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Papapa
04-15-2020, 07:14 PM
In Israel it seems like rabbinical court is getting pretty serious about using mtDNA tests to determine whether a person is a Jew or not. To me it seems a bit ironic that religion is leveraging science to enforce their dogmas but at the same time this test might be the last resort for some to prove their Jewishness. What’s your take on this?

passenger
04-15-2020, 07:26 PM
In Israel it seems like rabbinical court is getting pretty serious about using mtDNA tests to determine whether a person is a Jew or not. To me it seems a bit ironic that religion is leveraging science to enforce their dogmas but at the same time this test might be the last resort for some to prove their Jewishness. What’s your take on this?

My take on it is that it's dangerous and dumb.

C J Wyatt III
04-15-2020, 07:29 PM
My take on it is that it's dangerous and dumb.

Are they prepared to kick most people out of the religion?

Papapa
04-15-2020, 07:34 PM
Are they prepared to kick most people out of the religion?

It’s only for people who can’t prove that their mom is Jewish. For now, they don’t plan on using this test retroactively to kick someone out of Judaism. But who knows what they will come up with in the future

passenger
04-15-2020, 07:38 PM
It’s only for people who can’t prove that their mom is Jewish. For now, they don’t plan on using this test retroactively to kick someone out of Judaism. But who knows what they will come up with in the future

What are your sources for this?

Papapa
04-15-2020, 07:43 PM
What are your sources for this?

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-will-dna-testing-become-the-gateway-to-proving-jewishness-1.7772764

coffeeprince
04-15-2020, 07:51 PM
Is this the same court that doesn't allow DNA testing done on ancient samples that are excavated in Israel? :confused: Wild.

Ruderico
04-15-2020, 07:54 PM
This is the sort of Pandora's Box that should not be opened. Are we going to label people based on DNA tests, or worse, something as irrelevant as an haplogroup? The world is going insane.

Erikl86
04-15-2020, 08:07 PM
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-will-dna-testing-become-the-gateway-to-proving-jewishness-1.7772764

Without getting political here, a word of caution.
Never read the English version of Ha'aretz to get sane perspective of what's going on in Israel. Al-Jazeera sometimes seem more balanced than they do.

Agamemnon
04-15-2020, 08:10 PM
Without getting political here, a word of caution.
Never read the English version of Ha'aretz to get sane perspective of what's going on in Israel. Al-Jazeera sometimes seem more balanced than they do.

Totally second that.

Papapa
04-15-2020, 08:20 PM
Without getting political here, a word of caution.
Never read the English version of Ha'aretz to get sane perspective of what's going on in Israel. Al-Jazeera sometimes seem more balanced than they do.

I’m honestly not really well-versed in Israeli media but here are more sources

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Court-rules-against-Liberman-in-favor-of-Jewishness-DNA-testing-615216
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5476939,00.html

lifeisdandy
04-15-2020, 08:31 PM
I knew this would happen though and I wouldnt be surprised if it happens in other countries who are obsessed with lineage and pedigree like Saudi.

JerryS.
04-15-2020, 08:33 PM
so if only your mother is Jewish, so are you; but if only your father is Jewish, you are not?

Papapa
04-15-2020, 08:59 PM
It's also worth mentioning that state and religion are not completely separated in Israel so the rabbinical court does hold authority over certain aspects of civil life such as marriage. Last year I had to travel to Prague for my cousin's wedding since his fiance was 75% Jewish but her maternal grandmother was Russian so they couldn't get legally married in Israel. It was mind-blowing to realize that their kids who would be ~87.5% Jewish based on their DNA, are not going to be recognized as Jews in Israel.

grumpydaddybear
04-15-2020, 09:25 PM
It's also worth mentioning that state and religion are not completely separated in Israel so the rabbinical court does hold authority over certain aspects of civil life such as marriage. Last year I had to travel to Prague for my cousin's wedding since his fiance was 75% Jewish but her maternal grandmother was Russian so they couldn't get legally married in Israel. It was mind-blowing to realize that their kids who would be ~87.5% Jewish based on their DNA, are not going to be recognized as Jews in Israel.

I know that this discussion has been had before but I'm Soviet born American Jew and this bothers the fuck out of me....

I'm religious, but religion and politics don't mix...

grumpydaddybear
04-15-2020, 09:27 PM
so if only your mother is Jewish, so are you; but if only your father is Jewish, you are not?

Not by Jewish Law:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrilineality_in_Judaism

Papapa
04-15-2020, 09:48 PM
I know that this discussion has been had before but I'm Soviet born American Jew and this bothers the fuck out of me....

I'm religious, but religion and politics don't mix...

I was born after the Soviet Union collapsed so I guess I'm a post-Soviet Union Jew but for me it's pretty humiliating to prove to some random people that I'm actually Jewish. What's even more appalling is that that they they specifically target Russian Jews with these tests so Russian Jews are obligated to find shit ton of random docs just to be considered Jewish in Israel

passenger
04-15-2020, 10:20 PM
I’m honestly not really well-versed in Israeli media but here are more sources

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Court-rules-against-Liberman-in-favor-of-Jewishness-DNA-testing-615216
https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5476939,00.html

Here's another, more in-depth report: https://www.timesofisrael.com/rabbinate-dna-tests-seek-jewishness-in-the-blood-become-a-bone-of-contention/

Edit: from what I gather from this article, the tests have only been used in a few cases, and so far can only be used to help prove Jewish matrilineal descent in cases where no other proof is recognized and the result is positive - a negative result cannot be used against you where other proof exists. I still find it ethically troubling and scientifically unsound, to say the least.

JerryS.
04-15-2020, 10:22 PM
Not by Jewish Law:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrilineality_in_Judaism

simplify this for me. google has scads of this and that and a lot of dancing around the issue. will Israel recognize you as jewish if your father is jewish but your mother is not? one of the posts above says that they won't. so according to Israeli law, you are only jewish if your mother was jewish?

passenger
04-15-2020, 10:40 PM
simplify this for me. google has scads of this and that and a lot of dancing around the issue. will Israel recognize you as jewish if your father is jewish but your mother is not? one of the posts above says that they won't. so according to Israeli law, you are only jewish if your mother was jewish?

As I understand it, it depends what area of Israeli law you're talking about. I believe that the Law of Return still permits anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent on either side to apply for citizenship. However, this is a civil law, and not a religious law. Marriage, on the other hand is regulated by rabbinical authorities, and interfaith marriages are not permitted. As (rabbinical) Jewish religious law follows the principle of matrilineal descent, this is where it gets complicated. Conversion could solve the problem for some, but it can be a very lengthy process, and not everyone wants to undergo it for a variety of reasons.

JoeyP37
04-15-2020, 10:45 PM
Hey, can they do this with Gentiles, too? I mean because the people of my father's line-the Germans-and them have not been the best of friends. Judge me as you judge yourselves, Jews, by the female line! I shall be an Irishman to you, indeed! How about some latkes?

Papapa
04-15-2020, 11:38 PM
As I understand it, it depends what area of Israeli law you're talking about. I believe that the Law of Return still permits anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent on either side to apply for citizenship. However, this is a civil law, and not a religious law. Marriage, on the other hand is regulated by rabbinical authorities, and interfaith marriages are not permitted. As (rabbinical) Jewish religious law follows the principle of matrilineal descent, this is where it gets complicated. Conversion could solve the problem for some, but it can be a very lengthy process, and not everyone wants to undergo it for a variety of reasons.

That is exactly right. The Law of Return was crafted to mimic Nazi's policies which labelled a Jew everyone who had at least one Jewish grandparent. The Law of Return allows you to get Israeli citizenship, however, only the rabbinical authorities can recognize you as a Jew. I wonder how the American Jews prove their Jewishness in Israel. All Soviet Jews have birth certificates which state the ethnicities of their mother and father. Even my Kazakh passport contains an ethnicity field which states that I'm a Jew (in case I ever forget). However, in the US there are no government-issued docs that record your ethnicity so what kind of evidence does the rabbinical court use in this case?

grumpydaddybear
04-16-2020, 12:46 AM
That is exactly right. The Law of Return was crafted to mimic Nazi's policies which labelled a Jew everyone who had at least one Jewish grandparent. The Law of Return allows you to get Israeli citizenship, however, only the rabbinical authorities can recognize you as a Jew. I wonder how the American Jews prove their Jewishness in Israel. All Soviet Jews have birth certificates which state the ethnicities of their mother and father. Even my Kazakh passport contains an ethnicity field which states that I'm a Jew (in case I ever forget). However, in the US there are no government-issued docs that record your ethnicity so what kind of evidence does the rabbinical court use in this case?

Were Soviet nationalities patrilineal however?

grumpydaddybear
04-16-2020, 01:03 AM
As I understand it, it depends what area of Israeli law you're talking about. I believe that the Law of Return still permits anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent on either side to apply for citizenship. However, this is a civil law, and not a religious law. Marriage, on the other hand is regulated by rabbinical authorities, and interfaith marriages are not permitted. As (rabbinical) Jewish religious law follows the principle of matrilineal descent, this is where it gets complicated. Conversion could solve the problem for some, but it can be a very lengthy process, and not everyone wants to undergo it for a variety of reasons.

Unfortunately, all the Israelis on this forum are probably sleeping -- they would give you better answers. Outside the Law of Return, Israel adopted the Mandatory and Ottoman millet system.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millet_(Ottoman_Empire)

In the millet system, each confessional community had its own court system to adjudicate intra-community affairs. This had and has the broadest application in family and inheritance law. The millet system brings numerous advantages to governing a multi-ethnic populace -- the government is not seen as forcing a single religious view in the macro sense. Of course, it leaves out small minorities and secular people.

The system still exists in a number of former Ottoman lands, including Israel. Recall, the founders of Israel were profoundly secular and believed that religious observance would die out. So, I don't think that they gave it much thought...

NY also has aspect of this. Orthodox Beth Dins are considered binding arbitration forums under NY law, whose decisions are enforceable unless unconstitutional.

bzaa't
04-16-2020, 08:48 AM
It's also worth mentioning that state and religion are not completely separated in Israel so the rabbinical court does hold authority over certain aspects of civil life such as marriage. Last year I had to travel to Prague for my cousin's wedding since his fiance was 75% Jewish but her maternal grandmother was Russian so they couldn't get legally married in Israel. It was mind-blowing to realize that their kids who would be ~87.5% Jewish based on their DNA, are not going to be recognized as Jews in Israel.
I have a friend who's exactly the same. 87.5% Jewish yet had to undergo conversion because his maternal great grandmother was gentile. On the other hand I have a friend who is only 25% ethnically Jewish yet registered as Jewish because it's her maternal grandmother who was Jewish. Mind blowing and silly.

passenger
04-16-2020, 03:45 PM
The Law of Return allows you to get Israeli citizenship, however, only the rabbinical authorities can recognize you as a Jew. I wonder how the American Jews prove their Jewishness in Israel. All Soviet Jews have birth certificates which state the ethnicities of their mother and father. Even my Kazakh passport contains an ethnicity field which states that I'm a Jew (in case I ever forget). However, in the US there are no government-issued docs that record your ethnicity so what kind of evidence does the rabbinical court use in this case?

I'm curious about that as well. Is your question about documentation needed for Aliyah or for marriage or other purposes? I think that for Aliyah purposes it's relatively simple if you are a member of a Jewish congregation and can get a rabbi to vouch for you, though I'm not sure what you do if you or your family has never belonged to a congregation, and it's also a gray area because different rabbis have different views on admitting people to their congregations even within some of the main branches (Reform, Conservative, Orthodox). See https://www.nbn.org.il/aliyahpedia/aliyah-process/aliyah-processing-flight-logistics/documentation-requirements-aliyah-from-within-israel/

Marriage is a whole other kettle of fish, and apparently more stringent. In that case I think you need documentation going back several generations on your maternal line. In my case, my mother and grandmother were both married by rabbis (technically a cantor in my mother's case) so I imagine that would help. Civil documents in the U.S. don't state your religion, but immigration documents in the late 19th and early 20th-centuries used to label Jews as "Hebrews" or "Israelites" under the column for race. I'm not sure whether or not that would be recognized.

SHV
04-20-2020, 07:41 PM
The ketubot of the parents of the couple who wish to marry are the most useful documents to satisfy the rabbinical court. They are Jewish marriage contracts written in Aramaic in Hebrew characters. They accompany all Jewish orthodox marriages, since they detail the groom's financial obligations to the bride according to Jewish law.

Souriquois
04-20-2020, 09:02 PM
I will read this thread more a bit later, and will probably find my answer, but, are there mtDNA haplogroups more common among Jews than other groups?

What about different groups of Jews (ie Askhenazi, Sephardic, etc.)?

I know certain Y-DNA is more common but I assumed mtDNA would be different.

passenger
04-21-2020, 01:54 AM
The ketubot of the parents of the couple who wish to marry are the most useful documents to satisfy the rabbinical court. They are Jewish marriage contracts written in Aramaic in Hebrew characters. They accompany all Jewish orthodox marriages, since they detail the groom's financial obligations to the bride according to Jewish law.

Thanks for the clarification, but there's a lot of conflicting information out there. Are there sources you recommend? Some websites claim that all you need is a letter from a rabbi attesting to your mother's Jewishness, but other sources (such as this one https://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/sites/default/files/public/halakhah/teshuvot/2011-2020/JewishIdentity6.2011.pdf) claim that Israeli rabbinic authorities might demand more extensive proof going back several generations. It's hard to get the story straight.

passenger
04-21-2020, 02:00 AM
Also, on the subject of sources, there seem to be a lot of contradictory articles from 2019 about the Israeli Supreme Court's decision on the admissibility of DNA testing by rabbinic authorities. Most articles I've seen say that it's been conditionally permitted, but there's some discrepancy. Can anyone verify this?

StillWater
04-21-2020, 02:56 AM
Were Soviet nationalities patrilineal however?

When you were born, both parents' ethnicities(nationalities) were stated on your birth certificate. Once you reached a certain age, it was up to you/your parents which parent's ethnicity would go on your passport. Of course, if they were the same, there was no choice to make.

coffeeprince
04-21-2020, 03:27 AM
I will read this thread more a bit later, and will probably find my answer, but, are there mtDNA haplogroups more common among Jews than other groups?

What about different groups of Jews (ie Askhenazi, Sephardic, etc.)?

I know certain Y-DNA is more common but I assumed mtDNA would be different.

There are some mtDna haplogroups that are more common in Ashkenazi Jews. A study from 2014 (so might be a bit outdated now) claimed 31% of Ashkenazi Jews belong to Haplogroup K1a1b1a, K1a9 and K2a2. From what I've seen, these three Ashkenazi haplogroups are not seen in Moroccan Jews. I don't know about other Sephardic groups, but I infer that because of Ashkenazi mixture at later dates in Italy and Turkey, some Jews from those two locations who follow Sephardic traditions may have those 3 K haplogroups listed above.