Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Several Jewish families claim an oral history tracing their roots back to Abraham through the tribe of Levi or Judah. Do any families from other tribes claim such genealogies?
(15 April, 2018, 30 Nisan, 5778)
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Â Steve Hager requested your answer:
Â Several Jewish families claim an oral history tracing their roots back to Abraham through the tribe of Levi or Judah. Do any families from other tribes claim such genealogies?
You mentioned people from Levi and Judah. Levi gave raise to the Cohens.
There were families of Jewish Cohens on the island of Djerba. Some of them reprotedly had family trees going back to First Temple times.
Tunisiaâ€™s Diverse Djerba Island and Its Annual Jewish Pilgrimage
Â by Asya Pereltsvaig
Â The Jewish community on Djerba dates back nearly 2,600 years, much longer than the Christian or Muslim presence on the island. According to oral tradition, a group of Jewish priests arrived from the Land of Israel shortly after the destruction of the First Temple in 587 BCE. They carried with them one of the gates of the destroyed Temple, and set it in the foundation of the synagogue built in Djerba. This legend is supported by genetic evidence discovered by a group of French, Israeli, and North African geneticists (Manni et al. 2005). They found that Djerbaâ€™s Jewish men belong to haplogroup J, which has roots in the Middle East. Moreover, the majority of them carried the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH). This genetic signature, discovered by nephrologist Karl Skorecki and a team of geneticists from the Technion in Haifa in the late 1990s, is particularly frequent in Jewish men who self-identify as cohanim, direct male descendants of the Biblical Aaron, brother of Moses (Hammer et al. 2009).
There are probably other families of Cohens elsewhere with similar family trees.
Â So too, we have the House of David that was part of Judah.
Â Rabbi Yosef Dayan and perhaps others have Family Trees stretching back to King David, see;
King David's Descendants
So much for the Tribes of Levi and Judah.
I do not know what the situation is concerning family trees and other tribes. The present-day Jews are mainly from the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi, which includes the Cohens. The Hasidic Dynasties of Vishnitz (Hager family) and Belz are reportedly from the Tribe of Benjamin.
There were also minority representatives of the other Israelite tribes who had attached themselves to Judah. Among the Jews of Morocco there was a clan that believed it came from Ephraim.
Â Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov (1783-1841), author of the "Bnei Yissochar" understood himself to be descended from the Tribe of Issachar.
The Radbaz (Rabbi David ben Solomon ibn (Abi) Zimra, 1479) identified the Jews of Ethiopia with the Tribe of Dan but they seem to have regarded themselves as descended from converts.
Getting back to the Jews of Tunisia, a portion of them claimed descent from the Tribe of Zebulon.
Here is an anecdote of interest.
Â I (i.e. Yair Davidiy) have written several works tracing the Lost Ten Tribes to elements within certain Western peoples. Among other findings we traced Zebulon to the Netherlands. Ptolemy places a people named "Sabalingoi" (People of Zeblon) in Frisia. Shortly after I had published my first work "The Tribes" I was shopping in the local store at the settlement I lived in. I was approached by someone I did not recall having seen before. He asked me somewhat indignantly,
How I could identify Zebulon with part of the Dutch?
He himself was a Jew from Tunisia and they had a tradition that they were descended from Zebulon! I repleid that most Zebulon went with the Ten tribes but there may have been some who stayed with, or re-attached themselves to, Judah. I then asked to how many of the Jews in of Tunisia would this apply and he said about 15%. The person speaking to me who identified as a Tunisian Jew I later learnt was a well-known individual in the area. He really was of Tunisian Jewish origin. Nevertheless, his physical appearance was more characteristically "Dutch" than North African or even "Jewish". He was tall, golden-haired, bearded, and large of body. He even had personality quirks also found among the Dutch! Such types apparently are not uncommon among Tunisian Jews. Similarly I once attended a family celebration in which many of the guests were blond and blue-eyed. I thought they were Jews from Germany. I was wrong. They all belonged to the one extended family of Tunisian Jews. A similar experience occurred to me elsewhere in which the Jews I thought must be from Germany turned out to belong to a Jewish clan from Iraq! Such is the value of racial stereotypes!