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Yael Mishali
The new assimilated Jews
Yael Mishali writes about assimilated Jews, conversion, and Jewish purpose

A recent campaign by the Jewish Agency that aims to “save” modern-day assimilated Jews drew much criticism and apparently hit a raw nerve. “We’re lost? Missing persons? How dare you?” say these so-called assimilated Jews. After all, we served in the army and we pay taxes…well, that’s true. You may indeed be good Israelis. Yet in Jewish terms, and please forgive this politically incorrect approach, you are assimilated Jews.

 

In my view, conversion should be a very simple and easy process. Anyone who wishes to become Jewish (for all the good or odd reasons,) can be Jewish. Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or Secular conversation – anything goes. Each convert should do what he believes in. The only condition is that the conversion process will have Jewish purpose.

 

Jewish purpose has to do with culture, history, tradition, language, customs, etc. Under no circumstances do all converts have to promise to adhere to the Torah and the mitzvoth. The demands should be minimal in terms of knowledge, based on the principles of each denomination.

 

Jewish survival

And this leads me to the issue of assimilated Jews – because how will we know the minimal level of knowledge of those wishing to join us? How will we draft the admission test? That’s not a problem at all. We’ll just go over to the assimilated Jews and learn from them.

 

The modern-day assimilated Jew may have not had a chance to marry a gentile yet, but he still fits the definition well. The modern-day assimilated Jew learned in the national education system, and upon graduation he lost any connection to the Hebrew calendar. He has no idea about many basic Jewish concepts and doesn’t know the difference between the Reform and Orthodox. He doesn’t remember whether Purim came before Passover and Hanukkah or whether the Greeks or the Romans (or the Turks maybe?) destroyed our Temple.

 

In the best case scenario, the assimilated Jew will know something about some Zionist concepts, but let’s not count on that.

 

In my view, an assimilated Jew is anyone whose Judaism has no significance in his own eyes. He was born Jewish, and now just leave him alone. In my view, an assimilated Jew is a type of gentile. Perhaps even worse.

 

Both gentiles and assimilated Jews can be great people, and most of them are indeed like that. Yet in Jewish terms, they are as lost as it gets. And why do I care about all this? Jewish survival.

 

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