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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 (674)
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
May 23, 2016
Why do Jews exclude other people on intermarriage
Why Jews only marry Jews?
In the book of the generations of Adam
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.
The generation of Adam is Seth, NOT Cain, way not Cain? Because the DNA of Cain does not match the DNA of Set, Cain is the likeness, but not the image of Adam, Cain is the son of sin: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.
The generations of Cain is different from Seth

To a simple question simple answer
Anonymous
Texas
May 23, 2016
Rabbi no offence but what do you mean by "muddle of everything"?You obviously use the word muddle(referring to all non Jews)in order to show superiority!!!!!!I am an orthodox Christian, i've travelled to your beautiful country and i do respect Jews.However i have to say that all this thing that has to do with conversion etc.. is useless, sorry!!!!Do you really believe that someone who is converted to Judaism does really believe in Judaism,especially if he/she is a christian???????????The answer is no!!!In conclusion as far as i see from real life the fact that non jews are not allowed to marry Jews shows exclusion (at least) !!!!!
Anonymous
May 20, 2016
Yes, Oscar, you are right.
Jews stopped proactively seeking converts when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, because at that time it became a capital crime (death penalty) to convert away from Christianity. That is why we said that the righteous of all nations had a portion in the world to come. We did not want people to face the death penalty for converting to us. We knew that Gd would not deprive Christians of a place in the next world just for being a little bit mistaken. Gd loves everybody and wants the best for all of us, and wants us to remain alive to serve Him, rather than asking us to die for Him. Of course, if it becomes a matter of idolatry or incest or adultery or murder, then we are no longer serving him, so we would have to die rather than commit those sins. But being a Christian does not necessarily count as idolatry. So we stopped encouraging people to convert, and warned them of the danger of being executed by the government.
Isaac
New York City
May 20, 2016
Shoshana from Jerusalem is incorrect. Jews proactively converted others at one time; look into the origins of the Ashkenazi Jews and their DNA.
Oscar Shank
May 19, 2016
Thank you, Shoshana
You are so right, Shoshana! Our hearts go out to the Africans who are suffering.
May Gd bless them and may Gd relieve their suffering and protect them from further attacks!
May Gd protect all His peoples and all His children from harm!
Isaac
New York City
May 19, 2016
Jewish People, Jewish Nation, and DNA
The Public Broadcast Service (PBS), had a program called "Finding your Roots" that had a very informative program special called "Our People, Our Traditions", that documented Ashkenazim Jewish DNA, and traced the DNA of Ashkenazim Jews to Europe. As for Ethiopian Jews, they are black African people of origin from the African continent and are related to other African people, including some African Americans. As for skin color of Moses, he was probably the color of brown skin Middle Eastern people, but he did not resemble the Egyptians nor any black Africans as proven by DNA. And today modern Egyptians DNA is different from Africans DNA, and the Middle Eastern Jews DNA is different from Egyptians DNA, Ethiopians DNA, and Ashkenazim DNA. Hashem's 613 commandments links the Jewish people as a Nation. DNA links a person to his family, and his origin of homeland be it; Europe, Africa, Asia or the Middle East, but the 613 commandments links the Jewish People as a Jewish Nation.
Anonymous
California
May 19, 2016
anonymous, May 17
Moses did not resemble them. It says in the Chumash that he was born with a beautiful light shinning from his face that lit up the whole room. Did you ever hear of an Egyptian that fit that description?

What you wrote about the 30 million Africans is a tragedy of unbelievable proportion, an absolute heartache. And who ever said
it wasn't? May H-shem protect all His people from such atrocities.
Shoshana
Jerusalem
May 18, 2016
Anonymous, do you realize it is oppressive to claim that Jews are not Jews.
Why are you trying to prove that Jews are not Jews?

Of course Jews are Jews. Skin color is an insignificant & irrelevant marker. DNA studies show commonality among Jews all over the world, including those with one parent who is a Ger ("convert").
Even a black person with one white ancestor can have blue eyes, and it doesn't take much more to have light skin and/or hair.
Jews who were never exposed to "white" genes because their ancestors were never in Europe are indeed darker than the Jews whose ancestors were exposed to European rapists.
Even the Jews who have some European ancestry usually have black hair and dark brown eyes. That is why the Germans imposed on them such surnames as Schwartz, which means "black".
I had my DNA tested by FamilyTreeDNA. Mine is consistent with the DNA of Jews from all over.
I suggest you contact them to get your own DNA checked for Jewish genes
Shmuel
St. Louis
May 17, 2016
Why?
There are some things that aren't clear to me regarding how Jews really feel about Gentiles or non Jews and also if we're using numbers to determine the level of evil perpetrated against any particular group of people wouldn't the African Africans 30 million that died in the middle passage between the cost of Africa and the United states be at the top of the list? And why is it ok that this Holocaust be minimal? If the Pharoh during the time of Moses was African and Moses resembled them,then why are the Jews of today fair in comparison to the Egyptians of the past and present?
Anonymous