Inspired by two recent New York Times stories, in my never-ending quest to be of service to the JRF, I arranged for two teams of crack researchers in New York, one from Mt. Sinai Hospital and the other from Columbia-Presbyterian, to study DNA samples obtained from Mordecai Kaplan’s tallit katan. The results are now in, and I am proud to announce that they prove, within the usual bounds of statistical certainty, that Kaplan was in fact a direct descendant of Jesus of Nazareth.
“If you think about it, this explains a lot,” said JRF Executive Vice president Dr. Carl Sheingold. We have always wondered, for example, why Kaplan was obsessed with the concept of “salvation,” which struck so many commentators as a Christian term. Now we know. Also, many of Kaplan’s colleagues thought that Kaplan’s vision for the future of Judaism was messianic. Of course it was!
Reached for comment on his way to Bethlehem, RRA Executive Director Rabbi Richard Hirsh said that his main reaction was one of relief, as the RRA’s contentious discussions about a new interfaith marriage policy now seem pretty silly.
Study Raises Possibility of Jewish Tie for Jefferson
By NICHOLAS WADE
February 28, 2007
Was Thomas Jefferson the first Jewish president? Researchers studying Jefferson’s Y chromosome have found it belongs to a lineage that is rare in Europe but common in the Middle East, raising the possibility that the third president of the United States had a Jewish ancestor many generations ago.
No biological samples of Jefferson remain, but his Y chromosome, the genetic element that determines maleness, is assumed to be the same as that carried by living descendants of Field Jefferson, his paternal uncle. These relatives donated cells for an inquiry into whether Jefferson had fathered a hidden family with his slave Sally Hemings, a possibility that most historians had scoffed at.
Crypt Held Bodies of Jesus and Family, Film Says
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN
February 27, 2007
A documentary by the Discovery Channel claims to provide evidence that a crypt unearthed 27 years ago in Jerusalem contained the bones of Jesus of Nazareth. Moreover, it asserts that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that the couple had a son, named Judah, and that all three were buried together.
The claims were met with skepticism by several archaeologists and New Testament scholars, as well as outrage by some Christian leaders. The contention that Jesus was married, had a child and left behind his bones — suggesting he was not bodily resurrected — contradicts core Christian doctrine.