Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anusim - Demand recognition and acceptance

Guest Post: Even Ezer Garcia "Descendants of Marranos (Anusim) II - should they ...":
To Recipients and Publicity,

How you dare to say “How on Earth there could still be Marranos/Anusim/Conversos.” I am not going to waste my time explaining my Jewish lineage to you. But I would like to ask you, how do you explain our Jewish customs after so many years? My family covered the mirrors in the house and discarded water from flower vase when family member passed away, buried nail clippings, my grand father asked to be buried facing Jerusalem, discarded chametz for Pesach, and many other customs. We did all this without books, Rabbis, and formal community. Now, who are you to make halachik decisions? By disguising or omitting your name, I can tell what kind of person you are. My birth name is Even Ezer, and in honor of my ancestors and for the future of my children, I returned to G-d and Judaism, I returned home and we are here to stay with or without your consent.

10 comments :

  1. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 11, 2008 at 11:59 AM

    Hi Even Ezer Garcia: Thank you for your response, but it was not meant as a personall attack upon you or anyone and your personal attacks upon me are not called for.

    My main point is that ONLY a PROVABLY HALACHIC validation of a person's status, of any person's not just supposed Anusim, must be provable of being a Jew in the present, the here and now and in reality, because Halacha deals only with the realities and facts of the here and now and one must be able to assert Jewish identity by one of two ways either that (a) one's BIRTH mother (and presumably her mother and grandmother, going back at least three generations were PROVABLY born to Jewish mothers ONLY based on Chazaka) or (b) certified a ger by a reliable Beth Din. Nothing else matters no matter how many Judaic relics one can quote or remember or act from the past or present because those things do not count. And citing obscure and similar "ritauls" is not enough proof of being Jewish because the Catholics and Muslims have many rituals and acts that are derived from Judaism but it would not make any Catholic or Muslim "Jewish".

    Now from your own words you say that all your fine memories were important but by what halachic standard are you a Jew to make you OFFICIALLY a Jew? Hopefully it was that you presumably went before a reliable Beth Din in order to make official your "I returned to G-d and Judaism, I returned home" because essentially no Beth Din of note regards Anusim as Jews until they officially convert to Judaism.

    None of this called for your insults and dramatics and none of what I stated was new or unusual because it's standard information among Orthodox rabbis even though you may never have heard it or may not like it. Emotionalism is never a good substitute for rational and stable discussion. Thank you.

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  2. The issue is how you speak with people like Even Ezer. Do you listen to their story with compassion and hear their longing and then seek to gently bring them under the halachik wing through giyur, or do you shout PROVABLY HALACHIC ONLY and accuse them of insults and "dramatics".

    Bottom line is that even if they do convert, Eliyohu will eventually tell us whether Even Ezer's yichus claim was real and whether recipients and publicity is really Jewish and from which Shevet he is. We are coming up to a Yovel year, and ironically this is one of the requirements; eliyahu determining real yichus and shevet.

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  3. Hello Recipients and Publicity,

    I am sorry for my previous posting. This is a very emotional subject for me, my family, and many others in the same situation. I absolutely agree with you that a person needs to go before a reliable Beth Dim in other to be recognized as a Jew, and this is true in regard of the Anusim. But we need to realize that we have in our hands a serious situation that need to be addressed with caution and sensibility. Otherwise, we are going to be pushing away Jewish souls that we ought to bring back to our fold. Now, it is offensive when you call our traditions “obscure rituals” when these rituals are very alive in the Orthodox community. I am not asking for a trophy for keeping these traditions for so long. I am just saying that we have a valid argument, and obviously this need to be study in a case by case basis. But the bottom line is that our claims are real, and we need to be taken seriously and with respect. Shabbat Shalom. Your friend, Even Ezer Garcia

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  4. Hi Recepients and Publicity,

    try to look at the problem from the opposite point of view:

    Even Ezer knows, through family tradition, that he is jewish.
    But he has no proofs in hand to prove it to outsiders. But he is ready to take upon himself Ol Torah wemitzwot.

    I mean it is fine line:
    - If he is not jewish, he should not keep Torah and Mitzwot.
    but
    - if he is jewish, he is obliged to do so, as far as he can.
    Are you now ready to take upon yourself the responsability for all the mitzwot that even ezer missed, in the case he was jewish in the end????

    Furthermore, I agree that a Giur LeChumra can help to settle some doubts. However, new doubts appear:
    - What is his name? Ben Avraham Avinu or ben his father?

    And this has a lot of other questions behind it (if it is a woman, can she marry a cohen? Will he be able to say kaddish for his parents, etc)

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  5. shoshi said...

    Even Ezer knows, through family tradition, that he is jewish.
    But he has no proofs in hand to prove it to outsiders. But he is ready to take upon himself Ol Torah wemitzwot.
    ======================
    His family traditions do not constitute proof. Thus he is not a Jew but can't prove it. He is simply not a Jew until he proves it.
    ==========================
    Are you now ready to take upon yourself the responsability for all the mitzwot that even ezer missed, in the case he was jewish in the end????
    ===========
    That argument has no relevance in halacha. I can say that most of the world may be Jewish because of the assimilation over the centuries. Probably most Arabs are also Jews - after all Islam started by capturing the Jewish women of Saudia Arabia and forcing them to convert.

    Therefore perhaps everyone in the world should keep Torah because of this "sofek".

    In fact the vast majority of poskim have no difficulty in denying the Jewishness of these "doubtful cases"

    Bottom line - you are setting up a line of reasoning which has no halachic validity.

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  6. "Therefore perhaps everyone in the world should keep Torah because of this "sofek"."

    Or perhaps no one in the world should keep torah, because children sometimes get mixed up in hospital, so every Jew could really be a non-jewish child that was exchanged, and to prevent the problems inherent in this sofek, no one should keep torah and Mitzwot.

    Seriously: Your argumentation does not seem very honest to me.

    Of course there is a sofek with humanity in general, because there are some jews out there that do not know they are jewish. But I think it is a good idea not to force "Torah and Mitzwoth" upon humanity as a whole for this reason.

    However, Even ezer's case is different.
    1) he really has a strong case, that does not constitute sufficient proof that he is jewish, but I think it is enough to have a "serious Sofek" that he could be jewish.

    2) He wants to take upon himself Ol Torah u Mitzwot.

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  7. shoshi said...

    "Therefore perhaps everyone in the world should keep Torah because of this "sofek"."

    Seriously: Your argumentation does not seem very honest to me.
    ==============
    I was arguing this as being consistent with your non-halachic reasoning. You are mixing halachic and secular reasoning. If Even Ezer has sufficient proof to be a sofek - that is a halachic status. Despite repeated requests from R' Vinas for a halachic source for this argument of sofek - he has not produced a single source. Thus it seems clear that the overwhelming majority of poskim hold that Even Ezer and the rest of the so called Anusim do not have the halachic status as sofek Jew.

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  8. Well I do not know the story from the beginning.

    If people think they are jewish but are not ready to take up "ol torah u mitzwot" as it is, it's probably better they remain "sofek".

    On the other hand: you should not talk to them in an arrogant and respectless manner.

    You can explain: Even if there is a sofek, but you are not ready to take upon yourself "Ol Torah um mitzwot", it's better for yourself not to do it, even if there are many jews out there who do not keep mitzwot either.

    If Even Ezer says that his family has the costum of covering mirrors when someone dies, I would say that this is a strong argument. however you could say: "But we do not know whether it is matrilinear without interruption for 500 years". I think, this is an argument Even Ezer would understand.

    What you are saying, basically, is that Judaism gets lost over the generations. Is this really the position of Halakha?

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  9. Soshi wrote:

    What you are saying, basically, is that Judaism gets lost over the generations. Is this really the position of Halakha?
    ========================
    Yes the Judaism gets lost If there is no clear evidence.

    If you have any rabbinic sources that say otherwise I would greatly appreciate the citations.

    BTW this is also a benefit because questions of mamzerus also disappear.

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  10. (quote from a previous post)...His family traditions do not constitute proof. Thus he is not a Jew but can't prove it. He is simply not a Jew until he proves it.
    --------------------------------

    as another person in this situation, i will make this very brief. debating this very serious issue will do us no good if its done in this way. you can't judge us because you are not in our place.
    you can't say people like us aren't jews. i assure you, we go through our own doubts without your help. it is total pain. (don't try and use what i just said as leverage to say i myself dont know who or what i am, because again, you are not in this place.)

    the fact is, its not that we aren't jews, its that "halachically we can't be recognized as jews". thats it.

    i understand what this means and the suffering it entails, and if anyone else in this situation doesn't understand it, they need as well.

    however, those of you who are blessed in the way that your jewishness is "halachically" valid, in that it is halachically revealed, need to understand this. you can't just say "you are not a jew". living like this is our golus. we suffer enough.

    this all leads to something much bigger than we all can see right now.


    Good Moed
    concealed...still...but trusting in HaShem...still.

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