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August 30, 2016 / 26 Av, 5776
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It’s Official: You Can Be a Non-Jewish Rabbi

How the reform movement has reached the ultimate diversity.

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Over the past few years, Reform and Conservative Judaism have been struggling so much with the notion of ordaining women rabbis and gay rabbis, that we, the spectators (innocent bystanders?) of those struggles have completely lost sight of an even more challenging notion: can they ordain gentile rabbis?

To cut a long story short: they can and they have. The Reform movement has done, and as a result, I believe, has placed itself outside the Rabbinical Jewish tradition regarding the fundamental notion of who qualifies as a Jew.

I became aware of this complete and, presumably, final split between Jews and the largely American Reform movement after receiving a link to Seth Berkman’s piece in the Forward: Angela Buchdahl, First Asian-American Rabbi, Vies for Role at Central Synagogue. The article praises Angela as an example of diversity, who “walks among the pews, greeting congregants before Friday night services at Manhattan’s venerable Central Synagogue,” where she faces “a mélange of Jewish faces, including blacks, Asians and Hispanics,” in a “diversity that reflects the emergence of an American Jewry of unprecedented ethnic breadth.”

Had I known nothing more about the above paragraph, I would have been beaming with pride over it. In the shuls I attended on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, spotting an African or a Hispanic face was always such a source of pleasure. As a tiny nation and an even tinier religious group, we prize every gentile who embraces our faith and goes through the sometimes grueling process of becoming one of us.

Except that Berkman cuts to the chase right at the opener, making clear that no such grueling effort was involved in Angela Buchdahl’s joining the Chosen People: it turns out that the diversity she so praises at that Reform gathering is “embodied” by Buchdahl, who was “born to an Ashkenazi, Reform Jewish father and a Korean Buddhist mother.”

Exactly 30 years ago, in 1983, the Reform movement in America adopted the bilineal policy: “The Central Conference of American Rabbis declares that the child of one Jewish parent is under the presumption of Jewish descent. This presumption of the Jewish status of the offspring of any mixed marriage is to be established through appropriate and timely public and formal acts of identification with the Jewish faith and people. The performance of these mitzvot serves to commit those who participate in them, both parent and child, to Jewish life.”

It should be noted that outside the U.S. the Reform moevement is yet to adopt the sweeping “presumption of Jewish descent” doctrine, but they do, by and large, offer “accelerated conversions” to children of a Jewish father.

Hadassah Magazine, which Berkman quotes in her story, featured a profile of the Korean born Angela Buchdahl, the first Asian American to be ordained as a cantor or rabbi and the first woman to attain both positions.

For Buchdahl, according to Hadassah magazine, key Jewish values include “a spirit of genuine inquiry and multiple opinions; our whole method of study and nondogmatic spirit; the dignity of every person and the fact that we are all created in the image of God; the ability to know what it is to be a stranger and to have been a slave—and to force ourselves to embody that understanding in every generation.”

Far be it from me to criticize such fine and noble notions, but it is difficult to recognize in that amalgam anything uniquely Jewish. Absent is the idea of fulfilling the mitzvot as a divine agenda. It’s all about getting along with others and respecting them, not so much about applying Torah laws to one’s daily life.

Indeed, the more the Reform movement is reinventing itself, the closer it gets to Christianity. She’s been active, among other things, at Auburn Theological Seminary, “an interfaith platform to address global issues and build bridges across religious traditions.”

“Angela is an extraordinary religious leader,” Rev. Katherine Henderson, Auburn’s president, told Hadassah. At a gathering for a Presbyterian group last year, Buchdahl “led worship that was completely authentic for her as a Jew and yet completely accessible for this group of Christians,” says Henderson. “We were all able to praise God together!”

This reporter is known to be flippant, so I very much want to avoid being flippant about this story. I don’t think we should denounce people like Angela Buchdahl, or condemn the Reform movement for its straying so far out of the Rabbinical Jewish tent. But we should remain steadfast in not calling any of these people and the nice things they do “Jewish” in any way at all. We’re already not permitted to set foot inside their houses of worship. We should probably stop calling their religious teachers “Rabbi” – perhaps “Reform Rabbi” will do. And we should look forward to the time when calling someone “Reform” would simply mean a really nice non-Jew.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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123 Responses to “It’s Official: You Can Be a Non-Jewish Rabbi”

  1. GregLauren says:

    i attended a wedding of two Jews (not to be confused with a Jewish wedding) that she officiated.
    treif cocktail hour.
    at least she gave a nice vort for Bereishis.

  2. Alexis Worlock says:

    Step by incremental step…Reform Judaism replaces Judaism with Basic Liberal Platform.
    Reminds one of a liberal Protestant church with a Jewish accent.

  3. Lou Averbach says:

    is anyone surprised?

  4. YoriYanover says:

    GregLauren Did they break a glass — and why?

  5. Dan Silagi says:

    Anna Buchdahl is Jewish. Her father is Jewish and she obviously considers herself Jewish, being as she's a rabbi. If that doesn't meet with your approval, or with the approval of your Haredi friends who don't consider Reform and Conservative Jews as Jewish to begin with, tough.

  6. Eli Celnik says:

    Wow…another step clsoer to the edge. How about we jsut make the Pope a Rabbi.

  7. Ben Yosef Shomer says:

    are you a Jew ? today all the crazy x-ians consider themselves real Israel, you the reform apostates, you are worst.
    Hashem yerachameinu

  8. Shira Louis Yashin says:

    A person who moves to the US at the age of 2 and lives there all his life but never takes the citizenship test is NOT a citizen. Declaring yourself a Jew is meaningless if you do not go through a halachic conversion. If I "consider" myself a Catholic could I become a priest? And Dan, I am a Bat Torah, not hareidi, and your words show your anti-orthodox bias.

  9. Yori Yanover says:

    Dan Silagi · It doesn't meet with the approval of the vast majority of Jews. This is not a popularity contest, this is the very notion of what it means to be Jewish. If you don't get it, that's ok.

  10. Dan Silagi says:

    Yes, Bin Laden Shomer, I'm Jewish, and proud of it. It's intolerant jerks like you who give Judaism a bad name. We're all the same under God. I'm very proud of Rabbi Buchman and will make a special point of driving into Manhattan this Friday to attend her service at Central Synagogue of NY.

  11. Shira Louis Yashin says:

    You know what they say – reform Judaism is liberalism with holidays.

  12. Can someone tell me why they claim to be Jewish? call yourselves Christians , Jewish your'e not….

  13. Larry Kenigsberg i'm sure you will have something to say ….

  14. Shemayah Shiloh Phillips says:

    I know there have been changes to Judaism regarding matrilineal vs. patrilineal descent but I have more problem with the looseness of Reform, worshiping with Christians, etc. Too much.

  15. Dan Silagi says:

    The vast majority of Haredim wouldn't approve. Probably most MO Jews as well. But less than 20% of Jews are orthodox.

  16. @Dan Silagi: "Anna Buchdahl is Jewish… she obviously considers herself Jewish…"

    So the fact that a person considers oneself Jewish makes that person Jewish? Do you actually believe that?

  17. Dan Silagi says:

    Yours, Shira, is the typical attitude of orthodox Jews, haredi and otherwise. Those who aren't orthodox are somehow "lesser" Jews than those who are, and to those who'd question why you say that, you'd answer, "Well, God said so." Not correct. Halaicha said so, and God isn't Halaicha.

  18. Dan Silagi says:

    The reason I don't call myself a Christian, Natan, is because (1) I'm Jewish (100% on both sides) and (2) I don't believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. For that matter, I don't believe Jesus did either; it was his followers who elevated him posthumously to divinity status. On the other hand, I believe Jesus of Nazereth was a great prophet, and it behooves all of us to pay close attention to what he said, particularly when he was speaking of what comes OUT of your mouth rather than what goes into it.

  19. @Dan Silagi: "We're all the same under God."

    In what manner does that proposition constitute an argument that Anna Buchdahl is Jewish? Are you saying that all people in the world are Jewish?

  20. Dan Silagi says:

    She's an ordained rabbi, Moisheleh. She's Jewish. And who are you, Moisheleh, to say otherwise? Show me your smicha.

  21. Dan Silagi says:

    Moshe Z. Matitya Yes.

  22. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi You're not Jewish if you're mother isn't Jewish. It doesn't matter what you think, nothing is going to change that, not now, not in a thousand years from now

  23. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi "Ordained" by who? Other non-Jewish "rabbis"? This is a farce

  24. Menachem Rephun says:

    she is not Jewish

  25. Yori Yanover says:

    Dan Silagi – You're mixing "Haredi" and "Orthodox" for "Jewish." It turns out that even non-American REFORM Jews don't accept the nonsense you've stated here. The gimmick invented by the American Reform movement, that no matter which of ypor parents is Jewsih, you are a Jew, will, finally sever them from the body politic of the Jewish nation. As to yourself — you may still hold on to some Jewish customs, but I doubt your children will, if you don't marry Jewish. It's not because there's anything wrong with you — you actually belong with the majority.

    Historically, every century or so we lose about 80% of the nation to all kinds of bad choices. Your case is extremely ordinary.

  26. Isabel Etkind says:

    Very Very Strange world that we live in!!!

  27. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi He was a false prophet. Malachi was the last of the Nevi'im. Prophecy had been extinct for 200 years at the time when jesus appeared on the scene, assuming he actually existed at all considering that the personality of jesus has been so submerged in pagan mythology.Yes he said what goes out of the mouth defiles it in order to abolish the laws of kashrus which is explicitly stated in the verse right after that

  28. Menachem Rephun says:

    Name one "prophecy" of that man that has come even close to being fulfilled. He claimed the Beit HaMikdash would be destroyed and not even one stone would remain. Obviously that is not true because the Wall is still standing and there are still other parts of the Temple that remain intact. He also said that his followers would be immortal and promised them immense material wealth for following him. Big surprise, that never happened either.

  29. @Dan Silagi: "She's an ordained rabbi, Moisheleh. She's Jewish. And who are you, Moisheleh, to say otherwise? Show me your smicha."

    (1) My name is not "Moisheleh". Do you believe that you boost your position by mocking people's names?

    (2) I never "said otherwise". I simply asked you a question about what your opinion is. You responded by attacking me.

  30. @Dan Silagi: "Yes."

    Yes what? Yes that you believe that a person is Jewish simply by virtue of considering oneself to be Jewish? Or yes that all people in the world are Jewish because "we're all the same under God"?

  31. Lisa Liel says:

    Un-freaking-believable. And yet, not surprising at all.

  32. Lisa Liel says:

    She's as Jewish as a ham sandwich on Yom Kippur.

    Abraham Lincoln once asked a reporter who was playing word games like the Reform do: "Sir, how many legs has a dog?" The man replied, "Why, four." Lincoln asked, "And if we call the tail a leg?" The reporter said, "Then five, I suppose." "No," replied Lincoln. "Calling a tail a leg does not make it so." And calling a goy a Jew doesn't make it so either.

  33. Dan Silagi says:

    Yes, my situation is extremely ordinary, Yori. In my parent's generation, there was zero intermarriage in my close family. One much older first cousin once removed — a doctor — married a WASP — but she converted (not halaichally). In my generation, of the American cousins, it's about half and half, and my sister married a WASP from Iowa after a disastrous marriage to a Jewish man — also a doctor. Most of our offspring were raised in both religions, and their boyfriends and girlfriends — again about half and half. We have everything in our family — my wife's black and West Indian (Jamaica), my sister's son just married a black woman, and my son's engaged to a beautiful black woman from Chicago. We're all family, we're all professionals, and we all get along well. With us, ethnicity and religion counts for much less than who you are and what you do. That's the beauty of America — it's a melting pot and we're all living proof of how well that can work if we make it work. And I'm no liberal. I used to be a Kahanist, and if you read what I write about Arabs, there are still remnants of that.

  34. There is and has been a silent attack on Traditional Judaism that is growing to frightening proportions. I see it everyday here on FB.

    Some of it coming from within, from those who have decided to leave their religious upbringing and some of it coming from "Modern" Orthodox people attacking the Hasidic way of observance and some from those calling themselves observant but constantly attacking the observant way of life both in America and Israel, from the Women of the Wall to the separation of men & women on the bus for the purpose of 'tznius' modesty.

    One of the main cries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe before his passing was that of 'Achdus' (Unity) and 'Ahavas Yisroel' (love of your fellow Jew) – JUST BECAUSE they're a Jew! He said THESE are the two main actions that will bring Moshiach (the Messiah) – may he come speedily in our time.

    All this infighting is DESTRUCTIVE and completely against those directives that the Rebbe SCREAMED about for so long.

    Judaism has survived this long because we have always followed our Torah and it's Laws. One of those laws is about 'Mi Hu Yehudi' Who is a Jew? Jewish law unequivocally states that the definition of a Jew is "One who is born to a Jewish Mother or converts according to 'Halacha' Jewish Law. Now we have this attempt to completely obliterate Jewish life by allowing people to become Jews just because they decide to.

    This cannot be allowed. It is the responsibility of EVERY Jew to cry out 'AD MOSAI' HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON?

    We must band together and do whatever it takes to reverse this unthinkable action of the reform movement and get them to recognize that THEY are NOT going to be allowed to DESTROY our Heritage.

    PLEASE – TAKE ACTION NOW before we are no longer able to.

    AD MOSAI my friends AD MOSAI?

    It’s Elul – The King is in the field
    Wishing you and yours a K'ssivah V’Chassima Tova!
    May you be Inscribed for a Good Sweet New Year!

  35. Nechama Dina Namirovski says:


  36. The Mishna (kidushin 66B), which is the oldest halahik text after the Torah, clearly states that you are Jewish if your mother was Jewish. This is not a philosophical debate. It was settled long ago.

  37. Dan Silagi This has nothing to do with being orthodox, or Haredi, or whatever. It is about being Jewish. There are no "lesser" Jews. You are either Jewish or NOT. It's black or white. The Mishna (kidushin 66B), which is the oldest halahik text after the Torah, clearly states that you are Jewish if your mother was Jewish. This is not a philosophical debate. It was settled long ago.

  38. Hashem looks down and Laugh. Behold the nonsense have become a full jack ass show. My Yeshiva Tzion requires that both the mother and father be Jewish no exceptions. We also learn all the stuff the Orthrodox learns from forbidden mixtures etc. The reform and Conservative movements have become big business.

  39. Menachem Rephun Jesus never abolished the laws of Kashrus. He was talking about blaspheming out of the mouth; the passage you describe has nothing to do with food at all.

  40. Menachem Rephun says:

    But on the plus side, this means we’re only a few steps away from Rav Chuck Norris!

  41. Cody Flecker says:

    I love the Reform Movement. They seem to make up the Jewish Religion as they go bumbling and stumbling along. The reality is this: the Reform Movement is based on Liberal Protestant thinking, which is based on the doctrine that by divorcing oneself from "traditional" Judaism one can still be Jewish even if you were not born Jewish. Ever since the Reform Movement started in Germany and then brought to the USA, Jews wishing not to be truly identified as Jews found a home. Basically, Reform Judaism is just the beginning of a formal conversion and introduction into Christianity. Try going to a Reform Synagogue if you think I am kidding. These people are no longer Jews, they are in something in between.

  42. Chaiya Eitan says:

    The Reform movement has totally cut itself off from the body of the Jewish people.

  43. Robin Rosenblatt says:

    The Reform Movement has betrayed Israel when I asked them to help the Israel Longhorn Project to help protect the ranches and farms in Israel and help the cattle herd with the desert genetics of the Texas Longhorn cattle they said No. at http://longhornproject.org

  44. Jewish law unequivocally states that the definition of a Jew is "One who is born to a Jewish Mother or converts according to 'Halacha' Jewish Law. Now we have this attempt to completely obliterate Jewish life by allowing people to become Jews just because they decide to.

    This cannot be allowed. It is the responsibility of EVERY Jew to cry out 'AD MOSAI' HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON?

  45. Menachem Rephun says:

    Lawrence Furman i may be mistaken by i believe that afterwards it says "thus he declared all things clean"

  46. Dan Silagi 'Mi Hu Yehudi' Who is a Jew? Jewish law unequivocally states that the definition of a Jew is "One who is born to a Jewish Mother or converts according to 'Halacha' Jewish Law. Now we have this attempt to completely obliterate Jewish life by allowing people to become Jews just because they decide to.

    This cannot be allowed. It is the responsibility of EVERY Jew to cry out 'AD MOSAI' HOW LONG WILL THIS GO ON?

  47. hophmi says:

    “But we should remain
    steadfast in not calling any of these people and the nice things they do
    “Jewish” in any way at all. We’re already not permitted to set foot
    inside their houses of worship. We should probably stop calling their
    religious teachers “Rabbi” – perhaps “Reform Rabbi” will do.”

    Continue to be as stupid and hypocritical as you want to be.  It’s perfectly reasonable to criticize the idea of patrilineal descent.  To adopt the divisive attitude that nothing she does should be called “Jewish” is condescending.  There are many so-called Orthodox Jews who should be in that category as well.  And many of them are rabbis.

  48. In the Torah, which is older than the Mishna, there were many offspring of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers who were considered Jewish.

  49. Menachem Rephun says:

    Lawrence Furman The next part of the text reads "In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean"

  50. Menachem Rephun says:

    Mark 7:19

  51. Menachem Rephun says:

    He flaunted Rabbinic and Biblical authority by openly violating Shabbos and disobeying statutes regarding Al Netilas Yadayim

  52. Not reformed, but DEFORMED!

  53. Menachem Rephun says:

    Lawrence Furman Please provide one single example of that

  54. That was truly an Oy Gevalt! story…

  55. Lawrence Furman You must give examples, remember that women were converted by going to the mikveh before marriage,,,, Remember the ben sorer v'morer

  56. Len Frankel says:

    Real Jews should start calling the Reform a "sect."

  57. Dan Silagi says:

    The same people who'd have you believe the universe was literally created in six days, and that the universe will be 5,773 years old next month, will tell you that if your maternal great-great-grandmother was Jewish, so are you, even if you're a Catholic priest in Kilkenny with the map of Eire on your face.

  58. Drago Carski says:

    Why? Is she not a Jew? In Vienna there are blond, european Jews and black-haired Middle-East-Jews, they also are all Jews, or not..

  59. Dan Silagi says:

    And just how are you gonna stop it, by boogalooing down Broadway? And just how does someone with a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother becoming a rabbi "completely obliterate Jewish life?"

  60. Menachem Rephun says:

    Drago Carski They are Jews if they have Jewish mothers. This woman does not

  61. Brilliant! well done reform movement. I take my hat off to you and laugh and laugh and laugh. I wrote a comedy play about this 20 years ago which was rejected by the BBC for being too unbelievable. I shall re submit it. Thank you again.

  62. If you think of Reform Jews as non-Jews (as you hope in the last sentence) then any of their rabbis would be non-Jewish.

  63. Tzippy Diskind Yarom says:

    Not true. At least half of them are jewish….

  64. Tzippy Diskind Yarom says:

    Drago Carski Did you bother reading the article!
    She never converted. And no, her jewish father don't make her jewish.

  65. Tatiana Zfania says:

    These people are mocking everything Jewish…

  66. Robbie Friedner says:

    I wish I could say "unbelievable" but today anything goes! With luck this will only strengthen the Orthodox/shomar Mitzvah Community!

  67. Josh Ram says:

    From the people who think intermarriage is ok. Come on this is a little ridiculous. A shiksa rabbi.

  68. Robbie Friedner says:

    After a bit more thought, I do not agree with you Rabbi, this is only sad, sad, sad!

  69. Absolutely sick and dissolute!!

  70. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Dan Silagi It is people, like you, to whom Judaism is merely a cultural phenomenon – rather than a true religion – that show their ignorance (willful or otherwise) of what makes a Jew. The fact remains that a Jew has for millennia been defined as a convert or the child of a Jewish mother, regardless of what the father's religion is.

    Using moronic phrases like "Bin Laden Shomer" doesn't reinforce your argument, it merely shows the paucity of it or you wouldn't need to resort to name calling. Why don't you grow up, get an education and then argue with reasoned thought and show us why you are right and the majority who vehemently disagree with you (including the Reform Movement outside of the US!!!) are wrong.

  71. Dan Silagi says:

    Almighty King of Broadway: Angela Buchdahl, although an ordained rabbi, is primarily a cantor. She has a lovely voice, and her singing is deeply moving to me. It is she, more than virtually everyone else, who's responsible for maintaining my connection with Judaism. The current rabbi is Peter J. Rubinstein, a classmate and friend of mine at the Bronx H.S. of Science more years ago than I'll admit to. In a student body of exceptionally smart young men and women, Peter's star was one of the very brightest.

    By saying Cantor Buchdahl isn't Jewish, you're not just insulting her, but your also insulting Rabbi Rubinstein, and every member and congregant at Central Synagogue, including myself. Shame upon you and every other intolerant fool here who agrees with you. Rabbi Rubinstein and Cantor / Rabbi Buchdahl have done more to maintain Judaism's vibrancy than any of you will should you all live to be a thousand years of age.

  72. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Moshe Z. Matitya Moishe, Dan is obligated to call names because he can't articulate an intelligent argument, let him expose himself. The more he talks and foams at the mouth the more he shows what he is.

  73. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Moshe Z. Matitya Moishe, Dan is obligated to call names because he can't articulate an intelligent argument, let him expose himself. The more he talks and foams at the mouth the more he shows what he is.

  74. Dejan Popov says:

    There are even worse things and not only in reform movement, and where else than in Serbia where the only official rabbi is a convert with no Jewish origin whatsoever. Even worse, he changed his name by inventing a new supposedly Jewish name, from his Asich to Asiel. Some would say he put together Ass and El (God), to ridicule the Jewish community. So, one should not wonder that on Chanuka he reads the letter of the only one pro Palestinian Jew in Belgrade who puts on his facebook a photo of him demonstrating with Palestinians against Israel in Belgrade, letter titled lighting candles for Gaza (after Israel responded to daily rockets with great restraint), and that he is the only one from all religions in Serbia, not even the native Serbian Ortodox Chirch, that says on Chanuka the prayer for "Serbian leaders", who by the way do nothing for Jewish community. Luckily, there is Chabad in Serbia, so I can go there.

  75. FlaGuy954 says:

    The Reform movement should require a formal conversion before ordaining someone as a rabbi.  Otherwise, it really is an illegitimate ordination.  Either that, or the Reform movement needs to formally recognize anyone with a Jewish father as Jewish, should the individual want to be considered such.  This would require a formal change in answering the question, “Who is a Jew?”

  76. Menachem Rephun says:

    Holy cow

  77. Dan Silagi says:

    Chaim, I guess being intolerant, racist, and denying someone's Jewishness because he doesn't agree with you makes him a better Jew than me. And calling out someone like that makes me pathetic.

  78. Yossi-Chani Steele Royde says:

    Dan Silagi I think you are missing the point. We aren't discussing here if mixed race marriages are 'beautiful' (as you put it) or if they are permitted in Jewish law. The discussion here is if they are Jewsih or not. A point you missed repeatedly.

  79. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Dan Silagi Dan, it took you all this time to answer me?!?!? You stopped foaming yet? You should it's bad for your health!

    Putting up a strawman does not change the fact that you are unable to argue intelligently. Whether she agrees with me or not has nothing to do with this case! As a matter of fact as much as I may disagree in religious matters with a Reform rabbi, as long as both his/her parents are Jewish I respect him/her as a Jew. The only racist here is you – for throwing insults at anyone who deigns to disagree with you. Unless she converts SHE IS NOT A JEW, neither you, nor I, nor the good lady herself can in any way, shape or form change that. Get off your high horse and face the facts, anyone can choose to call oneself anything he/she wants, however, UNLESS one fulfill all the necessary requirements whatever title one choose is merely a fraud.

  80. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Believe or not Dan, there are Orthodox Asian Jews… who converted halachically, or were born Jewish from parents who converted halachically.

  81. Moshe Tenenbaum says:

    Tzippy Diskind Yarom , this made me laugh

  82. Dan Silagi says:

    Best thing Jesus ever did.

  83. Moshe Tenenbaum says:

    Both the mother and father? Why? Either someone is fully a Jew or not, and someone who's mother is Jewish (or who has had a legitimate conversion) is, no ifs ands or buts

  84. David Conley says:

    Who is a Jew and conversion..see Prof Robert Eisenman's (dead sea scrolls) blogs on conversion to see how matriarchal descent started with the Herodians. http://blogs.jpost.com/content/abrahamicmosaicdavidic-conversion-opposed-rabbinic

  85. Dan Silagi says:

    I never said my wife is Jewish. She's Protestant, and has no desire to convert. My son chose Christianity, and I respect his choice. Nor did I say interracial marriage is "beautiful." It is no more and no less beautiful than an intraracial marriage. It's how the partners keep the marriage which can make it beautiful.

  86. Dan Silagi your venomous responses betray you;"me think thou dost protest too much". I'm a Modern Orthodox Jew and in my synagogue there are many Blacks, Hispanics and Asians; some half of a mixed race couples some from families that converted in their entirety to Judaism. But that's the trick; they converted. Believe in God, don't believe in God, believe in the Torah as being of God or not is not the point. Put simply; if you joined a golf club or any other organization you would abide by their rules, wear their shirts with their logo, sing the group song and give the group greeting. If you can't or won't abide by their rules you would no linger be a member of their club. This is not a value judgement; there is no good or bad or right or wrong. You do have the right to from your own club with your own rules but you wouldn't be a member of the original club. It's that simple. BTW if enough people do what you do that original club would have to file for chapter 11 and cease to exist. This is what the Jews who follow Torah and Halacha are trying to avoid: extinction.

  87. Dan Silagi says:

    Judaism isn't a country club. Bad analogy. Unfortunately, it's Jews who think like you, who are exclusionary, who are destroying Judaism. Not intermarriage. You should be welcoming intermarriage, as it offers an opportunity to bring more Jews into the fold.

  88. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi I could not be less surprised that you think so

  89. Benjamin Fox says:

    Wow, I guess the Torah really is in the hands of blind idiots after all?

  90. Jennifer Ingle says:

    She is Jewish.

  91. Yori Yanover says:

    Dan Silagi – I don't get the insult. She can become properly Jewish any time she wants to, by seeking out a rabbinical court, dipping in the mikvah and accepting the yoke of the mitzvot. She's not being excluded because we shun her, she's simply not Jewish. 100 people here, tolerant, kind, sweet people have been saying just that, but you don't want to hear it.

    I think you've said good bye to the Jewish nation, but you still have to come back for the gefilte fish. You're welcome, by the way, I don't find any fault in your manner and demeanor, but i wish you'd make the intellectual effort to take in what so many of us have been telling you today.

  92. Menachem Rephun says:

    No she's not.

  93. Menachem Rephun says:

    You can keep saying it all you want, it still won't be true. She is a goy

  94. YoriYanover says:

    hophmi – You truly misunderstand the discussion, I fear. This is not a criticism of her as a person — I think she’s a very nice woman, and probably very easy to get along with, I’m saying this honestly. But she is not Jewish, while some murderer sitting in jail IS Jewish because his mother was Jewish. Being Jewish is not a prize in this context, it’s a statistical fact.

  95. Menachem Rephun says:

    If you were alive then you would have died out like all of his original Jewish followers

  96. Dan Silagi thank you for your kind words (once again). I think the analogy is good. We are not talking about being exclusionary. We are saying come join us, follow our practices, obey our rules which have been enforce for over two millennium and we will be happy to receive you regardless of color, race or origin. Judaism allows for people to come in; but there is a process. Structure requires rules. If you want to be part of the greater humanity, that's fine. But it's not Judaism or Christianity or Islam or any other form of Organized religion.

  97. Dan Silagi says:

    Tzvi, there's a bottom line to this, that you and yourfellow Haredim don't understand. Angela Buchman has smicha, and has the job of Cantor and Rabbi at Central Synagogue. You can argue until you're blue in the face that she's illegitimate, that she's a fraud, etc. but that doesn't change things: She's got the job.

    This is analogous to the "birther" argument about President Obama. You can, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, say he's a Muslim born in Kenya, and that he's not eligible to be president, even though even if he were a Muslim born in Kenya, his mother was a natural-born American citizen. But Barack Obama is President of the United States. He was elected, then re-elected. Somehow I get the feeling that very few of you posting here voted for Obama, but that's irrelevant. You didn't put up the numbers to beat him, so here he is, and here he'll be until 2017, when we get the Second Coming of Clinton.

    Deal with both.

  98. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi I think you "melted" a little too well

  99. Menachem Rephun says:

    You have assimilated to the point that your Jewish identity has been reduced to virtually nothing and you view anyone religious with outright hostility and contempt

  100. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi Pretty incredible of you to accuse others of being intolerant. Are you "tolerant" of Orthodox Jews? It doesn't sound like it to me based on what you've written

  101. Menachem Rephun says:

    Dan Silagi That was literally the worst analogy I've ever heard

  102. Nanette CohenRayman says:

    Jennifer Ingle: NO, she is not. She is not Jewish.

  103. Menachem Rephun says:

    Just because a council of reform "rabbis" got together and decided to make this non-Jewish woman one of them doesn't make her Jewish by standards that have been universally accepted amongst the Jewish People for thousands of years

  104. Andy Hirsh Dlinn says:

    I don't call Them Rabbis, I call them "Social Service Professionals" which more accurately describes their roles!

  105. Chaim Szmidt says:

    Dan Silagi Changing the subject, building strawmen, doesn't work Danny! Stay with the subject, dont evade i!.

    Show some intellectual integrity, if you have any. Whether people here voted for the Dems or the Repubs or the Communists is totally immaterial to the current subject. Face it, you are unable, unwilling to extend the minimum courtesy that you demand THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT A BIGOT, AN IGNORAMUS DOES. Are you then so bigoted?!?!?!? Chill out and without insults show you are grown up enough, and smart enough to hold a reasoned discussion or quit if you are unable to. Often it is better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to to say something and disspel all doubt.

  106. Dan Silagi says:

    Am I tolerant of Orthodox Jews? Yes, if they're tolerant of other branches of Judiasm, absolutely. But you, Menachem, and virtually all the other orthodox posters here are labeling Angela Buchdahl a "fraud" because her mother isn't Jewish. Perhaps you should rephrase your question, "Are you tolerant of circle-the-wagon, my way or the highway, orthodox Jews." My answer to you would be a resounding "NO!"

  107. Betzalel Cooper says:


  108. Ellen Tabor says:

    Reform Judaism recognizes patrilineal descent. You may not agree with this, but they do. And since we have no pope, well, I guess they get to say.

  109. Under Reform rulings, she is a Jew. Also, under Reform rulings, she is not bound to cleave to the mitzvot. I do not say that I agree with the Reform stance, but the truth is that she appears to be a good Reform Rabbi (I recognize that she could not be a rabbi in Conservative or Orthodox circles without converting, of course.) I find offensive (and quite unworthy of any Jew) the final sentence in the above article as well as the "Latest Poll" on this same page that asks "As a Jewish person, which non-Jewish religion do you think is the least objectionable?" Shame on Yori Yanover and the jewishpress.com for such mean-spirited remarks.

  110. Aaron Jay Henteleff says:

    ooooh, is that like the petition to have Athiest Chaplains in the army?

  111. Rabbi Alona Lisitsa says:

    Menachem Rephun King David's grandmother was not Jewish, she was Motivate; Tamar who was Yehuda's two sons wife and bore a child from Yehuda himself to continue the tribe was not Hebrew?Jewish. Zipora the wife of Moses was Midyanite. Asnat, Josef's wife and the mother of Efraim and Menashe our two tribes was Egyptian.

  112. Ellen Tabor says:

    Reform Jews, from whom I am proudly descended, believe in patrilineal descent. (They didn't when I was a child, but that's another matter). You may not like this, but you do not get to say. If you don't like what they believe, then you do not have to join then. Why must there be so much sinat chinam in our community?

  113. Dan Silagi First of all I don't understand why you call me a Haridi? I don't wear a kippa (skullcap) and my wife wears pants when we're not in synagogue. I am an Eagle Scout, and 4th degree Black Belt in Karate and serve as a ranger in the Israeli Army. Having smicha and working in a reformed temple proves nothing other than she is not collecting unemployment. As to your birther argument I think you gave yourself away. Yes, Obama is President; but it does make a difference whether he was born in the U.S. or not because that is the RULE (the halacha if you will).

  114. Dan Silagi says:

    You want me to be courteous to you, and then you call me a "bigot and an ignoramus?" That's an odd way to go about doing that. And while you're at it, learn how to spell "dispel." Only one "s."

  115. Menachem Rephun says:

    Ellen TaborYou're right. We don't have a Pope, because we don't need one. We have a Torah and a Code of Law derived from that Torah which states unequivocally that they are wrong

  116. Menachem Rephun says:

    No. Its not a problem of the Torah being in the wrong hands. Its that these self-appointed Rabbis are not relying on the Torah in the first place, because if they were this wouldn't be happening.

  117. Menachem Rephun says:

    Rabbi Alona Lisitsa Ruth officially converted to Judaism, and she was a Moabite, not "motivate". Also conversion was different in those times but it doesn't change the fact that a person's mother has to be Jewish in order for them to be Jewish

  118. Well, i'll never let her pour me Sake….

  119. Meema Novick says:

    sorry but this is sick

  120. AllanPhilipson says:

    Suggest you all buy Rav Avigdor Miller zazal’s just posthumely published book:
    ‘Divine Madness’ .
    That informs you abt what the reformers did to the Jewish People

  121. hophmi says:

    YoriYanover hophmi I think you misunderstand my critique.  Whether you consider her Jewish or not has little to do with her ability to reflect Jewish values.  You assert that because she’s not halachically Jewish, nothing she does can be deemed “Jewish” in any way.  You make Jewishness nothing more than bloodlines.

  122. YoriYanover says:

    hophmi YoriYanover – Not at all. Anyone can become Jewish. My point is not that she SHOULD NOT be Jewish, rather it is that SHE SHOULD be Jewish. I think we will all benefit from having her as a Jewish person — as it appears we have done, btw.

  123. iamagoodman2 says:

    This article confuses two issues.
    (1)  Who is a Jew?  (Should Reform have extended Jewsih staus to patrilineal descendants?)  This is a well worn issue.
    (2)  Does a non-Jewish Rabbi make sense, (i.e. so one who is not Jewish even by the standard of the Judaism in question).  This would presumably be a person who does not claim to be Jewish by is set up as an authority on Torah, particularly the 7 laws of Noach.

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