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Archive for the ‘My Jewish Heart’ Category

Magen David

You know you are maturing when people start saying, “You have sure seen a lot of changes in your lifetime!”  I’ve not experienced as much change as my Dad did; he lived from 1896 to 1998, and throughout his lifetime he maintained a fervent interest in new inventions and rapidly expanding technology.  He would have LOVED this current cyber-age—especially the phone/cameras as photography was one of his many passions.

Of all the changes I can recall, perhaps the one I find most astounding is the research and discoveries wrapped up in three letters:  DNA.  What follows in this entry may be so boring to so many readers, that I seriously doubt it will get many “hits”.  Nonetheless, since it is of interest to me, I will continue:

I grew up in a genealogy-conscious family.*  My Mom and my maternal Grandma Kate did extensive research on their Scottish Covenant heritage.  They were descended from Campbells of Argyll and Luckeys from the Scottish Borders—sent by the English Crown to colonize Northern Ireland and make it Protestant.  Those Scots-Irish came to the new world in the late 1600s.

My paternal grandfather’s ancestors came from Switzerland in the early 1700s, and settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in that German speaking community known as “Pennsylvania Dutch”.  My paternal grandmother Rose’s people escaped religious discrimination in Alsace-Lorraine, and migrated to Michigan in the mid 1800s.

So I grew up with basically 4-5 nationalities to claim pertaining to the surnames we have on record:  Scottish Celts,  probably some real Celtic Irish, German Swiss, and ancestors from Alsace-Lorraine—-with a combination of German and French given the surnames we have on record.

Then there was an undocumented report—that we also had a Jewish heritage, via my Grandma Rose.  Over the years I have cherished this “rumor”, as the Jewish people and (since 1948) the Israeli nation are among my greatest loves.

Even though Joe records our TV news broadcasts each day so that we don’t have to sit through commercials, I couldn’t miss the Ancestry.com ads that raced through our fast-forwarding act.  I ultimately succumbed, ordered the “spit tube”, and mailed a token of my origins to Utah.**  The results nearly blew me away, and have given me a new and refreshing outlook on who I am!

Some insight into the mystery:  Every person’s DNA is unique, and no other human on earth will have the same EXCEPT in the case of identical twins.  If two people are hatched out of the same egg, then as I understand it their DNA will match.  (Proof of how a Master Designer fashioned each egg to be special!)

There are subtle differences between DNA and genealogy.  Genealogy tells us where our people came from.  DNA tells us what is in each person, regardless of what they may or may not know about their ancestors’ countries of origin. 

(Please, if you are a scientist reading this blog, set me—along with other readers—straight if I am incorrect!  My majors were English literature and the French language.  Period.)

Back to my spit test.  The results amazed me on several points.  The expected Scottish Celt simply is not present.  In its place is 13% Viking!***  Now we all know that the Vikings invaded Scotland during the 8th and 9th centuries.  But it wasn’t all rape and pillage.  Some of those feisty blondes and redheads stayed in Scotland to do a number on my Argyll Campbells.  My Mom and Grandma Kate may have had lots of Scottish Celt DNA.  I have none. 

But I have a very good percentage of Irish Celt:  nearly 1/4th of my total DNA.  So the Protestant Northern Scots-Irish paired up with Green Irish either over there or in America.  Having read volumes of documentary on the beleaguered history of the Green Irish, I am delighted to stand with them—albeit as a fundamentalist/Evangelical Protestant.

There is a small amount of English in my DNA as well; I had thought there might be more, due to the plethora of English names which married into the Campbells and Luckeys.  One never knows!

In the DNA report, my paternal German Swiss, German, and French are lumped into one category:  Western European.  In my case this comprises a whopping 39%.  That was predictable.

Now the surprises, the unknowns that have proved my $99.00 Spit Kit investment really exciting and worthwhile:  13% Greek or Italian (where in the world did THAT come from—I LOVE it!) and (are you ready for this, dear reader?) 1% European Jewish.****

How encouraging!  That 1% is not a huge number, but to me it is significant.  The way I understand DNA, even with a small percentage of Jewish I could have had a Jewish great-grandmother, and my father may have had a large amount of Jewish DNA.

Where in the world is this going?  Right back to the photo at the top of the page.  I ordered my Magen David treasure via AMAZON PRIME, before I realized I could actually claim this heritage.  I love God’s chosen people, the Jews.  That’s reason enough to joyfully display the Blue and White on our garage entrance—along with our Stars and Stripes!  And now I have that 1% provenance of shared kinship!

My Superman Joe mounted the Magen David for me, on Resurrection Day weekend!

Margaret L. Been — April, 2017

*Interest in genealogy is a big Wisconsin thing.  We natives tend to say, “I’m Irish” or “I’m Whatever”—as if we had just landed on American soil, specifically on our beloved Wisconsin turf.

**A note on the spit test.  If you are inclined to pursue this adventure, remember not to eat, drink, chew, or inhale anything for at least an hour before spitting into the tube.  I didn’t read my directions carefully, and did the test along with my ubiquitous cup of strong coffee which polluted the sample.  (It might have tested out 100% caffeine.)  Anyway, Ancestry.com kindly sent me a new tube, free of additional charge. 

***In our household, that percentage of Viking is a bit of a hoot.  My husband is extremely (and rightfully!) proud of his Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish roots.  The fact that I share these roots is an eye-roller!  

****European Jewish, otherwise known as The Ashkenazim, refers to Jewish people dispersed from their homeland in the Middle East and scattered over Europe during centuries of persecution.

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History

History 2

Our daughter, Debbie (pictured above), and her husband, Rick, are currently touring Scandinavia.  Debbie emailed these photos—depicting the coast in Denmark from which many Jews were smuggled in fishing boats, to Sweden in the early 1940s.

Wikipedia documents this historic, heroic rescue of Danish Jews: “Denmark’s Jewish population had long been almost completely integrated into Danish society, and some members of the small Jewish community had risen to prominence.  Consequently, most Danes perceived the Nazis’ action against Denmark’s Jews as an affront to all Danes, and rallied to the protection of their country’s citizens.  The deportation of Jews in Denmark came one year after the deportation of Jews from Norway.  That created an outrage in all of Scandinavia, alerted the Danish Jews, and pushed the Swedish government to declare that it would receive all Jews who managed to escape the Nazis.”

If your heart stirs with compassion, just from viewing the photos which recall the catastrophic years of WWII, I conclude that you may have a “Jewish Heart”.  I have always had a Jewish Heart—beginning when I was a very young child through events, orchestrated by God, which endeared me to Jewish individuals and the Jewish race:  God’s chosen people.  Those memorable Jewish Heart events happened in the 1940s—decades before that bitter cold Wisconsin January day, when I accepted and embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, crucified in atonement for our sin and risen to give us His victorious life and His literal and inerrant Holy Bible have filled my life to abundance ever since that day, in a variety of life circumstances.  Scriptures tell me that I am “risen with Christ”, and I believe that with all my heart.

Meanwhile, the more time I spend pouring over Scriptures—Old Testament and New—the more ardent and pulsating grows my Jewish Heart!  Early in Genesis, God made a promise (never to be broken or rescinded) to Abraham concerning the countless generations to come from Abraham’s seed:  “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Genesis 12:3  (I sincerely believe that many Danes and Swedes will be blessed in retrospect!)

Sadly, some Christians have decided that God’s promise of blessing for Jews was somehow transferred to the New Testament Church.  With due consideration that each individual has a right to his or her opinion, it seems obvious to me that the “Transferred Blessing” people (subscribing to Replacement Theology) have not approached Scripture with the understanding that God’s Word is literal and God means what He says.

Although symbolic language (to enable visualization of a concept) is frequent in Scripture, those principles and undeniable givens of prophecy and the fulfillment thereof do not change.  All of Scripture points to the End Times restoration of Israel and the Jewish people—along with blessings to those of us who have come to faith in our Messiah during the Church Age.  As a brand new Christian in 1971  I wept tears of amazement and joy during a Wednesday night Bible Study—when our pastor, Stuart Briscoe, fervently preached the truths of Romans 11:

“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits:  that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob’ “.  Romans 11:25-26

That is one of countless Scriptures attesting to the future of Israel and the Jews.  Here is another of many:

“For Zion’s sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burns.  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness and all kings thy glory:  and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.  Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”  Isaiah 62:1-2

In recent years, these Scriptures have fed and nourished me.  The past history of the Jews breaks my heart; but a view of Israel’s future causes me to weep tears of joy—especially in these days of violent threats and sabre rattling in the Middle East, from godless and destructive countries which vow to wipe Israel off the map!  Every newscast I watch must be followed by a good dose of God’s prophecies and promises.  In God I trust!

Margaret L. Been — September 13, 2015

NOTES:  Further encouragement for the Jewish Heart is found in the FRIENDS OF ISRAEL publication:  Israel My Glory.  I devour nearly every word of that magazine.

It puzzles me that anyone who knows anything can possibly deny the unique quality of the Jewish people as evidenced in their survival as a race, and the incredible existence of their tiny but productive and valiantly democratic country—in the midst of godless, ravening wolves of prey! 

As a testimony to the indomitable Jewish spirit, I recommend a DVD which I love:  FOLLOW ME, THE JONI NETANYAHU STORY.  

This DVD documents not only the 1976 miraculous recovery of Jewish hostages at the Entebbe Airport by an IDF special unit, but moreover the life of that unit’s leader—a hero dedicated to freedom for his nation:  Joni Netanyahu, the older brother of current Israeli prime minister and statesman Benjamin Netanyahu.

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