Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Eretz Yisrael - Hard-Coded Into My Genes

Five years ago, I attended a lecture on genetic analysis of Jewish origins by Dr. Harry Ostrer of NYU's Human Genetics Program. Along with other volunteers who could trace their family lineage back four to five generations, I provided a "mouthwash" sample for Dr. Ostrer's research.

Many months later, I received a post card from NYU that listed my genetic haplotype. I found it extremely interesting that my haplotype had its origins in the Middle East and that modern science was telling me that Eretz Yisrael was actually hard-coded into my genes.

I have always wondered how my family ended up in a tiny shtetl in Ukraine after centuries of journeys from their home in Eretz Yisrael. While I may never be able to get beyond the brick wall in my genealogical research, I know that one day my family's story will be revealed to me.

Remember the days long gone by. Ponder the years of each generation. Ask your father and let him tell you, and your grandfather who will explain it.

(Devarim 32:7)


At August 30, 2005 at 10:35:00 AM EDT, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Very cool and very interesting.

I am also trying to research my family history. I was able to trace one side back to the 1700s, and then hit a wall. At some point, if there wasn't a famous person in your family, there is only so far you can go...

Did you actually take those shtetl pictures yourself? That is the next step for me: visiting the places my family came from.

At August 30, 2005 at 10:48:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

MCAryeh: The 1700's that is fantastic. What country did this side of your family come from?

As for the shtetl pictures, yes, I travelled to this small Ukrainian shtetl with my wife in 2001. Someday I hope to take my kids back as well.

I highly recommend Shtetl Shleppers to arrange the tour:


At August 30, 2005 at 1:30:00 PM EDT, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

That branch of my family came from what is present-day Belarus.

Wonderful pictures! Is anything left from the Jewish community in your shtetl or was everything (cemetaries, shuls, etc.) destroyed?

Thanks for the link...I will check it out.

At August 30, 2005 at 1:36:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

MCAryeh: Where about in Belarus? I had another side of my family
from the Grodno region.

As for the Ukrainian shtetl, I posted a picture of the Jewish cemtery here:

All of the Jews were murdered by the Germans and their Ukrainian neighbors. The shul
was burnt down and there is little to no trace that Jews lived there from the 17th Century
until the 1940s.

At August 30, 2005 at 9:56:00 PM EDT, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

They were from Minsk. The shtetl they were from is also completely devoid of Jewish traces. The shul was converted to something else, the cemetary completely destroyed but for two or three headstones. All the remaining Jews, but a few who escaped into the forest, were murdered during WWII.


Post a Comment

<< Home