12 July 2007

Jerusalem: Kohanim 'family' reunion, July 15-19

The International Conference of Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi today kicked off the first "Gathering of the Tribe" which will run through July 19,

According to the press release:

Recent scientific research and DNA testing has shown that today’s descendents of the biblical priesthood known as Kohanim are genetically related. These descendents of Aharon, the brother of Moses, have spread throughout the world over the past 3,000 years.\

Topics, in English, cover Biblical history, genetic genealogy, contemporary Halacha -Jewish Law issues, and more.

Prof. Karl Skorecki (Rambam/Technion Medical Center, Haifa) project director and one of the main researchers, will present “The Discovery and Significance of the Cohen Genetic Signature” at 11.30a.m., Monday, July 16.

The press release also indicates:

About Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi:

Kohanim are the priestly family of the Jewish people. The Torah (the Bible) describes the anointment of Aharon, the brother of Moses, as the first High Priest, the Kohen Gadol. The books of Exodus and Leviticus describe the responsibilities of the Kohanim, which include the Temple service, blessing of the people and spiritual healing. The Kohanim are a family of the Tribe of Levi, the tribe that was chosen for Holy service.

Molecular geneticists have recently discovered the “Cohen Modal Haplotype” which is a Y- chromosome DNA lineage signature shared by a majority of both Ashkenazi and Sefardi Kohanim. This indicates a direct patrilineal descent of present day Kohanim from an ancient ancestor, genetically dated to have lived approximately 3000 years ago, a time corresponding to the Exodus from Egypt.

The Center for Kohanim was established to promote identity and knowledge among Kohanim the world over, and increase their feelings of awareness and commitment to their heritage as Kohanim.

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