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The Genome and Souls of Ashkenazi Jews

Friday, September 12, 2014 @ 02:09 PM
posted by Rabbi Allen S. Maller
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   The Ashkenazi Jewish population is a genetic isolate gene pool almost equally close to European and Middle Eastern groups according to a highly detailed genetic study published in Nature Communications on September 9, 2014. The report is a high-depth analysis of the sequencing of 128 complete genomes of Ashkenazi Jews controls compared with European complete genome samples from 26 Flemish people from Belgium.

Reconstruction of recent Ashkenazi Jewish history from such genetic segments confirms a recent bottleneck of merely 300-400 individuals living in Central Europe, 25-32 generations ago, in the 13th-15th centuries (1200-1400). This bottleneck was the result of wide spread massacres of Jews in the Rhine Valley during the first three crusades; and additional massacres of Jews who were blamed by European Christians for causing the Bubonic Plague (1328-1351) which killed a third of the population in Europe (and almost half in urban areas).

However, the number of 300-400 Jewish ancestors of today’s European Jewish population does not mean that only 300-400 Jews survived the Christian massacres. There were several thousand Jews living in Central Europe even after the massacres, but only 300-400 of them are ancestors of the current Jewish population.

  • First, in every generation at least 2-3% of the population does not reproduce. This results in a steady reduction of the size of the ancestral gene pool, even when the population itself is increasing.
  • Second, in the 19th century about 100-200,000 Jews married Christians and raised their children as Christians, thus shifting their Jewish genes into the non-Jewish population.
  • Third, the Nazi driven Holocaust removed almost six million Jewish genomes from the current Jewish ancestral gene pool.


Modeling of ancient histories for Ashkenazi Jews and European populations using their joint allele frequency spectrum determines Ashkenazi Jews to be an almost even admixture of European and people of Middle Eastern origins. Clearly, the large percentage of European genes in the current Ashkenazi Jewish gene pool is the result of the thousands of hush hush conversions by many hundreds of brave rabbis that occurred during the millennium of church domination.

One well known example of the danger is Count Valentine Potocki, a young Polish nobleman who went to Paris to finish his education, There he became close friends with another Polish nobel, Zarembo, Both of them met a Jewish teacher and asked him to teach them Hebrew. After some time each independently decided to become Jewish. Potocki went to Amsterdam where it was safer to convert to Judaism.

Zarembo returned to Poland where he married into the Tishkewitch family. After some years Zarembo took his wife and 5 year old son to Amsterdam where they all became Jewish. Then the family went to Israel as Zarembo’s friend Count Potocki had done previously.

The Zarembo family remained in the Land of Israel. However, Count Potoki had grown homesick and took the dangerous step of returning to Poland. He settled in the Vilna district of Belarus posing as a born Jew and spent all his time studying Torah. When the police found out he was a convert he was arrested and sent to Vilna where the bishop tried to save his soul with reason, followed by torture, and then by being burned alive in the center of Vilna in 1749.

Jewish mystical teachings relate that the souls of Jews who were cut off from the Jewish people, without leaving physical descendants to propagate their lineage (like Count Potocki) will reincarnate in later generations in a Gentile body so that they will have the opportunity to convert-revert to Judaism.

Signs of a Jewish soul:

  • You like to ask questions? But when you asked them as a child, you were told faith is a gift from God and you shouldn’t question it. This never satisfied you, although others didn’t question it.
  • The trinity never made any sense to you even as a young child. You prayed to God the father more easily than Jesus the son of God, even though you were told to pray to Jesus. You couldn’t believe that people who didn’t believe in Jesus couldn’t go to Heaven.
  • You found you related well to Jewish people you met at work or school even though they were culturally different from your own family.
  • On first learning of the Holocaust you reacted more emotionally than other members of your family.
  • When you start to learn about Judaism the ideas and values seemed reasonable; and the traditions and heritage seemed attractive. When you become Jewish, you feel you are coming home.


Rabbi Allen S. Maller is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Akiba in Culver City, California. His website is:  Earlier versions of this article may have appeared elsewhere.

The views expressed by Rabbi Maller are his own and not necessarily those of the Blogmaster. They are published in order to promote this blog’s mission to provide information and foster discussion about matters of faith and science. The Blogmaster thanks Rabbi Maller for his contribution to this forum.


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One Response to “The Genome and Souls of Ashkenazi Jews”

  1. Gnarlodious says:

    One isolated Polish nobleman doesn’t make your point. A more likely explanation is that generations of genetic Jews (Ashkenazis) defected, passing themselves off as gentiles and assimilated through marriage, resulting in a large percentage of Jewish genes in the European population. A horrendous suggestion I realize, especially to European geneticists who insist all good things came out of Europe. But the fact is, very few gentiles wanted to become Jews while many Jews wanted to become Gentiles.

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