Monday, February 20, 2006

Who is a Jew? A contemporary answer to an age-old question

Traditionally speaking, the answer to the question of "Who is a Jew?" has always been a simple one. According to Jewish Law, anyone who is either born to a Jewish mother, or who underwent a conversion process consistent with Jewish Law is considered a Jew.

However, the ultra-secular Meretz party, finding the traditional answer to be terribly outdated, has provided us with a more contemporary answer - an answer that is more consistent with the post-modern, post-nationalist times in which we live.

Meretz: Recognize non-Orthodox conversion in Israel

The Meretz platform states: "Anyone who shows an interest in joining the Jewish religion and nation, defines himself as a Jew, speaks Hebrew, wants to live in Israel, and is acquainted with Jewish history and culture will be recognized as a Jew."

Dr. Tzvia Greenfeld, the lone ultra-Orthodox candidate on Meretz's Knesset list said, "Anyone who views themselves as a son or daughter of the Jewish nation has the rights to all citizenship privileges."

"The definition of the Jewish nation is much broader and more flexible than in the past, since religious affiliation is no longer the nation's unifying element," Greenfeld added, "There are other aspects such as Jewish collective memory, attachment to tradition, and a feeling of national belonging. The definitions from a hundred years no longer apply today."

To display how malicious Meretz's answer to the question of "Who is a Jew?" is, consider the following hypothetical scenario:

What if millions of individuals (who happen to view themselves as "Palestinian" Arabs) who consider themselves to be among the Children of Abraham, the progenitor of the Jewish People, who are knowledgeable of the Hebrew language; have an awareness of basic Jewish history, traditions and culture; and who are very interested in living in the Land of Israel chose to convert to Judaism en masse, under the new guidelines proposed by Meretz - would Meretz advocate that the State of Israel accept these millions of potential converts to "Judaism", no questions asked?

Would Meretz advocate giving these millions of new "Jewish" converts’ complete equality and citizenship rights?

Would Meretz advocate the right of these new "Jews" to change the name of the "Jewish" State of Israel to "Palestine" along with other changes that would remove the Jewish character of the State of Israel, such as the Law of Return?

Would Meretz advocate allowing these new "Jews" to serve in the IDF and defend the borders of the "Jewish" State of Israel from the enemies of the Jewish People?

If not, why?

Because they are Arabs?

That would be racist.

Because their intentions aren't pure?

Who are you to judge?

In short, Meretz's proposed answer to the question of "Who is a Jew?" has little to do with any genuine concern for the future of Judaism and the Jewish People, and has everything to do with Meretz's desire to bring about the end of Israel as a Jewish State and erase any notion of the Jewish People being G-d's Chosen nation, one with a unique mission and destiny to accomplish in this world.

Is it any wonder that today, in the Jewish State of Israel, after having had the 3 different Ministers of Education from the Meretz party in the last 15 years (Yossi Sarid, Shulamit Aloni, & Amnon Rubinstein), that so many Jewish children graduate high school ignorant of the basic tenets and principles of Judaism, of what it means to be part of the Jewish People, and of the significance of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel to the Jewish People?

How sad.


The Mafdal hasn't done too much to promote knowledge of Torah and Judaism outside of Orlev's Religious-State schools.

Perhaps if Moledet (without Mafdal) had control of the Education system, it would care about the Jewish education of every Jew in Israel, not just those in a particular sectorial school system.

By Blogger Joe Settler, at Mon Feb 20, 11:25:00 PM GMT+2  

Well, I have heard stories of the so-called "half-Jews" (born of a goy mother and Jewish father) having an easier time making Aliyah than new halachically legit gerim.

By Anonymous Tovya @ Zion Report, at Tue Feb 21, 07:27:00 AM GMT+2  

Well said.

By Blogger Ezzie, at Tue Feb 21, 12:10:00 PM GMT+2  

Ze'ev - one small problem - your basic point wsa that if A huge number of Arabs wanted to convert, then they would be eligible for citizenship - this remains true if the conversion is Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Karaites or Chabad!

Your point had nothing to do with the main point of the article - Meretz's endorsement of non-Orthodox conversion. it had to do with an Ultra-Orthodox's comment that who is a Jew? is not an easy question - after all, according to your definition, Isaac, Ya'acov and Joseph weren't Jews!

By Anonymous H, at Tue Feb 21, 01:38:00 PM GMT+2  

Haim, according to Meretz, all one needs to do to become a Jew is feel Jewish - which opens the door to anyone to enter the Jewish People.

That is clearly not how Jewish Law views conversion.

As for the criteria of who is a Jew, it's a post-Sinai definition.

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Tue Feb 21, 03:20:00 PM GMT+2  

Interesting post.

By Blogger Jack's Shack, at Tue Feb 21, 04:40:00 PM GMT+2  

Can't Agree--how could I, being the son not of a Jewish mother but of a Jewish father? Yet that's an accident of birth that I take neither pride nor humility from--I love the Jewish people, and my heart so yearns for the peace of Israel that there is not nearly enough room for any other affection or concern in it.

You know your scriptures, so I won't insult your intelligence by quoting Isaiah and Talmud to you in an effort to prove how right I am to oppose your views.

But as to your concerns over the conversion of Arab Muslims? I wonder how one can even so much as begin to imagine it, as one stops to consider that of all the major religions of the world, none is more rigid and be-clouded under a pall of fear for the sin of blasphemy and dread of the punishment that awaits the congregation of "Allah" for the crime of apostasy.

But perhaps you know something about Islam that escapes my notice, concerning what would be regarded as fair game when it comes to such methods of deceit as would be permissible as part of the arts of jihad?

Even so, I suggest that those concerns might be overcome given appropriate methods to accomplish a complete severance of the Arab convert from the error and heresy of his former Mohammedan faith--which it most certainly is, i.e. error, heresy and worse, as any who have completely read the Qur'an well know, what with all its wrong-headed disinformation about Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael and Moses.

One can easily think of a few things the convert might be asked to do with his Qur'an in order to prove that he knows as a genuine convert, what it's good for! Hmmm?

But, then as one considers the terror and violence which would follow upon the news of any such program of conversion, it would seem that all you'd be left with, would be a lie detector, truth serum--or worse, dogmas so dipped in superstition and insult as the "Jewish Mother" test which has absolutely no foundation whatsoever, anywhere in the pages of Torah or the Prophets--let alone the annals of human decency.

So what are you really left with? You are left with the commandments of G*d which puts you on orders to put away your fears, your prejudices, your conceit and to be that Light unto the World toward the salvation of it, about which Isaiah so gloriously sings.

Only when man puts himself in the judgment throne of G*d over his fellow man, does he learn how very poor are his resources for the performance of that exclusively divine task.

I should say that if an Arab Muslim would present himself for conversion, that is nothing less than occasion for jubilation and there is no other task more essential for the Jewish person who would have peace in Israel or even in all of the world, than to immediately set forth to that beloved task--and convert that Arab, or the motherless Jewish son, the doctrinally orphaned daughter with all the love and reverence that you don't know yet to have as a hidden bounty of immense blessing in your G*d chosen heart and soul.

By Blogger Mackie, at Wed Feb 22, 09:44:00 AM GMT+2  

Mac, are you implying, that when Isaiah spoke of being a light unto the nations that he was advocating accepting non-Jews as jews?

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Wed Feb 22, 11:58:00 AM GMT+2  


So Meretz advocate a citizenship test similar to other enlightened nations and you will stick with circumcision (whihc most arabs in Israel already perform), a bath (not too hard) and three corrupt bribed orthodox rabbis saying your kosher.

I think your system is much more open for abuse than Meretz's personally.


for example.

By Anonymous H, at Wed Feb 22, 12:13:00 PM GMT+2  

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Feb 13, 04:27:00 PM GMT+2  

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