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
Hope to hear from you soon.
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
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
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
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
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