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October 21, 1994 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-10-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

SILO
ppLLHA

DHSS

1111
Mal**

-

.
III riiii WHY

Are Any `Non-Children,'
`Non-Male' Types Reading This?

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM ASSOCIATE EDITOR

sivis

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From September 19 through
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5
only lasts until November 1.

This Fall,

SILVI
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A: Brit, or bris in the Ashke-
nazi pronunciation, means
"covenant." In Hebrew, the Jew-
ish circumcision ritual is known
as brit milah, "the covenant
of circumcision." The cove-
nant referred to is that
between God and Abra-
ham as recorded in
the Torah (Genesis
17:1-14): Abraham
and his descendants
must recognize and
worship God and, in
return, receive the
Land of Israel as
their eternal home-
land. The sign of
the covenant is cir-
cumcision.
Through the
generations, especial-
ly in Yiddish-speaking
communities, the prac-
tice arose of abbreviating
bris milah to bris.

Q: Why do so many people use the
term "non-Jew"?
A: Who knows why? It's like

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goyim, meaning "nations" other
than the Jews.

Q: Why does a Jewish bride walk
seven times around her groom?
A: No one knows for certain

why, but the rabbis and tradi-
tion have produced several rea-

sons. Primary among these is
that the number corresponds to
the seven times the Torah states
"a man takes a wife."
Tradition says that by walk-
ing around the groom, a bride
makes a safe enclosure for her
beloved, to protect him from
harm.
The number seven, in refer-
ence to a new couple, also
corresponds to the seven bless-

ans were Jews.
The term came into use in the
late 1800s when it referred to
members of the Zionist move-
ment committed to a Jewish
homeland only in Palestine.
"Palestinian" thus became a syn-
onym for "Zionist."
It was not until the 1920 Ver-
sailles (World War I peace) con-
ference that "Palestine" came to
designate a specifically delin-
eated territory, administered by
Britain under a mandate from
the League of Nations. Until
then, Palestine vaguely referred
to the biblical Land of Israel, or
to the territory around the Jor-
dan River.
Numerous institutions incor-
porating the word "Palestine"
and "Palestinian" existed before
1948, and it always was clear
they referred to Jewish institu-
tions. For example, before
1948 the United Jewish Appeal
was known as the United
Palestine Appeal. The all-Jew-
ish volunteer force in World War
I was known as the Palestine
Brigade.
Because the term smacked of
British colonialism and Jewish
nationalism, the Arabs of Pales-
tine refused to call themselves
Palestinians. Instead, they re-
ferred to themselves simply as
Arabs.
After the new Jewish state let

asking why some people volun-
tarily eat Brussels sprouts (film-
maker John Waters refers
to them as "little balls from
hell"), or pay good money to see
movies like Avalon, or watch
cute sitcoms with cute kids say-
ing such cute things you could
vomit.
There's no need to
say "non-Jew" any
more than there's a
need to say "non-
male" to refer to a
woman, or "non-
Christian" to refer to
a Jew, or "non-
adult" to refer to a
child.
The appropriate
term for individuals
who are not Jewish
is "gentile." (Inter-
estingly enough,
Mormons also use
the word — to refer
to anyone who is not
a Mormon.)
Some have re-
WZPS PHOTO
frained from using Early Jewish Palestinians building a school in Yavne'el, Israel, in 1912.
the word because
they have the mis-
taken notion that "gentile" ings, sheva brachot, said at it be known its name would be
the wedding ceremony and Israel, the Arabs appropriated
means "pagan" or "heathen."
In fact, "gentile" is an adap- at grace after meals for newly- "'Palestinian." ❑
tation of the Latin gentilis, be- weds.
Q: Has the term "Palestinian" al-
longing to the same gens, "clan"
or "family." Later, gentilis meant ways referred to Arabs?
A: Until the creation of the Send questions to 'Tell Me Why"
"foreign," that is, other than Ro-
man. It was then adapted by the modern state of Israel in May c I o The Jewish News, 27676
Vulgate, the Latin version of the 1948, the only people who iden- Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
Bible, to translate the Hebrew tified themselves as Palestini- 48034 or send fax to 354-6069.

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