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The ethnic stock to which Jews originally trace their ancestry was a confederation of Iron Age semitic-speaking tribes known as the Israelites that inhabited a part of Canaan during the tribal and monarchic periods.

According to the Hebrew Bible narrative, Jewish ancestry is traced back to the Biblical patriarchs such as Abraham, his son Isaac, Isaac's son Jacob, and the Biblical matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel, who lived in Canaan.

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As archaeological discovery relies upon researchers and scholars from diverse disciplines, the goal is to interpret all of the factual data, focusing on the most consistent theory.

The prehistory and ethnogenesis of the Jews are closely intertwined with archaeology, biology, and historical textual records, as well as religious literature and mythology.

These definitions of who is a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral Torah into the Babylonian Talmud, around 200 CE. Cohen, the status of the offspring of mixed marriages was determined patrilineally in the Bible.

Interpretations of sections of the Tanakh, such as Deuteronomy 7:1–5, by Jewish sages, are used as a warning against intermarriage between Jews and Canaanites because "[the non-Jewish husband] will cause your child to turn away from Me and they will worship the gods (i.e., idols) of others." A popular theory is that the rape of Jewish women in captivity brought about the law of Jewish identity being inherited through the maternal line, although scholars challenge this theory citing the Talmudic establishment of the law from the pre-exile period. He brings two likely explanations for the change in Mishnaic times: first, the Mishnah may have been applying the same logic to mixed marriages as it had applied to other mixtures (Kil'ayim).

Remuh cemetry by the Remuh Synagogue at 40 Szeroka Street was named after the nickname of famous 16th-century rabbi and religious writer Moses Isserles.

Even today pious Jews keep coming to pray at his grave and the graves of their other great men who were buried here. Its hundreds old tombstones, dating mostly from the Renaissance, as well as its history and surroundings make the Remuh Cemetery one of Europe's most interesting., it has become Krakow’s equivalent of London’s Soho, Paris’ Quartier Latin, and New York’s Village.

Thus, a mixed marriage is forbidden as is the union of a horse and a donkey, and in both unions the offspring are judged matrilineally.

Rabbi Rivon Krygier follows a similar reasoning, arguing that Jewish descent had formerly passed through the patrineal descent and the law of matrilineal descent had its roots in the Roman legal system.

A factual reconstruction for the origin of the Jews is a difficult and complex endeavor.

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