11 December 2018 - 4 Tevet 5779 - ד' טבת ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Yiddish Language was invented by Slavo-Iranian Jewish merchants E-mail

A new tool called the Geographic Population Structure (GPS), which converts DNA data into its ancestral coordinates, has pinpointed the origin of Yiddish speakers, according to a team of researchers led by Dr. EranElhaik of the University of Sheffield, UK.

The Slavic Yiddish (now universally called simply Yiddish), spoken since the 9th century CE, is the language of Ashkenazic Jews, the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe.

The language consists of Hebrew, German, Slavic and other elements written in Aramaic characters. Its origin is something which Linguists have questioned its origins for decades.

The prevalent view claims Yiddish has a German origin, whereas the opposing view posits a Slavic origin. One of the major difficulties in deciding between these hypotheses is the unknown geographical origin of Ashkenazic Jews.

Now, the GPS tool has helped scientists pinpoint that the DNA of Yiddish speakers could have originated from four ancient villages in north-eastern Turkey.

The research, published today in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution, suggests Yiddish was invented by Iranian and Ashkenazic Jews as they traded on the Silk Road. “We conclude that Ashkenazic Jews probably originated during the first millennium when Iranian Jews Judaized Greco-Roman, Turk, Iranian, southern Caucasus and Slavic populations inhabiting the lands of Ashkenaz in Turkey,” Dr. Elhaik and coauthors said.

“Our findings imply that Yiddish was created by Slavo Iranian Jewish merchants plying the Silk Roads between Germany, North Africa, and China.”

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Oldest glassworks discovered was a world centre for glass production E-mail

An extraordinary archaeological discovery last summer at the foot of Mount Carmel near Haifa was revealed in an excavation of the Israel Antiquities Authority prior to the construction of a road being built at the initiative of the Netivei Israel Company.

During the excavation, carried out as part of the Jezreel Valley Railway Project between Ha-‘Emekim Junction and Yagur Junction, remains of the oldest kilns in Israel were discovered where commercial quantities of raw glass were produced. These kilns, c. 1,600 years old (dating to the Late Roman period), indicate that the land of Israel was one of the foremost centres for glass production in the ancient world.

According to Yael GorinRosen, head curator of the Israel Antiquities Authority Glass Department, “This is a very important discovery with implications regarding the history of the glass industry both in Israel and in the entire ancient world. We know from historical sources dating to the Roman period that the Valley of ‘Akko was renowned for the excellent quality sand located there, which was highly suitable for the manufacture of glass. Chemical analyses conducted on glass vessels from this period which were discovered until now at sites in Europe and in shipwrecks in the Mediterranean basin have shown that the source of the glass is from our region. Now, for the first time, the kilns have been found where the raw material was manufactured that was used to produce this glassware.”

According to Professor Ian Freestone of the University College London, who specializes in identifying the chemical composition of glass, “This is a sensational discovery and it is of great significance for understanding the entire system of the glass trade in antiquity. This is evidence that Israel constituted a production centre on an international scale; hence its glassware was widely distributed throughout the Mediterranean and Europe.”

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Students find the perfect Jewish education for free E-mail

All around the world, parents and Jewish teens seek to balance the need for an affordable quality education and the desire for Jewish expression. And Jewish parents look for ways to provide their children with a solid Jewish identity and a quality education.

For many, the cost of fulltime Jewish education is prohibitive, yet a public-school education comes at the expense of the social discomfort. For many families, Jewish education is relegated to bar/bat mitzvah lessons, with the need for a solid academic foundation taking priority. To develop and maintain a strong sense of Jewish identity becomes a challenge for many teens and young adults.

Looking beyond the traditional options can hold the answer to all their needs. For some 1,600 Jewish students, the solution to this ever-common dilemma has an address. Though radical, these families have decided to invest in a non-traditional way, giving their children the adventure of a lifetime and sending them to high-school boarding programmes in Israel.

For Reeka Umardekar, of Mumbai, and hundreds of her Jewish peers enrolled in Naale Elite Academy’s 25 schools, they found the perfect fit. Naale’s programmes provide both an affordable education and great Jewish atmosphere. The tracks offer independent teens in 9th through 12th grade a top-notch Jewish education with a full scholarship.

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