Brit-Am Now 172

December 24, 2002
1. Brit-Am Correspondence Problems
2. Question on Family Traits
3. Another Question on toes
4. Norman Family
5. Extracts from NY Times article on race.
6. Brit-Am concept of race (very brief)
7. Books

1. Brit-Am Correspondence and other Problems
Recently I was working quite intensely on a Brit-Am project so some
correspondence and Brit-Am affairs
got put to one side.
On top of that my e-mail program had a minor crash and some mail got lost
and some is dislocated.
Whatever the case, the project is completed and on its way to the printer.
Our e-mail set-up is being reconstructed and we should be back in business

2. Question on Family Traits

From: Anna
Subject: Celtic Pinkies?

OK, this probably has nothing to do with anything, but maybe you know
where to point me to find the answer to my queries. Again, re the
"Celtic toe", the "pointer" (2nd) toes on each of my feet are nearly
equal with my big toes, but just a shade longer. Then they slope
roundly down to the "pinky" toes. My husband's 2nd toes are
substantially longer on both feet and slope more angularly down from
My ancestry is predominantly Scots-Irish. Now my husband is adopted, but
we know his biological mother is Jewish. I suspect his bio Dad was
Irish (Cxxx). However, this leaves me wondering about possible
Jewish-Celtic genetic similarities (how many Jews, and from where, share
this trait).
My second question pertains to discovering whether another strong trait
we carry in my family is indicative of a particular ancestry. The tips
of our pinky fingers on each hand bend in toward the ring fingers. Just
the part from the joint furthest from the hand to the actual end tip of
the finger. It is very pronounced in my lineage, and our son carries it
as well.
I'd be interested to know if other families carry this finger trait, and
if so what their known ancestry is. Any ideas where I can research
these questions? I remember seeing a display at a science museum that
showed several differently shaped hands, saying that most hand shapes
broke down into one of these types. I don't remember what ancestral
significance (if any) it alluded to but it was the first time it had
ever crossed my mind that my hands were different than others' - and
they are, now that I've started to compare them.
Thanks for your time,

3. Another Question on toes

Subject: Re: "Brit-Am Now"-171
I am a "standard" ashkenazic jew of east european descent and had no
knowledge about this toe issue until now---and behold my second toe is
slightly longer than my big toe?! Could my family have been from the tribe
of ephraim, being in Jerusalem during the assyrian destruction and exile of
the northern provinces?
David M

Comment by Brit-Am: I think this "toe" business does not indicate very much.
It is a curiosity of interest which along with other factors may be worth
noting at some stage.
At the moment we need much more information.

4. Norman Family
From: Yehshua Somerville
Subject: Re: Tribal Identifications: BENJAMIN-1

I am of Scotch via Norman decent and find much or this information
interesting and I thank you for it! However I know in my own family
"somerville" that we trace our roots back to a population out side of Cean
near Normandy France; the name of the town to this day is Somerville. The
name of the town was derived from a Swedish monk/priest of the Catholic
church named Omer then turned saint. St.Omer moved to the area with a
Norman congregation from Sweden and called the town S(t)Omer('s)ville, thus
I and Im sure you notice the name Omer is remarkably Hebraic. I also in my
search has stumbled upon many people of "Jewish" ethnicity or of the
populist of Israel also share in the name Omer or Emer.
Do you have any comment or information on this information?

5. Extracts from NY Times article on race:

This article from
Gene Study Identifies 5 Main Human Populations
December 20, 2002

Scientists studying the DNA of 52 human groups from around
the world have concluded that people belong to five
principal groups corresponding to the major geographical
regions of the world: Africa, Europe, Asia, Melanesia and
the Americas.
The study, based on scans of the whole human genome, is the
most thorough to look for patterns corresponding to major
geographical regions. These regions broadly correspond with
popular notions of race, the researchers said in
The researchers did not analyze genes but rather short
segments of DNA known as markers, similar to those used in
DNA fingerprinting tests, that have no apparent function in
the body.
"What this study says is that if you look at enough markers
you can identify the geographic region a person comes
from," said Dr. Kenneth Kidd of Yale University, an author
of the report.
The issue of race and ethnicity has forced itself to
biomedical researchers' attention because human populations
have different patterns of disease, and advances in
decoding DNA have made it possible to try and correlate
disease with genetics.
The study, published today in Science, finds that
"self-reported population ancestry likely provides a
suitable proxy for genetic ancestry." In other words,
someone saying he is of European ancestry will have genetic
similarities to other Europeans.

The Science authors concluded that 95 percent of the
genetic variations in the human genome is found in people
all over the world.

The five major
continental groups now differ to a small degree, the
Science article says, as judged by the markers. The DNA in
the genes is subject to different pressures, like those of
natural selection.
Similar divisions of the world's population have been
implied by earlier studies based on the Y chromosome,
carried by males, and on mitochondrial DNA, bequeathed
through the female line. But both elements constitute a
tiny fraction of the human genome and it was not clear how
well they might represent the behavior of the rest of the

Despite the large shared pool of genetic variation, the
small number of differences allows the separate genetic
history of each major group to be traced.

Some diseases are much commoner among some ethnic groups
than others. Sickle cell anemia is common among Africans,
while hemochromatosis, an iron metabolism disorder, occurs
in 7.5 percent of Swedes. It can therefore be useful for a
doctor to consider a patient's race in diagnosing disease.
Researchers seeking the genetic variants that cause such
diseases must take race into account because a mixed
population may confound their studies.

Dr. Alan Goodman, a physical anthropologist at Hampshire
College and an adviser to the association, said, "there is
no biological basis for race." The clusters shown in the
Science article were driven by geography, not race, he

6. Brit-Am concept of race (very brief)
based on reading of relevant literature together with Biblical and Jewish
studies and confirmed
by the book "Not be Chance. The Fall of Neo-Darwinian Theory" by Lee M.
Spetner (1996)
(now reprinted we understand by Judaic Press). Brit-Am is concerned with
Israelite heredity.
This does not necessarily mean race since one could be considered as
descended from Israel
even though a portion of his/her ancestors were not Israelites. Also
non-Israelite strangers under
certain conditions could also be accepted as Israelites. Nevertheless an
hereditary factor is present
and the question of race does arise from time to time.

Our understanding is:
All of mankind descended from one ancestor.
Everything in me reflects whatever is in everyone else BUT genetic factors
trigger off what will
come into expression.
Coloring is only a minor factor in racial distinctions but it is the one
most people are aware of since it is
the most visually obvious.
Some people are dark colored because the potential for coloring is
triggered off. Some people are light
colored because less of the coloring potential is activated. At the extreme
level this results in albinoism.
At the intermediate level in blondinism.
In some areas of the world you are better off being light colored because
of the environment
and elsewhere a darker coloring is better.
Black hair actually usually contains two "colorings" a red coloring and a
darker coloring.
If the darker coloring is not activated the hair will appear red. All black
hair in potential is red.
Whatever coloring you have will usually be determined by what your parents
There are cases however where the lines can be crossed and dark skinned people
give birth to lighter colored children (and the children really are theirs)
and the opposite.
In large bodies of people this process may be speeded up by even a small
input of
varying genetic factors from external sources.
Peoples who live together for long periods will intermarry with each other
to some degree and also
be subject to the same external influences. They will tend in some respects
to resemble each other.
Changes in genetic potential and environmental influences may however
change populations.
We explained this in our commentary on Genesis 30 and also in "The Tribes".
Example (from Spetner p.202):
In 1967  a 100 finches were brought to Laysan island in the Pacific Ocean,
from there
they spread to four other neighboring islands in the vicinity and
multiplied to the number of ca.800.
In 1987 the birds on some islands all had big bills and on other islands
they all had short ones.
Finches are able to produce two types of bill: long and short. Large bills
are better for cracking hard seeds,
short bills for soft ones.
The finches on each island had tended to give birth to offspring with that
type of bill most suited to the
type of food evidently available in each island.
This is not evolution. It is the inherent genetical potential coming to
expression in answer to the needs
of the organism.
At the back of his book Spetner provides a theoretical model explaining how
these changes can become
genetically "fixed" so that even if circumstances change the type will not
change unless a threshold level
of influencing factors is arrived at.
Anyway, this is what I think. Take it or leave it. If anyone thinks I am
wrong and they can convincingly prove it
I may change my mind.
The bible does not encourage intermarriage but neither is it in every case
against it.
Esau had was reddish and hairy. Jacob his twin bother was different.
David was also reddish.
Joseph married an Egyptian.
Moses married a Cushite.
Boaz married Ruth after a relative of his had refused to marry her
apparently due to racial prejudice.
on the other hand, Calamities befall the ancient Israelites partly because
they intermarried with other peoples.
The Bible condemns the Israelites for this but attributes the calamities to
the Hebrews having learned
from the bad example and influence of the others.
On the whole, according to the bible if you went to war with your enemies
you could under certain conditions
marry a captured woman. It does not say anywhere that your '"enemies" had
to look like you.

7. Books
"Biblical Truth" is now available and another work soon will be. See coming