Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud


Jewish Genes vs. Jewish Identity

There have always been two sides to the “Who is a Jew?” question. There are those who identify Jews primarily through blood and genetics, and those who see being a Jew as being more about choosing to identify with the Jewish people and adopt a certain lifestyle.

With an intermarriage rate hovering around 50 percent, Diaspora Jewry has for the most part adopted choice and lifestyle as their determining criteria for who is a Jew. On the other hand, the Israeli chief rabbinate continues to privilege blood and genetics, rejecting Reform, Conservative, and even many Orthodox conversions.

This past week, the chief rabbinate’s blood-and-genetics position was put on display.
After years of political negotiations, historical research, and genetic testing, Israel welcomed the Bnei Menashe. The Indian group, which claims to be descended from one of the 10 lost tribes, was allowed entry into the country under the Law of Return. At the same time, however, that the chief rabbinate was opening it arms, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar proposed denying the Law of Return to anyone not born of a Jewish mother. Only Jews born Jewish would be eligible for automatic citizenship; all others would have to apply through the regular channels.

Many in Israel laughed at the whole Bnei Menashe episode. One commentator in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the story of these long-lost Jews as comparable to fables such as “Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, or…Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs.”

But these commentators’ criticisms are misplaced. Their issue should not be the absurdity of the Bnei Menashe story, but rather with a system that continues to privilege a form of identity that Jews worldwide are increasing moving away from. While the chief rabbinate continues to stress blood, Diaspora Jews are increasingly seeing Judaism as being about a way of life (and not about one’s DNA).



Advertisement
Comments read comments(9)
post a comment
Tzvi

posted November 28, 2006 at 4:32 am


I have to admit i agree with Rabbi Stern…I think there’s something about Israel that seems to Unhinge people. Its the only way i can accept what the Rabbinate has done on the question of “who is a jew?” Do they really think they would be the Stewards of the faith if the Temple was rebuilt tomorrow? I don’t think so. I had a friend who is now the BF of my Ex who Converted to Judaism in an Orthodox Congregation and did EVERYTHING so that his conversion would not be questioned(My ex had been converted by a reconstructionist rabbi), and to be told that his Judaism was invalid was like one of the last straws for me. I was always taught that one should never question a Convert, and that it was rude to even think of someone who honestly came to being jewish as less than someone born in. Maybe the Cheif rabbis need to travel more outside their little ivory towers or American jews will have to stop supporting Israel. Is it Blood, or is it Faith? I think its a little of both.



report abuse
 

Robin Margolis

posted November 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm


Dear Friends: As the Coordinator of the Half-Jewish Network, currently the only organization for adult children and other descendants of intermarriage, I concur with Rabbi Eliyahu Stern and Tzi. The increasing stringency of “who is a Jew” standards in some — not all — European and Israeli Orthodox groups are so rigid that they would disqualify many Jews with two Jewish parents, who don’t happen to have extensive family paperwork and photos “proving” their unquestioned Jewish descent, never mind converts and adult children of intermarriage. Fully 45% of all Jewish-identified American college students are now adult children of intermarriage. Few of them will qualify as “real” Jews under the increasingly strict criteria for “who is a Jew” set by some Israeli and European Orthodox rabbis. Even the adult children of intermarriage who have Jewish mothers and maternal grandmothers do not maintain huge files of paperwork and photos “proving” their Jewish descent. I would urge Jews from all Jewish movements and secular organizations to focus on outreach to adult children of intermarriage, interfaith couples, and converts. We should focus on bringing them in, rather than keeping them out. I think bloodlines and faith are important. But I would weigh self-idnetification and spritual practices heavier in the scale of “who is a Jew.” I have known adult children of intermarried Jewish women who are contented Christians and some who live as Jews — and I have known adult children of intermarried Jewish fathers who are very committed Jews and some who are happy Christians. In my direct, hands-on experience with hundreds of adult children of intermarriage, it is not the Jewish parent’s gender that is important, but whether the adult child of intermarriage was presented with a positive picture of Judaism and warmly welcomed by a Jewish community.



report abuse
 

Reb Bahir

posted November 28, 2006 at 6:03 pm


There has always been 2 aspects of the question “who is a Jew”. One was what is being called ‘blood’. In reality that referred to being descended from Jews. Since, in ancient times, due to war and natural causes, one did not always know who the father is, matrilineal descent became the law. Reform Jews and others have disagreed with that approach, claiming that patrilineal descent was also acceptable. That alone is the “legal argument”. To be counted in an Orthodox Minyan one has to have a Jewish mother. In some cases, people who have converted from Judaism but have a Jewish mother are still considered Jewish by Orthodox Jewish law. But there is issue that should be raised. The issue of practice, or as my Rebbe puts it: “How do you Jew?” While in Orthodox Judaism that question is important, for a “legal” discussion it does not come into the question. But in a broader view, the survival and thriving of the Jewish Spirit Path, that question becomes crucial. I would be honored to speak with anyone who feels that the discussion of “How do you Jew?” is important. Many Blessings to all Reb Bahir Mountainhai@comcast.net



report abuse
 

jethro

posted November 28, 2006 at 8:21 pm


The chief Rabbis of Israel seem to be intent on driving as many people away from Judaism as possible.



report abuse
 

Tzvi

posted November 29, 2006 at 4:10 am


Anonymous posted the following: >It is my understanding that the >rabbinate in Israel DO accept orthodox >conversions. I am an orthodox convert, >and it is my understanding that I my >identity as a Jew is unquestioned. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I saw an Article a few months ago on JPOST.com(jerusalem post) about this issue about the Rabbinate of Israel and the “who is a jew Question and from the article they actually had a list of “approved” orthodox rabbis and if your rabbi that did your conversion was not on the list, your Conversion was considered “suspect” and invalid. I know because someone *I* know in baltimore did the exact same thing, converting under an Orthodox rabbi’s guidance to ensure that it was unquestionable. It apparently is. As for me, I won’t question it. Rambam himself said that you should love the convert, and not remind him that he converted in, and to treat him as one would a brother or sister.



report abuse
 

HASH(0x216ac698)

posted November 29, 2006 at 6:01 am


I am a non-Orthodox convert, and I find the whole situation with regard to conversion in Israel upsetting. My understanding that my conversion is considered enough to immigrate to Israel but that once there, I wouldn’t be considered a Jew or something like that. I see people here in America who also have the attitude that there is something to a Jewish bloodline and who are suspicious of converts in general. The odd thing is they often don’t know I’m a convert (and in Orthodox settings, I don’t tell them!). Still, that attitude seems to be much more prevalent among Israelis. I think the direction Israel has taken on Jewish identity is disturbing, and I am also disturbed when Jewish organizations in the U.S. try to push Zionism on Jews (especially young Jews) as a Jewish identity with little to do with Judaism. I’ve considered converting (again) Orthodox, but I feel to do so would violate my principles. I find it ironic that people who prioritize acceptance over sincerity are considered by some to be more Jewish than me. For example, one major problem with Orthodoxy is that they don’t allow women to become rabbis. (I’ve thought about becoming a rabbi myself, so I couldn’t do that as an Orthodox Jew.) How ironic that some would consider me not a Jew because I want to be a rabbi! Ultimately, it is not just non-Orthodox converts but non-Orthodox Judaism and, by extension, all non-Orthodox Jews that Orthodoxy does not accept. I wish more Jews would question not just their support of Israel but also their support of various Jewish organizations that claim to be open to all Jews but quietly reject non-Orthodox converts. The other movements in Judaism shouldn’t be relying on Orthodoxy to fill niches for us at that expense–we should offer our own programs. Maybe there should be a Birthright America trip like there is a Birthright Israel. Americans shouldn’t cede the title of Torchbearer of Jewish Tradition to Israel. I would like to see converts like me take steps to organize and be visible in the collective rather than just blending in like so many of us choose to do. Some may be uncomfortable with converts’ groups because of a desire to avoid making any distinction between converts and other Jews after conversion is complete, but the present circumstances leave us little alternative. We must be visible and insist that conversion is the act of joining the Jewish people rather than pledging allegiance to any particular Jewish group or movement and that converts are as entitled as any other Jews to change our views throughout our lives. Our voices are needed because many born Jews, even well-meaning and well-learned ones, seem to misunderstand the process of conversion–understandable considering they never went through it! One rabbi I studied with seemed to regard conversion as a magical event. Orthodox rabbis who believe every detail must be perfect to make a conversion valid should understand that their role is merely to oversee the process–they didn’t ordain it! How could any conversion be valid, how could anyone be a Jew were it not God’s will? So I would say Jews are God’s chosen people *by definition*. Simple as that.



report abuse
 

Denise Stephenson

posted December 2, 2006 at 7:59 pm


Hello The monster Adolpf Hitler did not care if your mother or father was a Jew. He murdered anyone with any Jewish links. I am not an historian, but if a Jew is a Jew because they were born of a Jewish mother, then what respect are we paying to those murdered by Hitler, whose father was a Jew and not their mother? This is crazy. Hitler didn’t care, we better start to. If a Jewish man is only as good as the Jewish woman he marries than what does that say for his children. A Jewish man may not choose to marry a Jewish woman, that is his right. Is his children not Jewish as well. He is Jewish, then therefore the children are Jewish. Thank you D Stephenson



report abuse
 

Deborah

posted December 4, 2006 at 12:50 am


Children born to one or more parents of Jewish descent would be considered Jewish, according to the O.T. The only distinction made about Jewish mothers, was concerning Sarah, and her husband, Abraham. God promised them a son, thus Isaac, meaning Laughter, was the son of promise, and the son of a freewoman. Sarah decided on her own, that Abraham needed to have children, even though she didn’t believe she could conceive and just plain didn’t believe the Lord’s promise at the time, so she gave her handmaiden to Abraham and she bore him a son, called Ishmael. That was Abraham’s first son, born of a Gentile handmaiden of his wife, never was Hagar a wife to Abraham, and Ishmael was the son of slavery, born of a Gentile woman, not a Jew, and without God’s promise or plan. Although, He allowed provision for Hagar and the son, Ishmael, blessing the boy and his mother, because of His love for Abraham and Abraham’s love and obedience and faith in the Lord God. Ishmael was Jewish, I believe, given a promised blessing from God. Ruth, a Moabitess woman, married a son of Naomi and her husband, both Jews. She was claimed by God and accepted by the Jewish people as one of them, but was not ever called a Jew, much like people that are Christians are not called Jews, even though adopted and grafted into the vine, the Jews, Yeshua, called Jesus. We are called the wild olive shoot of the cultivated olive tree, or the Jews, but we are not technically called Jews, unless a parent is of Jewish descent. Which, I don’t think matters to God, so long as we get a long with one another, and love one another.



report abuse
 

testosterone t-400

posted April 23, 2014 at 11:51 am


In fact when someone doesn’t be aware of after that its up to
other people that they will help, so here it occurs.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




Jewish Genes vs. Jewish Identity

There have always been two sides to the “Who is a Jew?” question. There are those who identify Jews primarily through blood and genetics, and those who see being a Jew as being more about choosing to identify with the Jewish people and adopt a certain lifestyle.

With an intermarriage rate hovering around 50 percent, Diaspora Jewry has for the most part adopted choice and lifestyle as their determining criteria for who is a Jew. On the other hand, the Israeli chief rabbinate continues to privilege blood and genetics, rejecting Reform, Conservative, and even many Orthodox conversions.

This past week, the chief rabbinate’s blood-and-genetics position was put on display.
After years of political negotiations, historical research, and genetic testing, Israel welcomed the Bnei Menashe. The Indian group, which claims to be descended from one of the 10 lost tribes, was allowed entry into the country under the Law of Return. At the same time, however, that the chief rabbinate was opening it arms, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar proposed denying the Law of Return to anyone not born of a Jewish mother. Only Jews born Jewish would be eligible for automatic citizenship; all others would have to apply through the regular channels.

Many in Israel laughed at the whole Bnei Menashe episode. One commentator in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz described the story of these long-lost Jews as comparable to fables such as “Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, or…Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs.”

But these commentators’ criticisms are misplaced. Their issue should not be the absurdity of the Bnei Menashe story, but rather with a system that continues to privilege a form of identity that Jews worldwide are increasing moving away from. While the chief rabbinate continues to stress blood, Diaspora Jews are increasingly seeing Judaism as being about a way of life (and not about one’s DNA).



Advertisement
Comments read comments(12)
post a comment
Tzvi

posted November 28, 2006 at 4:32 am


I have to admit i agree with Rabbi Stern…I think there’s something about Israel that seems to Unhinge people. Its the only way i can accept what the Rabbinate has done on the question of “who is a jew?” Do they really think they would be the Stewards of the faith if the Temple was rebuilt tomorrow? I don’t think so. I had a friend who is now the BF of my Ex who Converted to Judaism in an Orthodox Congregation and did EVERYTHING so that his conversion would not be questioned(My ex had been converted by a reconstructionist rabbi), and to be told that his Judaism was invalid was like one of the last straws for me. I was always taught that one should never question a Convert, and that it was rude to even think of someone who honestly came to being jewish as less than someone born in. Maybe the Cheif rabbis need to travel more outside their little ivory towers or American jews will have to stop supporting Israel. Is it Blood, or is it Faith? I think its a little of both.



report abuse
 

Jeannie

posted November 28, 2006 at 5:17 pm


The Chief Rabbinate’s stance is utterly absurd. By that reasoning, King David isn’t Jewish enough (or Jewish at all!?!) because of his ancestor Ruth, a convert to Judaism. And truthfully, after two millenia of living in the Diaspora, how can anyone be certain they are 100% Jewish? Even Abraham was not a Jew until G-d called him to it.



report abuse
 

HASH(0x216a6c00)

posted November 28, 2006 at 5:21 pm


It is my understanding that the rabbinate in Israel DO accept orthodox conversions. I am an orthodox convert, and it is my understanding that I my identity as a Jew is unquestioned. I think what the rabbinate is concerned about is that the halachic prescriptions have been followed in the conversion process. They don’t think Jewish identity is JUST a genetics thing, is a follow-Jewish-law thing, which is appropriate and understandable. If a parent has one parent that’s Jewish and one that is not, the person with the mother is not more genetically Jewish than the person with the Jewish father/non-Jewish mother. Both people are equally genetically Jewish, BUT the one with the Jewish mother is Jewish by Jewish law.



report abuse
 

Robin Margolis

posted November 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm


Dear Friends: As the Coordinator of the Half-Jewish Network, currently the only organization for adult children and other descendants of intermarriage, I concur with Rabbi Eliyahu Stern and Tzi. The increasing stringency of “who is a Jew” standards in some — not all — European and Israeli Orthodox groups are so rigid that they would disqualify many Jews with two Jewish parents, who don’t happen to have extensive family paperwork and photos “proving” their unquestioned Jewish descent, never mind converts and adult children of intermarriage. Fully 45% of all Jewish-identified American college students are now adult children of intermarriage. Few of them will qualify as “real” Jews under the increasingly strict criteria for “who is a Jew” set by some Israeli and European Orthodox rabbis. Even the adult children of intermarriage who have Jewish mothers and maternal grandmothers do not maintain huge files of paperwork and photos “proving” their Jewish descent. I would urge Jews from all Jewish movements and secular organizations to focus on outreach to adult children of intermarriage, interfaith couples, and converts. We should focus on bringing them in, rather than keeping them out. I think bloodlines and faith are important. But I would weigh self-idnetification and spritual practices heavier in the scale of “who is a Jew.” I have known adult children of intermarried Jewish women who are contented Christians and some who live as Jews — and I have known adult children of intermarried Jewish fathers who are very committed Jews and some who are happy Christians. In my direct, hands-on experience with hundreds of adult children of intermarriage, it is not the Jewish parent’s gender that is important, but whether the adult child of intermarriage was presented with a positive picture of Judaism and warmly welcomed by a Jewish community.



report abuse
 

Reb Bahir

posted November 28, 2006 at 6:03 pm


There has always been 2 aspects of the question “who is a Jew”. One was what is being called ‘blood’. In reality that referred to being descended from Jews. Since, in ancient times, due to war and natural causes, one did not always know who the father is, matrilineal descent became the law. Reform Jews and others have disagreed with that approach, claiming that patrilineal descent was also acceptable. That alone is the “legal argument”. To be counted in an Orthodox Minyan one has to have a Jewish mother. In some cases, people who have converted from Judaism but have a Jewish mother are still considered Jewish by Orthodox Jewish law. But there is issue that should be raised. The issue of practice, or as my Rebbe puts it: “How do you Jew?” While in Orthodox Judaism that question is important, for a “legal” discussion it does not come into the question. But in a broader view, the survival and thriving of the Jewish Spirit Path, that question becomes crucial. I would be honored to speak with anyone who feels that the discussion of “How do you Jew?” is important. Many Blessings to all Reb Bahir Mountainhai@comcast.net



report abuse
 

jethro

posted November 28, 2006 at 8:21 pm


The chief Rabbis of Israel seem to be intent on driving as many people away from Judaism as possible.



report abuse
 

Tzvi

posted November 29, 2006 at 4:10 am


Anonymous posted the following: >It is my understanding that the >rabbinate in Israel DO accept orthodox >conversions. I am an orthodox convert, >and it is my understanding that I my >identity as a Jew is unquestioned. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I saw an Article a few months ago on JPOST.com(jerusalem post) about this issue about the Rabbinate of Israel and the “who is a jew Question and from the article they actually had a list of “approved” orthodox rabbis and if your rabbi that did your conversion was not on the list, your Conversion was considered “suspect” and invalid. I know because someone *I* know in baltimore did the exact same thing, converting under an Orthodox rabbi’s guidance to ensure that it was unquestionable. It apparently is. As for me, I won’t question it. Rambam himself said that you should love the convert, and not remind him that he converted in, and to treat him as one would a brother or sister.



report abuse
 

HASH(0x216ac698)

posted November 29, 2006 at 6:01 am


I am a non-Orthodox convert, and I find the whole situation with regard to conversion in Israel upsetting. My understanding that my conversion is considered enough to immigrate to Israel but that once there, I wouldn’t be considered a Jew or something like that. I see people here in America who also have the attitude that there is something to a Jewish bloodline and who are suspicious of converts in general. The odd thing is they often don’t know I’m a convert (and in Orthodox settings, I don’t tell them!). Still, that attitude seems to be much more prevalent among Israelis. I think the direction Israel has taken on Jewish identity is disturbing, and I am also disturbed when Jewish organizations in the U.S. try to push Zionism on Jews (especially young Jews) as a Jewish identity with little to do with Judaism. I’ve considered converting (again) Orthodox, but I feel to do so would violate my principles. I find it ironic that people who prioritize acceptance over sincerity are considered by some to be more Jewish than me. For example, one major problem with Orthodoxy is that they don’t allow women to become rabbis. (I’ve thought about becoming a rabbi myself, so I couldn’t do that as an Orthodox Jew.) How ironic that some would consider me not a Jew because I want to be a rabbi! Ultimately, it is not just non-Orthodox converts but non-Orthodox Judaism and, by extension, all non-Orthodox Jews that Orthodoxy does not accept. I wish more Jews would question not just their support of Israel but also their support of various Jewish organizations that claim to be open to all Jews but quietly reject non-Orthodox converts. The other movements in Judaism shouldn’t be relying on Orthodoxy to fill niches for us at that expense–we should offer our own programs. Maybe there should be a Birthright America trip like there is a Birthright Israel. Americans shouldn’t cede the title of Torchbearer of Jewish Tradition to Israel. I would like to see converts like me take steps to organize and be visible in the collective rather than just blending in like so many of us choose to do. Some may be uncomfortable with converts’ groups because of a desire to avoid making any distinction between converts and other Jews after conversion is complete, but the present circumstances leave us little alternative. We must be visible and insist that conversion is the act of joining the Jewish people rather than pledging allegiance to any particular Jewish group or movement and that converts are as entitled as any other Jews to change our views throughout our lives. Our voices are needed because many born Jews, even well-meaning and well-learned ones, seem to misunderstand the process of conversion–understandable considering they never went through it! One rabbi I studied with seemed to regard conversion as a magical event. Orthodox rabbis who believe every detail must be perfect to make a conversion valid should understand that their role is merely to oversee the process–they didn’t ordain it! How could any conversion be valid, how could anyone be a Jew were it not God’s will? So I would say Jews are God’s chosen people *by definition*. Simple as that.



report abuse
 

ZA

posted November 29, 2006 at 6:39 am


Rabbi Stern is correct. I think it is time for Orthodox Jews in America to call for the abolishment of the Chief Rabbinate.



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted December 1, 2006 at 4:01 am


What about the idea, that Israeli PM Rabin said, that “A Jew is anyone who is willing to be called one”?



report abuse
 

Denise Stephenson

posted December 2, 2006 at 7:59 pm


Hello The monster Adolpf Hitler did not care if your mother or father was a Jew. He murdered anyone with any Jewish links. I am not an historian, but if a Jew is a Jew because they were born of a Jewish mother, then what respect are we paying to those murdered by Hitler, whose father was a Jew and not their mother? This is crazy. Hitler didn’t care, we better start to. If a Jewish man is only as good as the Jewish woman he marries than what does that say for his children. A Jewish man may not choose to marry a Jewish woman, that is his right. Is his children not Jewish as well. He is Jewish, then therefore the children are Jewish. Thank you D Stephenson



report abuse
 

Deborah

posted December 4, 2006 at 12:50 am


Children born to one or more parents of Jewish descent would be considered Jewish, according to the O.T. The only distinction made about Jewish mothers, was concerning Sarah, and her husband, Abraham. God promised them a son, thus Isaac, meaning Laughter, was the son of promise, and the son of a freewoman. Sarah decided on her own, that Abraham needed to have children, even though she didn’t believe she could conceive and just plain didn’t believe the Lord’s promise at the time, so she gave her handmaiden to Abraham and she bore him a son, called Ishmael. That was Abraham’s first son, born of a Gentile handmaiden of his wife, never was Hagar a wife to Abraham, and Ishmael was the son of slavery, born of a Gentile woman, not a Jew, and without God’s promise or plan. Although, He allowed provision for Hagar and the son, Ishmael, blessing the boy and his mother, because of His love for Abraham and Abraham’s love and obedience and faith in the Lord God. Ishmael was Jewish, I believe, given a promised blessing from God. Ruth, a Moabitess woman, married a son of Naomi and her husband, both Jews. She was claimed by God and accepted by the Jewish people as one of them, but was not ever called a Jew, much like people that are Christians are not called Jews, even though adopted and grafted into the vine, the Jews, Yeshua, called Jesus. We are called the wild olive shoot of the cultivated olive tree, or the Jews, but we are not technically called Jews, unless a parent is of Jewish descent. Which, I don’t think matters to God, so long as we get a long with one another, and love one another.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.