Talk:Who is a Jew?/Archive 1

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Based on the previous edit of "ANTHONY NOVELLI", I belive this page should be protected from vandalism. Almighty Rajah 20:09, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Second 03:31, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Matrilineality here?

Perhaps we should copy (or move) the Jewish section of the article Matrilineality over here?
Hasdrubal 05:08, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • No, tho it is possible the sec'n could become a "main article" (and thus be repclaced by a sec'n similar in length to the other sections of the art'l. But lk in both directions between them in any case.
--Jerzy·t 30 June 2005 15:41 (UTC)

Jews as Nation

I notice that several different people (both here and at "Jew") have problems with the description of Jews as a "nation". I believe it is precisely correct, but also problematic, and that this article is the place to sort it out. I believe I know what needs to be said, but I lack citations; help would be appreciated.

While the concept of Jews constituting a nation is obviously held by Zionists, it is also common among non-Zionist Jews and non-Jews, and among the latter both among people with favorable and unfavorable views of the Jews. In nearly all of the places that Jews have historically dwelt in significant numbers—the Roman Empire, medieval Spain, Central and Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire—they have been viewed as a race or nation apart. The concept of "race" in this sense is generally discredited, but the concept of nation, which emerged roughly during the Renaissance, applies precisely.
There are some complicating aspects to this picture:
  1. In the last two hundred years, and especially in English, the word nation has been conflated with state. If anything, the creation of the state of Israel has complicated the issue of Jews being a nation, because it now carries previously absent implications of affiliation with a particular state.
  2. Over a third of the world's Jews live in the United States, which is not at all clearly, in the longstanding sense of the term, a nation; at most it is a country that has been moving toward a sense of nationhood, but one where a large number of hyphenated Americans maintain a sense of ethnicity distinct from that nationality. Especially in American English, the term nation has come to refer to citizenship, participation in the "American nation", while the older sense of nationality is expressed as ethnicity.

Comments appreciated, as are sources that can be cited either in support of this or in opposition. -- Jmabel | Talk 18:51, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)

Since the concept of nation applies precisely to Jews, and since they consider themselves a nation, it's not clear what else needs to be said about this. The fact that people who are unfamiliar with Jews keep trying to inject anti-Zionist politics into this subject is not particularly relevant. Jayjg (talk) 19:21, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I am not sure I agree. The modern concept of nation essentially dates to the 19th century; Zionism and some non-Zionists (e.g. Dubnow) tried to make it fit reality, but that implied changing reality (by political reform and linguistic politics of different kinds) as much as it implied fiddling with then-current general concepts. I am also skeptical that most Jews in the U.S. (or the New World in general) feel comfortable calling the Jews a nation, or consider themselves to be part of a nation other than the American one. "People" is surely less controversial. Hasdrubal 23:46, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
"People" would be fine by me. But I bet that another 50 years from now, yet another word will be in vogue. -- Jmabel | Talk 02:11, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
Because there is so much diversity among Jews, it is actually not that difficult to find what elements unify them: a shared language (Hebrew), a shared history, shared set of traditions, a shared connection to a particular geographical area (amply referred to in Jewish literature), and the list goes on. I can't imagine that anyone would deny Tibetan or Mohican nationhood because Tibetans or Mohicans were displaced from their ancestral lands, even if you argued that they weren't allowed to return to these lands. On the other hand, I agree that the term "nation" is often conflated with the term "nation-state," as in the awkwardly named "United Nations," which is neither united nor comprised of nations (a better term would have been "Assembly of Regimes," but that's neither here nor there). Perhaps this discussion belongs in the article itself. --Leifern 02:25, 2005 Mar 22 (UTC)
Most Jews in the world don't speak Hebrew, don't follow most religious traditions, and don't live in Israel. Of course, one can go on in the same way about other entities: there are essays on how the French do not or did not fulfill any of Renan's requirements for the existence of a nation. The point is not that Jews are less of a nation than Mohicans, but that nations are the creations of nationalists. As for "people" - that's hardly a "fashion term"; it has been around for, well, forever. The problem, if any, with "people", is the same as that with "nation", only to a lesser extent: not all of its alleged members would agree with the terminology, and it carries a certain nationalist baggage. I suppose one could go with "ethnic group" when the usage is not unnatural, and with "people" otherwise. "Ethnic group" is a newish term, but it is used across the board. Hasdrubal 18:50, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I think there is a word we are avoiding here that is ancient yet actually more appropriate in the modern context than "nation": "tribe." One of the essential differences between nation and tribe in the modern context is that a nation defines a commonality of possibly diverse people at the highest level of a cohesive political area, while tribe defines loyalties based on family, cultural and ethnic bonds. Characterizing Jews as a tribe is weighted with the danger of accusations of exclusivity and alienage, but then so is nation. But I think tribe is what we really mean when we say nation. -- Cecropia | explains it all ® 07:08, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Jews historically have a notion of tribe. It's narrower than the whole Jewish people, who constitute a multiplicity of tribes: e.g. Kohanim, Levites. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:38, Mar 30, 2005 (UTC)

Jews; A Nation: I really am amazed that anyone has any trouble with the idea of Jews being a nation. That is the most fundamental and primordial tenet established at Sinai. When Jews said "Naase ve Nishma" they agreed to Torah, which they embraced to be the constitution of their nation. Since then the Jews have been a nation. A holy nation was established, not a religion. They have endured different diaspora but they have always been a nation, no different from the way Moslems have been a nation....all 23 states of it. Describing Jews as a nation is most accurate and fundamental. Conversion to Judaism is analogous to naturalization into the citizenry of a nation. At its root, the debate about who is a Jew is about misunderstanding that Jews are a nation. All the gedolim such as Rambam, Ramban, Ibn Daud and others understood this perfectly. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by [[User:|User:]] ([[User talk:|talk]] • contribs) 2005.

my .02, A) I'm not sure why you believe the notion of Jews as a race is discredited. We share cultural and historical roots. And genetic testing confirms that Jews from around the world (with the possible exception of Eithiopian Jews) are not genetically related to their Non-Jewish neighbors but are related to one another and to Arabs, our cousins. B) The notion of nationalism is important. "Zionism" is often mis-treated as if it were one word with one meaning. Like democrat it can be someone who supports democracy or someone who is affiliated with one particular political party. Nationism and desire to re-establish Israel is intertwined with Traditional Judaism, found throughout Psalms, the Bible, is in every Grace after Meals, and in the Thrice daily Amidah prayer. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 24 August 2006.

Jews are not a race because you can only get it from your mother. Your own mention of Ethiopian Jews not testing as Jews proves it is not, as well as the fact that we accept converts. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 24 August 2006.

I would say that the discrediting of Jews as a "race" is twofold: (1) the discrediting of race generally and (2) a nation can absorb/"naturalize" converts, a race cannot. - Jmabel | Talk 18:52, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


Given that Karaites and Beta Israel are listed among Jewish denominations elsewhere in these pages, shouldn't we have a section on their views on the subject? I'm having trouble getting sources on the latter's opinions. As for Karaites - some online sources (incl. Karaite sources) state they go patrilineally, whereas some others state that they require both the father and the mother to be Jewish. I've read it somewhere in an academic source that the former is the case, but I do not have a reference (though I remember there was a reference to a book or article titled "Karaite halakha", which I did not procure at the time). Volunteers? Hasdrubal 23:52, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Non-religious ethnic definition

I added this section recently, and I hope people can develop it further because I'm not an expert on the issue (and as you can see, my addition is pretty poorly written). I think the main points that need to be covered was that in history, the term "Jew" was simultaneously considered an ethnic group and religion, and because intermarriage between Jews and other groups was rare, there wasn't an ambguity to the term. But in more recent times, with marriage with other groups, and more Jews becoming secular, the term began to take a split meaning depending on what group was using the term. I'm sure there's people who can add more to this. I'd like to know more about this issue, such as what (if anything) do religious Jews think of people using the term in the ethnic sense, etc.

I also think that paragraph should occupy a higher position on the page, since it is a definition of topic. I placed it above "Other Approaches to Jewish Identity", but it got moved below, so maybe someone has a better idea of the placement.

Also, I think the addition is important, but it "breaks" some of the continuity of the "Jew" pages. For example, if you look on the right sidebar, "Who is a Jew?" is listed under the subheading "Jewish Religion". Also, the main "Jew" page says "For discussions of the religious views on who is a Jew and how these views differ from each other, please see Who is a Jew?", but this isn't correct anymore since there's more than just religious definitions now. I'm not sure what to do now, either make some changes to the main page or consider moving the ethnic definition to it's own page. 04:39, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think you are wrong on this last point. This article has never been exclusively about religious views on who is a Jew; the point of that remark is to keep such detail out of the page Jew, which is about ethnicity and not particularly about religion. Who is a Jew? is about both. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:47, Mar 30, 2005 (UTC)

The name

It seems to be a convention at Wikipedia that the names of articles are (singular) nouns, rather than adjectives or, in this case, sentences. What do users of this page think of merging it with Jewish identity under that name? (Although this is clearly the superior article, that is IMO the superior name.) --Angr 10:38, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • This article of "Who is a Jew?" is fine! However, the new stub of "Jewish identity" now redirects to Jewish population where it belongs, as it only very briefly, (heck, it was only a small stub), duplicates what was said on that better related page (i.e Jewish population) in a much more scholarly and encylcopedic fashion. UserAngr: Please read a lot more of the Template:Jews and Judaism sidebar articles and all its related links, BEFORE making your suggestions. Thank you. IZAK 11:20, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
The article was created by a user with little knowledge and a bone to pick. I think anything of value should be merged from there into this article, and then this article renamed to "Jewish identity". Jayjg (talk) 17:07, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
I agree with the move, but we might want to maintain the redirect. The "who is a Jew" issue is usually labeled that way, though we clearly don't want to limit the scope of this article to that one particular issue. --Leifern 17:27, 2005 Mar 30 (UTC)
I'd at least want to keep a redirect. Also, I'm not sure "Jewish identity" is a good title, especially because of the existence of neo-fascist groups that call themselves "white identity". I have to say, the title "Jewish identity" makes me quite uncomfortable. -- Jmabel | Talk 17:36, Mar 30, 2005 (UTC)
Good point. Is there another title that is better? Jayjg (talk) 19:13, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Especially given that Jewish Identity was orginally an attempt by Zain to include his orginal research when his changes were not accepted on the original site, it was clearly not the first phrasing that came to mind for people concerned with the issue. In fact, despite the downside of the current name, Who is a Jew still seems the best match. I would be interested in other suggestions, though. --Goodoldpolonius2 19:37, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
Well, perhaps you should merge anything of value and turn it into a redirect for now, and we can try to think of a better name. By the way, "Who is a Jew" gets 27,600 Google hits; it's a well known phrase. Jayjg (talk) 20:31, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Blame David ben Gurion. He insisted on polling a large sample of intellectuals (and actually some rabbis) whether to retain the status quo or to adopt a different definition of Jewish identity. This query, and its response, has become a vociferous debate known as Mihu Yehudi ("Who is a Jew?") and should be referred to as such. No redirect, but more historical material. JFW | T@lk 20:46, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • User:JFW is 100% CORRECT! This article must stay as "Who is a Jew?" = (the very famous) Mihu Yehudi? !!! I have edited and added corect definitions and information to make the article "work MUCH better". Thank you. IZAK 11:20, 17 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • IMO JFW & IZAK are both in error. (Should Izak's need to SHOUT so much clue us in to that likelihood in his case??) Their arguements go to the point that (as i assume we all agree) "Who is a Jew?" must be retained at least as a redirect, and consequently to its needing to be mentioned in the first graph. And IMO grammatical transformations of it, such as "the question of who is a Jew" should perhaps even predominate in the running text over "Jewish identity", which is a little stylized, as a encyclopedia-article should be. IMO the lk from "Jewish identity" to Jewish population should at the strongest (uncertainty bcz i haven't read it) be via a Top-of-Page Dab on this talk page's article.
--Jerzy·t 30 June 2005 15:41 (UTC)

The present title is a well-known phrase. Anything else we move it to will be something less common. Why should we want to do that? -- Jmabel | Talk July 1, 2005 06:55 (UTC)

  • In a line, because there are people who care about the fact that Birobidzhan exists but have never taken "Who is a Jew?" to refer to a specific event or work.
Less impressionistically, bcz "Who is a Jew?" is, i gather, a natural and proper way refer to the "insider"-dominated discussion that DbG initiated, and by the same token a distorted, in fact inevitably inaccurate, way of referring to what i now can recognize as a related but distinct topic that should have its own article and title, probably Jewish identity. Izak's arrogant line about "(the very famous) Mihu Yehudi?" does a fine job of dramatizing this.
As i say, the two topics are related, and hopefully each should inform the other substantially. As an exaggeration that carries some important truth, we can parody "Who is a Jew?" as crucially involving the question "How can the discussion so far be tweaked to make it clearer that i am included?", while the "Jewish identity" topic ignores that question per se and crucially asks "How far are we still from stating all the relevant objective facts of what is true about at least one person who calls themself a Jew or is sincerely called one by someone else, and are we getting any closer to accounting for the stubborn belief of Jews that there is at least one essential thing they all have in common?"
--Jerzy·t 1 July 2005 18:31 (UTC)
Jerzy what are you mumbling on and on about exactly? "Who is a Jew?" is an issue that has been called just that for the last 50 years at least, even tho' it now catches you by surprise. Try reading the article and learn something from it instead of pontificating about unrelated tangents and letting off steam. IZAK 05:07, 18 July 2005 (UTC)

Jews for Judaism

Right now if you search "Jews" in Google you don't get such a good result as the first IMO we should incress Jews For Judasim Page Rank by using the advanage of the Jew related wikipedia pages it is also very related... so can we please not remove the link?

Please don't use Wikipedia to pursue this campaign, however well intentioned. Jayjg (talk) 20:44, 16 August 2005 (UTC)
I agree, so long as the other group doesn't do it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 24 August 2006. Note that this is a reply to a year-old remark

European Jewry

From a historical perspective, Jews in Europe have existed under perilous conditions where their communities have exhibited mass amounts of expulsion, destruction and dispersion due to religous and political forces beyond their control. That being said, has there been any research on how the Jewish religion grew in Roman and then subsequently Christian Europe? Most articles and publications I've come across gloss over what seems to be 1,200 years of Jewish presence in Europe right after the expulsion of Judea by the Romans to the founding of Hapsburg Europe and the flourishment of Jews in what is today's Poland.

The main explaination seems to be that all European Jews lived a separate existence from Gentiles and that they're most likely descended directly from Diaspora merchant Jews who emigrated throughout the Roman Empire. This seems highly unlikely since the original population had to be extremely small and any direct descendants would reflect the physical Eastern Mediterranean attributes of their Diaspora ancestors. Furthermore, millions of Jews of Central and Eastern European descent exhibit the physical attributes of Gentile populations from those regions.

I am not arguing that today's Jews (mainly from Europe) do not carry any ancestrial traits from the Diaspora populations from 2,000 years ago, but I am willing to say that the subject of Gentile intermarriage seems to be heavily downplayed.

Actually, there have been genetic studies on the rate of intermarriage. Off the top of my head, I believe the results were 0.5% per generation. Jayjg (talk) 18:58, 17 August 2005 (UTC)
As usual you are too lazy to provide references, and it would be too much to ask you to do the math, a few seconds with a pocket calculator (if you have a clue how to press the appropriate buttons). Even with your ridiculously low 0.5% number (compared to current intermarriage rates in the US), "Jewish blood" is a very small percentage. 05:54, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Here is some work on the genetic testing. <<Prof. Skorecki is best known for his 1997 discovery of genetic evidence indicating that the majority of modern-day Jewish priests (Kohanim) are descendants of a single common male ancestor, consistent with the Biblical high priest, Aaron...The researchers found that the mtDNA of some 3.5 of the 8 million Ashkenazi Jews in the world can be traced back to only four women carrying distinct mtDNA of a type virtually absent in other populations. Non-Ashkenazi Jews also carry low frequencies of these distinct mtDNA types, providing evidence of shared maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi Jews. This is consistent with previous findings based on studies of the Y-chromosome, pointing to a similar pattern of shared paternal ancestry of global Jewish populations, originating in the Near East. The researchers concluded that the four founding mtDNA likely of Middle Eastern origin underwent a major overall expansion in Europe during the last millennium>>

<<Despite their long-term residence in different countries and isolation from one another, most Jewish populations were not significantly different from one another at the genetic level. Admixture estimates suggested low levels of European Y-chromosome gene flow into Ashkenazi and Roman Jewish communities. A multidimensional scaling plot placed six of the seven Jewish populations in a relatively tight cluster that was interspersed with Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations, including Palestinians and Syrians. Pairwise differentiation tests further indicated that these Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations were not statistically different. The results support the hypothesis that the paternal gene pools of Jewish communities from Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East descended from a common Middle Eastern ancestral population, and suggest that most Jewish communities have remained relatively isolated from neighboring non-Jewish communities during and after the Diaspora.>>

<<Several lines of evidence support the hypothesis that Diaspora Jews from Europe, Northwest Africa, and the Near East resemble each other more closely than they resemble their non-Jewish neighbors. First, six of the seven Jewish populations analyzed here formed a relatively tight cluster in the MDS analysis (Fig. 2). The only exception was the Ethiopian Jews, who were affiliated more closely with non-Jewish Ethiopians and other North Africans. Our results are consistent with other studies of Ethiopian Jews based on a variety of markers (16, 23, 46). However, as in other studies where Ethiopian Jews exhibited markers that are characteristic of both African and Middle Eastern populations, they had Y-chromosome haplotypes (e.g., haplotypes Med and YAP+4S) that were common in other Jewish populations.

Second, despite their high degree of geographic dispersion, Jewish populations from Europe, North Africa, and the Near East were less diverged genetically from each other than any other group of populations in this study (Table 2). The statistically significant correlation between genetic and geographic distances in our non-Jewish populations from Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa is suggestive of spatial differentiation, whereas the lack of such a correlation for Jewish populations is more compatible with a model of recent dispersal and subsequent isolation during and after the Diaspora. >>

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 24 August 2006.

Non-religious ethnic definition

"Today laws concerning Jewishness are unwelcome and unethical almost anywhere in the world, but of course de facto the situation remains." May I insert "except in Israel"? 06:08, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Then you'd better add the Vatican in there, because they have the same rules for Catholics. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 24 August 2006.Note that this is a reply to a 9-month-old remark.
Actually, no, quite different: a Catholic can't just show up in the Vatican City and become a citizen, etc. - Jmabel | Talk 18:52, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Shulchan Aruch

This may be a question also in other articles, but it seems to me that it would be to overstate matters to say that the Shulchan Aruch is the basis for halacha. Surely it is a central text, but I don't think it provides the sole text for all halachic decisions today. Perhaps we should rephrase that sentence? --Leifern 16:00, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Well, it is a central text, though others are used as well, particularly in areas not covered by the Shulchan Aruch. What wording to you think would work better? Jayjg (talk) 21:38, 24 November 2005 (UTC)

Recommended page move

The wording of the title, "Who is a Jew?", is a bit confusing. I recommend moving this article to What is a Jew? for the sake of clarity. -Silence 00:05, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

  • As I understand it, the title is basically a translation of "Mihu Yehudi?" (sorry if I got that wrong, my Hebrew is minimal), the classic formulation of this question. -- Jmabel | Talk 06:21, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
    • (Jokes don't work on the Internet.) -Silence 07:08, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
    • Jmabel is correct. IZAK 07:38, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
  • Not the brightest marbles in the basket, clearly. -Silence 08:13, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Silence, I have no idea who you are, but my assumption when I see a remark from a user I don't know is to take it at face value and respond accordingly. If you already knew this, and were just trying trolling, don't complain about how you were responded to. Sorry (well, actually not), should I have responded with dismissive condescension? -- Jmabel | Talk 08:34, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Of course. Clearly you haven't spent much time reading up on Wikipedia policies or guidelines, or you'd know to assume bad faith. -Silence 09:56, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I believe it says that it's not a Wikipedia policy nor a guideline. Lol. --Nissi Kim 04:03, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

This is an article? Wow

this is an article? wow. Yameen? 05:49, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Why not? IZAK 06:33, 19 December 2005 (UTC)
  • why not have a who's not a jew? article? KzzRzzKnocker 03:16, 3 April 2006 (UTC)
  • This is a classic and important question. For instance--surprise--only Jews can become rabbis. Anyone who is Jewish can become a citizen of Israel immediately. There are a number of other relevant issues where this question is core. Light Orlanu Brecker 06:10, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Very afraid of the DNA!

The DNA tells us that jews doesn't exist, since any two random palestinian and zionist person chosen will have 99.99% identical sequence, as found by modern research. This is why the joint israeli-apartheid south africa bioweapons programme of the late 1970's failed to produce a disease that hurts arabs, but not jews, while succeeded in making a white-neutral anti-negro illness.

Where do these whackos come from? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 24 August 2006.interspersed into an 8-month-old remark

An arab taking an orthodox rabbi's clotching can pass undetected, because the physiognomy is the same. They did that many time to plant bombs or infiltrate occupied terriotries settlements. Thus being of jewry is an illusion of culture and religion identity, not hard reality like the nucleic acid! This is why matilinear ideas are nonsense and only used in israel to make racist laws that effectively ban palestinian people from having a jewish spouse. 16:03, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

The diatribe notwithstanding, the title of the article is "Who" is a Jew. You're talking about "What" is a Jew, which was Hitler's racial concept. -- Cecropia 17:01, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

So what?? All humans share most of genetic information (99.99% or whatever percentage you want to use). Nobody is claminig that jewish identity is a genetic trait!

-Bring2Focus- Yes, it IS claiming that jewish identity is a trait, because for a group of people to be classified as a race they must share similiar physical traits and characteristics.
Not to bring creedence to your idiocy with a response, if you'd read the article, you'd know that nobody claims Jews are a race, but rather a religion/ethnicity.
Wow. First- Judaism is a religion, not a race. Second- Saying a Jewish custom of basing religious definitions on parentage is ridiculous - is ridiculous! Just because all humans are made out of the same stuff, doesn't mean that a long-standing religious custom isn't worth considering when looking at that religion. This is not a scientific matter, it's a cultural and religious one. Your sentence is completely wrong in every way: "matilinear ideas are nonsense and only used in israel to make racist laws that effectively ban palestinian people from having a jewish spouse". First off - calling a religious custom nonsense is racist. And, matrilinear ideas are NOT only used in Israel, but in most Jewish cultural centers. Israel does NOT ban palestinian people from having a Jewish spouse. Get your facts. I don't know if hypocracy is disallowed on Wikipedia, but racist diatribe is. You said, "jewry is an illusion of culture and religion identity, not hard reality like the nucleic acid". Jewry, as opposed to Judaism which is a religious concept, is a cultural and traditional concept and it's existance cannot be denied. Go to the USA or Great Britain or Spain or Israel or any other place where jewry thrives and you'll see that there actually is such thing as Jewry. Sorry, but nucleic acid cannot be compared to human society.
I myself have the Y-chromosomal Aaron... Besides, as a person mentioned above, human DNA does not differ from person to person by any significant percentage. --bladebot 23:01, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

huh? delete setence

in the section "Traditional (Halakhic) perspective" why is the sentence:

"Who the first Jews were is a matter of some controversy. Some maintain that it was those who were present, bodily, at the revelation of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai; others maintain that Abraham and Sarah were the first Jews."

here, it doesn't really fit, since this is not a halakhic dispute. frankly I don't think it belongs in the article Jon513 20:54, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

Within the Jewish community

I adjusted the section to read better and be more to the point. But I found the anachronism is the former wording, referring to bar/bat mitzvah age, a bit strange. If Jewish tradition condemns the children of a Jewish father and Gentile mother to status as an outsider, so does it not acknowledge the religious role of women with a bat mitzvah, a rather PC adaptation to modern times. -- Cecropia 03:50, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't understand your contention. Please explain. jnothman talk 04:28, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
The original wording referred to the age of a bar/bat mitzvah. The tradition of matrilineal succession has roots about 1500 years ago or so, and the denial of religious Jewishness is a serious disability not altered by modern understanding of, say, DNA identification of parentage. However, bat mitzvahs are not traditional, only coming into widespread use in my lifetime, and is a nod to the attempt to include Jewish girls in Jewish community in a manner mimicking boys. The wording also "bar/bat mitzva age (twelve for a girl, thirteen for a boy, the minimum age when a child is considered mature enough to be responsible for his/her actions." That more resembles an explanation of confirmation among some Christian groups; i.e., the age at which you have the understanding to accept Christ for yourself, not because your parents say so. The bar mitzvah, in my understanding, is when a Jewish boy becomes a Jewish man capable of studying and particpating in adult religious activity. This is traditionally denied to girls and women. -- Cecropia 05:16, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

A child who becomes bar/bat mitzvah has taken on the "yoke of heaven" and begins to keep the commandments officially when they may have been doing so earlier as "practice." This happens when they reach the age of 13 for boys and 12 for girls completely unconnected to whether or not they had a big party with a DJ. It is recent that the bat mitzvah ceremony has included reading from the Torah, something that women do not do in traditional Judaism. In regards to what Cecropia claims, women cannot be denied participation in religious activity as there are many intrinsic parts of Jewish life they do participate in and sometimes that are exclusively female. Women do not have a large role in synagogue, but the kosher home is created based on the woman's knowledge and following of the laws, as one example. [1][2][3] Yonitdm 07:27, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Ethnic Jew

The section (which I realize was recently merged in) is a bit of a mess. Let's just focus on the first paragraph.

"Ethnic Jew" (also known as an "assimilated Jew," see cultural assimilation) is a term generally used to describe a person of Jewish parentage and background who does not actively practice the Judaism but still identifies with Judaism and/or other Jews culturally and fraternally. The term "ethnic Jew" does not specifically exclude practicing Jews, but they are usually simply referred to as "Jews" without the qualifying adjective "ethnic".

There are a few issues here, but the one I am most inclined to focus on is the assumption that secular Jews are necessarily assimilated. I think the matter is clearer if one looks back a century or so. Would you really call Jacob Adler, or the founders of the Bund assimilated? - Jmabel | Talk 04:08, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Yes, being a secular Yiddishist or Bundist, for example, is a major step towards total assimilation. It's a gradation or a continuum. Particularly when talking about Jews outside of modern day Israel who have the "cover" of the state, as a Jew decreases his level of observance of Judaism -- in both actions, mentality, and psychology -- he is becoming more like a gentile and hence is assimilating. "Assimilation = Becoming more and more like a non-Jew" until the day arrives when either the person assimilating or his progeny completely reject Judaism and their Jewish identity. IZAK 05:08, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
It's strange to hear people talking about The Bund here as a Jewish organization. I had a socialist friend in NY who referred to the Workman's Circle as the "Arbeiter Bund" though properly I remember it as Arbeiter Ring. She wasn't a New Yorker and was very into European Socialism, and it took some discussion for her to understand that, in New York City before and after World War II, "the Bund" had a much different meaning. Or, to put it another way, "Bund" didn't always mean leftist. -- Cecropia 06:06, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
IZAK, you are entitled to your opinion, but as at least a fourth-generation secular Jew, I simply disagree with it. My identity as a Jew is strong, and it is based in culture, not religion. I personally am rather "assimilated", but I still think you are drawing the line in the wrong place. An ethnically Jewish atheist living in Tel Aviv -- or New York, for that matter, especially a century ago -- can still be functioning in a very characteristically Jewish milieu. It seems to me that "assimilated" and "secular" are two different matters. Do you call an Italian who abandons his ancestral Roman Catholic beliefs "assimilated"? No, you call him "secular".
Cecropia, I assume your allusion is to the German American Bund? I presumed that in a Jewish context there was no need to say which "Bund". - Jmabel | Talk 20:20, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I'm talking about the Volksbund. In New York around and after WWII the "Bund" always meant the German-American Bund, whether you were Jewish or not, whether you were a socialist or not. Most people in NYC at the time did not translate Workmen's Circle into German or Yiddish. and if they had it would have been "Ring," not "Bund." The Nazis changed a lot of perceptions, including that "concentration camp" was simply a detention camp, and that the swastika was a common decorative symbol in several cultures. -- Cecropia 23:28, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

The paragraph says that the term is 'generally used to describe...' Is this general usage outside the conventional Jewish community? If not, there should be more definition added. It may also be useful in answering the above question in defining who for examples holds to IZAKs view that Bundists, secular Zionists etc are assimilating and who holds counter views. HTH. Paulleake 14:57, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

The term "ethnic Jew" is hardly new, but its usage here appears to be a compromise description to describe Jews who don't actively follow the religion, which forces the question: "if Judaism is a religion, but there are Jews who don't follow the religion, then what is a Jew, exactly." In all honesty, the opinion of an Orthodox Jew: "the child of a Jewish mother" is, in a sense, a non-answer. So what makes the Jewish mother Jewish? It's like those Russian dolls (or the American shmoo) where you open the painted case, to find a smaller painted case inside, and so on and so on until you have nothing.
Perhaps this article should be recast a a modern Jewish/Israeli question only and leave the broader question of what "Jew" means to an encyclopedic reader to a different article. As to your direct question, "ethnic Jew" in the past seems mainly to deal with Jews as a "race," and in that sense smacks of racism IOW, how do you (and the "you" may well be a Nazi in WWII Germany) tell what a Jew is like if he doesn't practice the religion.1938 English writing -- Cecropia 17:26, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
To add, I mean to make this point: Historically "ethnic Jew" does not equal "secular" or "non-practicing" Jew. It was intended to define a race, whether the subject was Maimonides or Karl Marx. -- Cecropia 17:35, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Confusing article

  • Apologies if you disagree, but i think this article is pretty messy, it seems to just say the same thing over and over again, ("the view in Israel is...", "the view according to Traditional Jewish law is..." etc) and this dilution of the interesting and relevant information kind of spoils what should, and would otherwise be, a great article. I dont really know enough about the subject to do that myself, and im certainly not going to be bold with such radical changes, but does anyone else at least see what I mean? Jdcooper 12:19, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
    • Jdcooper: While there may be some repetition, as there often is in many Wikipedia articles, this article has been very seriously worked on by a quite a few editors who are very knowledgeable about this topic and subject. Try to learn more about this topic by reading as much related material as you can, and then if you pick up on something, bring it up here for discussion and you will get responses. Similarly, if someone were to start reading some articles relating to Christianity, it would be very easy to spot that Jesus and what he supposedly did or did not do are mentioned too many times within certain articles... and therefore needs to be edited out. Of course, such an approach would result in very strong objections (and even chaos), right? So, since, as you admit that you "dont really know enough about the subject" do not do anything that will confirm your lack of knowledge about this subject. Thanks for asking. IZAK 12:32, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
      • I don't know enough about this subject to perform a complete edit of an encyclopaedic-level academic article, but I know enough about both this subject and about articles in general to realise that tedious repetition of the same information, whether placed there by knowledgeable editors or not, does not a good article make. With respects to the articles about Christianity, if they contain overt repetition, that should be weeded out too. I came here looking for information, all I am suggesting is that perhaps the information, while undoubtedly present, is maybe not organised in the best way? Also, you do not have to address me in bold, I am neither a baby, nor a vandal, nor am I personally attacking you, and I can read words perfectly well even when they are not in bold. Thanks! Jdcooper 12:41, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Conversion acceptance?

Article describes converts as being universally accepted? No. This should be clarified to state the escalational nature of conversion acceptance. Chassidim accept only 'rescued jews', Jews 'recovered' within the three generation tradition, who live the chassidic way. Orthodoxy only accept the recovered jews and orthodox conversions living in orthodox fashion. Conservative only accepts conservative conversion, ortho conversion, and so on. however, IN reverse, Orthodoxy does NOT accept conservative or reform conversions, and Chassidim accept NO non-jewish blood conversions. This elitism among sects needs addressing in the article.ThuranX 03:20, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

While there may be some Chassidic sects that do not welcome converts into their communities, in the same why they do not welcome non-chassidm, that does not mean that they do not reconize them as Jews. Conversion has a very strong basis in Halakha, and I cannot imagine anyone orthodox rejecting the idea entirely. If you have reason to believe that there are any Chassidim the reject conversion please site sources. Jon513 12:59, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
i have significant reason to believe such based on my own experiences. The chassidim of Worcester MA offered to "purify my tainted blood" and make me a "real jew". However, because citation of personal experience is clearly NPOV, i'm putting this topic out for someone else to follow up on. The elitism of the Chassidim is well known among jews, and the extent to which they will go to disenfranchise all Jews not just like them is also well known. Let's not forget that many Chassidic sects don't even recognize other Chassidic sects as 'true jews' but only as misled, straying from the flock jews who must be FULLY reconverted to the 'right' sect. I'm not in a position to write it up now with an NPOV, but there are stories out there of similar experiences.ThuranX 20:43, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

as someone with Chassidic family members, let me state without any exception whatsover an individual with no jewish relations whatsover who converts to judaism by orthodox standards will be accepted by all orthodox (including chassids who are a branch of the orthodox) as jewish. now some orthodox and some chassids have been heard to say that a secular jew is not a real jew, that they might as well be gentiles, etc., but if pushed they will admit that the non observant person is jewish (worthless perhaps, but jewish). the breakthrought the lubavachter hassidic group provided to the entire jewish (secular and religious) community was the realization that even the most secular, by doing even one mitvah, could come a little closer to g-d and begin a path to religious revitalization. the "mission" of the lubavatchers is to bring all jews (which they define in the orthodox manner - a jewish mother or a convert to judaism) on the path to greater religious observance. and it's just not true that there is some kind of 3 generations of observance requirement to be accepted as a jew by chassids - as proof, just walk up to any "outreach" frum (chassid or otherwise) rabbi and ask. ag

Your experiences clearly differ from mine. I found there to be an effective zero tolerance zealotry among Chassidim. I was informed, to my face, that to 'become a jew, a true jew, a real jew,' I would have to convert from christianity to judaism. This statemetn based upon the premise that my father's blood had tainted me, because my father's 50/50. So I stand by my experiences as proof of a need for a section regarding this.ThuranX 03:26, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Anecdotal evidence is not sufficient proof. If Christians walked up to me and told me that Christianity requires human sacrifice to pagan gods or that non-Christians are really all martians, I would dismiss them as crazy nuts who don't speak for Christianity as a whole. Why do you think that the people you encountered speak for Chassidim as a whole? Even if a Chassidic Rebbe said those things to you (I don't really know what whoever-it-was said to you, given that you expressed yourself vaguely and incoherently), he would only be speaking for his particular sect of Chassidism. Your wild assertions of elitism appear to come from an extreme form of stereotyping, and are of the type that stand at the root of anti-semitism. All of Orthodox Judaism (Chassidim included) accepts any conversion that follows Talmudic Law. Conservative and Reform don't even claim to follow Talmudic Law, and, as such, their conversions are considered invalid by Orthodox Judaism. You'd best reconsider your perspective. HKT 13:25, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Anecdotal evidence is not sufficient proof for use in the article, but is PERFECT for foundation of a belief that this is a topic needing addressing. I jsut don't feel like putting up with the inevitable redaction that would come if it were me to do the section, given my clear distaste for the elitism I do assert clearly. Your bitter response that I must be a crazy anti-semite belies your own prejudices against the Reform Judaism movement, and, in fact, clearly supports my assertion that the Chassidim DO maintain airs of superiority. It is exactly the hypocrisy and dichotomy of profession agaisnt action which I feel compels such a section to be written up. Mine are NOT the only 'anecdotal' tales of this treatment to exist. Let's not forget that various Rebbes of multiple Chassidisc sects have made the assertion that any Jew who is not a Jew just like them isn't a REAL Jew. This been discussed before in many media, and compared to the warring of the mullahs in Islam. A clear factual addressing of this issue would be perfectly valid in this topic, WHO IS A JEW (To other jews)?ThuranX 03:18, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Using your experience as the "foundation of a belief that this is a topic needing addressing" is a form of faulty generalization, a logical fallacy.
  • "Your bitter response that I must be a crazy anti-semite (sic)..." What I actually wrote was that your assertions "are of the type that stands at the root of anti-Semitism." I did not label you as crazy, not did I label you personally as an anti-Semite. I indicated that your perspective is of the type that could motivate people to hate Jews, given that it presents a picture of Jews (and specifically all religious Jews) as arrogant elitists, as you assert.
  • "...blies (sic) your own prejudices against the Reform Judaism movement." Really? How? I didn't even know that you were Reform, and, in fact, you implied that you were Christian ("...I would have to convert from christianity (sic)"). This seems like a non-sequiter to me.
  • "...and, in fact, clearly supports my assertion that the Chassidim DO maintain airs of superiority." How? Do you think that I am a Chassid? I am not. Please be careful with your assumptions. I wouldn't be surprised if it is this type of spurious assumption-making that has led you to your current paradigm.
  • "...hypocrisy and dichtomy (sic) of profession against action..." I don't understand this at all. (1.) You have not identified any hypocrisy. (2.) You don't identify the dichotomy to which you refer. Just in case you don't know, dichotomy means the existence of two varying elements in one unit. I doubt whether you know the meaning of the term, because you used it incorrectly. If you say the "dichotomy of...," without contrasting both elements to which you refer, you either possess poor grammar or don't understand the correct usage of the word in question. Or both. (3.) What do you mean by "profession against action"? What action is someone professing against? How does this indicate hypocrisy and/or some sort of a dichotomy among Chassidim, et al. (I assume that you're referring to Chassidim).
  • "Let's not forget that various Rebbes of multiple Chassidism sects (sic) have made the assertion that any Jew not a Jew just like them isn't a REAL Jew." Which Rebbes? Are you basing this on some vague impressions and memories, unreliable accounts, or are you just making this up? It would be hard for "us" to "forget" what we don't know, wouldn't it?
  • "This been discussed before in many media, and compared to the warring of the mullahs in Islam." So you rely on opinion pieces from the ever nebulous "many media" to demonstrate that your vilification of Chassidim is valid? How utterly convenient. That is like saying: "America is the 'Great Satan'. As proof, just read this transcript of Osama bin Laden calling America the 'Great Satan'!" Just because someone agrees with you does not make you right, though it may sooth your ego.
  • "A clear factual addressing of this issue would be perfectly valid in this topic, WHO IS A JEW (To other jews (sic))." I think that your content would more appropriately fit in Who is a Jew (conspiracy theory), assuming you could demonstrate the notoriety of your perspective from sources in the elusive "many media."
By the way, if your mother is Jewish, Talmudic Law says that you are Jewish also. According to Talmudic Law (which all Chassidic groups claim to follow), your father's genetics do not "taint" your blood and are, in fact, entirely irrelevant. You have yet to disclose your genealogical situation (though doing so is obviously your prerogative), so it is impossible for the reader to understand the personal anecdote to which you have alluded. As I hinted in my previous post: If you express empty rhetoric "vaguely and incoherently," you can't expect to be understandable, much less persuasive.
Wishing you much clarity of thought, ease of temperament, and appreciation of tolerance, HKT 12:12, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
First point. I did not cite MY experiences, I cited Anecdotal Evidences in the larger sense, as I clearly said "Mine are NOT the only 'anecdotal' tales of this treatment to exist."
Given that this alleged evidence is at odds with other, well-established evidence, I view it with great suspicion. HKT 23:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Second, as for parsing out language, to throw out that my views are those 'at the root of anti-semitism' is just like saying 'you personally are espousing anti-semitism'. Those who espouse anti-semitism are, by definition, anti-semites.
This is a straw-man. Any reader may review my above statement to see that I didn't accuse you of even "espousing anti-Semitism." HKT 23:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Third, I thought it was clear that I was Jewish(to some, but clearly, not to others.)
Fourth, I did not imply that YOU were a Chassid. If you inferred that, It was an incorrect inference, I had no intent ot imply such at any time.
Fifth, the hypocrisy is in the attitude espoused by chassidim, which could be summarized as 'To all who claim to be Jews, WE are jews, but to US, all who claim to be Jews are NOT Jews.' They want total acceptance of THEIR way, but do not accept at all most of the rest of the sample size. The dichotomy is between their profession of love for ALL Jews, and their action towards any Jew NOT them.
This would be a double standard, but it wouldn't constitue hypocrisy. Hypocrisy means acting against one's principles, not professing what you would consider unfair principles. Also, you would have been better off replacing you use of "dichotomy" with hypocrisy (where it would've found acceptable usage. Anyway, even with correct word usage, I would continue to dispute these allegations in full. HKT 23:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Sixth, among the many rabbis who've promoted this sentiment is the highest of the Lubavitcher Rebbes, Schneerson.
If you want to be understood precisely, be more specific and bring sources. HKT 23:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Seventh, I'm not quoting one biased source, articles on this have shown up in Reform Judaism Magazine, a respectable magazine sent to MANY in the Reform movement. There have been panels on this situation, editorials, and there are plenty of websites about it if you look.
Indeed. All of these are like-minded and completely biased. The Reform leadership has dedicated itself to launching attacks on traditional Judaism since the inception of the Reform movement. And websites aren't automatically reliable. HKT 23:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Eighth, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am interested in seeing a section in Who is a Jew? that discusses internal rifts. If you aren't interested in that, then please let someone else write it. Ninth, I'm well aware of the Talmudic law on the subject, but I'm also aware that many, if not MOST of those who self-identify as Jewish are NOT fully versed in that small section of Halacha. Even fewer are likely to be aware of the controversy, unless they've tried to move to Israel. See below for my 'genealogical Situation.' To end, I get the feelign that you resent any discussion of this issue here. that's your prerogative. I think that it's a wirthwhile section to request, you do not. That's the beauty of Wiki. I'm gonna leave this alone for a while, and see what happens. If no one does anything, maybe in a few months, I will write up that section. I've got too much to do right now, and I'm even more fired up about it than usual after all this. I know what I was told to my face, and I know that I'm NOT the only jew to experience the 'disowning' that the Chassidim tried to force upon me. I'm going to let this settle for a few days, so enjoy the Shabbos and I wil look in next week. ThuranX 20:17, 17 March 2006 (UTC)

Continued from user talk pages:

ThuranX wrote: "The phenomena, I am aware, is NOT widespread, but to suggest it's a scant few on the fringe isn't right either. there are SERIOUS consequences to the conflicted perspectives here, as evidences by the Chassidic influence on Knesset actions toward, for example, the Lemba, and the right of return, and so on. Remember, under the current laws, I'm not jew enough for Israel. Imagine that. To be the grandchild of a holocaust refugee, and the descendant of Pogrom Refugees, and STILL not be able to claim a right to return to Israel because I'm a member of the Reform movement? It's that aspect of non-parity judaic recognition that this cultish behavior supports."

I think you are mixing two attitudes. (1.) That (many) Chassidim have believe that "any Jew not a Jew just like them isn't a REAL Jew," "many Chassidic sects don't even recognize other Chassidic sects as "true jews","Chassidim accept NO non-jewish blood conversions," etc., and(2.) that "under the current laws, I'm not jew enough for Israel."
While I understand that an elitist perspective in general is not limited to a "scant few" individuals among Chassidim (though, as you wrote, it is not so widespread either), the idea that someone isn't a real Jew unless they are a Chassid is considered utterly rediculous by Chassidim in general. Not only that, but no Chassidic Rebbe that I've heard of would say or believe such a thing. It is possible that there are individual Chassidim who espouse such ideas, but they are certainly given no credibility by any traditional Chassidic line (nor, as far as I know, are they given any credibility by any recognized Chassidic community at all). Individuals who espouse this idea definately are a scant few.
Talmudic Law requires that any conversion to Judaism must fulfill certain criteria. Outside of Orthodox, no Jewish religious group follows those criteria in their conversion processes. From the beginning (or near the beginning) of the State of Israel, it has been accepted that the Jewish state would follow the traditional Jewish criteria for determining who is a Jew. This means matrilineal descent or conversion according to Talmudic Law. If someone fits these criteria, he or she is a Jew according to Talmudic Law. This standard is not held for the sake of elitism but for the sake of maintaining the traditional standard of Who is a Jew. If your mother is not Jewish according to these criteria, and you did not fulfill the Talmudic criteria for conversion, no Orthodox Jew, regardless of whether he is a Chassid, would consider you Jewish. There is no distinction whatsoever between Chassidic and non-Chassidic Orthodox Jews when it comes to the standards for determining who is a Jew according to Jewish Law.
"To be the grandchild of a holocaust refugee, and the descendant of Pogrom Refugees, and STILL not be able to claim a right to return to Israel..." Emotional pleas are irrelevant. There are numerous anti-semites who have descended from Jews - they could have claimed the same thing (in fact, there were quite a few terrible Jews who also could have made the same claim). No doubt you're a fine person, and that your ancestors suffered terribly, but that doesn't affect your status as a Jew according to traditional Jewish Law.
"...because I'm a member of the Reform movement?" Your membership is irrelevant, and Israeli Law (as well as Orthodox Judaism) ignores that completely in determining whether you are a Jew. I gather that you have a non-Jewish mother and that you did not convert according to Talmudic Law. If your mother was Jewish, or if your conversion was according to traditional rabbininc law, your subsequent religious membership would not affect your acceptance as a Jew. You could join the Reform movement and remain a Jew - though traditional rabbinic law would consider that choice unacceptable, it would still consider you a full-fledged Jew. HKT 11:38, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
To clarify. I am the child of a father whose father was christian ,whose mother was jewish and a holocause refugee, and who was raised christian, and identifies as such. My mother was 100% jewish, and her mother's line was all prussian/polish region pogrom refugees. When the chassidim of Worcester found this out, they declared my blood to be contaminated and in need of purification. They declared that in violation of clear Talmudic Law, I was NOT a jew at all, but merely one who had the right to convert into Judaism. These were the Lubavitchers of Worcester, MA. As for the fact that Israeli law, under Chassidic influence in the Knesset, has been set up to ignore anything not 'traditional', that is a weak statement at best. Given the variety of jews around at the founding of Israel, given how much money was poured in by NON-Chassidim, by American and European jews of the reform movement, and the nascent Conservative movement too. It seems absurd to see the move for 'chassid/ortho tradition only' as a pure coincidence. It's not logical that a nation founded in part by the actions of non-ortho would thank it's backers by effectively disenfranchising them. It's long been reported that the Chassidic party there has worked to block the Lemba and Ethiopian Jews from full equality, and other groups as well, like the Qaraites. Are those not 'traditional' groups? of course they are. In fact, their versions of judiasm predate the Chassidic movement. Yet Chassidim do not recognize them. This is sectarian strife, and should be included, in my opinion.
The fact that all of this controversy exists is a good indicator for giving it a section on the page. Chassidim do NOT accept that anyone but them is a jew. At BEST, the Chassidim say that they are people of jewish descent, or those who MIGHT be able to come back to judaism, but they are NOT, in fact, Jews.
Good Shabbos to you.ThuranX 20:17, 17 March 2006 (UTC)
OK. So we clarified that Talmudic Law does consider you a Jew. (There is a minor point in Talmudic Law that a Jew who was living a lifestyle not in accord with traditional rabbinic Judaism ought to immerse in a mikvah as part of a repentance process. However, this is not required by the Talmud nor by any historical or contemporary Orthodox posek for one to be considered a full-fledged Jew).
The Lubavitchers of Worcester are clearly nuts that don't follow Orthodox rulings if they indeed said what you claim they said. I guarantee you that the vast majority of Chassidic Rebbes (and Chassidim in general) would consider those people non-Orthodox or (at least) ignorant if they knew that those Lubavitchers made those claims. You seem to persist with your faulty generalization. I don't think that we need to continue to keep rehashing this issue, because it doesn't seem that we will convince each other of the correctness of our positions.
I find it interesting that it would be this "Chassidic influence" preventing you from making aliyah (despite that the vast majority of Chassidic school children would know that you are Jewish according to Talmudic Law), yet this Chassidic omnipotence cannot stop non-Jewish Russian spouses from being treated as Jews by the goverment. Amazing! Perhaps you are overstating the political influence of Chassidim (even that of Lubavitch, which is a PAC to be reckoned with!). Then again, Israeli Law has been known to often be counter-intuitive and absurd....
The Qaraites were always a fringe group; they have a long history but weren't considered traditional by the secular founders of the state. Many have considered the Jewish origins and claims of Lemba and Ethiopian Jews uncertain, and I don't think that that is due to elitism. In any event, according to Talmudic Law, any group of Jews that has been entirely seperated from the larger Jewish community for many generations, and which cannot be determined to have strictly accepted Talmudic law throughout that period (not just some rituals), is considered at risk of having lost its matrilineal descent through intermarriage. As such, Talmudic Law would consider their status questionable.
Again, I think the premise underlying the proposed section is based mainly on an inductive fallacy. Cheers, HKT 12:17, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
Focusing on your last paragraph, which I believe gets us back to the crux of the issue, it is exactly the nature of Talmud VS. Torah, and either VS self/cultural identification, which is WHY such a section is needed. You views present exactly the problem with this issue. You've repeatedly asserted Talmudic yes/no as the only decider of who is or is not Jewish. Yet by Talmud, only white europeans and a few stragglers in the middle east are Jews. The Ashkenazi and (maybe) Sephardim are Jews, and yes, I've even heard people espouse beliefs that dietary variances at Pesach between Ashkenazi and Sephardim are proof the Sephardim haven't been Jews for centuries. Talmud's 'strictness', or 'narrowminded bigotry', depending on your interpretation of it, leave hundreds of thousands, if not millions of self-identifying Jews in the odd position of being told 'Not ONLY are you NOT a Jew, but even if you were, you'd believe in this interpretation of Talmud, and thus accept that you are NOT a Jew. This is a paradox, a catch-22. And this creates problems with massive disenfranchisements in the culture. Kai Feng? out. Lemba? out. Karaite Judaism? out. Beta Israel? out. It is this conflict between cultures with self-identifications and/or genetic markers for Kohanim, such as the Lemba exhibit, and the Talmud, which stopped being edited hundreds of years ago, but a millenium after the Torah was finished. That's a REAL part of this topic, and should be addressed, as should various absurd demands of reconversion, which is another catch-22 in the same mold as I already stated - "You're not but if you were, you wouldn't be anyways, so you're not no matter what." ThuranX 20:21, 19 March 2006 (UTC)
I have decided to take you up on you challenge and see if can find any sources that Chassidim don’t accept convert. I have found numerous sources that they do. Hopefully this can end this debate once and for all. In likutei sichot volume 1 page 22 Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson says
“the power of self sacrifice was given also to the convert from Abraham our forefather”
Seems pretty pro-convert to me. Including numerous source that speak about the halakhot of converts that show that he does accept converts (likutei sichot volume 5 page 145; likutei sichot volume 7 page 301; likutei sichot volume 1 page 143; likutei sichot volume 9 page 253) and no mention of anyone who cannot be accepted as converts because they don’t have Jewish ancestry. See [4] to look up these sources. Jon513 21:10, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

ThuranX: As usual, you make a number of claims that I consider false and a number of comments based on what I consider false premises. Nevertheless, I only want to address those points that are relevant to the main point (excluding some points that I've already addressed earlier):

  • "You've repeatedly asserted Talmudic yes/no as the only decider of who is or is not Jewish." That is not what I have "repeatedly asserted." What I have tried to explain is that all of Orthodoxy/Chassidism uses the Talmud as the standard, and that the Israeli government has used it as a standard because of its belief that traditional rabbinic law represents the traditional Jewish heritage. You might argue that it is wrong for these groups to believe as they do, but that is irrelevant. What is relevant is that these groups have not concocted standards for the sake of elitism. They have merely upheld what were traditionally widely accepted standards. If you claim that these standards constitute "narrowminded bigotry", then your problem is with the Talmud, not with its adherents. As such, if you accuse the Talmud's adherents of "bigotry", you still cannot claim that said "bigotry" is rooted in elitism. Rather, you would have to say that it is rooted in dedication to tradition. (While I disagree with your claims against the Talmud, a discussion of such claims wouldn't be germane to this topic).
  • "The Ashkenazi and (maybe) Sephardim are Jews, and yes, I've even heard people espouse beliefs that dietary variances at Pesach between Ashkenazi and Sephardim are proof the Sephardim haven't been Jews for centuries." That is an interesting hypothesis, but it isn't historically grounded. There was always some degree of contact between Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities, and any dietary variance fits within Talmudic Law and traditional rabbinic literature. By the way, who are those "people" who you allegedly heard?
  • "Talmud's 'strictness', or 'narrowminded bigotry', depending on your interpretation of it, leave hundreds of thousands, if not millions of self-identifying Jews in the odd position of being told..." You've pulled this out of a hat! You either are unfamiliar with basic Talmud or with basic Jewish History (or both).
  • "...'Not ONLY are you NOT a Jew, but even if you were, you'd believe in this interpretation of Talmud, and thus accept that you are NOT a Jew'." Your logic here is flawed. No one thinks that being a Jew has to do with believing in a certain interpretation of the Talmud. As such, you've expressed both a straw-man argument and a non-sequiter at once. Oh, yes - "this interpretation of Talmud" of which you speak seems to have appeared ex-nihilo (another straw-man).

Practically speaking, I think other editors will share my view that your allegations of elitism are conjured (not by you, per se), making it difficult for such a section to appear in the article unless you could present a factual, well-sourced, notable, neutral section based on mutually accepted sources. If you think you can do this, you can try. Otherwise, I don't think that this will prove to have been a fruitful discussion. Cheers, HKT 23:43, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Calling a catch-22 a straw-man just to hide that it is true is even more a logical fallacy that what you've accused me of. It's quite simple. The authority figures in this discussion on who is and is not are generally the Orthodoxy and the Israeli gov't. They say that to be a Jew, you must meet orthodox standards. Orthodox standards include adherence to Talmud. Talmud says Matrilineal descent. If you can't prove matrilineal descent, you are not a Jew. But these other groups, the Lemba and KaiFeng, claim to be Jews despite the loss of matrilineal descent proof. They are told, well, you don't have matrilineal descent, thus you aren't Jews. BUT, if you really WERE Jews, you'd accept the Talmud, and thus, have to admit you're not Jews, so we just cut out the middle man. This is the problem. You can't see it, because you've sided with the orthodoxy. You are choosing to ignore genetic evidence, cultural and anthropological evidence, and all other manner of evidence which prove there's a conflict here. I'm tired of arguing with you, as your attitude is clearly one of 'Talmud now and forever only'. You have no interest in seeing other Jewish groups be recognized. I'm not sure if you feel it would dilute the gene pool, of the 'specialness' of judaism, or if you really think that Talmud, despite being written long AFTER the Lemba left should still apply to them, or whatever that motivation may be. The fact that all of Talmud is ex post facto to the breaking off of these groups, and thus ridiculous to hold them to laws after they moved to other places, doesn't matter. I'm done debating this. When I get time, I will write the section up. It seems pretty clear to me that it's needed, and that the conflicts between Talmudic adherents, and pretalmudic breakaway cultures, is worthy of addressing in the article. Since you don't want it there, don't write it up. ThuranX 04:51, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

OK. Last response (mainly ignoring previously discussed points):

  • "Calling a catch-22 a straw-man just to hide that it is true is even more a logical fallacy that what you've accused me of. It's quite simple." A straw-man means that you mischaracterize the position and/or argument of someone else. That's what you have done. My stating that that is what you have done cannot be a logical fallacy. You probably mean that it is an unsubstantiated assertion. However, I believe that the position that you are mischaracterizing is sufficiently explained throughout this discussion, thus substantiating my assertion. That is up to the reader to decide.
  • "The authority figures in this discussion on who is and is not are generally the Orthodoxy and the Israeli gov't. They say that to be a Jew, you must meet orthodox standards." I don't know what you mean by this. The Reform leadership is the authority according to Reform, and, of course, Orthodox standards are considered authoritative by the Orthodox. If you mean that Orthodox is the authority in Israeli law, that is not entirely true. The government gives the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate authority, but the government could take that authority away, as well. The people would just have to vote for Shinui.
  • "If you can't prove matrilineal descent, you are not a Jew." That isn't the Tamudic standard. If there is a likelyhood of matrilineal descent, then one's status is considered questionable, not non-Jewish. According to halakha, there are many practical differences between the two.
  • "You are choosing to ignore genetic evidence, cultural and anthropological evidence, and all other manner of evidence which prove there's a conflict here." Not true. Halakha considers those factors. In fact, some Orthodox poskim have ruled that we can halakhically assume that some of these groups have retained Matrilineal descent.
  • "You have no interest in seeing other Jewish groups be recognized. I'm not sure if you feel it would dilute the gene pool, of the 'specialness' of judaism..." Halakha doesn't care about "dilut[ion of] the gene pool." If there would be a billion sincere converts according to halakha, that would certainly be acceptable to the Orthodox. You can only claim to "fault" Orthodox Judaism for trying to maintain standards according to what it considers to be a system of law that accords with divine command. Accusations of emotionally rooted elitism don't stand.
  • "...if you really think that Talmud, despite being written long AFTER the Lemba left should still apply to them..." The Talmud doesn't make up laws. It codifies traditional legal procedure and precendent. It is the structural basis for practical halakha, and can thus apply to all generations. (I wouldn't expect you to agree with this, but it is a tangential point anyway.)
  • "The fact that all of Talmud is ex post facto to the breaking off of these groups, and thus ridiculous to hold them to laws after they moved to other places..." Why? Because you think that these groups had no say, or because you think that the Talmud has an anti-Lemba (et al.) agenda? Talmudic Law is not democratic, nor is it intended to be so. Talmudic Law "codifies traditional legal procedure and precedent," as I wrote. This codification was performed by the most qualified scholars around. And they didn't operate according to some conspiratorial agenda (though [surpise, surprise] I can't tell if this is what you are suggesting). Your confused understanding of the halakhic system and historical realities really distorts your perspective.

Wishing you as above. Bye, HKT 11:22, 20 March 2006 (UTC)