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Is Anyone Jewish Enough?

Is Anyone Jewish Enough?

I know you will find this shocking, but Tiger Mom Amy Chua is not the only topic about which people are writing this week.

Several of my friends have nice articles/posts out about intermarriage-related issues.

Rabbi Jason Miller’s op-ed “Is Gabby Giffords Jewish Enough?” has been traveling all over the blogosphere: first on the Huffington Post, then JTA and, through JTA, to major Jewish newspapers around the country, like the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent and L.A. Jewish Journal.

Full disclosure: Jason quotes from “In the Mix” in the op-ed, so I realize that by linking to his piece, I’m creating an endless loop of blog-rolling. Now if he will only post on his blog about me posting about him posting about me, life will be complete.

Meanwhile, Paul Golin of the Jewish Outreach Institute, has a piece on the Huffington Post (is anyone NOT on HuffPo these days?) arguing that differences (like being interfaith) can actually strengthen, rather than weaken, a marriage.

And Laurel Snyder has "Not A Jewish Birth Story" on Kveller about an unpleasant encounter with a mohel who made her feel terrible just minutes after giving birth, when he questioned her Jewishness and declared, without even looking at her baby, that he would never perform a bris on him.

Here’s an excerpt from the essay:

“You’re Jewish?” he asked at last.

Immediately, I felt nervous. But I took a deep breath and nodded.

“Yes,” I said. "I am. I am.”

Then he added, “And your mother is Jewish?”

“Oh,” I said.

Then, in an anxious rush of too many words, I began to recite the little speech I’ve grown accustomed to giving. “No. But I’m Jewish. I know I don’t look Jewish, because my mom is Irish Catholic, but my dad is Jewish and I was raised Jewish. And then I converted when I was 18.”

I clutched my baby, bewildered. It was hard to believe this was happening at this moment. Through my hormone rush and the buzz of a post-delivery Percocet, I felt sadness creeping into the happy room, like a chill, as though someone had left a door open down the hall.

Doctor X folded his arms. He spoke slowly when he asked, “Your conversion—it was Orthodox?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “Conservative.”

“Why not Orthodox?”

Really? Were we going to do this now?

“Well,” I said, “because I’m not Orthodox. I don’t keep kosher, and I’m not shomer shabbos, and I certainly wasn’t at 18.”

Laurel goes on to explain that while she "didn’t mind Doctor X’s laws, or his inability to help me," she did mind that "he was cold to me at one of my warmest moments."

He could just as easily have said, “Oh! How nice! Mazel tov on the baby! I’m afraid I can’t perform the bris myself. But I’m sure there’s someone great out there who can help you!” But he didn’t. He—a doctor in a secular hospital—chose to exclude a woman trying to observe a mitzvah the best way she could.

This is actually something that could happen to Gabby Giffords (not that she is pregnant, and not that I have any idea if she and her husband want children). Imagine, recovering from a bullet to the head, only to have to deal with "you’re not really Jewish."

Don’t be a stranger. Come visit "In the Mix" on Facebook!

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