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No, Not Everyone Is Jewish Enough

No, Not Everyone Is Jewish Enough

Associate Editor

It is fitting that Gabby Giffords is the congresswomen from a border district with Mexico, because a lot of the same people who think any illegal alien from Mexico who wants to become an American is therefore an American, also think that anyone who wants to be a Jew is instantly a Jew. The horror of the Giffords shooting has led some to discuss how Jewish is Giffords, and is she Jewish enough?

We know one thing: She is Reform Jewish enough. Her father was Jewish but her mother was not, Giffords husband is not, and Giffords joined a Reform temple several years ago, considering herself a full member of the Jewish people. Not having a Jewish mother, and not properly converting (if she didn’t) means Giffords isn’t Jewish, according to classical Judaism, or don’t Conservative and Orthodox Jews have the right to their own beliefs anymore?

Getting shot makes you a martyr. It doesn’t make you Jewish. A non-Jew dying in Auschwitz or in the Israeli army because of your love for the Jewish people makes you holy. It doesn’t make you Jewish,

Visiting Israel and thinking that you’re raising Jewish children and sharing the Jewish fate, if you’re not Jewish, makes you socially heroic, it may even mean that you’re holy and deserving of every Jew’s love and admiration. But it doesn’t make you Jewish.

And, while we’re at it. just having a Jewish mother and nothing else in your life be Jewish makes you a dope, but yes, you’re Jewish. Just like being born in Paris and being a Nazi collaborator still makes you French, while American soldiers who liberated France are still American, not French.

Moving to Haiti and healing that country would make me a good person, it won’t make me Haitian. I may be a better person than Baby Doc Dualier, but he’s still Haitian because he was born there. I was not.

If I got a doctorate in Mexican history, a second doctorate in Mexican political science, a third doctorate in Mexican poetry, and if I moved to Mexico City and raised a Mexican child it wouldn’t make me Mexican. I’d be an American guy who loves Mexico. Try it. See if Mexico, with all your love, would let you vote in Mexican elections and have a Mexican passport without going through a highly complicated process of becoming a legal citizen.

Here’s something "undocumented" Jews who grew up Christian might learn if they decided to study and convert and do it right. Judaism isn’t Christianity where you just have to accept Jesus to be saved.

Accepting the Jewish God and the Jewish people doesn’t make you Jewish. It means you took the first step, a holy first step but the first step alone. All religions are not the same and this isn’t Christianity.

Why are these the rules? I don’t know. I trust my Founding Fathers. I trust the mystics and the centuries. I trust that something holy, matters of the soul, shouldn’t be easy. To be Jewish is to be humble enough to admit that sometimes you just don’t know but you do what you’re supposed to do and, if you pay attention, you’ll figure out most of it as you go along.

A non-Jew may be the sweetest, most loving, most spiritual person, but you’re not Jewish if you aren’t Jewish the right way.

Mexico won’t give me a vote or a passport even though I’m as sweet as iced tea.

Trying to impose a Christian-like definition of who is a Jew on the rest of us means you refuse to take the second step. The second step is getting serious. Being chutzpadik doesn’t make you Jewish, either.

It’s inappropriate to have this discussion while Giffords is in this hospital but I’m not the one who brought it up, either in The Jewish Week or elsewhere.

Just as the shooting led to a national night of the long knives by leftists hunting all enemies, real and imagined, the matter of Giffords Jewishness is being used for another anti-intellectual mugging of anyone who dares to think that Giffords isn’t Jewish enough — something I have never heard in Orthodox shuls where Giffords is being prayed for but something I’ve only heard among Jewish illegal aliens and their supporters who want to exploit the tragedy or who want real Jews to change Orthodox and Conservative law for no better reason than the emotion of the moment.

In Orthodox shuls I have only heard mercy and prayers for the dead and wounded. How Jewish anyone might be doesn’t come up except if it needs to be known for a halachic situation.

But this is bigger than Giffords. This is about the lurch toward demographic, social and religious chaos.

Apparently. to too many "undocumented" Jews, and their backers, there should be no conversion process or standards whatsoever, just like there should be no American citizenship standards whatsoever.

At least, in the old days, if you wanted to become an American citizen you had to do more than cross the Rio Grande, you had to learn who George Washington was, you had to say the Pledge of Allegiance, and know some basic facts of citizenship. There was a cermony and standards, for the ceremony to be meaningful. With good reason. We’re a better country if we have an educated populace, if newcomers understand that there is more to the American dream than just dreaming.

Now, that’s out. Just as in Judaism (according to this logic), you don’t have to be know anything aboit Judaism.

An astounding number of Jewish wannabes are remarkably ignorant of anything about Judaism, other than some half-baked nonsense about Tikkun Olam, the delusion that there is a Jewish commandment to agree with every leftist cause de jure. The full phrase is l’takayn olam b’malchus Shaddai, to fix the world under the kingship of God, not the kingship of you. God has laws.

If being a citizen of country is complicated, why shouldn’t being a Jewish citizen? Being a citizen of a country does not involve a theology or a belief system. Being in a religion does.

Or, dear instant citizen, does Judaism believe whatever it is that you believe? What a coincidence. What arrogance.

So what’s being asked demanded, at the risk of their ridicule and contempt, is that a person need not have any knowledge of Judaism, or not any more than a scattershot awareness, before that self-declared Jew can be a voting member of a synagogue, voting on the future of the Jewish community, voting and having a voice determining the future of Jewish organizations and Jewish continuty.

Why should any serious Jew agree to this unhinged world of no standards, a system in which the majority of new voters have the Jewish education of a first grader, if that?

With Jewish illegal aliens becoming a thriving demographic, even a majority, should we therefore turn over the synagogue keys to theological hobos — those who believe that religious identification is nothing but a train to hop on or hop off, depending on your latest marriage, or whomever your kids will marry?

Can Judaism survive if it is based on nothing more than your mood?

There is nobility in non-Jews who are willing share the Jewish fate, who attempt to raise Jewish children, who attend synagogue and yearn to be a contributing part of the community.

But really, how many non-Jewish partners are so pure? Check out this interesting exchange in which the Times writer has more decency than the non-Jewish partner..

Here’s a clue about how non-Jews or half-Jews can gain acceptance. Don’t walk into the Jewish people like someone at their first ball game who announces that baseball history and the expereince of the ages be damned, there should be two strikes instead of three, and three innings instead of nine, and no strikeouts at all because a batter might feel bad.

Ask any sports fan what he or she would think of someone like that. And Judaism should matter a little more than a sport.

I believe in welcoming converts as if they were my blood, welcoming non-Jews who share our fate, who share our families, with all the love that such devotion deserves.

I don’t even like discussing this sort of thing because it might hurt or discourage someone. Again, I’m not the one who brought this up.

But when influential non-Jews and their media lawyers start dictating the terms of Jewish surrender, when the would-be Jews show not humility and respect but contempt and mockery for Jewish concerns and traditions that are thousands of years old, when the illegal aliens decide that religious anarchy is preferable to serious Judaism, then no, not everyone is "Jewish enough,"

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