Last Updated: December 1, 2018
Read about The Jews of Khazaria - the best general-interest book about the Khazars in English
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A new book by Mikhail Zhirohov and David Nicolle, The Khazars: A Judeo-Turkish Empire on the Steppes, 7th-11th Centuries AD, is being published by Osprey in January 2019. It includes photographs of artifacts and illustrations by Christa Hook and focuses on the military aspects of Khazaria including their wars with Arabs and the Rus', their weapons such as spears, battleaxes, and swords, their helmets and armor, and their fortifications made from stone and timber.
Fact check time: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New Yorker of Puerto Rican heritage who will soon be taking her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, declared on December 9th that she has Sephardic Jewish ancestry while she attended a Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony in the New York borough of Queens. Is she right? My answer: I am quite sure that Ocasio-Cortez does have some Sephardic ancestors. This is typical of Puerto Ricans. I see it repeatedly in my detailed examinations of their DNA. But their total Sephardicness doesn’t exceed a percent or so, which isn’t quite enough for a Puerto Rican to say they are just Sephardic to the exclusion of their multiple other ancestries. On December 10th on her Twitter account she clarified "Before everyone jumps one me – yes, culture isn't DNA. But to be Puerto Rican is to be the descendant of: African Moors + slaves, Taino Indians, Spanish colonizers, Jewish refugees, and likely others. We are all of these things and something else all at once - we are Boricua."
"O nakhodke sosuda s graffiti v Mariupole" by Eduard Ye. Kravchenko and V. K. Kul'baka was published in Russian (with an English summary) in the journal Arkheologicheskii al'manakh No. 21 (2010) on pages 386-395. This article describes Khazar-era artifacts found in the city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine. They include two Arabic dirhams that were used as pendants, mirror fragments, and a pot (shown on the bottom of page 389) that bears two drawn symbols: a Jewish menorah and a plus sign that's interpreted as a Christian cross. The authors believe the potter was neither a Jew nor a Christian but was a pagan who was familiar with these other religions that were practiced in Khazaria at the time. Was the plus sign really not a tamga? Some other authors disagree with the hypothesis that that plus sign was Christian.
Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period. It hosted merchants from all over Asia and Europe. On these pages it is hoped that you may learn more about this fascinating culture.
Current Publications for Sale
THE JEWS OF KHAZARIA
WORLD OF THE KHAZARS
IN THE 9th AND 10th CENTURIES
THE KUZARI: IN DEFENSE
OF THE DESPISED FAITH
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