February 1, 2012
Greetings to everyone who is celebrating Candlemass (Feb. 2 — the presentation of Christ as a baby at the Second Temple), the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (Feb. 5 — birthday of the founder of Islam), Tu B’Shevat (Feb. 8 — begins at sundown on Feb. 7 — the Jewish New Year of Trees), Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22 — first day of Lent, Christian season of repentance), and Purim (Mar. 9, begins at sunset on March 8 — celebrates Jewish deliverance from a plot).
Here is the latest news on half-Jewish people that we have collected:
1. WordPress.com, which hosts our blog, has sent a 2011 summary of our new website’s statistics. Our new website was only in existence five months when the statistics were collected.
I was greatly surprised to read the following announcement:
“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.”
MEBO (My Eyes Bulge Out) — even setting aside possibly 2,000 views as probably being from me while I built the site last summer — and let us exclude 5,859 spammers — that still leaves about 4,000 views over a five month period, an astonishing statistic for a website that caters to a very specialized niche.
2. Rev. Dr. Giles Fraser (Jewish father, Christian mother), Canon Chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, has given up his lucrative, perk-filled job to protest the Cathedral’s decision to evict the Occupy protesters:
If you are into prayer, please pray that he will find a new job soon, as he has a wife and several children to support. Whether you agree with his politics or not, he is a very principled man.
3. Jennie Goldstein (Jewish father, Christian mother), is the only Jewish employee of the Arab-American Association of New York:
The Arab-American Association is a support group, helping new immigrants in America. If you look at the “Comments” section following the article, you’ll see that Jennie was harshly attacked — by other Jews — for: (1) having a Jewish father instead of a Jewish mother and being brought up as “both” — you know that as a young child her parents made those decisions, not her; (2) identifying as a Jew; and (3) daring to suggest that Arab-Americans should be treated courteously.
I posted a comment defending her, and would suggest that you also do the same. There were some comments in her favor besides mine, but not very many. I believe that it is important that we “push back.”
3. Reya El-Salahi, (Jewish mother, Muslim father), is a BBC radio broadcaster and television writer:
She recently toured Israel and the Palestinian territories and incurred the unhappiness of a politically conservative Anglican Christian group, the Anglican Friends of Israel, for expressing some sympathy with the Palestinians.
Matters were not improved when they discovered that her brother had supported the second Palestinian intifada (uprising).
The website claims that she was turned away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque as “not Muslim enough.” Since I didn’t see the broadcast, not sure what the commenter was referring to.
(Note: many people think all Episcopalians and Anglicans are politically and theologically liberal, however, that is not true. In some countries the majority of Episcopalians and Anglicans are liberals; in other countries, quite the reverse.)
4. William Hensley (Jewish father, Native American mother) is a famous activist on behalf of the Inuit of Alaska. He had a very tough childhood.
His well-off Jewish father abandoned Hensley and his very troubled Inuit mother — as he had apparently previously abandoned another Inuit woman and Hensley’s half-sister by that relationship — and Hensley had a very bad childhood until he was rescued by his mother’s cousin.
Hensley grew up to be a remarkable and talented advocate for the Inuit. Here is a picture of Hensley’s father:
Here is a picture of Hensley’s mother:
Here is a link to Hensley’s book about his life:
which has pictures of him as an adult inside.
4. The Israeli Orthodox Chief Rabbinate now requires proof of matrilineal descent going back to a maternal great-great-grandmother for any Jew marrying in Israel.
This is a problem since no half-Jewish person can marry a Jew in Israel without having an Orthodox Jewish rabbi perform the ceremony, and the rabbi will insist on this proof first.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who the rabbis are trying to screen out. Half-Jewish people, of course.
People who can’t produce this proof have to live together or fly to another country to be legally married, usually Cyprus.
So, how many of us have our maternal great-great-grandmother’s wedding license? Everyone who has your maternal great-great-grandmother’s wedding license, please raise your hand.
Remember, it must be your mother’s mother’s mother’s mother’s wedding license. No substitutes will be accepted. <internet grin>