posted on Mar, 13 2012 @ 05:42 AM
reply to post by plube
The Jewish religion has a significant caste system that sometimes helps in tracing ancestry. It is a hereditary, paternal caste passed down from
father to sons. There are three castes: Cohanim, Leviim, and Israelites. Members of the highest caste, Cohanim, are the descendants of biblical Aaron.
(This has recently been demonstrated through DNA evidence.) Members of this caste were the high priests of the temples when the temples existed.
Persons with the surnames Cohen, Kagan, Kogan, Kahn, Kahan, Katz, Kaplan, and Rapoport are invariably Cohanim. Members of the middle caste, Leviim,
are descendants of the biblical Levi. They served as the keepers of the temples. Persons with the surnames Levy, Levin, Segal, Landau, Horowitz, and
Epstein are invariably Leviim. Most Jews belong to the lowest caste, the Israelites. These hereditary titles can be used as evidence that two men are
not related. For example, a man born to the Cohanim caste cannot be related through paternal lines to a man born to the Leviim or Israelite castes.
They could be related, however, through maternal lines. It is not possible for modern-day Jews to determine from which of the twelve tribes of Israel
they are descended, except the Cohanim and Leviim (those descended from the tribe of Levi).