For immediate release Contact: Stuart Schnee PR
Tel. US: 973-796-2753
Tel. Israel: 054-790-9120

International Gathering of
Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi
To Be Announced

Groundbreaking “Gathering of the Tribe”
Will Include Leading Researchers and Rabbis in Jerusalem in Summer 2007

Recent scientific research and DNA testing has shown that today’s descendents of the biblical priesthood known as Kohanim are genetically related.  Although the descendents of Aharon, the brother of Moses, have spread throughout the world over the past 3,300 years, the members of this extended family are being invited to participate in the first ‘family reunion’ held since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Kohanim and members of the tribe of Levi will join together for four days of fascinating seminars, visits to unique sites, meetings with leading Rabbis, researchers and experts. Participants from across the world will join tribe members for a stimulating and educational experience at the first ever international gathering of Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi, July 15-19, 2007 in Jerusalem.  These dates coincide with the biblically noted date of Aharon the High Priest’s death, the first day of the Hebrew month of Av.
Exhibitions, seminars with topics ranging from history, to science, to contemporary Halacha - Jewish Law issues, unique walking tours, and special lectures given by Chief Rabbis of Israel will enhance the conference.

“We are excited by the interest seen so far. This is not only the first family reunion of the Jewish priestly dynastyin nearly 2000 years, it is an important conference which will inform, inspire, and motivate,” explains conference organizer Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman. “The research and information we will share will play an important role in appreciating and maintaining our unique and precious heritage.”

The “Kohanim and Tribe of Levi Conference” will address the importance of promoting and seeking peace among the Jewish nation.  The program will thus include a wide-spectrum of speakers and activities in an effort to attract the interests and bridge gaps between Jews from all backgrounds. 

The conference will be based at the Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem. Various travel packages will be available. Early arrivals and extensions can easily be arranged and pre-convention options for touring will be offered by Modi’, land agents.

The conference will be officially announced one Hebrew year in advance at a lecture on July 25, Rosh Chodesh Av 5766, by Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman, Director of the Center for Kohanim in Jerusalem and author of the book DNA & Tradition.  The presentation is entitled “Sons of Aharon-It’s in the DNA!-and other Interesting Findings from Jewish Genetic Genealogy.”  

The lecture, which will include a power-point presentation, will focus primarily on the latest discoveries in the cutting-edge field of Molecular Population Genetics and how they add empirical evidence and scientific confirmation to Biblical tradition, including the “Kohen-Gene” Discovery.  The lecture will be held at the OU Israel Center; 22 Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem at 8 pm.

Download the press release in Word format


About Kohanim and the Tribe of Levi:

Kohanim are the priestly family of the Jewish people. The Torah (the Bible) describes the anointment of Aharon, the brother of Moses, as the first High Priest (Kohen Gadol). The books of Exodus and Leviticus describe the responsibilities of the Kohanim, which include the Temple service, blessing of the people and spiritual healing. The Kohanim are a family of the Tribe of Levi, the tribe that was chosen for Holy service.
Molecular geneticists have recently discovered the “Cohen Modal Haplotype” which is a Y- chromosome DNA lineage signature shared by a majority of both Ashkenazi and Sefardi Kohanim. This indicates a direct patrilineal descent of present day Kohanim from a single ancient ancestor, genetically dated to have lived approximately 3300 years ago, a time corresponding to the Exodus from Egypt.

About the Center:
Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman is the Director of The Center for Kohanim which was founded in 1985 by Rabbi Nachman Kahana, scholar, community leader and author of the Mei Menuchot commentary on Tosafot on the Talmud.  The Center was established to promote identity and knowledge among Kohanim the world over, and increase their feelings of awareness and commitment to their heritage as Kohanim. The Center sponsors the informative website: , home of the Tribe-on-Line.