Jim Bennett <bennett@...>
I am a descendant of a family of JAFFEs who lived for generations in
Rawitsch, then Posen Provice, Prussia [now Rawicz, W. Poland]. The
earliest known "founder" was Moshe JAFFE [b.~1710 -- d.~1785], sons
Shmuel Zanwill and Avraham, and grandsons and great-grandsons with
the names: Zvi Hirsch, Meir, Yosef, Loeb, Shimon, Yaakov, Shimshon,
After more than twenty years of research, the documentary evidence
is inconclusive whether this branch traces its decent >from Rabbi
Mordechai JAFFE of Prague (1530-1612) and his uncle Rabbi Moses
JAFFE, who traced their ancestry to Samuel ben Elhanan, great-
grandson of Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1040-1105), and from
the latter to King David. Rabbi Mordechai's lifework was the
compilation of the Levush (Apparel), a major codification of
rabbinical law, and he was known as the "Ba'al haLevushim" or
Personal name repetition patterns are often strong indicators of
descent, especially if the ancestor was an illustrious rabbi. But
in my branch we do not find any Mordechais, just a few 19th century
Maxs, Moritzs and Martins - whose Hebrew names sometimes were
Mordechai. This is certainly not definitive proof.
There are other JAFFE families, including the descendants of Wolf
JAFFE and his son Rabbi Menachem Mendel Moses JAFFE of Krotoschin,
Posen Province who suspect, but cannot prove their descent >from the
Levush. Other families lived in Prussia, Poland, Lithuania and
So my proposal is:
1) Identify a few male JAFFEs who are "proven" descendants of the
Levush whose DNA has already been tested - or could be tested. Their
Y-Chromosome test results would serve as the standard against which
others would be compared;
2) Request direct male JAFFEs >from other "branches" to do likewise;
[Personally I cannot, because I'm a male descendant of a JAFFE
3) Compare the results to see if the various sampled male JAFFEs
share a common ancestor some 14-17 generations ago;
4) Rejoice that we've linked up with our "cousins" or accept that
we're just "commoners". [Undoubtedly some Jews adopted the JAFFE
surname upon marrying a JAFFE woman].
So with a very small effort, we various JAFFEs can answer
centuries-old questions about our heritage.
The testing can be done by Family Tree DNA, <www.familytreedna.com>,
which is approved by JewishGen.
I invite volunteers to step forward. Please contact me.