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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NYT on SY's

Caught up on some reading today and I finally read the NYT magazine article on Syrian Jews. The article goes into great detail regarding the edict that prohibits the community from recognizing any converts to Judaism, commonly known in the Syrian community as "the Takanah" (some background here). While I would have to say that the tone of the article was a bit nasty, my feelings on the Takanah have not changed at all. I simply don't see how the Syrian community can explain their policy on not recognizing any Gerim at all - even the most sincere of Gerim. So though I am sympathetic to the community for having had to endure a hatchet job at the hands of what seems to be a reporter with an intent to smear, I just can't get past my own feelings that the Takanah is just...indefensible.

You can tell me all you want that this has "saved" the community (check the comments of my previous post on the subject for a taste of that argument), but I still don't know how it justifies shunning someone who has already converted according to Halacha. It's one thing if the Syrian Rabbanim would refuse to actually perform conversions as a rule, but how can they ban all Gerim even after the fact - as well as all children of Gerim!? It just seems wrong.

So pardon me if I don't cry tears for the way the Syrian community was treated in this article. If a community stakes out a position like it has done with the Takanah, it should be prepared to defend its position convincingly. And I will note that when I say "convincingly", I don't mean by saying what this Syrian Rabbi said to the NYT reporter:
“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert,” Kassin told me by phone, summarizing the message. “Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”
Was Rabbi Kassin misquoted? Did he misspeak? Or did he actually just say, in the New York Times, that the Takanah is about keeping "gentile characteristics" out of his community? I really hope that wasn't what he meant to say. Even though he did say it. Someone, please. Tell me he was misquoted. Please?

130 Comments:

Blogger Ezzie said...

I'd actually guess that he simply chose a poor pair of words. It's as if he were thinking of "goyishe mindset" [regarding different subjects that they would not want in the community - say, attitudes toward secular culture or something] and translated that in his head to tell the reporter "gentile characteristics" (gentile mindset would sound even worse).

We still may not agree with it, but I don't think he meant it the way it sounds.

5:13 AM  
Anonymous Nigritude Ultramarine said...

Judaism - Converted Related Stuff = SY "Judaism"

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Nigritude Ultramarine said...

Oh, no! Moshiach will have "gentile characteristics" -- he will be a descendant of Ruth.


/Sorry, there is no way to pretty this up

7:45 AM  
Blogger A Simple Jew said...

"If a good-hearted Jew marries a convert who is kind, modest, benevolent, and pleasant to others, their children will be righteous and virtuous. Indeed it is better to marry the child of such parents than to marry the offspring of those who are born Jewish but do not possess these fine qualities."

(Sefer Chassidim 377)

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as the Irish jew,
my child gets shunned by both sides.
"You make barmitvah, why -your not a jew?? Lovely. I'm the better 'jew' then his whole family! I cannot count how many times I have had to tell other 'jews' that it is a 'holiday.'
We don't have to look as far as Syria, I have kept my mouth shut about the Rabbi in the 5 towns, who years ago at my nephew's BarMitvah said similar things.
'We should keep to ourselves, and not accept outsiders, 'they are not one of us, regardless if they convert, in his words, it didn't count, Why, you must be born a jew.Period, end of discussion.

8:13 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anon 8:13:
I am sorry you had that experience at the hands of your Rabbi. I can't speak for him, but I can tell you that there are quite a few sincere Gerim I can think of in my community who have been completely accepted by both the Rabbis and their fellow congregants. I can think of one in particular whose child recently got married to an "establishment" Orthodox family who were very happy to welcome him into their family.

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing is - I've always found that "gentile characteristics" are more prevalent among SYs than JayDubs

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Was Rabbi Kassin misquoted? Did he misspeak".

Orthomom, correction - the article did not quote "Rabbi Kassin" as saying that unfortunate quote; rather the article says that his son Jakie Kassin, a "community leader" said it. Being the son of the Rabbi and a self proclaimed "community leader" does not make a person qualified to speak for a community. The quote is terrible, but it a quote from one guy and it was probably jumped on by the reporter. If you let a guy talk and talk, eventually he will say something nasty that makes for good news magazine writing.

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Orthomom, correction - the article did not quote "Rabbi Kassin" as saying that unfortunate quote; rather the article says that his son Jakie Kassin, a "community leader" said it. Being the son of the Rabbi and a self proclaimed "community leader" does not make a person qualified to speak for a community. The


Jackie Kassin calls himself a Rabbi. That doesn't mean he should have said what he said. I don't even think he should have spoken on the record to the reporter.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's one thing if the Syrian Rabbanim would refuse to actually perform conversions as a rule, but how can they ban all Gerim even after the fact - as well as all children of Gerim!? It just seems wrong."

All they are doing is banning them from their (the SY) community. While it does seem insulting, they are not saying that Geirim are not Jews, and in fact if an SY kid was willing to leave the SY community a move to say Long Island, he could marry a Gioret and of course live fully in an Orthodox Jewish community (not so if he marries a gentile). The article moves quickly between stories about people who wanted to marry a Ger, and people who married out of the religion all together. I suspect that the reaction of any Orthodox Jew to an intermarriage (as opposed to nmarriage to a Ger Tzedek) would be dismay and you might have incidents like the one in the shiva house described in the article (which relates to an intermarriage not a Ger). In fact had the reporter wanted to do so he could have left off the references to the Takana and just focused on intermarriage in the orthodox community and reactions in families and made the whole thing sound just as closed minded. Or he could have written an article on the Catholic Church and its refusal to perform marriages for those who have divorced. But here, on this blog, since we (and presumaby Orthomom)are (primarily) a bunch of Ashkenazic Jews reading this we are offended by the SY community's stance on Geirut -afterall we accept Gerim so why shouldn't they. So congrats fellow Askenaz Orthos, now we can see what we must look like to outsiders when we stand behind our principles such as no intermarriage - and obviously we are not going to change that nor should we. But isn't it just a matter of degree?

3:32 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

In fact had the reporter wanted to do so he could have left off the references to the Takana and just focused on intermarriage in the orthodox community and reactions in families and made the whole thing sound just as closed minded.

But he did not, and we all know that the Takanah exists, and did not need the NYT to tell us about it. So though I am sure that there are many NYT readers who would find the policy on intermarriage closed-minded without even considering the Takanah, that is not what is under discussion here. I have discussed the Takanah before, and expressed my feelings on the matter then. I just can't see the Syrian community's attitude on halachic converts being defensible. It's one thing for their Rabbanim to refuse to perform conversions. It's another thing to refuse to recognize their status as Jews once they have converted halachically.

But here, on this blog, since we (and presumaby Orthomom)are (primarily) a bunch of Ashkenazic Jews reading this we are offended by the SY community's stance on Geirut -afterall we accept Gerim so why shouldn't they. So congrats fellow Askenaz Orthos, now we can see what we must look like to outsiders when we stand behind our principles such as no intermarriage - and obviously we are not going to change that nor should we. But isn't it just a matter of degree?

I don't think it's a matter of degree here. In my opinion, it's a matter of Halacha. We are commanded in the Torah to love the Ger. Not giving them aliyot in shul and refusing to recognize the grandchildren of a righteous convert does not fulfill that commandment, in my estimation.

But hey, that's just my opinion. I respect yours, and you are entitled to it.

3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"While it does seem insulting, they are not saying that Geirim are not Jews, and in fact if an SY kid was willing to leave the SY community a move to say Long Island, he could marry a Gioret and of course live fully in an Orthodox Jewish community (not so if he marries a gentile)."

Except that he would not be able to pray in his father's shul or get aliyot for him or hos children there even though his children are FULLY jewish al pi halacha.

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The stranger that sojourneth with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God"

Leviticus 19:34

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Okay said...

Let's place this in a more general view of the Syrian community. They won't allow marriage with geirim? Forty some odd years ago they threw fits if one of their boys married Ashkenaz. The girls, of course, were dispensable, so some married "out." They also frowned and still frown heavily on marriage with other Sefardi groups. You try making a shidduch between an Iranian girl and a Syrian boy. I did. The mother of the boy still is not talking to me over the "insult" I gave her.

The geirim issue is a halachic problem, one that is indefensible by the Syrian community. As to the other, the not wanting to mix with other Jewish groups, are they really so different? Satmar doesn't marry Bostoner, and Brooklynites in general would rather cut off their toes then take an out of town shidduch. Litvish doesn't want MO and chasideishe don't want yeshivish. Yup, we are just one happy family us Jews.

7:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please stop skirting the issue. This is racism -- literally and completely.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow and I thought everyone here preaches brotherly love, community understaning and acceptance of your neighbor. No wonder you can't get along with anyone in the 5 Towns, you can't even get along with yourselves.

11:32 PM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Zev Chafetz is an engaging writer and a pretty astute political observer.

As a young man he made Aliyah and served for a number of years as spokesman for the government of Menachem Begin.

When he wanted to marry his second wife he couldn't get approval from the Rabbanut because she's not Jewish. So he came back to the States.

His experience soured him on the Rabbanut and on issues of Gerus. I didn't read the whole article, but his cynicism came through rather clearly.

Any reader should ask him or her self to what degree Chafets's attitude affects the tone of the article. From what I read, it seemed pretty substantial, though, I'll admit I'm not familiar with the Takanah.

12:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SYs have this because orthodox jews turn "love thy neighbor" into "love thy [jewish] neighbor" and then turns that into "love they [jewish [in the same sect as us]] neighbor.

1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sys proud jewish identity:

5% are collage educated

Magen David has lowest sat scores of any jewish community school in the usa

Ever been to deal? dark skinned girls wearing micro minis and hot pants driving Mercedes convertibles

Reputation among "gentiles": the Sefardi businessman is about as slippery as a greased fallafel ball

Women with IQ s of 25 who spend @ hours a day at the gym and the rest of the day shopping

The men will screw anything, never wear their kipot, eat fish in any restaurant

More affairs per capita with their "tennis instructors" per then anywhere but california

Intellectually, the sfardi community is so challanged, and has so little appreciation of scholarship, they are more akin to arabs the jews

God has been replaced with an insatiable lust for a seaside summer home in Deal

Whew! Thank goodness they have kept their identity pure.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whew, that last post was nasty. I don't blame the Syrians for refusing to accept converts. They assume (sometimes correctly) that the person is converting soley to marry into a rich family. Also, when a couple in which one spouses is a convert divorces, the convert almost always gives up Judaism. So the conversion was really sincere, right?

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a rabbi, but I do believe that the rule is that no orthodox beis din would do a halachic conversion if the non Jewish party were already involved with a Jew and wanted conversion solely for marriage purposes. A person who converts,therefore,would have absolutely no guarantees about marrying into a rich family, Syrian or otherwise. They would have to take their chances just like the rest of us.

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a nasty comment? If you can't take the heat stay out of the kitchen. The Syrians made their attitudes and practices a matter of public record. They shouldn't be surprised if others will publicly comment back, without sugar or sweetners added.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how you Ashkenazim feel perfectly entitled to cast stones at our community. Hold up a mirror to your own first before lashing out at others. The bottom line is, the Takanah has worked and enabled our community to grow and thrive. The warmth, friendliness and beauty of our community is the envy of Jewish communities the world over.

The proof is in the pudding.

11:51 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I don't blame the Syrians for refusing to accept converts. They assume (sometimes correctly) that the person is converting soley to marry into a rich family. Also, when a couple in which one spouses is a convert divorces, the convert almost always gives up Judaism. So the conversion was really sincere, right?

We aren't discussing the aspect of the Takanah that prohibits conversions for marriage. We are discussing the aspect of the Takanah that refuses to accept converts (or children of converts!) into their community at all. The position on intermarriage and conversion for marriage is defensible and laudable. But their position on already converted Gerim and their progeny is not.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how you Ashkenazim feel perfectly entitled to cast stones at our community. Hold up a mirror to your own first before lashing out at others. The bottom line is, the Takanah has worked and enabled our community to grow and thrive. The warmth, friendliness and beauty of our community is the envy of Jewish communities the world over.

The proof is in the pudding.


Reminds me of that old story about a guy who walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender sees the guy keep snapping his fingers. He asks the guy, "Why're you snapping your fingers?" The guy says, "It keeps the elephants away." The bartender says, "But there aren't any elephants." Guy: "See? It works."

Not one of the defenses of the Takanah that I have heard make any attempt to justify its halachic basis. Instead there is a reference to its effectiveness. However, this claim is true, I son't see how this has anything to do with the Takanah's attitude to converts. Why wouldn't the Takanah be equally effective if it just took a hard line on intermarriage?

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost all the conversions in my neighborhood (a NY suburb) were performed by after the couple met, but before they got married.
I went to high school with many SY's. We Ashkenazim have a lot to learn from them The importance and unity of the family is paramount. I have second cousins that I've never met. You would never hear of that amongst the SY's. Do you remember that story a few years ago when a certain Rabbi in a predominantly SY school in NJ was convicted of molesting some female students? He was smart enough to stay away from the Syrian girls, and instead chose Ashkenazim from "broken homes" as his victims. The Syirians would have KILLED him for touching "one of theirs" and he damn well knew that.
I'm a nurse know in a NYC hospital. I can always tell when there's a Syrian patient on my floor--he or she has twenty or so visitors at a time, as opposed to the one or two (or none) that most of the other patients have.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

learn from them The importance and unity of the family is paramount. I have second cousins that I've never met. You would never hear of that amongst the SY's. Do you remember that story a few years ago when a certain Rabbi in a predominantly SY school in NJ was convicted of molesting some female students? He was smart enough to stay away from the Syrian girls, and instead chose Ashkenazim from "broken homes" as his victims. The Syirians would have KILLED him for touching "one of theirs" and he damn well knew that.
I'm a nurse know in a NYC hospital. I can always tell when there's a Syrian patient on my floor--he or she has twenty or so visitors at a time, as opposed to the one or two (or none) that most of the other patients have.


Fine. But what in the wold does this have to do with converts? I keep hearing how "unique" the SY community is. I have no doubt it's true, but if anything, this goes to show how unnecessary the ban on converts is. For example, a member of the SY community asserts (see: http://www.ottmall.com/mj_ht_arch/v12/mj_v12i28.html#CIA) "the general Jewish population does not understand the
socio-religious aspects involved. In the Syrian Community, being
ostracized by the rabbinate is tantamount to a social death sentence." OK, so then why isn't the threat of this "death sentence" enough? Just say that intermarriage means exclusion from this community. Why the focus on converts? The answer, I fear, is right in the OM post: "Because we don’t want gentile characteristics." In other words, racism.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attend a Sephardic Bait Knesset in Chicago, the Ohel Shalom Torah Center. There are no SY's in our kehilla, although they often spend Shabbatot here when business brings them to the Windy City. As a sidebar they tell me that the steaks at Chicago's kosher eateries are much better than what is offered up in NYC!

There are many gerim in our kehilla, a few have already made aliyah. My 6 year old son, an international adoptee from Guatemala, is one of those "Jews by Choices" and our Chacham, a Rav of Tunisian extraction, officiated at his gerut when he was an infant.

To be honest the best Halachic approach to conversion was the path outlined by Rav B.Z. Uziel, Israel's first Chief Sephardic Rabbi. He held that it was not necessary to require a prospective convert to have any affectation towards Torah observance. I think this makes the best sense.

While Rav Uziel's ideas are not the mainstream, and certainly not the standard of our Chicago Rabbinical Council, I think we Midwesterners handle issues of this sort better than you folks out east, something Rav Shlomo Amar alluded to when he visited Chicago this past weekend!

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, there's plenty of "racism" in the Ashkenazic community, too. Like amongst the Hungarians, who for some reason think that they're so superior to other European Jews. (What's even more pathetic are the Czech Jews who try to pass themselves off as Hungarians, but that's another story.) Or people from certain communities who consider themselves above others. I heard a story that families from Englewood donated money to start a day school in Teaneck just to keep the Teaneck kids out of Moriah! Were they afraid of "mingling" of the children? Or perhaps one day a shidduch with a less-wealthy family? Shudders!

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Fox said...

I don't have a lot of personal experience with the Syrian community, but I have had many business dealings with Syrian Jews, and I notice one difference in the communities that has not been discussed:

Syrians have approached the problem of assimilation by rejecting conversion in general; Ashkenazim have fought assimilation by limiting participation in our lives from non-observant Jews. All kinds of teshuvas have been written about how to handle non-observant Jews in relation to davening, family relations, etc.

This misunderstanding is the root of a lot of the nastiness: Ashkenazic Jews can't imagine living in a community in which certain standards are flouted; Syrian Jews can't imagine living in a community with a "welcome mat" on the door.

Both approaches can lead to sinas chinom if they are not followed completely l'shem Shamayim with the guidance of gedolim. The Ashkenazic approach is no less controversial than the Syrian approach -- try starting a conversation about why kindly old Uncle Abe can't be an eid on the kesubah ... Obviously, we don't know which way is "right", but it's the "l'shem Shemayim" that usually trips us up!

12:43 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

anon 12.03

what you describe isn't unique to the syrian community, it's simply middle eastern, even mediterranean. you would see the same phenomenon among the various cultures of the middle east -- i'd bet the whole hamoola would show up to celebrate a moroccan birth in montreal, a tunisian one in paris or a persian one on long island or l.a.--it's a usual and expected phenom here in israel, and not just among jews either. arabs too, are known for the visiting hordes -- because among all these various middle eastern ethnicities, family is paramount. you'd see it in mediterranean families such as greeks and italians. and yes overprotective fathers and brothers abound there too. and among certain arab communities, they'd do more than kill just the guy.

while the takana might have been put in place to protect the community while still in syria, and given the community's history with syria it's understandable (still not right but understandable), i just don't see how perpetrating it now that the community is relocated makes any halachic sense.

1:19 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

sorry for the break -- needed to get dinner out of the oven --

what is unique to the syrian community is the takana. other middle eastern jewish ethnicities do not have this, as far as i know, at least not a formal one (many close-knit communities are suspicious of outsiders and gerim may not be accepted at once with the most warm and fuzzy hallmark feelings) but they still have warm, close, vibrant communities --
i just can't see how the takana is needed today.

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do see why the Takanah is important. Suppose you marry a convert; when you have children, they'll have non-Jewish grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. There will be birthday parties, holidays, summer barbeques--plenty of oppurtunities to mingle with goyim. The SY's just don't want that to happen. Good for them!

1:43 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

and what will happen exactly if you mingle with non-jews? will you become "tainted?" will everything you have learned and lived and taught your children suddenly go flying out the window?

do you not "mingle" with non-jews at your workplace? do you not stand near non-jews at the supermarket? do you not smile and be friendly when out in the "real world," (because there is a world out there, you know) or have you sequestered yourself entirely in a narrow little orthodox existence?

do you have that little trust in your own belief system? has it occured to you that you may be a positive influence in many different ways? that your behavior in the "real world" could be a real kiddush hashem?

remember that noach was described as a "tzaddik in peltz" and when compared to avraham's proactive stance vis a vis his belief system, avraham wins, hands down.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I mingle with non-Jews--but I'm not related to any!! Big difference!
My grandparents were Jewish, as were my aunts and uncles. Mingling with people at work and at the supermarket is a wee bit different than going to your non-Jewish, non-kosher, Christmas-celebrating grandparents for the weekend. I have a friend who converted to marry her Jewish "catch". I just ran into her mother, who told me that she's still hoping that her daughter returns to Catholicism. What will happen when my friend has kids and grandma drops by to visit? She won't be playing any Uncle Moishy records!

2:13 PM  
Blogger MDmom said...

oh right -- the uncle moishy records where they sing about "v'ahavta l'ray'acha ka'mocha?"

and what if you were related to someone not jewish? what would happen to you? as i said before, would your faith be shattered?

if your friend is serious about her conversion, then she won't leave her kids unsupervised with her mom if she feels there is some subversive action going on there. but that's her issue. i too have friends who converted, for true religious reasons however, way before there was any dating going on. their kids have wonderful respectful relationships with their non-jewish family. i know this for a fact.

and i know people who were born jewish, have jewish parents and grandparents, and whose born-jewish relatives married non-jews anyway -- no conversion at all. so there are still birthday parties and summer bbq's with non-jews. and you know what? everyone gets along. there are no guarantees in life and i would be willing to bet that those children wind up more well adjusted both in their strength as jews, and in their dealings with the people around them than those children who are barely exposed to the world or not exposed at all.

but for an entire community to openly flout what is written d'orayta to further their prejudices in the name of "self-protection" is just wrong. the end does not justify the means.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

more from hirhurim.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Received this via email today from the President of Sephardic Community Federation:

Some of you have read the article that appeared in this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine. As you are aware, the article was inaccurate and contained blatant misstatements about our community and our religious traditions.

Clearly, many of the quotes, especially those of the anonymous guide, do not represent the view of our community.

If anyone has any questions they can call SCF at (646) 452-5522.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pathetic, all of you who feel they know what's wrong with the sy community are pathetic. live your own lives, stop worrying about what another community does. its a free country, they can do what they want, they are not hurting anyone. leave them alone, and worry about your own communities.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous a ger said...

" Anonymous said...

pathetic, all of you who feel they know what's wrong with the sy community are pathetic. live your own lives, stop worrying about what another community does. its a free country, they can do what they want, they are not hurting anyone. leave them alone, and worry about your own communities."

See, but you are so wrtong. As a son of very righteous Giores, this totally wrongs me. They are hurting me and people like me who are 100% jewish, born and bred.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's a thought- don't marry a non-jew, whats so freaking hard about that!! and if you have to then why on earth would you want to live in an orthodox community to begin with? I mean you can't have your cake and eat it too!!

5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

here's a thought- don't marry a non-jew, whats so freaking hard about that!! and if you have to then why on earth would you want to live in an orthodox community to begin with? I mean you can't have your cake and eat it too!!"

Are you kidding? We are talking about Gerim who converted for altruistic reasons, not marriage. They are also affected by this.

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a ger said..See, but you are so wrtong. As a son of very righteous Giores, this totally wrongs me. They are hurting me and people like me who are 100% jewish, born and bred."

I am sorry you are being hurt, but the SY community didn't hury you, your parents did. They knew what they did, and be it right or wrong, they knew the communities reaction. There is no reason they should have brougt up their children in the SY community. Its not fair to the children. The thing is you can't have it both ways. It sucks, but if the rules are bent when does it end?? when there is no SY community left??

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, my mother did not convert for marriage. My parents didn't do anything wrong.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...Are you kidding? We are talking about Gerim who converted for altruistic reasons, not marriage. They are also affected by this."

and if they allowed gerim who "converted for altruistic reasons, not marriage" does it end there? no. not by reading the other comments. I beleive some people would even go so far as saying the SY's should just let gers in without converting. it will never end. the line needed to be drawn and it has worked.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Um, my mother did not convert for marriage. My parents didn't do anything wrong."

yes they did, they stayed in the community. they could live peacefully anywhere else, why make their children suffer?

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orthomom, I am surprised that you have not deleted the comment of anon @ 8:37AM. That stereotpical and bigoted comment does nothing to further the discussion, and whatever anyone thinks of the takana, that comment has no redeeming quality.

6:10 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

they are not hurting anyone.

Just some food for thought: We had a guest over, a ger tzedek who has adopted Sephardi minhagim. He is a full fledged member of his kehillah, whose conversion was made possible by the Sephardi community. Somehow the subject of different kehillot came up and he expressed his hurt over "the Edict."

8:37 PM  
Blogger miriamp said...

"yes they did, they stayed in the community. they could live peacefully anywhere else, why make their children suffer?"

Did he say his parents brought him up in the midst of the SY community? It sounded to me more like the fact that a subset of Orthodox Jews consider him to be completely non-Jewish is what is hurting him, not trying to live among them and being ostracized.

Think about it for a moment. Say you are raised completely FFB, and your mother was an FFB and your grandmother was an FFB but one day you find out that since your maternal great-grandmother was a gioress, you are therefore not considered Jewish to this particular community. Wouldn't you be hurt by that, even if you never had to have any further interaction with them? I would be.

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the socalled steryotypical comments from anon 8:37 When I graduated from a yeshiva high school, I am 99.9% sure that none of the Syrians from my class completed a 4 year degree.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

* From my highschool, and years later, I mean. lol

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

* From my highschool, and years later, I mean. lol

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The SY's are in need of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is what is missing in their community. Bezras Hashem, Christ will come to Flatbush and Deal.


Your Dear Brother,


Rabbi Neal Wendrow

9:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By all means, let's get our J4J into the heart of the SY community to peddle his poison. It would be a sports event of great magnitude--I believe they might call it "bull fighting." I might even pay to see this one. My money is on the SY's.

1:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"About the socalled steryotypical comments from anon 8:37 When I graduated from a yeshiva high school, I am 99.9% sure that none of the Syrians from my class completed a 4 year degree."

I personally know a number of Syrian attorneys and physicians. The SY community mayhave come en masse to America a little later than Europoean Jews, and so maybe they are a few years behind in the typical progreesion that immigrant groups go through with respect to education and entering professions, but it is not the case anymore that all SYs do not obtain a higher education and go into business (though of course many still do). Today's Ashkenazic doctors and lawyers (including me) often have grandparents who didn't go to college, but who worked successfully in business.

And that said, even if your statement is true, that does not excuse the comment by anon at 8:37.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is bull shit, the Syrians have the $$$ for college degrees if they wanted it.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Tzippora said...

Just for the record, Zev Chafetz is a YU grad, and doesn't seem to be trying to smear anyone. Not quite the stereotype of an anti-semitic NY Times reporter.

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zev chafetz is sour because he married and non jew and wasnt accepted by rabbis in his own community. he has written numerous pieces mocking hasidic jews. being a YU grad means nothing. most journalists are college grads, but does that alone make them honest people?? give me a break. the article was written with such an obvious bias, with every intent to smear.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its funny how all the ashkenaz posters seem to think that the edict really does mean that syrians NEVER accept converts.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if the SY community was made up of a bunch of trailer parks would this be a story? would anyone be arguing that the community should allow every one in? of course not!! this is all about money. thats the only reason this clown wrote the article, he picked up on last year's times article on real estate in brooklyn and decided to find every fault he can with this community. Why? cause he's a hateful person who likes bringing people down. maybe his mother didnt breast feed him, i'm not sure, but this scum bag reporter misqouted, misled, and misinformed.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone realize who the sources this fool used??
1) that suede guy- he married a non-jew- (she did not convert!!)- of course he hates the community for not letting his wife and kids in, but he left himself when he violated a rule that is held by most jewish communites. remmeber, his wife is not even a convert, so why even use him as an example for the edict? thats plain misleading.
2) Jakie Kassin- he has no authority to speak for the community, he is a Rabbis' son, not the Rabbi. why couldnt chafetz get someone important to speak, why resort to him?? because he wanted comments like kassin provided, he didnt want an educated response, he wanted an emotional one. Where is the quote from any Rabbi in the community? its not there, because a real qoute would have nullified his whole argument.

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a real view by a SY community Rabbis:
Oct. 15, 2007
Letters to the Editor, Magazine
The New York Times
620 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY 10018

To the Editor,

Jakie Kassin is the son and grandson of rabbis and a dynamic do-gooder, but he is neither a rabbi nor a scholar of Judaic studies. The statements attributed to him in “The SY Empire” (Zev Chafets, Oct. 14, 2007) are a gross distortion of Judaism as well as of the 1935 Edict promulgated in the Syrian Jewish community of Brooklyn. That Edict was enacted to discourage community members from intermarrying with non-Jews. It acknowledged the reality of the time that conversions were being employed insincerely and superficially. Accordingly, conversion for marriage to a member of the community was automatically rejected.

However, it is important in this regard to clarify the policy of the community rabbinate and particularly that of the long-time former chief rabbi of the community, Jacob S. Kassin (the originator of the Edict), and his son, the present chief rabbi, Saul J. Kassin. I quote from an official formulation of the Sephardic Rabbinical Council of several years ago that reflects their position: “1. A conversion not associated with marriage that was performed by a recognized Orthodox court – such as for adoption of infants or in the case of an individual sincerely choosing to be Jewish – is accepted in our community. 2. If an individual not born to a member of our community had converted to Judaism under the aegis of an Orthodox court, and was observant of Jewish Law, married a Jew/Jewess who was not and had not been a member of our community, their children are permitted to marry into our community.” Based on these standards a goodly number of converts have been accepted into the community. Genetic characteristics play no role whatsoever.

No rabbi considers sincere and proper conversions “fictitious and valueless.” (The comma in the English translation cited in the article that gives that impression was the result of a mistranslation by a layman, a matter I made clear to Mr. Chafets when we spoke.)

In addition, the quote claiming that even other Jews are disqualified from marrying into the community “if someone in their line was married by a Reform or Conservative rabbi” is a totally false portrayal of community rabbinical policy. Many Ashkenazim whose parents were married by such rabbis have married into our community.

Sincerely,

Moshe Shamah
Rabbi, Sephardic Synagogue
511 Ave. R
Brooklyn, NY 11223
----

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>> but he [Kassin] is neither a rabbi nor a scholar of Judaic studies.


Does that mean that Kassin can't come to an informed opinion based on observation? No.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does that mean that Kassin can't come to an informed opinion based on observation? No"

Does that mean that he should be the person quoted? NO. many have opinions based on observations, but when you leverage an entire article on one person's quotes, that person better be a good representative of the community.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does that mean that Kassin can't come to an informed opinion based on observation? No"
anyone can come up with an opinion based on observation, but does that mean that anyone should be quoted in an article? No. Kassin can come up with an opinion, but his opinion should not be the one representing the entire community, because based on the article that is what it seems.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That is bull shit, the Syrians have the $$$ for college degrees if they wanted it."

And you have completely missed the point. First of all, that is true today, and that is why today there are SY professionals -and the $$ they have came from business and not the professions. Second of all its not about the $$, its about the culture.The SY community is a few years behind the Assk. community itn terms of % of population that enter higher education, but that is because as an immigrant group they arrived a few years later.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Wendrow's Message to the Syrian Jewish Community:

Brothers and Sisters:

Two thousand years ago your ancestors were among the first that Rabbenu Shaul, the Apostle Paul, preached the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to as he begain his missionary journeys. Sadly enough, they would not listen to his message. As Chacham Shaul travelled through Syria, the Jews there beat him and hurled him out of there synagogues. He then took his message to the non-Jews.

Syrian Jewish friends! Do not make this same mistake. Jesus Christ is now knocking on the doors of every SY home in Deal and Flatbush. He begs that you let Him in! Receive Him today as Lord and Savior!

Soon I will be coming to Flatbush and Deal to meet and greet all of you. I pray that on that day you will invite Yeshua to come and live in your hearts forever!

3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just for the record, Zev Chafetz is a YU grad, and doesn't seem to be trying to smear anyone. Not quite the stereotype of an anti-semitic NY Times reporter."


Being Jewish,or a YU Grad, or a grad of any Yeshiva for that matter, does not by any means make someone observant, unbiased, or even pro-Jewish. I think that a close (and even not-so-close) reading of the article reveals a definite bias against the SY community, which does not mean that any particular fact stated is necessarily incorrect in of itself. Rather it is the way theose facts are presented, quotes from individuals (including Kassin and the anonymous guide) which are laid off as representative of the entire group, the mixing of stories of Geirim together with stories of outright intermarriage (as if only the SY community prohbits intermarriage), use of catchy soundbite like subtitles that convey a sterotyped message without any context ("they raise their children to marry other Syrians and make a fortune (at least the boys"), insinuation that the SYs are unusually or unhealthily clannish to the extent that they will even ("gasp") not necessarily ostracize members who have comitted a crime(as if that is unique to them and not to other ethnic or family groups, and as if that says something negative about the entire group (association with known felons? -clearly there are none of those in the population at large, or even, gasp in the nonSY Jewish community)).

I submit that the same article, using the same facts and sourses, could have been written in a completely positive way had Chafetz so desired. But that is not his job either. His job was (or should have been -then gain, this is the NY Times)to write a fair and unbiased article. And he absolutely did not.

3:32 PM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

As far as not caring what others do, it is precisely our ability to care about the moral, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, and anthropological well being of others that makes us worthwhile. No one is suggesting a religious war with them, what is being done is to openly disagree and state why.

They are being challenged to support their position intellectually, morally, ethically, etc. This is GOOD. Without consideration of meaning and justification, we'd have torah without talmud. If we did somehow miraculously let talmud slip by, we'd have talmud without a rabbi to give their take. It would simply be, take it or leave it, no explanations, no interpretations, no relating it to you, it's as literal as a newspaper clipping. Art Scroll prices would drop like a stone and their products would be at WalMart because no one would read it to or with you anymore. Who cares about you?

At a time when radical Muslims are making all Muslims look like violent monsters if they agree and idiotically negligent if they sit back and do not strenuously denounce the radicals, and Christians are in paroxysms over the pedophile scandals in the priesthood, can Jews care less about their co-religionists' practices when they go public like this?

Even the Karaites had the sense to un-ban conversion. Need the Syrians wait centuries to realize how silly they are being? Well, maybe they will if people who care say nothing to them and don't make them take more serious care to properly rationalize and justify such a tremendously important and sensitive and emotionally hard-hitting decision as this one.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FWIW, Chafetz has a LONG history of bashing religious Judaism. From his books in the 80s, in which he seemed tolerant of every branch of Judaism or Israelism around, so long as they weren't Orthodox (at which point the vitriol spewed all over the page), to his career in the 90s as an editorialist at the Jerusalem Report, to his recent American career since his yeridah. Take it from whom it comes. You can't expect anything but negativity towards the Orthodox from Chafetz.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the dude mentioned in the article married a non jew who did NOT convert. this wouldnt be allowed in most orthodox communites.
yet this chafetz tool is using this instance to bash the edict, which has to do with conversion. intermarriage without conversion is against the religion entirely.

5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-suitepotato- - you are a moron. please stop spewing your idiotic views. you are basically saying that the SY community is radical??
i bet that you feel the SY community should allow non-jews in, right? would that be fair? would that end this discussion? because from your point of view it seems like you will not be satisfied until the SY's assimilate with the rest of America and no longer exist.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in indiana and just recently read this article. i am outraged how anyone could bash the SY community. they are a rare occurance of a community that is able to thrive, and stay together for over 70 years. where else can you see that?? they value family, and charity. so what if they don't let outsiders in, why should they? their logic has withstood 70 years of proof, why should they change? why fix something that aint broke?

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still not clear on the facts here. Is Rabbi Shamah's position correct (that the SY community will accept sincere conversions), or does the Edict actually prohibit all conversions from being accepted in the community, regardless of whether the conversion was performed before they met and decided to marry a Jew.

Also, if Jackie Kassin actually uttered those words about "gentile characteristics" (it's possible that he was misquoted), while he may not be a good representative of the SY community, nor is he necessarily an expert on the Edict, but that racist attitude must be coming from somewhere. I'm wondering if it's only Jackie Kassin who feels that way, or if its a widespread attitude in the SY community.

As somebody already pointed out above, Moshiach ben David will be a descendent of Ruth, a convert. Will the Kassins of the world accept such a Moshiach? Or will the Geulah be delayed because of the attitudes of such people?

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in this community...the edict is a good thing for the people who live here being that their money and status would have taken them beyonds this fence and they would have lost their identity long ago just because of their social status ....although the biggest problem is that there are a few converts who do live in the community and most of them are not true converts, not to say the children are not (after youre raised jewish it is all you know and you grow to love it)...they are called the "ones who slipped through the cracks". although some people say they recognize true converts, they do NOT. one of the biggest rabbis has said to my face that they do not consider anyone in this day to be a real convert, not since rabbi akivah. the fact that they allow certain converts to live amongst the community after many donations and hearings does not make sense especially after making such a proclamation. you should all know that the edict would be good if they actually went by it, but there were mistakes made after 1935 and it just doesnt hold...

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the person who said that Kassin's view of the community should not be in the article-


Okay, so I guess only pro views are allowed but not any anti views. If Stalin were still alive you would be his boyfriend, if not then his diciple.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Okay, so I guess only pro views are allowed but not any anti views. If Stalin were still alive you would be his boyfriend, if not then his diciple."
wow are you a moron. so you are basically saying that any quote from a random person in the community is a representation on what the community stands for as a whole?
no you dumbass. my point was why wasn't a community leader quoted? i didnt care if it were positive or negative, but as you've seen above, the true views (written by Rabbi Shamah) greatly differ from what Kassin said. Rabbis Shamah spoke to the author, why weren;t his quotes included? Rabbi Shamah is a better representation then Kassin. this obviously shows tremndous bias by the author, who was looking for a quote that made the community look bad, so he resorted to this.
so whoever you are, dumb ass, who thinks you are gods gift to this earth, think before you post, cause if stalin were alive he's have you sucking his balls, and you'd like it.

3:32 PM  
Anonymous anonymous said...

I was scrolling through the comments to get an idea of where the conversation is going and I still can't believe the amount of argument when the "facts" about what was said and by whom and in what context are shown as being in question. Talk about sinas chinam.

And into the midst of the SY controversy someone pops this--"the Hungarians, who for some reason think that they're so superior to other European Jews. (What's even more pathetic are the Czech Jews who try to pass themselves off as Hungarians, but that's another story.)" What, is it diss everyone day? Aw shucks, and here as someone of Hungarian descent I always thought it was the Yekis who thought they were superior. Go figure.

Just a historical note here: Czechs have a basis for their "claim" of being Hungarian. Prior to World War I they were Hungarian, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Just because the Empress changed the borders doesn't mean that all the Czech families suddenly started speaking Czech and thinking like Czechs. Their minhagim so to speak have more in common with those of the Jews of Hungary then they do with Czechoslovakia.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA Classic

3:49 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

People:
Keep it civil, and clean. I had to delete the last batch of comments.

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am a traveling salesman you has travled through the sy community.
I wanted to mention an occurance that happened to me to prove the genorosity of this fine community.
I was driving in brooklyn and all the sudden my tires poped, both the front and rear. a nine year old wearing a baret and holding a gun shot both my tires out and was coming after me. Luckily I was able to out run him and found the closet house. I rang the doorbell and was greeted by a strange looking man wearing a yellow hat and a yellow coat. I told the man of my prediciment and he let me in his home. He brought me some water, and told me to relax. He asked if were hungry, i said don't bother but he insisted, he said he has help and it was no bother. All the sudden a platter was being brought to me with fruit and cookies by a little monkey. the monkey delivered the plate to me and then looked at me curiously. the man in the yellow hat sat with me and fed me. I awoke two hours later, and i saw a different man, an SY man. I looked around, I was lying in a bed, my clothes were on the floor, my mouth had a funny taste. The SY asked if I were ok. I asked what happened. He told me, the man in the yellow hat put something in the fruit that knocked me out. he then proceeded to bring me up to his bedroom. there he had his way with me, and the monkey, who i later learned was named george. all the while the man in the yellow hat never took off the hat. The SY told me that he heard the monkey making loud noises so he came over to investigate. As he walked in the room he saw me unconsious on the bed as the man in the yellow hat was beating his monkey.
Thanks to the SY man, I was saved from the next act the man in the yellow hat was going to try on me, the monroe transfer, followed by a jedi mind trick, a jelly doughnaugt, and to top it off a flaming amazon.

to this day I am thankful to the SY community for helping me out of that situation. From what I hear the man with the yellow hat and his monkey have moved to Indiana.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"so you are basically saying that any quote from a random person in the community is a representation on what the community stands for as a whole?"

Actually, yeah. XD

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief, someone is channeling Timothy Leary and the 60's. A trip gone bad.

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"so you are basically saying that any quote from a random person in the community is a representation on what the community stands for as a whole?"

"Actually, yeah. XD"

loser

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i live in Indiana, I just saw the man in the yellow hat and his monkey at the coffee shop.

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Syrian Jew said...

Just so you know, Jakie Kassin is not a Rabbi, his father is. And as a member of the community, let me tell you that there is an outcry against what he has said. No one agrees with his "gentile characteristic" statement. It is insulting to everyone, and is not a sentimenet the community as a whole agrees with.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

syrian jew- its funny how all of the asheknazim think that syrians really don't accept converts.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

syrian jew- is the man in the yellow hat allowed in your community? what about his monkey?

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My goodness, why do you all care? My husband is a ger tzeddek and I don't care what the Syrians think. So big deal if they don't think my husband's intentions were pure when he chose to become a Jew in communist Russia. I know what my husband is and that's what matters.

When communism fell and yeshivas opened, my husband gave up a life of relative comfort and ease to half starve in order to learn Torah in the new Yeshivas, which were just getting off the ground and therefore severely underfunded. He slept in the kitchen with the rats, and they crawled over him while he slept! One time he had only a box of matzoh to last him 3 weeks while he slept in a shul, because when the rosh yeshiva went away he locked up the yeshiva and sent away the talmidim. My husband had no money to travel home or pay for lodging, so he was homeless - all for the sake of Torah. He had a belt made of paper! He is of average height, but weighed 97 pounds at one point!!!

He could have gone back to his old comfortable life, which was a good and happy life, any time he wanted - but chose to starve l'shem shamayim so he could stay in yeshiva. How many FFB bachurim today would really do that?

After we were engaged, a wealthy man who was impressed of my husband offered to buy him all new clothing and shoes, but my husband asked that if he wants to spend money on him, he should instead buy him seforim. How many people would say that?

I don't need some person or community, Syrian or not, to tell me what my husband is. I live with him and I see with my own eyes what he is. He has more mesirus nefesh for Torah than anyone I ever met. To this day I have never seen him back down on any mitzvah, minhag, or chumra, no matter how uncomfortable it might make him. He eats in the sukkah in the pouring rain and won't come inside.

In almost 8 years of marriage my husband has never once spoken an unkind word to me. He has thanked me for just about everything I ever did for him, from meals to cleaning, and never uttered a word of complaint against me or anything I did, even when I was negligent. Even when, at times, I became angry and spoke unkind words, he never answered me back. He has NEVER said an unkind thing to me, ever. He is a true baal middos.

If I fall asleep on Friday night while he is at shul, he will sit in the living room and learn a sefer until I wake up on my own rather than wake me up, even if that be after midnight. And when I do wake up, he just smiles warmly and invites me to the seudah - having set the table himself while I slept!

And the above quote from Sefer Chassidim about the children of geirim with good middos turning out righteous is so true! My husband is a true baal middos, and indeed our children are turning out beautifully KA"H. Their principals and teachers gush over them, saying they've never seen such fine children. I've been told that the whole class can be out of their seats making trouble, but my children will be the only ones sitting respectfully. I've been told that my children have all the maalos a mother can hope for.

To the person who said it is right not to marry a ger because then there will be non-Jewish relatives, should thank Hashem with all your heart if any of your daughters would have the z'chus to marry a man like my husband, non-Jewish relatives and all. His years of suffering l'sheim shamayim formed him into a tzaddik, and I can't imagine what I ever did so good as to deserve such a fine shidduch - he is truly a gift from Hashem. And I don't need the Syrians or anyone else to tell me that. Baruch Hashem!

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. to 2:27: And the Syrian community didn't institute this takanah because they were having problems with the converts, but because they were having problems with their OWN people, who kept intermarrying, assuming that if worse comes to worse they'll convert their spouse. As so many people above mentioned, this takanah saved their community from intermarriage. If anything, it's a poor reflection on Syrians of that generation that they had to take such drastic measures not to assimilate. Geirim should not take it personally, as the problem was not the geirim, but the Syrians of that time.

B"H I'm glad that the Syrians found a way to solve their problem, even if it means they're no longer zocheh to having geirim among them.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great points made by the last two comments, however i am much more interested to learn if the man in the yellow hat and his monkey have been allowed in the community?

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am very upset at some of the comments that have been made on this board. for one i do not understand the state of mind one could be in to make certain comments. i am appauled. to openly suggest that curious george and the man in the yellow hat would live in brooklyn is absurd. we all know they prefer the hot weather of miami beach.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to person with long ass story bout her husband the ger- did he ever meet the man in the yellow hat? it sounds like he may have. I heard he did a stint in soviet russia as a rosh yeshivah, and paid his teachers in bananas.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the people that blast this community for this law. Let me ask you what is the intermarriage rate for Jews in the world, and what is the rate in this community. You can't blame them for trying to keep their traditions and their religion alive.

The numbers of Jews in this world is declining, Israel has passed America in terms of having the most Jews. While it might not sound so surprising to think Israel has the most Jews, but it wasn't always this way. The population didn't pass America because of a new influx of Jews, or by having a lot of kids, it cam because the Jewish population in America declined. It is declining because after a generation or two after an intermarriage the kids no longer think or know anything about being Jewish and no longer count themselves as such.

While people think it cute to celebrate Chrismakuh (Chrismass + Hanukah), it is destroying our identity. Do you think Jews have survived the 2000 years of the Diaspora because they assimilated? We are a people of family and tradition and this community is a great representation of this.

5:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think Jews have survived the 2000 years of the Diaspora because they assimilated? We are a people of family and tradition and this community is a great representation of this."

Um, right. The sy's aren't an assimilated community. They dress exactly like their forefathers did and did not take any American non-Jewish characteristics. Sure.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"um, right. The sy's aren't an assimilated community. They dress exactly like their forefathers did and did not take any American non-Jewish characteristics. Sure"
wow you are real dumb ass. you and the man in the yellow man should hang out, he'll pound some sense into you.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think you meant man in the yellow hat. but non the less,to the ignorant moron who wrote: "Um, right. The sy's aren't an assimilated community. They dress exactly like their forefathers did and did not take any American non-Jewish characteristics. Sure."

you are a tool, you need the man in the yellow hat and his monkey. they will pound you alright. but i'm sure you will enjoy it.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because they stopped dressing in the clothing of the middle east the are assimilated?

What about the food they eat/prefer? The slang they use? The yeshivas and shuls they build and use?

How about the neighborhoods they live in, with a Jewish family in almost every house on the block? Or how about almost every marraige is between people within the community?

But then again learning to speak English and getting a secular education (in addition to the religious one) must mean the are assimilated already. Cause American is the Borg, resistance is futile.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is simply a bad analogy to compare America to the Borg. In America one has the choice to be and do as he or she wants ... in Orthodox Judaism, there is a very minimized amount of freedom, and in terms of viewpoint, very little individuality. It is the Orthodox Jews who are comparable to the Borg infinitely more than the rest of America.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It is simply a bad analogy to compare America to the Borg. In America one has the choice to be and do as he or she wants ... in Orthodox Judaism, there is a very minimized amount of freedom, and in terms of viewpoint, very little individuality. It is the Orthodox Jews who are comparable to the Borg infinitely more than the rest of America."

He was being sarcastic you dumb waste of a human being.

4:15 PM  
Blogger HaKol LeTovah said...

Ok everybody, listen up: Before you all begin to scrutinize and protest against "The Edict", you should consider looking into the greatness of the rav who established it -Hacham Yaacob Kassin zt"l. Anyone who knows about the SY community and and its scholars, will tell you how Hacham Yaacob looked after his community and did everything only for their good. It may be hard for us to understand how the hacham could institute such a harsh decree like that, but I assure you that if Rabbi Kassin did it, it WAS and Probably still is for the better of our community.

P.S. He knew alot better than you guys how to run a community of 75,000 people :)

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone wants i know of people who give out free copies of Shmiras Halashon/shemirat halashon by Chofetz Choim/Chafetz Chaim. Ill judge you all favorablly and say that none of you know about the prohibitions of Motzi shem ra. whether you agree or disagree with a community's ways, is up to you (although personally i cant seem to understand how people are attacking the gedolim who wrote it who were from 2 generations ago, people that we would never dare open our mouth to; its just that people are comfortable hiding behind a computer screen. hide as you like, but if any of you are really G-d fearing jews, you should be more scared of what Gd has in store for you who are mevaze talmide chachamim [R' Yaakov Kassin and all the rabbis who keep on reaffirming the edict] which the Gemara in Bava metziah clearly says "en chelek leolam haba: no portion in the world to come" so think before the next time you time derrogotory statements again.)

And anyone who honestly wants to understand more on the topic can read about it in Princely Wisdom: The Life and Teachings of Rabbi Jacob S. Kassin,
by Yeshivat Hevrat Ahavat Shalom

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to add a point, I am in no way expressing the views of “every Syrian Jew alive”, just my feelings and observations. I like my culture, I like my food, and I like the way I pray. I think we come from a really rich culture that focus on interpersonal relationships and tradition.

I don’t think that there is anything wrong with disallowing convenient conversions. I don’t think there is anything wrong with disassociating from people who live lifestyles you don’t agree with. The children are no longer part of the tradition, there is no reason to include them, no one can force me to. I wouldn’t want my children to get any funny ideas and therefore I wouldn’t expose them to people who “converted a wife.” I don’t doubt that there exist sincere converts, I do doubt that most conversions are legitimate.

When it comes to marriage not only are there prejudices against converts, there are prejudices against classless Jews (Ashkenaz, Sephardic, even other Syrians). Class is not about education, its about the way you behave with the people that matter. You can keep your MBA, I would rather learn from people that have done it and do it better than the rest. The only person I believe that I am better than is myself… everyone should try to understand that philosophy.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

any one know good shidduch syrian community ?

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Syrians are a bunch Mamzerim who are terrified that the whole world will learn their little secret. That they themselves are descended from gerim and have no Israelite blood.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading almost all of these harsh, negative comments, I as a Syrian Jew am appalled.
One reason Moshiach isn't here yet is because we, as a Jewish nation, do not have unity. This blog and it's responses prove just that. How can an Ashkenazi Jew imply that he is better then the Syrians, if in which by stating that, makes him completely inferior? What is the purpose in bickering about who's better when in fact all it means is what country we were from?
If anyone is familiar with the story of Ruth you will understand the following, anyone else please find this educating;
Rut was a princess belonging to a family of Goyim as well as her future sister-in-law Orpah. When both of them married two respectable boys (after converting) from the family of Naomi (from whom we later learn will descend King David, and years later, Mashiach) everyone was shocked at the fact that two Tzadikim could marry such women. They later found out that Rut's conversion was 100% for the love of Judaism. However her sister-in-law, Orpah, had an ulterior motive.
The reason why we do not accept converts is because of the following; we can see from the story of Rut how even the smartest people can't tell a person's reasoning behind their actions. If a woman or a man converts for any other reason other then for the love of Hashem it is considered "unkosher" therefore that "convert" is still a Goy. We are trying to prevent this from happening by not accepting converts into the Syrian community. This doesn't mean we don't love them, or that we do not accept them as Jews. If they want to convert, by all means convert, I welcome you to Judaism, but there are many other communities they can join.
For someone to say the Syrians are Mamzerim is completely unnecessary and inappropriate. How can you say that we descended from goyim if we are trying to keep them out. Think about your logic behind that.
This shouldn't be a battle as to which community is superior. We are all the children of Hashem no matter where we come from. So everyone needs to stop the one-upping, the hatred and the bashing, and start loving every Jew because there is no Klal Yisroel without the Syrians or Ashekansim!
WE ARE ALL JEWSISH!!!!! <3
This shouldn't be a

1:11 AM  
Anonymous SYJew said...

There is a lot that has to be understood about this Edict. Firstly, it was established back in Syria almost 75 years ago - not in Brooklyn in the 21st century. Secondly, the Edict was established by some of the holiest Hachamim and Rabbanim of thier time so unless any of you are close to the level they were on you have to accept that Da'at Torah sometimes needs to make some difficult judgements and decisions in order to preserve their community and to speak harshly of such Hachamim is in every way playing with fire. Thirdly, in that time, all around the world, people were intermarrying at an absurd rate. People were converting - saying it was for the right reasons - then marrying and returning to their roots. How can you know the true intentions of a person? He/She says it is for the right reason but can you really know at the time? Four, the Hachamim looked at the situation and realized that a decision needed to be made to preserve their community. They made the difficult decision that converts would not be accepted to make sure the problems effecting other communities would not get near theirs. Fifth, they kept this going on the move to America because it was even more dangerous in the States. Sixth, as a Syrian Jew (I know I didn't mention it before, but yes I am Syrian) I find it extremely comforting to know my community is safe. In other communities when one wants to get married they have to check into the other persons ancestry etc. but by us, since Syrians mostly marry Syrians, chances are that every Syrian I meet has at least one close relative that I know and i can find out what i need to about this person easily. I am not nearly as afraid of "skeletons in the closet" as i would be in other communities. I personally have many many Ashkenaz friends and I don't view them differently in any way. I love them like my brothers. Seventh, I found many of the comments here to be hurtful and insulting and I would love to know how the Syrian community has offended the authors of these posts so personally so I can sincerely apologize. Do I agree that there are issues that need to be worked on in this community? Yes. But the same way I do not come into your house and disturb your family by telling you of the problems that you need to fix, so our community knows what needs fixing and we are working on it from within. If you are coming to offer a helping hand then thank you, it is greatly appreciated and you can email me and I will give you some Rabbis you can speak to. If you are coming to merely mention the problems we have then, as i said previously, i wouldn't intrude on your house, please don't intrude on mine. Thank You. Finally, we are all Jews, we all came out of egypt together. Why is there so much hate flying around here? Why can't we all accept each other regardless of our flaws?

I would love to hear from anyone who has something nice to say or serious to ask - please email me - Giantfan101@gmail.com

11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen to this crappola from Giantfan101;
"Finally, we are all Jews, we all came out of egypt together. Why is there so much hate flying around here? Why can't we all accept each other regardless of our flaws?"

Yeah, Right, we should "accept" each other as long as your a Jew by birth! The SY's are openly breaking Halacha by oppressing the poor Gerim. If that's not bad enough even descendants of Gerim are discriminated against by the SY's. Reality check! All Jews by birth have some Gerish blood, even the SY's. So I guess the SY's should kick themselves out their own congregations. Yeah, not bloody likely.

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