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Jewish Crypsis – Wannabe Jews

The flip side of “conversion” – non-jews who want to be jews.

Jews make changes in order not to be noticed as jews, not to stop being jews. Wannabe jews are non-jews who actually want to change into jews. They believe this is possible based in part on their own misunderstanding of the nature of jewishness, and in part on jewish dishonesty about it.

Non-jews can’t really start being jews any more than jews can stop being jews. In both cases the same biological essence of jewishness stands in the way. At the same time we see that the ideological essence of identity is powerful in its own way.

Non-jews who hold jews in high esteem, with wannabe jews being an extreme example, can still serve the best interests of jews. Those so disposed are in a sense an extended phenotype of jews. While jews cultivate the worship of jews, ideologically speaking, and welcome the benefits the consequent sevice this provides them, they also firmly discourage and resist those who mistake it for an invitation to join them biologically.

Some jews, like Michael Freund and Stanley Hordes, espouse relatively inclusivist notions, but the reality is that jewishness is exclusivist. Jews stereotypically urge their children to marry other jews. “Intermarriage” with non-jews is deplored by those who don’t condemn it outright. Though jews are disdainful of tribemates who “convert”, or otherwise demonstrate disloyalty, their consensus is that nothing a jew says or does stops them from being a jew.

Focusing on jewish attitudes regarding Stanley Hordes and his “Hispanos” highlights, once again, that jewishness is about peoplehood, not relgion or beliefs.

Mistaken Identity? The Case of New Mexico’s “Hidden Jews”, by Barbara Ferry and Debbie Nathan, The Atlantic, Dec 2000:

To make a distinction that will later prove germane, [Hordes] is an Ashkenazi. Ashkenazic Jews trace their ancestry to Northern and Eastern Europe, whereas Sephardic Jews trace theirs to Iberia. Almost all Jews in North America today are Ashkenazim. Before the late nineteenth century the Jews in Latin America were overwhelmingly Sephardim.

He also began spending more and more time promoting his growing belief that Sephardic crypto-Judaism had survived four centuries of secrecy in the Southwest. The proposition, if true, was astonishing. And it held enormous appeal for Jews elsewhere in the United States, still grappling with the legacy of the Holocaust and eager for stories about Jewish survival against all odds.

The jews liked the idea, until they didn’t. As it became increasing clear that a number of very brown “crypto-jews” were eager to “rejoin” the tribe, the jewishness-as-religion-and-culture pretense gave way quickly to the jews-as-hereditary-biological-group reality.

EVEN as Hordes and the Sandovals were riding a wave of celebrity, an undercurrent of trouble was gathering force. The problems had started in 1992, when an Indiana University graduate student named Judith Neulander arrived in New Mexico with notebooks, cassette tapes, and hopes of pursuing her own research in crypto-Jewish studies.

Neulander wanted to be the first folklorist to dignify the claims with ethnographic research. As she derisively puts it now, she wanted to be “Queen of the Crypto-Jews.”

It wasn’t long before she ran across the work of the anthropologist Raphael Patai.

IN the 1940s Patai had visited Venta Prieta, a dusty town near Mexico City, where people have been calling themselves Jews at least since the 1930s. When Patai arrived, on the heels of World War II, the Venta Prietans actually had a synagogue. Their prayers sometimes included a few sentences in halting Hebrew. In the spring they celebrated Passover, with a seder and flatbread. With their short stature, black hair, and dark skin, the Venta Prietans were indistinguishable from the mestizo Catholic population that dominates Mexico. Yet they claimed descent from one of the country’s Inquisition-era Sephardic families, the Carvajals, and said that their religion was handed down over the centuries from them.

As Patai poked through Venta Prieta’s history, he accumulated persuasive evidence that its people were not descended from Jews at all. Instead they were the inheritors of what might be called crypto-Protestantism. In the early decades of this century, it seems, a fundamentalist splinter group called the Church of God Israelite left Mexico City to proselytize elsewhere; some settled in Venta Prieta. The group was a branch of the Church of God (Seventh Day) — a sect originally located in Iowa, and now headquartered in Colorado. As the name suggests, Church of God (Seventh Day) members observe the sabbath as Jews do, on the last day of the week — Saturday. They ignore Christmas and Easter, believing these holidays to be “pagan.” Branches in the Southwest celebrate their own versions of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth, along with Passover, which they mark with a ceremony that includes unleavened bread.

The doctrinal roots of the Church of God (Seventh Day) go back to the Reformation, to an obsession among some Protestants with the Second Coming and the Millennium. One scenario, which is repeated these days by many televangelists, has it that Jesus will not return to earth until all the world’s Jews are gathered together to welcome him back. If present-day Jews are uninterested in doing so, then perhaps they can be replaced by worthier ones, by Jews who accept Christ as the Messiah. These more promising Jews, in the view of some fundamentalist Protestants, disappeared with the ten lost tribes of Israel. Now they must be found, so that the Savior can return.

This logic has engendered a centuries-old preoccupation with identifying certain gentiles as long-lost Jews.

The long discourse on “Hebraic Protestantism” in the middle of the article comes across as an attempt to sow confusion, to disguise what’s really at the heart of all forms of crypto-jewishness – the centuries-old preoccupation jews have with their best interests as a people.

This still reflects the impact and influence jews have, even if only indirectly on the thinking of others.

Fifty years later, Neulander believes, the children and grandchildren of former members are recalling their elders’ Old Testament customs and misinterpreting their last words about being Jews. These recollections, Neulander says, have been skewed by Stanley Hordes and others who are ignorant of the Southwest’s true recent history. It is a history that includes both fundamentalist Protestants and other groups whose behavior could be wrongly construed as crypto-Judaism. Muslims, too, fled the Inquisition, settled in New Spain, eschewed pork, and ignored priests. Sephardic immigrants also came to Mexico and the Southwest from countries such as Morocco and Turkey, where they had practiced Judaism openly for centuries. Jews from Germany and Eastern Europe have been in Mexico and the Southwest for 150 years. They have intermarried with Latinos, and many have even embraced the Catholic Church. They might have kept dreidels in the house, but that is no sign of the Inquisition.

When asked about Neulander, society members often sneer, sometimes without having looked at any of her work. Even those who have done the reading find it easy to despise her. For when Neulander makes her arguments, she presents more than just dry scholarship on Protestantism. She also speculates about the reasons Hispanos might be inventing what she calls an “imaginary crypto-Jewish identity.”

Neulander thinks they are doing it because they are, in effect, racists. Colonial Spaniards were obsessed with proving they had “pure” blood, untainted by that of what they regarded as inferior peoples. The same has been true for many New Mexicans, and Neulander believes that the concern for purity — limpieza de sangre — is intensifying, now that Hispanos are being boxed in by Anglo newcomers and Mexican immigrants. As noted, Hispanos have always been loath to be called Mexicans. But that is how Anglos in the region have identified anyone who speaks Spanish. So, Neulander theorizes, some Hispanos are using crypto-Jewish identity as a postmodern marker for ethnic purity. What better way to be a noble Spaniard than to be Sephardic, since Sephardim almost never marry outside their own narrow ethnic group — and would certainly not intermarry with Native Americans? Neulander also comes at the racism issue from another, not quite compatible angle. She stresses that Protestant lost-tribes logic is deeply anti-Semitic. Below its Judeophilic veneer lies the belief that because they reject Jesus, most of today’s ethnic Jews will in fact go up in flames at the Apocalypse.

Such talk frightens and offends those who call themselves anusim. True, some of them are fixated on finding a noble Spanish past. But some from Hispano families are politically liberal, involved in civil-rights work, and proud of their mestizo complexions and ancestry. They are eager to stir into their Raza Cósmica mixture what they see as the ultimate outsider blood — that of Jews.

In typical jewish fashion, Neulander’s “thinking” inverts reality. Never mind the famous endogamy of crypto-jews – the mestizos are the real “racists” obsessed with purity. And those Protestant wannabe jews? Well, clearly they just hate jews.

“Thinking” like this is about transferring attention and blame elsewhere, to disguise jewish ethnic chauvinism.

Let’s shift our focus now from poor mestizo communities full of wannabe jews to some examples of more or less well-known and well-to-do individual wannabe jews in America.

What Attracted Madonna To Kabbalah?

Madonna was drawn to Kabbalah while she was pregnant in the mid-’90s, and the [Kabbalah Centre] group acknowledges that it wouldn’t have taken off with celebrities if she hadn’t jumped on the trend.

In Can There Be Judaism Without Belief In God? Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone, explains:

I’m a Jew by choice—I converted 50 years ago, and I’m even more satisfied with that choice now than I was a half-century ago. That’s partly because being Jewish is mostly not about beliefs, but about connections with other people, sharing values and a collective destiny.

Kol Nidre Helped a Convert Find a Sense of Belonging in the Jewish Community, by Annette Gendler, Tablet Magazine, 12 Sep 2013:

When the cantor sang those first few notes—a sliver of sobbing laced between the high and low notes, invoking centuries of Jewish pleading with God—what had been just another prayer somehow got under my skin and became an experience. There I was, in the sanctuary that is never as full as it is on Yom Kippur, amid all these people wrapped in prayer shawls, all of us standing and listening to the cantor repeating Kol Nidre three times, each time a little louder. As I alternatively looked down at my prayer book and surveyed the crowd, I felt a shiver crawling up my arms, and I thought to myself, “This is what it means to belong to something larger than yourself.”

Luke Ford – most hated Jewish blogger – interviews me, 7 Mar 2010:

Luke Ford is probably the most hated Jewish Blogger, he told me that he has been banned from almost every shul in LA and receives death threats when he walks down the street. Along with the fact that he was called the Matt Drudge of the porn industry, made me kind of excited to be interviewed by him.

Is Luke Ford good for the Jews?, by Brad A. Greenberg, Jewish Journal, 2 Aug 2007:

He is an LA blogger who writes about kinky porn, Orthodox Judaism and sinful politicians. But Luke is a contentious figure in the Jewish community, of which he is a convert into, and is both loved and loathed by people in the porn industry.

This is the only shul that’s let him continue davening there after discovering the depraved world within which he works. Judaism is not about a personal relationship with God, and without an accepting community there is no religious observance. For a convert like Ford, there is no Jewish identity absent Judaism.

“Orthodox Judaism in general, not just going to shul, gives me much needed structure,” Ford says after the service ended. “I have no core. I’m way too flexible on the things I do. This gives me some structure, and it’s important for me to bounce off the same people everyday…. It gives my life meaning, it gives my life rhythm, it gives my day a beginning and end. And it reminds me that there is a God.”

A recent blog post by Ford notes the difference between universalist and particularist morality and the tribal/racial nature of jewishness. Life In A Tribe, 15 Sep 2013:

Growing up a Seventh-Day Adventist among other WASPs, it never occurred to me that it was OK to cheat, steal, abuse outsiders. Sure, some Adventists did it, but there was no widespread belief that such cheating of outsiders and the government was ok. Rather, there was the belief that what belongs to Caesar belongs to Caesar. In Adventism, as I recollect, there was no different moral code for treating those inside and outside the group. I never heard from anyone that it was religiously OK to cheat the government with taxes, etc.

I’ve learned over the past 20 years, however, that the tribal approach to life is different. When you practice Orthodox Judaism, for instance, that tends to limit your social interactions with non-Jews and can easily spill over to dismissing them. The tribal racial approach to life emphasizes your group over outsiders.

Luke Ford Returns To Aish HaTorah (Orthodox Judaism Los Angeles), 10 Jan 2011. OY! So wannabe it hurts. OY!

Wannabe jews see the advantages of jewish collectivism and are attracted to it, hoping to participate. The real jews, for their part, prefer servants over “converts”.

 
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Jewish Crypsis – Crypto-Jews – Part 2

MARANO, JewishEncyclopedia.com:

Crypto-Jews of the Iberian Peninsula. The term, which is frequently derived from the New Testament phrase “maran atha” (“our Lord hath come”), denotes in Spanish “damned,” “accursed,” “banned”; also “hog,” and in Portuguese it is used as an opprobrious epithet of the Jews because they do not eat pork. The name was applied to the Spanish Jews who, through compulsion or for form’s sake, became converted to Christianity in consequence of the cruel persecutions of 1391 and of Vicente Ferrer’s missionary sermons. These “conversos” (converts), as they were called in Spain, or “Christãos Novos” (Neo-Christians) in Portugal, or “Chuetas” in the Balearic Isles, or “Anusim” (constrained) in Hebrew, numbered more than 100,000. With them the history of the Pyrenean Peninsula, and indirectly that of the Jews also, enters upon a new phase; for they were the immediate cause both of the introduction of the Inquisition into Spain and of the expulsion of the Jews from that country. The wealthy Maranos, who engaged extensively in commerce, industries, and agriculture, intermarried with families of the old nobility; impoverished counts and marquises unhesitatingly wedded wealthy Jewesses; and it also happened that counts or nobles of the blood royal became infatuated with handsome Jewish girls. Beginning with the second generation, the Neo-Christians usually intermarried with women of their own sect. They became very influential through their wealth and intelligence, and were called to important positions at the palace, in government circles, and in the Cortes; they practised medicine and law and taught at the universities; while their children frequently achieved high ecclesiastical honors.

The article describes the widespread dispersal of the jews expelled from Spain, mainly to Turkey (Ottoman empire) and Netherlands (Flanders).

Xueta, Wikipedia:

The Xuetes (Catalan pronunciation: [ʃuˈətə]; singular Xueta, also known as Xuetons), were a social group on the island of Majorca, descendants of Majorcan Jews who either converted to Christianity or were forced to keep their religion hidden. They practiced strict endogamy.

The assault on the calls — the Majorcan Jewish ghettoes — in 1391, the preaching of Vincent Ferrer in 1413, and the conversion of the remainder of the Jewish community of Majorca, in 1435, constituted the three events that gave rise to the social phenomenon of the conversos, which, unlike the individual conversions that had preceded them, were not based on individual religious conviction but on the necessity of overcoming a collective peril.

Crypto Jews, Am I Jewish?:

One interesting example is the “Belmonte Jews” in Portugal. A whole community survived in secrecy for hundreds of years by maintaining a tradition of intermarriage and by hiding all the external signs of their faith. The Jewish community in Belmonte goes back to the 12th century and they were only discovered in the 20th century.

Many of the immigrants from Portugal were secondary immigrants from the Jewish Expulsion in Spain of 1492. However, a later similar decree was also issued in Portugal in 1497 effectively converted all Jewish children, making them wards of the state unless the parents also converted. Therefore, many of the early crypto-Jewish migrants to Mexico in the early colonial days were technically first to second generation Portuguese with Spanish roots before that. The number of such Portuguese migrants was significant enough that the label of “Portuguese” became synonymous with “Jewish” throughout the Spanish colonies.

So many perceived crypto-Jews were going to Mexico during the 1500s that officials complained in written documents to Spain that Spanish society in Mexico would become significantly Jewish. Officials found and condemned clandestine synagogues in Mexico City.

The Association of Crypto-Jews – Hispanic Sephardi Crypto Jews.

Two jews, Michael Freund and Stanley Hordes, wish to discover and reintegrate crypto-jews with the main body of jews. The main body of jews do not.

With children under chuppah, Ynetnews, 7 Aug 2013:

Ariel and Gila Arditi have been waiting for this moment for a very long time: Years of expectations to receive the special approval that they have completed their conversion process and can get married according to Jewish Law; several years of fighting for Israeli recognition as conversion seekers, while their children already live in Israel as Jews; and decades of leading a double life: Colombian Jews who know they have Jewish roots and observe various customs on different dates.

The Arditi couple knew they were the descendants of the Anousim from Spain, who were forced to convert to Catholicism in the 14th and 15th centuries by the Inquisition. Their ancestors continued to observe mitzvot secretly, despite the persecution and torture.

“She knew she wasn’t Jewish according to Jewish Law, but that her roots are Jewish. When her parents retired, they came to Israel immediately – when it was clear to them that they didn’t have any other place to live, or any other life, other than living as religious Jews.”

According to Birenbaum, the trouble began when they tried to covert. “They didn’t receive a visa, and their request to convert was denied. The State of Israel asked them to leave – and they didn’t want to.

[Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund adds,] “Their ancestors were taken from us, they were kidnapped from us, against their will. And nonetheless, despite all the persecution – they continued to preserve their Jewish identity and pass it down from one generation to the next. Now, when they wake up 500 years later and known on our national door, how can we possibly slam it in their faces?”

More about Michael Freund, AKA Columbus of hidden Jews, Ynetnews, 25 Jan 2011:

He wanders Amazon jungles, travels to Chinese villages, searches Spain for Marranos, and sees India’s Bnei Menashe as his life’s mission. Michael Freund has an obsession: Discovering remote Jews

In a remote village in the Amazon, you find Jews.

Freund, an American immigrant, has a mission: Locating remote and hidden Jews and descendants of the Jewish people.

He devotes all his efforts and resources to this project as founder and director of the Shavei Israel organization, which works to strengthen the connection between descendants of Jews and Israel and the Jewish people.

According to assessments, he has put his own money into the project while raising large sums in donations from others. His organization is active in many countries throughout the world and helps different communities: From the descendants of Bnei Anousim (whom historians refer to as Marranos) in Spain, Portugal and South America, to remote communities in places such as China.

“It’s a type of fixation that doesn’t let me rest,” said Freund. “I feel obligated to these communities forgotten by history, but they haven’t forgotten us.

By all accounts, there are millions of Marranos throughout the world. “They are descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who converted under duress, many of whom continued to practice Jewish customs in secret despite the persecution they faced at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition,” he said and added, “The Marranos are a living and breathing phenomenon, but the Jewish world largely ignores them.”

The last time Freund succeeded in obtaining permission to bring a group to Israel was in 2007, when 230 Bnei Menashe from the Indian state of Manipur made aliyah. Since then, the aliyah has stopped.

Freund is a gentle person. He doesn’t get angry. He doesn’t raise his voice. But he is frustrated. “I simply do not understand why these wonderful people are stuck and forced to wait years before being allowed to fulfill their dreams. This is a big mistake. The Bnei Menashe want to be here and deserve to be here,” he says.

Some claim that they want to come to Israel to improve their financial situation.

“If this was the case, then one would expect a certain percentage of them to leave Israel and move to the West, but they’ve all remained here. After they get here hardly any of them remove their kippah. They are very religious and committed Zionists. We’ve conducted a comprehensive study of the Bnei Menashe immigrants and found that only 5% of the community is supported by welfare. The rest of them work for a living.”

Are you sure that all these groups you deal with are really of Jewish descent?

“We have to be careful because it’s easy to get carried away and to start seeing Jews everywhere. So I’m always skeptic as first. Two years ago I received a letter from a group of Native Americans in the United States, who claimed that they were of Jewish descent. They sent me various materials, and I understood fairly quickly that their claim was without any basis.

What motivates you?

“I see it as my mission in life. There are people who travel great distances to look for spectacular views. I go to look for Jews. We are a small nation and we don’t have all that many friends out there. So we should be reaching out to descendants of the Jewish people to cultivate a stronger connection with them. Two years ago a genetic study was carried out in Spain and Portugal which found that 20% of the male population of Iberia has Jewish genetic material. Because of all the persecution we have endured throughout the centuries, the Jewish nation was scattered to the four corners of the earth. So it isn’t surprising that there are traces and remnants of Jews in all sorts of remote places.

A Jewish Telegraphic Agency interview with Stanley Hordes, So you think you’re a Crypto-Jew?, Amy Klein, 18 May 2009:

JTA: Can a last name help someone tell if they have Jewish blood?

HORDES: There’s quite a bit of confusion over this question — some people think that names ending in “es” or “ez” are uniquely Jewish. The “es” suffix simply means “son of.” But put yourself in the position of someone in 1492 who has made the gut-wrenching decision to stay in Spain and convert to Catholicism. Now if your name was Avraham Ben Moshe, and you’re trying to quickly assimilate into Old Christian society, the first thing you’d do is get rid of that name. You’d likely take a name like the Old Christians have, such as Gonzalez or García — or de la Cruz, de Jesus or Santa Maria. There’s only a very small number of cases where a name is uniquely Jewish. I’ve heard so many stories about the name Rael coming from “Israel.” Every Rael I’ve ever found in New Mexico goes back to one Jewish family in southeastern Spain that had converted to Judaism in the 1480s. But you have to be careful about names. There’s no other way of ascertaining proof of ancestry except by playing the “who begat whom” game, or conducting extensive archival research through the genealogical records.

JTA: What about DNA?

HORDES: DNA testing potentially can tell us an awful lot. But we’re at only an early stage of this kind of research, and at this point the commercial testing companies can only tell who your mothers’ mother’s mother’s mother is or your father’s father’s father’s father — all the way back. They can’t tell you anything about your mother’s father’s family or any of the other thousands of ancestors. But culture is not passed down through genes — it’s interesting, but it does not define who you are. A lot of us are more interested in cultural traits and Jewish consciousness, including the extent to which descendants of Crypto-Jews tended to marry within the group. The genetic and genealogical research supplies us with a historical plausibility of suggestive Crypto-Jewish practices that may have been passed down. All of these avenues of research complement each other.

JTA: Some think this whole issue is untrue, like folklorist Judith Neulander, who thinks Hispanos might be inventing an “imaginary Crypto-Jewish identity,” according to the December 2000 Atlantic Monthly article “Mistaken Identity: The Case of New Mexico’s Hidden Jews.”

HORDES: Anthropologist Seth D. Kunin addresses these issues in his recently released “Juggling Identities: Identity and Authenticity Among the Crypto-Jews,” (Columbia University Press). We know that thousands of Crypto-Jews on the Iberian Penisula converted to Catholicism,but secretly held to their ancestral Jewish faith and customs. Some believe that people are inventing a past that they never had in order to deny their black or Indian family background — to climb the social ladder by showing how “white” they are. But there are so many more conventional ways to assert whiteness, why would you want to be Jewish when being different is not valued in that community?

Mistaken Identity? The Case of New Mexico’s “Hidden Jews”, by Barbara Ferry and Debbie Nathan, The Atlantic, Dec 2000:

THE telling has become almost stylized through repetition. In the mid-1980s a number of people with Spanish surnames began stealing into an office in Santa Fe, peering over their shoulders, shutting the door behind them, and whispering that their neighbors were engaging in strange customs that were decidedly out of place in the region’s overwhelmingly Catholic culture. Soon those reports would lead to proud testimonials from southwesterners of Iberian descent claiming kinship with Jewish victims of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. And not just genetic descent: some of these people would say that though outwardly they were raised as Christians, their parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were secretly observant Jews. Such stories are now so common in the Southwest that almost everyone takes them at face value.

The phenomenon’s first elaborations can be traced to Stanley Hordes, who in the early 1980s was New Mexico’s state historian.

Twenty years ago he was thirty-one and had just defended his doctoral dissertation, which was written at Tulane University, in New Orleans, and dealt with the Jews of colonial Mexico. More specifically, it dealt with what are known as the crypto-Jews — a people whose ranks swelled in 1492, when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain ordered all Jews to convert to Christianity or be banished from the kingdom. Up to 50,000 of Spain’s 125,000 to 200,000 Jews were baptized, joining 225,000 descendants of the converts of previous generations. The others would not give up their religion. Some fled to North Africa, Italy, and Navarre (then a kingdom on the border between Spain and France). Many more went to Portugal, though Portugal itself would soon demand conversion, and thousands of Jews there also underwent baptism. In both Spain and Portugal many conversos sincerely embraced the Church and intermarried with so-called Old Christians. A smaller number, however, continued secretly in their old beliefs, under cover of Catholicism. These were the crypto-Jews.

To make a distinction that will later prove germane, he is an Ashkenazi. Ashkenazic Jews trace their ancestry to Northern and Eastern Europe, whereas Sephardic Jews trace theirs to Iberia. Almost all Jews in North America today are Ashkenazim. Before the late nineteenth century the Jews in Latin America were overwhelmingly Sephardim. Throughout the Diaspora, Sephardic Jews have eaten food made with olive oil, chickpeas, and other Mediterranean ingredients; Ashkenazic foods such as bagels, lox, kugel, and borscht are not traditionally part of their diet. Yiddish, with its German and Slavic components, has nothing to do with Sephardic Ladino, which mixes Hebrew with medieval Spanish, Turkish, and Moroccan. Today Sephardic Jews make up only 10 percent of the Jewish population worldwide.

BY the early 1990s Latinos by the dozens from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona were coming forward with tales of a Jewish past. At conferences and in Internet forums they recalled playing with toys resembling dreidels (the four-sided tops associated with Hanukkah) as children. They reported that their parents had baked a flat, unleavened bread in the spring. They remembered mothers and grandmothers calling out on their deathbeds, “Children, we are really Israelites.”

The podcast will be broadcast and available for download on Tuesday at 9PM ET.

 
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Jewish Crypsis – Crypto-Jews – Part 1

Examining crypto-jews – also known as secret jews, hidden jews, New Christians, conversos, marranos, and anusim.

Crypsis, Wikipedia:

In ecology, crypsis is the ability of an organism to avoid observation or detection by other organisms.

Crypto-jews are an open secret. Here are two examples in recent news.

‘Hidden Jews of Poland’ visit Israel, by Rabbi Levi Brackman, 1 Sep 2013, Ynetnews:

Sixteen young Polish Jews, many of whom have only recently discovered their Jewish roots, arrived in Israel last month for a special seminar organized by Shavei Israel, an organization that aims to strengthen the connection between descendants of Jews and the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

“There is a growing thirst among young Poles with Jewish roots to learn more about their Jewish religious and cultural heritage,” said Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund.

“This awakening would have been unthinkable just 25 or 30 years ago, but since the downfall of Communism, an increasing number of Poles have sought to reclaim and affirm their Jewish identity. We owe it to them to assist them in any way that we can.”

Freund added that “with the start of the new Jewish year just a few weeks away, it is fitting that these young Poles have come to Israel to rekindle their bond with the Jewish people. They represent the future of Polish Jewry, which despite decades of suffering and persecution is now beginning to thrive.

“There can be no sweeter revenge for what was done to us seven decades ago in Poland than to reconnect as many of these young Polish Jews as possible with Israel and the Jewish people.”

Today, there are approximately 4,000 Jews registered as living in Poland, but experts suggest there may be tens of thousands of other Jews in Poland who to this day are either hiding their identities or are simply unaware of their family heritage.

In recent years, a growing number of such people, popularly known as the “hidden Jews of Poland,” have begun to return to Judaism and to the Jewish people.

Peekaboo, Another Jew, at Age of Treason, May 2013.

Quoting Venezuela’s ‘anti-Semitic’ leader admits Jewish ancestry:

In an interesting twist, [Nicolás] Maduro, the political successor of the late president Hugo Chávez, told the press last week that he himself was descended from Sephardic Jewish ancestors.

“My grandparents were Jewish, from a [Sephardic] Moorish background, and converted to Catholicism in Venezuela… The mother of [Minister of Communication and Information] Ernesto Villegas also comes from a similar background,” Maduro said last week

The readers’ comments at AoT are informative. Of particular note are the comments of the erstwhile crypto-jew onwatch/Stuart, whose great concern that Whites should not exclude jews helps demonstrate why they must be excluded.

The main focus in this installment is on the large number of crypto-jews who trace their origins to The Inquisition in Spain, more than 500 years ago. The figure most associated with that inquisition is Tomás de Torquemada, Wikipedia:

Tomás de Torquemada, O.P. (1420 – September 16, 1498) was a 15th-century Spanish Dominican friar and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain’s movement to restore Christianity among its populace in the late 15th century. As well as being Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada was also the confessor to Isabella I of Castile. He is notorious for his zealous campaign against the crypto-Jews and crypto-Muslims of Spain. He was one of the chief supporters of the Alhambra Decree, which expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492.

He was the nephew of a celebrated theologian and cardinal, Juan de Torquemada,[2] who was the grandson of a converso

Alhambra Decree, at Wikipedia, provides an idea just how well-off the jews had been with the muslims:

Beginning in the 8th century, Muslims had conquered and settled most of the Iberian Peninsula. Jews, who had lived in these regions since Roman times, were considered “People of the Book” and given special status and often thrived under Muslim rule.[3] The tolerance of the Muslim Moorish rulers of al-Andalus attracted Jewish immigration, and Jewish enclaves in Muslim Iberian cities flourished as places of learning and commerce.

One example of special treatment that the jewish persecution narrative serves to justify:

As of November 2012, Sephardic Jews have been given the right to automatic Spanish nationality without the requirement of residence in Spain. Prior to November 2012, Sephardic Jews already had the right to obtain Spanish citizenship after a reduced residency period of two years (versus ten years for foreigners).

So you think you’re a Crypto-Jew?, by Amy Klein, 18 May 2009, Jewish Telegraphic Agency:

Technically, a converso refers to a person who underwent a conversion himself/herself, but the term has been used to refer to their descendants as well. A Crypto-Jew, or secret Jew, is someone who practices his/her Judaism secretly while openly professing another religion. “Anusim” is a Hebrew term for people who were forced to convert against their will, while “meshumadim” refer to willing converts. The term “marrano” is more complex, and there are many different histories for the term. The one that makes the most sense to me is a combination of two Hebrew words: “mumar”(convert) and “anús” (compelled one). Marrano means swine and was meant as a pejorative term used by Jews who did not convert to describe Jews who did.

That last sentence conflicts with the usual etymology of marrano offered in mainstream/non-jew sources like Wikipedia.

Anusim:

[Marrano] is the insulting term Spanish antisemites gave to the anusim.

Marrano:

Originally the term was used by common people. The insult was mostly racist, as people viewed – in a superstitious and prejudiced way – the descendants of forced New Christians as a racial group identifiable by their bad denture, which allegedly proved their sinful soul.

Marrano acquired connotations of “filthy-dirty” (sucio) and “unscrupulous” (sin escrúpulos) during the heyday of the Spanish Inquisition, when the term was used to impugn the character of recalcitrant crypto-Jews.

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Jewish Crypsis – Religion – Part 4

Three prominent aspects of the jews’ religion: moser, the Kol Nidre and Purim.

MOSER, JewishEncyclopedia.com:

The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia

An informer, denunciator, or delator; synonyms are “masor” (abstract, “mesirah”), “delator” (), and “malshin” (abstract, “malshinut”), from the last of which are derived the Portuguese “malsim,” and also the Spanish “malsin,” together with the adjective “malsinar” and the abstract nouns “malsindad” and “malsineria.” Nothing was more severely punished by the Jews than talebearing; and no one was held in greater contempt than the informer. On account of the fact that his deeds frequently caused mischief and even entailed death and destruction, the sages of the Talmud compared the “moser” to a serpent.

In Talmudic Times.

The Jews suffered much during the persecutions under Hadrian through informers in their own ranks; especially teachers of the Law were betrayed by the delators.

Moser means specifically a jewish race-traitor, a jew who betrays jews.

Note the attempt to use SUFFERINK! and POISECUTION! to distract from the reality that a moser does not simply betray the jews by siding with non-jews, but informs the non-jews concerning jewish wrong-doing. The jews regard the informing as the real wrong-doing.

A more contemporary source confirms this understanding of the moser concept. Jewish Word | Moser, Moment Magazine:

The Jewish Snitch

Earlier this year, Nechemya Weberman, a member of the Hasidic Satmar community in New York, was sentenced to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a young girl over the course of three years, beginning when she was 12. The case, needless to say, sparked an uproar within the community. Some were outraged over the 54-year-old Weberman’s behavior, but others were furious for a different reason—that he had been turned over to the police at all. Four men were arrested on charges of witness intimidation, after allegedly offering the girl, who later testified against Weberman, half a million dollars to drop the case and suggesting that she move to Israel. To some, the girl was a moser, a rabbinic term for a Jew who informs on another Jew.

Moser is not a term familiar to many outside close-knit ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, which often choose to deal with offenses within the fold. This preference has a legal origin as well as a cultural one, stemming from a rabbinic prohibition on mesirah, meaning “delivery” or “handing over” in Hebrew. Rabbinic law mandates that a Jew may not report another Jew’s malfeasance to a secular government, even when the behavior in question violates both secular and Jewish law. Nor can a Jew abet the turning over of another Jew’s financial or physical property to the government.

When recording I voiced my uncertainty whether the girl is a jew. Now I realize that “the girl was a moser” clearly implies she is.

By placing a fellow Jew in mortal danger, a moser takes on the status of a rodef, literally a “pursuer,” or one who is chasing a victim with murderous intentions. An individual or community is permitted to stop a rodef by any means necessary—even if that means killing him before he has the chance to kill his intended victim. What’s more, no formal decree must be issued to declare someone a moser or a rodef, and anyone may take action against the deemed criminal. “If someone is running after somebody else to kill him, I don’t go to a bet din to ask them. I’ve got to stop him right there,” says Steven Resnicoff, professor of law and co-director of the Center for Jewish Law and Judaic Studies at DePaul University and an Orthodox rabbi.

This thinking goes beyond dealing with traitors.

Jewish morality plus jewish identity equals a license for jewish aggression against non-jews. The first half of the equation is the notion that jews are “permitted to stop” whomever or whatever they perceive as a “mortal danger” “by any means necessary-even if that means killing”. The second half is that jews think constantly of themselves in terms of SUFFERINK! and POISECUTION! – past, present and future. Jews perceive themselves in perpetual “mortal danger”, thus justifying their perpetual aggression against others.

Emory’s Broyde explains that the rules against informing don’t pertain to actions that harm the community or endanger others’ safety—in cases of violent criminals, for example, one may inform the secular authorities.

This is telling in light of the example cited. The rabbi harmed at least one member of their community, and perhaps others. Those who fault the girl, calling her a moser, are saying that in their estimation she causes their community more harm than the rabbi.

KOL NIDRE, JewishEncyclopedia.com:

Prayer recited in the synagogue at the beginning of the evening service on the Day of Atonement; the name is taken from the opening words. The “Kol Nidre” has had a very eventful history, both in itself and in its influence on the legal status of the Jews. Introduced into the liturgy despite the opposition of rabbinic authorities, repeatedly attacked in the course of time by many halakists, and in the nineteenth century expunged from the prayer-book by many communities of western Europe, it has often been employed by Christians to support their assertion that the oath of a Jew can not be trusted.

Form of Prayer.

Before sunset on the eve of the Day of Atonement, when the congregation has gathered in the synagogue, the Ark is opened and two rabbis, or two leading men in the community, take from it two Torah-scrolls. Then they take their places, one on each side of the ḥazzan, and the three recite in concert a formula beginning with the words , which runs as follows:

“In the tribunal of heaven and the tribunal of earth, by the permission of God—blessed be He—and by the permission of this holy congregation, we hold it lawful to pray with the transgressors.”

Thereupon the cantor chants the Aramaic prayer beginning with the words “Kol Nidre,” with its marvelously plaintive and touching melody, and, gradually increasing in volume from pianissimo to fortissimo, repeats three times the following words:

“All vows [], obligations, oaths, and anathemas, whether called ‘ḳonam,’ ‘ḳonas,’ or by any other name, which we may vow, or swear, or pledge, or whereby we may be bound, from this Day of Atonement until the next (whose happy coming we await), we do repent. May they be deemed absolved, forgiven, annulled, and void, and made of no effect; they shall not bind us nor have power over us. The vows shall not be reckoned vows; the obligations shall not be obligatory; nor the oaths be oaths.”

The Kol Nidre amounts to a preemptive oath to forsake all subsequent oaths. Thus the oath of any jew who engages in this ritual cannot be trusted. Naturally the jews regard those who object as more at fault than themselves.

PURIM, JewishEncyclopedia.com:

Jewish feast celebrated annually on the l4th, and in Shushan, Persia, also on the 15th, of Adar, in commemoration of the deliverance of the Persian Jews from the plot of Haman to exterminate them, as recorded in the Book of Esther.

Nevertheless Purim has been held in high esteem at all times and in all countries, some even maintaining that when all the prophetical and hagiographical works shall be forgotten the Book of Esther will still be remembered, and, accordingly, the Feast of Purim will continue to be observed (Yer. Meg. i. 5a; Maimonides, “Yad,” Megillah, iii. 18; comp. Schudt, “Jüdische Merkwürdigkeiten,” ii. 311). It is also claimed that Purim is as great as the day on which the Torah was given on Sinai (“Mordekai” on B. M. ix., end; comp. Lampronti, “Paḥad Yiẓḥaḳ,” s.v. “Purim”). In Italy the Jews, it seems, have even used the word “Purim” as a family name, which also proves the high esteem that the festival enjoys among them (Vogelstein and Rieger, “Gesch. der Juden in Rom,” ii. 420; but comp. Steinschneider in “Monatsschrift,” 1903, p. 175).

The Book of Esther does not prescribe any religious service for Purim; it enjoins only the annual celebration of the feast among the Jews on the 14th and 15th of Adar, commanding that they should “make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.” It seems, therefore, that the observance of Purim was at first merely of a convivial and social nature. Gradually it assumed religious features.

Judaism 101: Purim

Significance: Remembers the defeat of a plot to exterminate the Jews

Observances: Public reading of the book of Esther while “blotting out” the villain’s name

The Book of Esther

The story of Purim is told in the Biblical book of Esther. The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.

The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8. The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king’s presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman’s plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.

In a nutshell Purim is the celebration of the triumph of jews over their enemies. Specifically, it is a victory achieved by means of deception, seduction and exploitation of others – whereby a single wiley crypto-jewess manipulates one group of goyim into warring on another group of goyim in the service of jewish interests. The moral of the story and righteousness of it all rests upon the jewish license noted above: proactively exterminating “mortal dangers” “by any means necessary”.

These three things have little or nothing to do with God, or serving God, unless God is understood as the people who are being served, the jews themselves.

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Jewish Crypsis – Religion – Part 3

Concerning jewish peoplehood.

Continuing commentary on the article briefly mentioned and linked in the previous installment, Can There Be Judaism Without Belief In God?, Moment Magazine (emphasis added):

Avraham Infeld

Judaism is not a religion and was not a religion until the emancipation and our encounter with modernity. Rather, it’s the culture of the Jewish people. Like most ancient cultures, it was a religious culture, and the relationship between God and the Jewish people as a whole—not the individual Jew—was an integral part of the basis of that culture. Does an individual Jew have to believe in God to be a part of Judaism? I don’t think so. I believe that practicing Judaism demands recognition of the fact that you’re part of a culture with a narrative that has God as a central player, part of a people that have had a love affair with God for thousands of years. The narrative of this relationship is probably the central theme in the culture of this people. Being a people means identifying with a shared memory and narrative and having responsibility for its future, its renaissance, its well being. That’s what Jews are. It’s like asking “Can a Frenchman be French without being Catholic?” Of course he can, but he has to understand that being French was built on the Catholic tradition. We are taught that a Jew—never mind how he sins, even in the sin of apostasy—always remains a Jew. Jewish culture is not based on the individual Jew’s relationship to God, but rather on his relationship to his community and the community’s relationship to God: We pray in the plural. We need a minyan.

. . .

Membership in the people is the necessary condition for being a Jew (I don’t know if it’s sufficient), while saying, “your God is my God,” is not a requirement.

. . .

Avraham Infeld is a senior scholar and advisor at the NADAV Foundation and President Emeritus of Hillel International.

Masha Gessen

The concept of Jewishness as a religious affiliation is a recent one. It’s a post-World War II American idea, which will take years to unpack, but essentially it’s a cultural reaction to the need not to think of Jews as an ethnicity. The rest of the world thinks of Jews as an ethnic group, and to maintain a separate and cohesive population it’s useful to have a religion, but it’s not necessary, as other groups have demonstrated. The Roma have adopted whatever religion is dominant in the society in which they’re living, an unusual story for a small population in the diaspora, but possible. Same with the secular Jews of the Soviet Union. For nearly seven decades, Jews maintained a separate identity without religion and without a common language. The common experience of discrimination forged a common identity that bound them together.

. . .

Masha Gessen is a Moscow-based journalist and the author of several books, including Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene.

Leora Batnitzky

It is difficult to conceive of Judaism as a long-term, sustainable tradition without belief in God, or, at the very least, belief in the Jewish people. For example, one of the questions about Zionism is whether or not, as a belief in the Jewish people outside of God, it is sustainable over the generations. I’m not sure it is. I’m not saying that all Jews do believe in God, and I don’t think God fills a void in any kind of easy way, but the notion of God gives some kind of trans-historical, or trans-subjective dimension to why we think we ought to do what we ought to do. The question comes down to what it means to sustain a belief in God in Judaism, and that’s a complicated issue. One interesting example of someone who struggled with this issue is Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. He rightfully recognized that defining Judaism just in terms of God was problematic, and he also claimed that, in many ways, modern science made notions of God obsolete. But he continually struggled to think of a notion of God that infused Jewish peoplehood with meaning.

The question is, why be Jewish? One thing I think most Jews would agree on—and there aren’t many things—is that it’s not easy to be Jewish alone. It’s communal. So what sustains the community? Answers about history and culture are important, but without a God that somehow transcends human history, Judaism becomes just one cultural option among many. It becomes like ice cream flavors; different people like different flavors, but why should we force our children to like our flavor? Without God, arguments for Jewish continuity—that there should be Jews in the future—end up resorting to ethnic chauvinism.

Leora Batnitzky is chair of the Religion Department at Princeton University and author of How Judaism Became a Religion.

Jack M. Sasson

Especially before the fall of the Ottoman Empire, belief in God was generally not a troubling issue for Mizrachi Jews in the Middle East, as there was little differentiation between the religious and social spheres.

. . .

The Latin word religio (from which we derive “religion”) has to do with connectives, attaching people together. In that sense, an increasing investment in communal acts—synagogue worship and joyous occasions such as engagement, marriage, bar-mitzvah and brit milla—give moments in which members of the community renew their commitments to each other as well as distribute rewards to loyal members.

Jack M. Sasson is the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Vanderbilt University.

In this article even the jews arguing in favor of God do so ultimately out of their concern for the jews, not God.

The consensus in response to the question, “Can There Be Judaism Without Belief In God?”, was yes, of course. The respondents seemed to interpret the question as: Can the jews continue to exist without Belief in God?, or, Is God good for the jews? The whole point of the exercise was to examine the two most fundamental questions of group identity: Who is us? What’s best for us?

Jewish peoplehood, Wikipedia:

Jewish peoplehood (Hebrew: עמיות יהודית, Amiut Yehudit) is the awareness of the underlying unity that makes an individual Jew a part of the Jewish people.[1]

The concept of peoplehood has a double meaning. The first is descriptive, as a concept factually describing the existence of the Jews as a people. The second is normative, as a value that describes the feeling of belonging and commitment to the Jewish people.

The first significant use of the Peoplehood concept was by Mordecai Kaplan, a 20th-century Jewish thinker, who was searching for a term that would enable him to describe the complex nature of Jewish belonging. Once the State of Israel was founded, he rejected the concept of nationhood, as it had become too closely identified with statehood, and replaced it with the Peoplehood concept.[11]

Kaplan’s definition of Judaism as “an evolving religious civilization” illumines his understanding of the centrality of Peoplehood in the Jewish religion. Describing Judaism as a religious civilization emphasizes the idea that Jewish people have sought “to make [their] collective experience yield meaning for the enrichment of the life of the individual Jew and for the spiritual greatness of the Jewish people.” The definition as a civilization allows Judaism to accept the principles of unity in diversity and continuity in change. It is a reminder that Judaism consists of much that cannot be put into the category of religion in modern times, “paradoxical as it may sound, the spiritual regeneration of the Jewish people demands that religion cease to be its sole preoccupation.”[12] In the sense that existence precedes essence and life takes precedence over thought, Judaism exists for the sake of the Jewish people rather than the Jewish people existing for the sake of Judaism.[5]

Kaplan’s purpose in developing the Jewish Peoplehood idea was to create a vision broad enough to include everyone who identified as a Jew regardless of individual approaches to that identity.[13]

Kaplan saw and struggled to serve the best interests of the jews, collectively, as a people.

The term “jewish peoplehood” is found wherever and whenever jews advocate and discuss their group interests.

Koret Foundation:

The Impact of Strategic Philanthropy

Here is an example of rich jews, selectively investing in what they think is good for the jews. Their two main “Grant Program Areas” are Initiative on Jewish Peoplehood:

Jewish Peoplehood

Love of education. Respect for hard work. Appreciation of community. And pastrami on rye. Mix together in equal parts and you have the makings of a people – the Jewish people.

For thousands of years, the concept of Jewish Peoplehood has inspired, intrigued, vexed, and perplexed Jews and non-Jews alike.

and Initiative to Combat Anti-Semitism.

Why the Jewish Community Should Fund Peoplehood, by Misha Galperin, Forward.com:

Prominent Jewish sociologists have identified the declining bonds of peoplehood as one of the most significant challenges posed by modernity and by a culture of universalism. Having been raised in a world of pluralism and tolerance, Jews younger than 45 do not necessarily privilege their Jewish brothers and sisters above others when it comes to friendship, marriage, volunteerism and charitable giving.

What’s the difference between jewish peoplehoodism and “racism”? “Racism” is White peoplehoodism, which is demonized and pathologized by jews.

The Shelf Life Of Jewish Peoplehood, The Jewish Week:

Leon Wieseltier once wrote that being Jewish is not like other identities, and “perhaps there is a relief in allowing it to be different.

“I think to be Jewish is not to be an American or a Westerner or a New Yorker,” he wrote. “To be a Jew is to be a Jew. It is its own thing. Its own category; its own autonomous way of moving through the world. It’s ancient and thick and vast, and it’s one specific thing that is not like anything else.”

Wieseltier’s articulation is both comforting and obfuscating. It implies in a privileged, almost condescending way that we are beyond explication. We can almost hear an adolescent whine: “But no one understands me.”

Wieseltier is literary editor of The New Republic, a putative “liberal”.

Jewish World Homepage. The source for the image above.

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Jewish Crypsis – Religion – Part 2

Zohar, Wikipedia:

The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר, lit Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.[1] It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God,” and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.

The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, which was the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud.[2]

The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. De Leon ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai (“Rashbi”), a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution

Poisecution!

There are people of religions besides Judaism, or even those without religious affiliation, who delve in the Zohar out of curiosity, or as a technology for people who are seeking meaningful and practical answers about the meaning of their lives, the purpose of creation and existence and their relationships with the laws of nature,[7][8] and so forth; however from the perspective of traditional, rabbinic Judaism,[9][10] and by the Zohar’s own statements,[11] the purpose of the Zohar is to help the Jewish people through and out of the Exile and to infuse the Torah and mitzvot (Judaic commandments) with the wisdom of Kabbalah for its Jewish readers.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, “On the other hand, the Zohar was censured by many rabbis because it propagated many superstitious beliefs, and produced a host of mystical dreamers, whose overexcited imaginations peopled the world with spirits, demons, and all kinds of good and bad influences.”

Kabbalah, Wikipedia:

According to the Zohar, a foundational text for kabbalistic thought, Torah study can proceed along four levels of interpretation (exegesis).[5][6] These four levels are called pardes from their initial letters (PRDS Hebrew: פרדס‎, orchard).

  • Peshat (Hebrew: פשט‎ lit. “simple”): the direct interpretations of meaning.
  • Remez (Hebrew: רמז‎ lit. “hint[s]“): the allegoric meanings (through allusion).
  • Derash (Hebrew: דרש‎ from Heb. darash: “inquire” or “seek”): midrashic (Rabbinic) meanings, often with imaginative comparisons with similar words or verses.
  • Sod (Hebrew: סוד‎ lit. “secret” or “mystery”): the inner, esoteric (metaphysical) meanings, expressed in kabbalah.

Distinction between Jews and non-Jews

A number of medieval Kabbalistic sources contain statements to the effect that the Jewish soul is ontologically different from the soul of non-Jews; for example, it is held by some that Jews have three levels of soul, nefesh, ruach and neshamah while non-Jews have only nefesh.

Such theologically framed hostility may have been a response to some medieval demonization of Jews which developed in some parts of Western and Christian society and thought

David Halperin[62] argues that the collapse of Kabbalah’s influence among Western European Jews over the course of the 17th and 18th century was a result of the cognitive dissonance they experienced between the negative perception of Gentiles found in some exponents of Kabbalah, and their own positive dealings with non-Jews, which were rapidly expanding and improving during this period due to the influence of the Enlightenment.

However, a number of renowned Kabbalists claimed the exact opposite. In their view, Kabbalah transcends the borders of Judaism and can serve as a basis of inter-religious theosophy and a universal religion. Rabbi Pinchas Elijah Hurwitz, a prominent Lithuanian-Galician Kabbalist of the 18th century and a moderate proponent of the Haskalah, called for brotherly love and solidarity between all nations, and believed that Kabbalah can empower everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike, with prophetic abilities.

Yet another example of jewish duality – kabbalah is by jews, about jews, for jews AND it’s for everyone!

Cabal, by Rabbi Julian Sinclair, The Jewish Chronicle:

Cabal entered the English language in the late 16th century to mean a secret intrigue, plot or conspiracy. This coinage coincided with the rising awareness of Jewish mystical teachings, the Kabbalah, in non-Jewish circles. (The word Kabbalah derives from the word meaning “receive,” denoting the private, oral nature of its transmission from teacher to student.)

Kabbalah was at one time a bone of contention between ashkenazi jews in Eastern Europe. Misnagdim and the Hasidic Judaism, Wikipedia:

The reconciliation took place in response to the perceived even greater threat of the Haskala, or Jewish Enlightenment. Despite this, the distinctions between the various sects of Hasidim and other Orthodox Jews remain, although now, there is almost no conflict between these two groups.

In the mid-19th-century the influence of modern changes in Jewish society arrived East from the Western European secularising Haskalah (Jewish “Intellectualism”) movement. While the unsuccessful 1812 French invasion of Russia by Napoleon had sought to bring Jewish emancipation from the non-Jewish political structures of Poland and Russia, Haskalah sought to reform and rationalize Jewish thought and life from within the Jewish community, to form an image of Jewish observance in the character of non-Jewish modernity.

The threat of Haskalah helped heal the division between Hasidism and Mitnagdim, as they saw a common goal in protecting sincere Jewish observance of the common folk

The use of Hebrew for anything other than prayer and study is, according to them, profane. Hence Yiddish is the vernacular and common tongue for many Hasidim around the world.

Haredi Judaism, Wikipedia:

Haredim view themselves as the most authentic group of Jews

The word denotes staunchly Orthodox Jews and is increasingly being used in the diaspora in place of “ultra-Orthodox”, which some view as inaccurate or offensive,[16][17] it being seen as a derogatory term suggesting extremism.

Many Haredim view manner of dress as an important way to ensure Jewish identity and distinctiveness

To Zionists, Haredi Jews were either “primitives” or “parasites”; to Haredi Jews, Zionists were tyrannizing heretics.

Despite the animosity, it was necessary for the two groups to work out some modus vivendi in the face of a more dangerous enemy, the Nazis. This was achieved by a division of powers and authority, based on the division that existed during the British Mandate in the country. Known as the “status quo”, it granted political authority (such as control over public institutions, the army, etc.) to the Zionists and religious authority (such as control over marriage, divorce, conversions, etc.) to the Orthodox.

Why Do Some Jews Spell “God” G-d?, by Ariela Pelaia, judaism.about.com:

The custom of substituting the word “God” with G-d in English is based on the traditional practice in Jewish law of giving God’s Hebrew name a high degree of respect and reverence.

Significant names and contexts:

  • YHWH/Yahweh (I am), not spoken ever
  • Adonai (master, lord), prayer only
  • HaShem (The Name), other times

Kabbalists use “Ein Sof”, meaning void, infinite, endless.

Atheist Jews: Judaism Without God, by Kimberly Winston, The Huffington Post:

In the 1920s, American Conservative Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan developed the theology of what would become Reconstructionist Judaism, founded on the idea that God is not personal, but a summation of all natural processes. Four decades later, Reform Rabbi Sherwin Wine came out as an atheist and founded “Humanistic Judaism,” which emphasizes secular Jewish culture and history over belief in God.

And because Judaism is not dogmatic — unlike Christianity and Islam, there is no creed to adhere to — atheists can be open about their lack of belief and still belong to a synagogue.

“Atheism is not much discussed in Jewish life,” said Jonathan Sarna, a professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.

“An individual who attends synagogue, participates in Jewish communal affairs, and contributes heavily to Jewish charities would undoubtedly be considered a very fine Jew, without asking questions about whether or not that person believed in God.”

Shaul Magid, a professor of modern Judaism at Indiana University, said atheists may join synagogues because American Judaism lacks “a vibrant secular Jewish movement.”

“They go because they want some kind of ethnic identity,” Magid said. “They don’t care about the prayers. It allows them to feel a sense of Jewishness, but has little to do with religion.”

That’s what prompted Jennifer Cohen Oko, a Washington, D.C.-based writer, to join a Reform synagogue, her first. Neither Cohen nor her husband believe in God, but, like many Jews, they joined for their two children.

“I want my kids to understand they are Jewish, to be proud of being Jewish and to understand their heritage,” Cohen said. “And then they’ll have a choice. If they want to go that way (towards belief in God), great. If they don’t, they’ll have a sense of where they came from.”

This article linked to Can There Be Judaism Without Belief In God?, Moment Magazine:

Rebecca Goldstein

As an atheist who identifies with my Jewishness, I believe this is a very important question. From a purely philosophical point of view, it might seem like a contradiction; Judaism is a religion that at the very least presupposes, as all religions do, a belief in God. But many of us make a distinction between Judaism as a religion and Judaism as a cultural and ethical outlook.

. . .

The contradictions might seem glaring, but centuries of Jewish history since the Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment, have proved that Jews are too strong for narrowly defined contradictions. One of the most important responsibilities a person has is to carefully and conscientiously examine her beliefs.

Robert Putnam

I don’t know whether it’s theologically kosher to be both a Jew and an atheist, but if it isn’t, half the Americans who call themselves Jews aren’t quite legit. Of self-identified Jews in the nationally representative surveys David Campbell and I did for our book American Grace, 50 percent say they have doubts about the existence of God. That figure is much higher among Jews than any other major religious group in America. (Among members of all other faiths, only 10-15 percent express any doubts at all about God’s existence.)

I’m a Jew by choice—I converted 50 years ago, and I’m even more satisfied with that choice now than I was a half-century ago. That’s partly because being Jewish is mostly not about beliefs, but about connections with other people, sharing values and a collective destiny.

Robert Putnam is the author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University.

Avraham Infeld

Judaism is not a religion and was not a religion until the emancipation and our encounter with modernity. Rather, it’s the culture of the Jewish people. Like most ancient cultures, it was a religious culture, and the relationship between God and the Jewish people as a whole—not the individual Jew—was an integral part of the basis of that culture. Does an individual Jew have to believe in God to be a part of Judaism? I don’t think so. I believe that practicing Judaism demands recognition of the fact that you’re part of a culture with a narrative that has God as a central player, part of a people that have had a love affair with God for thousands of years. The narrative of this relationship is probably the central theme in the culture of this people. Being a people means identifying with a shared memory and narrative and having responsibility for its future, its renaissance, its well being. That’s what Jews are. It’s like asking “Can a Frenchman be French without being Catholic?” Of course he can, but he has to understand that being French was built on the Catholic tradition. We are taught that a Jew—never mind how he sins, even in the sin of apostasy—always remains a Jew. Jewish culture is not based on the individual Jew’s relationship to God, but rather on his relationship to his community and the community’s relationship to God: We pray in the plural. We need a minyan.

. . .

Membership in the people is the necessary condition for being a Jew (I don’t know if it’s sufficient), while saying, “your God is my God,” is not a requirement.

Masha Gessen

The concept of Jewishness as a religious affiliation is a recent one. It’s a post-World War II American idea, which will take years to unpack, but essentially it’s a cultural reaction to the need not to think of Jews as an ethnicity. The rest of the world thinks of Jews as an ethnic group, and to maintain a separate and cohesive population it’s useful to have a religion, but it’s not necessary, as other groups have demonstrated. The Roma have adopted whatever religion is dominant in the society in which they’re living, an unusual story for a small population in the diaspora, but possible. Same with the secular Jews of the Soviet Union. For nearly seven decades, Jews maintained a separate identity without religion and without a common language. The common experience of discrimination forged a common identity that bound them together.

Leora Batnitzky

It is difficult to conceive of Judaism as a long-term, sustainable tradition without belief in God, or, at the very least, belief in the Jewish people. For example, one of the questions about Zionism is whether or not, as a belief in the Jewish people outside of God, it is sustainable over the generations. I’m not sure it is. I’m not saying that all Jews do believe in God, and I don’t think God fills a void in any kind of easy way, but the notion of God gives some kind of trans-historical, or trans-subjective dimension to why we think we ought to do what we ought to do. The question comes down to what it means to sustain a belief in God in Judaism, and that’s a complicated issue. One interesting example of someone who struggled with this issue is Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. He rightfully recognized that defining Judaism just in terms of God was problematic, and he also claimed that, in many ways, modern science made notions of God obsolete. But he continually struggled to think of a notion of God that infused Jewish peoplehood with meaning.

The question is, why be Jewish? One thing I think most Jews would agree on—and there aren’t many things—is that it’s not easy to be Jewish alone. It’s communal. So what sustains the community? Answers about history and culture are important, but without a God that somehow transcends human history, Judaism becomes just one cultural option among many. It becomes like ice cream flavors; different people like different flavors, but why should we force our children to like our flavor? Without God, arguments for Jewish continuity—that there should be Jews in the future—end up resorting to ethnic chauvinism.

Leora Batnitzky is chair of the Religion Department at Princeton University and author of How Judaism Became a Religion.

Jack M. Sasson

Especially before the fall of the Ottoman Empire, belief in God was generally not a troubling issue for Mizrachi Jews in the Middle East, as there was little differentiation between the religious and social spheres.

. . .

The Latin word religio (from which we derive “religion”) has to do with connectives, attaching people together. In that sense, an increasing investment in communal acts—synagogue worship and joyous occasions such as engagement, marriage, bar-mitzvah and brit milla—give moments in which members of the community renew their commitments to each other as well as distribute rewards to loyal members.

Jack M. Sasson is the Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Judaic and Biblical Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Judaism is based on people, not religion.

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Jewish Crypsis – Religion – Part 1

Concerning judaism and the false idea that jewishness equates with religion. The question is, which religion?

Torah, Wikipedia.

Five books, “dictated to Moses by God”.

At that time it was forbidden to write and publish the oral law, as any writing would be incomplete and subject to misinterpretation and abuse.[44]

However, after exile, dispersion and persecution, this tradition was lifted when it became apparent that in writing was the only way to ensure that the Oral Law could be preserved. After many years of effort by a great number of tannaim, the oral tradition was written down around 200 CE by Rabbi Judah haNasi, who took up the compilation of a nominally written version of the Oral Law, the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה). Other oral traditions from the same time period not entered into the Mishnah were recorded as “Baraitot” (external teaching), and the Tosefta. Other traditions were written down as Midrashim.

After continued persecution more of the oral law was committed to writing.

A self-image as a persecuted group is a defining characteristic, the core belief of judaism.

One kabbalistic interpretation is that the Torah constitutes one long name of God, and that it was broken up into words so that human minds can understand it.

The Torah is what all types of jews, and the Abrahamic religions, have in common.

Christians call it the Pentateuch, the first portion of the Old Testament. Muslims call it Tawrat, viewing jews and Christians as “people of the book”, and Moses as a prophet.

Tanakh, Wikipedia:

three traditional subdivisions: The Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”)

According to the Talmud,[1] much of the contents of the Tanakh were compiled by the “Men of the Great Assembly” by 450 BC, and have since remained unchanged. Modern scholars believe that the process of canonization of the Tanakh became finalized between 200 BC and 200 AD.

The adoption of the Christian chapter divisions by Jews began in the late Middle Ages in Spain, partially in the context of forced clerical debates which took place against a background of harsh persecution and of the Spanish Inquisition (the debates required a common system for citing biblical texts). From the standpoint of the Jewish textual tradition, the chapter divisions are not only a foreign feature with no basis in the mesorah, but are also open to severe criticism of three kinds

Oral Torah/Talmud, Wikipedia:

The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה, c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism’s Oral Law, and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), an elucidation of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Hebrew Bible.

Much of the Gemara consists of legal analysis. The starting point for the analysis is usually a legal statement found in a Mishnah. The statement is then analyzed and compared with other statements

. . .

Another important function of Gemara is to identify the correct Biblical basis for a given law presented in the Mishnah and the logical process connecting one with the other: this activity was known as talmud long before the existence of the “Talmud” as a text.

The process of “Gemara” proceeded in what were then the two major centers of Jewish scholarship, the Land of Israel and Babylonia. Correspondingly, two bodies of analysis developed, and two works of Talmud were created. The older compilation is called the Jerusalem Talmud or the Talmud Yerushalmi. It was compiled in the 4th century in Israel. The Babylonian Talmud was compiled about the year 500 CE, although it continued to be edited later. The word “Talmud”, when used without qualification, usually refers to the Babylonian Talmud.

The influence of the Babylonian Talmud has been far greater than that of the Yerushalmi.

The Talmud is often cryptic and difficult to understand.

Pilpul

During the 15th and 16th centuries, a new intensive form of Talmud study arose. Complicated logical arguments were used to explain minor points of contradiction within the Talmud. The term pilpul was applied to this type of study.

Hairsplitting, a “talmudic” tendency toward tedious arguments, is another key jewish characteristic. In the context of judaism the need arises out of contradictions created by jewish dishonesty about who they are and what they believe. The most important argument for jews revolves around the question: “What is good for the jews?”. Much confusion is created by their own attempts to disguise, deny, or otherwise explain this away.

The history of the Talmud reflects in part the history of Judaism persisting in a world of hostility and persecution.

Persecution, again.

Full scale attacks on the Talmud took place in the 13th century in France, where Talmudic study was then flourishing. The charge against the Talmud brought by the Christian convert Nicholas Donin led to the first public disputation between Jews[66] and Christians and to the first burning of copies of the Talmud in Paris in 1242.

The Talmud was likewise the subject of the Disputation of Barcelona in 1263 between Nahmanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman) and Christian convert, Pablo Christiani.

In 1415, Pope Benedict XIII, who had convened the Tortosa disputation, issued a papal bull (which was destined, however, to remain inoperative) forbidding the Jews to read the Talmud, and ordering the destruction of all copies of it. Far more important were the charges made in the early part of the 16th century by the convert Johannes Pfefferkorn, the agent of the Dominicans.

Note the active agency in these “attacks” are “converts” (i.e. jews) revealing jewish secrets, particularly revealing the hostility of jews toward others, encoded in their Talmud.

Contemporary accusations

Criticism of the Talmud is widespread, in great part through the Internet.[89]

The Anti-Defamation League’s report on this topic states that antisemitic critics of the Talmud frequently use erroneous translations or selective quotations in order to distort the meaning of the Talmud’s text, and sometimes fabricate passages. In addition, the attackers rarely provide full context of the quotations, and fail to provide contextual information about the culture that the Talmud was composed in, nearly 2,000 years ago.

Jews blame non-jews for secretive jewish behavior, for the harm created by jewish crypsis.

Zohar, Wikipedia:

The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר, lit Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah.[1] It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and “true self” to “The Light of God,” and the relationship between the “universal energy” and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.

The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, which was the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud.[2]

The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. De Leon ascribed the work to Shimon bar Yochai (“Rashbi”), a rabbi of the 2nd century during the Roman persecution

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Jewish Crypsis – Nose Jobs and More – Part 2

More about Sander Gilman and what drives him, from How Even ‘Good’ Stereotypes Can Be Bad; Myriad Subjects With a Common Thread: The Images We Build to Define Ourselves, New York Times, 21 November 1998:

When ”The Bell Curve” was published in 1994, black groups angrily protested the authors’ suggestion that because black people score lower on intelligence tests, they have genetically inferior mental capacities. But amid the outcry, Sander Gilman spotted what he thought was an equally insidious assumption about Jews. Although the book seemed to pay Ashkenazi Jews a compliment by implying they are smartest because they score highest on intelligence tests, Mr. Gilman, who studies stereotypes, was troubled.

”I thought, ‘This is really scary stuff!’ ” he said. ”This pseudoscience had come back with a vengeance. Positive stereotypes are just as powerful a means of control as negative stereotypes.”

Mr. Gilman said his interest in stereotypes grew out of his childhood in New Orleans. His mother was born in Poland; his father, a truck driver, was American-born of Russian descent. Mr. Gilman said he grew up as a ”double outsider, between white and black.”

”Even though I may have appeared white,” he said, ”I was along this fissure line because being a Jew in the South was not being white.” The Ku Klux Klan was both anti-Jewish and anti-black. Not only that, but he was also acutely aware of the class distinctions between New Orleans’s well-established German Jewish community and its newer Eastern European Jews. Even within his group, Mr. Gilman said, he ”realized that some people were whiter than other people.”

His sense of the power of stereotypes was heightened by the civil rights movement when as a teen-ager he was involved in sit-ins in New Orleans and ”I saw what ugly stereotypes could do.”

During the 1970′s, Mr. Gilman came across photographs of insane people from the 19th century. ”There was a theory in the 19th century that crazy people always look different.” As a result, he wrote ”Seeing the Insane,” about images of the insane in painting and photography.

With that book, he said, ”I started thinking about broader questions of stereotyping, the psychology of what happens when stereotypes begin to be internalized.” He said he realized that he had been avoiding the personal stake he had in his scholarship, his own Jewishness. He began studying how Jews responded to stereotypes of themselves.

”Jewish Self-Hatred: Anti-Semitism and the Hidden Language of the Jews,” published in 1986, was a study of Jewish writers from the 15th century to the present. ”In every case, the Jew is told either directly or implicitly that because he is inherently different, he can never have command of the language of the culture. One reaction is to become better than, not just as good as.”

Jews are neurotic about the physical differences that distinguish them from others, denying that such differences exist or are significant while discussing them at length and spending great deals of money to surgically alter themselves.

Their resentment of the Whites they’re trying to fool comes out in the recurring anti-White slur that can be found in their complaining: shiksa.

Shiksa Goddess, from Television Tropes & Idioms:

The tendency of some Jewish male characters in media to be paired with possibly non-Jewish female characters (“Shiksa” in Yiddish.) These women are often blonde and blue eyed (although shiksas need not be albino, just non-Jewish). Jewish society traditionally looks down on its members marrying outside the faith, and, since early Jewish comedy writers were almost always male, it stands to reason that they would be the ones depicted marrying out.

Note: The word “shiksa” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “abomination,” so it’s generally considered rude to call a non-Jewish woman that.

The meaning of the word is clear from the context in which it is used. They are looking down on non-jews, especially the blonde, blue-eyed goddesses that jewesses see themselves in competition with.

As White power has declined and jewish power increased, some jews no longer see the value in trying to pass for White.

As Ethnic Pride Rises, Rhinoplasty Takes a Nose Dive, Jane Gross, New York Times, 3 January 1999:

The heyday for nose jobs, experts agree, was in the 60′s and early 70′s, when the post-war baby boomers were teen-agers. Parents of Jewish ancestry who knew first-hand of the Nazi atrocities were ever on the alert for stirrings of anti-semitism.

They wanted their own children spared discrimination. And to them, that meant fitting inconspicuously into the Protestant mainstream. ”Jewish parents at that time didn’t want their children to look Jewish,” said Dr. James L. Baker Jr., who practices outside Orlando, Fla. ”They feared a stigma left from the war.”

The physical characteristic that most set Jews apart was their noses, and so legions of teen-agers, usually girls, had them fixed. The technology was primitive compared to today’s and so the results, through the 1970′s, had a cookie-cutter similarity — little ski-jump noses with the bony bridge scooped away.

But that was O.K. with the patients. ”Everybody wanted to look like a shiksa,” said Dr. Thomas D. Rees, a retired plastic surgeon who trained many of the high-priced doctors at work today along Park Ave.

Dr. Antell said he sees older women who have tired of their cute little ski-slope noses and ”want to turn the clock back” and look like real people.

To jews, “shiksas” and their “cute little ski-slope noses” (another recurring term in jewish complaints about the jewish nose) aren’t “real people”.

It’s difficult to imagine White women wanting to look like kikesses, with some eventually getting tired of their giant beaks and wanting to look like real people again. It’s impossible to imagine the New York Times would ever describe it that way, even if it were owned and operated by real people.

Making the Cut, Keren Engelberg, Jewish Journal, 20 January 2005:

Forget the bar mitzvah. Today, nose jobs for American Jews have become so ubiquitous a rite of passage, they’re a cliché.

Jews, who have always had a love/hate relationship with plastic surgery — and their own appearance — have helped create a trend that has now exploded into the mainstream. They were “early adopters” of a surgical technology that has since gone from rare to ubiquitous, from stigmatized to embraced. Jews, out of their very desire to appear less Jewish, made plastic surgery acceptable to the very people whom they were trying to look like.

“Certain kinds of noses speak Jewishness…. Jews assimilating into a largely gentile culture thus strip from our features the traces of our ethnicity. We have other aesthetically assimilating rituals. We straighten curly hair, dye dark hair light. We get very thin to disguise what we often imagine are Jewish-coded thighs and hips. What we choose to treat are precisely the features that are culturally selected as our distinguishing physical traits,” writes Virginia L. Blum in her book “Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery” (University of California, 2003).

Historically, Blum is correct in her observation. This has been our tradition, but in the early years of plastic surgery, it was a survival mechanism against anti-Semitic eugenic philosophies as much as an effort at social acceptance. Supposed ethnic identifiers like Jewish or Irish noses and “Dumbo ears” were a major target of plastic surgery in its earliest stages, as were facial deformities resulting from disease or genetics.

With the advent of antisepsis and anesthesia in the late-18th century, the science of plastic surgery truly began to flourish, with nose jobs the major focus. The first real nose job by modern standards was performed in 1885, by Jaques Joseph, a Jewish surgeon, on a Jewish patient. Other doctors worked to help rid the Irish of the “pug nose” and Jews of “a large, massive, club-shaped, hook nose,” to quote one eloquent anthropologist of the time, Robert Knox.

The ubiquitous fixing of the ubiquitous jewish nose that everybody but jews is supposed to pretend doesn’t exist.

Love/hate is symptomatic of the dual nature of jewish identity – jews love being jews and hate having to hide it. They love themselves and hate the blonde, blue-eyed shiksas with the cute ski-slope noses.

A Bridge Too Far: Jewish Teenagers Are Saying No to Nose Jobs, Rita Rubin, Tablet Magazine, 7 June 2012:

For generations, Jewish girls from well-off families underwent a special rite of passage, one that fell somewhere between their bat mitzvahs and their weddings: their nose jobs. But according to a set of recent statistics, that may be changing: Far fewer nose jobs are being performed than just a decade ago—in what may reflect shifting standards of beauty and perhaps even Jews’ diminishing dissatisfaction with what they see in the mirror.

Indeed, anecdotal evidence seems to confirm that nose jobs are not the status symbol they once were among Jews. “It was like a rite of passage, and it’s not that anymore,” said Babak Azizzadeh, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, who says he no longer sees Jewish parents pushing their teenage children to get rhinoplasty the way they used to.

“It seems likely that the number of Jewish nose jobs has gone down,” said Emory University physician and anthropologist Melvin Konner, author of The Jewish Body. “It’s fair to say that this was once a lot more routine for Jewish girls than it is now.”

Konner goes on to suggest a reason behind the changing attitude toward nose jobs: “I think it’s because of increased ethnic pride and a decreased desire to stop looking Jewish and blend in,” he said, “which is why rhinoplasty was invented.”

“The WASPs are becoming a minority,” said filmmaker Gail Kirschenbaum—and that means that old standards of beauty are changing. “It’s not about trying to have the WASPy nose anymore. What is acceptable and considered beautiful is different now.”

When Haiken was working on Venus Envy, she perused women’s magazines from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s; comparing them to women’s magazines today, she noted a definite increase in the diversity of women’s images: “You see Asian models, you see African-American models. You never used to at all.” However, Haiken pointed out, as far as fashion models go, “you don’t see a lot of hooked noses, thick lower lips—the kind of features that are caricatures for Jews.”

Those are jewish characteristics. Caricatures only work to the extent they exaggerate real characteristics.

The Decline of the Jewish Girl Nose Job, Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel, 7 June 2012:

“I think it’s because of increased ethnic pride and a decreased desire to stop looking Jewish and blend in,” said Emory University physician and anthropologist Melvin Konner, author of The Jewish Body, “which is why rhinoplasty was invented.” Another historian told Tablet that ethnic men and women, like Jews, Italians, and Greeks, used to feel pressure to look like WASPs due to anti-immigration sentiment. But now most U.S. children under a year old belong to racial or ethnic minorities, meaning upturned noses are increasingly less prominent — and, therefore, less desirable.

Kids don’t care so much about looking “All American” anymore. Maybe Lea Michelle is the new Grace Kelly! (Okay, that could be a stretch. But, you know, aesthetically speaking.) “The ideal beauty can be anybody,” said Babak Azizzadeh, a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, aka nose-job Mecca. “I think people actually don’t want to assimilate as much.” He writes on his practice’s website that Jewish patients want to keep “their ethnic identity intact.”

At the same time, as national rates go down, more Orthodox Jews feel comfortable getting the surgery because modern rabbis are giving them the go-ahead. One doctor said less religious Jews ask him for eyelid lifts and chin implants, but Orthodox Jews always want nose jobs.

The sentiment seems especially odd coming from the man who produced a pop-punk music video called “Jewcan Sam.” Yes, you heard me — it’s real, and it’s spectacular. (And you really have to see it to believe it, but be warned: the catchy refrain will definitely get stuck in your head.) In the video, the lead singer’s dream girl will only date him if he gets a nose job. “You’ve got a beak like Jewcan Sam. I only go with guys with perfect upturned noses … I will love you till forever if you get your nose circumcised,” the song goes. At the end (SPOILER ALERT), the singer does get the operation — although he still doesn’t get the girl, because she “only dates football players.” What a shiksa.

How to Celebrate Passover, Jewish-Atheist Style, Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel, 6 April 2012:

When I was eight years old, my best friend’s mother told me, over a spaghetti dinner, that my dad wasn’t Jewish because he didn’t believe in God.

“Yes he is,” I said.

“But he’s an atheist, right?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said, twirling noodles around my fork.

“Then he can’t be a Jew,” she said, rather definitively, for a Catholic. I burst into tears at the table.

My father has always been very open with me about his atheism, even when I was younger and still believed in a higher power. Whenever I’d ask, “But how do you know there’s not a God?” He’d say, “I don’t. How do you know there’s not a giant pickle behind the sun?” Still — at least in my mind — he was undeniably as much of a Jew as my mother, brother, and I. I had seen his Bar Mitzvah photos. Some of his ancestors had died in the Holocaust. He refused to let us get a Christmas tree because it made him feel (irrationally, he’d admit) uncomfortable. We celebrated Passover, Hanukkah, and the High Holidays every year, sometimes even attending temple services if any of my grandparents were in town. My dad also looks like a mix between Paul Simon and Raffi: in other words, like a mega, mega Jew. So, growing up, I never equated being Jewish with being religious — the former was a huge part of my cultural identity, while the latter was a concept I didn’t quite understand. I may not cry over it anymore, but I still have a difficult time reconciling my Judaism with my feelings about organized religion.

Jewish plastic surgeon in trouble over YouTube song on nose jobs, Haaretz:

In the video clip, yarmulka-wearing Staiman tries to woo a blonde woman, but is rejected.

“Jewcan Sam” – named after “Toucan Sam,” the cartoon mascot for Froot Loops breakfast cereal with a bulging, multicolored beak – has reportedly sparked uproar among some American Jews, who say the song perpetuates a stereotype that does not need any more publicity.

Andrew Rosenkranz, the Florida director for the Anti-Defamation League, called the five-minute video “hurtful” for featuring a Jewish young man who is rejected by a fetching young woman because of his beaky nose, the Huffington Post wrote.

“For hundreds of years Jews have been depicted negatively with distorted features, including large hooked noses,” Rosenkranz was quoted as saying. “It’s a physical trait that is associated with the image of the Jew as someone who doesn’t belong, someone who is alien.”

The Most Talked-About Jewish Nose Jobs, Jewcy:

Sarah Jessica Parker: From Girls Just Want To Have Fun to women just want to go to Abu Dhabi.

Tori Spelling: Beverly High’s own Donna Martin becomes a reality TV star.

ScarJo: The big screen’s Russian-born Black Widow whose maternal family comes from Minsk IRL.

Natalie Portman: the Israeli-born, Long Island-bred actress formerly known as Natalie Hershlag.

Jennifer Grey: the Dalton grad who will always be Baby to us.

According to Bernice Schrank, author of the academic paper “Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Race,” many actors and actresses get their noses fixed to “pass” as a member of the dominant race — and play non-ethnic roles.

The author cites Jewish actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s changed looks as part of her success in playing non-ethnic New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw in the smash hit series “Sex and the City.”

Project MUSE – “Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Race”: Jewish Stereotypes, Media Images, Cultural Hybridity:

This is a paper about “Jewish noses” and how perceptions of them have varied in American popular culture in the twentieth century. The importance of the “Jewish nose” is that it is perceived as one of the most obvious defining feature of Jews. Jews with non-Jewish noses are able to “pass”, by which I mean being able to blend into the dominant culture and thereby being able to become invisible as Jews.

Dirty Dancer Grey’s Nightmare Nose Job, Contactmusic.com:

DIRTY DANCING star JENNIFER GREY’s Hollywood dreams were shattered after a “nose job from hell” changed her appearance so drastically, she looked nothing like her former self.

The 1980s star’s promising career ground to a complete halt overnight in the early 1990s because suddenly nobody recognised her – and even friends would blank her when she bumped into them.

She says, “I went in the operating theatre a celebrity – and come out anonymous. It was like being in a witness protection program or being invisible.

Ethnic Makeovers: Women and Jewish Noses in Hollywood, Pygmalion’s Fantasy.

‘I may be striking – but I’d rather be pretty’, Katie Grant, The Independent, 27 November 2012:

For most of my life, I’ve fantasised about trading in my prominent Jewish nose for a less conspicuous model. I distinctly remember craning my neck aged seven to examine my profile in the mirror one day, and noticing for the first time that, instead of following a clean geometric line ending in a neat point like the other girls in my class, my nose featured a noticeable hump on its bridge before curving downwards into an unsightly hook shape. “I’m the Wicked Witch of the West!” I realised, horrified.

“Don’t worry, you’ll see a vast improvement. I can absolutely make your nose more beautiful, less Jewish and unattractive.” I stormed out, furious. Shattered ego aside, I was appalled that Mr S clearly equated Jewishness with ugliness – it didn’t strike me until later that he had in fact articulated my own private worries.

Over the years, the phrase “Jewish nose” has somehow become shorthand among medical practitioners to denote a race-based physical deformity. In the lead up to the Second World War, as anti-Semitism became increasingly widespread, it became commonplace for Jewish immigrants to undergo surgery to escape social and economic alienation.

In her essay The “Jewish Nose” and Plastic Surgery: Origins and Implications, Beth Preminger explains: “By incorporating this term into their clinical vocabulary, early plastic surgeons unwittingly lent scientific credibility to popular stereotypes about beauty and ethnicity.”

Consequently, the “Jewish nose” was transformed into a “pathological condition for which there existed a medical protocol for correction”.

The Nose Job Jew, YouTube.

On the Nose: A True Story, Nice Jewish Mom:

My pride in being Jewish is as plain as the nose on my face. The nose on my face, however, is not actually mine.

There, I’ve said it. I’ve come clean after nearly four decades. That’s how long it’s been since my nose was “done.”

I’ve remained embarrassed about having had the surgery all my life.

I’m still ashamed to this day, although no longer to the point of needing to lie. How sad it is to be surgically altered rather than learn to take pride in who you are or how you look.

Next to my older brother’s whopper of a snout, mine was a mere Whopper Junior. Why, I eventually asked my mother, wasn’t his nose ever altered, too?

“No comment,” she replied, with an uncomfortable laugh. Neither was she forthcoming on another perplexing area: Why, when my parents were harping incessantly about the need for me to marry a fellow Jew, did they need to make me look less Jewish?

For isn’t that, in essence, what Jews having nose jobs is all about? (Or, as my above-mentioned, extremely direct friend Suzanne insists, isn’t it about Jewish men lusting after Gentile women – fine-featured shiksa goddesses?)

This, though, is what I really want explained: I went on to marry a nice Jewish man. Meanwhile, my brother, with his muzzle intact, ended up marrying a Catholic. Ironic? Yes.

Rhinoplasty – A Woman Tells Why She Resisted a New Nose, Lisa Lewis, ELLE, 27 April 2010:

Yet by 2006, when I was 24, single, and working in film production in New York City, it became clear that my mother wasn’t the only one who reacted negatively to my nose. People stopped me on the street to tell me I looked like Barbra Streisand. Japanese tourists wanted to take pictures with me. Hairstylists told me I needed to play down my nose—“no offense.” I started writing down the unprovoked remarks in a journal; in one year, I recorded 59.

September 23, 2006

Gay man at a party in Williamsburg: “Damn, girl, why you never got that thing taken off?”

A woman overhearing: “I like it, don’t get it fixed.”

Her friend: “You’re Jewish, right?”

Dreyfus, Kant and Nose Jobs, ck, Jewlicious, 13 Jan 2006:

Sander Gilman considers philosophical and historical questions rarely broached by cosmetic surgeons or their patients. He looks at how new notions of race, beauty, and happiness arose in the 18th and 19th centuries, and how these turned “the Jewish nose” into an obsession for Jews and non-Jews alike. How are ideals of beauty informed by notions of race and ethnicity? How does external appearance relate to emotional well-being? And how has plastic surgery affected debates about Jewish identity?

The Jewish nose an obsession for non-Jews? Consider Alfred Dreyfus, he of the notorious Dreyfus affair that inspired a certain Austrian journalist named Herzl to found a new movement. Dreyfus’ nose in the photo is unremarkable, but it takes on leviathan proportions in the minds of anti-semitic French caricaturists (see below).

I think what we can learn from all this is that haters will hate, no matter what. Anti-Semitism and other forms of hate are innately irrational. Dreyfuss had an ordinary nose, and they still depicted him in the most grotequely anti-semitic way possible. German Jews pioneered nose jobs and 45 years later they were being shoved into ovens by the people whose approval they sought.

Why I’ ll Never Get a Nose Job, Lisa Miya-Jervis, from the book Adiós, Barbie, July-August 1999:

My big honkin’ nose makes it clear I’m Jewish—and I wouldn’t change it for the world

I’m a Jew. I’m not even slightly religious. Aside from attending friends’ bat mitzvahs, I’ve been to temple maybe twice. I don’t know Hebrew; my junior-high self, given the option of religious education, easily chose to sleep in on Sunday mornings. My family skips around the Passover Haggadah to get to the food faster. Before I dated someone from an observant family, I wouldn’t have known a mezuzah if it bit me on the butt. I was born assimilated.

But still, I’m a Jew, an ethnic Jew of a very specific variety: a godless, New York City–raised, neurotic middle-class girl from a solidly liberal-Democratic family, who attended largely Jewish, “progressive” schools. When I was growing up, almost everyone around me was Jewish; I was stunned when I found out that Jews make up only 2 percent of the American population. For me, being Jewish meant that on Christmas Day my family went out for Chinese food and took in the new Woody Allen movie. It also meant that I had a big honkin’ nose.

Their lust for the button nose is probably more a desire for a typical femininity than for any specific de-ethnicizing. But given the society in which we live, the proximity of WASPy white features to the ideal of beauty is no coincidence. I think that anyone who opts for a nose job today (or who pressures her daughter to get one) would say that the reason for the surgery is to look “better” or “prettier.” But when we scratch the surface of what “prettier” means, we find that we might as well be saying “whiter” or “more gentile” (I would add “bland,” but that’s my personal opinion).

Even though I know plenty of women with their genetically determined schnozzes still intact, sometimes I still feel like an oddity. From what my mother tells me, nose jobs were as compulsory a rite of passage for her peers as multiple ear-piercings were for mine. Once, when I was still in high school, I went with my mother to a Planned Parenthood fund-raiser, a cocktail party in a lovely apartment, with lovely food and drink, and a lovely short speech by Wendy Wasserstein. But I was confused: We were at a lefty charity event in Manhattan, and all the women had little WASP noses. (Most of them were blond, too, but that didn’t really register. I guess hair dye is a more universal ritual.)

“Why are there no Jewish women here?” I whispered to my mother. She laughed, but I think she was genuinely shocked. “What do you mean?” she asked. “All of these women are Jewish.” And then it hit me: It was wall-to-wall rhinoplasties. And worse, there was no reason to be surprised. These were women my mother’s age or older who came of age in the late ’50s or before, when anti-Semitism in this country was much more overt than it is today. Surface assimilation was practically the norm back then, and those honkers were way too, ahem, big a liability on the dating and social scenes.

Only once did I feel uneasy about being “identified.” At my first job out of college, my boss asked, after I mentioned an upcoming trip to see my family, “So, are your parents just like people in Woody Allen movies?” I wondered if I had a sign on my forehead reading “Big Yid Here.” His comment brought up all those insecurities American Jews have that, not coincidentally, Woody Allen loves to emphasize for comic effect: Am I that Jewish? I felt conspicuous, exposed. Still, I’m glad I have the sign on my face, even if it’s located a tad lower than my forehead.

Judaism is the only identity in which culture and religion are supposedly bound closely: If you’re Irish and not a practicing Catholic, you can still be fully Irish; being Buddhist doesn’t specify race or ethnicity. To me, being a Jew is cultural, but it’s tied only marginally—even hypothetically—to religion, and mostly to geography (New York Jews are different from California Jews, lemme tell ya). So what happens when identity becomes untied from religion? I don’t know for sure. And that means I’ll grab onto anything I need to keep that identity—including my nose.

Af – A documentary about Jewish noses, YouTube:

What does it mean to have a Jewish nose, and what does it mean to want to change it?

The podcast will be broadcast and available for download on Tuesday at 9PM ET.

 
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Jewish Crypsis – Nose Jobs and More – Part 1

Concerning the characteristic physical appearance of jews – specifically how they regard, alter and explain away these characteristics.

There are several general physical distinctions bewteen Whites (specifically the northern European/Nordic/Aryan ideal) and jews. Aryans are relatively tall, slim, light skinned, blue eyed, blond haired, with straight, narrow noses; while jews tend to be relatively short, dumpy, dark skinned (I said sallow in the podcast, but I see now there is disagreement whether that word means olive or pale), dark eyed, black haired (often frizzy or curly, the so-called “jewfro”), with large, misshapen noses.

Jews themselves make a big deal about these differences, lamenting that Aryan traits epitomize what is widely considered healthy-, fit-, or athletic-looking.

The Poisonous Mushroom, available at archive.org, also known as, Der Giftpilz, which is described by Wikipedia as:

a children’s book published by Julius Streicher in 1938.[1] The title is German for “the toadstool” or “the poisonous mushroom”.

An excerpt, relevant to this topic, is How to Tell a Jew:

Background: This story comes from Der Giftpilz, an anti-Semitic children’s book published by Julius Streicher, the publisher of Der Stürmer. He was executed as a war criminal in 1946.

“One can most easily tell a Jew by his nose. The Jewish nose is bent at its point. It looks like the number six. We call it the ‘Jewish six.’ Many Gentiles also have bent noses. But their noses bend upwards, not downwards. Such a nose is a hook nose or an eagle nose. It is not at all like a Jewish nose.”

“Right!” says the teacher. “But the nose is not the only way to recognize a Jew…”

The boy goes on. “One can also recognize a Jew by his lips. His lips are usually puffy. The lower lip often protrudes. The eyes are different too. The eyelids are mostly thicker and more fleshy than ours. The Jewish look is wary and piercing. One can tell from his eyes that he is a deceitful person.”

The teacher calls on another lad. He is Fritz Müller, and is the best in the class. He goes to the board and says:

“Jews are usually small to mid-sized. They have short legs. Their arms are often very short too. Many Jews are bow-legged and flat-footed. They often have a low, slanting forehead, a receding forehead. Many criminals have such a receding forehead. The Jews are criminals too. Their hair is usually dark and often curly like a Negro’s. Their ears are very large, and they look like the handles of a coffee cup.”

The teacher turns to the students.

“Pay attention, children. Why does Fritz always say ‘many Jews have bow legs’, or ‘they often have receding foreheads,’ or ‘their hair is usually dark’?”

Heinrich Schmidt, a large, strong boy in the last row speaks.

“Every Jew does not have these characteristics. Some do not have a proper Jewish nose, but real Jewish ears. Some do not have flat feet, but real Jewish eyes. Some Jews cannot be recognized at first glance. There are even some Jews with blond hair. If we want to be sure to recognize Jews, we must look carefully. But when one looks carefully, one can always tell it is a Jew.”

Compare with Stereotypes of Jews, Wikipedia:

Physical features

In caricatures and cartoons, Jews are often depicted having dark skin, curly black hair, large hook-noses, thick lips, dark-colored beady eyes[3] and wearing kippahs.

Jews are commonly caricatured as having large noses[4] or hook noses.[5] Jews are also portrayed as swarthy and hirsute.

The implication on this page, which is typical, is that “stereotype” means “imaginary”, but jews are all too aware that such physical differences are real.

Sander Gilman (more below) singles out the nose as the key physiological sign of the jew. To the extent this is so, the “nose job” (rhinoplasty) is a key sign of jewish crypsis.

Rhinoplasty was pioneered by a jew, Jacques Joseph, in Germany at the end of the 19th century. Jews have since driven the development of plastic surgery in general, both supply and demand.

In Controlling Anti-Jewish Stereotypes: The Case of the “Hook-Nosed Jew”, Lasha Darkmoon notes how jews often play up the stereotype:

It seems that many Jews, far from shrinking from mention of their noses, never lose an opportunity to reinforce this particular stereotype by referring to their own noses negatively if there is no one else around to do so. When Jewish cemeteries are vandalized or swastikas are found defacing walls, the culprits on numerous occasions have turned out to be Jews. (See, e.g., here and here.) So it is with the legendary “Jewish nose”: a protected species of stereotype deliberately nurtured and kept alive by organized Jewry for propaganda purposes.

This can be seen as one of several ways jews attempt to hide what seems too obvious to be hidden:

  • Embrace and exaggerate it, own it, preempt others from doing so.
  • Make it taboo/illegal for anyone else to talk about it.
  • Alter reality with surgery.

Sander Gilman is a jewish author, intellectual – a prolific apologist for jews. He embodies the duality of jewish physical differences – discussing them in great detail only to explain them away.

Gilman’s book, The Jew’s Body, published in 1991, is described by a reviewer as:

Drawing on a wealth of medical and historical materials, Sander Gilman sketches details of the anti-Semitic rhetoric about the Jewish body and mind, including medical and popular depictions of the Jewish voice, feet, and nose.

The jewish psyche was previously discussed in Race and Genetics – Part 4 and Part 5. German scientist Fritz Lenz noted racial differences in mental traits, for example the jewish fondness for Lamarckism and the Nordic fondness for objectivity:

The jewish inclination toward Lamarckism [anti-racism] is obviously an expression of the wish that there should be no unbridgeable racial distinctions.

Gilman is much like Raphael Patai (The Jewish Mind, The Myth of the Jewish Race) in that these are jews who scrutinize jewish traits only to minimize or explain them away.

Gilman has supplemented and published one chapter of The Jew’s Body as The Jewish Nose: Are Jews White? Or the History of the Nose Job:

When the Lubavitcher Manis Friedman, the dean of the Bais Chana Women’s Institute in St. Paul, preaches that “jews are different. Let’s accept it and be thrilled,” one can only agree. But his sense of difference is cast in a language that itself is contaminated with the sense of a negative jewish difference, a difference of the jewish body. He continues, “For 2000 years we have come denied our uniqueness. We have tried to come to the world as if we were normal. Well guess what? The world hasn’t bought it, and they never will.” According to Friedman, jews aren’t normal.

What appears to be the original version can also be downloaded as a PDF or viewed online at Google Books.

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Jewish Crypsis – The Name Game

Analysis of an elementary and potent aspect of jewish identity and crypsis.

The film Gentleman’s Agreement portrayed the change from White to jew as requiring just two elements: a change in name, and telling people you’re a jew. That’s closer to the truth for the reverse, when jews pose as White, many times it’s as simple as changing names and NOT telling anyone they’re a jew.

Jews are well known for changing names in order to pass, a deception and disguise which benefits them, enabling them to better manipulate the opinions and perceptions of others.

The Gentle Art of Changing Jewish Names, from THE DEARBORN INDEPENDENT, issue of 12 November 1921:

Prior to the nineteenth century the Jews resident in Germany did not use family names. It was “Joseph the son of Jacob,” “Isaac ben Abraham,” the son being designated as the son of his father. But the Napoleonic era, especially following upon the assembly of the Great Sanhedrin under Napoleon’s command, caused a distinct change in Jewish customs in Europe.

In 1808 Napoleon sent out a decree commanding all Jews to adopt family names. In Austria a list of surnames was assigned to the Jews, and if a Jew was unable to choose, the state chose for him. The names were devised from precious stones, as Rubenstein; precious metals, such as Goldstein, Silberberg; plants, trees, and animals, such as Mandelbaum, Lilienthal, Ochs, Wolf, and Loewe.

The German Jews created surnames by the simple method of affixing the syllable “son” to the father’s name, thus making Jacobson, Isaacson; while others adopted the names of the localities in which they lived, the Jew resident in Berlin becoming Berliner, and the Jew resident in Oppenheim becoming Oppenheimer.

The Jewish habit of changing names is responsible for the immense camouflage that has concealed the true character of Russian events. When Leon Bronstein becomes Leo Trotsky, and when the Jewish Apfelbaum becomes the “Russian” Zinoviev; and when the Jewish Cohen becomes the “Russian” Volodarsky, and so on down through the list of the controllers of Russia—Goldman becoming Izgoev, and Feldman becoming Vladimirov—it is a little difficult for people who think that names do not lie, to see just what is transpiring.

Indeed, there is any amount of evidence that in numberless cases this change of names—or adoption of “cover names,” as the Jewish description is—is for purposes of concealment.

How Did Jews Choose Their Last Names?, Forward.com, 9 July 2008:

When talking about Jewish family names, or at least, about the names of the Ashkenazic Jews of Eastern and Central Europe from which the great majority of American Jews descend, it is important to keep one fact in mind: Until the late 18th or early 19th century, very few Jews had such names at all. Every Jew, that is, had a Jewish “last name,” but it was a personal one that was not passed on to children, since it was the name of one’s father that was used on ritual occasions. If your name was Boruch and your father’s name was Simcha, you were called up to the Torah as Boruch ben-Simcha; if your name was Rokhl and your father’s name was Dovid, you were mentioned in a ketubah or marriage contract as Rokhl bas-Dovid. But your son Aryeh was called to the Torah as Aryeh ben-Boruch, and your daughter Rivka was written in the ketubah as Rivka-bas-Eliahu (if that was the name of Rokhl’s husband). Such “last names” were one-generational.

The introduction of permanent last names into European Jewish life came with the decision of European governments to make their Jewish populations, which had previously been granted a large measure of communal autonomy, fully subject to the same state regulations and bureaucratic record-keeping as were other citizens. In the Austrian Empire, which ruled much of southern and eastern Poland, Jews were ordered to take such names in the 1780s and ’90s; in Germany, in 1797; in tsarist Russia, in 1804.

The jewish name game is often associated with “anti-semitism”, which is to say that jews regard the outing of jews who are trying to pass (commit fraud) as “bad for the jews”. The problem, according to jews, is not the fraud but the person who calls attention to it.

Tony Curtis, Jewish Movie Star, Dies at 85, by Danielle Berrin (Hollywood Jew) at Jewish Journal, September 2010:

There may have been Jewish movie stars before Curtis, from Emmanuel Goldenberg (Edward G. Robinson) to Issur Danielovitch (Kirk Douglas). But none of them sounded like Bernie Schwartz, who even after he changed his name was unmistakably a Jewish street kid from the East Side of Manhattan. It’s no coincidence that the one line of Curtis’ that everybody knows is “Yonda lies da castle of my fadda”—a silly phrase given an ethnic mangling, it seems to encapsulate his whole career and persona.

The line didn’t become notorious, Curtis says, until Debbie Reynolds made fun of it on a talk show: “Did you see the new guy in the movies? They call him Tony Curtis, but that’s not his real name. In his new movie, he’s a got a hilarious line where he says, ‘Yonder lies the castle of my fadda.’”

“You could chalk her ridicule up to my New York accent,” writes Curtis (as channeled by Peter Golenbock), “but when she mentioned the issue of my real name on television, I began to wonder if there was something anti-Semitic going on there.”

This excerpt is just one small piece of a longer tale of woe about how this movie star jew was supposedly bullied and victimized in jew-run Hollywood.

David Copperfield’s Magical Relationship With God and Judaism, Forward.com, 4 July 2013:

Born David Seth Kotkin, the son of middle-class parents in Metuchen, N.J., Copperfield sees a direct link — indeed, a historical connection — between being Jewish and achieving the most stunning and unlikely feats.

“Being Jewish is all about picking yourself up by your bootstraps,” he told the Forward. “When people are beating you down and throwing you out, you just dust yourself off and make the best of it. That’s the Jewish upbringing. And magic is about taking adversity and turning it into a smile, taking the no’s and turning them into yesses. Magic is about making people dream.”

Copperfield attended Hebrew school, became a bar mitzvah and to this day honors his roots. It’s an important part of who he is — “for better or worse,” he added. “I have a personal relationship with God and I pray a lot. My kids go to Hebrew school.”

Being jewish is more about ethnic networking and tribal nepotism and boosterism (as for example engaged in by Forward.com). Magic is about illusion. It’s about duping and tricking people using misdirection and manipulation.

On the emotionally charged topic of name changing, Copperfield said he initially planned to be an actor and didn’t think “Kotkin” was a good actor’s name. While the title character in the Dickens classic is memorable and nobody else in show biz has it, Copperfield is not sure, were he just starting out now, whether he would change his name at all, as prevailing sensibilities have evolved. If he had it to do over, he said, he might not pick “Copperfield” because he now views Charles Dickens as anti-Semitic.

Fagin was a fictional thief whom Dickens clearly identified as a jew. Kotkin is a real thief who stole a Dickensian name to help make himself rich and famous, deceiving the goyim as to his true identity. Naturally, in Kotkin’s mind, Dickens is the criminal.

The jewish name game is an “emotionally charged topic” because jews make a big stink about being outed as jews.

Consider the May 2013 exchange between Jon Stewart and Donald Trump.

Twitter / TheDailyShow:

By the way, did you know Donald Trump’s birth name is F**kface Von Clownstick?

Twitter / realDonaldTrump:

What’s funny about the name “F**kface Von Clownstick” — it was not coined by Jon Leibowitz– he stole it from some moron on twitter.

In Donald Trump Outs Jon Stewart as a Jew, Elspeth Reeve at The Atlantic Wire asserted:

The whole punchline of Trump’s tweet is that Stewart is Jewish.

Actually, that was her point. Trump’s point was that Leibowitz is a hypocrite.

What is most relevant to our topic here is that certain names are obviously jewish, that these are the kinds of names that jews deliberately change, and that they act as if somebody else is doing something wrong when their fraud is exposed.

Should Jon Stewart change his name back to Jon Leibowitz?, by hyper-jew Ron Rosenbaum at Slate Magazine, July 2009:

And, on a more serious note, it would represent the end of a shabby, antiquated era, pronouncing that aspect of anti-Semitism now (hopefully) dead and gone. It might even make it easier for young comedians, actors, and rock stars to resist the temptation to try to “pass.” (Although, frankly, I hope that Gene Simmons of Kiss keeps his origins hidden from those who don’t know about them.) It could be an important cultural moment.

Don’t you think it’s about time for Jews to reject the rejection of their ancestry and the WASP-ification of their names? Not just you, but all Jews in show business, indeed all Jews in business business. The practice might once have served a purpose, back in the ’20s and ’30s, when it was insisted upon by powerful but fearful Hollywood movie moguls who wanted Jewish talent but were afraid of Jewish names seeming un-American to the mass of the populace who, it’s probably true at that time, suffered from a low-grade case of anti-Semitism. Or nativist hostility to foreign names in general. So Issur Danielovitch Demsky became Kirk Douglas. (You could have gone with Kirk Leibowitz.)

It’s strange, isn’t it? Shouldn’t that era be long over?

We see in this how “anti-semitism” serves jews as a scapegoat for any kind of jewish malfeasance, no matter how obscure. Even if nobody else complains, jews will whine about it themselves and blame the jewish misbehavior on “anti-semitism”.

Rosenbaum’s comparison to Michael Jackson and his family revelations are telling:

I guess you could make the case that Michael just happened to think he looked better that way, that there’s no need to introduce theories about racial pathology, or the oppressed internalizing the aesthetic values of the oppressor, into the discussion. He had every right to make himself look white if he felt like it.

But it’s hard to believe that his decision to change his skin from black to white wasn’t a reaction to racism, to seeing the ugly way people with dark skin were treated even by members of his own race with lighter skin. Well, you can say that feeling, that attitude, belongs to a sad time that has thankfully passed.

At this point, wouldn’t changing your name be just an honorable thing to do as well as a long-overdue symbolic celebration of the passing of the age of “passing”? I will admit I have a personal interest in this matter since I have a recognizably Jewish name. I want to tell you two quick stories about my mother and father. My mother couldn’t get a teaching job during the Depression, and in order to get any regular secretarial work, she felt she had to change her name in Morgenstern-to-Morningstar fashion. No, it wasn’t Dachau-style anti-Semitism she was reacting to; it was more “gentleman’s agreement”-style, country-club anti-Semitism, but there was something ugly about the necessity of the change, nonetheless.

Note that the “honor” Rosenbaum refers to is for jews and jewish identity, not at all for the “ugly” enemies it used to be necessary to fool.

And yet there it still is: Jon Stewart. A faint but unnecessary relic of anti-Semitism. You know, Jon, the treatment of Jewish names is often a barometer of that social disease.

Jews telling jews that they can stop the pretense that they’re not jews is a barometer not only of jewish power but of the fundamentally fraudulent, duplicitous nature of jewish identity.

Now, you have every right to wonder why I’m singling you out like this. I think it has something to do with what I like most about your show, which is that you, like the best satirists, focus on making fun of those who put up a false front. Not that Stewart is false in any malign sense of the word. (It was your middle name—well, Stuart was!) But that it’s a kind of mask, and you spend most of your time making fun of the pretentious masks that politicians, celebrities, and big shots adopt.

You’re all three now—a politician, a celebrity, and a big shot—in the sense that you have remarkable influence politically.

So Rosenbaum called out Leibowitz’s name-game-related hypocrisy in 2009. Nobody accused Rosenbaum of “anti-semitism” because he is a jew and his argument was that Leibowitz calling himself Leibowitz would be good for the jews.

The Name Game, by Teresa Strasser in Jewish Journal, is a good example of typically jewish neurotic anxiety regarding the importance of names and jewish identity:

When we were little, my brother and I realized that whenever we asked if someone was Jewish, my mother would answer by simply repeating their name, as if that said it all.

“Irving Fishbaum? Ira and Esther Lefkowitz? C’mon.”

We decided to see if we could induce this behavior and selected the perfect test case. When she came home one day, we ambushed.

“Mom, are Simon and Garfunkel Jewish”?

She looked at us, lowering her head and raising her eyebrows. “Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel? C’mon.”

That was before we understood that names could be obviously Jewish, that any name containing “gold,” “silver,” “green,” “fish,” “blatt,” “baum,” “stein,” “feld” or “witz” was usually a dead giveaway. That was before we knew that Shapiro was Shapiro and Kaplan was Kaplan. Kaplan? C’mon. This is still a family joke and if she’s distracted, you can sometimes get her to do it to this day.

“Mom, is Itzhak Pearlman Jewish?”

“Itzhak Pearlm — oh, stop it.”

If Jewish names are on a scale of one to Hadassah Lieberman, mine may be a one.

When I was 20, an editor at a Jewish newspaper walked up to my desk on my first day of work, didn’t introduce himself, didn’t shake my hand, just looked at me and asked, “What’s a Jew doing with a name like Teresa?” I told him he could call me Rachel if it would make him feel better.

My parents insist they did me no wrong by not calling me Jodie or Debbie or Stacy. Teresa is a good Hungarian name they say, my great-grandmother’s name, although she was called Tess.

Until recently, I’ve always appreciated having an ambiguous name. It’s nice to reveal your ethnicity only when you feel like it, when it feels safe, when it’s your choice. Now, however, I wonder what it would have been like to be called Ruth Oppenheimer or Shoshana Hirshfeld. My life would have been totally different as Mona Moskowitz, who isn’t kidding anyone.

Growing up, I never really liked the sound of Jewish surnames, their Germanic bite, all the connotations and stereotypes from which I was happy to distance myself. I planned to do away with my own surname, vague as it may be, and fantasized about becoming Teresa Willis or Teresa McBride. I figured I’d marry a guy with a nice vanilla moniker, and that would be that. I could monogram my way into belonging. I’d have a name people could spell and pronounce.

I tell you, I must be undergoing some major self-acceptance because out of nowhere, Jewish names are starting to sound downright … sexy.

As an adult, I’ve always planned to keep my last name if I got married, but I still play the dating name game, taking surnames out for a spin. Teresa Cohen? Teresa Goldstein? I still enjoy the sheer, unabashed WASPiness of Teresa Tyler or the incredible misdirect of Teresa Puccinelli, but I no longer cringe from Teresa Saperstein.

As a Jew, your name identifies you. I never wanted to run from that, but I welcomed the option to “pass.” Now I wonder what it would be like to remove all doubt. “I’m Teresa Blumenfeld, nice to meet you. Yeah, Blumenfeld.”

Teresa Strasser, Wikipedia:

Strasser married Daniel Wachinski, an IBM accountant, in a small ceremony at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 25, 2008.

French Jews win right to choose their own names, The Times of Israel, 3 April 2013:

After decades of denying Jews the right to change their French last names to their original Jewish ones, the French Ministry of Justice recently revised its position.

Fearful of anti-Semitism, many French Jews decided to adopt French surnames in the late 1940s and ’50s.

“Even though the French administration never forced them to adopt less foreign-sounding names, they were highly encouraged to do so,” says Céline Masson, a lecturer in psychoanalysis at Université Paris-Diderot and a co-founder of La Force du Nom (“The Strength of the Name”), a Paris-based organization that lobbies for the right to reclaim old names.

Nearly 70 years after World War II, many descendants of both Holocaust survivors and Jews from North Africa have decided to reconnect with their roots by taking back the names of their ancestors.

French law, however, stipulates that once changed, a last name is considered “immutable.” It also prohibits citizens from reverting to a “foreign-sounding name.”

“We’re talking about a very small minority here,” [Céline Masson, a lecturer in psychoanalysis at Université Paris-Diderot and a co-founder of La Force du Nom (“The Strength of the Name”), a Paris-based organization that lobbies for the right to reclaim old names] Masson told The Times of Israel. “So far, we’ve had about 30 cases or so. But in a country where 76,000 Jews were deported [during the Holocaust], it’s bound to be a powerful debate.”

In their applications, both advocates argued that allowing the reversion to previous names constitutes a “symbolic reparation” that France owes its Jewish citizens.

Backed by years of experience as a psychoanalyst and her personal history, Masson explains that changing one’s name can represent a “trauma,” especially for younger generations that now want to reconnect with their Jewish roots and family past.

In some cases, certain family members choose to revert to their old Jewish names, while others maintain the newer one.

“Sometimes family members don’t agree on what their name should be and what it represents,” Masson said. “I’ve seen cases where children feel like having a Jewish name, and the parents or the grandparents don’t, or vice versa.”

“This is the kind of problem we didn’t think we would encounter at first,” she continued. “But this is definitely something we ought to analyze more in the years to come. It is yet another interesting aspect of how complex a Jewish identity can be, even today.”

Some Jews in France wish to revert to family names, Los Angeles Times, July 2010:

A portion of the French civil code adopted after the war stipulates that family names are “immutable” and must be continued. The civil code allows “foreign sounding” names to be changed to those considered more French-like, but declares the “impossibility” of reverting.

In the 1940s and ’50s hundreds of thousands of Jews, many still reeling from the Holocaust, arrived in France. Mainly poor and stateless, and fearful of latent anti-Semitism in a country from which 76,000 Jews were dispatched to concentration camps, most were just grateful to be allowed to stay.

There was no legal obligation for them to drop their family names, but they often were encouraged to do so. Many people agreed to new French-sounding names even when the new names bore little relation to the ones they had passed down through generations: So the Rozenkopfs became the Rosents; the Frankensteins the Franiers; the Wolkowiczs the Volcots.

“When he was naturalized, my grandfather was asked if he wanted to French-ify his name, and Fazel was suggested. He didn’t really agree but was under the impression there was no real choice,” Jeremie Fazel says.

“He never complained. Remember these were people who, after what they had been through, just wanted to live in peace. They would do anything to blend in.”

When Celine Masson’s family — originally surnamed Hassan — arrived in eastern France in the 1960s among a wave of Jewish emigres from Tunisia, French officials suggested making the name sound more French-sounding. Again, while not forced to change, Celine Masson’s father agreed to do so.

“There was a lot of anti-Semitism in those days,” said Masson, a senior university lecturer in psychoanalysis. “Even after changing it there were people who stopped buying from his furniture store when they discovered he was Jewish.

“I was born a Masson, but the name means nothing,” she said. “It carries no history, it says nothing about my family, my roots, where we came from.”

Masson has set up an organization called La Force du Nom (The Strength of the Name) with French lawyer Nathalie Felzenszwalbe — whose family retained its name — representing more than 30 French Jews who want to change their names to reflect family origins.

“Everyone needs to know where they come from. A family’s name is part of the compass in life,” Fazel said.

Names are one of the more outwardly visible and important indications of a person’s identity. Certain names, by themselves, are enough to identify jews. Jews are aware of this, and often change their names to disguise themselves, to fool Whites into mistaking them for “us”.

The podcast will be broadcast and available for download on Tuesday at 9PM ET.

See also The Gentle Art of Changing Jewish Names – Episode 75 for a complete reading of Chapter 70 of The International Jew, with commentary by Carolyn Yeager and Hadding Scott.

 
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