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January 27, 2011 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-01-27

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

Gabby Giffords from page 22

Continuing Debate
The Jerusalem Post was the first
publication to state emphatically
that Giffords' Jewishness should
not be questioned. In fact, in its
editorial "Learning Judaism From
Giffords," the Post wrote, "With all
our desire for a universally accept-
ed definition of 'Who is a Jew?' that
would unify the Jewish people, we
cannot ignore the complicated real-
ity that many 'non-Jews' are much
more Jewish than their 'Jewish' fel-
lows. Congresswoman Giffords is
one of them.
In her In the Mix blog at the
New York Jewish Week, Julie Wiener
wrote of how Giffords' Jewishness
is shining a spotlight on the "Who
is a Jew?" debate. In an article
titled "Plight of the Patrilineals,"
Weiner cited blogger Kung Fu Jew,
who posted his angry rant on the
JewSchool blog about how Giffords
is "Jewish enough for the Jewish
community to own a sideshow of
the media circus. Jewish enough
to be our martyr, it seems, but not
Jewish enough to be treated equally
in life."
Kung Fu Jew has a point here.
I'm sure many synagogues will
offer prayers of healing for Giffords
on Shabbat and recognize her as
a Jewish member of Congress, yet
they would be violating their own
religious policy if they ever called
her to the Torah for an aliyah honor.
I really wish we had a consensus
on what determines Jewish status
through lineage, even if only in the
non-Orthodox Jewish community.
Certainly, we cannot continue to
make an exception for athletes,
celebrities and politicians of Jewish
patrilineal descent. I'm in agree-
ment with the Jerusalem Post on this
matter. If Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
considers herself Jewish because
her father is Jewish and she lives a
Jewish life, then she's Jewish.
May Rep. Gabrielle Giffords —
Gavriela bat Gloria v'Spencer — be
granted a speedy and complete


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the year-round rabbi of Michigan-based

Tamarack Camps. He is the founder and

director of Kosher Michigan, a kosher

certification agency, and the president

of Access Computer Technology, an

IT and social media consulting com-

pany. This article first appeared on the

Huffington Post.


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January 27 2011


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