Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The story of the Lemba in South Africa. Have Cohen and Semitic DNA.

This is very interesting. This from the Wikipedia article.

From the article.

(According to some Lemba, they had male ancestors who were Jews who left Judea about 2,500 years ago and settled in a place calledSenna, later migrating into East Africa.[8] According to the findings of British researcher Tudor Parfitt, the location of Senna was more than likely in Yemen, specifically, in the village of Sanāw within the easternmost portion of the Wadi Hadhramaut.[9] The city had a vibrant Jewish population since ancient times, but it dwindled to a few hundred people since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.[10]
According to their oral tradition, the male ancestors of the Lemba came to southeast Africa to obtain gold[7][11])

Interesting. Although having an "oral tradition" is not definitive proof in itself. How do you know that this is true just because you were told that. 

Continuing, (The Lemba prefer their children to marry other Lembas, with marriage to non-Lembas being discouraged. The restrictions on intermarriagewith non-Lemba make it particularly difficult for a male non-Lemba to become a member. A woman who marries a Lemba male must learn the Lemba religion, dietary rules and other customs. She may not bring any cooking equipment from her previous home, as it may have been tainted by inappropriate use (see Kashrut). Initially, she may have to shave her head. Her children must also be brought up as Lembas. Lemba men who marry non-Lemba women are expelled from the community unless the women agree to live according to Lemba traditions.Normative Judaism only recognizes matrilineal descent; however, patrilineal descent was the norm among the Israelites who lived prior to itsadoption.)

So this is why the Rabbis claim they are not Jewish even though the obvious is that Patralineal Lineage UNTIL THE MALE RABBIS CHANGED it. Of course the Rabbis use this to claim they have to go through a formal conversion even though they have been practicing similar practices that most Jews engage in. Which shows to me the real reason for this idea which was the only MEN that matter are the Rabbis and the father teaching his kid in following the laws given at Sinai doesn't matter. Also, wonder if the issue of cooking equipment becoming impure was if it came in contact with a non-kosher animal as the idea of meat and milk was an adoption later on by the Rabbis. And for the Rabbis to do this is wrong since they are obviously different then their neighbors around them and would fit in in Israel.

But the question still remains. Just because they claim they came from Jews doesn't mean they do. Maybe they converted which still is ok since they sincerely practice Judaism and have for generations. Oral tradition is not in itself a significant proof to their claim of being the decedents of Israelites. 

The article goes on about the DNA evidence. 

(The Lemba have become world famous because of genetic testing that has demonstrated the authenticity of some of their oral traditions.[18]A genetic study in 1996 suggested that more than 50% of the Lemba Y-chromosomes are Semitic in origin.[3] A subsequent study in 2000 reported more specifically that a substantial number of Lemba men carry a particular haplotype of the Y-chromosome known as theCohen modal haplotype (CMH), as well as, a haplogrup of Y-DNA Haplogroup J found amongst some Jews and in other populations across the Middle East.[19][20] Studies have also suggested that there is no Semitic female contribution to the Lemba gene pool.[21])
One particular sub-clan within the Lemba, the Buba clan, is considered by the Lemba to be their priestly clan, while among Jews, theKohanim are the priestly clan. The Buba clan carried most of the CMH found in the Lemba. This is the element in the Y chromosome that appears to be a signature element, if you like, for the Cohanim or Jewish priesthood. The fact that we found this marker in such high concentrations in one of the Lemba subclans, the Buba—much higher, incidentally, than the general Jewish population—seemed finally to provide a real, useable link between the Lemba and Jews.[10])  The )

So from DNA evidence they do trace back to "semitic" origins. My only question is do they mean from Israelites when using this term as arabs are also semites in that sense although the word is for good or for bad is misused. Not only that but some have the Cohen Gene. 

The issue here is that the Rabbis don't consider them Jews because their mother wasn't Jewish.

So what should the Lemba do?? You know what I think they should do. They should claim well Jews from Europe also have to go through conversion as Ashkanazic Jews also the DNA on the mother side is only a significant minority tracing back to the Middle East but the male line 80% traces to the Middle East as the Female traces back to Europe as many Ashkanazic Males when they were in Europe ended up marrying local women and the women did raise the children Jewish. So really Europe Jews are not Jewish by the mother either and don't have an unbroken chain of women who are Jewish not going very far back either as this traces back to their exile in Europe. 

Anyway any comments as I find this very interesting. 


philmwri said...

Adam as you know other groups that follow patrilneal descent such as Ethiopian Jews,Kaifeng Jews, and Telugu Jews are all being forced to convert to the Rabbinite way of thinking.

I think it's very unfair how they'll make an observant Ethiopian Jew 'convert' to Rabbinism but will allow a reform Jew from America to come to Israel without having to convert.

As we see Jewish groups that have not had contact with Babylonian(Talmudic)Jews go by patrilineal descent and were not practitioners of Rabbinism until recently.

You made a good point in your other post about how Ashkenazim have maternal European DNA.I think matrilineal descent is finally showing itself to be a false doctrine that is extremely non-biblical.

Analytical Adam said...

From what I understand Israel allows one to make Aliya if one of their Grandparents is Jewish although Rabbis discriminate against those who are not Jews according to their rules although their rules would make themselves more then likely not Jewish as some Jews in Europe did marry local women and the women did agree to raise the kid Jewish and the Rabbis were fooled.

Having said this I don't think Paternal DNA is everything. If a group converted to another that it has been practicing for generation they can't just claim later on they were once Jewish and converted unless they really can show they were secretly practicing Judaism. We know about Morano's. They were never fully trusted anywy. I think a group does have to prove it has been following the religion and isn't just johnny come lately. The Lemba seem to have strong evidence (which in that case the Rabbis seem to be very hard on them as they know too much) but other groups they are easier on who maybe they are not really Jewish but this way they can divert attention from the Lemba. I don't know but certainly male DNA isn't everything. Any body can claim they were Jewish a 100 years ago and they were forced to another religion. They have to prove they still have been practicing it I would think.