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A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
male who claims
patrilineal Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In , kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact ...
descent from the
Tribe of Levi According to the Bible, the Tribe of Levi is one of the tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Judeo-Christian texts, the descendants of the Biblica ...

Tribe of Levi
. The Tribe of Levi descended from
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
, the third son of
Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State ...
and
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from wikt:𒀖, () is an important figure in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the unloved wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. Leah was Jacob's first wife, and the older sister of his second (and favored) wife Rachel. She is the ...
. The surname ''Halevi'', which consists of the Hebrew definite article "" ''Ha-'' ("the") plus ''Levi'' (Levite) is not conclusive regarding being a Levite; a titular use of HaLevi indicates being a Levite. The daughter of a Levite is a " ''Bat Levi''" (''Bat'' being Hebrew for "daughter"). The Tribe of Levi served particular religious duties for the Israelites and had political and educational responsibilities as well. In return, the
landed tribe In real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real propert ...
s were expected to support the Levites with a
tithe A tithe (; from : ''teogoþa'' "tenth") is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a contribution to a religious organization or compulsory to government. Today, tithes are normally voluntary and paid in or s, whereas historically tithes were ...
(), particularly the tithe known as the
First tithe The first tithe (Hebrew language, Hebrew: ''ma'aser rishon'' מעשר ראשון) is a positive Mitzvah, commandment in the Torah requiring the giving of one tenth of agricultural produce to charity, after the giving of the standard ''terumah,'' ...
, ''ma'aser rishon''. The
Kohanim Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן' Cohen, "priest", pl. Cohanim, ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic Priest#Judaism, priesthood, also called Aaronides. Levite, Levitical priests or ''kohanim'' are traditional ...
, a subset of the Levites, were the priests, who performed the work of holiness in the Temple. The Levites, referring to those who were not Kohanim, were specifically assigned to * singing and/or playing music in the Temple * serving as guards * carrying When
Joshua Joshua () or Yehoshua ( he, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ ''Yəhōšūaʿ'') ''Yēšūʿ''; syr, ܝܫܘܥ ܒܪ ܢܘܢ ''Yəšūʿ bar Nōn''; el, Ἰησοῦς, ar , يُوشَعُ ٱبْنُ نُونٍ '' Yūšaʿ ibn Nūn''; la, Iosue functioned ...

Joshua
led the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic peri ...

Israelites
into the land of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
(), the Sons of Levi were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners "because the Lord the God of Israel Himself is their inheritance" (). In modern times, Levites are integrated in Jewish communities, but keep a distinct status. There are estimated 300,000 Levites among
Ashkenazi Jewish Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Germ ...
communities, and a similar number among
Sephardic Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or sefarditas), pt, Judeus sefarditas or His ...
and
Mizrahi ''Mizrachi'' or ''Mizrahi'' ( he, מזרחי, lit. ''Eastern'') may refer to: * Mizrahi, a sephardic surname, given to Jews who got to the Iberian Peninsula from the east or Jews who lived in the eastern side of the peninsula. *Mizrahi Jews, Jews fr ...
Jews combined. The total percentage of Levites among the wider Jewish population is about 4%.


In contemporary Jewish practice

Today, Levites in
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
continue to have additional rights and obligations compared to lay people, although these responsibilities have diminished with the destruction of the Temple. For instance, ''Kohanim'' are eligible to be called to the Torah first, followed by the Levites. Levites also provide assistance to the ''Kohanim'', particularly washing their hands, before the ''Kohanim'' recite the
Priestly Blessing The Priestly Blessing or priestly benediction, ( he, ברכת כהנים; Transliteration, translit. ''birkat kohanim''), also known in rabbinic literature as raising of the hands (Hebrew ''nesiat kapayim'') or rising to the platform (Hebrew ''al ...
. Since Levites (and Kohanim) are traditionally pledged to Divine service, there is no
Pidyon HaBen The ''pidyon haben'' ( he, פדיון הבן) or redemption of the first-born (if male and not by caesarean Caesarean section, also known as C-section, or caesarean delivery, is the surgical procedure Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed ...
(redemption of the firstborn) ceremony for: * the son of a Kohen's or a Levite's daughter * the son of a Kohen or a Levite. Orthodox Judaism believes in the eventual rebuilding of a Temple in Jerusalem and a resumption of the Levitical role. There are a small number of schools, primarily in
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
, to train priests and Levites in their respective roles.
Conservative Judaism Conservative Judaism (known as Masorti Judaism outside North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict ...
, which believes in a restoration of the Temple as a house of worship and in some special role for Levites, although not the ancient sacrificial system as previously practiced, recognizes Levites as having special status. Not all Conservative congregations call Kohanim and Levites to the first and second reading of the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
, and many no longer perform rituals such as the
Priestly Blessing The Priestly Blessing or priestly benediction, ( he, ברכת כהנים; Transliteration, translit. ''birkat kohanim''), also known in rabbinic literature as raising of the hands (Hebrew ''nesiat kapayim'') or rising to the platform (Hebrew ''al ...
and Pidyon HaBen in which ''Kohanim'' and Levites have a special role. Reconstructionist and
Reform Judaism Reform Judaism (also known as Liberal Judaism or Progressive Judaism) is a major Jewish religious movements, Jewish denomination that emphasizes the evolving nature of the faith, the superiority of its Jewish ethics, ethical aspects to its cerem ...
do not observe the distinctions between Kohanim, Levites, and other
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
.


Relationship with Kohanim

The Kohanim are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the
biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of an anthology, a compilat ...

biblical
Aaron Aaron ''′aharon'', ar, هارون, Hārūn, Ancient Greek, Greek (Septuagint): wikt:Ἀαρών, Ἀαρών; often called Aaron the priest () and once Aaron the Levite () (Exodus 4:14)., group="note" ( or ; ''’Ahărōn'', Arabic: هار ...

Aaron
of the
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
tribe. The
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
''kohen'' is used in the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
to refer to
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...

priest
s, both Israelite and non-Israelite, such as the Israelite nation as a whole, as well as the priests (Hebrew ''kohanim'') of
Baal Baal (), properly Baal,; phn, , baʿl; hbo, , baʿal, ). was a title and honorific An honorific is a title that conveys esteem, courtesy, or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term " ...

Baal
. During the existence of the
Temple in Jerusalem Two ancient Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during th ...
, Kohanim performed the daily and holiday (
Yom Tov Yom Tov or Yom-Tov may refer to: Judaism * Jewish holidays Jewish holidays, also known as Jewish festivals or ''Yamim Tovim'' ( he, ימים טובים, , Good Days, or singular , in transliterated Transliteration is a type of conv ...
) duties of sacrificial offerings. Today ''kohanim'' retain a lesser though somewhat distinct status within
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots as an organized religion ...
, and are bound by additional restrictions according to
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
. During the
Priestly Blessing The Priestly Blessing or priestly benediction, ( he, ברכת כהנים; Transliteration, translit. ''birkat kohanim''), also known in rabbinic literature as raising of the hands (Hebrew ''nesiat kapayim'') or rising to the platform (Hebrew ''al ...
, the Levites traditionally wash the hands of the Kohanim prior to the blessing of the House of Israel. ("A first-born son washes the Kohen's hands if there is no Levite".)


Bat Levi

In Orthodox Judaism, children of a Bat Levi, like those of a Bat-Kohen, regardless of the child's father's tribe or the mother's marital status, retain the traditional exemption for their children from the requirement of being redeemed through the
Pidyon HaBen The ''pidyon haben'' ( he, פדיון הבן) or redemption of the first-born (if male and not by caesarean Caesarean section, also known as C-section, or caesarean delivery, is the surgical procedure Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed ...
. Conservative Judaism permits a Bat Levi to perform essentially all the rituals a male Levi would perform, including being called to the
Torah The Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") includes the first five books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Heb ...

Torah
for the Levite
aliyah Aliyah (, ; he, עֲלִיָּה ''aliyah'', "ascent") is the immigration of Jews from the Jewish diaspora, diaspora to the Land of Israel historically, which today includes the modern State of Israel. Also defined as "the act of going up"—th ...
in those Conservative synagogues which have both retained traditional tribal roles and modified traditional gender roles. In Israel, Conservative/Masorti Judaism has not extended Torah honors to either a bat Kohen or a bat Levi.


The Levites and the Holocaust

In 1938, with the outbreak of violence that would come to be known as
Kristallnacht ''Kristallnacht'' () or the Night of Broken Glass, also called the November pogrom(s) (german: Novemberpogrome, ), was a pogrom A pogrom is a violent riot Rioters wearing scarves to conceal their identity and filter tear gas A riot ( ...

Kristallnacht
, American Orthodox rabbi Menachem HaKohen Risikoff wrote about the central role he saw for Priests and Levites in terms of Jewish and world responses, in worship, liturgy, and ''
teshuva Repentance ( he, תשובה, literally, "return", pronounced ''tshuva'' or ''teshuva'') is one element of atoning for sin In a religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors ...
'', repentance. In ''The Priests and the Levites'', he stressed that members of these groups exist in the realm between history (below) and redemption (above), and must act in a unique way to help move others to prayer and action, and help bring an end to suffering. He wrote, "Today, we also are living through a time of flood, Not of water, but of a bright fire, which burns and turns Jewish life into ruin. We are now drowning in a flood of blood. ... Through the Kohanim and Levi'im help will come to all Israel."


Levite population


Levite Y-chromosome studies

A 2003 study of the Y-chromosome by Behar et al. pointed to multiple origins for
Ashkenazi Ashkenazi Jews ( are a Jews, Jewish Jewish diaspora, diaspora population who Coalescent theory, coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium. The traditional diaspora language of Ashkenazi Jews is Yiddish (a Ger ...
Levites, who comprise approximately 4% among the Ashkenazi Jews. It found that Haplogroup R1a1a (R-M17), uncommon in the Middle East or among
Sephardi Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews, ''Sephardim'',, Modern Hebrew: ''Sefaraddim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefarditas or Hispanic Jew ...
Jews, is present in over 50% of Ashkenazi Levites, while the rest of Ashkenazi Levites' paternal lineage is of certain Middle Eastern origin, including Y-chromosome haplogroups E3b,J2,F,R1b,K,I,Q,N and L. Haplogroup R1a1a is found at the highest levels among people of Eastern European descent, with 50 to 65% among
Sorbs Sorbs ( hsb, Serbja, dsb, Serby, german: Sorben, also known as Lusatians and Wends) are a West Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that d ...
,
Poles The Poles,, ; singular masculine: ''Polak'', singular feminine: ''Polka'' or Polish people, are a nation A nation is a community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the loc ...

Poles
,
Russians , native_name_lang = ru , image = , caption = Wedding ceremony in the national Russian tradition. , population = 134 million , popplace = 117,319,000 , region1 = , pop1 = 7,170,00 ...

Russians
, and
Ukrainians , native_name_lang = uk , image = , caption = , population = 37-40 million , popplace = 37,541,693 , region1 = , pop1 = 3,269,992 , ref1 = , region2 = ...
. In South Asia,
R1a1a Haplogroup R1a, or haplogroup R-M420, is a human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup In human genetics Human genetics is the study of inheritance as it occurs in human beings. Human genetics encompasses a variety of overlapping fields including: ...
has often been observed with high frequency in a number of demographic groups, reaching over 70% in West Bengal Brahmins in India and among the
Mohani Mohani or Mohni (Nepal Bhasa at Bhaktapur Durbar Square , dated Nepal Sambat 1072 (1952 AD) Newar () or Newari, known officially in Nepal as Nepal Bhasa, is a Sino-Tibetan languages, Sino-Tibetan language spoken by the Newar p ...
tribe in
Sindh Sindh (; sd, سنڌ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, ad ...

Sindh
province in Pakistan. Behar suggested a founding event, probably involving one or very few European men, occurring at a time close to the initial formation and settlement of the Ashkenazi community as a possible explanation. As Nebel, Behar and Goldstein speculate,
although neither the NRY haplogroup composition of the majority of Ashkenazi Jews nor the microsatellite haplotype composition of the R1a1 haplogroup within Ashkenazi Levites is consistent with a major Khazar or other European origin, as has been speculated by some authors (Baron 1957; Dunlop 1967; Ben-Sasson 1976; Keys 1999), one cannot rule out the important contribution of a single or a few founders among contemporary Ashkenazi Levites."
A 2013 paper by Siiri Rootsi et al. confirmed a Near or Middle Eastern origin for all Ashkenazi Levites, including the R1a Y-chromosome carriers, and refuted the Khazar origin: In a later 2017 study Behar et al. revised their initially mitigated position, concluding that a "Middle Eastern origin of the Ashkenazi Levite lineage based on what was previously a relatively limited number of reported samples, can now be considered firmly validated", precising that a "rich variation of haplogroup R1a outside of Europe which is phylogenetically separate from the typically European R1a branches", referring to the R1a-Y2619 sub-clade.


Lineage

Having a last name of Levi or a related term does not necessarily mean a person is a Levite, and many well-known Levites do not have such last names. Levitical status is passed down in families from father to child born from a Jewish mother, as part of a family's genealogical tradition. Tribal status of Levite is determined by
patrilineal descent Patrilineality, also known as the male line, the spear side or agnatic kinship, is a common kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, althoug ...
, so a child whose biological father is a Levite (in cases of adoption or artificial insemination, status is determined by the genetic father), is also considered a Levite. Jewish status is determined by matrilineal descent, thus conferring levitical status onto children requires both biological parents to be Israelites and the biological father to be a Levite. Accordingly, there is currently no branch of Judaism that regards levitical status as conferable by matrilineal descent. It is either conferable patrilineally with a Jewish mother, in the traditional manner, or it does not exist and is not conferred at all.


Levite surnames

Some Levites have adopted a related last name to signify their status. Because of diverse geographical locations, the names have several variations: * ''Alouwi'' – Arabic variant, of Sephardic origin * ''Aguiló'' – surname to the Jews from Mallorca ( Xuetes). * ''Bazes'' – a Levite surname. * ''
Benveniste The Benveniste famiy is an old, noble, wealthy, and scholarly Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite orig ...
'' – a Sephardic Levite surname. * '' Epstein'' – one of the European lineages descended from Zerahiah Ha-Levi of Sepharad * ''HaLevi'', ''
Halevi Halevi (''the Levite A Levite (or Levi) (, ) is a Jewish male who claims Patrilineality, patrilineal descent from the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob (Bible), Jacob and Leah. The surname ''Halevi'', ...
'' and ''Halevy'' – Hebrew language and all translate to "the ''Levi''" or "the ''Levite''". * ''
Horowitz Horowitz ( he, הוֹרוֹביץ, yi, האָראָװיץ, YIVO ''Horovits'') is a Levite, Levitical Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazi surname deriving from the Horowitz family. Other variants of the name include Harowitz, Harrwitz, Harwitz, Horovitz, Hor ...
HaLevi'', or simply ''Horowitz/Hurwitz/Gurvich/Gurevich'' – a European Levite surname, tracing to Isaiah Horowitz HaLevi, a descendant of Zerahiah Ha-Levi of Sepharad * ''Lavi'' – a common Levite surname * ''Leefsma'' – Frisian surname. * ''Leevi'' – Finnish variation. * ''Lev'' – simplified Russian variation of ''Levi'' * ''Levai'', ''Lévai'' and ''Lévay'' - a Levitic surname, originally meaning "a person from ''
Levice Levice (; hu, Léva, Hungarian pronunciation: ; german: Lewenz, literally lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large Felidae, cat of the genus ''Panthera'' native to Africa and India. It has a muscular, deep-chested body, short, rounded h ...

Levice
''" but today it is used by
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
who were forced to change their name during the
Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural syst ...

Holocaust
. * ''Leven'' – Swedish variation. * ''Levente'' – Hungarian variation. * '' Lévi, Levi'', '' Lévy or Levy'' – Hebrew for "Levite", equally common in Ashkenasic and Sephardic groups. * ''Levian/Livian/Benlevi/Liviem'' – Persian-Jewish variations. * ''Lević'', also ''Levinić'', '' Prelević'' – Croatian or Serbian variations. * ''
Levin Levin may refer to: * Levin (given name) * Levin (surname) * Levin, New Zealand, a town in southern North Island * Toyota Corolla Levin, an automobile * Levin (guitar company), Sweden * Konstantin Dmitrievitch Levin, a character in Tolstoy's Anna K ...
'' –
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
n variation, also ''
Levine Levine (French transliteration from Russian) / Levin Levin may refer to: * Levin (given name) * Levin (surname) * Levin, New Zealand, a town in southern North Island * Toyota Corolla Levin, an automobile * Levin (guitar company), Sweden * Konstanti ...

Levine
'', ''Lavin'' or ''Lavine'' (, rhyming with "ravine", or in some cases further anglicised to , rhyming with "divine") and '' Lewin'' a Polish variation. Sometimes supplemented with German "thal" (valley) to ''Levinthal'' or ''Leventhal'' and -sohn and -son to ''Levinson'' or ''Levinsohn'' as a patronymic, and with Slavic -ski and -sky suffixes ''Levinski'', ''Levinsky'', ''Lewinski'' and ''Lewinsky'' (the "e" often replaced with "a" in German areas). * ''Levit'', also ''Levitt'' – typically from the Bessarabia region of Romania, Moldova and southern Ukraine. * ''Levita'' –
Elia Levita Elia Levita (13 February 146928 January 1549) ( he, אליהו בן אשר הלוי אשכנזי), also known as Elijah Levita, Elias Levita, Élie Lévita, Elia Levita Ashkenazi, Eliahu Levita, Eliyahu haBahur ("Elijah the Bachelor"), Elye Bokh ...
, an ancestor of
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British politician, businessman, Lobbying, lobbyist, and author who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Memb ...
* ''Leviyev'' – the Russified surname (adding the ''yev/ev'') that many
Bukharian Jews Bukharan Jews, also called Bukharian Jews ( Tajik and Bukhori Cyrillic: Яҳудиёни Бухоро, ''Yahudiyoni Buxoro'', Bukhori Hebrew Script: יהודי בוכארא; Uzbek language, Uzbek: ''Buxoro yahudiylari''; he, יהודים בוכ ...
of Central Asia have. Sometimes spelled ''Leviev'' or even ''Levaev''. * ''Lewi'' or ''Lewj'' (Polish, ''Levi'' and ''Levy'') * ''Lewicki'' – Polish "of the Levites", also ''Lewicka'', ''Lewycka'', ''Lewycki'', ''Lewycky'', ''Lewicky'', ''Levicki'', ''Levicky'' (can also originate from placenames in Poland). * ''Lewita'' – Polish ''Levite'' or ''Levita'' Latinized, with Slavic suffix -an/in ''Lewitan'', ''Levitan'', ''Levitin'', ''Lewitin'', ''Lewitinn'', and with additional suffix -ski/sky ''Levitanski'', ''Lewitanski'', ''Levitansky'', also ''Lewitas'', ''Levitas'', Lithuanian, Belorussian, ''Leyva'' Spanish Sephardic, also but rare ''Lefite, Lafite, Lafitte'', of French Sephardic origin. * Variants from
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...

Yiddish
''Leyvik'', a pet form of Leyvi: ''Levitch'' Ukrainian variant, also ''Levicz'', ''Levis'', ''Levitz'', ''Lewicz'', ''Lewitz'', ''Lewis'', and with -ski and -sky suffixes ''Leviczky'', ''Levitski'', ''Levitsky'', ''Lewitski'' and ''Lewitsky'' ("e" and "s" often replaced with "a" and "z" in German areas). * ''Loewy'', ''Löwi'', ''Löwy'' and ''Loewe'' German or Swiss variations (although the usual origin for these names is Löwe, the
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
word for "
lion The lion (''Panthera leo'') is a large cat The cat (''Felis catus'') is a domestic Domestic may refer to: In the home * Anything relating to the human home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-perma ...

lion
"). * ''Segal'' – shortened "Segen Levi" (secondary Levite) * ''Urfali'' or ''Levi Urfali'' (also ''Levi Abud'', ''Levi Aslan'', ''Levi Hamami'' – an Urfalim community surname, which was mostly Levite in origin * ''Zemmel'' – shortened "Zecher mi-Shevet Levi" (descendant of the Levite tribe)


Modern Levites

The following are some Levites with non-Levite-like last names in modern times: *
Frank Gehry Frank Owen Gehry, , FAIA Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) is a postnominal Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to in ...
*
Chaim Herzog Chaim Herzog ( he, חיים הרצוג; 17 September 1918 – 17 April 1997) was an Israeli politician, general, lawyer and author who served as the between 1983 and 1993. Born in and raised predominantly in , the son of Ireland's , he to ...

Chaim Herzog
*
Norman Lear Norman Milton Lear (born July 27, 1922) is an American television Television, sometimes shortened to TV or telly, is a telecommunication Media (communication), medium used for transmitting moving images in grayscale, black-and-white or i ...

Norman Lear
PBS Show ''
Finding Your Roots ''Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'' is a documentary television series hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. that premiered on March 25, 2012 on Public Broadcasting Service, PBS. In each episode, celebrities are presented with a "book of ...
'' broadcast January 26, 2016


See also

*
Kohen Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן' Cohen, "priest", pl. Cohanim, ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest A priest is a religious leader authorized to perform the Sacred rite, sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent be ...
*
Samaritans Samaritans (; ; he, שומרונים, translit=Shomronim; ar, السامريون, translit=as-Sāmiriyyūn) or Samaritan people are members of an originating from the of historical . They are native to the and adhere to , an , and in t ...

Samaritans
* Urfalim


Explanatory footnotes

Levites comprise a subgroup of about 4% of world Jewry.Bradman et al. 1999. Combined with
Kohanim Kohen ( he, כֹּהֵן' Cohen, "priest", pl. Cohanim, ' "priests") is the Hebrew word for "priest", used in reference to the Aaronic Priest#Judaism, priesthood, also called Aaronides. Levite, Levitical priests or ''kohanim'' are traditional ...
, who are also Levites, the subgroup forms roughly 8% of the Jewish population worldwide, or about 1–1.1 million. Levites also comprise one of the four surviving families of Samaritans, where they serve the role of due to the fact that the last Samaritan High Priest Cohanic family went extinct in the 17th century.


References


Further reading

*


External links


Twenty-four places in tanach where the Kohanim are called Levi'im
– Kehuna.org


LeviteDNA.org
– website on R1a Ashkenazi Levites {{Ark of the Covenant Hebrew Bible words and phrases Jewish ethnic groups Jewish religious occupations Book of Numbers people