Not Orthodox? Not good enough.

Me, on Open Zion/The Daily Beast, re: Israel’s lamentable failure to respect the very Jews it expects to support all of its government’s actions:

…given that Israel is The Jewish State and has always interpreted that fact to mean that it alone has a license to determine who’s Jewish enough to perform certain acts (weddings and funerals, to name two) within its borders, it actually matters that the State’s Religious Services Ministry only recognizes one branch of Judaism.

What I don’t understand is why American Jews remain so quiet about it. In fact, as a proud Conservative, I don’t really understand why we’re supposed to celebrate the Attorney General’s recent decision.

Most of the world’s Jews are Reform, secular, atheist, Reconstructionist, Conservative, anything-but-Orthodox. And yet other than this one, highly-qualified decision, Israel’s handling of religious issues says loud and clear that there is but one way to be a Jew, and that’s Orthodox. Indeed: ultra-Orthodox.

To read the rest, as always, please click here….


  1. Captain Button

     /  May 30, 2012

    I’ve always know I didn’t count technically, since it was on my father’s side only, but it sounds like I’m even more not-Jewish-strcitly-speaking than I thought.

  2. chingona

     /  May 30, 2012

    You count to Reform and Reconstructionist Jews, unless you practice and follow a different religion.

  3. chingona

     /  May 30, 2012

    I also wonder why American Jews are so mum on this topic. Other branches of Judaism have different values and different approaches to observance. They are not “less-than.” It seems like there is a certain inferiority complex that we need to get over. As it stands, I qualify under Law of Return, but I would be a second-class citizen and not Jewish as the daughter of a conservative convert. I have far more religious freedom in America than I would in Israel.

  4. Are we really that mum? Maybe I’m in a little bubble: My rabbis (Reform) speak frequently from the pulpit and elsewhere about the need for religious pluralism in Israel, and the congregation is for the most part equally adamant, if not more so.

    Or is it just that the people who need to hear us have their fingers stuck in their ears while they’re yelling “LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”? Or worse, “I don’t need to hear you because I don’t care what you think.”

    • dmf

       /  May 31, 2012

      they don’t “need” to hear because the numbers (votes and cash) so far from the US are on their side, vocal minorities without political clout don’t matter much from afar, pop the bubble and join the uprising!

    • chingona

       /  May 31, 2012

      I don’t think the American Jewish organizations that raise money for Israel and who represent the large majority of non-Orthodox American Jews have been very vocal in demanding religious pluralism in Israel. And the American Jews who donate to Israel have not put conditions on their money that would push the cause of religious pluralism in Israel.

      Course, that’s not the only way I’d like to see more strings put on that money.

  5. “Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of political intercourse”–Peter-Dirk Uys

    He said it better than I can.

    The Law of Return permits all sorts of nonreligious or even anti-religious people to call themselves Jews, except in matters of religion. This has an important practical consequence for the Israeli state: It’s easier to keep the country in the war business, when Orthodox pacifists are outvoted in elections.

    Thus, the warfare state exists, to protect ultra-orthodox Jews from enemies whom they won’t fight, and which enemies would not be enemies, but for all the fighting that’s going on in the name of protecting them without their consent.

    That’s almost as ridiculous as America’s Drug War, a subject on which I should not get started.

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