Monday, February 23, 2009

Anusim - An insider's protest

What follows is a Ben Anusim's explanation of their position. It is saying judge us by our interpretation of halacha - because yours is wrong. Such an approach is doomed to failure. I am posting it to provide a better understanding of what the problem is.

Nathaniel comment to "Rabbi Manny Vinas objects to criticism and explain...":

This is great, a whole bunch of Kassars, trying to say who is a Jew. At the end the real Jews are the Sephardic Jews, you talk about discrimination in Germany but you are triying to do Shoach to the Jewish soul of Bnei Anousim.

Read this

By all means what is to follow requires further study, and it is an exercise to find truth. This, I hope, will serve to alleviate some anguish that Israel is suffering, which by no means needs to be suffered.

First and foremost, we have spoken about the issues on how the Anusim subject has been treated, both in the Academia and among the common people. 21st century Anusim have been subjected to understand themselves through the mythos of the “marrano”, as “crypto-Judaism” is understood in common parlance. When going to the actual sources – those who actually lived in their own historical periods – one will find the ground levels of how rabbis and Anusim behaved, and how the whole matter was treated. Hardly anyone today has made any efforts to understand the Anusim in their own historical and halakhic contexts. Almost everything as spoken today is disjointed and lacks of tremendous profundity.

At that level, I must agree with Mr. Peretz and Ms. Cohen on the almost annoying misrepresentation that we have experienced; however, it is not the Anusim's fault. The lack of seriousness and proper projection has invaded this matter, and to clear these nuances, one must study, analyze and interpret them in the most favorable way; in no way attack them.
If Judaism represents the unbroken tradition of that awesome event at Sinai – the theophany when God Almighty came down to Earth and established an irrevocable contract (berit) with his people – then by virtue of that contract every Israelite cannot ever loose his / her citizenship.

With the issue to “conversion”, one must clear up what it represents. A convert in Hebrew is translated as “ger”, that is a “naturalized citizen” of Israel. In common parlance, he / she is a proselyte. A ger – in halakhic literature – is an alien who adopts the Jewish Constitution (the Torah) in its entirety. A conversion in Hebrew is called a “giur”, and the strict way of conversion is called a “giur l’humra”, which to my knowledge is applied when the person grew up in the non-traditional frames of Judaism, and with a non-Jewish mother in the matrilineal line. Both are given the name of “ben Abraham” or “bat Sarah”, implying that they are adopted within the Abrahamic family, since Abraham is the father of all Hebrews and the first to explicitly recognize the One God. On all this, I stand to be corrected. However, a ger, though he / she is considered a Jew through the process of naturalization, he / she is forbidden to marry a Kohanim (in case of women). In some communities, people hold reservations about marrying a “ger”, though they should not have any. (Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, this is discrimination). I am not sure of other limitations, but at the outset this is the most prominent I can think about.

The only road that is officially being offered to Anusim today is that of the “giur”, or “giur l’humra” at best. Now, can anyone explain to the Anusim how does this procedure at the metaphysical and traditional levels does not violate the Berit at Sinai, and does uphold the sanctity of His name?

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, we see from the Sages of Israel – much less from God Almighty – declaring an apostate Israelite a “gentile,” or “worse than gentiles.” One must show four sign post:

 [go to comments to "Rabbi Manny Vinas objects to criticism and explain...": for rest of post]


  1. The problem that I see is that this person is upset and angry.

  2. The main problem with your argument is this. From the time of Sinai by mesora and from the Great Assembly in writing, we have an unbroken tradition that one is to be considered a Jew if they can trace back an unbroken maternal lineage. The Anusim to my knowledge cannot do that.

    This is not a bunch of "Kassers" saying this. It is also Sephardim, like myself, who do not view Anusim as fully having a connection with Judaism on these halachic grounds.

    Now if you happen to be an individual from amongst the Anusim that can demonstrate the necessary ancestry. Welcome back to your people. However if you are only "Jewish" by word of mouth, or oral tradition, then I am afraid that this simply is not good enough to satisfy the demands of halacha.

    This is not discrimination. Discrimination is applying certain rules only to certain peoples or minority groups. However, you will note in some of the discussions on this very blog how there have been times when even people of European decent have been excluded from the Jewish people on account of a lack of the proper lineage. Also if a Jew intermarries, his children will not be considered Jewish, depending on halachic interpretation they may even be denied the ability to convert in.

    Simply this is not an issue of Anusim vs' Ashkanazim. This is an issue of Anusim vs' Two-Thousand plus years of codified halacha. Read even Rashi's commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah. It becomes quickly apparent that Ezra sorted out the varying "Jews" that lacked proper lineage. That was after only 70yrs of separation from their people and land. So why should the Anusim expect different treatment after hundreds of years of

  3. If you cannot prove matrilineal Jewish descent you cannot document that you are Jewish.

    Anusim are not singled out, all Jews need to document that they are Jewish in order to marry in Jewish communities throughout the world. (If you look at ketubot from pre Expulsion Spain, you will note that they typically document seven generations of lineage on the back.)

    The Rabbi who married my husband and I knew our family for many many years, but when it came time to marry, I had to come with papers (ketubot, Chevra Hadisha certificates, and civil documents) to prove that I was Jewish. My husband had to bring the same to get married.

    You ARE being treated no differently than other Jews.


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