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Tracing a Kohen #general

COL HARRY E STEIN <YTPT23A@...>
 

I ask for assistance in tracing the designation of "Kohen" through my
family tree. >from the Polish gravestone of the brother of my
gggrandfather, there is the inscription "Moishe The Kohen". The
inscription "Kohen" does not appear on the gravestone of my
gggrandfather, grandfather,nor father. My father and mother were
first cousins having been the children of brothers. The same lineage,
therefore, follows >from the matriarchal line as well as the
patriarchal line. The question is how does the religious designation
of "Kohen" follow the genealogical line? I am given to understand
that there are religious rules governing the conduct of Kohens. Can
any of these rules be a clue in following the family line, for
example, by choice of profession or marriage? There appears to be
Rabbis in the family. Thank you

Harry Stein

MBernet@...
 

<< >from the Polish gravestone of the brother of my gggrandfather, there is
the inscription "Moishe The Kohen". The inscription "Kohen" does not appear
on the gravestone of my gggrandfather, grandfather,nor father.
<<The question is how does the religious designation of "Kohen" follow the
genealogical line? >>

A Cohen (pl. Cohanim) is the son of a Cohen, son of a Cohen . . . . . . . son
of Aaron (brother of Moses). The lineage is NEVER transmitted through the
daughter of a Cohen.

Cohanim are a subset of the tribe of Levi. Commonly, the graveston of a Cohen
is marked with two hands, thumbs touching, spread two finger, space, two
fingers, space, thumbs . . . to mark the Cohen's only surviving religious
function, raising his hands to bless ("dukhaning"). If thse symbols appear on
your ancestor's tombstones, the word Cohen might have been considered
superfluous. It is also superfluous if the name Katz appears, or they are
designated with the letters Kaf-Tzade.

A Cohen who is physically deformed in certain ways, by birth disease or
accident, or one who marries a divorced woman or a proselyte, may no longer
assume his functions. I am not sure to what extent that would exclude also
his descendants.

It would be useful to know your ancestors' family name. Cohen, Kahan,
Kagan(ovitch), Kahn are the better known last names for Cohanim. Rappaport
and Kaplan are also usually Cohanim, as are Aaronson/Aaronowitz, and there are
many others. If it would be obvious to everyone >from the name that they were
cohanim, the designation may also have been left out on the stone.

What were the family names? Please respond privately.

Michael Bernet
seeking:
BERNET >from Frensdorf, Bamberg, Nurnberg, Hirschaid, (Bavaria)
KONIGSHOFER: Welbhausen, Konigshofen, Furth (S. Germany)
ALTMANN: Kattowitz, Breslau, Poznan, Beuthen--Upper Silesia/Poland
WOLF[F] Furth, Nurnberg, Wurzburg, Frankfurt, Antwerp, Rotterdam

Stan Goodman <sheol@...>
 

It is much less complicated than you appear to imagine. If a
man is a Kohen, his sons, all of them are also Kohanim. There
are no other rules for the transmission. It moves in the
paternal line only, never in the maternal.

On Wed, 2 Sep 1998 COL HARRY E STEIN wrote:

 I ask for assistance in tracing the designation of "Kohen" through my
 family tree. >from the Polish gravestone of the brother of my
 gggrandfather, there is the inscription "Moishe The Kohen". The
 inscription "Kohen" does not appear on the gravestone of my
 gggrandfather, grandfather,nor father. (SNIP)


Stan Goodman
Qiryat Tiv'on
Israel

(Remove "takeout" >from domain; change "sheol" to "stan". Sorry)

Searching:
NEACHOWICZ, NEJMAN/NAJMAN, ISMACH, ROKITA: Lomza Gubernia,
Poland
HERTANU, ABRAMOVICI, LAUER: Dorohoi District, Romania
GRISARU, VATARU: Iasi, Romania

Allison L Duke <allison.duke@...>
 

Would a Cohen still be a Cohen if say perhaps the grandson married out of
his faith?

Allison Duke
Auburn,Ga

allison.duke@...

MBernet@...
 

In a message dated 98-09-07 09:29:38 EDT, you write:

<< The fact that a person bears the name Katz does not necessarily indicate
that they are a cohen. My son-in-law's family name is Katz and he is not
a cohen. His family acquired the name, apparently for one of the reasons
for name change common in Eastern Europe during the last century.
==True, I know a Rabbi Cohen (Northanpton UK in the 1940's; Kfar Mordecai,
Israel, in the 1950's), who's a Levi. For the reasons you state. My
suggestion was not that all Kat's are cohanim, but that the words haCohen may
*possibly* be left off a stone if the status is otherwise indicated, by the
spread hands or by the appreviation Kaf Tzade--which ALMOST always indicated a
Cohen

<<The descendants of a cohen who marries a divorcee or proselyte are not
cohanim, those of a physically impaired cohen are. >>

==Thank you, that what I woulkd have deduced; I'm greateful to you for
pointing it out more clearly.

Michael Bernet

A.I. & S.W. Lebowitz <aileb@...>
 

On 2 Sep 98, at 12:18, MBernet@... wrote:

Cohanim are a subset of the tribe of Levi. Commonly, the gravestone of a
Cohen is marked with two hands, thumbs touching, spread two finger, space,
two fingers, space, thumbs . . . to mark the Cohen's only surviving
religious function, raising his hands to bless ("dukhaning"). If these
symbols appear on your ancestor's tombstones, the word Cohen might have
been considered superfluous. It is also superfluous if the name Katz
appears, or they are designated with the letters Kaf-Tzade.
The fact that a person bears the name Katz does not necessarily indicate
that they are a cohen. My son-in-law's family name is Katz and he is not
a cohen. His family acquired the name, apparently for one of the reasons
for name change common in Eastern Europe during the last century.

A Cohen who is physically deformed in certain ways, by birth disease or
accident, or one who marries a divorced woman or a proselyte, may no
longer assume his functions. I am not sure to what extent that would
exclude also his descendants.
The descendants of a cohen who marries a divorcee or proselyte are
not cohanim, those of a physically impaired cohen are.
Abe
Abraham & Shulamith Lebowitz (Har Nof-Jerusalem) aileb@...

MODERATOR NOTE: While of genealogical interest, we are now getting
into differences of opinion more heavily weighted in religious
interpretation. This forum is not appropriate for such discussion.
Please continue privately as this thread is ended.

MBernet@...
 

<< Would a Cohen still be a Cohen if say perhaps the grandson married out of
his faith? >>

Of course. We do not have a rule of backward-contagion. A Cohen is a
Cohen; he loses that role only when he acts in ways forbidden to the Cohen.
If a Cohen's son marries out and the grandson converts back, he would almost
certainly not have the status of cohen. But that's a religious issue and
you'd have to consult a knowledgable orthodox rabbi.

As far as genealogy is concerned, he can continue to carry the name Cohen,
even though halakhically he is not one. I know quite a number of non-Jewish
Cohens etc and Levis.

Michael Bernet

BERNET, BERNAT, BAERNET etc >from Frensdorf, Bamberg, Nurnberg, (Bavaria)
KONIGSHOFER: Welbhausen, Konigshofen, Furth (S. Germany)
ALTMANN: Kattowitz, Breslau, Poznan, Beuthen--Upper Silesia/Poland
WOLF, Sali & Rachel, Rotterdam, murdered by Dr. Petiot, Paris ca 1942
WEIL[L], Albert, Fr. hon. consul in Nurnberg; returned to France 1936/7.

MODERATOR NOTE: End of thread.

Dick Plotz
 

Stan Goodman wrote:

 It is much less complicated than you appear to imagine. If a
 man is a Kohen, his sons, all of them are also Kohanim. There
 are no other rules for the transmission. It moves in the
 paternal line only, never in the maternal.

On Wed, 2 Sep 1998 COL HARRY E STEIN wrote:

 I ask for assistance in tracing the designation of "Kohen" through my
 family tree. >from the Polish gravestone of the brother of my
 gggrandfather, there is the inscription "Moishe The Kohen". The
 inscription "Kohen" does not appear on the gravestone of my
 gggrandfather, grandfather,nor father. (SNIP)

Stan's correct explanation nevertheless ignores the fact that while the
designation of "Kohen" is simple and unambiguous, the term "brother" is not.
If, for instance, Harry Stein's gggm married twice, the second time to a
Kohen, Harry's ggf could well have used the surname of his stepfather and
regarded his half-brother as a brother, but that would not make him a Kohen.

--
Dick Plotz
Providence RI

MODERATOR NOTE: End of thread (bis).
This post gave a new angle on the question.