In a message dated 6/3/2005 2:06:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
< . . . does being a Cohen or a Levite only pass through male lines? >
< That seems a bit odd, since doesn't being Jewish at all technically come
from the mother and not the father? >==Parental descent dates back to the beginning of Judaism and is related to
property considerations, and family privileges
==Maternal descent for the establishment of the status of a Jewish child is
much more recent and is the necessary response to a common "sport" over the
ages, that of raping Jewish women.
< Couldn't you theoretically end up with a Cohen having non-Cohen grandsons
through his daughter who married a non-Cohen,
==absolutely, very common. Very few daughter of Kohanim happen to marry a
< and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons through his son who married a
==Is that like having a Chasidic Pope? If you're not Jewish, you're not a
Kohen. And a Kohen loses his status if he marries a gentile or a convert.
< If one's ancestor is a Cohen or Levi, and you find other people with the
same surname >from the same area who are also Cohen (or Levi), does that
increase the likelihood of their being related?
==That, essentially, is why we discuss them in genealogy. Knowing someone
is a Kohen makes it easier to trace an ancestral line up and down through
synagogue records, tombstones and other documents.
==There is an excellent database available on Jgen that lists surnames with
towns and with Kohen/Levi/Israel status
Michael Bernet, New York