Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
34

There are many reasons why Jews have a low population. Depending on your point of view, different reasons will be "more true" than the others. It says in the Torah that the Jewish people, will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands by the sea. However, it also says that we will be a minority amongst the nations. So while we may be uncountable,...


31

According to traditional Judaism, you are Jewish if and only if you yourself have validly converted to Judaism OR your birth mother was Jewish at the time of your birth (Shulchan Arukh Even HaEzer 7:17 and 8:5, Yoreh De'ah 268:6). To determine if your mother was Jewish apply the same rules: either she herself converted to Judaism OR her birth mother was ...


21

There are two ways to be(come) Jewish: have a Jewish birth mother, or convert. It is possible that your adoptive parents had you converted when they adopted you, and that would be something to investigate. (Depending on who did the conversion and how, some in the community might not accept it as valid. You will probably want to obtain a copy of the ...


18

Based on Jewish law, a person's Jewish status (for a non-convert) is determined through matrilineal descent. This means that one is only Jewish from birth if their mother was Jewish. And their mother was only Jewish if their mother was Jewish. Based on this, a person can have seven out of eight great-grandparents who are Jewish, and still not be Jewish from ...


17

In Jewish Law, a Jew is a Jew and remains a Jew no matter what actions he or she takes. You could even say, "once a Jew, always a Jew". That means, if someone is born to a Jewish mother (because Jewishness is passed through the mother) and is never told that they are Jewish, they are still a Jew. Judaism is not a religion like Christianity or Islam is. ...


15

As far as comedy in Jewish history goes: the Gemara, in Taanis (22a), has a story where Eliyahu Hanavi tells Rabbi Beroka Hoza'ah that two particular men would merit the world to come. Upon asking them, the two men said that they were comedians, and that when they see someone who is depressed they try to cheer them up. Also, they said, that they always try ...


15

A person is a Jew if their mother is a Jew. If a jewish woman marries out of the faith and did not bring up her children as Jews they are still Jewish, even if they do not know it or practice it. And then her daughters children remain Jewish and at this point most likely they have no idea what it means to be a Jew.


15

Yashar koach on becoming more involved in Jewish life. We can't say what they will do (only they can answer that), but I'll address how you can approach it. You are Jewish because your mother is (and she is because her mother is, etc). Your parents (and grandparents) having had secular weddings doesn't affect that, though it could affect other matters of ...


15

The man isn't Jewish in this case, so he has no obligation whatsoever in marrying a Jewish woman. It is forbidden for the Jewish woman to marry this man because he is not a Jew. If the man truly feels a connection with Judaism he should convert.


14

Josh, welcome to the site. In answer to your question, a distinction needs to be made between normative Halachic practice (aka Jewish law) and streams of Judaism that do not consider Halachah as binding (like Reform Judaism). I am not an expert in Reform conversion or synagogue standards, but my understanding is that the Reform community will welcome you as ...


14

While Jewish law applies patrilineal descent to other nations (Yevamos 78b), Nachmanides writes that matrilineal descent applied to the Jewish people from the time of Avraham and onwards (Commentary to Vayikra 24:10). This is justified by the existence of some degree of Israelite nationhood from the time of the Patriarchs, which is suggested by the Talmud's ...


14

Regarding Yaakov Herzog's participation in the debate with Toynbee, R. Mordechai Elefant, in his unpublished memoirs, wrote: Yakov Herzog was ambassador to Canada for a few years during the early sixties. He met the British historian Arnold Toynbee there. Toynbee was anti-Israel, and he was no great friend of the Jews. Herzog and Toynbee started ...


13

Does this happen regularly within the community? Depends upon the community. I once helped computerize a Brooklyn Rabbi's conversion records, and over the course of ~15 years he had helped convert between 150-200 people. How readily accepted are Gentiles into the community (are they seen as strange or welcomed openly)? In a word: readily. In my own small ...


13

In the Guide of the Perplexed, Chapter XIV, the Rambam comments on "behold the height of the stars, how high they are!" (Job xxii. 12) that is to say, learn from the height of the heavens how far we are from comprehending God, for there is an enormous distance between ourselves and these corporeal objects, and the latter are greatly distinguished ...


13

According to the Kahati comment on that Mishnah, it should be read A ger brings but does not read ... If [he is not a ger but only] his mother is Jewish he brings and says ... Kahati explains that this is put in because we might think that a person whose father is not a Jew but whose mother is a Jew would not be able to say the pasuk because the term ...


13

If you know for a fact that she was Jewish, then you are 100% Jewish. No conversion is needed. Mazal Tov, and Enjoy! :)


13

Rabbi Berel Wein has suggested that long ago, there were a certain amount of anti-Sephardic animosity related to the fact that when during the Crusades, the Ashkenazic Jews forced to choose between the cross and the sword went to their deaths; whereas during the Spanish Inquisition, many Spanish (i.e. Sephardic) Jews chose to stay alive and outwardly profess ...


13

Among those Rabbis that I know, if/when they are approached by someone who wasn't raised as a Jew but has a Jewish maternal grandparent, they welcome them with open arms as Jews, albeit Jews who have been estranged from their own religion. I have known this to have occurred on multiple occasions (although I was never personally involved in any). It may be ...


12

Kli Yakar - Shmuel 2 says he was called Hachiti, either because he was a convert from Chais or he lived amongst the Bnei Chais. Either way he was a Jew.


11

TofeeqAhmad, I appreciate your changes to the question. The answer, however, remains that mass murder and an aversion to proselytizing have prevented much growth. At our very founding, according to our tradition and the text of the Torah, 70 people went down to Egypt as a family/tribe and developed into a small nation within a nation. We grew by leaps and ...


11

Let's start by talking about love in human terms. Why does Person A love Person B? There can be a couple of possibilities: It may be based on B's actions (for example, B has done something that A really appreciates). It may be because of their relationship (a parent loves a child). When we talk about G-d loving the Jewish people, both of these factors come ...


10

Hatred has many sources. And sometimes it seems to have none. One could attribute it to a divine decree, or to biblical stories which pit people against people. Or you could look at historical or sociological trends. Here is a random selection of "reasons": Jews are separate and distinct. When any group defies the will of the masses or the powerful, it is ...


10

From what I gather (from here and elsewhere), the group is a Christian group which accepts Jesus as a messianic figure and which considers itself to be the only valid set of descendants from the ancient tribal sons of Jacob. They have no connection to Judaism that modern Judaism would accept (without matrilineal descent or an approved process of conversion) ...


10

Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer, perek 24, makes it clear that while other nations get their own angel, Israel gets Hashem himself. ר' שמעון אומר קרא הקב"ה לשבעים מלאכים המסובבים כסא כבודו ואמ' להם באו ונבלבל את לשונם ומנין שהקב"ה ירד אליהם שנאמר הבה נרדה ארדה אין כתיב אלא נרדה ומנין מהפיל גורלות בניהם שנאמר בהנחל עליון גוים ונפל גורלו של הקב"ה על אברהם ועל זרעו ...


10

The Gemara in Kiddushin says that he was Jewish - Kiddush 76b: אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כדי שתהא זכותן וזכות אבותם מסייעתן והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לז) צלק העמוני מאי לאו דאתי מעמון לא דיתיב בעמון והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לט) אוריה החתי מאי לאו דאתי מחת לא דיתיב בחת (Summary) As a member of Dovid's army, Uriah had impeccable lineage. He was called "Hachiti" ...


10

No, the rabbi wouldn't find it strange. & Yes, he would accepted you at the spot as 100% jewish. And I can tell you from my own personal experience they would be even very happy!


9

A bit similar to Fred's answer, a man living in Wisconsin once sent a letter to Rabbi Isaac Herzog, the second Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of the Land of Israel, asking if he could convert to Judaism on the pretense that he would have no relevance to Eretz Yisrael. Of course, Rav Herzog said no. This is because becoming part of the Jewish People means entering ...


9

I was at the bar mitzvah of the adopted son of Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz, shlita. At the bar mitzvah, the rabbi explained that his son had been converted conditionally as a small child by putting him in a mikvah and by the parents committing themselves to raise him as a Jew. But since the child cannot yet speak for himself (until he reaches 13 -- or 12 for ...


9

The Rambam (Hilchot Teshuva 2:5) writes: מדרכי התשובה להיות השב צועק תמיד לפני ה', ...ומשנה שמו, כלומר שאני אחר ואיני אותו האיש שעשה אותן המעשים It seems from the Rambam that changing one's name has some sort of psychological effect. I understand it as a constant reminder that you aren't the same person as you were before; there's something different ...


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