Twelve tribes of Israel, is everyone a Jew?

I have heard so much about the twelve tribes of Israel, everyone has different views. A few years ago a gentleman told me that I come from the tribe of Issacar. I felt like he was full of garbage because my ancestors or Aztec/Mayans or Spanish, I’m just a mixture of people, I’m no Jew. So, can someone enlighten me on this subject? Are the twelve tribes of Israel only Jewish tribes in Israel? Are can it be true that they have been scattered all over the planet and everyone is a Jew?

That person was rather misinformed. There were originally 12 tribes. Some were either absorbed or disappeared in wars. Mostly, the lineages were lost during the Holocaust, as I understand it. I do know that there is still a tribe of Levites (the priestly caste), but they are also beginning to intermarry with other Jews. I knew a woman whose family (from Israel) was Levite. However, she married a Jew who did not know his tribal lineage, due to records being burned in Europe during WWII. She said all the others are just referred to as the “tribe” of Israel – basically Jews without a tribal lineage. Since she was Levite, her children would also be Levite. However, her brother also married among the “tribe” of Israel. His children would not be Levite, since the tribe/religion is carried through the woman, not the man, or so I understood. She said the Levites still living, mostly in Israel, do try to marry only other Levites, but many cannot or do not wish to do so. (They fall in love with someone who is not a Levite).

If you are Aztec/Spanish in ancestry, it is possible (barely) that you might inherit some Jewish “blood” through the Spanish connection. When the Spanish expelled all Jews from Spain in 1492, a number of them converted (at least publicly) in order to keep their homes and lands, but remained secretly Jews. There were not a great many of them who succeeded in this, however. A lot of them were later either exiled or killed when found to be of Jewish ancestry. The rest of the Sephardic/Spanish Jews mostly went to Palestine, and have been there since 1492! I can’t figure how you could possibly be from a particular tribe, especially one of the smaller ones. Most were basically “lost” in the Diaspora long before the Holocaust. Currently, so far as I know, only the Levites are still a recognized separate tribe. Most of the modern Jews in Israel are simply known as the “tribe” of Israel. There might be some there from Spain who managed to keep their lineage records, as well as some, who immigrated there from Eastern Europe prior to the 1900’s who may also have kept the records of their tribal connections. I think that’s where the “10 Lost Tribes” idea came from – so few were able to keep their records intact, especially after the Holocaust, when the Synagogues were burned, as well as their lineage records, by the Nazis and others.

Judynurse, I’m sorry to inform you that your history is a bit off.
The tribal lineage of the Jews, with the exception of the Levites was already a moot point in Jewish societ by the time of Christ. This was largely due to intermarriage amongst the tribes and that Jews already were leaving their homeland to go to Greece, Egypt and all over North Africa for largely economic reasons. The end of the Tribes of Isreal was not due to the Holocust of the 20th Century. It was due to the enslavement of the Jewish people by the Romans after their rebellion in 70 A.D. Not only were the Jews forcibly relocated to Italy and other places in Europe, they were forbidden to return to the Holy Land under penalty of death. This lasted until the late 6th Century, by which time the Jews accepted Europe as their home.
The Jews did face terrible discrimination over the years. England expelled the Jews in 1205 and did not allow them to return until Oliver Cromwell ruled the country. About a century later, many of the German Dukdoms, including Saxoy and Bavaria expelled their Jews. In this case, the Kingdom of Poland took them in because their King realized having Jews was good for business. The early Jews in Poland actually invented banking as we know it today!
The next great expulsion of the Jews was from Spain in 1492. This time it was the Turkish Calif who took them in. At that time the Turkish Caliphate included all of North Africa from just South of Gibralta all around the Southern Mediterannian coast to what is now modern Greece. These Jews became known as Sephardic Jews in the modern world. Those Jews who settled in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe are known as Ashkinazie Jews.
Sepphardic Jews have Ladino, which is Cervantine Spanish (ie the Spanish of the late 15th and early 16th Centuries) as their basic language. The Ashkinazim have Yiddish, which is a dialect of German mixed with words and phrases from Eastern European languages.
Until the resettlemnt of Israel after the Holocost of WW II, Hebrew was used only for religious rites. Modern Hebrew was invented/developed by early Zionists in the early 20th Century who campaigned throughout Europe for the Jewish resettlement of Palestine.
Modern Hebrew only came into wide use with the resettlement of Palestine by Jewish refugees from the NAZI concentration camps after WW II. Modern Hebrew became the unifying force for the Israeli people in creating their new nation.
Incidentaly, I am not Jewish, but I grew up amongst them in South Florida - pre Fidel Castro.

Thank you for the information. What I was told was from some friends who were here from Israel, on a job contract. The lady told me her family was Levite, and had come from Spain in the 1492 Expulsion, and had moved to the area in what became Palestine in the mid-1900’s under the British. She said there were not 12 tribes, nor even 10 any longer. She said most Jews in Israel were simply known as the “Tribe of Israel”, since the distinction of the tribes had been lost. She claimed that a few dozen families had moved to Palestine (back in 1492) and had kept their lineage papers/parchments and knew they were of the Tribe of Levi. She also claimed that those families still study the Temple rubrics and customs, as they hope the Temple will someday be rebuilt. She also claimed that the area of the last Temple is actually in the “garden” area near the Mosque on the Temple Mount, and could be rebuilt there, on it’s original site, without removing or destroying the Mosque. Do you know if the Levites actually kept their lineage and still do remain a very small tribe? I knew the Diaspora after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem had pretty much ended the “tribes” as individual groups with a written lineage kept by the families, but I thought from what she told me that some of those who ended in Eastern Europe had tried to keep their lineage records for quite a long time, up until the Nazis and the pogroms in Russia and Poland. I wonder about the Levites, though. From History, I knew the Jews were cast out of England, then later allowed back in, as I know they were somewhat protected by King Richard (The Lion Heart), for their skill in banking and because he could collect a huge tax when the head of a Jewish household died, if the sons wished to keep their property. If they didn’t pay the taxes to him, he then took all of their properties and monies. At least that’s what my English History book tells me. Of course, Cromwell also used them as bankers and lenders to obtain funds for the government.

Do the Levites still exist in Israel, even as a small group? Or was she claiming a descent of note just to impress others? She claimed they hoped to rebuild the Temple and still studied the Laws of Sacrifice for that reason. By the way, I gave her a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew, and she said it scared her, because she believed it, as it fulfilled the Prophecies she already knew, and if her husband and family found out she believed that Jesus had actually been the Messiah, she’d be in a mess with them!

Apparently some of the people kept their lineage in the time of Christ, since He was of the House of David, and also the Census ordered by the Emperor required each family to return to the “House” or tribal area from which they counted descent. Obviously, the Levites were still a distinct group in the Temple at that time.

The tribal relationships of the Bronze Age Middle East shouldn’t be and shouldn’t have been anything for you to be bothered about.

We’re a ‘people’ not a ‘tribe’ or a ‘race’. Yes we’ve tended to marry other people who share our religion, history and so on so but, for example, I’m an olive-skinned, blue-eyed blonde who looks just like she comes from Northern Italy which is, coincidentally, where my family lived since time immemorial.

The idea that anyone is disadvantaged by not being born Jewish or not being descended from some particular Ancient Middle Eastern tribes is not one Jews share.

Be happy with being descended from the Aztecs and/or Mayans, if I were you, I would be.

Mainly he let Jews back into England because he’d been convinced that it would be a trigger for the ‘Second Coming’.

Thank you for that. It’s true, the “tribal” aspect is basically no longer a part of Traditional Judaism. The most important part of Judaism is stated in the “Shema”, and probably always will be! By the way, my name “Judith” is also Jewish, in fact, I’ve been told that it actually is a version of the word “Jewess”. I think the Germans were among those who began to use the word “juden” which simply means “Jew”.

THAT was not in my History books!! If that was his intention, it wasn’t his only mistake!

yes Putin recently compared him to Stalin a point few Irish people would disagree with, but that’s a different story

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