Israel’s ‘Non-Jewish Jews’

The JTA has a great story on the hundreds of thousands of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who came to Israel under its Law of Return, and yet are not officially regarded as Jews by the state because their mothers are not Jewish. They live in Jewish society, many have Jewish ancestry and identify as Jews, they serve in the army, and yet they have to travel abroad to get married (at least if they’re marrying someone who is defined as a Jew under halacha, since the Chief Rabbinate has a monopoly on marriage, and won’t allow a Jew to marry someone who is not Jewish under halacha).

The JTA’s Dina Kraft does a great job of humanizing an issue that is a great challenge for the Jewish state, and for the entire Jewish people. (Although some of Kraft’s descriptions of her subjects’ ancestries are quite confusing.)

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Read the full article..

One aspect of this huge topic that the article touches on only briefly is the portion of this population that practices Christianity or displays Christmas trees. Secularist Israeli poltico Yossi Paritsky recently wrote an article for Yediot Aharanot lamenting the growing visibility of Christmas trees in Israel and arguing that those who practice Christianity shouldn’t be allowed to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return.

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Israel’s ‘Non-Jewish Jews’

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