The primacy of Judaism


To the Editor:

In ancient times there were communities called Soboumanoi, God fearers, who accreted to Judaism, accepting the Law, except for one thing: the adult men did not undergo circumcision. They circumcised their children and over time this became an accepted conversion. Their wives, being married to Jews before the determination of matrilineal descent, were the mothers of Jews. And so it went.

This might explain the rapid growth of Jewish communities in the Roman Empire and probably in the East. Judaism and Jewish belief and practices were respected by many in the gentile communities. The widespread familiarity with Jewish belief and texts also made a receptive community for Christian missionaries.

Current intermarriages where the non-Jewish wife is active in the community and commits to raising the children Jewishly speaks more for the primacy of Judaism in their lives than the fact that she cannot give up her Christmas tree.

David Peters
Folsom, Calif.

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