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Why Do Jews Exclude Other People?

Why Do Jews Exclude Other People?

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Question:

I've been asking this from everybody and I can't get an answer: Why do Jews exclude other people? My fiance's parents told me that for a Jew to marry a non-Jew and have children is worse than the Holocaust! I don't get it. Am I really that terrible? In a world with 6 billion people, what kind of G‑d is the Jewish G‑d, who chose a tiny percentage of the population of the world and left the rest without G‑d's mercy?

I don't think I have to mention that I'm not a Jew myself, but I am in a relationship with a Jew, and I want to know more. I want to understand, because right now, I have big problems finding acceptance and respect for Judaism, which of course causes problems in our relationship. I could ask him, but I would rather ask a rabbi, since I expect you to have deeper knowledge than my boyfriend.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Answer:

I'm glad you were persistent in asking your question, and I'm glad you've given us a chance to answer.

First, please keep in mind that I didn't make any of the statements you are citing. Start reading fresh, like we've never discussed this before. Because, we haven't.

I'm sure you understand that every creature G‑d has made on this planet wishes to survive. Not just each individual critter wants to go on living, but the mothers want to see their children survive and those children want to see their children survive and so on. In other words, each species wants to endure and survive.

We Jewish people also want to survive. We are a tiny portion of the 6 billion you mentioned. We've been around for almost four thousand years. At times, we made up more than 10% of the world. At other times, much less. Right now, we're less than a quarter of a percent.

Each people makes their contribution to humanity -- inventions, ideas, wisdom, music, art, culture. As a people, we've made many important contributions to the rest of the world. Such as monotheism, the value of human life, equality before the law, the concept of world peace. All these and many other ideas that are central to our society today find their source in the Bible and the other traditions of the Jewish people. Since Biblical times, we have made many more contributions to the societies in which we lived, whether in ethics, in philosophy, in medicine, in the sciences...you name it. So it would make sense that the other nations of the world, as well, would want us to survive.

Do we claim superiority? I don't think so. Christians and Muslims both attest to the truth of the Biblical account, where we were picked out by G‑d to perform a mission -- to be a light unto the nations. We contend that G‑d never changed His mind. And, as anyone can see, we've accomplished much of that mission. Most of the ethics we were charged to teach have been accepted by most of the world. Maybe they haven't put it all into action -- but they will, and we believe that time will come very soon.

Do we exclude others? Absolutely not. Any person who wishes to join the Jewish people and their holy mission is welcome, regardless of race, color, sex or family background. We only ask that they commit to keeping the rules G‑d gave us, just as the Jewish people accepted those rules when they received the Torah at Mount Sinai some 3300 years ago. And if they opt not to join, we believe that the righteous people among the nations will share in the rewards of the time to come. I don't know of any other religion so liberal as to say such a thing: You don't have to join us, you don't have to do the things we do, just believe in one G‑d and fulfill the basic requirements of every human being to society, and you're in.

So what's so terrible about us wanting to survive? Obviously, we aren't going to survive if we intermarry with everyone else and raise our kids as just a muddle of everything. Our only route to survival is for Jewish people to marry Jewish people and bring their kids up as good Jews.

Of course, if a girl from a non-Jewish family decides she wants to join the Jewish people, well, what's stopping her? But we don't push that sort of thing, because, first of all, we're not out to push our thing on others. You can be a righteous non-Jew and be loved by G‑d, so why should we push you down a path you weren't born into? You may well resent it later on -- as often happens -- and that doesn't make for a good marriage. And, secondly, some people become Jewish just for the sake of marriage, and then once they're married, the whole thing is dropped. Which means we have to be a little scrutinous about accepting converts, to be sure they're doing this because they truly want to.

I hope this explains things a little for you. If you still can't swallow it, please write me back.

I wish you all the wonderful things your life has in store, not one should go missing.


Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at Chabad.org, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Discussion (683)
June 20, 2016
Daniel's answer is very good and also anonymous Ohio
You asked why people say Jews exclude other people but they never say it about Christians? And why they only call Jews who don't want to intermarry "racists" and not Christians? Also, being that we are, as said here, less than one quarter of a percent of the world's population, why on earth should anybody care what we do anyway?

So I'll tell you the reason. It's because they can't stand that even that less than a quarter of a percent of us still exists. After all they have done the past two thousand years to wipe us out altogether, and we dare to still exist?

So they want us to intermarry because they know that that will finish us off completely, G-d forbid. But that will never happen.
The Nation that stood at the foot of Har Sinai will always exist. Am Yisroel Chai.
Shoshana
Jerusalem
June 18, 2016
The question assumes an error. It is not true that Jews
In the Christian "New Testament" Paul says, "Be not unequally yoked to nonbelievers". Nobody asks "why Christians reject other people".
A family must be spiritually united to attain spiritual depth. Whenever I meet anyone reared in "both religions" I'm saddened to see that s/he accepts neither religion.

When people want to marry, they must realize that someday, when children come, their mutual desire is not enough. They will care what the children are taught. The time to decide is before the children come. Will the man become a Christian? The children are not Jews unless the mother is a Jew. Or will the mother become a Jew, to cause the children to be born Jews? If the mother is a Jew, she & her children are born with a soul that stood at Sinai and promised to keep the 613 commandments of the Torah. It is best if the father, as a Jew, helps teach the children.

Most Jews include "other people" as friends, neighbors, coworkers, kin, etc. & invite them into our lives & our homes.
Daniel
Brooklyn
June 9, 2016
Exclusion
People of all races choose to include or exclude whomever they want to, for whatever reason they choose. I see it often within the same race, or ethnic group, and this may very well be where it starts-within one's own racial group of origin. As you age it begins to be more obvious that every racial class does this, on different levels, religious or not. As for what I know, the scriptures of both Christians and Jews do not accept exclusion of any kind--unless the person they are excluding is breaking the Laws of G'd (which Christians are commanded to follow also.)
Anonymous
N/A
June 8, 2016
Do we [Jews] exclude other people? Yes and No. But the answer is no more so than yes. When it comes to marriage, since Rabbi Tzvi spoke of it in this article, yes we should exclude non-Jewish people. That is if we as Jews want to see our people survive for another 4,000 years. Like Rabbie Tzvi mentioned, we make up less than a quarter of a percent of the world population. By excluding non-Jews when it comes to marriage we are not assuming superiority. In no way are we saying that a Jewish man/woman is "better" than a non-Jewish man/women.
Anonymous
Ohio
June 8, 2016
Hi everybody.I would like to express my opinion on the topic here as well as to ask a question.At first i would like to say that i am a Christian Orthodox who really respects the Jewish religion as well as Jewish people.I have travelled to Israel so many times where i have spent a wonderful time!I have to say that Israel is an amazingly beautiful country!What i personally believe is that some of us (Christians) mistakenly exclude Jewish people.There is a misconception about Jews.Some ChristianS mistakenly claim that everybody who doesn't believe in Jesus Christ is not a religious person!!Jesus is important for us but this doesn't mean that we should blame everybody who does not believe in Him for atheism!!!Last but not least i would like to ask a question.Just for the curiosity, no offense!If an interfaith couple decides to get married why not to choose a civil ceremony insted of an interfaith ritual?Apart from that why not to hire a Jewish nanny to bring up their child Jewish?
Daryl
Greece
June 3, 2016
are you mike d?
are you mike d or related to mike?
bo
germany
June 1, 2016
About True jews
The question of who is a real Jew or not, we better leave to God.Through the Bible God identifies His people well and in His right time He will show us the truth.
Anonymous
Kenya
June 1, 2016
To anonymous--muddle means that neither side converts, which confuses children.
The child is brought up exposed to both religions. The child is confused. Confusion is the "muddle".

If the Christian converts, then the child is exposed to a fully Jewish upbringing from both parents and that is not a muddle. The children are fully Jews.

It's difficult to convert to a Jewish way of life, because of so many commandments. Also, Christians have a better chance of going to Heaven since Christians have only a few easy commandments to do. Christians reject Jews, saying we are all going to hell, but Jews say Christians go to Heaven. We warn potential converts of problems conversion may bring. Some converts find their friends (even family) reject them. Some find the commandments are too hard--but once they convert, Gd considers them totally Jewish and expects them to keep every commandment, just as if they were born to a Jewish mother.

Jews do not "exclude" anybody. We have orthodox weddings to converts, as I did. We admire & accept everyone & see others as saved like us.
Deborah
Detroit
May 24, 2016
Oscar Shank and Isaac, N.Y.C.
1- How does the DNA prove that Jews actively converted non-Jews?
Maybe the non-Jews decided on their own to convert, as they do
today? How can the DNA know this?

2-Isaac, could you please document where it is written that before
Constantine the Jews actively converted non-Jews, as I would like to look this up. Thank you.
Shoshana
Jerusalem
May 23, 2016
Job Titles
We do not employ people with no certification in the job requirement - simple. No one puts someone without a DSL driver's license behind the wheel of a school bus full of people. The Nation of Israel is a Nation of Priests with a lot of education and qualification throughout life to fulfill it. It's not something people marry into or just say yes to anymore than I could sit down right now and write the nuclear physics equations to build a reactor. It's quite serious and not a social disengagement. We have a job to do and whiners need not apply.
Shoshana
USA