Sunday, March 2, 2008

Judaism and Intermarriage: Part 4 Genealogy

If you haven't already read the previous posts you will need to do so before reading this section.

Judaism and Intermarriage Introduction

Judaism and Intermarriage Post 1

Judaism and Intermarriage Post 2

Judaism and Intermarriage Part 3 Race

Origin of Titles


The original name for the people we now call Jews was עברים Ivrim (Hebrews). The word "Hebrew" (in the Hebrew language, "Ivri" singular and “Ivrim” plural and in Egyptian “Habiru”) is first used in the Torah to describe Abraham (Gen. 14:13). The word is apparently derived from the name Ever, one of Abraham's ancestors. Another tradition teaches that the word comes from the word "Eyver," which means "the other side," referring to the fact that Abraham came from the other side of the Euphrates, or referring to the fact Abraham was separated from the other nations morally and spiritually. Another name used for the people is Benei Yisrael, which refers to the fact that the people are descendants of Jacob, who was also called Yisrael.

The word "Jew" (in Hebrew, "Yehudi") is derived from the name Judah, which was the name of one of Jacob's twelve sons. Judah was the ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel, which was named after him. Likewise, the word Judaism (Yahadut in Hebrew) literally means "Judah-ism," that is, the religion of the Yehudim. Other sources, however, say that the word "Yehudim" means "People of G-d," because the first three letters of "Yehudah" are the same as the first three letters of G-d's four-letter name.

Jewish Migrations

After the national Israelite and Judean federations were crushed first by the Assyrians and later by the Babylonians, between 700 BCE to 586 BCE, the surviving Israelites migrated to various parts of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Southern Europe. As the years went on Jews who descended from those Israelites traveled further into those regions and established religious and social communities, the national aspect of Judaism not existing again until 1949.

According to genetic research, it is beleived that the first group of Israelites or Jews reached a particular region took in a few female converts from said region. After about 1 or 2 generations of this, said Jewish community had enough legally Jewish members to no longer need converts to boost their numbers. After that point, as well as with the social status of Jews declining in most parts of the world, those Jewish communities became closed. What this means is that number of converts to Judaism joining the Jewish communities became either minimal or non existent, depending on the region. This was expecially the case when persecution or suppression of Jews began in most parts of the world.

Later Jewish Communities and DNA Testing

DNA testing of the major Jewish communities have shown that most Jewish communities, no matter how far apart, have a common DNA signature amongst a good number of its members. This means that for about the 2000 years Jews have maintained very strict marriage rites, as well as a lower intermarriage rate to non-Jewish communities. This is of course changing modern times in many Western countries with assimilation. Yet, this is happening with, American Jews, more so than with Israelis and European Jews.

The video below gives a view of Jewish genealogy. It does not of course cover every Jewish community based on country, but most of the major ones. To see a bigger more clear version click directly on the video.

Jewish Genealogy in a Glance


Conclusion

The Talmud and Kabbalah teach us that marriage is not merely a union between two totally independent individuals. Marriage is the reunion between two halves of the same unit. A couple shares the same soul, which, upon birth, divides itself into two incomplete halves. Upon marriage, they reunite and become, once again, complete. What we are dealing with here is not only a union on the physical, emotional and/or intellectual level. What we are dealing with here is a union on the deepest, most essential level of self. There are souls that are compatible for marriage and there are souls that are not.

As was mentioned in my previous posts the main focus of Judaism is to maintain a Jewish religious, national, and social community amongst Jews. Race is meaningless in marriage, if both partners follow the religious, national, and social codes. i.e. both parents are legally Jewish, either through conversion or through a Jewish mother, and they live as Jews. Judaism has a method with which non-Jews, from any culture, can join the Jewish faith and nation. Yet, there are of course religious requirements for anyone wanting to do so.

2 comments:

Tr8erGirl said...

Catching up on your blog posts...interesting as usual!

Ehav Ever said...

Thanks for checking back on the site. I hope all is going well in tr8ergirl land.