Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The background on Israel's problem

Courtesy of a commenter who didn't know what the problem is, I posted this response then realized it warranted being another post.

The PROBLEM is that there are not 2,000 but, over 300,000 "Almost Jews" in Israel who are not halachically Jewish and don't want to be. These are primarily patrilineage Jews from the former Soviet Union. However, there are patrilineage Jews from other countries, as well as converts with conversions good enough for the Law Of Return, yet not good enough for marry and bury in Israel.

These "Almost Jews" live, breathe, think and celebrate their Jewish year the same way that other secular Jews do. They don't keep kosher and Shabbos. However, they have a seder for Pesach. They celebrate Chanukah and high holidays. This is what plenty of secular Jews do. They are indisguishable from a halachically Jewish secular Jew. However, they are not Jewish due to a technicality.

This is a problem because there is now assimilation taking place in the Jewish state between these masses of "Almost Jews" and Jews. This is why they have overturned so many conversions from Rabbi Chaim Druckman. Originally, the solution was to convert them but since they don't want to be observant, they just sort of handed over the conversions after a they learned a little more than they previously knew.

Currently, non religious marriage and burial is not available to these people. What are these people to do? They aren't Xtians. They aren't muslims. They do not wish to marry and bury under either of these auspices. I guess you can say they are noahides, however, they grew up thinking they were Jewish and so, they are more Jewish than a regular noahide. However, the matter still remains, they are not Jewish.


  1. I apologize if I wasn't clear enough. What I meant to say was that there will be over 2000 infrastructures/states. But that was because I misunderstood the problem lol.

    But as to the PROBLEM at hand, not to sound rude or uncaring, but what should we do about it? And what do you mean 'marry and bury'? They can't get married in Israel or buried in Israeli cemeteries? Or that their marriages aren't given the stamp of approval as being Jewish? And that, in fact, they can't be buried in Jewish cemeteries.

    You said it yourself. They don't want to be halachic Jews. That being the case, they are, sorry to say, not Jewish and 'wasting their time.' Are they going to get rewarded for doing Jewish things, such as having a seder? No one knows that answer, but if a Xtian (what's with the aversion to spelling it out?) keeps Pesach then does he get rewarded? Sounds like a waste of time to me, no? I fail to see the difference here. If you're Jewish, you're Jewish. If you're not, you aren't. Is it very unfortunate for them? Definitely. On the other hand, maybe not. Living in Israel, according to many rabbis, removes the concept of Tinok She'nishba, regardless of background. Which essentially means that if you're Jewish and not practicing, G-d won't be very happy with you.

    In fact, they're hypocritical. They want to be considered Jewish for 'marry and bury' but nothing else. They wish to follow whichever parts of Judaism they wish, and be included with Jews when they feel like it. Jews who are born Jewish don't have such a choice. They're 'stuck' with being Jewish, and unfortunately, they, or their parents, made the decision not to be religious. Some holidays, events, and halachos they retained, but that doesn't make them "good" Jews per se.

    And as to your last point. If I'm a guy, and I grow up thinking that physiologically I'm a girl, does that make me more of a girl in a physical sense? No, it doesn't. What do you mean that these people are 'more Jewish than a regular Noahide'? You're Jewish or you're not. End of story. No?

  2. I agree with what you've said. My whole point was, right now, marriage and burial in Israel can only be done through a religion: Judaism, Islam and Xtianity (you're not really supposed to pronounce names of other gods. I am extending this to what I type.) There is no such thing as civil marriage or civil burial. The Chareidim in the government don't want it available because they fear it will lead to intermarriage.

    They are not eligible for the Jewish track and the other two are inappropriate for them. So, what they would be doing is coming up with a marriage ceremony and burial customs for appropriate for Noahides. They would encourage them to marry each other. I'm thinking the customs should be similar to Jewish ones but perhaps different.

  3. Wow, we're in agreement! That's a first, but I'm happy to see that we can agree on something! :)

    About not pronouncing other name's G-d's, or typing them I'll say this. If one were to say Jesus and then Christ immediately after, there is a definitely a problem according to everyone (as far as I know). However, Jesus is just a name and Christ simply means lord, messiah, or the anointed. The etymology is easy enough. It originated from the Greek word Khristos which when translated into English becomes Christ. The Greek word originated from the Hebrew word Mashiach. Therefore, each word on it's own has no halachic issues in and of itself. It comes as no surprise that there is a highly negative association with both words, which would explain those who prefer not to say it. I commend you and those others who feel that way for avoiding it, but the 'issue' has no halachic significance. I'd be curious to know where you heard that from, or if you have a source for what you're saying. All that I've written is from personal experience and the constant badgering of rabbis (lol). Maybe I've been misinformed...

    And now you've shocked me. So basically they can't get married at all in Israel?? Well, unless through a religion besides Judaism? Hmm, I see the problem. I don't mean to be crude or uncaring, but what do we care? (Read that intellectually, not emotionally please.) Let's stick with the facts. They aren't Jewish. They can't really be called Noahides, because that's a lot more complicated than just not being Jewish but calling yourself Jewish. Their are 7 Noahide Laws, subdivided into, I think, 38, each one of which is immensely complicated to abide by. For your own research, there are town-fulls of people in the Southern part of USA who are real Noahides and from what I've heard they're constantly in touch with rabbanim with questions. So they aren't Noahides either. What are they? People who aren't Jewish because their mother, grandmother, etc, weren't Jewish. Ummm... Tough luck. You now, unfortunately, for everyone involved, have no connection to Judaism. There really is no 'problem' for us to worry about; unless they start trying to marry real Jews. If that were the case, I like your solution.

    Hear my problem?

  4. That's right, they can't get married. There is no civil marriage. They don't want to allow civil marriage, as they fear the secular Israelis will opt for that over a Jewish marriage.

    There is an important detail I should have provided regarding this label of semi-Jews I have given them. While they are not halachically Jewish, they were considered Jewish under the Law Of Return. They were allowed to make aliyah as a Jew.

    Do we care? You may not. However, it effects me personally. I'll explain.

    The original solution to this problem was to convert them all. They gave out over 300,000 conversions to them. A previous blog post about this scandal: http://michalbasavraham.blogspot.com/2009/02/gyoress-agrees-that-conversion-rabbis.html

    So, this effects me personally because discovering all *THESE* converts weren't shomer anything is why they have gone crazy and there has been eruption of more politics regarding conversions.

    The fear that converts aren't shomer anything has spread to the US. Now we have this whole conversion group running around saying they are the only ones accepted in Israel. This group, EJF, disturbs me. They attack the RCA and call them and all their converts not Orthodox.

    This fear means I would be a fool to try to make aliyah, not that I planned on doing so. Because of this stuff, they have decided that everyone is converting to go to Israel and get on welfare there.

    Because of Israel decided to hand over conversions and then realized they made a mistake, I pay. I am grilled by people. While I was in the process, people felt entitled to be incredibly nasty and horrible to me. Now I converted, it seems to be worse. I need to write a blog post about how horrible people are to converts and conversion candidates. Look for it in the future.