Ashkenazi Jews

related topics
{group, member, jewish}
{country, population, people}
{language, word, form}
{theory, work, human}
{son, year, death}
{specie, animal, plant}
{woman, child, man}
{god, call, give}
{government, party, election}
{land, century, early}
{disease, patient, cell}
{area, community, home}
{rate, high, increase}
{city, population, household}
{church, century, christian}
{law, state, case}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}

The term Ashkenazi also refers to the nusach Ashkenaz (Hebrew, "liturgical tradition", or rite) used by Ashkenazi Jews in their Siddur (prayer book). A nusach is defined by a liturgical tradition's choice of prayers, order of prayers, text of prayers and melodies used in the singing of prayers. Two other major forms of nusach among Ashkenazic Jews are Nusach Sefard (not to be confused with Sephardi), which is the same as the general Polish (Hasidic) Nusach; and Nusach Chabad, otherwise known as Lubavitch Chasidic, Nusach Arizal or Nusach Ari.

This phrase is often used in contrast with Sephardi Jews, also called Sephardim, who are descendants of Jews from Spain and Portugal. There are some differences in how the two groups pronounce certain Hebrew letters and in points of ritual.

Several famous people have Ashkenazi as a surname, such as Vladimir Ashkenazy. Ironically, most people with this surname hail from within Sephardic communities, particularly from the Syrian Jewish community. The Sephardic carriers of the surname would have some Ashkenazi ancestors since the surname was adopted by families who were initially of Ashkenazic origins who move to Sephardi countries and joined those communities. Ashkenazi would be formally adopted as the family surname having started off as a nickname imposed by their adopted communities. Some have shortened the name to Ash.

The theory that the majority of Ashkenazi Jews are the descendants of the non-Semitic converted Khazars was advocated by various racial theorists and antisemitic sources in the late-19th and 20th centuries, especially following the publication of Arthur Koestler's The Thirteenth Tribe.[37][38][39] Despite recent genetic evidence to the contrary,[1] and a lack of any real mainstream scholarly support,[40] this belief is still popular among antisemites.[41][42]

Medical genetics

There are many references to Ashkenazi Jews in the literature of medical and population genetics. Indeed, much awareness of "Ashkenazi Jews" as an ethnic group or category stems from the large number of genetic studies of disease, including many that are well reported in the media, that have been conducted among Jews. Jewish populations have been studied more thoroughly than most other human populations, for a variety of reasons:

  • Geneticists are intrinsically interested in Jewish populations as a disproportionate percentage of genetics researchers are Jewish. Israel in particular has become an international center of such research.
  • Jewish populations, and particularly the large Ashkenazi Jewish population, are ideal for such research studies, because they exhibit a high degree of endogamy, yet they are sizable.
  • Jewish populations are overwhelmingly urban, and are concentrated near biomedical centers where such research has been carried out. Such research is especially easy to carry out in Israel, where cradle-to-grave medical insurance is available, together with universal screening for genetic disease.
  • Jewish communities are comparatively well informed about genetics research, and have been supportive of community efforts to study and prevent genetic diseases.
  • Participation of Jewish scientists and support from the Jewish community alleviates ethical concerns that sometimes hinder such genetic studies in other ethnic groups.

Full article ▸

related documents
List of sovereign states
Unitarian Universalism
Jew
Kibbutz
Judaism
Sephardi Jews
Han Chinese
Germans
Chinese nationalism
Bulgarians
Support group
Ethnic minorities in China
Nordic countries
Ham Seok-heon
Hui people
Champa
Cham people
Czechs
Manchu
Sorbs
Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium
Marrano
Palestinian people
Gansu
Lhoba
Pomaks
Subculture
Austro-Bavarian
Uvular consonant
Mensa International