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Where are Ashkenazi Jews from? Their Origins May Surprise You …

Ashkenazi Jews are a Jewish ethnic group who have their earliest ancestors from the indigenous tribes of Israelat least on one side of the family tree. A study published in 2013 in Nature Communications has shown their maternal lineage comes from a different, and possibly unexpected, source.

The research shows the origins of the matrilineal line for the Ashkenazi Jews comes from Europe. This goes against the common belief that Jewish people first arrived in central Europe after the ByzantineSasanian War of 602628 and only began settling in Germany in the Medieval period.

Ashkenazi Jews is the term used today to describe these Jewish people individuals who built religiously-based communities centuries later in Central and Eastern Europe. One of the things they are recognized for is the use of Yiddish a High German language written in the Hebrew alphabet and influenced by classical Hebrew and Aramaic.

The Yiddish calligraphic segment in the Worms Mahzor. ( Public Domain )

The 2013 study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England, said that while Ashkenazi Jews have lived in Europe for many centuries, the results of the study using DNA samples show that most European Jews descend from local people who converted to Judaism, not individuals who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago.

Ashkenazi Jews were declared a clear, homogeneous genetic subgroup following a 2006 study. Ashkenazi Jews come from the same genetic group, no matter if their ancestors were from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or another place with a large historical Jewish population. They are all in the same ethnic group.

How could it be that Ashkenazi Jews are just one genetic group? The answer is a relatively simple one: they didnt reproduce at a noticeable level with others outside their group (not even with other Jewish people). Researchers have shown Ashkenazi Jews were a reproductively isolated population in Europe for about 1000 years.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaakov Ashkenazi (1714). ( Public Domain )

Previous studies have found that 50-80% of the Ashkenazim DNA from the paternal lineage originated in the Near East. It is not surprising that there was a common belief that Israel and the Near East was their ancient homeland.

But the 2013 study showed 80% of Ashkenazi Jews maternal line comes from Europe – only a few people had genes originating in the Near East. As Professor Richards said at the time, This suggests that, even though Jewish men may indeed have migrated into Europe from Palestine around 2000 years ago, they seem to have married European women.

A Jewish couple from Worms, Germany, with the obligatory yellow badge on their clothes. The man holds a moneybag and bulbs of garlic, both often used in the portrayal of Jews. 16th century. ( Public Domain )

It appears that the majority of the European converts to Judaism during the early years of the Diaspora were women. That helps explain why the Ashkenazim can trace their female lineage to southern and western Europe.

In conclusion, Richards said , The origins of the Ashkenazim is one of the big questions that people have pursued again and again and never really come to a conclusive view.

Top Image: Detail of Ashkenazi Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) Source: Public Domain

By April Holloway

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Ashkenaz – Hebrew Nations

4. Identifications of Ashkenaz

Ashkenaz is often identified with the Scyths. One of the names given the Scythians in Assyrian scripts was Ashguz or Ashkuz which could easily have been pronounced similarly to Ashkenaz.Ashkenaz was attributed “Asia” (Genesis Rabah 37) meaning an area by Sardes in Lydia (Western Turkey by Phrygia), as well possibly as a region in Cilicia(Southeast Turkey, and to part of Afghanistan. The name Ashkenaz was also given (Targum Jehonathan on Ezekiel 27;23) to Haydayb (i.e. Adiabene) in Northern Syria which in the Talmud (Yebamot 17) is equated with Habor whereto part of the Exiled Israelites were taken (2-Kings 17;6). The Targum Jerushalemi identifies Ashkenaz with the BARBARI which is an ethnic connotation for the so called “Germanic” peoples who attacked and invaded the Roman Empire ca.200-500 c.e. Elsewhere both the Barbari and the Germans are identified with Edom. In ancient times the term BARBAR was used synonymously with the term for Hebrew. Adiabene, which one source ascribed to Ashkenaz, is also attributed (Genesis Rabah 37) to Riphah brother of Ashkenaz.

Ashkenazhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AshkenazFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ashkenaz is often identified with the Scythians and Sarmatians, due in part to the use of the name “Ashkuz” (Saka) for the Scythians in Assyrian Akkadian inscriptions. It may also refer to the Phrygians, who according to Homer’s Iliad settled around Lake Ascania. The Assyrian Gimirri and Hebrew Gomer have likewise been associated with the Cimmerians.

In rabbinic literature, the kingdom of Ashkenaz was first associated with the Scythian region, then later with the Slavic territories,[1](Kraus. S, 1932, Hashemot ‘ashkenaz usefarad, Tarbiz 3:423-435) and, from the 11th century onwards, with northern Europe and Germany (Kriwaczek, Paul (2005). Yiddish Civilization: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-82941-6. , Chapter 3, footnote 9).

The region of Ashkenaz was centred on the Rhineland and the Palatinate (notably Worms and Speyer), in what is now the westernmost part of Germany. Its geographic extent did not coincide with the German Christian principalities of the time, and it included northern France.How the name of Ashkenaz came to be associated in the rabbinic literature with the Rhineland is a subject of speculation.[Kriwaczek, Paul (2005). ibid]

In rabbinic literature from the 11th century, Ashkenaz was considered the ruler of a kingdom in the North and of the Northern and Germanic people.

In 1498, a monk named Annio da Viterbo published fragments known as “Pseudo-Berossus”, now considered a forgery, claiming that Babylonian records had shown that Noah had more than the three sons listed in the Bible. Specifically, Tuiscon or Tuisto is given as the fourth son of Noah, who had been the first ruler of Scythia and Germany following the dispersion of peoples, with him being succeeded by his son Mannus as the second king.

Later historians (e.g. Johannes Aventinus and Johann Hubner) managed to furnish numerous further details, including the assertion by James Anderson in the early 18th century that this Tuiscon was in fact none other than the biblical Ashkenaz, son of Gomer.[5] James Anderson’s 1732 tome Royal genealogies reports a significant number of antiquarian or mythographic traditions regarding Askenaz as the first king of ancient Germany, for example the following entry: Askenaz, or Askanes, called by Aventinus Tuisco the Giant, and by others Tuisto or Tuizo (whom Aventinus makes the 4th son of Noah, and that he was born after the flood, but without authority) was sent by Noah into Europe, after the flood 131 years, with 20 Captains, and made a settlement near the Tanais [estuary of the Don River, Black Sea], on the West coast of the Euxin [Black] sea (by some called Asken from him) and there founded the kingdom of the Germans and the Sarmatians…

In the vocables of Saxony and Hessia, there are some villages of the name Askenaz, and from him the Jews call the Germans Askenaz, but in the Saxonic and Italian, they are called Tuiscones, from Tuisco his other name. …The 20 captains or dukes that came with Askenaz are: Sarmata, from whom Sarmatia; Dacus or Danus – Dania or Denmark; Geta from whom the Getae; Gotha from whom the Goths; Tibiscus, people on the river Tibiscus; Mocia – Mysia; Phrygus or Brigus – Phrygia; Thynus – Bithynia; Dalmata – Dalmatia; Jader – Jadera Colonia; Albanus from whom Albania; Zavus – the river Save; Pannus -Pannonia; Salon – the town Sale, Azalus – the Azali; Hister – Istria; Adulas, Dietas, Ibalus – people that of old dwelt between the rivers Oenus and Rhenus; Epirus, from whom Epirus.

Askenaz had a brother called Scytha (say the Germans) the father of the Scythians, for which the Germans have of old been called Scythians too (very justly, for they came mostly from old Scythia) and Germany had several ancient names; for that part next to the Euxin was called Scythia, and the country of the Getes, but the parts east of the Vistule or Weyssel were called Sarmatia Europaea, and westward it was called Gallia, Celtica, Allemania, Francia and Teutonia; for old Germany comprehended the greater part of Europe; and those called Gauls were all old Germans; who by ancient authors were called Celts, Gauls and Galatians, which is confirmed by the historians Strabo and Aventinus, and by Alstedius in his Chronology…

=============================================================5.Ethnic Germans, Ashkenazi Jews, and Yiddish

Ashkenazi Jews have little in common with the real Ashkenazim of Germany other than the name.Ashkenaz was the name given in Jewish writings to Northern France and to the Rhineland of Germany and and then later to all Germany. The Jews were driven out of Germany and moved to the east bringing their customs and language with them. They were known as Ashkenazim after the places they had come from. Since they were culturally superior local Jews copied their ways. So all East European Jews as well as those of Germany and France became known as Ashkenazim. At least that is what historians usually assume.Another possibility exists which is that the Jews of eastern Europe settled in townships which at that time spoke German.In the period 200 BCE to ca. 450 CE surges of peoples speaking Germanic languages moved westward. They were followed by others speaking Slavic tongues and possessing a Slavic culture. In simplified terms from ca. 850 CE right up to 1850 the process westward was reversed and Germans began moving back towards the east. Areas close to Germany such as Prussia eventually became German in language and culture. Further east, in places such as Poland and Rumania, townships were set up by German settlers. The local non-Germanic rulers often considered themselves a different race from those they ruled over. They encouraged Germanic settlement. Natives who settled in these towns accepted German culture and eventually were considered ethnic Germans. (Occasionally it worked in the opposite direction. Numerous Germans from Saxony settled in Hungary, adopted the Magyar tongue and henceforth were regarded as native Hungarians.) Jews too were part of this process. Jews settled in the towns. Like everyone else they adopted the language already prevailing in the townships. Even Jews in the countryside regarded themselves as associated with the town communities. In the earlier stages the prevailing dialect in the townships was a type of southern German. This had a seminal effect in the formation of the Yiddish Language.

Ashkenazi JewsFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_JewsExtracts:Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or simply Ashkenazim… are a Jewish ethnic division that coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the 1st millennium.[13] The traditional language of Ashkenazi Jews consisted of various dialects of Yiddish.They established communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe, which had been their primary region of concentration and residence until recent times, evolving their own distinctive characteristics and diasporic identities.[14] Once emancipated, weaving Jewish creativity into the texture of European life (Hannah Arendt),[15] the Ashkenazi made a ‘quite disproportionate and remarkable contribution to humanity’ (Eric Hobsbawm[16]), and to European culture in all fields of endeavour: philosophy, scholarship, literature, art, music and science.[17][18] The genocidal impact of the Holocaust, the mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews during World War II devastated the Ashkenazi and their Yiddish culture, affecting almost every Jewish family.[19][20]

It is estimated that in the 11th century Ashkenazi Jews composed only three percent of the world’s Jewish population, while at their peak in 1931 they accounted for 92 percent of the world’s Jews. Immediately prior to the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world stood at approximately 16.7 million.[21] Statistical figures vary for the contemporary demography of Ashkenazi Jews, oscillating between 10 million[1] and 11.2 million.[2] Sergio Della Pergola in a rough calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, implies that Ashkenazi make up less than 74% of Jews worldwide.[22] Other estimates place Ashkenazi Jews as making up about 75% of Jews worldwide.[23]

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Ashkenaz – Hebrew Nations

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Ashkenazi | Definition of Ashkenazi in English by Oxford …

noun

A Jew of central or eastern European descent. More than 80 per cent of Jews today are Ashkenazim; they preserve Palestinian rather than Babylonian Jewish traditions and some still use Yiddish.

Example sentences

From modern Hebrew, from Ashkenaz, grandson of Japheth, one of the sons of Noah (Gen. 10:3).

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Ashkenazi | definition of Ashkenazi by Medical dictionary

(redirected from Ashkenazi)Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia. In the 11th century, Ashkenazi Jews comprised 3% of the world’s Jewish population, peaking at 92% in 1931; following the holocaust in World War II, that number decreased. Ashkenazi Jews now comprise 80% of Jews worldwide.

Carrier rates, genetic diseases affecting Ashkenazi Jews Factor XI deficiency1:9 to 1:20 Gaucher disease, type 11:10 to 1:14 Non-syndrome hearing loss1:20 to 1:25 Tay-Sachs disease1:25 to 1:27 Cystic fibrosis1:29 Familial dysautonomia1:30 Glycogen storage disease type III1:35 (north African Jews) Canavan disease1:40 BRCA1, BRCA21:40 Fanconi anaemia, type C1:89 Niemann-Pick disease, type A1:90 Mucolipidosis IV1:99 Bloom syndrome1:110 Maple syrup urine disease1:113 Glycogen storage disease type 1a1:130 Abetalipoproteinemia1:131 Primary torsion dystonia1:1000 to 1:3000

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Ashkenazi | definition of Ashkenazi by Medical dictionary

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Ashkenazi – definition of Ashkenazi by The Free Dictionary

It features a touching tribute to the late, great Israeli pop star Ofra Haza: “In a world where the actors on TV were Ashkenazi and the singers on the radio were Ashkenazi and the models in magazines were Ashkenazi,” writes the Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari, “there was Ofra, the simple Yemeni girl from Hatikva neighborhood whose star shone brighter than anyone’s, who made it against all odds, and who looked like me, or like one of my more beautiful cousins.Int: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi.What they discovered was shocking; The Druze are genetically closer to people in the Caucuses, Turkey, and Ashkenazi Jews then they are to any other ethnic group in the Middle East.BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NASDAQ: BVXV, TASE: BVXV), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has added Professor Shai Ashkenazi to its Scientific Advisory Board, it was reported yesterday.My problem has been that Ashkenazi Jews have failed to acknowledge and recognize me as a Jew.The investigators base their recommendation on a study they conducted in the Ashkenazi Jewish population of Israel.In 1580, in Gniezno, Poland, Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi (1513-1586) completed his magnum opus, Sefer Ma’aseh Hashem, an extensive examination of the narrative portions of the Tanakh.Some races have a tendency to carry these dangerous genes – Jewish women of Ashkenazi descent ( from Central and Eastern Europe) are one of them.Summary: Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi has been put under house arrest after a marathon grilling by .Eytan Fox’s 2004 Walk on Water came next, in which his role as a beautiful but broken Mossad agent secured Ashkenazi his monopoly on cinematic eros.The apparent smear campaign stemmed from a scandal known as the Harpaz Affair, where IDF members close to Ashkenazi reportedly appointed his successor using a forged document.Gabi Ashkenazi, who warned that Israel’s enemies would notice the measure and that in itself might touch off a war.

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The 5 Most Common Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases

According to current estimates, as many as one in three Ashkenazi Jews, those with Eastern European descent, are carriers for certain genetic diseases, including Gaucher disease. Researchers think Ashkenazi genetic diseases arise because of the common ancestry many Jews share. While people from any ethnic group can develop genetic diseases, Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk for certain diseases because of specific gene mutations.

Scientists call this propensity to developing disease the Founder Effect. Hundreds of years ago, mutations occurred in the genes of certain Ashkenazi Jews. The carriers of these newly mutated genes were unaffected by them, but their descendants were at greater risk for developing genetic diseases as a result of inheriting mutated genes. Over the course of Jewish history, many mutated genes, including the gene responsible for Gaucher disease, GBA1, were passed on from generation to generation.

For a child to develop one of the genetic diseases prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews, they must inherit two mutations for the same disease. In every living person, genes are paired in each pair, one gene comes from the mother and the other comes from the father. For recessive inheritance of a genetic disease to occur, both genes in a pair must be abnormal.

If two parents that carry a mutation in the same gene have a child, several outcomes are possible:

Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, a genetic counseling instructor and executive director of the JScreen Jewish Genetic Screening Program based out of Emory University School of Medicine explains, Two people who are carriers for the same disease can each pass the mutated gene to each child they have together. If a child inherits two copies of the mutated gene, one from each parent, he has no protection against the disease and will be affected.

Certain genetic disorders are more common in Ashkenazi Jews, and carrier frequencies for these diseases are higher in the Jewish population than in other groups. Carrier frequency is a measure of how often a mutated gene appears within a certain population group; with each disease, the carrier frequency is represented by the proportion of Ashkenazi Jews who have a copy of a mutated gene.

Because of mutations in certain genes and high carrier frequencies, five diseases are especially common among Ashkenazi Jews:

The most common Ashkenazi genetic disease is Gaucher disease, with one out of every 10 Ashkenazi Jews carrying the mutated gene that causes the disease. Doctors classify Gaucher disease into three different types, resulting from a deficiency of glucocerebrosidase (GCase) within the body. Type 1, which is treatable, is the most common form among Ashkenazi Jews.

Normally, cells in the lungs and digestive system produce a thin, slippery mucus as part of normal physiological processes. In people with cystic fibrosis, this mucus becomes much thicker and stickier, which damages internal organs, especially the lungs. It is possible to manage this condition with medications and daily care, but those who develop this disease have shortened life spans, typically only living into the mid- to late 30s.

Certain mutations on the HEXA gene cause Tay-Sachs disease, which is characterized by progressive deterioration of nerve cells (neurons) in both the brain and spinal cord. This destruction results from a shortage of an enzyme required to break down fatty substances in the body. There is currently no cure for Tay-Sachs disease.

Typically, symptoms of this disease are already present when a baby is born. Familial dysautonomia is characterized by changes to nerves in the autonomic nervous system. These nerves are responsible for many involuntary bodily functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion. While there has been progress in developing effective treatments for this disease, people with the condition usually have shortened lifespans.

There are several different types of this disease, but all affect the control of muscle movement due to a decline in the number of specialized nerve cells, called motor neurons, in both the spinal cord and brainstem. Life expectancy varies widely depending on the type. There is no cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but treatment may be effective at managing the symptoms and complications.

In 2016, NGF and JScreen, a national community-based public health initiative based out of Emory University School of Medicine, launched a collaborative carrier screening program to increase awareness of and screening for Gaucher disease and other genetic diseases common to Jews. The initiative ensures the first 1000 people who sign up through December 31, 2017 can obtain an at-home testing kit that screens for more than 200 genetic diseases that affect people from all ethnic groups, including diseases that are most common among the Ashkenazi Jewish population.

The first step in the process is to complete online registration and consent forms. Then, JScreen faxes an order to your healthcare provider notifying them of your intent to pursue genetic testing and asking them to acknowledge and approve the request. Ms. Grinzaid says, Unlike some of the direct-to-consumer services, were making sure a medical team is involved throughout this process.

JScreen will then mail a saliva collection kit to your home. You collect a small saliva sample and send it to a laboratory for testing. Genetic counselors review the results of your test and invite you to take part in a genetic counseling session. You wont be charged any additional fees. The purpose of the counseling session is to provide you with more information and resources to help ensure the best possible outcome for any children you might have.

Even though the screening initiative has been successful, both NGF and JScreen are committed to raising awareness of the importance of genetic screening so that people in high-risk groups are better able to plan for their families future. In many cases, couples in high-risk ethnic populations are only offered carrier screening after pregnancy has already occurred.

Ms. Grinzaid says, We want people to understand that most conditions were screening for are inherited in an autosomal recessive way. In order for a child to be affected, both parents need to be carriers for the same disease. Each time they have a pregnancy, theres a 25 percent risk. In almost 80 percent of cases where a baby is born with one of these genetic conditions, theyre born to a couple with no family history of this condition. When people dont see anything in their family history, they think they dont need to worry so they dont pursue testing or think its important. Couples with Jewish heritage would benefit from genetic testing before beginning a family.

The only two ways to know youre a carrier are to have an affected child, because that would prove youre a carrier, or to undergo screening, which is what were trying to encourage, says Ms. Grinzaid.

The main goal of the JScreen and NGF collaboration is to offer as much information as possible to populations with higher prevalence of Gaucher disease, like those with an Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. The hope is that more people will take advantage of genetic screening in order to be more informed of their chances of being affected by Gaucher and of available treatments.

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The 5 Most Common Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases

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Ashkenazi Jews – definition of Ashkenazi Jews by The Free …

Polygamy has been prohibited amongst Ashkenazi Jews for a millennium and was already a rare occurrence among Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews in Israel by the time the Knesset banned the practice in 1977.During the 1950s, European immigrants to Israel considered immigrants from Muslim countries to be inferior, say Bareli and Cohen, which tested the concept of klal Yisrael, the traditional-modern vision of a single Jewish collective encompassing diverse Jewish societies and cultures, and added an incendiary socio-economic dimension to the age-old distinction between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.While three million Polish Ashkenazi Jews made up a significant proportion of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, let us also not forget the three million Polish gentiles who also met their deaths, the three million Ukrainians who died or the two million Ukrainians enslaved by the Nazis.Jerusalem is Zarnouqa, the village from which my family together with thousands of villagers, were ethnically cleansed in 1948 in order to make room for Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, a pure Jewish state, similar to Apartheid South Africa and other settler-colonies, one that does not grant you citizenship unless you are born to a Jewish mother.Needless to say, these are not anti-Israel images, they are anti-Semitic imagesfrom the caricatures of religious Jews, to the comparison of Ashkenazi Jews to Nazis, to the use of symbols like yarmulkes and repeated invocations of the Jewish religion.Israeli culture has traditionally been dominated by Ashkenazi Jews, and a sense of second-class status became fundamental to Mizrahi identity.Screening for the HEXA mutation is therefore recommended for all Ashkenazi Jews planning children.But it wasn’t until the 1990s, when the lifting of the Iron Curtain collided with the dawn of the Internet, that I joined thousands of other Ashkenazi Jews starved for knowledge about their roots and ready to pry open the past.By seeking to fulfil the Zionist agenda of establishing a ‘Jewish State’ in Palestine, Israel made it imperative to remove the native Palestinian-Arab population in a mass ethnic-cleansing drive to make room for European Ashkenazi Jews to come and colonise, in phases, all of historical Palestine.Approaching the neo-liberal discourse, Shari Jacobson tries to prove that the process of tesbuva (“return” to orthodoxy) among Ashkenazi Jews manifests their argentinidad, taking the therapeutic discourse of her informants as evidence.These people were part of a bigger study, called the Longevity Genes Project that examined 500 Ashkenazi Jews ages 95 and older as well as 700 of their offspring.This provides a more accurate estimate of the prevalence of GD in Israel, considering the higher disease prevalence among the Ashkenazi Jews as compared with the general population.

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Ashkenazi | Define Ashkenazi at Dictionary.com

[ahsh-kuh-nah-zim]

Word Origin

Dictionary.com UnabridgedBased on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2018

C19: Late Hebrew, from Hebrew Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer (Genesis 10:3; I Chronicles 1:6), a descendant of Noah through Japheth, and hence taken to be identified with the ancient Ascanians of Phrygia and, in the medieval period, the Germans

Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

(plural) “central and northern European Jews” (as opposed to Sephardim, Jews of Spain and Portugal), 1839, from Hebrew Ashkenazzim, plural of Ashkenaz, eldest son of Gomer (Gen. x:3), also the name of a people mentioned in Jer. li:27 (perhaps akin to Greek skythoi “Scythians,” cf. Akkadian ishkuzai); identified historically with various people; in Middle Ages, with the Germans.

Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010 Douglas Harper

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Who Are Ashkenazi Jews? | My Jewish Learning

Ashkenazi Jews are the Jewish ethnic identity most readily recognized by North Americans the culture of matzah balls, black-hatted Hasidim and Yiddish. This ethnicity originated in medieval Germany. Although strictly speaking, Ashkenazim refers to Jews of Germany, the term has come to refer more broadly to Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. Jews first reached the interior of Europe by following trade routes along waterways during the eighth and ninth centuries.

READ: Ashkenazic Cuisine

Eventually, the vast majority of Ashkenazi Jewsrelocated to the Polish Commonwealth (todays Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus), where princes welcomed their skilled and educated workforce. The small preexistent Polish Jewish communitys customs were displaced by the Ashkenazic prayer order, customs, and Yiddish language.

Jewish life and learning thrived in northeastern Europe. The yeshiva culture of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania produced a constant stream of new talmudic scholarship. In 18th-century Germany, the Haskalah movement advocated for modernization, introducing the modern denominations and institutions of secular Jewish culture.

Although the first American Jews were Sephardic, today Ashkenazim are the most populous ethnic group in North America. The modern religious denominations developed in Ashkenazic countries, and therefore most North American synagogues use the Ashkenazic liturgy.

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Where are Ashkenazi Jews from? Their Origins May Surprise You …

Ashkenazi Jews are a Jewish ethnic group who have their earliest ancestors from the indigenous tribes of Israelat least on one side of the family tree. A study published in 2013 in Nature Communications has shown their maternal lineage comes from a different, and possibly unexpected, source. The research shows the origins of the matrilineal line for the Ashkenazi Jews comes from Europe. This goes against the common belief that Jewish people first arrived in central Europe after the ByzantineSasanian War of 602628 and only began settling in Germany in the Medieval period. Ashkenazi Jews is the term used today to describe these Jewish people individuals who built religiously-based communities centuries later in Central and Eastern Europe. One of the things they are recognized for is the use of Yiddish a High German language written in the Hebrew alphabet and influenced by classical Hebrew and Aramaic. The Yiddish calligraphic segment in the Worms Mahzor. ( Public Domain ) The 2013 study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England, said that while Ashkenazi Jews have lived in Europe for many centuries, the results of the study using DNA samples show that most European Jews descend from local people who converted to Judaism, not individuals who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Ashkenazi Jews were declared a clear, homogeneous genetic subgroup following a 2006 study. Ashkenazi Jews come from the same genetic group, no matter if their ancestors were from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or another place with a large historical Jewish population. They are all in the same ethnic group. How could it be that Ashkenazi Jews are just one genetic group? The answer is a relatively simple one: they didnt reproduce at a noticeable level with others outside their group (not even with other Jewish people). Researchers have shown Ashkenazi Jews were a reproductively isolated population in Europe for about 1000 years. Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch ben Yaakov Ashkenazi (1714). ( Public Domain ) Previous studies have found that 50-80% of the Ashkenazim DNA from the paternal lineage originated in the Near East. It is not surprising that there was a common belief that Israel and the Near East was their ancient homeland. But the 2013 study showed 80% of Ashkenazi Jews maternal line comes from Europe – only a few people had genes originating in the Near East. As Professor Richards said at the time, This suggests that, even though Jewish men may indeed have migrated into Europe from Palestine around 2000 years ago, they seem to have married European women. A Jewish couple from Worms, Germany, with the obligatory yellow badge on their clothes. The man holds a moneybag and bulbs of garlic, both often used in the portrayal of Jews. 16th century. ( Public Domain ) It appears that the majority of the European converts to Judaism during the early years of the Diaspora were women. That helps explain why the Ashkenazim can trace their female lineage to southern and western Europe. In conclusion, Richards said , The origins of the Ashkenazim is one of the big questions that people have pursued again and again and never really come to a conclusive view. Top Image: Detail of Ashkenazi Jews praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur. (1878 painting by Maurycy Gottlieb) Source: Public Domain By April Holloway

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Ashkenaz – Hebrew Nations

4. Identifications of Ashkenaz Ashkenaz is often identified with the Scyths. One of the names given the Scythians in Assyrian scripts was Ashguz or Ashkuz which could easily have been pronounced similarly to Ashkenaz.Ashkenaz was attributed “Asia” (Genesis Rabah 37) meaning an area by Sardes in Lydia (Western Turkey by Phrygia), as well possibly as a region in Cilicia(Southeast Turkey, and to part of Afghanistan. The name Ashkenaz was also given (Targum Jehonathan on Ezekiel 27;23) to Haydayb (i.e. Adiabene) in Northern Syria which in the Talmud (Yebamot 17) is equated with Habor whereto part of the Exiled Israelites were taken (2-Kings 17;6). The Targum Jerushalemi identifies Ashkenaz with the BARBARI which is an ethnic connotation for the so called “Germanic” peoples who attacked and invaded the Roman Empire ca.200-500 c.e. Elsewhere both the Barbari and the Germans are identified with Edom. In ancient times the term BARBAR was used synonymously with the term for Hebrew. Adiabene, which one source ascribed to Ashkenaz, is also attributed (Genesis Rabah 37) to Riphah brother of Ashkenaz. Ashkenazhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AshkenazFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Ashkenaz is often identified with the Scythians and Sarmatians, due in part to the use of the name “Ashkuz” (Saka) for the Scythians in Assyrian Akkadian inscriptions. It may also refer to the Phrygians, who according to Homer’s Iliad settled around Lake Ascania. The Assyrian Gimirri and Hebrew Gomer have likewise been associated with the Cimmerians. In rabbinic literature, the kingdom of Ashkenaz was first associated with the Scythian region, then later with the Slavic territories,[1](Kraus. S, 1932, Hashemot ‘ashkenaz usefarad, Tarbiz 3:423-435) and, from the 11th century onwards, with northern Europe and Germany (Kriwaczek, Paul (2005). Yiddish Civilization: The Rise and Fall of a Forgotten Nation. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-82941-6. , Chapter 3, footnote 9). The region of Ashkenaz was centred on the Rhineland and the Palatinate (notably Worms and Speyer), in what is now the westernmost part of Germany. Its geographic extent did not coincide with the German Christian principalities of the time, and it included northern France.How the name of Ashkenaz came to be associated in the rabbinic literature with the Rhineland is a subject of speculation.[Kriwaczek, Paul (2005). ibid] In rabbinic literature from the 11th century, Ashkenaz was considered the ruler of a kingdom in the North and of the Northern and Germanic people. In 1498, a monk named Annio da Viterbo published fragments known as “Pseudo-Berossus”, now considered a forgery, claiming that Babylonian records had shown that Noah had more than the three sons listed in the Bible. Specifically, Tuiscon or Tuisto is given as the fourth son of Noah, who had been the first ruler of Scythia and Germany following the dispersion of peoples, with him being succeeded by his son Mannus as the second king. Later historians (e.g. Johannes Aventinus and Johann Hubner) managed to furnish numerous further details, including the assertion by James Anderson in the early 18th century that this Tuiscon was in fact none other than the biblical Ashkenaz, son of Gomer.[5] James Anderson’s 1732 tome Royal genealogies reports a significant number of antiquarian or mythographic traditions regarding Askenaz as the first king of ancient Germany, for example the following entry: Askenaz, or Askanes, called by Aventinus Tuisco the Giant, and by others Tuisto or Tuizo (whom Aventinus makes the 4th son of Noah, and that he was born after the flood, but without authority) was sent by Noah into Europe, after the flood 131 years, with 20 Captains, and made a settlement near the Tanais [estuary of the Don River, Black Sea], on the West coast of the Euxin [Black] sea (by some called Asken from him) and there founded the kingdom of the Germans and the Sarmatians… In the vocables of Saxony and Hessia, there are some villages of the name Askenaz, and from him the Jews call the Germans Askenaz, but in the Saxonic and Italian, they are called Tuiscones, from Tuisco his other name. …The 20 captains or dukes that came with Askenaz are: Sarmata, from whom Sarmatia; Dacus or Danus – Dania or Denmark; Geta from whom the Getae; Gotha from whom the Goths; Tibiscus, people on the river Tibiscus; Mocia – Mysia; Phrygus or Brigus – Phrygia; Thynus – Bithynia; Dalmata – Dalmatia; Jader – Jadera Colonia; Albanus from whom Albania; Zavus – the river Save; Pannus -Pannonia; Salon – the town Sale, Azalus – the Azali; Hister – Istria; Adulas, Dietas, Ibalus – people that of old dwelt between the rivers Oenus and Rhenus; Epirus, from whom Epirus. Askenaz had a brother called Scytha (say the Germans) the father of the Scythians, for which the Germans have of old been called Scythians too (very justly, for they came mostly from old Scythia) and Germany had several ancient names; for that part next to the Euxin was called Scythia, and the country of the Getes, but the parts east of the Vistule or Weyssel were called Sarmatia Europaea, and westward it was called Gallia, Celtica, Allemania, Francia and Teutonia; for old Germany comprehended the greater part of Europe; and those called Gauls were all old Germans; who by ancient authors were called Celts, Gauls and Galatians, which is confirmed by the historians Strabo and Aventinus, and by Alstedius in his Chronology… =============================================================5.Ethnic Germans, Ashkenazi Jews, and Yiddish Ashkenazi Jews have little in common with the real Ashkenazim of Germany other than the name.Ashkenaz was the name given in Jewish writings to Northern France and to the Rhineland of Germany and and then later to all Germany. The Jews were driven out of Germany and moved to the east bringing their customs and language with them. They were known as Ashkenazim after the places they had come from. Since they were culturally superior local Jews copied their ways. So all East European Jews as well as those of Germany and France became known as Ashkenazim. At least that is what historians usually assume.Another possibility exists which is that the Jews of eastern Europe settled in townships which at that time spoke German.In the period 200 BCE to ca. 450 CE surges of peoples speaking Germanic languages moved westward. They were followed by others speaking Slavic tongues and possessing a Slavic culture. In simplified terms from ca. 850 CE right up to 1850 the process westward was reversed and Germans began moving back towards the east. Areas close to Germany such as Prussia eventually became German in language and culture. Further east, in places such as Poland and Rumania, townships were set up by German settlers. The local non-Germanic rulers often considered themselves a different race from those they ruled over. They encouraged Germanic settlement. Natives who settled in these towns accepted German culture and eventually were considered ethnic Germans. (Occasionally it worked in the opposite direction. Numerous Germans from Saxony settled in Hungary, adopted the Magyar tongue and henceforth were regarded as native Hungarians.) Jews too were part of this process. Jews settled in the towns. Like everyone else they adopted the language already prevailing in the townships. Even Jews in the countryside regarded themselves as associated with the town communities. In the earlier stages the prevailing dialect in the townships was a type of southern German. This had a seminal effect in the formation of the Yiddish Language. Ashkenazi JewsFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi_JewsExtracts:Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or simply Ashkenazim… are a Jewish ethnic division that coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the 1st millennium.[13] The traditional language of Ashkenazi Jews consisted of various dialects of Yiddish.They established communities throughout Central and Eastern Europe, which had been their primary region of concentration and residence until recent times, evolving their own distinctive characteristics and diasporic identities.[14] Once emancipated, weaving Jewish creativity into the texture of European life (Hannah Arendt),[15] the Ashkenazi made a ‘quite disproportionate and remarkable contribution to humanity’ (Eric Hobsbawm[16]), and to European culture in all fields of endeavour: philosophy, scholarship, literature, art, music and science.[17][18] The genocidal impact of the Holocaust, the mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews during World War II devastated the Ashkenazi and their Yiddish culture, affecting almost every Jewish family.[19][20] It is estimated that in the 11th century Ashkenazi Jews composed only three percent of the world’s Jewish population, while at their peak in 1931 they accounted for 92 percent of the world’s Jews. Immediately prior to the Holocaust, the number of Jews in the world stood at approximately 16.7 million.[21] Statistical figures vary for the contemporary demography of Ashkenazi Jews, oscillating between 10 million[1] and 11.2 million.[2] Sergio Della Pergola in a rough calculation of Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, implies that Ashkenazi make up less than 74% of Jews worldwide.[22] Other estimates place Ashkenazi Jews as making up about 75% of Jews worldwide.[23]

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Ashkenazi | Definition of Ashkenazi in English by Oxford …

noun A Jew of central or eastern European descent. More than 80 per cent of Jews today are Ashkenazim; they preserve Palestinian rather than Babylonian Jewish traditions and some still use Yiddish. Example sentences From modern Hebrew, from Ashkenaz, grandson of Japheth, one of the sons of Noah (Gen. 10:3).

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Ashkenazi | definition of Ashkenazi by Medical dictionary

(redirected from Ashkenazi)Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia. In the 11th century, Ashkenazi Jews comprised 3% of the world’s Jewish population, peaking at 92% in 1931; following the holocaust in World War II, that number decreased. Ashkenazi Jews now comprise 80% of Jews worldwide. Carrier rates, genetic diseases affecting Ashkenazi Jews Factor XI deficiency1:9 to 1:20 Gaucher disease, type 11:10 to 1:14 Non-syndrome hearing loss1:20 to 1:25 Tay-Sachs disease1:25 to 1:27 Cystic fibrosis1:29 Familial dysautonomia1:30 Glycogen storage disease type III1:35 (north African Jews) Canavan disease1:40 BRCA1, BRCA21:40 Fanconi anaemia, type C1:89 Niemann-Pick disease, type A1:90 Mucolipidosis IV1:99 Bloom syndrome1:110 Maple syrup urine disease1:113 Glycogen storage disease type 1a1:130 Abetalipoproteinemia1:131 Primary torsion dystonia1:1000 to 1:3000 Want to thank TFD for its existence? Tell a friend about us, add a link to this page, or visit the webmaster’s page for free fun content. Link to this page: Ashkenazi Jews

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Ashkenazi – definition of Ashkenazi by The Free Dictionary

It features a touching tribute to the late, great Israeli pop star Ofra Haza: “In a world where the actors on TV were Ashkenazi and the singers on the radio were Ashkenazi and the models in magazines were Ashkenazi,” writes the Israeli author Ayelet Tsabari, “there was Ofra, the simple Yemeni girl from Hatikva neighborhood whose star shone brighter than anyone’s, who made it against all odds, and who looked like me, or like one of my more beautiful cousins.Int: Richard Gere, Lior Ashkenazi, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Stevens, Steve Buscemi.What they discovered was shocking; The Druze are genetically closer to people in the Caucuses, Turkey, and Ashkenazi Jews then they are to any other ethnic group in the Middle East.BiondVax Pharmaceuticals Ltd (NASDAQ: BVXV, TASE: BVXV), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, has added Professor Shai Ashkenazi to its Scientific Advisory Board, it was reported yesterday.My problem has been that Ashkenazi Jews have failed to acknowledge and recognize me as a Jew.The investigators base their recommendation on a study they conducted in the Ashkenazi Jewish population of Israel.In 1580, in Gniezno, Poland, Rabbi Eliezer Ashkenazi (1513-1586) completed his magnum opus, Sefer Ma’aseh Hashem, an extensive examination of the narrative portions of the Tanakh.Some races have a tendency to carry these dangerous genes – Jewish women of Ashkenazi descent ( from Central and Eastern Europe) are one of them.Summary: Israel’s chief Ashkenazi rabbi has been put under house arrest after a marathon grilling by .Eytan Fox’s 2004 Walk on Water came next, in which his role as a beautiful but broken Mossad agent secured Ashkenazi his monopoly on cinematic eros.The apparent smear campaign stemmed from a scandal known as the Harpaz Affair, where IDF members close to Ashkenazi reportedly appointed his successor using a forged document.Gabi Ashkenazi, who warned that Israel’s enemies would notice the measure and that in itself might touch off a war.

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The 5 Most Common Ashkenazi Genetic Diseases

According to current estimates, as many as one in three Ashkenazi Jews, those with Eastern European descent, are carriers for certain genetic diseases, including Gaucher disease. Researchers think Ashkenazi genetic diseases arise because of the common ancestry many Jews share. While people from any ethnic group can develop genetic diseases, Ashkenazi Jews are at higher risk for certain diseases because of specific gene mutations. Scientists call this propensity to developing disease the Founder Effect. Hundreds of years ago, mutations occurred in the genes of certain Ashkenazi Jews. The carriers of these newly mutated genes were unaffected by them, but their descendants were at greater risk for developing genetic diseases as a result of inheriting mutated genes. Over the course of Jewish history, many mutated genes, including the gene responsible for Gaucher disease, GBA1, were passed on from generation to generation. For a child to develop one of the genetic diseases prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews, they must inherit two mutations for the same disease. In every living person, genes are paired in each pair, one gene comes from the mother and the other comes from the father. For recessive inheritance of a genetic disease to occur, both genes in a pair must be abnormal. If two parents that carry a mutation in the same gene have a child, several outcomes are possible: Karen Arnovitz Grinzaid, a genetic counseling instructor and executive director of the JScreen Jewish Genetic Screening Program based out of Emory University School of Medicine explains, Two people who are carriers for the same disease can each pass the mutated gene to each child they have together. If a child inherits two copies of the mutated gene, one from each parent, he has no protection against the disease and will be affected. Certain genetic disorders are more common in Ashkenazi Jews, and carrier frequencies for these diseases are higher in the Jewish population than in other groups. Carrier frequency is a measure of how often a mutated gene appears within a certain population group; with each disease, the carrier frequency is represented by the proportion of Ashkenazi Jews who have a copy of a mutated gene. Because of mutations in certain genes and high carrier frequencies, five diseases are especially common among Ashkenazi Jews: The most common Ashkenazi genetic disease is Gaucher disease, with one out of every 10 Ashkenazi Jews carrying the mutated gene that causes the disease. Doctors classify Gaucher disease into three different types, resulting from a deficiency of glucocerebrosidase (GCase) within the body. Type 1, which is treatable, is the most common form among Ashkenazi Jews. Normally, cells in the lungs and digestive system produce a thin, slippery mucus as part of normal physiological processes. In people with cystic fibrosis, this mucus becomes much thicker and stickier, which damages internal organs, especially the lungs. It is possible to manage this condition with medications and daily care, but those who develop this disease have shortened life spans, typically only living into the mid- to late 30s. Certain mutations on the HEXA gene cause Tay-Sachs disease, which is characterized by progressive deterioration of nerve cells (neurons) in both the brain and spinal cord. This destruction results from a shortage of an enzyme required to break down fatty substances in the body. There is currently no cure for Tay-Sachs disease. Typically, symptoms of this disease are already present when a baby is born. Familial dysautonomia is characterized by changes to nerves in the autonomic nervous system. These nerves are responsible for many involuntary bodily functions, including blood pressure, heart rate, and digestion. While there has been progress in developing effective treatments for this disease, people with the condition usually have shortened lifespans. There are several different types of this disease, but all affect the control of muscle movement due to a decline in the number of specialized nerve cells, called motor neurons, in both the spinal cord and brainstem. Life expectancy varies widely depending on the type. There is no cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but treatment may be effective at managing the symptoms and complications. In 2016, NGF and JScreen, a national community-based public health initiative based out of Emory University School of Medicine, launched a collaborative carrier screening program to increase awareness of and screening for Gaucher disease and other genetic diseases common to Jews. The initiative ensures the first 1000 people who sign up through December 31, 2017 can obtain an at-home testing kit that screens for more than 200 genetic diseases that affect people from all ethnic groups, including diseases that are most common among the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The first step in the process is to complete online registration and consent forms. Then, JScreen faxes an order to your healthcare provider notifying them of your intent to pursue genetic testing and asking them to acknowledge and approve the request. Ms. Grinzaid says, Unlike some of the direct-to-consumer services, were making sure a medical team is involved throughout this process. JScreen will then mail a saliva collection kit to your home. You collect a small saliva sample and send it to a laboratory for testing. Genetic counselors review the results of your test and invite you to take part in a genetic counseling session. You wont be charged any additional fees. The purpose of the counseling session is to provide you with more information and resources to help ensure the best possible outcome for any children you might have. Even though the screening initiative has been successful, both NGF and JScreen are committed to raising awareness of the importance of genetic screening so that people in high-risk groups are better able to plan for their families future. In many cases, couples in high-risk ethnic populations are only offered carrier screening after pregnancy has already occurred. Ms. Grinzaid says, We want people to understand that most conditions were screening for are inherited in an autosomal recessive way. In order for a child to be affected, both parents need to be carriers for the same disease. Each time they have a pregnancy, theres a 25 percent risk. In almost 80 percent of cases where a baby is born with one of these genetic conditions, theyre born to a couple with no family history of this condition. When people dont see anything in their family history, they think they dont need to worry so they dont pursue testing or think its important. Couples with Jewish heritage would benefit from genetic testing before beginning a family. The only two ways to know youre a carrier are to have an affected child, because that would prove youre a carrier, or to undergo screening, which is what were trying to encourage, says Ms. Grinzaid. The main goal of the JScreen and NGF collaboration is to offer as much information as possible to populations with higher prevalence of Gaucher disease, like those with an Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. The hope is that more people will take advantage of genetic screening in order to be more informed of their chances of being affected by Gaucher and of available treatments. Sources:

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Ashkenazi Jews – definition of Ashkenazi Jews by The Free …

Polygamy has been prohibited amongst Ashkenazi Jews for a millennium and was already a rare occurrence among Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews in Israel by the time the Knesset banned the practice in 1977.During the 1950s, European immigrants to Israel considered immigrants from Muslim countries to be inferior, say Bareli and Cohen, which tested the concept of klal Yisrael, the traditional-modern vision of a single Jewish collective encompassing diverse Jewish societies and cultures, and added an incendiary socio-economic dimension to the age-old distinction between Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.While three million Polish Ashkenazi Jews made up a significant proportion of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, let us also not forget the three million Polish gentiles who also met their deaths, the three million Ukrainians who died or the two million Ukrainians enslaved by the Nazis.Jerusalem is Zarnouqa, the village from which my family together with thousands of villagers, were ethnically cleansed in 1948 in order to make room for Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, a pure Jewish state, similar to Apartheid South Africa and other settler-colonies, one that does not grant you citizenship unless you are born to a Jewish mother.Needless to say, these are not anti-Israel images, they are anti-Semitic imagesfrom the caricatures of religious Jews, to the comparison of Ashkenazi Jews to Nazis, to the use of symbols like yarmulkes and repeated invocations of the Jewish religion.Israeli culture has traditionally been dominated by Ashkenazi Jews, and a sense of second-class status became fundamental to Mizrahi identity.Screening for the HEXA mutation is therefore recommended for all Ashkenazi Jews planning children.But it wasn’t until the 1990s, when the lifting of the Iron Curtain collided with the dawn of the Internet, that I joined thousands of other Ashkenazi Jews starved for knowledge about their roots and ready to pry open the past.By seeking to fulfil the Zionist agenda of establishing a ‘Jewish State’ in Palestine, Israel made it imperative to remove the native Palestinian-Arab population in a mass ethnic-cleansing drive to make room for European Ashkenazi Jews to come and colonise, in phases, all of historical Palestine.Approaching the neo-liberal discourse, Shari Jacobson tries to prove that the process of tesbuva (“return” to orthodoxy) among Ashkenazi Jews manifests their argentinidad, taking the therapeutic discourse of her informants as evidence.These people were part of a bigger study, called the Longevity Genes Project that examined 500 Ashkenazi Jews ages 95 and older as well as 700 of their offspring.This provides a more accurate estimate of the prevalence of GD in Israel, considering the higher disease prevalence among the Ashkenazi Jews as compared with the general population.

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Ashkenazi | Define Ashkenazi at Dictionary.com

[ahsh-kuh-nah-zim] Word Origin Dictionary.com UnabridgedBased on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2018 C19: Late Hebrew, from Hebrew Ashkenaz, the son of Gomer (Genesis 10:3; I Chronicles 1:6), a descendant of Noah through Japheth, and hence taken to be identified with the ancient Ascanians of Phrygia and, in the medieval period, the Germans Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 (plural) “central and northern European Jews” (as opposed to Sephardim, Jews of Spain and Portugal), 1839, from Hebrew Ashkenazzim, plural of Ashkenaz, eldest son of Gomer (Gen. x:3), also the name of a people mentioned in Jer. li:27 (perhaps akin to Greek skythoi “Scythians,” cf. Akkadian ishkuzai); identified historically with various people; in Middle Ages, with the Germans. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010 Douglas Harper

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Who Are Ashkenazi Jews? | My Jewish Learning

Ashkenazi Jews are the Jewish ethnic identity most readily recognized by North Americans the culture of matzah balls, black-hatted Hasidim and Yiddish. This ethnicity originated in medieval Germany. Although strictly speaking, Ashkenazim refers to Jews of Germany, the term has come to refer more broadly to Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. Jews first reached the interior of Europe by following trade routes along waterways during the eighth and ninth centuries. READ: Ashkenazic Cuisine Eventually, the vast majority of Ashkenazi Jewsrelocated to the Polish Commonwealth (todays Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine and Belarus), where princes welcomed their skilled and educated workforce. The small preexistent Polish Jewish communitys customs were displaced by the Ashkenazic prayer order, customs, and Yiddish language. Jewish life and learning thrived in northeastern Europe. The yeshiva culture of Poland, Russia, and Lithuania produced a constant stream of new talmudic scholarship. In 18th-century Germany, the Haskalah movement advocated for modernization, introducing the modern denominations and institutions of secular Jewish culture. Although the first American Jews were Sephardic, today Ashkenazim are the most populous ethnic group in North America. The modern religious denominations developed in Ashkenazic countries, and therefore most North American synagogues use the Ashkenazic liturgy. Empower your Jewish discovery, daily

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