Sunday, August 3, 2008

The "Pintele Yid"

Jewish Tradition tells of the "Pintele Yid," some spark of Yiddishkeit, Judaism, which is somehow carried in the spiritual gene pool of those descended from Jews.

Of course this conflicts with the rampant assimilation and intermarriage seen in virtually every Jewish family in the world. Many converts to Judaism have known or possible Jewish roots. The Spanish world, in Spain and north and south America, is filled with such stories. One of my neighbors, Rabbi Nissan Ben Avraham, from an old Majorca family, discovered his Jewish background as a child. Having had a strict Torah conversion, he is more than just an ordinary Jew.

Here in Shiloh there are quite a few converts, all strictly Orthodox, and of all different ethnic and racial backgrounds. There's no such thing as "you don't look Jewish," since the community is all different colors, features and accents.

There are Jewish communities abroad, which superficially resemble ours, at least the kids, but the Jewish status, according to strict Jewish Law is totally different. It upsets me that these kids are being raised to believe that they're Jewish, when according to strict Halacha, Jewish Law, they aren't. It has happened that some people raised like that and really feel Jewish go on to a strict Orthodox conversion, but in other cases, the bitterness causes anti-Jewish feelings.

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