Are Kinsler and Braun Jewish Enough?

HomeDiscussionsInterfaith Families and the Jewish CommunityAre Kinsler and Braun Jewish Enough?

This topic has 1 voice, contains 0 replies, and was last updated by  Jane Larkin 699 days ago.

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August 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm #7323

Jane Larkin

Last week it was announced that MLB All-Star Kevin Youklis, who is Jewish, will play for Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic if the team qualifies. If you are sports-crazed person who follows Jewish athletes like my 8-year-old son, you were ecstatic to hear this news. After learning about Youklis’ commitment, my son started creating a Jewish Dream Team for Team Israel made-up of other Jewish-American MLB players including such All-Stars as Ian Kinsler and Ryan Braun. Not wanting to ruin his dream, I didn’t mention that Kinsler and Braun might not be invited to play for Israel. Both athletes, who identify as Jews, are Jewish through patrilineal descent. The State of Israel only recognizes as Jews those with Jewish mothers or who have converted. While the newspaper Haaretz reports that Diaspora Jews are eligible to play for Israel, it doesn’t state what kind of Diaspora Jews. Are Jews like Kinsler (who has said he would consider playing for Israel if asked) and Braun (who’s father is Israeli) Jewish enough for the Israeli baseball team? If so, what does that say about Israel’s Who is a Jew policy? Are patrilineal Jews good enough for the state when they will provide good PR, but not in other situations? If they’re not Jewish enough to play, what message (and a potentially very public one) does that send to other Diaspora Jews?

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