Skip to comments.Learning Judaism from Giffords
Posted on 01/11/2011 5:44:42 AM PST by SJackson
With all our desire for a universally accepted definition, we can't ignore reality that many non-Jews are more Jewish than their Jewish fellows. Talkbacks (15) As we join in praying for the speedy and complete recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, we cannot help but note how splendidly the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona has served and, we are hopeful, will continue to serve as a Jewish role model.
It was her sense of the Jewish value around how we treat the stranger that informed Giffords on the highly divisive issue of rights for undocumented immigrants in her border state, according to Josh Protas, former director of the Tusconarea Jewish Community Relations Council. At the same time, she did not lose sight of her constituents security concerns over the unchecked influx of illegal aliens.
Perhaps this was thanks to her acquaintance with Israels defense challenges. As representative for the 8th District in southern Arizona, Giffords had to straddle the disparate political opinions of liberal Tucson and its rural hinterlands. The eminently Jewish strategy she employed was a willingness to hear diverse opinions. In fact, it was during one of these exercises in intellectual openness outside one of her signature Congress at Your Corner events at the entrance to a mall in Tucson that Giffordss strength as an attentive lawmaker was despicably exploited, becoming, at the pull of a trigger, her tragic vulnerability.
Giffordss very Jewishness might have even been a motive in the shooting, according to a US Department of Homeland Security memorandum. Jared Loughner is believed to have had links to American Renaissance, an anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic organization. The memo notes that Giffords is the first Jewish woman elected to high office in Arizona and that Loughners alleged anti-Semitism is being considered as a possible motive.
SPEAKING HALACHICLY, of course, Giffords is not even considered a Jew. Her father is Jewish, but her mother is a Christian Scientist.
This genealogy did not prevent her from stating in 2006, In my family, if you want to get something done, you take it to the Jewish women relatives. Jewish women, by and large, know how to get things done.
According to JTA, her grandfather, Akiba Hornstein, changed his name to Giffords after moving from New York to Arizona, in part because he did not want his Jewishness to be an issue in unfamiliar territory. Perhaps, the grandfathers visceral survival instinct was right on target. The shooting definitely raises concerns about renewed anti-Semitism (and about the highly polarized nature of political discourse in todays America).
But the attack, which brought to the forefront Giffordss noble and very Jewish personal traits, highlights the changing nature of Jewish identity in America. An increasingly more inclusive answer to the question of Who is a Jew? has developed in recent years. In part, this is a result of the Reform Movements 1983 decision to recognize patrilineal descent. This decision, which recognizes Giffords as a full-fledged Jew, made it easy for the congresswoman to integrate into her local Reform shul, Congregation Chaverim, when she began to actively embrace Judaism after a transformative 2001 trip to Israel.
But the broadening definition of Jewishness is not restricted to the Reform Movement. A similar trend is sweeping Conservative Judaism, as Dr. Adam Ferziger, senior fellow at Bar- Ilan Universitys Rappaport Center for Assimilation Research, noted in a recent article in Oxfords Journal of Jewish Studies. In Between Catholic Israel and the Krov Yisrael: Non-Jews in Conservative Synagogues (1982-2009), Ferziger showed that halachicly non-Jewish offspring of intermarried Jews were no longer excluded from membership and active ritual life in American Conservative congregations. This change in policy is due, in part, to the unprecedented intermarriage rates during the last decades of the 20th century. Another possible reason might be that more and more people like Giffords have made a conscious choice to identify as Jews, yet have no intention of undergoing a conversion.
As it should, Israels Law of Return accommodates this complex Jewish reality by granting automatic citizenship to people like Giffords, her husband and her offspring. Critics of the Law of Return might complain that it has extended citizenship to more than 300,000 former Soviet Union immigrants who are not halachicly Jewish. But is it conceivable to exclude these non-Jews despite the fact that the vast majority integrate fully into Israeli society, serve in the IDF and become productive citizens? Is it conceivable to exclude Giffords, another non-Jew, who is so unequivocally Jewish?
With all our desire for a universally accepted definition of Who is a Jew? that would unify the Jewish people, we cannot ignore the complicated reality that many non-Jews are much more Jewish than their Jewish fellows. Congresswoman Giffords is one of them.
If youd like to be on or off, please FR mail me.
Her religion doesn't appear to have been a factor at all, nor do I think it's appropriate to cite this tragedy to change Israel's laws.
JINOs? The same folks who would roll out the red carpet for their Pallie pals to take over modern Israel?
A country-without-borders is an anarchy.
There is only one universally accepted definition. Born of a Jewish mother or halachically converted.
You may ridicule the idea but I believe, as a Christian, that I am a child of Abraham, by adoption.
Sheesh. I remember when the JPost was a respectable paper.
Oh my God, where the hell is the BARF ALERT???
This assclown even repeats the long-discredited "link" to AmRen.
Where were her father’s ‘Jewish values’ when he blamed the tea party as her enemies. Suggesting that they were responsible for the murderous assault on her political rally.
Seemingly, he and his wife just returned from a trip with their daughter to Italy and had a visit to the Vatican.
Does he support blood libel? Does he support making false accusations against his neighbors?
What is Jewish about her ignoring the plight of those living on the border of her state.
What is Jewish about supporting a president who would deny medical care for a baby born alive following an abortion attempt.
She may be Jewish in name, but in her heart and soul, she is without conscience.
Paul Wellstone became a senator because of this. His republican opponent, Rudy Boschwitz, made a pitch for support at a Jewish community center. Part of his case was that Wellstone, while ethnically Jewish, wasn't religious like Rudy was.
This leaked out and big headlines in the democrat dailies around the state said Boschwitz to Wellstone: "I'm A Better Jew Than You"
Probably cost Rudy the election.
“What is Jewish about supporting a president who would deny medical care for a baby born alive following an abortion attempt.”
Why wouldn’t she support Obama on this issue? She has a perfect anti-Life record in Congress.
NARAL = 100%
PP = 100%
None of this necessarily has anything to do with her religion, however.
My only reservation with what you said is that I would not go so far as to say that her pro-abort stance is proof that she has no conscience. It may be she is very conflicted on the issue of abortion, and struggles with her conscience.
Many women have been propagandized by the Left to believe that the "fetus" is not a baby. In their hearts, they know that is a lie. But this lie has been adopted by some Jewish groups, most notably "Reform" Jews and many so-called "Conservative" Jews. Heck, even some "Orthodox" Jews (think Lieberman) are "pro-choice." (And of course many CINOs and Leftist Protestants are pro-aborts also.)
Sometimes it takes years before a woman is willing to fully admit the truth to herself.
Let's pray for Congresswoman Gifford's recovery. Let's also pray that she comes to appreciate the value of each baby's life.
I agree. Using any tragedy to change established law is usually a bad idea--especially when the change in question would pretty much guarantee that the world's only Jewish state would cease to be Jewish in a generation or two.
I don’t care how she treats the “stranger” in her own house. But the country belongs to more than just her and her values.
Where is her Jewish sense of “Thou shalt not steal”?
I wondered that you might find this interesting.
There you go.
I pray constantly for all the innocent victims of this murderer.
That these innocent lives are being exploited for political gain is pathetic and immoral.
Where is her Jewish sense of Thou shalt not steal?
You asked, I’ll answer.
The short answer is: She is a reformed Jew. A.K.A. “Deformed Jew” in less than Liberal Jewish circles.
The Commandment, in the original language is unambiguous - “Don’t Steal”.
The reformed version is “Don’t Steal, but government can take from them and give to you.”
One thing Newtie said that was accurate is “We are engaged in a battle for the soul of the Republic”.
Pray for the Republic, for if it fails, what will come after will be unspeakably worse.
PS “Unspeakable” squats in the White Hut as I type.
It was her "sense of the Jewish value about how we treat the stranger" that that informed Giffords on the highly divisive issue of rights for undocumented aliens.
Really? Fist of all, this is not "the (individual) stranger" we are talking about in this context, rather it is a massive influx demanding "group rights." Beside the fact that nothing in our American Constitution and laws allows trespassing on our land, nothing in Judaism compels a Jew to to allow unrestricted entrance on his land nor to respect foreigners who enter his land illegally. This holds even more so when the illegal entrants commonly suck large amounts of money out of the taxpaying citizenry of the host, commonly commit crimes against the endogenous population, generally have no interest in assimilation to the host culture, and sometimes even advocate taking the very land they are invading.
Giffords's very Jewishness might have been a motive in the shooting. Jared Loughner is believed to have had links to ... an ...anti-Semitic organization.
Oh my, how the Left wishes that the gunman were a known anti-Semite and that the motivation for the shooting was so crystal clear. But those are not the facts. The evidence up to this point indicates that Loughner is a paranoid schizophrenic and was indiscriminate in his choice of victims. The M. O. was obviously not consistent with the typical American "hate crime."
...[Giffords'] grandfather, Akiba Hornstein, changed his name to Giffords after moving from New York to Arizona "in part because he did not want his Jewishness to be an issue in unfamiliar territory." Perhaps the grandfather's visceral survival instinct was right on target. The shooting definitely raises concerns about renewed anti-Semitism.
What nonsense! The grandfather was probably embarrassed about his Jewish origins, certainly not proud. Contrast Giffords' grandfather to another famous Jewish Arizona grandfather: Morris Goldwater, grandfather of Barry. He arrived in Arizona before statehood, and not only retained his original surname, but displayed it as the name of his retail outlets (Goldwater's), becoming very successful in the process.
Giffords:"In my family, if you want to get something done, you take it to the Jewish woman relatives."
Is this a quote that deserves praise? Sounds as if the male relatives - Jewish and non-Jewish - are a bunch of eunuchs. Sexism, anyone?
...more and more people like Giffords have made a conscious choice to identify as Jews, yet have no intention of undergoing a conversion.
What's up with that? Seems as if you are not born a Jew and wish to identify as a Jew and are serious about it, taking the time and effort to undergo a conversion (in whichever denomination of Judaism) would be perfectly appropriate. It certainly wouldn't harm the individual. Contrary to the author of this piece, becoming Jewish is not the same as playing leftist political games.
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