Sunday, October 14, 2007

No Sketch

I went to school with Syrians, I've davened many times in their main synagogue, Sha‘aré Ṣiyón, thanks to my multicultural Jewish education I'm much more familiar with and appreciative of the customs of "Aram Ṣoba" than the vast majority of 'Dubs on the planet... but one thing has always pissed me off about the SY community, ever since I first heard about it in high school.

Their Taqana against conversion, which, we were told, was modeled after a similar communal edict in the Syrian community of Buenos Aires, Argentina, forbids the acceptance of converts into the community, marriage with converts, or even marrying the children of converts.

(hypothetical case)
Some random Non-Jewish man some place in the world finds Judaism. Converts halakhically. Makes aliyá to Israel. Marries a native-born Jewish woman — Ashkenazi, Yemenite, Italki, Moroccan, whatever. They have kids. Even if the father had never converted, the children would still be halakhically Jewish. And yet, some Syrian from Brooklyn goes to Israel, falls in love with one of the convert's children, and they can't get married without being kicked out of the community?!

Some of the quotes in THIS ARTICLE are absurd.
“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.”
That's what we call racism, not Halakha. Why do people think you can protect your community by mutilating your soul?

When on the boat from Ḥalab to NYC did the Torah stop saying
וגר לא תונה ולא תלחצנו?!

Maybe that's why so much is missing from the Aleppo Codex...

(but i still love kibbeh and laḥmajeen)


Blogger the sabra said...

disturbing indeed

10/15/2007 12:15 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

I've been finding that strange ever since I heard about it, too. (Though "ger" in Tenach isn't simply = convert!)

10/15/2007 2:12 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


of course, but that's how it's understood in this and many other cases by the halakha. unless you hold like one person i met, who thinks that everyone except the Ba‘aley Hatosafot are crypto-Sadducees

10/15/2007 7:39 AM  
Blogger Shoshana said...

I saw that article also and was very surprised by the rule, which I had never heard of before. I have a very close friend who is Syrian and who recently got married to an Ashkenazi guy, so I asked her about it and she said that if her husband had even had grandparents who had been converts, she would not have been able to marry him. I was stunned. All she could say was that "it's tradition." I wonder what would happen if some other religion had such a "tradition" against Jews converting to their faith.

10/15/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"I wonder what would happen if some other religion had such a "tradition" against Jews converting to their faith." For the record, I've read that the Druze don't accept converts. But that's no excuse for *Jews* not to do so.

10/15/2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Parsees do not accept converts either, so I've been told. Which, given the outmarriage rates, is causing a slow simmering crisis.

10/15/2007 9:31 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Are you sure you don't mean this Halab:

Which must NEVER be confused with this:

[For the background on the second one listed, go here:

and scroll down to the descriptiva. It is an interesting product, but I still do not know whether I think it a worthwhile product. I believe that it may have been flavoured with carobs. Not sure.]

10/15/2007 9:36 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

that's how it's understood in this and many other cases by the halakha

Isn't that rather by way of an esmachte? Rather than "for you were a convert to Judaism in Egypt"?

Parsees do not accept converts either

Nor do Zoroastrians, interestingly.

10/24/2007 3:47 AM  
Blogger Mo'ah Kemo Efro'ah said...

you can keep the kibbeh. i'll take the lahmajeen and the aleppo codex (which i first learned about in r. haramati's class)

10/28/2007 2:47 AM  

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