Susan P. Fendrick


Beyond ‘Yes or No’ Jewishness

By Susan P. Fendrick

Who “counts” as Jewish? Our community’s response to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords highlighted the complexity of this question. In Jewish newspapers and on blogs, discussions about her Jewishness multiplied. Born to a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father, she embraced Judaism only as an adult. Yet countless congregations recited mishebeirach prayers for her as one of “those who are ill among the Jewish people” — including, it seems likely, many synagogues in which, as one colleague of mine noted, Giffords would not be considered sufficiently Jewish to receive an aliyah to the Torah.Read More



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