Genetics and the Jewish Identity
What genetic data cannot tell us is who is a Jew. The answers to that question are, variously, halachic, political and cultural. On a purely technical level, there is no genetic screen that can sort Jews from non-Jews. Population differences do not translate into reliable tests of individual lineage. What genetics can tell us is something about where our ancestors came from – no more. It cannot tell us who we are. Nor can it tell us who we want to become, as individual Jews or as a Jewish people. As new data emerge from genetics laboratories, though, we are likely to learn a great deal more about the history of our people.
Genetics will be helpful for finding out about the history of the Jews, but it won’t help telling us who is a Jew.