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So who here actually has done genetic testing?

My wife and I did the simpler Jewish disease testing a few years ago. I think this blood test screen for four or five genetic disease markers. As I understand it, screening for all 40 (or whatever the article said) diseases is very difficult because of differences in the genetic forms of these diseases.

My wife got pretty upset with me for wanting to find out this information (especially as we had one child already), but strangely enough, her OB/GYN (who is not Jewish) said that I had a good point and encouraged the testing. Fortunately, we both tested negative. (The negative outcome is almost easier for me because I am half Sephardic and half Ashkenazi.)

I have always wanted to get the more detailed DNA test, but somehow it has never been a "budgeted" item. Hmmm, another reason to make money in the markets, just to afford this sort of thing.

Ron
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Given the penchant for some on this board to want to marry, kids to marry, etc. "real Jews" - it's hilarious to consider that their own mothers, grandmothers, etc. likely had a large proportion of Eastern European/gentile ancestry.

I've not had any genetic tests but on multiple occasions Lebanese people have taken me for Lebanese (and I've never lived in an area with many Lebanese or other Middle Eastern people) so I suspect I have some of "the real stuff" in me, FWIW. Dark hair, dark eyes.

Or maybe not.

If genetic testing can show that someone doesn't have a predominance of Jewish genetic markers (say as little as 20%) , do they need to convert to be considered Jewish by the Orthodox rebbes in Israel?
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If genetic testing can show that someone doesn't have a predominance of Jewish genetic markers (say as little as 20%) , do they need to convert to be considered Jewish by the Orthodox rebbes in Israel?

no. you can have gentile ancestry, provided they converted. so if people are married by an orthodox rabbi, it is presumed that he checked to ensure the jewish-ness of the parents, possibly by checking the ketubah of the parents of the couple getting married. and so on, back through the generation.

silencer
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If genetic testing can show that someone doesn't have a predominance of Jewish genetic markers (say as little as 20%) , do they need to convert to be considered Jewish by the Orthodox rebbes in Israel?

No, only if their mother wasn't Jewish when they were born. Genetics have nothing to do with being Jewish. That should be obvious since anyone can convert to Judaism regardless of their genetic makeup, and their children are just as Jewish as you, I, or the Chief Rabbi are!!!
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If genetic testing can show that someone doesn't have a predominance of Jewish genetic markers (say as little as 20%) , do they need to convert to be considered Jewish by the Orthodox rebbes in Israel?

The last time I went to a Jewish Genealogical Society convention, there was a lecturer about genetics. Much of the information was similar to what Elan has posted. Interestingly, this lecturer said that a few percent of these genetic tests end up showing a "false paternity," i.e., that someone's father or grandfather really wasn't, biologically speaking. Then again, maybe someone was switched at birth in the hospital. ;)

Ron
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So who here actually has done genetic testing?

I've done genetic testing for genealogical purposes. I already have 1700 people in my family tree. I discocered an elderly man in Florida who shares my family's original surname. He knew very little about his family history except that they came from a town less than 20 miles away from my family's. Since the surname, Pieniazek, is fairly rare among Jews, we decided to both take the test to try to figure out if we're related. To my great surprise and disappointment we aren't.

As a side benefit, I am registered now in the database at www.familytreedna.com which allows me to find genetic matches among a large number of other people. There are several people in that database who are close to me genetically, but not close enough to expect that we are related within a genealogical time frame. Civil records and surnames were adopted in Poland after the Napoleonic wars, in the 1820s. Most people didn't have family names, and births marriages and death weren't recorded, before that time. So for most people that's as far back as the family history can go. If someone shares an ancestor with you who lived before 1800 or so, you'll probably never find out.

Elan
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Given the penchant for some on this board to want to marry, kids to marry, etc. "real Jews" - it's hilarious to consider that their own mothers, grandmothers, etc. likely had a large proportion of Eastern European/gentile ancestry.

I've not had any genetic tests but on multiple occasions Lebanese people have taken me for Lebanese (and I've never lived in an area with many Lebanese or other Middle Eastern people) so I suspect I have some of "the real stuff" in me, FWIW. Dark hair, dark eyes.

Or maybe not.

If genetic testing can show that someone doesn't have a predominance of Jewish genetic markers (say as little as 20%) , do they need to convert to be considered Jewish by the Orthodox rebbes in Israel?


Absolutely not. In one of our recent threads a prominent rabbi was quoted to say that if someone presents themselves as a Jew the presumption should be that they are a Jew. In the old days conversion was never made to be such a big deal. There was no central authority trying to impose its will universally. If a Jewish man married a non-Jew (which according to the article happened quite a lot) and the woman adopted his ways, became part of his community, and shared his beliefs, she was considered converted. What was good enough for them must be good enough for us.

The danger to Judaism is not from those who may have not converted according to some strict rules of Halacha. It is from those who want to impose strict rules of Halacha, often retroactively.

Elan
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The last time I went to a Jewish Genealogical Society convention, there was a lecturer about genetics. Much of the information was similar to what Elan has posted. Interestingly, this lecturer said that a few percent of these genetic tests end up showing a "false paternity," i.e., that someone's father or grandfather really wasn't, biologically speaking. Then again, maybe someone was switched at birth in the hospital. ;)

Such situations don't necessarily come from infidelity. A hundred years ago or more in Europe few people were born at a hospital. They could rarely be switched. But mortality rates were high, during child birth and afterwards. Many children ended up as orphans. They may have been adopted and in many cases were never told. If a mother died her children were often raised by aunts and uncles as their own. If a father died his wife would remarry and the children considered the step father their own father. The grandchildren never knew there was a different biological grandfather.

I've discovered that my great grandmother lost her mother when she was four years old. Her father remarried and had seven more children. I doubt that my great grandmother remembered or was ever told who was her biological mother.

Elan
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I've discovered that my great grandmother lost her mother when she was four years old. Her father remarried and had seven more children. I doubt that my great grandmother remembered or was ever told who was her biological mother.

Interesting. I have discovered a weird situation in my family, also. My great grandfather (from Romania) seems to have been born 18 - 23 years before any of his siblings. I actually have a copy of my great grandfather's 1868 birth certificate and copies of census records to piece all this together. However, the mother and father listed in the 1868 birth certificate both show up in US Census records. My grandfather never explained the age gap to me (and he probably didn't care), but he has passed away now. Maybe the "siblings" were really cousins who were adopted.

Ron
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Then again, maybe someone was switched at birth in the hospital. ;)

There's a much simpler explanation :-)
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