Tracing Jewish Ancestry: 613 and Me

Question
I appreciate the wisdom you have shared. I have a question, not about faith, but about lineage.
We see in the Bible, incredible and detailed records pertaining to ancestry. And, nowadays, this whole ancestry thing that’s mentioned in the Torah has gotten so popular, either as a fad or something more serious, and many people are shelling out a lot of money to find out where they came from.
My question: Are most Jews still able to trace their lineage way back, or was that just a Bible thing?
Thanks
, 6 months

Answers

  1. Unfortunately, the answer is “No”. Most Jews are not really able to trace their ancestry very far back. This is not because it is no longer important, but because the various exiles throughout history – and most recently the Holocaust – causes the loss and destruction of an immeasurable amount of historical information, both pertaining to Jewish communities and to individuals as well.

    Having said that, I know of certain people and families who have an oral family tradition of heir ancestry, especially if they are descendants of great Rabbis from a few hundred years ago, and those earlier Rabbis were known to have been able to trace their lineage back to King David.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team