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Jews and Non-Jews
Can a Jewish person marry a non-Jewish person?

Jews and Non-Jews

‘Jews and Non-Jews’ looks at the relationships between Jewish and non-Jewish people.

While Jews have, over the centuries, suffered persecution and anti-Semitism at the hands of non-Jews, there is no description for the reverse (Jews, for example, hating Christians or Sikhs) because Jews by nature are taught from a very early age to respect the beliefs of others. Judaism does not in any way suggest that Jews are better than other people, and the only reason they are sometimes referred to as “God’s chosen people” is that it was Moses who received the Ten Commandments where other nations previously offered them refused.

1.
A Jewish person can marry a non-Jewish person ....
in a synagogue
in a church
during the weeks between Shrove Tuesday and Easter
providing it is not on the Sabbath Day
In order to be recognised under Jewish Law, a Jewish person can marry a non-Jewish person in a synagogue only if the non-Jewish person has undergone the formal and recognised conversion process to Judaism, should they wish the marriage to be accepted under Jewish Law. However, without a conversion having been made, marriage in other venues, such a registry office, civic building, or other place recognised for the purpose of a legal secular marriage, while not recognised under Jewish Law, will otherwise be fully legal in the country where it takes place. Should the female be the Jewish partner, any children will be recognised as fully-Jewish, irrespective of the marriage venue
2.
The main reason Jewish Law may seem to want to separate Jews from non-Jews (referred to as gentiles) is ....
very biblical, aiming as it did at the time to prevent Jews from adopting idolatrous behaviour
to limit the opportunity for intermarriage
to prevent Jews desecrating the Sabbath Day
to stop Jews leaving the Jewish faith
Jews do not pray to idols, whether in human or animal form, so no statue of either man or animal will be found in any synagogue. It was thought in ancient times that by limiting the exposure, it would limit the opportunity. There was also an element of preventing political veneration or the partaking of non-Kosher food
3.
In order to be classed as Jewish under Jewish Law ....
the father must be Jewish
the mother must be Jewish
both mother and father must be Jewish
the grandparents must be Jewish
While a person can be a Jew either by birth or through a recognised conversion, to be Jewish by birth you must be born to a Jewish mother. The line for Jewish descent is through the female. Therefore, while a personality such as Sharon Osborne, who had a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, is not Jewish, TV personality Stephen Fry, who had a Jewish mother but a non-Jewish father, is Jewish
4.
Those wishing to convert to Judaism must ....
if Christian, immediately stop going to church
do so on a Sunday, the day after the Jewish Sabbath day
undergo a period of learning that could last a couple of years
denounce their current religion
All mainstream branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Liberal, Reform, Conservative) accept sincere converts according to their respective practices. The benchmark is traditional Orthodox Judaism, where the laws of conversion are based on the classical sources of Jewish law, especially discussions of the Talmud, (the Book of the Law as described in the Old Testament, particularly, the Five Books of Moses). It is not permitted for Jews to belittle or denigrate other religions. Jews also must not try to convert non-Jews to Judaism
5.
During the rise of Hellenism, aside from Greek language, what other aspect of Greek life did Jews begin to incorporate into their lives?
Jews began to use Greek methods of prayer
Jews began to adopt Greek personal names
Jews began to think of their ancient heroes such as Moses and Abraham as divine men
Jews began to worship Greek gods
At least three-quarters of the personal names of the Jews in Hellenistic Egypt have a Greek origin. The Jews often tried to choose Greek names that sounded or had the same meaning as their Hebrew names, but many names coming from those of Greek or Egyptian deities are common. In Rome, almost half of the names of the Jews found in inscriptions are of Latin origin, about a third have Greek origins, and only about a sixth owe their origins to Hebrew or Aramaic
6.
Jewish businesspeople can enter a business partnership with a non-Jew ....
with no restrictions
providing they agree not to practice their own religion in the premises
providing they do not work on the Sabbath day
providing the non-Jew is only a junior partner
There are absolutely no restrictions whatsoever as to whom a Jewish person decides to set up a business with, providing the business is honest and legitimate and adheres to secular demands, such as tax, employment law, equality of opportunity and health and safety. Some Orthodox Jewish businesses will be closed on the Sabbath day anyway, and very Orthodox Jews will not take any income from the Sabbath day if the business is operated by the non-Jewish partner on that day. The owner, if Jewish, will always make a space or room available to allow the follower of another faith to undertake their private meditation if required
7.
The New Testament, written after the Five Books of Moses and the Old Testament, ....
is viewed with great scepticism by Jewish people
is wholly rejected by Jews because it discusses aspects of faith Jews do not believe in
contains portions that are read during the Jewish New Year
is considered a book that should be read by Jews at some point in order to achieve Jewish literacy
The New Testament is considered a very rich source for a better understanding of Jewish history, Jewish law, Jewish thought, and the history of anti-Semitism. Surprisingly, almost all the books of the New Testament were actually written by Jews, most during extremely eventful periods of Jewish history
8.
The Jewish obligation of “tzedakah”, the giving to charity, charitable causes and to those less-fortunate is ....
for Jews to help less-fortunate Jews
a tradition to help the less well-off celebrate the Sabbath
to help anyone less-fortunate, not just Jewish people
to maintain synagogues
Traditionally, Jews who are able to, will give up to one-tenth of their disposable income to charity. The act of giving, is a fundamental core Jewish value. While many will support Jewish charities for the needy and infirm, many Rabbis (teachers) now consider it a celebration for Jewish giving to not make distinctions between giving to Jewish and non-Jewish causes. In the USA, for example, Jewish people make more charitable donations to non-Jewish causes than they do to Jewish causes. There are also many non-Jewish charities and causes that have Jewish directors and fundraisers
9.
Can a Jewish person attend a non-Jewish funeral held in a church or funeral chapel?
Under no circumstances
With permission of the Rabbi
Yes they may attend
Yes, they may attend providing they do not take an active part in the service
Jews mourning non-Jewish relatives and friends may certainly attend a service in a church or funeral chapel. They may also act as pall bearers or give a speech if asked to speak about the dead. However, Jews do not kneel at any time during prayer, neither, in the case of a Roman Catholic service, would they receive the Eucharist (Communion)
10.
Jews can entertain non-Jews in their home ....
if the visitors bring a portion of Kosher food (food that is allowed by Jewish Law) to the table
with absolutely no restrictions
if the visitors recite a small Hebrew prayer in English prior to eating
but in a different room if food is being served, because Jews do not permit non-Jewish people to eat with them
Jewish people will always welcome a guest, regardless of their religion, to their home, although some ultra-Orthodox (Hassidm, those who dress in black) believers may have difficulty due to their guest not being able to recite the Grace after Meal prayers in Hebrew. It is considered a “mitzvah” (an extremely good deed) by Jews to share hospitality with a stranger

 

Author:  Ed Moss

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