Friday, November 15, 2013

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Religion and Jews

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

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     A recent New York Times article strongly suggested “that the Jewish community readily embrace all who identify as Jews no matter what their parentage.” The rational is, since “our affiliation rates [are] declining, our future, if not our survival, depends on the extent of our welcome of intermarried couples considering Judaism for their children.”

     A Jewish Hindu couple wrote that “It’s not ‘whom you marry’ but how you raise.”

     A third comment stated “If Jews are truly to ‘love the stranger’, as directed throughout the Torah, then surely Jewish leaders and institutions can embrace loving, marrying and procreating with someone of another faith. Failure to do so will further marginalize those of us in mixed marriages who are committed to Jewish continuity.”

     There were more comments mostly along the same line.

     Maybe, one might possibly think that some of these apparently intelligent writers had some sensible point to make if Judaism were a religion. But a Jew is a Jew no matter what he or she believes. We are not a religion. We are a people, a people all descendant from Avraham and Sarah, with our Jewish identity always passing from the mother to her children. No matter who your father is, if your mother is a Jew then so are you. That is the fact of the Torah.

     Yes, there are a limited number of kosher converts, but this is rather unusual since kosher conversion is so hard to accomplish. But even a kosher convert does not become a member of a religion, but rather a member of a people. The proof of this is, when a person converts to a religion other than the one they were previously following, he or she is no longer a member of their previous religion. But if a kosher convert later decides to become a Buddhist, or a Hindu, they then become a Jewish Buddhist, or a Jewish Hindu.     

     No matter how much love you share with a non Jew, that does not make them a Jew. Counting hippopotamuses as elephants does not solve the problem of diminishing elephants. Changing the definition of a Jew will not make more Jews. The way to make more Jews is to help single Jews find proper Jewish spouses, and to encourage all Jews to have large families. Then it will be good for all of us.

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