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Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.
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I admit it. I'm a bit confused. It doesn't make me feel bad or threatened. Actually, it could be quite exciting. However, there is much work ahead. What I am talking about is this phenomena of people from all over the world wanting to be counted as part of the Jewish nation.
Only 60 some years ago in Europe, the most cultured part of the world, it was a crime to be a Jew. You were not considered human, and you were hunted down and exterminated. Today however, it is becoming vogue to either be a Jew, or cozy on up to Jewish culture and claim that you are either part of our nation, or even more Jewish than the Jews.
This last week, I did a show on the lost ten tribes of Israel. We learn from our prophets that in the end of days, the lost ten tribes will be returned to the Jewish Nation. This is a very exciting thing, however, the road may be bumpy.
There are thousands, perhaps millions of people today who believe that they are part of the lost ten tribes. Some people claiming Jewish ancestry have been officially recognized such as Beta Israel (Blacks from Ethiopia) and the Bnei Menashe (Asian Indians) as they have kept Jewish tradition and Torah as best they could, conferred with our rabbinical leaders today to make sure they have a kosher conversion back to their roots (if required) and have joined us here in Israel as full fledged Jews. They have intermarried with the rest of the Nation of Israel and are living a total Jewish life here in the Land of Israel.
However, a problem arises today when there are others who profess to being either from a lost tribe, or claim to be the real Jews themselves. This is where a blurring of lines can get very sticky and complicated. While not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings and while saying this with as much love in my heart for my fellow man as I can, wanting to be a Jew, or even claiming to be a Jew, does NOT make one a Jew. There are 613 commandments that Jews must obey and there is a specific code of Jewish law which one must accept and take upon himself to be counted as part of the Jewish nation. Having a burning desire, or burning love for G-d and His Torah is not enough.
Case in point: Hu Yang is from Beijing. He loves everything American; hot dogs, hamburgers and Britney Spears. He watches American Idol when he can cut in on outside internet and he keeps up with all the baseball and football stats and games. In short, this man is dying to be an American. He even managed to obtain a job where he is allowed to travel to the States for work. However, loving and feeling attached to America does NOT make him an American. It doesn't matter how much he identifies with America or how crazy he is about it. He is not an American citizen nor will he ever be, unless he applies for citizenship, takes a course on American government, passes a test, and then swears an oath of allegiance in front of a certified legal court judge. After fulfilling those requirements, Hu Yang can celebrate his new identity and status as an American and live as a full fledged, legal life with his new community.
But what if Hu Yang wanted to live in America legally, but remain a communist, as he believed in his heart that capitalism was evil and that communism was the truthful, fair, humanistic way that all people should live and share the wealth of the planet? What if he wanted to live in America, enjoy the culture, but turn it one day into a communist country? Would there be a problem here? Would it wear down and destroy the American way of life of freedom and values that make it distinct from other nations? Would America continue to be a beacon of light and offer freedom if it were infiltrated with people who wanted to hold on to their values and beliefs that contradicted the very essence of what America stood for?
This can be a very exciting time in history, to see people from around the world wanting to be Jews, or believing that they are, and really joining the Jewish Nation to be a light. But it must be done through Jewish law and respect and honor for our ways which we have carried with us for thousands of years since receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai. No blurring of borders, no making claims and stealing an identity and then going against Torah and Halacha (the Code of Jewish law).
A Hu Feng, a John Doe, or a Rodney Jackson can feel like a Jew, dress like a Jew, eat like a Jew, and pray like a Jew, but this does not make him a Jew. One must learn and take an oath before a legal orthodox rabbinical court and take an oath to uphold the 613 commandments and live a full Jewish Torah observant life. Then, we the Nation of Israel will all see your total commitment and embrace you and welcome you and absorb you in the Land and our communities as we have with all our brothers who have come from different parts of the planet.
Barack Obama's wife’s cousin, 'Rabbi' Capers Funnye. Are this man and his congregation really part of the Jewish Nation?
Jews in Nigeria?
Wanna-be Japaneese Jews or Lost tribe?
Yes, it is exciting to see this love and attachment for Israel and Torah as we see in these videos above. I am rooting for all of Mankind to come closer to G-d, live in harmony, and even decide to join the Jewish Nation. However, there is no requirement that non-Jews become Jews. It's hard to live a Jewish life. One can join us, but make sure it is kosher and legal. You are joining a priestly nation which is a tremendous responsibility, and quite simply, love is not enough.