Notices from IAJGS

The European Jewish Congress reports that that the Swedish government has decided to appoint a special investigator that will map out obstacles and opportunities for Jewish life in Sweden and make proposals for a national strategy to strengthen Jewish life.

The investigator will examine the conditions for Jewish life today and present proposals to ensure its survival and development. The focus will be on the transmission of Jewish culture and Yiddish to younger and future generations.

The work will be carried out in close dialogue and collaboration with the Jewish community in Sweden and will be reported by 15 December 2023.

The study is part of Sweden’s commitments following the Malmö International Forum for Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism.

To read more see:

The Wall Street Journal posted an article in their May 21-22, 2022 issue entitled, The Math Behind a Lack of Genetic Privacy. In the online edition it is called, Its too Late to Protect Your Genetic Privacy. The Math is Explaining Why.


While you personally may not have taken a DNA test, the article explains that they can track you down from a cousins’ DNA that was submitted to one of the genetic DNA testing companies.

The article explains, “people have about 6,800 cMs. A child inherits half their DNA—one set of chromosomes—from each biological parent. So child and parent will have around 3,400 cMs of DNA that match… For every “degree of relatedness,” the length of shared cMs halves. An uncle or grandparent, one degree removed from parents, shares half as much DNA on average. That is 25%, or about 1,700 cMs. One more degree removed: A first cousin or great-grandparent shares half again, or around 850 cMs. And so on.”

The article includes a graphic depicting how much DNA you share with distant relatives-going to the third great-grandparents. “Even with all these halvings, very distant relatives out to fifth cousins share so much identical DNA that a common ancestor is the only possible source.”

“It is easy to find distant relatives, because a typical individual has so many: according to various methods, around 200 third cousins, upward of 1,000 fourth cousins and anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 fifth cousins… An adopted child who doesn’t know his biological parent still shares 3,400 cMs with that person, and hundreds of centiMorgans with numerous cousins from that parent’s family. The child, or generations from now that child’s descendants, could upload their DNA to a database and by looking for matches with others who have uploaded theirs, discover some of those distant cousins. That would be enough to reconstruct his family tree and identify the parent, even though the parent never uploaded their DNA—the exact same process used to identify DNA in cold cases.”

According to data from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, the scale of testing is enormous: around 21 million samples on AncestryDNA, 12 million at 23andMe, 5.6 million at MyHeritage and 1.7 million at FamilyTreeDNA.