WHO IS A JEW?

Because a certain portion of our content is necessarily taken up with antisemitism and the murder of the Jews of Europe, I thought to provide the Group with the Jewish answer to the question "Who is a Jew?"

To a Jew, there is no such thing as race, except for the human race. But clearly, there are peoples. The Eskimos are a people, and the Jews are a people. But there is a difference. One can convert to Judaism, and thereby become a member of the Jewish people. But I doubt whether one can become an Eskimo by conversion. This is where the confusion starts, which today's enemies of the Jews use for their own propaganda purposes.

By Jewish standards, a person is a Jew if converted to Judaism in accordance with Jewish Law, or whose mother was a Jew (by conversion, or by matrilinear descent). Such conversions are, relatively infrequent, partly because they are discouraged, in order to sift the authentic cases of those who are genuinely attracted to Judaism, from those to whom it is a passing whim, or a matter of convenience (such as a mixed marriage). Once they are converted, they have the same status, in general, as other Jews. However, special laws apply to them as long as the fact that they are converts is remembered. Such laws include the prohibition of oppressing a convert.

However, most Jews are such by matrilinear descent. It does not matter what happened in the distant past. If their mothers' Jewish status is recognized by a competent Rabbinical authority, then they are Jews.

A current charge leveled against Israel's European community is that they are not Jews at all, but descendants of the Khazars. These were a Turkish people who were prominent between the seventh and tenth centuries. They built an empire in Southern Russia, the Ukraine, and Northern Turkey. [See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khazars]

Having weighed the merits of Christianity, Judaism, and "philosophy," their king decided that his people would convert en masse to Judaism. This therefore means that, even if they had Turkic origins, they then became Jews.

But the Khazar empire fell, and no trace remains. There are very few people who can trace their origins to the Khazars. However, even if all Ashkenazi Jews were descended from the Khazars, it would make no difference to their status. They would be Jews. Most Orthodox Jews know of the Chinese foundling who was brought up by Jewish parents and converted to Judaism.

So we see that the question is not so simple. Jews who do not abide by their religion are still Jews. In contrast to the Nazi laws, their descendants are still Jews, generations later, in spite of dilution, as long as they do not take the 'fatal' step of marrying a gentile woman.

It could therefor happen in some cases, that there were those who were Jews to the Nazis, but not to the Jews, and vice-versa.

Levi Bookin

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