JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: jewishgen digest: January 10, 2004 #general

Nathan Reiss <nreiss@...>

Stephen Esrati writes:

I went to college with Louise G and asked her to marry me.
That was 50 years ago. She said no.
It was fortunate.
I have just learned >from a cousin in Israel that Louise G
belongs in my family through a link to Henriette G.
I immediately called Louise. She said she had a lot of
relatives named Henriette.
Actually, it's unfortunate! Contrary to popular belief, there's
no Jewish restriction on marriages between cousins, not even
between first cousins. The Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law)
doesn't actually mention cousin marriages, but it does indicate
that it's a mitzvah for a man to marry his sister's daughter or
his brother's daughter. I hasten to add that marrying your cousin
would, however, be a problem under Jewish law if the cousin were
also related to you in some way that violated the prohibited
unions listed in Leviticus (Vayikra) XVIII:6 et seq.

Cousin marriages are not too much of a problem genetically
either, unless it happens very frequently. While siblings have
1/4 of their genetic material in common, for first cousins it's
only 1/16, for second cousins it's 1/64, etc.

Nathan Reiss
Highland Park, NJ

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