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When Is A Jew Not A Jew?

Tina Hvidbjerg moved from Denmark to Israel about 16 years ago in order to be with her Jewish husband. After arriving in Israel, she converted to the Jewish religion. When the couple went through a divorce proceeding last year, Ms. Hvidbjerg was questioned about whether she followed Orthodox Jewish practices such as not driving or using electricity on the sabbath. When she admitted she had not, the local religious court ruled she and her children– who were born in Israel–were not Jewish and had never been. The ruling is part of the ongoing battle between religious right wing fundamentalists who seek to impose their medieval minded way of life on conservative and reform Jews and those who believe Judaism is an inclusive religion.

Decisions such as these make difficult the right of these ultra-traditionalists to condemn practices of fundamentalist Muslim clerics. If one brought together Jewish and Muslim traditionalists they soon would realize how much they shared in common.

If the definition of a Jew was one who did not use electricity on the Sabbath or drive or use the Internet or watch TV on Saturday, there would be a dramatic drop in the Jewish population of the world.