Friday, May 17, 2013

Releasing the Geney

In memory of Bruce Keller, who tragically left this world this week. Our condolences to his family and all those who cared for him.

You would think that by now the frequency of the question would diminish ever so slightly.

Yet it doesn't let up.

Almost every day, someone asks me.

So I find myself joking, "I have a new policy, I only answer that question once a day."


Can you guess the question?

"Are you related?"

Someone asked me yesterday. And the day before that.

Sometimes it's someone that I've known for years. Other times it's a stranger who comes up to me out of the blue.

Hey Jerry, in case you're reading this, I just want you to know - one of these days, they're going to be asking you that question!

The real question that I would like to offer you for your Shabbat table is this:

What difference does it make if I'm related or not?

As my 7-year-old Devorah realized this morning, "We're related to everyone, even non-Jews, because we all come from Adam and Eve!"

Regardless of what you think of the historicity of that statement, you gotta love the ethic.

So why, I ask you, does it matter whether or not today's Jews are genetically descended from ancient Jews? (If you are not familiar with this controversy, click here.)

As I wrote last week, we are a people who have had some amazing converts. Some of our greatest rabbis were converts or descended from converts.

So what difference does it make, should it make, if there is or is not a genetic link?

That's the question for your table. Let me know what your table-mates come up with.

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