Mar 10, 2008

Prove you're Jewish.

So I just posted a hastily written blog over at about a story in the New York Times -- How Do You Prove You're a Jew? I won't post the whole blog here, mostly because I know I have plenty of non-Jewish readers who probably are occasionally sent away by my constant Jewish ramblings. So I thought I'd leave it over there. But let's just say that the story is about a Jewish woman who grew up on a kibbutz in Israel who went to get married and was told she's not a Jew simply because her mother hailed from the U.S. of A. Every day there is another story about converts being questioned about their Jewishness by the courts of Israel, and today, today we have the absolute limits -- a Jew-by-birth with a long, long history of a big, fat, happy Jewish family being questioned by the courts, unable to marry without proving that she's Jewish.

It's never been easy, and it never will be. But here, let me show you my conversion certificate. No, not really. It's quite beautiful. I keep it packed away in an envelope with my important documents and bills and passport and birth certificate. Either way, it's really not accepted by much of the Conservative movement and none of the Orthodox -- especially in Israel. I'm okay with this, and I have full intentions of jumping through the hoops again someday to really solidify in the eyes of the ignorant that I'm 100 percent kugel-eating Jewish.

But until then, I read these articles and shake my head and watch children be killed for studying Torah and I think -- really, couldn't we be doing something better with our time than arguing over who is a Jew? I mean, how many people willingly CLAIM their Jewish status like some kind of out and proud Star of David on my chest, please don't hate on me kinda person? It isn't like it was in the 1880s or the 1940s or anything. It isn't like someone's going to shoot you for being Jewish nowadays in most parts of the world. Or is it?

I don't know. I just know I'm frustrated.


Tamara said...

This is Avi not Tamara. My PC is doing boot scan and so is down for the next hour or so!

I hear you on the whole frustration thing thing but i have to ask. Why do you think you're conversion won't with or as you put it, is not accepted by much of )the conservative movement? How do you know this? Have you looked into it and been told that is the case?

Jack said...

This is not Avi or Tamara, but I see them around town.

Why let others define you.

chaviva said...

Avi: Well, I haven't been told this is the case by anyone, and I'm sure I could probably get a letter like you, but I'm not going to do that right now, considering my potential future conversion options. I'm sure it's accepted since I studied for more than two years, met with the beth din and did the mikvah (twice, at that) among other ceremonial procedures. In most people's eyes, it was halakhic, aside from adopting the Orthodox standards of observance, that is.

Jack: I don't look at my thinking as letting others define me. They are defining me for themselves, which is well and grand, but it doesn't affect how I define myself or how those close to me see me. If that makes sense :)

tikkunger said...

Jack Stop stalking us!!!!!!!!!


Thanks for clarifying things!

Schvach said...

Chavi: Once again you're right about the Jewish status issue, and yes, we Jews have better things to occupy our attention and effort than to challenge each other's legitimacy as Jews. So I've told you a bunch of times in the past, so I'll tell you again - you're a Jew, period, and don't let the fools among us convince you otherwise. They are ignorant, and for them you'll never be solidified in their eyes, despite the fact that you're the honest article.
Next time we can 'talk' about mikvah.

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