Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords' Jewishness (Hammerman on Ethics: Jewish Week)

Q - I am a traditional Jew who subscribes to the traditional definition of Jewish identity (you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish or if you've converted). By this definition, Gabrielle Giffords is not Jewish. But by other definitions, including her own, she is. Given all she has done and what she has gone through, and given the strong possibility that her assailant attacked her in part because of her self-declared Jewish identity, what is the proper ethical response to all this?

Rep. Giffords should be embraced by all Jews as one of our own. And I say this as a rabbi who has long disagreed with the Reform Movement's 1983 decision to accept a patrilineal definition of Jewish identity. See my Jewish Week posting: Gabrielle Giffords' Jewishness

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