Rabbi Jason Miller asserts in his Jan. 20 article, “Rep. Giffords and the limits of matrilineal descent,” “If Rep. Gabrielle Giffords considers herself Jewish because her father is Jewish and she lives a Jewish life, then she’s Jewish.”
I play baseball and I own a Yankees cap, therefore I consider myself a member of the NY Yankees. I visited Rome some years ago, so I consider myself the Pope. Today there is an ice storm outside, but I’d like it much better if it were hot and sunny so, alas, it is hot and sunny in my mind.
No, ours is a religion, not a reality show. There are no limits to matrilineal descent because those are the rules of our religion. Rep. Giffords can become Jewish, but not until she has an Orthodox conversion. Ivanka Trump cared enough to do it right, and so can Giffords. But her history tells us that Jewish descent was not high on her list of priorities. She intermarried. Her father changed his name to Giffords not, as your article says, because of anti-Semitism but because he didn’t care for others to know that he was Jewish. Yes, she supports Israel but so does the Christian Right. Finally, I must have missed the part where someone made the Jerusalem Post the final word on who is a Jew.
I know this is old-fashioned, but it’s about standards. If doctors became doctors by Conservative and Reform standards, they could wake up, brush their teeth, declare themselves doctors, and go out to perform surgery. I wouldn’t care to be a patient of such a doctor, and I certainly don’t want my religion reduced to reality show nonsense either.