In Israel, the official Chief Rabbinate determines whether a person is Jewish under Orthodox Jewish religious law.  This determination is relevant to issues of marriage and burial in the country. Yesterday’s Jerusalem Post reports that a leading Orthodox rabbi who is co-head of the Eretz Hemdah Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies has submitted to the Chief Rabbinate a scientific report that suggests a Mitochondrial DNA test should be allowed as an alternative method for some women to prove that they are Jewish.  Mitrochondrial DNA is inherited only through the mother, and 40% of Ashkenazi Jews have specific genetic markers showing descent from one of four Jewish women who settled in Europe over 1000 years ago.



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