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Khazars and modern Judaism

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Knights View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Jul 2009 at 05:16
I'm not a regular contributor to this corner of the forum (Steppe, North/Central Asia), but I thuoght it was in some need of new topics. So I have decided to draw upon an area which I am at least familiar with - the Khazar state.

I recall a thread was dedicated to something similar to this in the archive, but there is no harm in re-igniting discussion here. My question is, what is the modern Jewish (particularly those in Israel) opinion towards the Jewish Khazar state? It there any connection or affiliation that is still noted by Jews today?

Look forward to hearing responses.

Sincerely,

- Knights -
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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jul 2009 at 08:16
Its a very political topic, as I discovered some years ago when I mistakenly thought that suggesting that many Russian and Ukranian Jews were descents of Khazars would be a purely historical suggestion.
Unfortunately there seem to be some people who claim that all Jews must be bunni Israel because of their political agenda, and unfortunately there are others who claim the opposite for their political agenda as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bernardus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 10:10
I am no expert on this case sensitive subject, but is is a pure myth that all Jews are descandents of the earthfathers or anyhow pure related to Israël itself. Although they hold on to their bloodlines who mainly can be traced bij genetical errors that occurred typical for many Jews. Jews have mixed up with all kinds of other races and populations. But it's true that they created a history of myths (as all others also did) to claim their ancestors and/or land. Like the mythological escape from Egypte of which no evidence is found.
Even Archological autors and politicians admitted that no landclaims could be made related to their mythical history, like biblical facts.
I have been studying for some time a relation between the Kazars and Jews.
 
One of the books about the Myth and evidence by archeological research is from: The Bible Unearthed Israel :Finkelstein en Neil Asher Silberman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bernardus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 10:29
One of the best sources I found in:
Kevin A. Brook (Danbury, CT, USA) 

THE ORIGINS OF EAST EUROPEAN JEWS*

The relation between Kazhars and Jews.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jul 2009 at 20:02
Be forewarned that this is a veritable hot button ever since first broached in the early 50s but actually rooted in Judah Halevi and his Sefer ha-kuzari from the 12th century. I presuppose we are all familiar with Arthur Koestler and his book, The Thirteenth Tribe (1976), which is on-line by the way:
 
 
Placing aside the use of this topic for contemporary Middle East politics as well as its prominence in the hands of known whackos, we can nevertheless review the assertions made by Koestler and discuss their historical validity. Similarly, we can explore the historical reasons why the Khazars were interjected into Jewish polemics in the first place as early as the 12th century. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2009 at 01:18
Quote I presuppose we are all familiar with Arthur Koestler and his book, The Thirteenth Tribe (1976), which is on-line by the way:

That's a good book. Went to read a page or so and ended up read the last four chapters.
At some points he is a bit simplistic, but on others he is quite convincing.

The observation that, not only Jews, but also other Near Steppe peoples were arriving in Poland & Hungary is worthy of note.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jul 2009 at 07:02

Koestler is an interesting read, but nobody takes him seriously. There is no much doubt that most Ashkenazi Jews originate from Germany.

There are some interesting cases for discussion like Karaims or Krymschaks or Tats, which sometimes are claimed to be the remnants of Judaist Khazars, but those minorities are really tiny minorities among the overwhelming Ashkenzi and Sefardim Jews.
 
Stories about Khazar conversion to Judaism served as a source of pride for midieval European Jews and famous Sefard Jewish philospher and poet Iehuda Halevi wrote the whole philosophical volume "Khazars" about the story of Khazar conversion. There were also legends circulating claiming that Khazars are in fact descendants of the lost tribe of Simeon.
 
AFAIK in modern Israel Khazar problematics attracts a lot of academic interest and is very popular.
The Khazar story is regarded as an amazing exception in the dark history of the prosecution of Jews in midieval Europe.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shirvanshah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2009 at 22:43
Khazars were the first people that brought Jews to Europe.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 22:12
Shirvanshah, there were Jews living in Europe as far back as the Roman Empire, if not earlier.  So to say that Khazars were the first people that brought Jews to Europe is ridiculous.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Aug 2009 at 22:23
Originally posted by Shirvanshah Shirvanshah wrote:

Khazars were the first people that brought Jews to Europe.
 
Nonsense.
 
Jews had been in Europe much longer before the word "Khazar" appeared in history the first time.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2009 at 03:12
I do believe we have another instance of spamming...this Shirvansha character is simply looking to make trouble.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2009 at 04:34
Yup
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote es_bih Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2009 at 04:34
Originally posted by King John King John wrote:

Shirvanshah, there were Jews living in Europe as far back as the Roman Empire, if not earlier.  So to say that Khazars were the first people that brought Jews to Europe is ridiculous.


I wouldn't be surprised if it were earlier than the Roman Empire... like you said the argument doesn't have common sense at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AyKurt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Aug 2009 at 10:33
The Khazar elite converted to Judaism for political reasons rather than religious convictions originally.  I dont think there is any evidence it was a widespread practise though.
You would be more likely to find their descendants among todays North Caucasus, Lower Volga and West Kazakhistan regions than among modern Ashkenazi jews.

There is an interesting project to find the Khazar/Ashina bloodline however here,
http://www.familytreedna.com/public/AshinaRoyalDynasty/default.aspx
linking the Khazar rulers and the Ashina royal clan with the haplogroup Q. http://ashinaroyaldynasty.blogspot.com/

I dont know how serious or accurate it is but it is interesting nonetheless.
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Well folks, Identity is a state of Mind and not a state of Being controlled by genetics.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hebrewtext Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2009 at 09:01
most of the Israelis and Jews never heard of the Kazars, so it is difficult to see eviedence of kazars influance on todays Judaism.
as it was written above, all the kazar historical legend was published and exaggerated due to political reasons.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hebrewtext Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2009 at 09:11
Originally posted by Shirvanshah Shirvanshah wrote:

Khazars were the first people that brought Jews to Europe.
 
Judaism is been practice in Europe before Christianity, Jewish communities in Europe exist since ancient Greece.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2009 at 09:59
Originally posted by Hebrewtext Hebrewtext wrote:

most of the Israelis and Jews never heard of the Kazars, so it is difficult to see eviedence of kazars influance on todays Judaism.
as it was written above, all the kazar historical legend was published and exaggerated due to political reasons.

Just the person to get me back involved in this thread! Big smile

One of the things that has puzzled me recently is why our Jewish AE members never (or very rarely) get involved in these discussions, is there any particular reason for that? Are they not important?

I agree that the Khazar legend has been exaggerated due to political reasons, but as I said above I do think there is an element of truth (or at least plausibility) in the legend on a smaller scale. What's your opinion about the Khazars? As in, what do you think happened to them after their empire fell?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hebrewtext Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2009 at 12:20
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Just the person to get me back involved in this thread! Big smile

One of the things that has puzzled me recently is why our Jewish AE members never (or very rarely) get involved in these discussions, is there any particular reason for that? Are they not important?

 
lets face it
what the point of fighting anti Israeli propaganda its like fighting windmills, people think if something is written a thousend times than it becomes truth/historical fact.
anyhow Jewish and Israelis are outnumbered here ,and around the globe.
 
the khazars?
maybe they (or some of them) adapted some "Jewish featurs" ,but the weak beliefs , faded away after some generations and they were absorbed within the surrunding people.
it is very difficult to convert to Judaism ,also today it takes months of process in order to be seen as a Jew by the rabanical administration ,yet in the middle ages.
 


Edited by Hebrewtext - 10 Aug 2009 at 12:23
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AyKurt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2009 at 13:03
I dont know how this relates to anti Israel propaganda but i can understand the anti jewish nature of it.  Remember though its also can be considered anti Turkic too.
Ive noticed some people, on internet forums, calling Jews Khazars in a negative context.  I think its a veiled attempt at racism.  In a sense they dont want to associate Jews with european peoples so they associate them with, to them, an alien little heard of people like Khazars.  Khazars being steppe nomadic in origin would relate to the "scourge of god" that many Europeans are familiar with.  So this might be an attempt at undermining Jewishness and distancing them from Europeans or Semitic peoples but its also an insult to Steppe nomadic culture.
Although this is all very minor and it usually comes from a small group of racialists.  i dont see how this connotation relates to anti israeli propaganda, its antisemitism.  It should be kept in perspective though, the connotations between antisemitism and "khazar calling" is very small and not widespread.

The majority of the Khazars would have assimilated into the Kypchak peoples between the Black Sea and around the Caspian Sea and lower Volga.  Nothing mysterious.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2009 at 02:51
A little background here, AyKurt. When Koestler published his book, the thesis flew right in the face of the old argument: Is Judaism a religion or is it an ethnic identity (a distinct "race" or people). In a way, it was taken as a direct challenge to the politics of Eretz Israel and the existence of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people! There are many corollaries here that have moved far beyond the polemical.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2009 at 07:16

Originally posted by Hebrewtext Hebrewtext wrote:

lets face it
what the point of fighting anti Israeli propaganda its like fighting windmills, people think if something is written a thousend times than it becomes truth/historical fact.
anyhow Jewish and Israelis are outnumbered here ,and around the globe.

Being outnumbered doesn't explain why people don't get involved when they are there, it would just mean there are fewer to be there.
And I don't really think that this is anti-israeli, I mean, I know it confuses the myth of Jewish ancestory, and has the potential to annoy people who hold that myth dear, but I don't think is actually affects the state in any positive or negative way.
In anycase, while I would dearly love to discuss modern politics with you in another thread, in this thread I would prefer everything to be kept many centuries prior to the present.
Quote the khazars?
maybe they (or some of them) adapted some "Jewish featurs" ,but the weak beliefs , faded away after some generations and they were absorbed within the surrunding people.
it is very difficult to convert to Judaism ,also today it takes months of process in order to be seen as a Jew by the rabanical administration ,yet in the middle ages.

It may be difficult for me or drgonzaga, but if I had inexhaustable wealth and tens of thousands of soliders I'm sure I can pay someone to teach and raise myself, my court, my children, and a fair few of my subjects as Jews. Conversions to Judaism were also fairly common during Roman times and eariler, at which point did people stop converting?
Futhermore I don't see any reason why they would have faded away, I mean, there are a few thousand Jews (like the Karaims) who are pretty well indisputably Khazar - they even speak Khazar/Turkish, but they survived (according to Kolster) because of a small fundamentalist sect.

Weak beliefs also don't necessarily fade away, there could be 4 generations of so of kids being told they were Jewish but not knowing anything about Judaism, until, say, another group of Jews migrates in and suddenly there is a renewed interest in the religion. This effect can be seen on a small scale in parts of Outback Australia (Alice Springs is where I'm thinking of) where decendents of Ghan camelmen become religious muslims initally because of their ancestory.
For example, what would happen if a few thousand Khazars who knew nothing about Judaism other than they were supposed to be Jews migrated into Poland where an existing Jewish community was already present? They'd probably integrate into it.

 
PS. I also note your post count didn't transfer over. If you PM Knights he can fix that up for you,


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 11 Aug 2009 at 07:55
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hebrewtext Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Aug 2009 at 09:45
thanks for your note and advise, I saw that problem and didn't know why.
 
I read somewhere years ago that some 20% of ancient Greeks were Jews and 10% of the Romans,
but probably at  that times ideas and beliefs were adapted and mingled easily into peoples life around the empire. 
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