Date   

Distance between Sanok Poland and Vienna Austria #general

Andrea Robinson <braceand@...>
 

Excuse me for asking a dumb question but I need to know approximately how
far Sanok, Galicia Poland and Vienna Austria were >from each other around
1850. My GM, Anna Feit, always said she was >from Vienna, Austria on the
census but her death certificate lists Sanok as the place where she was
born.

Thanks in advance for your help.

FEIT Austria or Sanok Poland; GOLDSTEIN: Lodz; GRABOIS: Bessarabia; SOAFER:
Bessarabia.

Andrea Robinson, Culver City, CA

MODERATOR NOTE: Use the ShtetlSeeker Town Search at
http://www.jewishgen.org/ShtetlSeeker/loctown.htm.
This will get you a list of possible towns and their
coordinates. Click on the coordinates to see the town
location on a map.


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Distance between Sanok Poland and Vienna Austria #general

Andrea Robinson <braceand@...>
 

Excuse me for asking a dumb question but I need to know approximately how
far Sanok, Galicia Poland and Vienna Austria were >from each other around
1850. My GM, Anna Feit, always said she was >from Vienna, Austria on the
census but her death certificate lists Sanok as the place where she was
born.

Thanks in advance for your help.

FEIT Austria or Sanok Poland; GOLDSTEIN: Lodz; GRABOIS: Bessarabia; SOAFER:
Bessarabia.

Andrea Robinson, Culver City, CA

MODERATOR NOTE: Use the ShtetlSeeker Town Search at
http://www.jewishgen.org/ShtetlSeeker/loctown.htm.
This will get you a list of possible towns and their
coordinates. Click on the coordinates to see the town
location on a map.


I Will Be Away For Ten Days (re: translation help) #general

sacredsisters3@aol.com <sacredsisters3@...>
 

Hello To All Researchers:

I had already put out a posting for translations on some photos just
posted. I will be going on vacation for 10 days, so I will not be able
to read my e-mail or respond in kind to yours until I get back. So
please send me any and all versions of the english translation of the
writing on the back of the photo's mentioned in my previous posting and
I will thank you profusely when I get back.

Sarah Greenberg
sacredsisters3@aol.com


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen I Will Be Away For Ten Days (re: translation help) #general

sacredsisters3@aol.com <sacredsisters3@...>
 

Hello To All Researchers:

I had already put out a posting for translations on some photos just
posted. I will be going on vacation for 10 days, so I will not be able
to read my e-mail or respond in kind to yours until I get back. So
please send me any and all versions of the english translation of the
writing on the back of the photo's mentioned in my previous posting and
I will thank you profusely when I get back.

Sarah Greenberg
sacredsisters3@aol.com


Early 19th Century Polish Records #general

Hadassah Lipsius <kesher@...>
 

I was surprised by some statements recently posted stating that
JRI-Poland does not have much data for the period prior to 1850.
I do not believe that it is the case and perhaps people are not
familiar with JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OP Project and our Patronymic files.

Though 10 years ago, JRI-Poland's goal was to index the Russian language
records, we have moved leaps and bounds further in our 10 years history.
JRI-Poland's goal is to index all the available Jewish Records of Poland
and for any period of time for which those records are made available to us.

JRI-Poland launched the Shtetl CO-OP Project in 1997. A Shtetl CO-OP
consists of groups of volunteers with a common interest in an ancestral
town. Under the leadership of a project coordinator, each JRI- Poland
Shtetl CO-OP team's is to index all of the available Jewish Records >from
the LDS microfilms for that Town. Although it varies >from town to town,
this generally covers the years 1826-mid 1880's. Today there are more
than 195 Shtetl CO-OPs and over 114 towns have been completely indexed.

Over 800 LDS microfilms have been totally completed and live on the
JRI-Poland database and much more is in progress or awaiting to be
loaded on to the database.

In March 2005 we announced the completion the indexing of the LDS
microfilms for all of the 14 towns in the Suwalki Gubernia which meant
the completion of approximately 60 microfilms. These covered the years
1826 to the mid 1880's. If you are interested in these files, please
send an e-mail to suwalki@jri-poland.org

JRI-Poland also has on our website Patronymic files which can be
downloaded and viewed. These files cover the years 1808-1825 when many
Jews did not have surnames and when the Jewish records were recorded
together with their Christian neighbors. JRI-Poland volunteers have
worked hard on extracting data >from these LDS film in order. Look on
the homepage for the link to the patronymic files.

If there are available records for your town prior to 1850 and it is not
on the JRI-Poland database then perhaps they are waiting for you to volunteer.

Hadassah Lipsius
JRI-Poland
Associate Director


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Early 19th Century Polish Records #general

Hadassah Lipsius <kesher@...>
 

I was surprised by some statements recently posted stating that
JRI-Poland does not have much data for the period prior to 1850.
I do not believe that it is the case and perhaps people are not
familiar with JRI-Poland Shtetl CO-OP Project and our Patronymic files.

Though 10 years ago, JRI-Poland's goal was to index the Russian language
records, we have moved leaps and bounds further in our 10 years history.
JRI-Poland's goal is to index all the available Jewish Records of Poland
and for any period of time for which those records are made available to us.

JRI-Poland launched the Shtetl CO-OP Project in 1997. A Shtetl CO-OP
consists of groups of volunteers with a common interest in an ancestral
town. Under the leadership of a project coordinator, each JRI- Poland
Shtetl CO-OP team's is to index all of the available Jewish Records >from
the LDS microfilms for that Town. Although it varies >from town to town,
this generally covers the years 1826-mid 1880's. Today there are more
than 195 Shtetl CO-OPs and over 114 towns have been completely indexed.

Over 800 LDS microfilms have been totally completed and live on the
JRI-Poland database and much more is in progress or awaiting to be
loaded on to the database.

In March 2005 we announced the completion the indexing of the LDS
microfilms for all of the 14 towns in the Suwalki Gubernia which meant
the completion of approximately 60 microfilms. These covered the years
1826 to the mid 1880's. If you are interested in these files, please
send an e-mail to suwalki@jri-poland.org

JRI-Poland also has on our website Patronymic files which can be
downloaded and viewed. These files cover the years 1808-1825 when many
Jews did not have surnames and when the Jewish records were recorded
together with their Christian neighbors. JRI-Poland volunteers have
worked hard on extracting data >from these LDS film in order. Look on
the homepage for the link to the patronymic files.

If there are available records for your town prior to 1850 and it is not
on the JRI-Poland database then perhaps they are waiting for you to volunteer.

Hadassah Lipsius
JRI-Poland
Associate Director


adoption question #general

Sara Lynns
 

In doing family research trying to locate someone who was
adopted in 1960's or 1970's are those records public information?
Is it too recent?

thanks
Jacqueline Lerner-Aderman
Tigard, OR

MODERATOR NOTE: The variety of adoption laws has been discussed many
times. A search for "adoption" and related terms should bring some
threads up in the archives at
http://data.jewishgen.org/ViewMate/ALL/index.asp
and the most recent messages may be had by sending an e-mail to
listserv@lyris.jewishgen.org
with a message body reading:
get jewishgen 20050518-20050602
or whatever other date range you think is appropriate.


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen adoption question #general

Sara Lynns
 

In doing family research trying to locate someone who was
adopted in 1960's or 1970's are those records public information?
Is it too recent?

thanks
Jacqueline Lerner-Aderman
Tigard, OR

MODERATOR NOTE: The variety of adoption laws has been discussed many
times. A search for "adoption" and related terms should bring some
threads up in the archives at
http://data.jewishgen.org/ViewMate/ALL/index.asp
and the most recent messages may be had by sending an e-mail to
listserv@lyris.jewishgen.org
with a message body reading:
get jewishgen 20050518-20050602
or whatever other date range you think is appropriate.


Seeking Translation In English On VM6214 & VM6216 And Also Seeking Any And All Informtion On VM6215 #general

sacredsisters3@aol.com <sacredsisters3@...>
 

Hello To All Researchers:

I have posted 2 photos, front and back but only three show up. The
numbers are VM6214-16. I am seeking english translation of all the
writing on the back of each photo. I also would love any information on
the photo Vm6215. I would love to know where and when it was taken. The
photos' are >from my grandfathers side of the family. They are most
likely his siblings.

His family name is Fajkes/Faikes. I believe they all migrated from
poland to argentina sometime between the 1920's-1930's. My grandfather
Milton/Michal Faikes, his mother reva and sister rose were the only
ones who came to america as far as I know. Any and all information is
greatly appreciated.

Sarah Greenberg
sacredsisters3@aol.com

MODERATOR NOTE: The photos are posted at
http://data.jewishgen.org/ViewMate/ALL/index.asp


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Seeking Translation In English On VM6214 & VM6216 And Also Seeking Any And All Informtion On VM6215 #general

sacredsisters3@aol.com <sacredsisters3@...>
 

Hello To All Researchers:

I have posted 2 photos, front and back but only three show up. The
numbers are VM6214-16. I am seeking english translation of all the
writing on the back of each photo. I also would love any information on
the photo Vm6215. I would love to know where and when it was taken. The
photos' are >from my grandfathers side of the family. They are most
likely his siblings.

His family name is Fajkes/Faikes. I believe they all migrated from
poland to argentina sometime between the 1920's-1930's. My grandfather
Milton/Michal Faikes, his mother reva and sister rose were the only
ones who came to america as far as I know. Any and all information is
greatly appreciated.

Sarah Greenberg
sacredsisters3@aol.com

MODERATOR NOTE: The photos are posted at
http://data.jewishgen.org/ViewMate/ALL/index.asp


Social Security Form OA-C790-help needed #general

Ann & Leonard Jacobs <jacobsl002@...>
 

I received an OA-C790 >from the SSA, stating this was the only record
available. It's not a very good copy and I'm hopeful someone can tell me
what the data blocks are and maybe even some of the codes:

District Office: New York 27 NY
Code: 117
??: 03/21/66
Type ??: Ret
?? Number: L 19226C
Account Number: --un--
Name of A/N Holder: Jacobowitz, Ida
Sex: F
Date of Birth: 00 00 93
??: Blank
Date of Application: 03 07 66
Type Claim: L
Remarks: MI Y MRN PROJECT 2
Identifying information--account number unknown
??: Louis Jacobowitz ??: Rachel Houtman
??: Russia

Many thanks in advance,
Ann Jacobs
Kailua, Hawaii
Searching GREENWALD/GRINWALD/GRUNWALD etc, Falticeni, Romania
GELINSON, Minsk, Belarus
BABUSHKIN, Pinsk, Gomel, Belarus
JACOBOWITZ, Lomza, Rutka, Poland
ZETEKOFF, Lithuania


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Social Security Form OA-C790-help needed #general

Ann & Leonard Jacobs <jacobsl002@...>
 

I received an OA-C790 >from the SSA, stating this was the only record
available. It's not a very good copy and I'm hopeful someone can tell me
what the data blocks are and maybe even some of the codes:

District Office: New York 27 NY
Code: 117
??: 03/21/66
Type ??: Ret
?? Number: L 19226C
Account Number: --un--
Name of A/N Holder: Jacobowitz, Ida
Sex: F
Date of Birth: 00 00 93
??: Blank
Date of Application: 03 07 66
Type Claim: L
Remarks: MI Y MRN PROJECT 2
Identifying information--account number unknown
??: Louis Jacobowitz ??: Rachel Houtman
??: Russia

Many thanks in advance,
Ann Jacobs
Kailua, Hawaii
Searching GREENWALD/GRINWALD/GRUNWALD etc, Falticeni, Romania
GELINSON, Minsk, Belarus
BABUSHKIN, Pinsk, Gomel, Belarus
JACOBOWITZ, Lomza, Rutka, Poland
ZETEKOFF, Lithuania


Re: REINES family origins in Lithuania #general

Cyndee Meystel <cmeys@...>
 

There was a Rabbi Reines who as a rabbi in Lida, Lithuania who was a founder
of the Mizrachi movement.
--
Cyndee Meystel

"elana eisenstein" <elanafay@earthlink.net> wrote in message

I am trying to trace my REINES family history.

My great great grandmother was Masha Reines. She lived in Zembrov for much
or her life and died in Bialystok. I have not been able to find any birth
or marriage records for her. Can anyone tell me, >from what town was the
Lithuanian branch of the Reines family originally from.

Is anyone familiar with Rabbi Moshe (no last name given for him) who
married Raina (Reines), earlier in the family history. Do you know where
Rabbi Moshe was >from and what year he was married?


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: REINES family origins in Lithuania #general

Cyndee Meystel <cmeys@...>
 

There was a Rabbi Reines who as a rabbi in Lida, Lithuania who was a founder
of the Mizrachi movement.
--
Cyndee Meystel

"elana eisenstein" <elanafay@earthlink.net> wrote in message

I am trying to trace my REINES family history.

My great great grandmother was Masha Reines. She lived in Zembrov for much
or her life and died in Bialystok. I have not been able to find any birth
or marriage records for her. Can anyone tell me, >from what town was the
Lithuanian branch of the Reines family originally from.

Is anyone familiar with Rabbi Moshe (no last name given for him) who
married Raina (Reines), earlier in the family history. Do you know where
Rabbi Moshe was >from and what year he was married?


Re: Cohanim and their rightful name. #general

Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>
 

On Fri, 3 Jun 2005 18:10:01 UTC, tomchatt@earthlink.net (Tom Chatt) opined:

This had never occurred to me before, but 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? (Couldn't
you theoretically end up with a Cohen having non-Cohen grandsons through his
daughter who married a non-Cohen, and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons
through his son who married a non-Jew?)
Yes, belonging to the tribe of Levi is tranmitted through the male line. The
same is true of membership in the priestly clan (the kohanim), which is part
of Levi.

It isn't clear what you find surprising about the "theoretical" possibility
you posit. The sons of the above daughter, being the sons of a "non-kohen",
are not kohanim. The sons of the above son, being the sons of a non-Jewish
mother, are not Jews, and consequently are not kohanim either, inasmuch as
kohanim are by definition Jews.

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?
All kohanim are descendants of a single progenitor, Aharon, the High Priest,
the brother of Moshe, so they are all related on that level.

If two people >from the same area are both kohanim (or leviim)m it does not
take a deep knowledge of statistics to understand that they are more likely
to be closely related than e.g. a kohen and a non-kohen. The same statement
remains true if you substitute, for example, the name "Goldberg" for
"kohen".

--
Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

Searching:
NEACHOWICZ/NOACHOWICZ, NEJMAN/NAJMAN, SURALSKI: >from Lomza Gubernia
ISMACH: >from Lomza Gubernia, Galicia, and Ukraina
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: >from Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: >from Iasi, Dorohoi, and Mileanca, Romania

See my interactive family tree (requires Java 1.1.6 or better). the URL is:
http://www.hashkedim.com

For reasons connected with anti-spam/junk security, the return address is
not valid. To communicate with me, please visit my website (see the URL
above -- no Java required for this purpose) and fill in the email form
there.


Re: Cohanim and their rightful name. #general

Judith Romney Wegner
 

Tom Chatt asked:

This had never occurred to me before, but 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? (Couldn't
you theoretically end up with a Cohen having non-Cohen grandsons through his
daughter who married a non-Cohen, and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons
through his son who married a non-Jew?)
Dear Tom,

The question you raise is both interesting and important, and
reflects the fact that most people never notice the obvious
discrepancy within the Mishnah itself between the so-called
matrilineal rule for inheriting Jewish ethnicity and the patrilineal
rule that defines a Kohen, Levi, or Yisra'el. However, there was
originally no discrepancy, because the mishnaic system, in common
with the biblical Israelite system and for that matter all
patriarchal systems of antiquity, did NOT intend to (nor did it)
introduce a "matrilineal rule" applying to marriages between Jewish
women and gentile men.

Most people never disvover , because the complicated subject is not
addressed properly in Jewish educational institutions) that the
"matrilineal rule" which defines a child's ethnicity or caste by
reference to that of the inferior-caste parent (as defined in
Mishnah Qiddushin 3:12) boils down to only two types of case:

(1) the Mishnah made a new ruling about children of unions between
Jewish men and women of assorted castes (which included not only the
three castes of Kohen, Levi and Yisra'el familiar to most Jgenners,
but also some other, even lower categories (which we never even hear
of unless we study this particular Mishnah and need not worry about
for present purposes!) In all cases, by virtue of M. Qiddushin 3:12,
the child's identity would henceforth be that of the lower-caste
parent (which in real life was almost always the mother, because it
was not customary for fathers to marry off their daughters to lower
caste men - and back then fathers called the shots -- whereas by
contrast men quite often chose to marry lower caste women, as was
permissible in Jewish law).

(2) (and this is the case that concerns us here) the Mishnah made a
new ruling about children of unions between Jewish men and gentile
women. In the Misnnah, non-Jewishness is consistently treated in
effect as being the lowest possible "caste" status. This of course
was typical of ancient cultures, because each ethnic group thought
it was the highest form of life, and every other group was deemed
inferior; this is known as "chosen people syndrome" and has never
been limited to Jews -- but that's a whole other story, not for
today!).

Anyhow, getting back to case (2) (unions between Jews and gentiles)
it is important to note that as a matter of obvious historical fact,
the mishnaic sages who framed M. Qid. 3:12 were contemplating ONLY
marriages between Jewish men and gentile women and NOT the other way
around. That's because it would never even have crossed their minds
that a Jewish father would so much as think of marrying his daughter
off to a (by definition lower-caste) gentile man! But in real life
in mishnaic and talmudic times most Jews were living in the
Diaspora, and the sages had no effective way to control the marriage
choices of Jewish men, who could (and often did) freely choose to
marry according to the laws of the land where they resided -- and it
seems they often selected gentile women. (So, what else is new?)

So the sages decided to make a rule to control (or at least
influence) the marriage choices of Jewish men, specifically a rule
that would make it more advantageous for them to select Jewish
brides. That's why M. Qiddushin 3:12 enacted that the child of a
Jewish man and a gentile woman would henceforth no longer be
routinely considered a Jew, as had previously been more or less
routine. (One has only has to read the Bible carefully to realize
that -- but it is amazing how few people read the Bible carefully
enough! )

But (as all scholars agree) the mishnaic sages who made these rules
were an academic community who were in essence talking to each other,
and everyone in their "club" knew there was no such thing as a
marriage between a Jewish girl and a gentile man (because it was
unimaginable that any Jewish father would ever permit such a
union!). So they didn't even bother to spell out the "obvious" fact
that they were considering only the two real-life possibilities:
(a) marriage between a Jewish man and a Jewish woman, in which case
there was no problem -- so they didn't need to discuss it; and (b)
marriage between a Jewish man and a gentile woman -- in which case
the mishnaic rule aimed to reverse the existing situation (in which
Jews, like all other patriarchal societies before and since, had
followed a patrilineal system). Before M. Qiddushin 3:12, the
child of a Jewish man and gentile woman was automatically deemed a
Jew by everybody -- Jews and gentiles alike.(That's how patriarchy
worked then and in general still works now.)

The new rule, in effect, warned Jewish men that if they insisted on
going ahead and marrying a gentile woman (by definition a person of
inferior caste), henceforth their children would follow the inferior
caste, i.e. the children would not "count" as Jews but as gentiles.

No one knows exactly when the new rule began to be enforced (possibly
not until late or post talmudic times) -- and in particular no one
knows when the rule was first actually (albeit erroneously)
applied to marriages between Jewish females and gentile males.
Obviously it did not happen until such marriages actually began to
occur frequently in real life. And when this new interpretation
began to be applied, this became known as the "matrilineal" rule.
But the "matrilineal rule" clearly contradicted the manifestly
patrilineal system of the mishnaic sages themselves -- which shows up
most clearly in the rules that caste status among Jews descends in
the male line.

So, if you're still with me, Tom, that's the answer to your very
important question. Sorry it took so long to expound! Shabbat
Shalom to one and all!

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@brown.edu


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen RE: Cohanim and their rightful name. #general

Stan Goodman <SPAM_FOILER@...>
 

On Fri, 3 Jun 2005 18:10:01 UTC, tomchatt@earthlink.net (Tom Chatt) opined:

This had never occurred to me before, but 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? (Couldn't
you theoretically end up with a Cohen having non-Cohen grandsons through his
daughter who married a non-Cohen, and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons
through his son who married a non-Jew?)
Yes, belonging to the tribe of Levi is tranmitted through the male line. The
same is true of membership in the priestly clan (the kohanim), which is part
of Levi.

It isn't clear what you find surprising about the "theoretical" possibility
you posit. The sons of the above daughter, being the sons of a "non-kohen",
are not kohanim. The sons of the above son, being the sons of a non-Jewish
mother, are not Jews, and consequently are not kohanim either, inasmuch as
kohanim are by definition Jews.

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?
All kohanim are descendants of a single progenitor, Aharon, the High Priest,
the brother of Moshe, so they are all related on that level.

If two people >from the same area are both kohanim (or leviim)m it does not
take a deep knowledge of statistics to understand that they are more likely
to be closely related than e.g. a kohen and a non-kohen. The same statement
remains true if you substitute, for example, the name "Goldberg" for
"kohen".

--
Stan Goodman, Qiryat Tiv'on, Israel

Searching:
NEACHOWICZ/NOACHOWICZ, NEJMAN/NAJMAN, SURALSKI: >from Lomza Gubernia
ISMACH: >from Lomza Gubernia, Galicia, and Ukraina
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: >from Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: >from Iasi, Dorohoi, and Mileanca, Romania

See my interactive family tree (requires Java 1.1.6 or better). the URL is:
http://www.hashkedim.com

For reasons connected with anti-spam/junk security, the return address is
not valid. To communicate with me, please visit my website (see the URL
above -- no Java required for this purpose) and fill in the email form
there.


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen RE: Cohanim and their rightful name. #general

Judith Romney Wegner
 

Tom Chatt asked:

This had never occurred to me before, but 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? (Couldn't
you theoretically end up with a Cohen having non-Cohen grandsons through his
daughter who married a non-Cohen, and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons
through his son who married a non-Jew?)
Dear Tom,

The question you raise is both interesting and important, and
reflects the fact that most people never notice the obvious
discrepancy within the Mishnah itself between the so-called
matrilineal rule for inheriting Jewish ethnicity and the patrilineal
rule that defines a Kohen, Levi, or Yisra'el. However, there was
originally no discrepancy, because the mishnaic system, in common
with the biblical Israelite system and for that matter all
patriarchal systems of antiquity, did NOT intend to (nor did it)
introduce a "matrilineal rule" applying to marriages between Jewish
women and gentile men.

Most people never disvover , because the complicated subject is not
addressed properly in Jewish educational institutions) that the
"matrilineal rule" which defines a child's ethnicity or caste by
reference to that of the inferior-caste parent (as defined in
Mishnah Qiddushin 3:12) boils down to only two types of case:

(1) the Mishnah made a new ruling about children of unions between
Jewish men and women of assorted castes (which included not only the
three castes of Kohen, Levi and Yisra'el familiar to most Jgenners,
but also some other, even lower categories (which we never even hear
of unless we study this particular Mishnah and need not worry about
for present purposes!) In all cases, by virtue of M. Qiddushin 3:12,
the child's identity would henceforth be that of the lower-caste
parent (which in real life was almost always the mother, because it
was not customary for fathers to marry off their daughters to lower
caste men - and back then fathers called the shots -- whereas by
contrast men quite often chose to marry lower caste women, as was
permissible in Jewish law).

(2) (and this is the case that concerns us here) the Mishnah made a
new ruling about children of unions between Jewish men and gentile
women. In the Misnnah, non-Jewishness is consistently treated in
effect as being the lowest possible "caste" status. This of course
was typical of ancient cultures, because each ethnic group thought
it was the highest form of life, and every other group was deemed
inferior; this is known as "chosen people syndrome" and has never
been limited to Jews -- but that's a whole other story, not for
today!).

Anyhow, getting back to case (2) (unions between Jews and gentiles)
it is important to note that as a matter of obvious historical fact,
the mishnaic sages who framed M. Qid. 3:12 were contemplating ONLY
marriages between Jewish men and gentile women and NOT the other way
around. That's because it would never even have crossed their minds
that a Jewish father would so much as think of marrying his daughter
off to a (by definition lower-caste) gentile man! But in real life
in mishnaic and talmudic times most Jews were living in the
Diaspora, and the sages had no effective way to control the marriage
choices of Jewish men, who could (and often did) freely choose to
marry according to the laws of the land where they resided -- and it
seems they often selected gentile women. (So, what else is new?)

So the sages decided to make a rule to control (or at least
influence) the marriage choices of Jewish men, specifically a rule
that would make it more advantageous for them to select Jewish
brides. That's why M. Qiddushin 3:12 enacted that the child of a
Jewish man and a gentile woman would henceforth no longer be
routinely considered a Jew, as had previously been more or less
routine. (One has only has to read the Bible carefully to realize
that -- but it is amazing how few people read the Bible carefully
enough! )

But (as all scholars agree) the mishnaic sages who made these rules
were an academic community who were in essence talking to each other,
and everyone in their "club" knew there was no such thing as a
marriage between a Jewish girl and a gentile man (because it was
unimaginable that any Jewish father would ever permit such a
union!). So they didn't even bother to spell out the "obvious" fact
that they were considering only the two real-life possibilities:
(a) marriage between a Jewish man and a Jewish woman, in which case
there was no problem -- so they didn't need to discuss it; and (b)
marriage between a Jewish man and a gentile woman -- in which case
the mishnaic rule aimed to reverse the existing situation (in which
Jews, like all other patriarchal societies before and since, had
followed a patrilineal system). Before M. Qiddushin 3:12, the
child of a Jewish man and gentile woman was automatically deemed a
Jew by everybody -- Jews and gentiles alike.(That's how patriarchy
worked then and in general still works now.)

The new rule, in effect, warned Jewish men that if they insisted on
going ahead and marrying a gentile woman (by definition a person of
inferior caste), henceforth their children would follow the inferior
caste, i.e. the children would not "count" as Jews but as gentiles.

No one knows exactly when the new rule began to be enforced (possibly
not until late or post talmudic times) -- and in particular no one
knows when the rule was first actually (albeit erroneously)
applied to marriages between Jewish females and gentile males.
Obviously it did not happen until such marriages actually began to
occur frequently in real life. And when this new interpretation
began to be applied, this became known as the "matrilineal" rule.
But the "matrilineal rule" clearly contradicted the manifestly
patrilineal system of the mishnaic sages themselves -- which shows up
most clearly in the rules that caste status among Jews descends in
the male line.

So, if you're still with me, Tom, that's the answer to your very
important question. Sorry it took so long to expound! Shabbat
Shalom to one and all!

Judith Romney Wegner
jrw@brown.edu


Re: Cohanim and their descent #general

MBernet@...
 

In a message dated 6/3/2005 2:06:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
tomchatt@earthlink.net writes:

< . . . does being a Cohen or a Levite only pass through male lines? >

==correct

< 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
Kohen

< and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons through his son who married a
non-Jew?

==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


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Cohanim and their descent #general

MBernet@...
 

In a message dated 6/3/2005 2:06:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
tomchatt@earthlink.net writes:

< . . . does being a Cohen or a Levite only pass through male lines? >

==correct

< 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
Kohen

< and also having non-Jewish Cohen grandsons through his son who married a
non-Jew?

==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