The Jefferson Y

Published March 02, 2007, issue of March 02, 2007.

We know a thing or two about Virginia politicians with secret Jewish roots. Just ask George Allen. But Thomas Jefferson?

As The New York Times reported Wednesday, “Researchers studying Jefferson’s Y chromosome have found it belongs to a lineage that is rare in Europe but common in the Middle East, raising the possibility that the third president of the United States had a Jewish ancestor many generations ago.”

To be honest, we were shocked by the news. Upon reflection, however, it makes perfect sense. After all, Jefferson was the founder of the Democratic Party and came up with the metaphor of a “wall of separation between church and state.” For many American Jews, that beats a circumcision and a bar mitzvah.



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