A report stating accused Congressional shooter Jared Loughner is Jewish through matriarchal descent has become a hotly-debated issue, following earlier rumors that the Saturday morning shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had an anti-Semitic slant.
In an exclusive interview with Mother Jones, long-time Loughner friend Bryce Tierney told the blog the alleged lone gunman’s mother, Amy Totman Loughner, is Jewish. Through Jewish Matriarchal Law, as explained in Deut. 7:3-4 of the Pentateuch, or Five Books of Moses, that makes Jared Loughner a member of the Tribe.
That one line went viral within hours across the Internet, in a similar fashion to rumors that Loughner allegedly shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who is Jewish, for anti-Semitic reasons. Those charges have been largely disproven.
“I would be curious about that information, how he [Bryce Tierney] got that information, what he knows, how he knows it,” Rabbi Stephanie Aaron, Giffords’ rabbi at Congregation Chaverim, told Rob Kall at opednews.com.
“We had a meeting of the Tucson Board of Rabbis. We all looked at our rosters from many years back. No one has ever heard of the family – him, his parents, any of them. I can say with absolute certainty that we do not know him in pretty much the entire affiliated community,” Rabbi Aaron said.
Rabbi Aaron also flatly denied another circulating rumor, that Amy Loughner was a member of Congregation Chaverim, where Congresswoman Giffords attends.
What is true is that Congregation Chaverim has at least one transgender member, according to a January 28, 2010 article in Tuscon Weekly.
Noted Jewish roots columnist and researcher, Nate Bloom has done an extensive background check of the Loughner family and published it on JTA.org. Using public records on Amy Totman Loughner, here is what he found:
Jared Lee Loughner’s mother is Amy Totman Loughner;
Amy Loughner—Known Parentage from Public Records:
Her [Amy’s] parents were Lois May Totman and Laurence Edward Totman.
—-Lois M. Totman died in 1999 and Laurence E. Totman died in 2005. Both were registered nurses. Laurence worked at a VA facility in Tucson. We both found this info via google news archives, social security death index.
From 1930 census records
Laurence E. Totman was born in Illinois in 1925.
His (Laurence’s) parents were Laurence A. Totman and his wife, Mary.
Laurence Totman pere (the elder) was born in Kansas to a Pennsylvania father and an Illinois mother. Mary was from Illinois, as were both of her parents.
A sister-in-law named Myrtle M. Brennan is listed as living with them also.
1920/1910 census records—Totman Family:
In 1920, Lawrence Totman, (Jared’s) great-grandfather, is living with his aunt, Rosa Clarke, who was born in illinois to two Irish-born parents.
Rosa is his mother’s sister. On the 1910 census, his (Laurence, the elder) maternal grandparents are listed as Irish-born.
Father, Orvie Totman was born in Ohio to Ohio-born parents.
Amy Loughner’s Mother’s Line:
See obit, below, from Arlington (Illinois) Daily Record, June 24, 1999—Obituary of Helen Medernach of Virgil, Illinois. Helen was the sister of Lois M. Totman (the mother of Amy Totman Loughner). Helen was the great aunt of Jared Loughner.
As you can see, Helen’s funeral (mass) was held at a Catholic church. Helen (and Lois) were the children of Anton Bleifuss and Jessie Bleifuss (nee Anderson). Lois M. Totman died just days after her sister, Helen.
According to the census records, Anton Bleifuss was born in Bremen, Germany, to German parents. Jessie Anderson Bleifuss was born in Illinois to a father born in Denmark and a mother born in Illinois.
Conclusion—It is exceedingly unlikely that Amy Loughner has any Jewish ancestry. The only “line” not traced his Amy’s father’s mother’s family. The other three lines (Amy’s father’s father, Amy’s mother’s father, and Amy’s mother mother)—show, to all but the most obtuse, that these were/are not Jewish families. Moreover, it is quite clear that Amy’s mother, Lois Bleifuss Trotman, came from a Catholic family.