Matthew Yglesias discusses the unlikely politicians who up and turn out to be Jewish, along with the individuals with off-the-charts Jewish-sounding names who turn out not to be. Of course what this all comes down to is, who is a Jew? By one part of the definition–outside perception–anyone named Abraham is kinda Jewish no matter how he sees himself or what his ancestors were. This is not up to God, gods, or any other higher powers you might prefer– if the world sees you as Jewish, it has a certain impact on how you see yourself, and thus what you are. The matrilineal definition is by no means sufficient on identity, cultural, and other non-religious bases for figuring out such matters. People who learn that my last name is Maltz, that I come from New York, and that I don’t look especially Nordic may classify me as Jewish without verifying–and I’m not even sure how this could be verified–that my mother fits the bill.

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  • Mathew Yglesias is a chump. I wouldn’t link to him with a gun pointed to my head. But I like where Phoebe was going with this.

  • Is this guy a shmuck? You’re Jewish if you have a Jewish mother, etc. or a Halachic conversion or the child of someone who had a halachic conversion.

  • William Cohen, Clinton’s secretary of defense, isn’t halakhically Jewish, though he was raised as a Jew until a new rabbi came to his congregation and said he’s not Jewish. That made him mad, so he never got involved in anything Jewish again. He commented later to the person in the Reform movement responsible for the patrilineal descent thing that if he had managed to change the rule earlier, he would still be Jewish.

  • I’m going to profess ignorance here. I know Yglesias ran the Independent so he holds no water with me anyways, but someone let me in on what he’s couching here with his post. We’ve all played the “who’s a jew” game but it’s’ only fun when it’s with musicians – specifically Slash and Kravitz, and that’s not even fun because not only are their mothers not Jewish, neither identify with Judaism. So Yglesias spends the first half of his post exposing Jewish culpability in the Confederacy and the rest of the post setting the rules of the “who’s a Jew” game. The point? I’m confused. Or am I? Anyone? Bueller? Phoebe?

    p.s. BTW, I always dug Norman Jewison’s (“Fiddler On The Roof” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”) take on his name and the fact he’s not Jewish – and how that informed criticism of “JCS” and “Fiddler”. For example: “I went into my house in Malibu, I pulled the drapes so I couldn’t see outside, took a yellow pad and I just sat there and stared at it for the longest time. Then I picked up a pen and I said I always wanted to be a Jew. I wanted to get it off my chest right away. But I’m not Jewish. You get tired of explaining your name. It was easier to just accept the fact that people thought I was.”

  • The Jewish mother thing is real, from my observation. The Halachic definitions are real, not moonbeams. It really does matter what your mother was. She has a more intimate impact on you that Pops, really. I have seen this with my own eyes – dark eyed children of a Jewish daddy, with Jewish last name therefore, and a Mom who looks Jewish but is not – and the kids just don’t have that swing. They are very nice, non-Jewish kids.

    Halacha is not a set of arbitrary fantasies from the Middle Ages.

    But no worries! Sometimes a Jewish soul gets born into a non-Jewish body. Conversion is possible, so no worries. If you want it that badly, you can have it, but competent people will inquire hard if that is indeed your case.

    People don’t want blood to matter but to some extent it does matter.

    People don’t want stuff in their lives they did not choose, but there is stuff in their lives they did not choose.

    Like. If you are Catholic and not thrilled with it, I say, engage the truth of your heritage and work on it until you can get to the part of it you can use. It has to be in there somewhere. Your ancestors were not all stupid, were they? It worked for at least some of them, and they were not all coerced, either.

  • Men: a Christian woman has every right to baptise her children. If they are your children, well, they are your Christian children. Blondie may be interested in Jewishness now, or quite bored with Christianity now, but life is long. When the kids come, she will feel other things. She has to. I will drive her to the church myself to baptise them. It is, I repeat, her right and her duty to do that.

    Keep it in mind, my little yidden.

  • Yeah COHEN should go shutdown Reform and Conservatives from doing conversions and intermarriages. Just screws people up.

  • Oy.

    CactusJack, you don’t care if poor 16-year-old Abraham has taken a beatdown for the team that’s put him out of commission for a week, you just want to make sure that we all get it that he’s not a real Jew, a halakhic Jew, lest we forget. Dude, not news. I get it (not least b/c I’m a matrilineal Jew m’self). The anti-Semites who pummelled him didn’t get it, and didn’t care. I’m not asking you to give the guy an aliyah! Yeah, folks who are not halakhic Jews but have Jewish relatives, Jewish spouses, Jewish family members–they can catch hell for being with us or being related to us, and Phoebe’s point is that the halakhic definition isn’t the only important one out there in the big bad world. If someone wants to go gunning for Jews and takes out my family, G-d forbid, it will do my dad a precious lot of good to be “just” the non-Jewish spouse of a Jewish woman.

    Jewish Mother: Yes, halakhic definitions are law, not moonbeams or fantasies–or reflections of Deep Essential Stuff. Traffic lights aren’t green for go because of some profound philosophical reason: we need some rules, and sometimes the guidelines are more arbitrary than others. Was reality different back in Biblical times when descent was clearly patrilineal?

    I guess if those kids of a non-Jewish mother “don’t have that swing” then there’s really no hope for most Jews by choice, who may have always felt an affinity for Judaism or who may have discovered one later in life, but only some of whom would accept your “Jewish soul in a non-Jewish body” characterization. (A few lesbians might feel like men born in women’s bodies–a popular 19th-c. understanding of homosexuality being this kind of “invert,” as the term was then–but most don’t: they just like the ladies. 😉 ) I’ve never heard my husband express any such sentiment, though he & I are both very happy that he became a Jew. But by your logic above he should have just tried to find whatever was best in the to-him-unsatisfying Catholicism of his upbringing, rather than join a religious community that made spiritual and intellectual sense for him, unless he’s got the heebie-jeebies from a Heebie soul fighting with his goyishe body.

    I can kinda get behind the midrash that the non-Jewish children that Sarah nursed after Isaac was born became converts to Judaism–because it’s a story & a meaningful metaphor, not because you can only get in the Jew Club if you’ve got some kind of physical connection (blood or milk) to the Jewish line.

  • Becca,

    no clue why you’re attacking me. In France when a Jew marries a goy, he knows his kids not Jewish. However, in America we have a system that says “Oh the kid is Jewish” and with the conservatives saying “Oh do this conversion and the kid is Jewish”. Both are misleading to the people and are actually misleading people which is against halacha as well. It’s the system that is the problem.

  • Becca, we are not arguing. I agree with you. I do think someone can convert properly with no physical connection to us, such as blood or milk. But I do think the Halach is Deep Essential Stuff and not arbitrary like traffic lights being green for ‘go’. There are people who might not find it congenial to use the word ‘soul’ in a sentence, particularly a very serious, solemn sentence, but that is what it amounts to, isn’t it?

    Yes, it would be a heck of a thing to be rounded up and shot for hanging out with the Jews familially without conversion. You may be saying that there is a kind of common-law conversion that goes on like common-law marriage – the fact without the ceremony.

    OK. Fine. But it is good to face the music and solemnize these things.

    Because there is a reality here. It’s not just in our minds.

    And conversion is not simple.

  • Originally it was based on the Father, see for example regarding Kohanim, and property rights.

    It got changed at some point.

    The Orthodox cannot make an intellectual argument for not having Patrilinial, only an emotional argument.

    That is, we are the keepers of something sacred that must be kept as is.

    But in reality, the people decide what is up.

    Here they have decided that they do like to marry a girl who is not Jewish, but would like to still be included in the Jewish people.

    I see no reason to not allow this, since this was the practice originally.

  • Steve, you apparently have never picked up Torah or had any intellectual study at all.

    Before the revelation at Sinai it went by father for Tribal affiliation, after Sinai it went by Mother because that is when the Jews received their souls. From that point on it went by mother. You receive your soul in your mothers womb. Of course you know better and have spent more time studying Torah than the 13 years I put in a yeshiva. Blow me away with your knowledge master! Let me hear how you are more learned than Moses who came down from Sinai with the “Who is a Jew” answer. I’m waiting!

  • I think I just gave you a pretty “intellectual argument” which you state no orthodox has given you an answer before. I’m sorry son, I don’t believe you asked anyone.

  • My first published piece was in the AJW, about about twenty-five years ago, on the proposed changes by the Israeli Rabbinate regarding who’s eligible for right of return (i.e. child of mother converted by conservative as opposed to Orthodox Rabbi not eligible, etc…). Basic reportage with some editorializing – I think I said something like the Rabbinate “maybe” should take into account the importance to of American Jewry to Israel… it was a long time ago. The controversy blew over just in time for… my next piece about the ruckus regarding the Rabbinate’s demand that soon after Operation Sheba, all Falashas had to convert to Judaism. Us younger folk were much more critical, maybe because it was fresh and emotional – and fascinating for us to have “found” these new brethren of color who had been practicing Judaism in a virtual vaccum (and in the land of the Lion of Judah, which some of us mistakenly took as a spiritual bond between Jew and Rasta). We were thinking maybe the Falashas could teach the Ashkenazi rabbis a thing or two…

    I’m just saying it may be helpful to open up this “who’s a Jew” discussion to concepts of Judaism outside the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Remember there was a notion in the Zionist movement that until Israel could be set up in the promised land, a temporary Zionist state could be set up in Uganda. Now imagine European rabbis meeting up with the Abayudaya…

    http://www.mindspring.com/~jaypsand/abayudaya2.htm

    Unlike Beta Israel, the Abayudaya didn’t declare themselves Jewish until 1919. Which begs the question – do we look at Jewish law, culture and membership as defined solely by biblical history? Or do we look at it as a living, evolving thing? I don’t know the answer Steve, Cactus and Becca, but it sure is a damn big Jewish world out there.

  • Ramon. I go by what Moses said “Who is a Jew” considering Hashem spoke to him. The Torah is for all generations and you don’t just pick and choose what you want to follow–that’s not Judaism at all. You strive to do as much Halacha as possible, but you don’t do what the America and German Jews did by creating their own version of Judaism. There is one form of Judaism that unites every type of Jew— Judaism that was followed for well over 3000 years. The Judaism that all Sephardic and Ashkenazi practiced. Not what Jews in America create as Judaism. Judaism is not a man made religion like that of “Reform” “Conservative” Christianity, Catholicism, Islam etc.

  • CJ, you are factually incorrect that it was changed at Sinai. You are also wrong that we do and follow exactly as 3000 years ago. Just as the civilizations and modern society evolves so does the Jewish Community and their practice.

    These types of debated always come and go. Who is more authentic is the Orthodox rallying cry.

    But its the same bull, no need to make changed everything is just peachy. Well not imo.

    not peachy at all.

    There are reasons to improve Judaism in general and in particular. many things that are obvious and no so obvious.

    But this too is bull.

    In terms of the post, there is no reason not to go back to a practice, just as we go foward w. new chumras, such as I don’t know checking for bugs, or even having to have a personal lulav and esrog. Or a live in maid/babysitter, who raises the children. that too is cool.

  • I’m wrong? I’m looking at my Gemurah right now. It says “Prior to Sinai tribal affiliation went by the father..at Sinai all the Jewish souls entered the Jewish people….from that point on the Neshama was passed through the mother to her offspring”..

    What exactly are you reading? Comic books? Please quote your sources.

    In regard to Kohan. They are direct desendants from Aaron Ha Cohen. You can’t convert to be a Kohan or a Levite.

    Where did you learn your torah? I have yet to see you post anything that is Torah related at all.

  • Steve, I dont think you know Halacha from a Harmonica.

    Please tell me where you learned Torah.

  • Ok, I’m answering many people here. First, Mr Steve’s rick, I will start off by saying that you, my friend, are ignorant. There is a passage in the Torah, I can’t quite recall if it’s in Leviticus 24:10-12, that speaks of the son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man who blasphemes HASHEM, and he was punished as a Jew. Therefore that means that it gos by the mother. If the Law were orinigally patrileneal, then he would have been told to screw off and nothing more. Right? Because the Torah does not apply to Goyim at all, for every time a commandment(or chain of commandments) is given, it says, “Speak to the Children of Israel and say, ” not “speak to the world, the nations, the people, etc,”. And first of all, who Jewishness or Judaism passes down from is irrelevent because the Torah forbids intermarriage! Another verse pertaining to both, Ezra:10:3.In this verse Ezra instructs the men to abandon their wives and children, because the wvies were not Jewish, and therefore neither are the children. There is another verse also, concerning Hiram, the architecht of Solomon’s Temple, where it states in Kings 7:13-14 that he was an Israelite, whose mother was a Jew and whose father wasn’t. Besides, who raises the child most of the time? Whose idea is he most expose to? Solomon Eishet Chayil praises the righteous woman and says upon her the house is built. ANd genetic studies have proven that 92% of you, I believe, come from your mother. So, emotional argument still ?

  • As to the person who had the concern over Neo-nazis jumping someone because they are part Jewish or because their relative is a Jew, or whatever, I have a very simple solution, one that the Torah itself proposes: DO NOT INTERMARRY

  • As to any reference that non-Halachic conversion is valid, flat out, ur idiots. There are no longer standards by which one can be deemed ready or serious or worthy of being a Jew? I guess this comes down to the issue of the Oral Law and why be Jewish? Many times in the Torah it refers to the Torahs, in the plural, for instance Leviticus 26:46 which, if you read the original Hebrew says, Torot. What are the Torahs? The Oral and the Written. Isaiah 8:20, the prophet swears by the Torah and the Tradition. What is the Tradition?! The Oral Law! And here’s another thing, if the Torah wasn’t given and revealved by G-D, simply the work of man, then why be Jewish? Why not be Christian or Bhuddist or Muslim or w/e? You say ethics and morality? There are many Christians, Hindus, bahais, bhuddists, and shintos who are more ethical than a lot of Jews who profess “Judaism” based on ethical traditions. Why be Jewish if the Torah is not divine? why not be a Christian? Let’s not be dishonest and hypocrites!

  • Wow! Baruch Hashem I’m not the only one on this board who knows some Torah. Zionist Occupier where did you learn?

    Steve, cut it out with your trife you bring on here. Why be Jewish if you’re not even going to be Jewish? Why? Goy chicks are pretty smoking hot and less annoying. You still have yet to post anything with any source. Look how Zionist Occupier quoted everything. I look and I see he is right. You have posted nothing. You’re kind of worthless buddy. Go to Israel and go check yourself into some Bal Teshuva Yeshiva so you can post something of worthiness up on here.

  • “Goy chicks are pretty smoking hot and less annoying.”

    Glad to see commentors responding in interesting and critical ways to my post.

  • Well thanks to CJ and ZO for defining my religion for me. I was a little confused there for a second but it all makes sense now.

  • There is a Mishna in Yevamos that considers the child of a Jewish Mother and a Gentile Father as a Mamzer. this is confirmed after much discussion in the Gemara.

    THere is reason to beleive that they did follow the Roman custom at that time of bestowing citizenship on a Roman Child of a Roman Father and non ROman mother.

    Meaning that the status thing has gone back and forth. But clearly at one time, the Father was the link, as in a Cohain going accd. to the Father for example.

  • Steve, once again you post not one halachic proof. And I’m going to serve you once again so sit down and listen up. A Roman Father and a Jewish Mother produced a Jew. Jesus was a Jew. his mother was a Jew, his Abba was a nice Roman soldier. HOWEVER, the Mumzer status comes in when the woman committed adultry (had a formal marriage contract already in the making), sort of like how Big Joe had with Mary. That is what created the Mumzer status. Once again you are reading like the first sentance of the paragraph and not the remaining text–that seems to be an ongoing theme with you. Like not accepting the entire Torah, but you barely even know the written.

    The Status thing has never gone back and forth. You aren’t reading your Torah at all and aren’t even reading what “Zionist Occupier” wrote above. Only the Cohen and Levite had their Priestly hood passed on from father to son. If there was a GOY mother, guess what! The kid aint a Kohen or Levite! Stop making up your own rules when you haven’t bothered to read the torah or even talk to someone who has! What are you a JTS product now leading more Jews to intermarriage and assimilation.

  • wrong, check the Mishna. #7.
    Are you in denial, that at one time, status was entirely based on the Father?

  • Are you braindead? read my previous post a few posts up.

    Prior to Sinai it went by father to set up tribal affiliations until the Jewish souls entired the Israelites.

    After Sinai, it went by mother. Did someone rip that section out of your Shas?

    The priestly class gets passed down from father to son. However, if theres a goy mother or not halachich conversion, guess what Stevo! The kid’s a goy and isn’t a priest.

    Once the souls entered the jewish people it went by mother. I’ve said this now 20 times.

    Look Zionist Occupier quoted and sourced everything beautifully and you have yet to post one source to defunk the Torah.

    As I said before, you don’t know halacha from a harmonica.

  • To be frank CJ, you’re an asshole. I don’t care if you’re right or you’re wrong. Your delivery, attitude, and insulting speech is not the way to win friends and influence people. How do you expect others to respect (or believe) your way of thinking if they can’t sympathize with you.

    Again, you might be right, but all I can think about is what a prick you are to people and how obnoxious you must be in real life. Certainly doesn’t endear me to the Orthodox mindset.

  • Yes Boomer.You’re right. I’ll apologize for my tone right now. We’re in that period. I just have a problem when incompetant people think they can quote Torah and then have no factual evidence behind anything. Only a Jew can really hate Hashem this much and think his Torah is full of crap. However, you have no right to come on this board and call me an asshole. Steve Ricks has been trying to degrade Hashem and his Torah for sometime now.

  • I have to concur with Cactus Jack. Steve, You have not cited one source, simply somewhere in Yevamot. I showed you quotes from the Tanach, yet you throw out senseless words. Tell me, how can you even quote the Talmud, when you are a non-Orthodox Jew, and therefore not likely to believe in it’s validity at all? If you believe anything is valid, it’s the Shebichtav, and I cited three or four sources from the Tanach. Don’t pull stuff you don’t believe in to be true. That’s hypocrisy. As to my dear fellow Boomer, before I reply to you, are you a certain Mr. William Miller?

  • After sitting from the sidelines for a while on this one, I think I might have to chime in.
    I found this link and it has sources quoted- Happy CJ? Happy Zionist Occupier? Steve Ricks, I don’t think you’ll be to happy with this.

    http://www.beingjewish.com/identity/whoisajew.html

    I love how people who have no idea what they’re talking about and in this case don’t even believe in quote sources from and not even understand it. This sounds like the Christian point of view. Tell the Jews what the Torah is all about and explain to the Jews that they don’t understand their mother tounge. I really don’t quite get the logic behind there. I don’t think I recently told my Hindu friend he doesnt understand Hindi or his holy book at all.

    I came from a non-observant background like yourself and I wanted to come to learn the Truth with no biases. Any rational person with half a brain that goes in study the truth of Judaism comes out believing the Torah (Oral and Written) is divine or just doesn’t really care. However, no one flat out picks and chooses what is Divine or not. It’s all or nothing. You have to drop the bias though. As the great Rav Kahane says “Why be Jewish” if you’re not going to believe that Moses came down from Sinai with the Tablets and the Law of the Lord (Oral Law). Zionist Occupier- great add with the word Torot. I never noticed that before and the comments say the Torot is plural for Torah meaning the Oral and Written — sorry Christians, New Testament wasn’t around then!

  • And in case you were curious, why yes, Maccabi613 does seem by all indications to be the same person as CactusJack911. As if one wasn’t enough.

  • As to Boomer, how can you come on here and criticize Cactus Jack for his so-called “tone”, when he is defending the Torah against verbal desecration by our misguided Steve Rick, then call him an “Asshole”? I saw nothing in CJ’s tone to reflect an impolite attitude. He is simply demanding quotations that Steve Rick cannot supply to back up his defunct argument. I do believe that you calling CJ an “Asshole” is worse than any offensive tone that he might or might not have, and I believe you should apologize. As to his tone not endearing you to the position of Orhtodoxy, ur loss, chaver.

  • Michael – good for you busting on i.p. addresses. Especially after the psycho was copping our screen names to spew his anti-semitic vitriol a few days ago…

    CactusJack/Maccabi/ZO – I’m no expert on Halacha or harmonicas. But I do know you will never accept my western/Conservative upbringing and it only reinforces my opinions of the future of our religion. I see this intolerance in my neighborhood. I sit next to it on the airplane from L.A. to D.C., I see it within my own family… and damn man, when did the Orthodox think it’s at all cool to use gangsta lingo? What will it take for me to be a “playa” in your Jewish “game” homey?

    btw – Rav Kahane was neither Kohene nor Levite. Just a bit of info for ya self-righteous “playas” out there.

  • Razor Ramon,

    WOW! The inaccuracies coming across this board are amazing. Kahane wasn’t a KOHEN? WOW! This is the first time I’ve heard this. Not only did his DNA have the COHEN HAPLO MODEL, but he was a Cohen.

    What literature are you and Steve Ricks reading? You guys must make the best hevruta combo… Lets see which source you’re quoting from now.

    My Gentilized Jewish Gangstas are you at least fasting this Yom Kippur?

    BTW I accept your upbringing, but it’s totally wrong, but hey! you want to ignore Hashem and his Torah I guess that your choice.

  • Just callin it like I see it. ZO has a meaningful and thoughtful tone, CJ has a defensive and obnoxious one. I understand that you can start to let your thoughts dribble out of your brain when you’re frustrate, but the fact is that you have to put together a thoughtful and meaningful argument to win people to your side.

    If you think SR is really demeaning the Torah, you know that he’s not going to change his opinion, so why placate him. You know it’s going to frustrate you and you’re going to say things in improper way, so don’t respond.

    Again, I appreciate the arguments. I enjoy reading the discussion. I appreciate that CJ realizes that his thoughts could be presented in a better fashion. He may think that SR is wrong and uneducated, but once you get to post 20 and realize you aren’t having meaninful conversation, you should realize its time to move on.

    BTW – I know that CJ isn’t Maccabbee, and if it is, I’m going to kick your butt next time I see you Matt.

  • Boomer, I am not demeaning the Torah. I am a baal Koreh about 30 % of the Torah I know that way.
    I have Orthodox sensibilities, have never felt comfortable in a Conservative davening. My children are on the Charedi path and I am OK w/ that. Meaning that I do nothing to discourage this.

    What you are doing is ignoring the historical component of how things came to be.

    The Neo-Orthodox position, is to just accept everything that is, as is. This is a perfect example.

    However as I have shown, they do change many many things in their lives as time makes either the demands or people simply want to have more material posessions than in the past.

    There is a reason to look into why the Chachamim made the change from Biblical Patrilineal to Matrilinieal, WHEN they did.

    To the neo-Orthodox, these reasons are unimportant. As well, as looking at how social and political circumstances motivated and causes changes to accepted practives and Halacha.

    I however, do find this interesting.

    Now, if I find it interesting, then if these points convince me one way or the other, I can’t ignore this.

  • Steve what in the world are you talking about again?

    Be blessed your children fixed the “wrong” of previous generations by coming back to Torah. Baruch Hashem for that. You should be very proud of them.

    “The Neo-Orthodox position, is to just accept everything that is, as is. This is a perfect example.”

    That’s not true at all. Where exactly are you getting your facts from? Have you ever stepped foot in a Yeshiva before? There you see people going nuts at Rabbis and fellow students asking for the facts, and then they come out. I highly recommend you going to one. This way you can post your findings on this messageboard and no come across as just throwing blanket statements out there.

    “There is a reason to look into why the Chachamim made the change from Biblical Patrilineal to Matrilinieal, WHEN they did.”

    There was no CHANGE. I proved up against that it wasn’t a “change”. You’re making stuff up again. Why do you keep tryin to blasphemize the Torah? It is flat out sickening.

    Please Steve, do your research. Your research means actually doing some study. Maybe your son who is living a Torah life can maybe teach you or set you up with a chevruta in your area?

  • Cactus – are we talking about the same person? Or are you referring to Meir Kahane?

    And what is with the pro-wrestling names?

  • of course I’m talking about Rav Kahane. Who the heck are you talking about? and the wrestling names sort of spice things up a bit—“chico”.

    “But I do know you will never accept my western/Conservative upbringing and it only reinforces my opinions of the future of our religion.”

    Well you grew up Gentilized and Westernized! Guess what! So did I. Gues what? So did the Helenized Jews at the time of the 2nd temple period! I always wondered why reform and conservative and heck even some liberal modern orthodox rabbis make the connection there. But all the resources are there to come back to the truth. However you probably aren’t interested or don’t care so that’s your choice.

  • Cactus, I thought you may have been referring to an older gent named Rav Kahana (although spelled sometimes as “Kahane”) who was an interesting character in his time…

    “Rav Kahana, a Bavli (Babylonian), killed a man who threatened to inform on another man to the authorities. His rebbe, Rav, sent him to Eretz Yisrael, to the yeshiva of Rav Yohannan in Tiberius. As a sort of penance for the killing, Rav Kahana was supposed to be sort of incognito for seven years! But he was quickly discovered to be a great scholar-a lion…”

    It’s interesting to me because during Rav Kahana’s time there was so much infighting amongst Jews (no way!) from different regions – for example between Palestinian (Eretz Y’sroal if you must) and Babylonian Jews, which led to Rav Kahana’s life as a scholar-in-exile…

    But Cactus, you already know all this and I apologize for the mix-up. I haven’t studied this stuff for years and maybe you can clear this up: Did your late Meir Kahane took his name from the biblical Rav Kahana, since there seems to be a sort of philosophical connection between the two? Honest question asked humbly and without sarcasm – even as a non-orthodox Jew I always found this stuff fascinating. Especially in Hebrew school where it was much more interesting than the language classes. I admit ignorance and forgetfullness on most of the facts… except it was a fact that old Rav Kahana was neither a Kohene or Levite.

    I’m glad you found your way back and really, I don’t expect you to accept my way of life – and that’s what makes us a great people! I will say, if you choose to assign me a pro-wrestling name, why not a nice Jewish boy like Raven? Or The Equalizer? Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) has such problems with the alcohol, you know?

  • Raven I think was the best Jewish wrestler ever. He’s act was great-sitting in the middle of the ring or in the corner.

    Kahane and Kahana probably aren’t related if Rav Kahana was not a Cohen. What probably happened was there was a son in the family however many years ago who fled during a pogram and wound up living with a relative or a family with the last name Kahana so he took that last name. That’s what happens when a Segal isn’t a Levite and a Kaplan isn’t a Kohen.

    And no Rav Kahane didn’t take that last name. Kohen’s are Cohen, Kahn, Kaplan, etc or variations of the sellings. But not all of them are Kohen by what I described below. You can’t convert to become a Cohen. It’s the direct line from Aaron Ha Cohen.

    We dont force people to act like observant Jews. It’s your choice. Want to practice Judaism, you practice Judaism. However you just don’t make up your own form of Judaism which is what the Reform and Conservative movement did to fit into gentile society and be more gentile. You know why Reform call it “temples”. It was a way to tell the Orthodox and the Germans that our Temple is in Germany not in Israel. I wonder why they never taught that in Hebrew School. Or better yet why in the Conservative movement they bashed Solavcheck who proved you can be Halachic and live in America at the sametime. You got tracked into the system like I did and many other Bal Teshuvas did. However, we all pray that you ‘snap out of it’ and make youre return because after all you are a brother. The Torah says when you leave Eretz Yisrael you start worshipping G-ds unlike your forefathers. Well, I bet you anything Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and King David wouldn’t be reform or conservative. They would be Torah Halachic Jews. And I’m pretty sure moschiach won’t be a homo, or say it’s cool to be gay which is what the conservative movement is now saying.

  • Cactus – you seem like a nice young man straight out of Philip Roth’s “The Counterlife” and did I just sit next to you on a flight from L.A. to NYC?

    So as I say adios after having learned so little, let me finally say from your last couple “points” about sexual preference, it makes sense you’re a pro wrestling fan…

    http://www.obsessedwithwrestling.com/profiles/j/japanese-pool-boy.html
    http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0018,adim,14537,3.html
    http://slashwrestling.com/guests/glitter.html

  • Obsessed with wrestling? I watched it was younger. It was either learn stupid stuff in Conservative hebrew school or watch wrestling and play ball. The normal boys watched wrestling and played ball. The normal girls were caring about stuffing their bras and their makeup. It was the socially inept kids that grasped towards Reform and Conservative Judaism. Take a look at Hillel’s on campus! Ever wonder why it goes from 500 on the first event, to 12 the next…and it’s those same 12 every single time.

    Only true Judaism is cool. The rest is boring. Why commit your life to something that you don’t believe or even can live properly.

    Tit for Tat buddy. BTW If you have gay desires but don’t act on them I dont believe that officially makes you gay. You just need to learn how to control it and get rid of it. ArutzSheva used to have a link to help people with this problem.

    And no, you didn’t sit next to me on a flight.

  • Wrestling’s a perfectly healthy way to repress confusing, homophile tendencies.

  • Why are you gentilized Jews yapping about now?

    Steve Ricks, where’s your “proof” to any of the nonsense you’ve been spouting. Zionist Occupier and I are still waiting.

  • Steve,

    I’m still waiting! Also, 30% of the first 5 books and you think you know Halacha and Torah—seems to amaze me.

    Zionist and I are still waiting for your “proof”

  • The oldest historical way of identifying Jewishly was through the father. Just look in the Torah. Who is Jewish? Moses is Jewish, but his wife is not. Would anyone say Moses’ grandchildren weren’t Jewish? Of course not. What a crazy thought! What about King David? According to Jewish tradition, one of his descendants will be the messiah — not a descendant of his wife. Would anyone today say HIS children aren’t Jewish? Of course not! So, why then, would we say that the child of a Jewish man living today is not Jewish, if that person is choosing to identify Jewishly?

  • Orthodox Jews like to believe that the more you study halacha, the more “observant” you become. For me, education has had the opposite effect. The more I have studied and learned about halacha, the more I have realized the arbitrariness of its logic, and thus the less weight I am able to give it intellectually. Therefore, the less impact it has on any of my personal practices. Becoming learned in halacha has made me LESS halachic, not MORE.

  • Don’t you find it totally HYPOCRITICAL that some narrow minded members of the orthodox community who don’t acceept non Halachic Jews are totally comfortable when it comes to including these people in the 6 million Holocaust deaths. How conveniant. The Nazis, under there own racial laws considered anyone with one Jewish grandparent to be Jewish & these people met their gruesome death in exactly the same way as the most religious Jew from Poland & elsewhere. Out of a total of 6 milion, there must have been hundreds of thousands of Non-Halachic Jews, given the fact that the level of assimilation in countries like Germany & Austria was so high in the 1930’s & 1940’s. SHAME

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