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Sons of Aaron - The Priestly Tribe - Convene in Jerusalem

Researchers and rabbis are streaming into Jerusalem for a “family gathering” of the descendants of the Tribe of Levi to begin Sunday in Jerusalem.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 7/15/2007, 10:03 AM

A four-day International Conference of Descendants of the biblical figure Aaron, the Priestly Tribe (Kohanim) and the whole Tribe of Levi to which the Kohanim are a part, begins on Sunday, July 15.

 

“Bring forth Aharon’s sons….Then anoint them, just as you anointed their father, so that they will be Kohanim ("priests") to Me. It will be done so that their anointing will make them an eternal [hereditary] priesthood for all generations. Moses proceeded to do exactly as G-d had commanded him.” (Exodus 40:14, 15)

 

Throughout Jewish history and to this day, Jews are careful to note which families belong to the tribe of Levi and the priestly family of Aaron. At the special gathering this week in Jerusalem, they will learn more about their roots and discuss the latest research proving their genetic ties.

 

The International Conference of Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi falls on the first day of the Hebrew month of Av and the beginning of the nine-day period leading up to Tisha B’Av, the second-most solemn fast day in the Jewish calendar.

 

It is also the date on which Aharon the High Priest, brother of Moses left this world to enter the World to Come.

 

Recent scientific research and DNA testing has allegedly proven a genetic connection between the descendants of the Tribe of Levi, the biblical priests and their assistants who began with the sons of Aharon.

 

Project director Professor Karl Skorecki, one of the main researchers in the seminal “Kohen Genetic Signature” study, is scheduled to present the findings Monday, July 16 at 11:30 a.m. in “HaKotel Hall” auditorium, near the Western Wall Plaza.

 

“This is not only the first family reunion of the Jewish priestly dynasty in nearly 2,000 years,” said conference organizer Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman in a statement sent to the media. “The research and information we will share will play an important role in appreciating and maintaining our unique and precious heritage.”  Rabbi Kleiman is the director of The Center for Kohanim in Jerusalem and the author of “DNA & Tradition.”

 

Molecular geneticists have recently discovered the “Kohen Modal Haplotype,” a Y-chromosome DNA lineage signature shared by a majority of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic Kohanim.

 

This indicates direct patrilineal descent of present-day Kohanim from an ancient ancestor, genetically dated to have lived approximately 3,000 years ago, corresponding to the time of the Exodus from Egypt.

 

Kohanim and other “members of the tribe,” the Levi’im (Levites), are being invited to participate in what has been billed as the “first ‘family reunion’ held since the days of the Temple in Jerusalem.”

 

Four days of seminars, touring, presentations of the latest research and lectures by leading rabbis and scientists on such topics as genetic genealogy, biblical history and contemporary issues in the Jewish legal arena will be offered in English as well as Hebrew.

 

For more information, click here or call The Center for Kohanim at 02-626-0632.