Religion & Beliefs

Comment of the Week: Welcome My Brothers

We have had some seriously insane commenting going on this week. All kinds of haters came out of the woodwork in response to Peter Bebergal’s post on how Christmas became meaningful to him as a Jew. There’s some interesting discussion … Read More

By / December 26, 2007

We have had some seriously insane commenting going on this week. All kinds of haters came out of the woodwork in response to Peter Bebergal’s post on how Christmas became meaningful to him as a Jew. There’s some interesting discussion going on in the comments section on my post about how to enjoy a day off without celebrating Jesus, and all hell has officially broken loose in the comments to my post about 55 black Jews-by-choice. People are calling each other racists, and as usual arguing about who knows more about what the URJ really stands for and I’ve pretty much given up trying to follow the discussion, but this Anonymous comment rocked my socks off, and since we have kind of a British theme going on this week, I think it’s appropriate anyway:

I usually don’t write on bloggs, but after reading this entry, I could not resist to add to this debate.

The people from Cairo are brave. I pray that they enrich the children of Israel [as many converts have].

First, no journey to become Jewish is meaningless. Your statement is very disappointing. Second, Reform Judaism, Masorti [as we call Conservative Judaism here in the UK], or any other movement within Judaism needs not look like Orthodox Judaism. Neither is Orthodox Judaism the sole representation of world Jewry. At the same time, Orthodox Judaism is not Rabbinic Judaism direct inheritor, nor can it claim a direct phone like to God [on behalf of the children of Israel]. Judaism is not like Christianity with a pope. There is no Jewish pope, or any one stream that represents all Judaism.

On the guys in Cairo. I say, welcome my brothers. I converted to Judaism via Progressive Judaism [mix of Reform and Liberal Judaism], here in the UK. I am a member of a Reform congregation in Newcastle upon Tyne. We have about 3000 mitnadigm, 800 Orthodox and 160 Reform Jews in Newcastle. I am black, born here in England to African parents. I wear a rasta hat as head covering [as against a traditional kippa]. I am also the only black person who is Jewish in Newcastle. I don’t feel any different than any other Jews. Being part of the Jewish people does not incorporate my so called gentile characteristics, because once one becomes Jewish, he/she is Jewish. You would probably know that Judaism forbids one reminding a convert that they were once converts. Especially someone/people who have converted lishma[ for the sole sake of God].

Avraham Avinu was a convert to Judaism. The concept of homogeneity is also a myth. Why, look around you…why do Iranian Jews look like….other Iranians, why do Yemenite Jews look like other Yemenite and why do Polish Jews look…Polish.

Am I against assimilation, yes…but intermarriage is something we need to try and address. No-one seems to have the answer. But note the following…Moses married a Kushite [Ethiopian], and a lady from Median [present day Saudi Arabia], Solomon and David married loads of non-Jewish wives, so did Joseph…should I go on…the question is how does the Jewish world incorporate these people into our communities [within certain boundaries]. That is the challenge. It’s not about excluding them.

I already responded to this in my own comment, but just wanted to add another whole-hearted ‘rock on’!