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Jewish Heritage

Question:
Shalom aleychem,

I have a question to my “jewish heritage”. I am from Germany. My parents came in the 70’s from north-eastern Turkey, from a town called Trabzon (Trapezunt/Trebizond). This area is known as the “pontic” area, as there lived a lot of greek pontic people.They still speak next to turkish, the old greek language called “romeyka”.

I made a DNAethnicity test last year and was told, that the results of my DNA analysis say that I am 100% Askenaz Jew – Non Jew. You can check the results online at the website/blog of genetician Dr. Eran Elhaik here.

I would like to know if I am considered as a jew related to the DNA-results as I seem to share the same gene pools as Ashkenazi jews?

I heard from some sephardic jewish friends of mine that DNA tests won’t be accepted as a proof of jewish heritage. Since that results I have read a lot about judaism and talked with friends and foreigners about this subject, but couldn’t get a clear answer.

The reason why I am asking you as a rabbi is that I think about a “back to the roots” – so I am thinking about a conversion to the jewish religion. But I wouldn’t do this step as a simple convertite, only if my heritage is either accepted as a jewish root.

Lookings forward to hearing from you.

Answer:

Thank you for your inquiry.

The results of your DNA testing are not sufficient to give the status of being a Jew according to the Torah, Jewish Law. The question as to how part of your genealogy implies Jewish roots is interesting, but as in many DNA studies remains an unknown. Only through a proper conversion could you actually becone Jewish, as with any non Jew.

You should be led on the right path in life, one that brings you happiness and fulfillment.

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