Judaism's Hereditary Classes - Jewish Priests - Kohanim and Levi'im
In the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, Kohanim (plural for Kohen) were priests responsible for worship ceremonies, such as leading services, offering sacrifices, burning incense and more. To maintain a high degree of purity, Kohanim observed certain prohibitions concerning marriage and contact with the deceased. Learn more about past and present Kohanim.
The Priestly Blessing dates back to the inauguration of the Tabernacle (mishkan in Hebrew) over 3000 years ago. It is a remnant of the Temple service which was never lost.
Professor Karl Skorecki, director of Nephrology and Molecular Medicine at the Technion Faculty of Medicine, proved that the descendants of the tribe of Jewish priests, called Kohanim, can be traced back to a single male ancestor.
According to Orthodox Judaism, why can't a Kohen enter a morgue, even to retrieve his mother's body?
According to Orthodox Judaism, how can a Kohen marry a convert to Judaism?
According to Conservative Judaism, can a Kohen marry the daughter of a convert?
According to Conservative Judaism, Can Kohen relinguish his status as a Kohen in order to marry a convert to Judaism?
Reform Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser explains why Jewish-sounding last names do not mean a person is Jewish. Some non-Jews have the last name of Kohen or Cohen.
Reform Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser is asked if Judaism's move toward egalitarianism has affected Judaism's observance of male-line inheritance of Kohanim status.
This Biology Daily article describes genetic research that led to the finding of the Y-chromosomal Aaron, or the hypothesised ancestor of the Kohanim (singular "Kohen" or Kohane), a patrilineal priestly caste in Judaism.
Prof. Karl Skorecki of the Technion Faculty of Medicine talks about his headline-grabbing discovery that the lineage of the modern-day Kohanim – the descendants of the tribe of Jewish priests – can be traced back to a single male ancestor. He’ll also discuss the research that proved that 40 percent of Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of four “founding mothers.”
This Post-Gazette article discusses Skorecki's discovery of shared genetic markers among today's Kohanim as well as what the discover means.
This Timeline of Kohanim traces the history of the Kohanim from the pre-Sinai period (3,300 years ago) with the First Kohen Gadol (Aharon HaKohen) until the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.
Read abstracts and summaries of scientific studies of Cohens and Levites.