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Piquerobi
04-22-2014, 02:31 PM
A very old Jewish cemetery, from Worms, one of the centers from where Ashkenazi culture and population would arise. It is considered the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in Europe (apart from Jewish burials in Roman catacombs).

The Ashkenazi masses from Eastern Europe likely share ancestry with those buried there, don't you agree? They're highly inbred: I believe the bulk of the Ashkenazi population share Jewish ancestors who lived in Worms, as well as Speyer and Mainz, and nearby German cities, at the time that cemetery was built (XI century). The origins of the Ashkenazi lie there, literally.

The grave of Jacob ha-Bachur, from 1076/1077:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/J%C3%BCdischer_Friedhof_Worms-4277.jpg

The grave of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg (d 1293):

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Raschi_grave.jpg

The grave of Yaakov ben Moshe Levi Moelin (c. 1365 – September 14, 1427), the Maharil:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/J%C3%BCdischer_Friedhof_Worms-4243.jpg?uselang=de

Other pics:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/J%C3%BCdischer_Friedhof_Worms-4176.jpg?uselang=de
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/J%C3%BCdischer_Friedhof_Worms-4250.jpg?uselang=de
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/J%C3%BCdischer_Friedhof_Worms-4202.jpg?uselang=de
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/J%C3%BCdischer_Friedhof_Worms-4169.jpg?uselang=de


There are no records revealing the ‘foundation’ of the Jewish cemetery. The oldest surviving gravestone is that of one Jacob Bahur of 1076, making the ‘Holy Sands’ the oldest existing Jewish cemetery of Europe. There are several other 11th-century gravestones, readily discernible by their simple, rectangular shape, the ruled lines within and the borders around the text. The many stones from the 12th century look similar, but have no lines or borders.

The cemetery may have been established in the time when the first synagogue was built in 1034. However, the importance of the ‘Holy Sands’ not only lies in its old age, but also in the numerous Jewish scholars that are buried here. Since there are no more Christian cemeteries with upright gravestones from the Romanesque period, the Jewish cemetery is also unique in the general cultural history of cemeteries. Only a small number of grave slabs and sarcophagus tops have been kept in churches.

Situated close to the entrance, the gravestones of Meïr of Rothenburg (d 1293) and Alexander ben Solomon Wimpfen (d 1307) are among the most significant sepulchral monuments of the cemetery and are a place of pilgrimage for Jews from all over the world. Some other important gravestones can be found in and around the so-called Valley of the Rabbis, among others those of Rabbi Nathan ben Isaac (d 1333), Rabbi Jacob ben Moses haLevi, called MaHaRIL (d 1427), Rabbi Meïr ben Isaac (d 1511) and Elia Loanz, called Baal Shem (b 1636).
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heiliger_Sand

seferhabahir
04-22-2014, 04:55 PM
There have been studies that estimate through statistics that all (or almost all) Ashkenazi Jews living today are probably traceable to all (or almost all) Jews living in the Worms, Speyer, Mainz Rhineland areas in the time of Rashi. Here is something from the rabbinic special interest group of JewishGen.

http://www.jewishgen.org/rabbinic/infofiles/rashi.htm#F2

"Traditions of descent from famous rabbis and in particular from Rashi have long intrigued genealogists. The subject was discussed at length in several issues of Avotaynu some years ago. Aside from the genealogical sources of such traditions, an interesting mathematical aspect was presented. It was proposed that the theoretical number of ancestors any Ashkenazi Jew could have was greatly in excess of the Jewish population in Europe at the time of Rashi. Therefore all Ashkenazi Jews living today are descended not only from Rashi, but from all the Jews living in his time. Naturally most Jews cannot trace the exact lineage to Rashi."

While I can't necessarily vouch for that conclusion, it makes sense. For those of us who were able to descend on a direct unbroken paternal line from back then to the present day, we almost always find ourselves in a 25-50 person highly distinctive Jewish cluster of some well known haplogroup (in my own Y-DNA case, it is R-L21) and if you do the TMRCA calculations you usually get something that looks like this time period (1000-1300). This has been pretty consistent for every close cousin paternal Y-DNA lineage I can trace, and includes the R2a* Eastern European Jewish cluster, the R-M269* Eastern European Jewish cluster, and the J2a* Eastern European Jewish cluster.

As a side note, I think most of us would tend to use the word endogamous instead of inbred.

Piquerobi
04-22-2014, 05:36 PM
As a side note, I think most of us would tend to use the word endogamous instead of inbred.

Indeed, endogamous is a better word to describe it.

alan
04-22-2014, 06:22 PM
Do a lot of Jews descend from Rabbis?

Agamemnon
04-22-2014, 06:48 PM
Do a lot of Jews descend from Rabbis?

If you go back in your family tree, you will always find a rabbi somewhere.
I found one on my father's side in the 1780s, for example.

Rabbis are just teachers of the law, not priests (Kohanim are priests, though there is no temple to serve in as of now).



While I can't necessarily vouch for that conclusion, it makes sense. For those of us who were able to descend on a direct unbroken paternal line from back then to the present day, we almost always find ourselves in a 25-50 person highly distinctive Jewish cluster of some well known haplogroup (in my own Y-DNA case, it is R-L21) and if you do the TMRCA calculations you usually get something that looks like this time period (1000-1300). This has been pretty consistent for every close cousin paternal Y-DNA lineage I can trace, and includes the R2a* Eastern European Jewish cluster, the R-M269* Eastern European Jewish cluster, and the J2a* Eastern European Jewish cluster.


Very true, if you calculate the TMRCA of ZS227 you end up with an even more recent date, around 600 years BP.

Piquerobi
04-26-2014, 09:12 PM
A documentary in German about the Jewry of that place and of that time... "Jerusalem am Rhein":


Die rheinischen Metropolen Mainz, Worms und Speyer hatten im Mittelalter die wichtigsten Talmudschulen des Abendlandes. Sie waren das Zentrum jüdischer Gelehrsamkeit und später ähnlich bedeutsam wie Jerusalem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RwIBZ9kInY

Tomenable
02-11-2016, 11:57 PM
Have samples of ancient DNA already been extracted from these graves ???

Piquerobi
02-12-2016, 11:19 AM
Have samples of ancient DNA already been extracted from these graves ???

As far as I know, they have not so far. It would be great if they did it though.

seferhabahir
02-12-2016, 06:01 PM
Do a lot of Jews descend from Rabbis?

If you go back in your family tree, you will always find a rabbi somewhere.
I found one on my father's side in the 1780s, for example.
Rabbis are just teachers of the law, not priests (Kohanim are priests, though there is no temple to serve in as of now).


One should be careful about reading Jewish grave markers. A rabbi will usually have HaRav (The Rabbi) at the end or beginning of the name as a designation that a rabbi is buried in the grave, but I know of more than one person who has misinterpreted Bar (which is an abbreviation for Ben Reb) as some kind of rabbi designatoion. Ben Reb means "son of the worthy/honored" whoever, and is sort of like saying "mister" and not indicative of a rabbi.

medieval_jewish_child
07-12-2016, 03:48 PM
Do transcriptions of gravestones from this cemetery exist somewhere? The inscriptions might be useful to my work on medieval Jewish children and teens. (I was actually in Worms and wanted to read them, but the cemetery was closed for Shabbat, and besides, the medieval gravestones are almost impossible for an untrained person to read. I'm hoping someone else did that work already...)

Humanist
07-13-2016, 12:23 AM
[B]ut I know of more than one person who has misinterpreted Bar (which is an abbreviation for Ben Reb) as some kind of rabbi designatoion. Ben Reb means "son of the worthy/honored" whoever, and is sort of like saying "mister" and not indicative of a rabbi.

I did not know that. Whenever I have seen "Bar" in a Jewish individual's name, I have always thought it meant the same as it does in my language, Aramaic, and that is "son of."

As far as "Rabbi" is concerned, my paternal grandfather was also a "Rabbi," but in our dialect of Eastern Aramaic it means "learned one," "professor," etc.