Jews and Joes

Are You a Levite or a Jewish Descendant of King David? Jeremiah 33:22

Human DNABecause of the emphasis in the Hebrew Scriptures on "Ephraim" as being the primary "final" recipient of the promises of Hebrew multitudes, Jeremiah's prophecy to the House of David and to the Levites is rarely discussed or even considered in the realm of genetics.

Jeremiah 33:22 "As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me."

Something that is exciting and perplexing to the Jewish world is the semi-recent discovery of the genetic "Cohen Modal Haplotype" (CMH) within Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish men which seems to validate very old oral traditions of being descended from the family of Cohanim (or Levitical Priests). An African tribe known as the Lemba also has the same oral tradition and the Cohen Modal Haplotype is also found in a percentage of their men. This is very exciting and authenticating for many people.

The perplexing and/or vexing part of this discovery is the reality that there are many traditionally non-Jewish (largely Muslim) populations who also have the Cohen Modal Haplotype. And of course many who would like to discredit "the Jews" as Jews or discredit the authenticity of the Hebrew Scriptures, enjoy using this reality as an instrument to disrupt the faith of not only Jews, but also Christians who put an enormous amount of weight on the historical events recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures.

There are other possible solutions

Sadly, many bright Jewish scientists fail to remember Jeremiah's prophecy regarding David and Levi... and several other realities:

  • The Jews (of the Southern Kingdom of Jew-dah) were deported to Babylon and only a remnant of their population returned to the Land of Judea.
  • Jews have lived along side Muslims for hundreds and hundreds of years throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. They even had many communities scattered throughout the Arabian peninsula... some of whom were forcefully converted to Islam at various periods.
  • Many Edomites (Arabs) joined the Kingdom of Judah prior to and during the Roman period and eventually became known as Jews (Deuteronomy 23:7-8).
  • Exponential human population growth within the last 3,000 years can go a long way in describing how Levi and David's y-chromosomes could become present in tens of millions of men today... but joining exponential mathematics WITH the Divine favor and promise of Heaven... certainly should remove all doubt of HOW it could have been accomplished.

True "Arabs" actually descend from both Ishmael (brother of Isaak) and Esau (brother of Jacob) and likely have a mixture of other Semitic and non-Semitic peoples today. Yet, the y-chromosome of Ishmael and Esau should look very similar to Jacob because they all received the same y-chromosome from Abraham. This is why we shouldn't avoid or abore the possibility that many so-called Muslims and/or Arabs actually have Israelite ancestry.

We must remember that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are religious systems... and peoples have been moving in and out of those systems for many hundreds of years. Just because an Iraqi Muslim has been taught that he is purely Arab, does not mean it is so. Just because a Christian has been taught that he is purely European, does not mean it is so.

Where to start with DNA

Being tested by Family Tree DNA can tell men if they fall within the Cohen Modal Haplotype of the Levite family. Family Tree DNA also has a genetic project group for individuals (both men and women) who traditionally believe they are descended from the House of David. Once a man or woman has been tested by Family Tree DNA, he/she can join the "Davidic Dynasty" project and compare results with others. Simply search the Surname Project directory for "Davidic" to find the project.

Do you recognize any of these surnames?

The following is an incomplete list of surnames which have varying degrees of provability via family oral traditions and historical sources which claim to be descended from King David.

Abarbanel* Lichtenstein
Adler Lifshutz/Lipshitz
Alter/Rotenberg (Ger Chassidim) Loeb*
Altshuler Loewenstam
Ashkenazi Lowe*
Auerbach Lubarsky
Averels/Everels Lukashevesky (Lux)
Babad/Heschel* Lurie/Luria*
Bach (descendants of Sirkes) Maharal of Prague*/**
Bachrach Malavski
Beharier Margolioth
Berdugo Margulies/Margolis/Margaliot*
Berlin/Berliner Meisels*
Bernstein Mintzberg
Biederman Mirels
Birnbaum Mirkes
Breslav Chassidim, Nakhman Morgenstern (Kotzk Chassidim)
Burstein Moskowitz
Caro/Karo Yisroel Dov Odesser
Charif Oknovski
Charlap* Openheim
Chayes/Chayut Paprosh
Cohen (various families) Parnas
Dayan* Pereles
Don Yechia/Ibn Yechia* Peretz
Edels Polak
Ehrenreich Posner
Ehrlich Rabinowitz
Eichenstein (Zditchov Chassidim) Rapaport*
Elfandari Rashei Galut (Exilarchs) male descent from David*
Enzel Rashi (descendants of daughters)*
Epstein* Reines
Falman Roffe
Fishel Rokeach (Belz Chassidim)
Freidensohn Rotenberg/Alter
Frenkel/Frankel* (Ger Chassidim)
Frenkel-Teomim* Roth
Friedland Rubin (Horowitz) (Ropshitz Chassidim)
Friedman (Rizhin, Sadagora etc. Chassidim) Rubinstein
Fuchs Sabatka
Ginzburg/Gunzburg Safrin
Glickman Sassoon*
Goldman Schneurson
Gombiner Schneurson (Lubavitch Chassidim)
Gordon Schol
Halberstam (ZanzChassidim) Schorr*
Yisroel Karduner Halpern Segal (descendantz of "Taz")
Meshulam Shraga Feivish Halpern Shachor/Charny/Shwartz
Yehudaï Leibish Halpern Shapiro/Shapira.Spiro/Spira*
Heilprin/Halperin* Shealtiel/Sealtiel*
Heller* Shereshevski
Helman Shipman
Hertzkes Shrentzels*
Heschel/Babad* Simchowitz/Simchowitch
Hillel and the Nesi'im* Sirkes/Sirkin
Horowitz/Hurwitz (various Chassidim)* Sonnabend
Ish-Zvi Spiro
Isserles/Isserlin* Tamarels
Itinga/Ettinger/Ittingen Teomim/Teomin-Frenkel*
Jaffe/Yoffe*/ ** Treves/Dreyfus*
Kalb Twersky
Kalmankes Twersky (Chernobyl Chassidim)
Kalonymus* Weil*
Karo/Caro* Weinberg
Katz (Maharal of Prague) */** Weisblum (Lizhensk Chassidim)*
Katzenellenbogen* Widslawski
Klauber Winkler
Klausner* Zak
Klingberg Zaslovsky
Landau Avrohom Zorach
Lau Zifferstein
Levinsohn Zinger
Lichtenstadt  

Primary Families (*) Further Research Required (**) | Source: Davidic Dynasty

The following is an incomplete list of surnames which have varying degrees of provability via family oral traditions, historical sources, and genetics... which claim to be descended from the priestly clan of the Levites.

Cohen HaKohen
Cowan Kahan
Coyne Kohn
CohenPereira Kohen
CohenRodrigues Kunha
CohenMachado Levinsohn
Kagan Shapiro
Kovacs Ben Ezra
Mazer Levy
Kaplan Pereira Cunha
Katz Garfinkel

Source: J2 Kohanim haplotype tree

If you have specific questions regarding your own ancestry and DNA, please contact Hanok from here.

Related Links:

Cohen HaKohen
Cowan Kahan
Coyne Kohn
CohenPereira Kohen
CohenRodrigues Kunha
CohenMachado Levinsohn
Kagan Shapiro
Kovacs Ben Ezra
Mazer Levy
Kaplan Pereira Cunha
Katz Garfinkel