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Jewish Crypsis – Jewdar

Jewish crypsis – the name game, the nosejobs, the hiding behind religion, the half-jews – are indications of parasitism.

Jewdar, or j-dar, is short for jewish radar – trying to determine if someone is or isn’t a jew. It is akin to what the military calls IFF – “identification friend or foe”. Jews use the term because they know better than anyone else that jews disguise themselves, but still have a strong interest in identifying their kin.

A comment on Steve Sailer’s Nicholas Wade on Ashkenazi ancestry illustrates how even on “race-realist” forums, even on posts concerning the biological nature of jewishness, attempts are still made to deny that jews have any recognizable physical features, and that any attempt to do so is “crazy”:

Anonymous said…

“Even so, you can often tell white Jews from other whites.”

No, you can’t. I’ve lived in New York my whole life and I can’t tell Jews from non-Jews. (Excepting the ones in religious garb of course)

“Alan Dershowitz, Woody Allen, Noam Chomsky, Trotsky, Kafka, Carole King, the guy in SOCIAL NETWORK, Henry Jaglom, Roman Polanski, Bob Dylan, Streisand, Bette Midler, Elena Kagan, Ruth Ginzburg, Serge Gainsborough, Philip Roth, and etc. are recognizable as Jewish from a mile away.”

No, they are not. In fact those people don’t even look like one another! You know these people are Jewish and so you assign to them a physical commonality which does not exist.

The flip side of “pattern recognition” is “pattern imposition” – where the mind tries to see a pattern which is not there. You’re engaging in pattern imposition, not pattern recognition.

Jewdar is a form of pattern recognition based on an evaluation of various bits of evidence. The denial and psychopathologization of such pattern recognition is part of jewish crypsis. Jews know very well that 1) jews disguise themselves and 2) there are ways to recognize them anyway. They also know that their interests aren’t served by non-jews understanding any of this.

The Toronto Jewish Film Festival’s J-DAR website makes a game of it. ABOUT TJFF:

We Jews have a reputation for making great films, and that’s what the Toronto Jewish Film Festival is all about – great films. Movies that engage, thrill and make you laugh. Stories that are universal. No matter what your nationality, or religion. So grab a friend and some popcorn, and prepare to be entertained. After all, creating great films is what we do best.

HOW J-DAR WORKS explains how they rate a movie’s jewishness by looking up the writer, director, producer, editor and cast in

a database that contains the names of pretty much every jew in Hollywood – give or take a jew. Plus, it analyzes your movie for jewish content too.

That “jewish content”, often packaged in the moral of the story, is aimed at the unsuspecting subconscious of universalist-minded viewers.

Jews take their jewishness seriously. Making a joke of the interference their own crypsis causes them is one way of disguising it – even as they share tips on how to overcome the problem. For example, How to Jew: Activate your JEWDAR, at Schmooze Magazine:

Growing up, whenever my father would take me to a place that was known for being particularly WASP-y, he would whisper in my ear “Jew! Jew!” in imitation of the “Jew-alarm” our presence set off. While, to my knowledge, Jew-alarms do not actually exist, there are some more subtle ways of figuring out whether your friend’s cute roommate is a member of the tribe.

The article lists several elementary sources of evidence for an effective jewdar: physical appearance, the name game, breeding grounds, and shared social experiences. Another good source of evidence is language, eg. words like “schmooze”, expressions like “member of the tribe”, and other jewish terms that jews use and recognize but often go right over goyishe kopfs.

Jon Carroll is one of those goyishe kopfs. He’s up to his ears in jews but was surprised to learn about jewdar. He quickly understood that it’s just a big joke, of course, but life-and-death serious too. The mystery of Jewdar:

So these thoughts were running around my brain – which was also telling me that three columns on gaydar might be just a bit much – when my editor, the fabulous Andrea Behr, said casually, “Then there’s Jewdar.”


Now, it should be said that, for an Irish lad, I’m pretty darned Jewish. Both my daughters are Jewish, and so of course both their daughters are Jewish. I have sung at a bat mitzvah, and I was not nearly as bad as some would have expected. Also, it turns out, most of my best friends are Jewish. (I would have said “some of my best friends,” but that’s now a cliche meaning “I met a Jewish guy once on the golf course,” which is not at all what I mean. English is so hard.) But I had never heard of Jewdar.

But – to return to the serious theme at the beginning of the column – there’s a larger and more compelling reason for the development of Jewdar. There was a time in Europe – and there still is a time in other places right now – when being able to know friend from foe was literally a matter of life and death. It was hard, because Jews come from many places on the globe and look many different ways, speak many different languages, and sorting it all out takes an almost supernatural instinct.

Get it wrong, go to jail. It’s like Monopoly, only with real people and the Gestapo.

It is not known how much of a role Jewdar played in the survival of those who did survive. Sometimes it might even be counterproductive: Oscar Schindler is an obvious example, but there were many others. Compassion is not limited by ethnic and cultural boundaries. But still, underneath all the joking, there’s the reality of friend versus foe, and what to do in the absence of shibboleths.

Underneath all the joking, Carroll sides with the jews against Europeans.

Understanding Jewish Influence I: Background Traits for Jewish Activism, by Kevin MacDonald, provides a more sober and objective assessment of what’s going on:

GST [Genetic Similarity Theory] has some important implications for understanding cooperation and cohesiveness among Jews. It predicts that people will be friendlier to other people who are genetically more similar to themselves. In the case of Jews and non-Jews, it predicts that Jews would be more likely to make friends and alliances with other Jews, and that there would be high levels of rapport and psychological satisfaction within these relationships.

GST explains the extraordinary rapport and cohesiveness among Jews. Since the vast majority of Jews are closely related genetically, GST predicts that they will be very attracted to other Jews and may even be able to recognize them in the absence of distinctive clothing and hair styles. There is anecdotal evidence for this statement. Theologian Eugene Borowitz writes that Jews seek each other out in social situations and feel “far more at home” after they have discovered who is Jewish.54 “Most Jews claim to be equipped with an interpersonal friend-or-foe sensing device that enables them to detect the presence of another Jew, despite heavy camouflage.” Another Jewish writer comments on the incredible sense of oneness he has with other Jews and his ability to recognize other Jews in public places, a talent some Jews call “J-dar.”55 While dining with his non-Jewish fiancée, he is immediately recognized as Jewish by some other Jews, and there is an immediate “bond of brotherhood” between them that excludes his non-Jewish companion.

Robert Reich, Clinton administration Secretary of Labor, wrote that in his first face-to-face meeting with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, “We have never met before, but I instantly know him. One look, one phrase, and I know where he grew up, how he grew up, where he got his drive and his sense of humor. He is New York. He is Jewish. He looks like my uncle Louis, his voice is my uncle Sam. I feel we’ve been together at countless weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals. I know his genetic structure. I’m certain that within the last five hundred years—perhaps even more recently—we shared the same ancestor.”56 Reich is almost certainly correct: He and Greenspan do indeed have a recent common ancestor, and this genetic affinity causes them to have an almost supernatural attraction to each other. Or consider Sigmund Freud, who wrote that he found “the attraction of Judaism and of Jews so irresistible, many dark emotional powers, all the mightier the less they let themselves be grasped in words, as well as the clear consciousness of inner identity, the secrecy of the same mental construction.”57

Any discussion of Judaism has to start and probably end with this incredibly strong bond that Jews have among each other—a bond that is created by their close genetic relationship and by the intensification of the psychological mechanisms underlying group cohesion. This powerful rapport among Jews translates into a heightened ability to cooperate in highly focused groups.

Crypsis, jewdar and parasitism are all related.

A recent article Occidental Observer article by Tobias Langdon, Verbal Venom: Biological Parallels for Western Pathologies, discusses the psychological mechanics of jewish parasitism:

Neuroparasitology is the study of how parasites manipulate the brains of their hosts. Parasitic wasps are experts at this manipulation. For example, some inject paralysing toxins with their stings and create living larders for their offspring. Mason wasps lay eggs on paralysed caterpillars, then seal them into brood-chambers made of mud. The caterpillars are then eaten alive by the larvae that hatch from the eggs.

Parasitic wasps induce this suicidal passivity with minute injections of neurotoxin, because tiny amounts of chemical can have huge effects on nervous systems.

Each species of parasite exploits some particular aspect of its host’s biology. Wasps inject toxins that paralyse nerves; cuckoos lay camouflaged eggs that fool eyes and brains. But this raises a dangerous idea about Homo sapiens. It’s clear from biology that predation and parasitism evolve quickly and easily among animals. All birds have a common ancestor, but some birds, like eagles and shrikes, now prey on their relatives, while others, like cuckoos and skuas, now parasitize their relatives. So why can’t predation and parasitism have evolved among those animals known as human beings? Why can’t there be predatory or parasitic ideologies, professions and even races?

One answer might be this: there can’t be because that’s a wicked thing to suggest – it’s bigoted, hateful and racist.

My hypothesis, therefore, is that cultural Marxism is a language-based form of parasitism. But how might you go about proving this hypothesis? In the same way as you might prove that an animal has parasites. You don’t have to detect the parasites directly — you can deduce their presence from their effects on an animal’s metabolism

Pathogenicity, Wikipedia:

Virulence is, by MeSH definition, the degree of pathogenicity [the potential capacity of certain species of microbes to cause a disease] within a group or species of parasites as indicated by case fatality rates and/or the ability of the organism to invade the tissues of the host.

In an ecological context, virulence can be defined as the host’s parasite-induced loss of fitness.

The term “virulent anti-semitism” is a typical jewish inversion of reality. Virulence is a characteristic of parasites, a measure of their ability to infiltrate and harm their hosts.

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Jewish Crypsis – Half-Jews – Part 4

Regarding the double standards of exclusion and the Nuremberg laws.

Pew Survey About Jewish America Got It All Wrong, by J.J. Goldberg, The Jewish Daily Forward, 13 October 2013:

If you’ve been following the news about that new survey of American Jews from the folks at the Pew Research Center, you’ve probably heard the basics. The New York Times summed it up nicely: “a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith and are not raising their children Jewish.”

There’s one more thing you need to know: It’s not true. None of it.

A “rise in those who are not religious”? Wrong. More Jews marrying “outside the faith”? Wrong. More Jews “not raising their children Jewish”? Wrong.

No, not wrong as in “I think there’s a better way to interpret those numbers.” Wrong as in “incorrect.” Erroneous. Whoops.

Mind you, most of what’s in the study seems solid, from what this reasonably informed layman can tell. It just so happens that Pew made an honest mistake in one highly visible spot, and that is what grabbed the headlines. Then the reporters made a few mistakes reading the material. The result was what you saw: a dark portent of doom.

Take away the errors, and you get a very different narrative. It would go something like this: Despite decades of warnings that American Jewry is dissolving in the face of assimilation and intermarriage, a major new survey by one of America’s most respected social research organizations depicts a Jewish community that is growing more robustly than even the optimists expected.

Who is a Jew?, Wikipedia:

“Who is a Jew?” … is a basic question about Jewish identity and considerations of Jewish self-identification. The question is based in ideas about Jewish personhood which have cultural, religious, genealogical, and personal dimensions. The question was of importance during the rule of the Nazi party in Germany, which persecuted the Jews and defined them for the government’s purposes by the Nuremberg Laws.

The definition of who is a Jew varies according to whether it is being considered by Jews based on normative religious statutes or self-identification, or by non-Jews for other reasons.

Jews who have practiced another religion

In general, Orthodox Judaism considers individuals born of Jewish mothers to be Jewish, even if they convert to another religion.[36] Reform Judaism views Jews who convert to another religion as non-Jews.

Religious definitions

Halakhic perspective

According to the traditional Rabbinic view, which is maintained by all branches of Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism[48] today, only halakha can define who is or is not a Jew when a question of Jewish identity, lineage, or parentage arises about any person seeking to define themselves or claim that they are Jewish.

As a result, mere belief in the principles of Judaism does not make one a Jew. Similarly, non-adherence by a Jew to the 613 Mitzvot, or even formal conversion to another religion, does not make one lose one’s Jewish status. Thus the immediate descendants of all female Jews (even apostates) are still considered to be Jews, as are those of all their female descendants. Even those descendants who are not aware they are Jews, or practice a religion other than Judaism, are defined by this perspective as Jews, as long as they come from an unbroken female line of descent. As a corollary, the children of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother are not considered to be Jews by halakha unless they formally convert according to halakha, even if raised fully observant in the mitzvot.

Antisemitic definitions

The question “who is a Jew?” is also sometimes of importance to non-Jews. It has had exceptional significance historically when considered by anti-Jewish groups for the purpose of targeting Jews for persecution or discrimination. The definition can impact on whether a person may have a certain job, live in certain locations, receive a free education, live or continue to live in the country, be imprisoned, or executed.


The Nazi regime instituted laws discriminating against Jews, declared a race by the Nazis, and thus needed a working definition of who is a Jew as to its law-defined race system. These definitions almost completely categorised persons through the religions followed by each individual’s ancestors, according to membership registries. Thus personal faith or individual observance, as well as the religious definitions of Judaism as given by the Halacha, were mostly ignored.

Why did the germans write the nuremberg laws:

To take away the rights of the German Jews.

Nuremberg Laws, Wikipedia:

The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating antisemitism as a form of scientific racism.

The lack of a clear legal method of defining who was Jewish had, however, allowed some Jews to escape some forms of discrimination aimed at them. The enactment of laws identifying who was Jewish made it easier for the Nazis to enforce legislation restricting the basic rights of German Jews.

The Nuremberg Laws classified people with four German grandparents as “German or kindred blood”, while people were classified as Jews if they descended from three or four Jewish grandparents. A person with one or two Jewish grandparents was a Mischling, a crossbreed, of “mixed blood”.[1] These laws deprived Jews of German citizenship and prohibited racially mixed marriages between Jews and other Germans.[2] Although the laws at first were aimed at Jews, a week after becoming intact the laws applied also to “Gypsies, Negroes or their bastard offspring”.[3][4][5]

The Nuremberg Laws also included a ban on sexual relations between people defined as “Aryan” and “non-Aryan” and prevented Jews from participating in German civic life. These laws were both an attempt to return the Jews of 20th-century Germany to the position that Jews had held before their emancipation in the 19th century; although in the 19th century Jews could have evaded restrictions by converting, this was no longer possible.

Nazi Eugenics and Racial belief

The Nuremberg laws were based on a belief in Scientific racism and derived from a primitive understanding of genetics. Although the Nazis took these ideas to violent extremes, they were based on thinking that already existed across Europe and America. Nazi laws banning “interracial marriage” and according to Nazi racial ideology the Germanic Nordic-Aryans were a master race and in accordance with ideas expressed in Eugenics and Social Darwinism;[39] they therefore sought to preserve their supposed racial superiority by banning inter-marriage with people they regarded as inferior or as a threat, in particular Jews, Gypsies and blacks who were classified as untermenschen (“subhumans”) that were seen as racially distinctive minorities of “alien blood”.[4][40]

Russian-speakers who want to make aliya could need DNA test, The Times of Israel, 29 July 2013:

A source in the [Prime Minister’s Office] told Maariv that the consul’s procedure, approved by the legal department of the Interior Ministry, states that a Russian-speaking child born out-of-wedlock is eligible to receive an Israeli immigration visa if the birth was registered before the child turned 3. Otherwise a DNA test to prove Jewish parentage is necessary.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the decision to require DNA testing for Russian Jews is based on the recommendations of Nativ, an educational program under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office to help Jews from the FSU immigrate to Israel.

The issue cuts to the heart of Israel’s Law of Return, which allows anybody with a Jewish parent, grandparent or spouse to move to Israel and be eligible for citizenship. Determining who is a Jew — a definition which has evolved along with the religion’s many streams — has led the interior Ministry to create a somewhat byzantine system of checks and rules and has sometimes led applicants, especially converts to Judaism, to fight for the right to immigrate in Israeli courts.

Translation: Nuremberg Race Laws, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

Reich Citizenship Law of September 15, 1935

Article 1

1. A subject of the state is a person who enjoys the protection of the German Reich and who in consequence has specific obligations toward it.

2. The status of subject of the state is acquired in accordance with the provisions of the Reich and the Reich Citizenship Law.

Article 2

1. A Reich citizen is a subject of the state who is of German or related blood, and proves by his conduct that he is willing and fit to faithfully serve the German people and Reich.

2. Reich citizenship is acquired through the granting of a Reich citizenship certificate.

3. The Reich citizen is the sole bearer of full political rights in accordance with the law.

Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor of September 15, 1935

Moved by the understanding that purity of German blood is the essential condition for the continued existence of the German people, and inspired by the inflexible determination to ensure the existence of the German nation for all time, the Reichstag has unanimously adopted the following law, which is promulgated herewith:

Article 1

1. Marriages between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood are forbidden. Marriages nevertheless concluded are invalid, even if concluded abroad to circumvent this law.

2. Annulment proceedings can be initiated only by the state prosecutor.

Article 2

Extramarital relations between Jews and subjects of the state of German or related blood are forbidden.

Article 3

Jews may not employ in their households female subjects of the state of German or related blood who are under 45 years old.

Article 4

1. Jews are forbidden to fly the Reich or national flag or display Reich colors.

2. They are, on the other hand, permitted to display the Jewish colors. The exercise of this right is protected by the state.

The History Place – World War II in Europe Timeline: September 15, 1935 – The Nuremberg Race Laws:

The Nazis settled on defining a “full Jew” as a person with three Jewish grandparents. Those with less were designated as Mischlinge of two degrees: First Degree – two Jewish grandparents; Second Degree – one Jewish grandparent.

After the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, a dozen supplemental Nazi decrees were issued that eventually outlawed the Jews completely, depriving them of their rights as human beings.

Background & Overview of the Nuremberg Laws | Jewish Virtual Library:

To create his homogeneous and harmonious Aryan society, Hitler had first to discard the Jews, a “people” incompatible with “true Germans.” The Nuremberg Laws helped Hitler take the first step toward getting rid of “these parasites” and imposing racial conformity on society.

Image source: Wikipedia, full size: 3328 x 2332.

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Jewish Crypsis – Half-Jews – Part 3

How scrutinizing half-jews, and a recent poll of jews, reveals the biological nature of jewishness.

Pew Polls Jews highlights the characteristic duplicity of jewish identity, particularly the meaning of “religion”.

Sidebar: Who is a Jew?:

One of the first decisions that had to be made in conducting this study and analyzing its results was to answer the question, “Who is a Jew?” This is an ancient question with no single, timeless answer. On the one hand, being Jewish is a matter of religion – the traditional, matrilineal definition of Jewish identity is founded on halakha (Jewish religious law). On the other hand, being Jewish also may be a matter of ancestry, ethnicity and cultural background.

Pew’s report makes the primacy of ancestry plain in many ways, and yet in various ways maintains that it is instead about “religion”.

The very labels of the two categories Pew considered jews – “jews by religion” and “jews of no religion” – indicate that religion doesn’t matter except to distinguish different types of jew. The importance assigned to “jewish parents” is also telling. The most obvious, yet muted statistic:

Nearly all Jews say they had at least one Jewish parent, including 96% of Jews by religion and 97% of Jews of no religion.

All in all, 98% of Jews (and, by definition, 100% of Jews of no religion) were raised Jewish or had at least one Jewish parent; 2% of Jews had no such background but indicate they had a formal conversion to Judaism, while 1% did not formally convert.

Pew did not disclose statistics of half-jews/part-jews, but their significance was addressed, indirectly, by the hyperbolic sky-is-falling spin with which some jews reacted to Pew’s report.

Charlotte Alter’s piece at TIME, titled Jewish Identity Crisis Revealed In New Pew Survey, is a brief mainstream jewsmedia example:

Seventy-nine percent of non-religious Jews have married outside the faith, while only 36 percent of religious Jews have intermarried. And 90 percent of religious Jews plan to raise their children at least partially Jewish, while two-thirds of Jews who say they have “no religion” do not plan to raise their kids Jewish at all.

“Intermarriage” produces half-jews, which jews regard as an existential threat to jews.

A major theme of this spin is that older jews are more concerned to maintain the “faith” pretense than younger jews are. Of course, this neglects that younger jews eventually become older jews, and in the process often become more overtly obsessed with all things jewish.

There is no real demographic threat to jews. The fertility rates indicate that more jewy correlates with more fertile. The fertility rate for the jewiest jews, the “orthodox”, is twice what it is for the general (non-jew) population.

Another example of jewish alarm is Pew poll on Jewish identity: Jews are intermarrying, aren’t raising their kids Jewish, and don’t believe in God., by Jessica Grose, Slate, 1 Oct 2013.

Jews Are Leaving Faith Behind. Is That Bad for the Jews?

I ended up marrying a non-Jew (an Episcopalian to be exact). While our baby daughter is Jewish by lineage, I’m still not sure how Jewish we are going to raise her.

The notion that American Jews are eschewing religion so broadly makes me a little sad, or worried for Jewish continuity (or guilty for being part of the problem). But I can’t see myself bringing my daughter to temple every Friday to honor a God I don’t believe in.

Grose was reacting to this New York Times article in which fellow jews also worried about “jewish continuity”. Poll Shows Major Shift in Identity of U.S. Jews, by Laurie Goodstein, NYT, 1 Oct 2013:

“It’s a very grim portrait of the health of the American Jewish population in terms of their Jewish identification,” said Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York.

“It’s very stark,” Alan Cooperman, deputy director of the Pew religion project, said in an interview. “Older Jews are Jews by religion. Younger Jews are Jews of no religion.”

The trend toward secularism is also happening in the American population in general, with increasing proportions of each generation claiming no religious affiliation.

But Jews without religion tend not to raise their children Jewish, so this secular trend has serious consequences for what Jewish leaders call “Jewish continuity.” Of the “Jews of no religion” who have children at home, two-thirds are not raising their children Jewish in any way. This is in contrast to the “Jews with religion,” of whom 93 percent said they are raising their children to have a Jewish identity.

Steven M. Cohen, a sociologist of American Jewry at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York, and a paid consultant on the poll, said the report foretold “a sharply declining non-Orthodox population in the second half of the 21st century, and a rising fraction of Jews who are Orthodox.”

The survey also portends “growing polarization” between religious and nonreligious Jews, said Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz, senior director of research and analysis at the Jewish Federations of North America.

The Jewish Federations has conducted major surveys of American Jews over many decades, but the last one in 2000 was mired in controversy over methodology. When the federations decided not to undertake another survey in 2010, Jane Eisner, editor in chief of The Jewish Daily Forward, urged the Pew researchers to jump in.

As noted in Part 2, the polarization and controversy is over part-jews, over purity. The “orthodox” regard the “reform” bloodlines as tainted. Their “religious” concern is biological purity, not ideological purity.

At the bottom of the article which Jessica Grose concluded by expressing her guilt about jewish continuity was a link to another (serendipitously related) article Slate published on the same day – expressing horror that Germans, however briefly, had similar concerns.

Newly Discovered “Nazi Bride School” Curriculum Includes Lesson on How to Be “Sustainers of the Race”, by Katy Waldman, Slate, 1 Oct 2013:

At Least You’re Not at Nazi Bride School

I defy you, this Tuesday, to dream up something more horrifying than the phrase “Nazi bride school.” As The New Yorker reports, these training academies for Reich wives-to-be cropped up throughout the late 1930s to usher young maidens toward their spiritual and reproductive destinies. Classes designed to “mould housewives out of office girls” covered cooking, ironing, gardening, child care, appropriate cocktail conversation, how to polish boots and daggers, and more.

From their reactions to the Pew poll we can see two other phrases that horrify jews: “people of jewish background” (jews who delude themselves that they aren’t) and “people of jewish affinity” (non-jews who delude themselves that they are). These phrases should also horrify non-jews, and especially Whites, though for different reasons. Though jews may generally regard such quasi-jews as non-jews, they have an overall affinity for jews which best serves jewish interests.

What else did they do? Oh, “acquire a special knowledge of race and genetics” so that they might fulfill their calling as “sustainers of the race.”

In this sick, judaized reality in which we live jews openly fret about sustaining their race behind a veil of dissembling about “religion”, while pathologizing and demonizing Germans who tried to go about it forthrightly.

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Jewish Crypsis – Half-Jews – Part 2

Of matrilineality and patrilineality. The controversy around this issue is a smoke screen which helps distract from the jewish consensus that jewishness is heritable – genetic, biological, racial. Jews disapprove of miscegenation with non-jews and the various significant “denominations” are distinguishable, in part, by their attitudes toward mixed offspring. The innermost orthodox, halachic, “religious” core is the most exclusive, the most concerned about racial purity. Beyond this core are progressively more permissive, more tainted layers. Half-jews who aren’t rejected outright are relegated to the margins of jewishness – by jews.

The jews are fundamentally dishonest about this. Their discussions concerning it are conducted more or less in code. The jewish double-talk creates confusion. What follows are some examples which supplement those already provided in Part 1. Note that in many cases the original articles have disappeared and were retrieved using Internet Archive: Wayback Machine. It is no coincidence that the spiked sources contain some of the most revealing information.

The Half-Jew’s Complaint, by Sadie Stein, 9 Jul 2009:

Debates are raging in Israel over whether to let people claim Jewish identity based on either parent. More conservative factions want to stick to matrilineality. Us half-Jews are confused.

Of course, as many a Jew will tell you, “there is no such thing as a half-Jew.” When halfjew.com tried to get off the ground – and, only half-jokingly, wanted to take over Governor’s Island, which just made the whole thing weird – debate became heated: you were either a Jew with a Jewish mother, wrote furious commenters, or a goy. (A few helpful anti-Semites chipped in vaguely for good measure. ) “Half-Jew,” said the more religious, was not a identity.

But, as any of us can tell you, it most certainly is. Certainly growing up in New York, where many of my classmates, like me, had a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, this was a standard form of identification. While a few of my friends’ families “compromised” on Unitarianism or Quaker meeting, many, obviously not terribly religious, raised their kids without a single religion, lighting a menorah in front of a Christmas tree and maybe eating chocolate eggs at Easter before going to a grandparent’s passover Seder. We knew which celebrities were half-Jewish: Gwyneth Paltrow, Lenny Kravitz, Carrie Fischer, Paul Newman. Many of us had distinctly Jewish names that would lead the world to make assumptions, yet understood that to the religious Jewish community, we’d not be considered Chosen unless we converted.

In truth, I’d never thought much about it until arriving at college where, in the way of such things, various religious groups made overtures to incoming freshmen. I remember one guy coming up to me and asking if I wanted to join Hillel House; when I explained that my mother wasn’t Jewish, his face darkened. “It’s people like your father who are ruining the Jewish religion,” he said angrily.

Stein links Opinion: Matrilineality is still best for Jewish identity, by Raymond Apple, Jerusalem Post, 7 Jul 2009:

The writer is emeritus rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Sydney, Australia.

In recent polling, about half of the Israeli population (but not the Orthodox) advocated allowing Jewish identity to follow either parent. This contrasts with the traditional definition whereby Jewish descent depends on the mother.

Descent is the key word. Descent traditionally follows both parents. What jews have traditionally argued about is how to define and reject those with non-jew descent. As we see here, the argument never ends and involves twisting the meanings of words.

It could be that there was an early stage of fluidity, but when the exiles returned from Babylon they saw the influence of “foreign wives” and encouraged Ezra (10:2-4, 9:11) to make rulings against outmarriage and the easy acceptance of “the daughters of strange gods.”

In the Roman period there were so many conversions and semi-conversions to Judaism that there needed to be a clear definition of Jewish status; otherwise, according to Lawrence Schiffman (Who Was a Jew?, 1985, ch. 2), Judaism would have been swamped by the children of gentile Christian mothers.

Rabbinic Judaism is unyielding in maintaining matrilineality. Lord Jakobovits (The Timely and the Timeless, 1977, pages 198-217) says the certainty of maternity must be set against the possible doubt of paternity. Even in nature the mother’s bond with the child is firmer than the father’s. And the mother has the superior influence on the child’s religious development.

Y-chromosomal Aaron, at Wikipedia, provides some insight into what half-jews and their “religious development” means to the core of jews:

Although membership in the Jewish community has, since at least the second century CE, been passed maternally (see: Who is a Jew?), tribal identity, and membership in the group that originally comprised the Jewish priesthood (Cohen or Kohen; plural: Cohanim or Kohanim), has been patrilineal.

This Wikipedia page also contains a diagram illustrating the genetic relations between the jewiest of jewish bloodlines. Among the surnames listed are those most recognizable even to non-jews as jewish exactly because they correlate with the (most “religiously” pure) genetic core of jewry. Sephardic surnames include: Cohen, Shapiro, Levy. Ashkenazic surnames include: Cohen, Coyne, Cowan, Kaplan, Kahan, Katz, Kagan, Kovacs, Garfinkel, Kohn.

Patrilineal Descent, at Jewish Virtual Library, reflects the layered jewish attitudes towards half-jews:

In March 1983, the Reform movement broke with the Orthodox and Conservative Jewish sects – and with Jewish law – and declared that a child born of one Jewish parent, whether it is the mother or the father, is under the presumption of being Jewish. This patrilineal descent resolution went on to state that a person’s Jewishness is not, however, automatic, but must be activated by “appropriate and timely” Jewish acts. It is not enough to simply be born to a Jewish parent. The Reform movement also notes that in the Bible the line always followed the father, including the cases of Joseph and Moses, who married into non-Israelite priestly families.

The Reform decision to regard a child as Jewish on the basis of patrilineal as well as matrilineal descent has prompted a bitter controversy. In the future, traditional Jews who wish to marry a Reform Jew will have to examine their prospective spouse’s background to ensure that he or she is Jewish according to Jewish law. In truth, however, the Reform movement’s change is not nearly as great as it first seemed. Had the Reform rabbis maintained the traditional definition of a Jew, and insisted on converting children of non-Jewish women married to Jewish men, Orthodox Jews would still have considered the conversions invalid, since they reject the validity of Reform. (It should also be noted, however, that in the case of a child born to a Jewish father but to a non-Jewish mother, most Orthodox rabbis will relax the stringent demands normally made of would-be converts.)

Within the Reform movement, a significant number of rabbis opposed the ruling, and a few have agitated to have the decision rescinded. That might occur only if the Orthodox rabbinate agrees to accept the validity of Reform conversions. Since no such agreement seems to be forthcoming, the Reform decision — apparently passed in large measure to accommodate and reassure the tens of thousands of intermarried couples who belong to Reform synagogues — will undoubtedly remain in force.

Within the Conservative movement, a minority attempt to define Jewishness on the basis of paternity as well as maternity has been soundly defeated.

More half-jew confusion. Patrilineal Jews Still Find Resistance, by Naomi Zeveloff, The Jewish Forward, 2 Apr 2012:

Rachel Brook, a 29-year-old vocalist living in Brooklyn, was born to a Jewish Israeli father and a non-Jewish mother. After her parents divorced when she was 3, Brook was raised by her father as a Jew in a Reform synagogue. Last year, she decided to apply to cantorial school at the Academy for Jewish Religion, but because AJR doesn’t accept students with only a Jewish father, Brook was told she would have to convert.

“It was hard for me to accept on many levels,” she said. “I felt I lived a recognizably Jewish life. I’m part Israeli. Never would it have occurred to me that others might not view me as legitimate.”

Accepted by the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, patrilineal Jews like Brook find themselves in limbo when they venture beyond their denominational walls. Nearly three decades after the Reform movement’s landmark 1983 decision to accept patrilineal Jews, the standard has yet to catch on with Conservative or Orthodox Jewry.

Now, as the first children born since the decision are beginning to have families of their own, patrilineal descent remains one of the most controversial decrees in American Jewish history. As Jews today gravitate away from movement-based worship and toward pluralistic venues, the resolution appears to be taking on new urgency. In communal settings like Taglit-Birthright Israel, JDate and Hillel, patrilineal Jews find themselves intermingling with people who question their Jewishness. “Dissent over descent” has reached a fever pitch.

The most telling paragraphs:

Officials in the Reform movement, now the largest denomination in America, say that their decision opened the door for mixed marrieds who were intent on raising their children as Jews. But critics from the Orthodox and Conservative movements, and even from within Reform Judaism itself, say that patrilineal acceptance has diluted the Jewish community beyond recognition, giving rise to a generation of half-Jews with tenuous religious ties.

Furthermore, they contend that patrilineal acceptance drove a wedge through the heart of the Jewish community, creating competing definitions of what it means to be a Jew. Whereas at one time, Orthodox parents might have allowed their child to marry a Reform Jew, the patrilineal decision caused traditional Jews, wary of Reform bloodlines, to question that acceptance.

“Jewish movements’ attempts to tamper with the definition of Jewish status obviously carried the seeds of terrible disunity for Jews as a people,” wrote Avi Shafran, spokesman for the ultra-Orthodox advocacy group Agudath Israel of America, in an email to the Forward. “This is why the first embrace of ‘patrilineality’ was strongly condemned by Jews who valued Jewish unity — that is to say, the maintenance of a single entity called ‘the Jewish people.’”

Reflecting on nearly 30 years of patrilineal descent, Reform leaders say that individual cases like Brook’s were the rationale for shifting the definition of Jewish identity, one based on blood lineage, to one based on Jewish commitment. “We had to get rid of a dissing approach that was inherent in Judaism,” said Rabbi Daniel Freelander, senior vice president of the Union for Reform Judaism. “We had a lot of individuals who feel good about their Jewishness, and who even had agreements with their partners to have a Jewish lifestyle, and there was no mechanism in Judaism to deal with those families.”

What we see here are the various layers of jews arguing about who’s really a jew and what’s really best for the jews. The coding is minimal, and the jewish concern about bloodlines and peoplehood is plain. To the extent this is a debate over “religious” doctrine, it indicates that the core, the ultra-orthodox, the rightest and truest believers, the jewiest of the jews, are naturally those who most stringently reject mixing.

The patrilineal descent decision may not have brought intermarrieds into the fold en masse, but it didn’t encourage intermarriage, either, as many of its early critics had warned would result. According to Cohen, the Reform movement’s 1983 resolution had a negligible impact on the intermarriage rate, which had been rising steadily since the 1960s and then tapered off at around 47% in the early 2000s. “I believe it had a small impact upon group boundaries and the boundaries were melting and weakening anyway,” he said. “The whole world of American religion has moved to nonexclusive identities, toward hybridity.”

In Cohen’s opinion, Reform Judaism’s decision to accept patrilineals makes sense as a way to accommodate the children of intermarrieds. But he also applauds the Conservative and Orthodox movements’ refusal to admit patrilineals without conversion. The approaches work together to send a potent mixed message to American Jewry — warning individuals against marrying outside the faith, but reassuring them that they’ll be accepted in some circles if they do.

Even so, the varying definitions of what makes a Jew a Jew have riled the Jewish community at large. Patrilineals from the Reform and Reconstructionist movements say they feel excluded when they bump up against more traditional notions of Jewish heritage. On a Birthright trip last December, for instance, Dartmouth University sophomore Patton Lowenstein, whose mother is a non-Jew, was chagrined when a rabbi at the Western Wall refused to wrap tefillin with him.

The second paragraph above acknowledges the jewish double-talk and its pragmatic purpose: to appease the half-jews most likely to make a stink about being rejected, while at the same time protecting the core of “the faith” from genetic taint.

More partial-jew confusion (a product or example of jewish double talk) and another “really interesting” broken link (saved by the Wayback Machine). Who is a half-Jew?, by Brad A. Greenberg, Jewish Journal, 13 July 2007:

There is a really interesting story in today’s Jewish Journal about the growing number of “half-Jews” fighting for acceptance. Jewish denominations differ on conversion requirements and whether the Jewish lineage comes from the mother or father, but each agrees that there is no such thing as a half-Jew—either you are or you aren’t.

The broader question—Who is a Jew?—is one of the most vexing for world Jewry and me personally. Both my grandmothers were Jewish and so was one grandfather; I look like a Jew, walk like a Jew and quack like a Jew—must be a duck—but I believe in Christianity, which is anathema to Judaism. So am I a Jew?

The dead link is a “preview” link, preserved at ‘Half-Jews’ fight for acceptance (it is still alive at this permalink):

The Jewish world has a problem with the way Renee Kaplan defines herself: half-Jewish. Kaplan, a television producer in her mid-30s, is the daughter of a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother who was raised Jewish.

“I’ve had endlessly to defend my half-Jewishness: resist rabbis who wanted to convert me, resent Jewish men who didn’t want to date me,” she writes in “Half/Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes” (Soft Skull Press, 2006).

Kaplan says she rejects anyone who deems her dual identity inauthentic.

Many children of intermarriage say they simply cannot turn their backs on the non-Jewish half of their identity. Their rabbis may say they are Jewish, but in their hearts they are also whatever grandma and grandpa are.

This openness to multiple identities is particularly true among college students, according to Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst, who interviewed hundreds of students for “The Half-Jewish Book” published in 2000.

Klein says those who call themselves half-Jewish “feel they are a combination, they are an amalgam, they are bicultural.”

A 2005 survey by Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life found that 48 percent of college students who consider themselves Jewish come from intermarried homes. It’s from this population that a new subculture is emerging of “people who draw from both sides of their heritage and synthesize their cultural halves into a remarkable new identity,” the authors write.

It’s something to celebrate, not hide, they argue.

Klein says his 27-year-old daughter considers herself half-Jewish, though he and Vuijst raised her as a Jew. She dedicated her bat mitzvah speech to her Dutch grandparents, who were honored as “Righteous Gentiles” for saving Jews during the Holocaust.

But her divided identity also causes her pain. In Israel on a visit, “everyone said she wasn’t Jewish,” Klein relates. At college she was kicked out of the kosher food line.

Some who use the term are conflicted.

Some self-proclaimed half-Jews feel anger, as they struggle for a sense of belonging in Jewish denominations that reject their dual identity.

“We’ll be the majority of Jews in this country by 2030,” [founder of half-jewish.net Robin] Margolis says. “Then the playing field changes. If we’re the majority, we’ll decide who’s a Jew.”

No, they won’t. What half-jews either don’t understand or won’t accept is the fact that the core of jewry always has and always will determine who is or isn’t a jew.

Here’s a half-jew who gets closer to the truth but still can’t accept it. Of Mischlinge and Mamzers, The Holy Halfbreed (“for descendants of intermarriage exploring jewish heritage”), 7 Feb 2010:

If we want to find each other, what can we call ourselves that won’t upset anyone? In the aftermath of yet another numbing debate (Robin’s latest article on Jewcy and ensuing discussion) and the binary world-view “you’re either Jewish or you’re not,” with a little “we don’t let Nazis decide who is Jewish” thrown in, AND the apparently hot-button issue we “halfies” have inherited due to the simple audacity of having been born, I wonder why Jewish communities should do outreach to us as a demographic if they don’t feel like it. I would have thought, based on logic, that it would serve them to do outreach to us because we are members of their extended families. There is a great deal of concern about Jewish continuity and assimilation, correct?

This article on the controversial subject of Who is a Jew describes what I often observe and others often deny.

The link is below.

It has been difficult for me to understand the matrilineal descent rule as anything other than an artificial construct. It has a creepy similarity to being “raced” (to use Lani Guinier’s term) by Nazis. Even though it is tribal, I can’t wrap my brain around why ancestry should matter in determining who belongs and who doesn’t, particularly today when we are mobile and often end up living far from where we were born. People adapt, after all. People convert to Judaism. So-called “intermarriage” is a fact of life. Intermarried couples who choose Judaism often receive grudging acceptance at best.

The Matrilineal Principle and Jewish Identity, Halakhah Think Tank, 16 Jul 2009:

This approach is crystallized in a clear rulingin Mishnah Kiddushin, which states that a Gentile woman produces Gentile offspring. Even this ruling met with some popular resistance, however. A few centuries later we have evidence of some in the Jewish community of Tyre wanting to circumcise such children on Shabbat, revealing their sense that “patrilineal” Jews ought to have been a part of the Jewish community. The rabbinic repsonse is fierce and clear: Such a child is a Gentile, in keeping with the Mishnah’s ruling. We will see however, that the feeling that patrilineal Jews are not identical to other Gentiles resurfaces later on.

On the question of the children of Gentile fathers and Jewish mothers, classical rabbinic sources are divided, and a debate persists for centuries. Some sources–including the Mishnah–argue that such a child is a mamzer, a Jew, fully obligated in mitzvot, but forbidden from marrying Jews of untainted lineage. (A mamzer can legally marry only another mamzer or a convert, who also lacks pure Jewish lineage.) Others maintain the Jewishness of said matrilineal child, while either lowering the level of lineal taint–such as forbidding a daughter from such a union to marry a kohen–or claiming that no taint exists whatsoever.

(Correction: In the podcast I mistakenly identified Mishnah as part of the Torah rather than the Talmud.)

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

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Jewish Crypsis – Half-Jews

What is a half-jew? Someone who is part jew and part something else.

Mamzer is a word jews use to describe a broad range of illegitimate offspring, including partial jews. The German word mischling specifically means part-jew.

These are terms akin to mulatto and mestizo, commonly used in the Americas to describe the results of mixing Whites with Africans or Amerindians. Likewise hapa, which originally meant part-Hawaiian but has spread and broadened to mean part-Asian/Pacific Islander.

The term half-jew causes cognitive dissonance when the lie that jewishness is all about religion clashes with the reality that it is about heredity. Examples of the resulting denial and confusion are easy to find.

How is someone ever “half” jewish (or any other religion)?

I hear all the time people saying that they are “half” jewish. Or they are half “catholic”?

How are you a “half” of any relgion? Its like being a virgin; either you are or you are not. You cannot be a “half” a virgin.

It is not the same as being born from two different racial parents where you are half and half.

Judiasm is not a race or ethnicity, it is a religion. The ethnicity of Jewish decent is mediteranean.

Such denial and confusion is found mostly among non-jews, who for various reasons can’t face the fact that jewishness is racial. A different kind of psychological strain is found in half-jews, many of whom realize that jewishness has always been based more on who your parents are than what beliefs you profess – that it is racial. Their situation can be understood as an “identity crisis”. Those who are part-White tend to reject Whiteness and grasp onto their jewishness instead, even though the jews, as a group, reject them.

In 2011 I detailed one example of half-jew behavior in An Unamusing Mischling Meltdown. “Unamused” initially claimed that he wasn’t a jew and didn’t care about the jews, and that “the Stormfronters” who think differently and reject him are stupid/crazy/evil. When challenged it became clear that he was lying, that he identified more with jews than Whites.

Whereas a half-jew striking a pose as pro-“white” is atypical, siding with jews is not. Snark, sarcasm and neurosis abound.

David Kersh: Half Jews? Modern Day Judaism as a Math Problem, by David Kersh, 13 Jan 2012:

The other day, driving back from a family member’s bar mitzvah, my eldest son wanted to know if he would get to have one someday.

I told him it was not going to happen and reminded him of his blessed half-Jewishness; I added, however, that though he did not have a choice in regards to the bar mitzvah business, he did have a choice as to which half of his body could be Jewish. If he wanted his legs and arms to be Jewish, or his hair Catholic and his ears Jewish, that was fine; needless to say, as his penis is not circumcised that would naturally have to be part of his non-Jewish self.

Something did not sit right with this concept. It was too simplistic, a one size fits all way to deal with identity. Maybe it worked in the olden days, post-shtetl and pre-Obama. After all, not all half-Jews are worth the same. For starters, there is the case that if the mother is Jewish and the father is non-Jewish, the kids are not half-Jews, but full Jews; or that a circumcised son of a Jewish father is supposedly more Jewish than my sons. I surely lose points not just by having three uncircumcised boys, but having three uncircumcised boys who eat Spanish ham (sometimes on a bagel, though) with milk on a daily basis. On the other hand, I must be able to claim points for the six months spent in Jerusalem wandering aimlessly and playing out the part of a wondering Jew; or the fact that I complain a lot; or that I feel ethically, intellectually and just plain superior to my neighbors; or that I give every cool person I like, from a Portuguese landscape architect to a Malian guitarist, a Jewish ancestor; or that I am clumsy; or, God forbid, that I am writing a piece about Jewish identity because I am confused about my Jewish identity.

The jew cries out in pain as he strikes his half-jew kids.

The Half-Jewish Book: A Celebration, by Daniel Klein and Freke Vuijst, published in 2000:

It’s happening fast: The population of half-Jews in America is well on its way to surpassing the population of full Jews. And with this population shift has come a revolutionary transformation of what it means to be half-Jewish. Sure, some people say that you are either Jewish or not, that there’s nothing in between–but the authors emphatically disagree. They say half-Jews are a unique subculture of people who draw from both sides of their heritage and synthesize their cultural halves into a remarkable new identity.

The Half-Jewish Book celebrates this unique identity that until now has been ignored, maligned, and misunderstood. There’s half-Jewish humor. Half-Jewish/half-Catholic Bill Maher: “I come from a mixed religious background–when I went to confession, I brought a lawyer with me.” And there’s half-Jewish beauty–Gwyneth Paltrow, Joan Collins, and Jane Seymour, just for starters. There are half-Jewish writers (Proust, Salinger), and half-Jewish characters in fiction by authors ranging from Philip Roth to Salman Rushdie. There’s even that half-Jewish cartoon phenomenon Tommy Pickles, in Rugrats. There are half-Jewish politicians–Fiorello La Guar-dia, Barry Goldwater, Dianne Feinstein. And there are the extraordinary number of people, like General Wesley Clark, who discovered as adults that they were half-Jewish and then embraced their newfound double heritage.


Do you have Jewish and Gentile ancestry?

If you have mixed ancestry, you may have wondered “I am a Jew?, or what nation do I belong to?”. Unfortunately, most of the different Jewish denominations disagree regarding “who is born a Jew?”. They disagree because each has interpreted the language of the Torah differently. The reason this has happened is quite simple: the texts that speak of children of intermarriage in the Written Torah do not explicitly state whether a child of intermarriage is, or is not, a part of Israel. Hence, each denomination has interpreted according to their particular traditions.

The Half-Jewish Network: Welcoming Adult Children & Grandchildren of Intermarriage


The Half-Jewish Network is a social, networking, support, cultural, research and advocacy organization for adult children and other interested descendants of intermarriage and interfaith/intercultural relationships. It was founded in 2005.

The Half-Jewish Network is willing to provide advice and guidance to spiritual and secular organizations that seek effective ways to welcome the adult children and other descendants of intermarriage.

The Half-Jewish Network welcomes adult children and other descendants of intermarriage from all religious, secular and cultural backgrounds.


We cordially invite the adult children and other descendants of either a Jewish father or a Jewish mother to join us. We make no distinctions between them.

Adult children and other descendants are welcome whether they identify as Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Wiccans, agnostics, atheists, “both,” “neither,” “uncertain,” “secular,” and many other self-identifications.

No one is required to either adopt or renounce any particular spiritual or cultural identity in order to join and remain a member of the Half-Jewish Network.

We welcome biracial, multiracial and mixed heritage adult children and other descendants of intermarriages.

We greet “DNA half-Jewish people,” who have learned that they have partial Jewish ancestry from genealogical searches and DNA tests.

We are glad to see adult adoptees, stepchildren and other non-biological descendants of intermarriages.


Astonishingly, at the present time — despite the fact that there are thousands of us living in countries all over the world, including Israel — there are almost no resources for us of any kind.

We have very few opportunities to network — talk, meet, share stories and information and form friendships and relationships.

There is very little known about us. There are few research studies on us or brochures and literature for us or groups engaged in outreach to us.

We also have almost no public “voices” or spokespersons to give feedback or comments when decisions are made about us in the Jewish world and in other faith-based and secular communities.

This neglect is in glaring contrast to the huge amount of research on — and numerous organizations and spokespersons for — interfaith couples (our parents) — and the related support groups for the parents of interfaith couples (our grandparents) — within both Judaism and Christianity. (We have not yet found such groups within other cultures yet.)

Jews in ALL Hues | Dual-Heritage Jews:

Currently, 52% of all Jews (28 and under) in the United State are Dual/Multiple Heritage Jews. Dual or Multiple-Heritage Jews include people who have one Jewish parent, Adopted Jews, Jews By Choice, Jews of Color, among others (including those with one Sephardi and one Ashkenazi parent). Despite stereotypes surrounding intermarriage (and children of intermarriage), and Jews from diverse backgrounds Dual or Multiple-heritage Jews are the future of American Jewry.

Jewish Multiracial Network | Because Jews come in all Colors!

Diversity is diversity’s greatest strength.

The Half-Jew’s Complaint, by Sadie Stein, Jezebel, 9 Jul 2009:

Debates are raging in Israel over whether to let people claim Jewish identity based on either parent. More conservative factions want to stick to matrilineality. Us half-Jews are confused.

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

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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.”

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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.


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


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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