Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Rabbi Emily Cohen: "I’m Done Passing as a Matrilineal Jew." But what about the rest of us?

You can read Rabbi Cohen's article here.

Then you can go back and read this post of mine, as well as the follow-up post.

How is a Conservative synagogue to grow and thrive in an era in which so many folks who walk in on a Shabbat or holiday are either "patrilineal" or not Jewish by anyone's definition (because neither of their parents is Jewish and they haven't converted to Judaism)?  It's a fine line, to try to be welcoming while maintaining Conservative standards.  This is all the more "fun" if one doesn't have a rabbi to consult.  Wish our synagogue luck.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand. If the person doesn't have any Jewish heritage and hasn't converted, they simply aren't Jewish. That's an easy decision to make.

As an Orthodox Jew I have a harder time in how to relate to the issue of patrilineal Jews. They aren't Jewish. I sometimes think about them as "Jew"-ish. Or fellow travelers. And I appreciate their affiliation with Judaism, but Judaism is a peoplehood, not merely a religion. There are entry criteria. It's like citizenship. You can be naturalized or you can be born a citizen. In the case of Judaism, it's not either parent and hasn't been for thousands of years. It's the mother, full stop. It doesn't matter what happened at the time of the Bible, we don't practice Biblical Judaism. We're not Karaites.

I appreciate that the heterodox movements need to bolster their failing ranks. But someone with a Jewish father can convert fairly easily. And if not, they aren't Jewish. They're, at best, "Jew"-ish.

Thu Mar 05, 02:39:00 PM 2020  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I've been following the "conversion crisis" since 2005 since 2005, and I can assure you that your claim that "someone with a Jewish father can convert fairly easily" is not only simply not true, but that no convert--not even an Orthodox one--can assume that their conversion won't be rescinded even a generation later.

Mon Mar 09, 01:52:00 PM 2020  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, you're simply wrong. It's still relatively easy to convert in the US (and we're only talking about the US because this isn't an issue in Israel). I have first hand knowledge of how easy it is through family members. Zero issues, happened relatively quickly.

Whether Israel recognizes it or not is a separate issue, but that's not a religious one for purposes of what shuls should do with regard to converts. So I can assure you that you are incorrect and your assertions are simply not true.

I'm not saying what is going on in Israel with regard to recognizing converts from the US is right, but that's a completely different issue. The convert's conversion wasn't rescinded -- it wasn't recognized by a gov't bureaucracy. That's something wholly different.

Mon Mar 09, 05:48:00 PM 2020  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I'm happy to hear that your family members had better experiences with conversion.

Tue Mar 10, 12:37:00 AM 2020  

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