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Ask A Jew: Are the Jewish people of today the true Jews from Israel?

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By Neal Schindler

Are the Jewish people of today the true Jews from Israel?

“The Genome-wide Structure of the Jewish People,” a 2010 article from the journal Nature, suggests that Ashkenazi, Sephardi, and Mizrahi Jews have a shared Middle Eastern ancestry. This finding is, the authors write, “consistent with the historical formulation theories [of] the Jewish people as descending from ancient Hebrew and Israelites of the Levant” as well as “the dispersion of the people of ancient Israel throughout the Old World.” If you’re feeling especially nerdy, you should explore — and download, if it’s helpful — that 2010 article’s list of references. When “The Genome-wide Structure” was published, there had already been plenty of prior studies on the subject of Jewish ancestry. Population geneticist Doron Behar and his co-authors — all 20 of them — seem to take that previous work into consideration in reaching their conclusion.

About Neal Schindler

A native of Detroit, Neal Schindler has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2002. He has held staff positions at Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Times and was a freelance writer for Jew-ish.com from 2007 to 2011. Schindler was raised in a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation and is now a member of Spokane's Reform congregation, Emanu-El. He is the director of Spokane Area Jewish Family Services. His interests include movies, Scrabble, and indie rock. He lives with his wife, son, and two cats in West Central Spokane.

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