel p. ix
  48. Jump up^ Cecil Roth (1966). Cecil Roth; I. H. Levine, eds. The World History of the Jewish People: The Dark Ages, Jews in Christian Europe, 711–1096. 11. Jewish historical publications. pp. 302–303. Was the great Eastern European Jewry of the 19th century preponderantly descended (as is normally believed) from immigrants from the Germanic lands further west who arrived as refugees in the later Middle Ages, bearing with them their culture? Or did these new immigrants find already on their arrival a numerically strong Jewish life, on whom they were able to impose their superior culture, including even their tongue (a phenomenon not unknown at other times and places – as for example in the 16th century, after the arrival of the highly cultured Spanish exiles in the Turkish Empire)?) Does the line of descent of Ashkenazi Jewry of today go back to a quasi-autochthonous Jewry already established in these lands, perhaps even earlier than the time of the earliest Franco-German settlement in the Dark Ages? This is one of the mysteries of Jewish history, which will probably never been solved.
  49. Jump up^ Bernard Dov Weinryb (1972). The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100–1800. Jewish Publication Society. pp. 17–22.
  50. Jump up^ Gregory Cochran, Henry Harpending, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, Basic Books, 2009 pp. 195–196.
  51. Jump up^ K. R. Stow, The Jews in Rome: The Roman Jew BRILL, 1995 pp. 18–19.
  52. Jump up^ A Dictionary of the Ancient Greek World By David Sacks P.126
  53. Jump up^ Ancient Synagogues: Historical Analysis and Archaeological Discovery edited by Dan Urman, Paul Virgil McCracken Flesher P:113
  54. Jump up^ Jewish Virtual Library: Hellenism
  55. ^ Jump up to:a b András Mócsy, Pannonia and Upper Moesia: A History of the Middle Danube Provinces of the Roman Empire, (1974) Routledge 2014 pp.228-230.
  56. Jump up^ Toch, Michael (2013). The Economic History of European Jews: Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages. Leiden: Brill. p. 156-157.
  57. Jump up^ Sándor Scheiber, Jewish Inscriptions in Hungary: From the 3rd Century to 1686, pp.14-30, p.14: “a relatively large number of Jews appeared in Pannonia from the 3rd century ACE onwards.”
  58. Jump up^ Jits van Straten, The Origin of Ashkenazi Jewry: The Controversy Unraveled, Walter de Gruyter, 2011 p. 60, citing Patai.
  59. Jump up^ Toch (2013). p. 242.
  60. Jump up^ Toch (2013), p. 67, p. 239.
  61. Jump up^ Toch (2013), p. 68.
  62. Jump up^ ‘Some sources have been plainly misinterpreted, others point to “virtual” Jews, yet others to single persons not resident in the region. Thus Tyournai, Paris, Nantes, Tours, and Bourges, all localities claimed to have housed communities, have no place in the list of Jewish habitation in their period. In central Gaul Poitiers should be struck from the list, In Bordeaux it is doubtful as to the presence of a community, and only Clermont is likely to have possessed one. Further important places, like Macon, Chalon sur Saone, Vienne, and Lyon, were to be inhabited by Jews only from the Carolingian period onwards. In the south we have a Jewish population in Auch, possibly in Uzès, and in Arles, Narbonne and Marseilles. In the whole of France altogether, eight places stand scrutiny (including two questionable ones), while eight other towns have been found to lack a Jewish presence formerly claimed on insufficient evidence. Continuity of settlement from Late Antiquity throughout the Early Middle Ages is evident only in the south, in Arles and Narbonne, possibly also in Marseilles…. Between the mid-7th and the mid-8th century no sources mention Jews in Frankish lands, except for an epitaph from Narbonne and an inscription from Auch’ Toch, The Economic History of European Jews pp. 68–9
  63. Jump up^ Shaye J. D. Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties University of California Press 2001.
  64. Jump up^ David Malkiel, Reconstructing Ashkenaz: The Human Face of Franco-German Jewry, 1000–1250 Stanford University Press, 2008 pp. 2–5, 16–18.
  65. Jump up^ Neil G. Jacobs, Yiddish: A Linguistic Introduction Cambridge University Press, 2005 p. 55.
  66. Jump up^ YIDDISH LANGUAGE
  67. ^ Jump up to:a b Nina Rowe, The Jew, the Cathedral and the Medieval City: Synagoga and Ecclesia in the 13th Century Cambridge University Press, 2011 p. 30.
  68. Jump up^ Guenter Stemberger, “The Formation of Rabbinic Judaism, 70–640 CE” in Neusner & Avery-Peck (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Judaism, Blackwell Publishing, 2000, p. 92.
  69. Jump up^ Judaism: Ashkenazim
  70. Jump up^ Ben-Sasson, Hayim (1976). A History of the Jewish People. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-39730-4.
  71. ^ Jump up to:a b Schoenberg, Shira. “Ashkenazim”. Jewish Virtual Library. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  72. Jump up^ Feldman, Louis H. Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World : Attitudes and Interactions from Alexander to Justinian. Ewing, NJ, USA: Princeton University Press, 1996. p 43.
  73. Jump up^ Commentary on Deuteronomy 3:9; idem on Talmud tractate Sukkah 17a
  74. Jump up^ Talmud, Hullin 93a
  75. Jump up^ ib. p. 129
  76. Jump up^ Seder ha-Dorot, p. 252, 1878 ed.
  77. Jump up^ Epstein, in “Monatsschrift,” xlvii. 344; Jerusalem: Under the Arabs
  78. Jump up^ David Solomon Sassoon, Ohel Dawid (Descriptive catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library, London), vol. 1, Oxford Univ. Press: London 1932, Introduction p. xxxix
  79. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Elazar, Daniel J. “Can Sephardic Judaism be Reconstructed?”. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  80. Jump up^ Kurzman, Don (1970) Genesis 1948. The First Arab-Israeli War. An Nal Book, New York. Library of Congress number 77-96925. p. 44
  81. Jump up^ Breuer, Edward. “Post-medieval Jewish Interpretation.” The Jewish Study Bible. Ed. Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. 1900.
  82. Jump up^ Breuer, 1901
  83. Jump up^ “Jews”, William Bridgwater, ed. The Columbia-Viking Desk Encyclopedia; second ed., New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1964; p. 906.
  84. Jump up^ “Estimated Number of Jews Killed in The Final Solution”. Jewish Virtual Library. Archived from the original on 28 April 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  85. Jump up^ Solomo Birnbaum, Grammatik der jiddischen Sprache (4., erg. Aufl., Hamburg: Buske, 1984), p. 3.
  86. Jump up^ Gershon Shafir, Yoav Peled, Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship Cambridge University Press 2002 p. 324 ‘The Zionist movement was a European movement in its goals and orientation and its target population was Ashkenazi Jews who constituted, in 1895, 90 percent of the 10.5 million Jews then living in the world (Smooha 1978: 51).’
  87. Jump up^ Encyclopædia Britannica, ‘Today Ashkenazim constitute more than 80 percent of all the Jews in the world, vastly outnumbering Sephardic Jews.’
  88. Jump up^ Asher Arian (1981) in Itamar Rabinovich, Jehuda Reinharz, Israel in the Middle East: Documents and Readings on Society, Politics, and Foreign Relations, pre-1948 to the present UPNE/Brandeis University Press 2008 p. 324 “About 85 percent of the world’s Jews are Ashkenazi”
  89. Jump up^ David Whitten Smith, Elizabeth Geraldine Burr, Understanding World Religions: A Road Map for Justice and Peace Rowman & Littlefield, 2007 p. 72 ‘Before the German Holocaust, about 90% of Jews worldwide were Ashkenazim. Since the Holocaust, the percentage has dropped to about 83%.’
  90. Jump up^ “Ashkenazi (people)”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  91. Jump up^ Khazzoom, Loolwa. “Jews of the Middle East”. Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  92. Jump up^ Meyers, Nechemia (12 July 1997). “Are Israel’s Marriage Laws ‘Archaic and Irrelevant’?”. Jewish News Weekly. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  93. Jump up^ “Field Listing – Legislative Branch”. World Fact Book. CIA. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  94. Jump up^ As of 2013, every President of Israel since the country’s foundation in 1948 has been an Ashkenazi Jew
  95. Jump up^ Liphshiz, Cnaan (9 May 2008). “Melting pot’ approach in the army was a mistake, says IDF absorption head”. Haaretz. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  96. Jump up^ Yitzhaki, Shlomo and Schechtman, EdnaThe “Melting Pot”: A Success Story? Journal of Economic Inequality, Vol; 7, No. 2, June 2009, pp. 137–51. Earlier version by Schechtman, Edna and Yitzhaki, Shlomo Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Working Paper No. 32, Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalem, Nov. 2007, i + 30 pp.
  97. Jump up^ “The Origins of Reform Judaism.” Jewish Virtual Library. 27 May 2014.
  98. Jump up^ “Pronunciations of Hebrew.” Jewish Virtual Library. 27 May 2014.
  99. Jump up^ Lieberman, Asaf (18 January 2013). “The unbearable lightness of being Ashkenazi.”. Haaretz. Retrieved 27 May 2014.
  100. Jump up^ Rosenthal, Rachel (2006). “What’s in a name?”. Kedma (Winter 2006).
  101. Jump up^ Greenberg, Richard; Cohen, Debra Nussbaum (Fall 2005). “Uncovering the Un-Movement” (PDF). B’nai B’rith Magazine. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2005. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  102. Jump up^ Donadio, Rachel (10 August 2001). “Any Old Shul Won’t Do for the Young and Cool”. Archived from the original on 7 October 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  103. Jump up^ “What is Yiddishkeit?”. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  104. Jump up^ Weiner, Ben. “Reconstructing Yiddishkeit” (PDF). Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  105. Jump up^ “French Revolution.” Jewish Virtual Library. 2008. 29 May 2014.
  106. Jump up^ Wall, Irwin. (2002) “Remaking Jewish Identity in France”, in Howard Wettstein, Diaspora’s and Exiles. University of California Press, pp. 164–90.
  107. ^ Jump up to:a b Wade, Nicholas (14 January 2006). “New Light on Origins of Ashkenazi in Europe”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2006.
  108. Jump up^ Wade, Nicholas (9 May 2000). “Y Chromosome Bears Witness to Story of the Jewish Diaspora”. The New York Times.
  109. Jump up^ Tallit: Jewish Prayer Shawl. Religionfacts.com. Retrieved 2013-07-24.
  110. Jump up^ Michael Balter (3 June 2010). “Tracing the Roots of Jewishness”. Science. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
  111. Jump up^ “Did You Know 25% of Chabad in Montreal are Sefardi?”. The Chabad Sociologist. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  112. Jump up^ Shahar, Charles. “A Comprehensive Study of the Ultra Orthodox Community of Greater Montreal (2003).” Federation CJA (Montreal). 2003.
  113. Jump up^ Murray, Charles (April 2007). “Jewish Genius”. Commentary Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007. Disproportionate Jewish accomplishment in the arts and sciences continues to this day.
  114. Jump up^ Murray, Charles (April 2007). “Jewish Genius”. Commentary Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 November 2007. Retrieved 23 December 2007. From 1870 to 1950, Jewish representation in literature was four times the number one would expect. In music, five times. In the visual arts, five times. In biology, eight times. In chemistry, six times. In physics, nine times. In mathematics, twelve times. In philosophy, fourteen times.
  115. Jump up^ “JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS”. Jinfo.org. Retrieved 16 March 2016. At least 194 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015, and constituting 36% of all US recipients during the same period. In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Physics, and Physiology/Medicine, the corresponding world and US percentages are 26% and 38%, respectively. Among women laureates in the four research fields, the Jewish percentages (world and US) are 33% and 50%, respectively. Of organizations awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 22% were founded principally by Jews or by people of half-Jewish descent. Since the turn of the century (i.e., since the year 2000), Jews have been awarded 25% of all Nobel Prizes and 28% of those in the scientific research fields.
  116. Jump up^ Pinker, Steven (17 June 2006). “The Lessons of the Ashkenazim: Groups and Genes”. The New Republic. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 23 December 2007. Though never exceeding 3 percent of the American population, Jews account for 37 percent of the winners of the U.S. National Medal of Science, 25 percent of the American Nobel Prize winners in literature, 40 percent of the American Nobel Prize winners in science and economics, and so on.
  117. ^ Jump up to:a b c d G. Cochran, J. Hardy, H. Harpending. “Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence” Archived 11 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine., Journal of Biosocial Science 38 (5), pp. 659–93 (2006), University of Utah
  118. ^ Jump up to:a b Entine, Jon (2007). Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People. Hachette Digital, Inc. p. 211. ISBN 0446580635.
  119. Jump up^ “Top 100 Players October 2013 FIDE Top players archive”. Ratings.fide.com. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  120. Jump up^ Frederic Golden (31 December 1999). “Albert Einstein”. Time. Retrieved 21 September 2013.
  121. Jump up^ Nelly Lalany (2011-07-23). “Ashkenazi Jews rank smartest in world”. Ynetnews. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  122. Jump up^ Tony Nick Frudakis (2010-07-19). Molecular Photofitting: Predicting Ancestry and Phenotype Using DNA. p. 383. ISBN 9780080551371.
  123. Jump up^ Jesse Green (6 November 2011). “What Do a Bunch of Old Jews Know About Living Forever?”. New York Magazine. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
  124. Jump up^ Bloch, Talia (19 August 2009). “The Other Jewish Genetic Diseases”. The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  125. Jump up^ Jared Diamond (1993). “Who are the Jews?” (PDF). Retrieved 8 November 2010. Natural History 102:11 (November 1993): 12–19.
  126. Jump up^ M.F. Hammer; A.J. Redd; E.T. Wood; M.R. Bonner; H. Jarjanazi; T. Karafet; S. Santachiara-Benerecetti; A. Oppenheim; M.A. Jobling; T. Jenkins‡‡; H. Ostrer & B. Bonné-Tamir. “Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes”. PNAS. 97 (12): 6769–6774. Bibcode:2000PNAS…97.6769H. PMC 18733Freely accessible. PMID 10801975. doi:10.1073/pnas.100115997. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  127. Jump up^ Wade, Nicholas (9 May 2000). “Y Chromosome Bears Witness to Story of the Jewish Diaspora”. The New York Times. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  128. Jump up^ Hammer, M. F.; A. J. Redd; E. T. Wood; M. R. Bonner; H. Jarjanazi; T. Karafet; S. Santachiara-Benerecetti; A. Oppenheim; M. A. Jobling; T. Jenkins; H. Ostrer; B. Bonné-Tamir (9 May 2000). “Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 97 (12): 6769–74. Bibcode:2000PNAS…97.6769H. PMC 18733Freely accessible. PMID 10801975. doi:10.1073/pnas.100115997.
  129. Jump up^ Cochran, Gregory. “Jews in the Roman Empire”. https://westhunt.wordpress.com. Retrieved 17 May 2017. External link in |website= (help)
  130. Jump up^ Almut Nebel, Dvora Filon, Bernd Brinkmann, Partha P. Majumder, Marina Faerman, Ariella Oppenheim. “The Y Chromosome Pool of Jews as Part of the Genetic Landscape of the Middle East”, The American Journal of Human Genetics (2001), Volume 69, number 5. pp. 1095–112
  131. Jump up^ Nebel A, Filon D, Faerman M, Soodyall H, Oppenheim A (March 2005). “Y chromosome evidence for a founder effect in Ashkenazi Jews”. Eur. J. Hum. Genet. 13 (3): 388–91. PMID 15523495. doi:10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201319.
  132. ^ Jump up to:a b Behar, Doron M.; Ene Metspalu; Toomas Kivisild; Alessandro Achilli; Yarin Hadid; Shay Tzur; Luisa Pereira; Antonio Amorim; Lluı’s Quintana-Murci; Kari Majamaa; Corinna Herrnstadt; Neil Howell; Oleg Balanovsky; Ildus Kutuev; Andrey Pshenichnov; David Gurwitz; Batsheva Bonne-Tamir; Antonio Torroni; Richard Villems; Karl Skorecki (March 2006). “The Matrilineal Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jewry: Portrait of a Recent Founder Event” (PDF). American Journal of Human Genetics. 78 (3): 487–97. PMC 1380291Freely accessible. PMID 16404693. doi:10.1086/500307. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 December 2007. Retrieved 30 December 2008.
  133. ^ Jump up to:a b Nicholas Wade (8 October 2013). “Genes Suggest European Women at Root of Ashkenazi Family Tree”. The New York Times.
  134. Jump up^ Martin Gershowitz (2013-10-16). “New Study Finds Most Ashkenazi Jews Genetically Linked to Europe”. Jewish Voice. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  135. Jump up^ Ofer Aderet (11 October 2013). “Study traces Ashkenazi roots to European women who probably converted to Judaism – The genetic analysis traced the lineage of many Ashkenazi Jews to four maternal founders in Europe”. Haaretz. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  136. Jump up^ Melissa Hogenboom (9 October 2013). “European link to Jewish maternal ancestry”. BBC News.
  137. Jump up^ Michael Balter (8 October 2013). “Did Modern Jews Originate in Italy?”. Science Magazine.
  138. Jump up^ Tia Ghose (8 October 2013). “Most Ashkenazi Jews are genetically Europeans, surprising study finds”. NBC News.
  139. Jump up^ European link to Jewish maternal ancestry
  140. Jump up^ Eva Fernández; Alejandro Pérez-Pérez; Cristina Gamba; Eva Prats; Pedro Cuesta; Josep Anfruns; Miquel Molist; Eduardo Arroyo-Pardo; Daniel Turbón (5 June 2014). “Ancient DNA Analysis of 8000 B.C. Near Eastern Farmers Supports an Early Neolithic Pioneer Maritime Colonization of Mainland Europe through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands”. PLOS Genetics. 10 (6): e1004401. PMC 4046922Freely accessible. PMID 24901650. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004401.
  141. Jump up^ Pearson TA, Manolio TA; Manolio (2008). “How to interpret a genome-wide association study”. JAMA. 299 (11): 1335–44. PMID 18349094. doi:10.1001/jama.299.11.1335.
  142. Jump up^ Rosenberg, Noah A.; Pritchard, Jonathan K; Weber, JL; Cann, HM; Kidd, KK; Zhivotovsky, LA; Feldman, MW; et al. (2002). “Genetic structure of human populations”. Science. 298 (5602): 2381–2385. Bibcode:2002Sci…298.2381R. PMID 12493913. doi:10.1126/science.1078311.
  143. Jump up^ Bauchet, Marc; McEvoy, Brian; Pearson, Laurel N.; Quillen, Ellen E.; Sarkisian, Tamara; Hovhannesyan, Kristine; Deka, Ranjan; Bradley, Daniel G.; Shriver, Mark D.; et al. (2007). “Measuring European Population Stratification with Microarray Genotype Data”. American Journal of Human Genetics. 80 (5): 948–56. PMC 1852743Freely accessible. PMID 17436249. doi:10.1086/513477.
  144. Jump up^ Saey, Tina Hesman (3 June 2010). “Tracing Jewish roots”. ScienceNews.
  145. Jump up^ Atzmon, Gil; Hao, Li; Pe’Er, Itsik; Velez, Christopher; Pearlman, Alexander; Palamara, Pier Francesco; Morrow, Bernice; Friedman, Eitan; Oddoux, Carole; Burns, Edward & Ostrer, Harry (2010). “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry”. American Journal of Human Genetics. 86 (6): 850–59. PMC 3032072Freely accessible. PMID 20560205. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.04.015.
  146. Jump up^ “Genes Set Jews Apart, Study Finds”. American Scientist. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  147. Jump up^ Bray, Steven M.; Mulle, Jennifer G.; Dodd, Anne F.; Pulver, Ann E.; Wooding, Stephen; Warren, Stephen T. (2010). “Signatures of founder effects, admixture, and selection in the Ashkenazi Jewish population”. PNAS. 107 (37): 16222–16227. Bibcode:2010PNAS..10716222B. PMC 2941333Freely accessible. PMID 20798349. doi:10.1073/pnas.1004381107.
  148. Jump up^ “How to Interpret Patterns of Genetic Variation? Admixture, Divergence, Inbreeding, Cousin Marriage”. Anthropogenesis. 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2013-07-19.
  149. Jump up^ Behar, Doron M.; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Metspalu, Mait; Metspalu, Ene; Rosset, Saharon; Parik, Jüri; Rootsi, Siiri; Chaubey, Gyaneshwer; Kutuev, Ildus; Yudkovsky, Guennady; Khusnutdinova, Elza K.; Balanovsky, Oleg; Semino, Ornella; Pereira, Luisa; Comas, David; Gurwitz, David; Bonne-Tamir, Batsheva; Parfitt, Tudor; Hammer, Michael F.; Skorecki, Karl; Villems, Richard (8 July 2010). “The genome-wide structure of the Jewish people” (PDF). Nature. 466 (7303): 238–242. Bibcode:2010Natur.466..238B. PMID 20531471. doi:10.1038/nature09103. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  150. Jump up^ The Karaites of Galicia: An Ethnoreligious Minority Among the Ashkenazim
  151. Jump up^ Rubin 2013.
  152. Jump up^ Davies 1992, p. 242.
  153. Jump up^ Vogt 1975.
  154. Jump up^ “Gene study settles debate over origin of European Jews”. AFP. 16 January 2013. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  155. Jump up^ Behar, Doron M.; Metspalu, Mait; Baran, Yael; Kopelman, Naama M.; Yunusbayev, Bayazit; Gladstein, Ariella; Tzur, Shay; Sahakyan, Havhannes; Bahmanimehr, Ardeshir; Yepiskoposyan, Levon; Tambets, Kristiina; Khusnutdinova, Elza K.; Kusniarevich, Aljona; Balanovsky, Oleg; Balanovsky, Elena; Kovacevic, Lejla; Marjanovic, Damir; Mihailov, Evelin; Kouvatsi, Anastasia; Traintaphyllidis, Costas; King, Roy J.; Semino, Ornella; Torroni, Antonio; Hammer, Michael F.; Metspalu, Ene; Skorecki, Karl; Rosset, Saharon; Halperin, Eran; Villems, Richard; Rosenberg, Noah A. (2013). “No Evidence from Genome-Wide Data of a Khazar Origin for the Ashkenazi Jews”. Human Biology Open Access Pre-Prints. Wayne State University (41). Retrieved 14 October 2014. Final version at http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol85/iss6/9/
  156. ^ Jump up to:a b c Carmeli, Daphna Birenbaum (2004). “Prevalence of Jews as subjects in genetic research: Figures, explanation, and potential implications”. American Journal of Medical Genetics. 130A (1): 76–83. PMID 15368499. doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.20291.
  157. Jump up^ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2009). The guide to clinical preventive services 2009. AHRQ Publication No. 09-IP006.
  158. Jump up^ E. L. Abel’s book Jewish Genetic Disorders: A Layman’s Guide, McFarland, 2008: ISBN 0-7864-4087-2
  159. Jump up^ See Chicago Center for Jewish Genetic Disorders

References for “Who is an Ashkenazi Jew?”

Other references

External links

Ashkenazi Jews

“Opioid Dealers Embrace the Dark Web to Send Deadly Drugs by Mail”

June 10, 2017

Antarctic Ice Shelf Splitting Off on the Verge of Rising Seas – Larsen

June 10, 2017

Ocean

Ice shelf

Current rift extent

100 MILES

ANTARCTICA

SOUTH

PACIFIC

OCEAN

In May, the direction of the crack sharply turned 90º.

 

 

WEDDELL

SEA

May 31

Delaware

to scale

May 1

SOUTH

ATLANTIC

OCEAN

Jan. 1, 2017

June 2016

November 2010

NORTH

PENINSULA

GLACIERS

How the crack

has grown

LARSEN C

ICE SHELF

If Larsen C’s shelf front retreats past this line, called the compressive arch, the shelf is likely to collapse.

 

 

SOUTH

PENINSULA

GLACIERS

ANTARCTIC PENINSULA

NASA Blue Marble imagery

The crack in Larsen C is more than 120 miles long, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles.

Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, it will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team from Swansea University and Aberystwyth University that has been monitoring the rift since 2014.

Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining eight miles of the shelf, the team expects the break to happen soon.

Thin sea ice

Ice shelf

820 FEET DEEP

900 FEET

Rift seen from space

Beginning of rift about 40 miles from the edge

10 MILES

Sentinel-1 SAR imagery | Captured May 31

Photo by John Sonntag | Captured Nov. 10

The glaciologist Eric J. Rignot, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and a senior scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says the rift’s recent turn toward the shelf is a strong sign of when the full break could occur.

“In my experience, when the rift takes a 90 degree turn like this is, it will happen in the next few weeks, no more than that,” he said.

The time-lapse image below shows the rift gradually widening from late 2014 to January of this year.

Current rift extent

Area of detail

rift-widen-every-other-month.gif

Sentinel-1 SAR imagery

Ice shelves, which form through runoff from glaciers, float in water and provide structural support to the glaciers that rest on land. When an ice shelf collapses, the glaciers behind it can accelerate toward the ocean. Higher temperatures in the region are hastening the ice shelf’s retreat.

If it breaks at the crack, Larsen C will be at its smallest size ever recorded.

The ice front would also be left much closer to the ice shelf’s compressive arch, a line that scientists say is critical for structural support. If the front retreats past that line, the northernmost part of the shelf could collapse within months. It could also significantly change the landscape of the Antarctic peninsula.

“At that point in time, the glaciers will react,” Dr. Rignot said. “If the ice shelf breaks apart, it will remove a buttressing force on the glaciers that flow into it. The glaciers will feel less resistance to flow, effectively removing a cork in front of them.”

The crack reaches all the way
to the bottom of the ice shelf.

The crack in Larsen C is a third of a mile deep, down to the floor of the ice shelf.

Shelf front

Area of detail

Current rift

extent

1.0

0.25

0.7

2.5

5.0

0 miles

wide

The maximum width

of the rift is about

5 miles

Top of the ice shelf

190 feet above sea

level

Floating ice

The depth of the

rift is about

1,750 feet

Water below the

ice shelf

Scientists fear that two crucial
anchor points will be lost.

According to Dr. Rignot, the stability of the whole ice shelf is threatened.

“You have these two anchors on the side of Larsen C that play a critical role in holding the ice shelf where it is,” he said. “If the shelf is getting thinner, it will be more breakable, and it will lose contact with the ice rises.”

Low shelf support

High

If the shelf front disconnects from the ice rises, a rapid retreat will be triggered.

SHELF FRONT

Bawden Ice Rise

Gipps Ice Rise

ICE SHELF

NORTH

PENINSULA

GLACIERS

SOUTH

PENINSULA

GLACIERS

Ice rises are islands overridden by the ice shelf, allowing them to shoulder more of the weight of the shelf. Scientists have yet to determine the extent of thinning around the Bawden and Gipps ice rises, though Dr. Rignot noted that the Bawden ice rise was much more vulnerable.

“We’re not even sure how it’s hanging on there,” he said. “But if you take away Bawden, the whole shelf will feel it.”

The collapse of the Larsen C ice
shelf may not significantly affect
global sea level rise, but the collapse
of other vulnerable ice shelves will.

The Larsen A and B ice shelves — both much smaller than Larsen C — disintegrated in 1995 and 2002. Neither contributed significantly to global sea level rise, however, because they were already floating above water, and the glaciers behind them did not contain a substantial volume of ice.

According to Dr. Rignot, the collapse of Larsen C would add only a tiny amount of water to the global sea level. Of greater concern to scientists is how the collapse of ice shelves can affect the glaciers that flow behind them, because the melting of those glaciers can cause much greater increases in sea level. Scientists see the impending Larsen C collapse as a warning that far larger amounts of ice in West Antarctica could be vulnerable.

“I think of the Larsen C as a natural laboratory that almost lets us do an experiment on an ice shelf,” said Thomas P. Wagner, who runs NASA’s effort to study the polar regions. “When it breaks, what the heck happens next?”

Where the Hell to Lie and Rest not the King’s Inn on East Colfax without $455.00

June 7, 2017

A King’s ransom

Barley

Andy Cross, The Denver Post

King’s Inn Motel residents only got a few days’ notice that their weekly rent was nearly doubling.

Residents at a rather infamous motel on East Colfax found out Saturday that the weekly rent for their decaying, bug-infested rooms was going to nearly double, from $225 to $455, effective immediately.

The increase comes after an ownership change just four days ago. The new owner plans to clean and repair the property, and renovate rooms, but says he can’t do those things without the rent hike and that the previous owner was losing money.

Some residents vowed not to leave, while others scrambled with as little as two days to find the money or a new place to live.

Where the Hell CAN We Lie Down and Rest?

w

Colfax Community Network What Powerful Interventions for People Who Are Living in Motels on the Edge of Nowhere

June 7, 2017

Colfax Community Network What Powerful Interventions for People Who Are Living in Motels on the Edge of Nowhere

You might hear about it in the news, but hear it directly from the community via CCN: “Kings Inn is a huge piece of the housing puzzle out here in Aurora,” Barb, a Kings Inn resident shares with CCN’s executive director Megan Vizina. Recently the motel has come under new ownership and evictions, rate increases and new owners turning away the steady stream of donors coming to drop off food at the motel have given way to hostility, panic and fear. Barb’s rent went up from $857 monthly to $1400 which she discovered upon attempting to pay her rent last week.
Folks gather ’round Megan, who is sitting on the stairs of the motel to share their own stories of fear. Past evictions, felonies from years ago, disability, or lack of affordable housing are just a few of the reasons that prevent people from securing more stable housing. With 99 rooms, the Kings Inn is a large landmark on Colfax Avenue. It’s been a default shelter for hundreds of families and individuals throughout the years. Its’ size also creates a unique sense of community, “If somebody doesn’t have something, someone always has your back,” Barb says through her kind smile as she watches a toddler breeze by, “See, he’s my family!” exclaimed Barb to Megan, with delight. The community is palpable.
And so is the resistance to this new era of ownership. Residents have organized themselves, contacted press, City of Aurora staff and Colfax Community Network to advocate and stand up for their rights. And yet, in so many ways the fight has only just begun as downtown Aurora is on a direct path towards gentrification.
“We are elderly, disabled, working people and families living here. We are not looking for someplace to crash for the night. We are just looking for someplace to call home.”
Want to know more? Interested in how you can support? Email: megan@colfaxcommunitynetwork.org
#grassrootsorganizing
#housingfirst
#housingisahumanright
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Amanita Phalloides”Death Cap Mushroom”

June 4, 2017

The world’s most dangerous mushroom and what it did to an 18-month-old girl

Amanita phalloides, better known as the “death cap” mushroom, has more than earned its nickname.© California Department of Public Health Amanita phalloides, better known as the “death cap” mushroom, has more than earned its nickname.They sprouted up in abundance after heavy rains, poking up through California lawns and forests, appearing harmless to some of those who found them — as though they’d make a good meal.

And so they do, at first. The “death cap” mushroom is said to be delicious.

A new federal report detailed what came after consumption for 14 people who sampled the Bay Area’s bloom of death cap — or amanita phalloides — last December:

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Violent nausea, in all cases. For some days later, organ damage as the death caps’ potent toxins ravaged the liver.

Some victims got off relatively easy, including four young men who had expected a psychedelic trip but ended up having their insides washed out with fluids in a hospital — the only known treatment for amanita phalloides poisoning.

Three who ate the California death caps needed liver transplants, according to the report. And one of them — an 18-month-old girl — now has permanent neurological damage.

None of the 14 people in California died; they were lucky. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that the death cap, which grows all over the world, is responsible for 90 percent of fatal mushroom ingestions worldwide.

The mushrooms, which often look like edible species that grow nearby, have spread to every continent but Antarctica, Slate noted.

Its exact death toll is unclear, but the species was involved in many of the worst cases of 679 mushroom poisonings reported in California between November 2015 and October 2016, according to the California Poison Control System.

“These mushrooms are large, beautiful, delicious and deadly, with toxins that are not destroyed by cooking,” wrote the North American Mycological Association, whose Bay Area branch alerted California officials late last year that the death caps were blooming in great numbers.

The state had received only a few reports of death cap poisonings in the past few years, according to the CDC. The CDC doesn’t issue regular reports on death cap poisonings, an exact numbers for each year were not available. But in December, people began falling seriously ill, one after another, within days of each other.

In the worst case, a young woman accepted death caps from a stranger who had been foraging in the mountains and prepared a meal for her family, guests and baby daughter.

Vomiting and diarrhea followed hours later, according to the report. But as Slate noted, the mushroom’s real danger is to the liver, which its poison “stealthily destroys” over a span of days.

The woman, her husband, sister, daughter and a friend were all treated at the hospital with intravenous hydration — which essentially flushes the poison out of the system.

It doesn’t always work. The woman’s sister needed a liver transplant before she left the hospital.

So did the baby, who consequently developed brain swelling and “permanent neurologic impairment,” the CDC wrote.

December’s rash of death cap poisonings reads much like another federal report from the 1990s, when a single week saw nine poisoning and two deaths.

And the symptoms sound almost exactly like those described by a Virginia man in 2011, who spotted a batch of death caps that appeared “lovely” in his back yard. He stir-fried them and ended up in an emergency room.

Milk thistle is being used in a clinical trial as a possible antidote, according to the CDC, though for now there is no sure cure for those who eat the mushroom.