November 5, 2007

The Syrian Jews of Brooklyn

The recent NYT Magazine article by Zev Chafets on the rich and rapidly growing enclave of 75,000 Syrian Jews in Brooklyn is quite fascinating. Unlike some other Orthodox Jewish groups, they dress in modern clothes, which facilitates their making a huge amount of money as merchants. (Some had forged close business ties with the late Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart). Under an Edict put forward in 1935 and most recently reaffirmed by community leaders in 2006, they utterly ostracize anybody who marries a Gentile, along with their descendants.
“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert,” Kassin told me by phone, summarizing the message. “Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.” ...

“It’s really a matter of statistics,” [Rabbi Elie Abadie ] explained to me. “Except for the Orthodox, the American Jewish community is shrinking, disappearing. In two generations, most of their grandchildren won’t even be Jews. But our community is growing. We have large families, five or six children. And only a tiny fraction of our kids leave. The Edict is what makes that true.”

Abadie and Kassin agree that the vast majority of SY youth abide by the strictures of the Edict. “Ninety-nine percent accept it,” Kassin said. “When someone doesn’t, it’s painful, but it’s better to lose a kid here and there and save the community. Families get sick over it, sure, but that’s how it is.”

Kassin knows this from personal experience. His sister Anna ran off with a gentile. Naturally it was a great scandal in the community, but the chief rabbi didn’t bend the rules for his daughter. “We cut her off,” Jakie Kassin told me. “We didn’t see her for 25 years. But we never stopped hoping she’d come back. Finally, after all these years, she made contact. We told her she was welcome to come back, but not with her husband or kids. She’s not here yet, but we do talk on the telephone.”

In addition to the strictures imposed by the Edict in instances of proposed intermarriage, any outsider who wants to marry into a Syrian family — even a fellow Jew — is subject to thorough genealogical investigation. That means producing proof, going back at least three generations and attested to by an Orthodox rabbi, of the candidates’ kosher bona fides. This disqualifies the vast majority of American Jews, who have no such proof. “We won’t take them — not even if we go back three or four generations — if someone in their line was married by a Reform or Conservative rabbi, because they don’t perform marriages according to Orthodox law,” Kassin said. Even Orthodox candidates are screened, to make sure there are no gentiles or converts lurking in the family tree. ...

The force of the Edict is lasting: the children of people who have been excluded under the terms of the Edict are themselves declared ineligible to marry into the community.

The Syrian Jews of Brooklyn differ from Ashkenazi Jews in many ways: their birthrate is very high; their intermarriage rate with gentiles is miniscule; they show no interest in science, the arts, or ideology; they don't pursue higher education; they don't become doctors or lawyers; they don't seem concerned about making the world in general a better place; and very few Syrian Jews become celebrities. Well-known half-Syrian Jews include Jerry Seinfeld and Paula Abdul, but Dan Hedaya (an actor best known for looking like Richard Nixon) is perhaps the most famous celebrity raised in a Syrian Jewish environment.

The other prominent Syrian Jews tend to be businessmen who get caught in scandals, such as Crazy Eddie, the tri-state area electronics hawker of a generation ago. (There's an amusing Wikipedia page detailing the depths of the Antar family's fraud. I spent a couple of weeks in Manhattan in 1982 looking for a job, and I came to the conclusion that New Yorkers believed that Crazy Eddie was the second most famous person in the world, behind only George Steinbrenner.)

In other words, the Syrian Jews of Brooklyn are very Middle Eastern. This article reminds me that Greg Cochran has been tentatively kicking around for some time the idea that Middle Eastern-style clannishness is the wave of the future for humanity, that from a Darwinian perspective the ideals underlying the great accomplishments of Western Civilization -- curiosity, fair play, rule of law, free speech, and so forth -- are turning out to be a demographic dead-end. Perhaps the future belongs not to the Einsteins but to the Crazy Eddies?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

68 comments:

Dennis Dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

...any outsider who wants to marry into a Syrian family — even a fellow Jew — is subject to thorough genealogical investigation. That means producing proof, going back at least three generations and attested to by an Orthodox rabbi, of the candidates’ kosher bona fides.

I wonder what sort of press coverage a white Christian sect would receive if it had similar standards? I have to think that the SPLC would declare it "a hate group."

But these people aren't white Christians, so different rules apply. White Christians are expected to put a smile on their face and break out the bubbly when their daughter comes up to them wanting to marry Darnell or Jose. And if they don't they'll get vilified in the press.

Glaivester said...

Dan Hedaya - I'll always think of him as Nick, Carla's first husband on Cheers.

Mark said...

“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert,” Kassin told me by phone, summarizing the message. “Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”

Still, according to one Seinfeld biographer, Jerry Oppenheimer, [Seinfeld's mother] retained enough of her early training to warn her son never to marry a convert.

Is this about religion, or about an ethnic group masquerading as one?

Anonymous said...

Cochran impressed me with his Iraq war analysis, even the "gay germ" thing, kinda...but isn't clannishness generally innate? Would you expect anything too different from 100 A.D. French? Do you expect if you had the right propaganda/systematic conditioning you couldn't get the French to behave this way now, in the absence of modernity?

By innate in this sense I mean "very easily learned" and in root generated by the architecture of the human brian, which is probably the best manner in which to think about "innateness." I mean, modern culture has effectively disrupted many familial triggers, most of which work fine-enough if your lifestyle's similar to the broad conditions of evolution. The cousin-archetype was always a little weak ("go ahead, marry her if you love her, 3% chance of birth-defect? It's nothing!" the brain says), whereas other triggers are stronger, like immediate family...so you'll always keep in contact, a little, with your brother in Omaha.

The Europeans lapped up big-nationism (one of the biggest and sickest sucker-schemes ever) because the tribal illusion looked congruent with experience..."we're the french! We live within these borders! It's obvious!", whereas middle-eastern states were arbitrarily fashioned; while the tendency toward the tribe-godhead still yearns to take a shape. Isn't it a little early to jump the gun? Cochran may be right, though, he's really smart and knows more than me.

Bill said...

Dennis Dale said...

Buried in that story was a very provocative quote that. Jakie Kassin, identified as a community leader, said:

“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert...Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”

Ouch.


Hey, no skin off my back.

Anyhow, one can't remove Syrian Jewish practices from their proper context.

Without such harsh strictures there would be no Syrian Jews. Why is that? Islamic law stipulates that and man who marries a Muslim woman must himself become a Muslim, and any of the children of a non-Muslim woman and a Muslim man must be raised Muslim. Add to that that the penalty for apostasy is generally death, and the only non-Muslims who survive will be those who do not have kids with Muslims.

As for the future becoming more one of clannishness and petty ethnic infighting, I'm sure that will happen in certain parts of America, but the great, undifferentiated masses in the flyover country will not go anywhere anytime soon, and they will assert their dominance from time to time, as has been happening in China for millennia.

daveg said...

The Europeans lapped up big-nationism (one of the biggest and sickest sucker-schemes ever)

Big nationalism was a replacement for tribalism. It was a "step up". It worked pretty well, actually, in that it gave larger groups of people the ability to work together.

That said, nationalism made everything "bigger," including wars, which was not so good.

One thing for sure, nationalism only works if you preserve the nation, making everyone true stakeholders. Right now that is not the case, and tribalism will triumph once again should we eliminate nationalism entirely.

Is that a good thing? Not from a weak tribed Euro, but I guess everyone will have to think about changing that if those are the new rules of the game.

Evil Neocon said...

Steve -- Einstein was very smart on Physics. But would you have hired him to do open heart surgery?

The power of modernity is apparent in the Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago skylines, compared to say, Damascus.

I would agree that the foundations of modernity are under threat. Primarily under reproductive threat -- liberation of women has led to many good things (productivity rises, more personal liberty) but also leads to unfortunately defacto Polygamy (women sharing the few "big men" who make the big bucks / have social dominance). This leaves the "Frauenmangel" men of East Germany and probably Buffalo, Cleveland, and other points, rapidly declining birth rates and demographic implosion, and angry unmarried young men who are destabilizing (ala the ME and Africa).

We have not fixed that issue yet. It's a better problem to have however than living in say, Yemen.

Fred said...

Clans make economic sense, since a group is stronger than an individual. The strongest of us economically don't need to belong to clans - they start their own: these are the successful entrepreneurs. The next strongest join meritocratic quasi-clans like Goldman Sachs or Google. For those of more average abilities, ethnic clans like those of these Syrian Jewish merchants, Greek diner owners, etc. make a lot of sense. The rest of us are like lone antelopes on the Serengeti.

Neal Stephenson imagined the re-birth of sorts of tribes in the future, for similar economic (and cultural) reasons, in his novel The Diamond Age

Anonymous said...

Dan Hedaya - I'll always think of him as Nick, Carla's first husband on Cheers.

Oh man, so that's the guy? :)

Steve keeps amazing me with his research, discovering so many "roots" that I wouldn't have thought of as possible in a hundred years. So that's why the funny and strangely familiar-looking name "Hedaya" is about -- the Turkish version of that name is "Hidayet."

Every character I saw on an American movie or TV show that looked suspiciously like one of those fellows from round here turns out to be, surprise, is a fellow from round here.

And I, as a very young fellow, used to think "the crassness of racialism." Talk about naive. Is there anything under the sun that is human and NOT predicated on race?

I mean look at what my good fellow commentor bill says here:

Without such harsh strictures there would be no Syrian Jews.

Yes, bill, when it's the ME, it's always the Muzzies, isn't it, pal? I mean if it turns out that people there hadn't yet learned about the fact that the world revolves around the sun, it must be the Muzzies and the death for apostasy. I mean, if only the commies bothered to study the Koran and the Muzzies, they'd be still in power and be there for another millennium of so. The dirty secrets of millennia-long power is always the Muzzies. You name any dysfunctionality under the sun, the Muzzies have sure done it.

But you can't blame the Jews for it. Just can't.

Now why does that type of reasoning (i.e. "if unwanted-quality-X is observed in ethnicity-E[which happens to be mine], then it must be due to unwanted-qualities-Y-Z of ethnicity-E'[which, incidentally, happens to be my enemy]") sound familiar...(scratches chin)...hmmm... as familiar as Hedaya.


JD

Mark said...

Big nationalism was a replacement for tribalism. It was a "step up". It worked pretty well, actually, in that it gave larger groups of people the ability to work together.

Indeed. The Left seems to expect that globalism will replace nationalism, but of course it's a fantasy. Individualism, Tribalism, Nationalism - all of these "isms" (and many more) exist because we live in a world of limited resources and intensely incompatible cultures. Barred from nationalism to protect their stake, people will revert to tribalism, even white Westerners. It may take us a while to get there, but when we do we'll have the upper hand, still being by far the largest, most diverse, and most capable race in the West.

The strongest of us economically don't need to belong to clans - they start their own: these are the successful entrepreneurs. The next strongest join meritocratic quasi-clans like Goldman Sachs or Google.

But clans are about more than putting bread on the table. There are clans consisting of smart people and clans consisting of dumb people. Clans are about transmitting values, traditons, and the rest. You need a strong infrastructure to do that. For some people, like Mormons, churches do that, with the problem being that Mormonism and most other Christian sects openly proselyte, while Jews do not.

Mark said...

Anyhow, one can't remove Syrian Jewish practices from their proper context. Without such harsh strictures there would be no Syrian Jews.

Interesting explanation, and perhaps centuries of experience in Muslim lands taught them the importance of rejecting outsiders, but as the article noted, the Edict was first devised in 1935, after they were already in the US. And clearly based on the comments made in the article (without embarrassment), they despise non-Jews and any Jews who might have non-Jewish blood. Ya know - kinda like racism.

Bill said...

Yes, bill, when it's the ME, it's always the Muzzies, isn't it, pal? I mean if it turns out that people there hadn't yet learned about the fact that the world revolves around the sun, it must be the Muzzies and the death for apostasy. I mean, if only the commies bothered to study the Koran and the Muzzies, they'd be still in power and be there for another millennium of so. The dirty secrets of millennia-long power is always the Muzzies. You name any dysfunctionality under the sun, the Muzzies have sure done it.

But you can't blame the Jews for it. Just can't.

-JD


lol. Gimme a break, guy. You know about the Islamic conquest of Spain, right? Haven't you ever heard of the thousands of Spaniards who were forced to become Muslims and Muslim converts to Christianity, many of whom were children of mixed marriages, who were martyred for "apostasy"?

As for blaming Jews, I'll do so when it's called for, but not on the basis of their race because as a Christian that is one of my biggest arguments with Judaism, and I would be a hypocrite to do the same.

A Muslim should know better, too.

I'll assume you're familiar with John the Baptist.

He said:


... do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.


And that He did. Humbling, isn't it?

Bill said...

Interesting explanation, and perhaps centuries of experience in Muslim lands taught them the importance of rejecting outsiders, but as the article noted, the Edict was first devised in 1935, after they were already in the US. And clearly based on the comments made in the article (without embarrassment), they despise non-Jews and any Jews who might have non-Jewish blood. Ya know - kinda like racism.

-Mark


I guess I should have made it clear that I'm neither defending or condemning the edict, rather, I was just trying to explain how this kind of mentality came about.

As for it being first promulgated in 1935, I seriously doubt that they just got the idea out of thin air. In Syria, you take these sorts of things for granted -- in Brooklyn it is an entirely different situation. The rabbis simply wrote down a code they have lived by for centuries to make things clear to their congregation in a very different society.

Steve Sailer said...

The Muslim Middle East contains a lot more remnant and/or old heretical religious groups than does Europe. In the Middle East, there are still communities of Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Yezidis, Druzes, Samaritans, and who knows how many more. Where are the surviving communities of Druids, Wotan-worshippers and Albigensian heretics of Europe? In Europe, you have Roman and Orthodox Catholics (generally not in the same place) and, after 1517, various kinds of Protestants. No Lucifer-worshippers or the like.

I don't know whether that means the Muslims were more tolerant or Middle Easterners more stubborn, but the pattern is clear.

Gyan said...

The European nationalism was born out of the breakup of the Catholic Europe which was formalized in the Peace of 1648.

Previous to the Reformation, the Europe was not tribal but very much international. A Bishop from
Germany might get sent to Spain. The ruling families were all international. The Academics were
international.

Chaim said...

". You name any dysfunctionality under the sun, the Muzzies have sure done it.

But you can't blame the Jews for it. Just can't."


You must be new to this site. Every other comment here blames the Jews for something, so you can too. Knock yourself out.

Sy said...

"And clearly based on the comments made in the article (without embarrassment), they despise non-Jews and any Jews who might have non-Jewish blood."

Where does it say that they hate non-Jews? The point of the edict is to prevent their community from assimilating and disappearing like most non-Syrian Jews. They don't necessarily hate non-Jews anymore than the Amish hate the non-Amish; they just don't want to be like non-Jews (or like Americanized non-Syrian Jews).

Jeff Burton said...

The Muslim Middle East contains a lot more remnant and/or old heretical religious groups than does Europe

The Europeans had a 500 year head start in suppressing pre-Christian religions. And all those sects you mention aren't exactly thriving under a putative Muslim tolerance.

Sideways said...

Neal Stephenson imagined the re-birth of sorts of tribes in the future, for similar economic (and cultural) reasons, in his novel The Diamond Age
"Snow Crash" introduces the real birth of that process.
Anyway, funny that you'd mention Diamond Age here, as that's maybe the most explicitly blank-slate book ever written.

Dutch Boy said...

It isn't a religion, it's a Mafia!

astorian said...

Those of us who lived in New York in the Seventies and Eighties couldn't help but hear of Crazy Eddie- TV commercials for his stores were played on TV constantly ("His prices are IN-SAAAANE!").

Of course, none of us knew who Eddie was (let alone that he was a Syrian Jew), since he never appeared in his commercials. The guy everybody THOUGHT was Crazy Eddie was a radio disc jockey named Jerry ("Dr. Jerry") Carroll.

But while everybody saw and quoted those commercials constantly, hardly anybody actually BOUGHT anything from Crazy Eddie! (Just as everybody could quote "I've fallen and I can't get up," but hardly anybody ever really ordered that medical alert program.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, Chaim, I'm new to this site -- you bet :) And you're demonstrating the attitude of Jewish impartiality with your rhetoricism: they're blaming the Jews for everything.

Well, as a "new"-comer, let me revise your observation a bit.

First, the site does not have a megalomaniacal claim to deal with "everything." That's too big a set of phenomena. Rather, the site's owner is trying to shed light on the mess of what I call "poly-racialism," with a strong emphasis on IQ since it is the best (and so far the only quantifiable) predictor of human behavior. Now, I don't know which cave you've been living in, but for most gentiles, Jews' relationship with racial affairs is hardly irrelevant or only a minor detail. So if they regularly come up in that bundle of "thematics," I wouldn't call them blaming them for everthing.

But more importantly, like most Jews (and most peoples of the Middle East), you seem to suffer from an elementary comprehension problem: confusing "observation" with "implication." If ones says "Jews, thanks to their superior IQ, have a large presence among the elites in the West, and as a group with strong social cohesiveness, they use that to further their perceived interests to the point where policies invented, propagated, or promulgated to accomodate those interests are proving detrimental to white/gentile/christian groups," contrary to what your stale rhetoricism implies, that is not "blaming the Jews for everything." It is observing that the frequently-voiced-by-Jews principles of liberalism is hypocritical and those who obsessively defend them (Jews being a paramount group among those) are in actual fact FULL OF SH*T.

Equally important, "we're not monolithic" doesn't cut it to counter this observation. I can easily say "most men are not rapists; we're not monolithic," but that won't change the fact that if there are female rapists out there, their percentage must be barely observable with an electron microscope.

(BTW See who awful it is to be so shamelessly, childishly rhetorical? See how bad it feels to be at the receiving end of a line like "Malaria-bearing mosquitoes have killed more than [Nazis and Commies]. Both facts are irrelevant to the point I made," as you've said here?? One's mind almost aches with the brazenness, the insufferable pushiness of this. But hey, maybe your brain chemistry probably doesn't react to it like ours do. Believe me, it gives one a barely resistable urge to smash the face of the... PAIN who can say that sorta thing with a straight face.

(Or is is only cultural? They teach that *subversive* attitude in the Medrash? If so, maybe if we can close down those madrassas, we can get rid of the pricks who hate our "freedom of thought," you think?)


JD

P.S. If you scan the comments pages, you may note that I hardly come up with "you blame the Muslims with everything" line, although at times, simplistic reasoning like bill (I believe) uses (it is an argument, fair enough; only it is one-sided) does rub me the wrong way (not because I have any fondness for that creed, but I just can't stand ready-made answers; as a reference, check out the things I've recently said on "multiculturalism" and see what a fond reaction that got).

But, hey, let me come out clean here: Muzzies are among the BIGGEST PAINS IN THE BUTT on this planet. In fact, if their global population was limited to only certain subgroups of it (say, those toward the Balkans, and say no more than 10 million in total), we would probably have gotten rid of countless (and I mean countless) problems already.

See, how easy it is, Chaim? Say the words and you'll be free (like in that old Beatles song). Say, "when it comes to hyper-ethno-centric behavior, Jews are a whole bunch of pricks," and you'll feel lighter, believe me.

Or do you have a "death for ethnic apostasy" rule or something?

DYork said...

Pure racism. But it's Judeo-racism so it's all good.

Mark said...

Where does it say that they hate non-Jews? - Sy

“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert,” Kassin told me by phone, summarizing the message. “Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”

Keep in mind that this is stuff they're willing to say to the press. What do they (you?) say in private?


The point of the edict is to prevent their community from assimilating and disappearing like most non-Syrian Jews.

Understood, but welcome to the club. I am not, as a white (nominal) Christian who is ethnically British, allowed to say "I don't want my son or daughter to marry a non-ethnically British person" without becoming the subject of a Lifetime movie of the week.

In theory I'm all for the Syrian Jews doing as they will, but I'm not sure the America we've come to know and love can survive this sort of tribalism if it gets much bigger (and it will). America is absorbing lots of people (and cultures) from low trust regions of the world. We depend on people having a view of the world larger than their own extended family.

mnuez said...

Great point in the comments Steve. People are so often claiming that Islam is inherently less tolerant than Christianity that it's worth pointing out to them that the record of survival for heretical sects is a bit better in Deir al-Islam than it was during Christendom's heyday.

I wrote of this to some extent here: Realization

Whatever insanity characterizes TODAY'S Islamic world should be taken into account no more than the rest of its history; and in discussions regarding Comparative Tolerances, today's Islamic world ought to be considered no less than the pre-modern history of lands under the rule of the cross.

And thanks Steve for another excellent (or at least fascinating and informative, though one might dispute the tentative conclusions) post. Despite the presence of vast numbers of conspiracy theorists in the comments section, I gotta say: This blog is Fan-Tastic. Truly one of the best niche blogs in the 'sphere'.

Cheers y'all,

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com

PRCalDude said...

I have to disagree that the virtues of the West are a demographic dead-end: it's the vices, such as high taxes and abortion on demand. Reading your articles taught me that, Steve. Come on.

PRCalDude said...

Steve Sailer said...

The Muslim Middle East contains a lot more remnant and/or old heretical religious groups than does Europe. In the Middle East, there are still communities of Gnostics, Zoroastrians, Yezidis, Druzes, Samaritans, and who knows how many more. Where are the surviving communities of Druids, Wotan-worshippers and Albigensian heretics of Europe? In Europe, you have Roman and Orthodox Catholics (generally not in the same place) and, after 1517, various kinds of Protestants. No Lucifer-worshippers or the like.

I don't know whether that means the Muslims were more tolerant or Middle Easterners more stubborn, but the pattern is clear.


I think I'm going to trust Robert Spencer's, Andrew Bostom's, and my own analysis over yours on this one Steve. Islamic jurisprudence and history don't seem to be your areas of expertise.

Svigor said...

I wonder what sort of press coverage a white Christian sect would receive if it had similar standards? I have to think that the SPLC would declare it "a hate group."

Good point. Where's Mo Dees?

Svigor said...

Do you expect if you had the right propaganda/systematic conditioning you couldn't get the French to behave this way now, in the absence of modernity?

Hmm, not quite "there" yet. Let me rephrase:

Do you expect if you didn't have the current race-replacement propaganda/systematic conditioning the French would behave this way now?

Better. :)

Evil Neocon said...

mnuez -- Islam *IS* far less tolerant than Christianity of other religions and cultures. The Copts used to be the dominant religion in Egypt and are regularly persecuted with a horror that would not be tolerated in Europe or America.

What Steve misses (and it's easy to see why) is the real reason Christianity destroyed all other religions in Europe.

It was a better deal. Odin and Thor and the Celtic gods were always demanding human blood. Sometimes even your cute little sister or cousin. Or maybe someone else's. That sort of thing promotes violence and wars. And besides, your cute little sister or cousin could be far more profitably married off to the neighboring chieftan who is now obliged through blood and marriage to support you against your enemies.

ALL Christ wanted was a little money for the priest and the Church. No human lives required. It's easy to see why very practical people like the Norse, the Franks, the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Celts, etc. all found Christ far more amenable to themselves than their old gods. A better "deal" will wipe out bad ones. Which explains why there are no devil worshippers, Odin worshippers, etc. left in Europe in any appreciable and historic numbers.

By contrast, Islam had a good but not great deal. If you were a serf looking to take land and slaves, well convert to Islam, conquer your neighbors, and prosper. The terrain of the ME does not always allow that with swords and pikes and arrows. It also forbids booze which in cold mountain climes can be a great comfort. It might also be the religion of the neighboring big man who wants to conquer YOUR tribe, and you would actually "lose" by converting to Islam in that situation.

It is telling that about 600 years of Ottoman Occupation in the Balkans left only one country (Albania) fairly Muslim, with Greece, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and so on left almost NO Muslim converts. Even though there were advantages to converting -- i.e. lesser taxes, better legal treatment. IMHO this is due to the "big man" governance of Islam -- the Sultan would allow no advancement of local converts who were if anything a danger to him, whereas the principalities and localities of feudal Europe had their own barons and such with limited authority of the King.

Machiavelli actually makes this argument in another form in the Prince. Where he says it would be easy to overthrow the King of France (competing barons could invite an interloper in) but hard to hold it (the barons have their own power). Whereas the Turk or Darius (vs. Alexander) would be hard to overthrow at first (no help from the local nobility who are merely satraps of the Turkish Sultan or Darius) but easy to hold. He goes on to discuss that the only trouble Alexander's lieutenants had was each other, not the people and the local princes.

Chistianity seems more compatible with distributed authority than Islam -- which might explain it's success in Europe and Islam's failure there.

Half Sigma said...

Crazy Eddie, his prices are IN-SANE!

-----

btw, in the United States, nearly all Orthodox Jews blend in except for the Hasidim.

Anonymous said...

today's Islamic world ought to be considered no less than the pre-modern history of lands under the rule of the cross.

It makes no sense to compare the intolerance of today’s Islamic world to the Christianity hundreds of years ago. By your time shifting logic, I could beat up a 3yr Mike Tyson and Hitler was a relatively kind hearted soul compared to Atilla the Hun, Pompey and Hideyoshi? What value is in this false comparison other than trying to make European Christians look bad?

Christianity has evolved into an almost secular idealistic globalism while Islam is stuck in the middle ages. Compare apples to apples within some meaningful common time frame.

Fred said...

""Snow Crash" introduces the real birth of that process."

Sort of.

"Anyway, funny that you'd mention The Diamond Age here, as that's maybe the most explicitly blank-slate book ever written."

How so? Perhaps you could explicate. If you can't do so without giving away plot points then never mind, since others here might want to read it. I do recall the line from Cryptonomicon where the narrator or the present-day protagonist (Randy Waterhouse? It's been a few years since I read it) notes that tech start-ups in Silicon Valley tended to have multiracial women as receptionists, in an effort to stuff as much diversity into one person to balance out the lack of diversity among the programmers.

"People are so often claiming that Islam is inherently less tolerant than Christianity that it's worth pointing out to them that the record of survival for heretical sects is a bit better in Deir al-Islam than it was during Christendom's heyday."

FYI, I think it's Dar al-Islam. Historically, Islamic countries have been less tolerant of post-Islamic religions such as Bahaism, than pre-Islamic religions such as Christianity or Judaism.

tommy said...

This post leads to the question as to why, for all its big earners and risk takers, clannish societies are prone to the sort of perfidious huckster capitalism that reduces consumer confidence, product quality, and ultimately retards development. I can think of three possible reasons off the top of my head, but I'm not sure any of them are really central.

1) An individual's loss can still be a net gain for the clan: if a man is found guilty of defrauding others, he may have to pay a steep penalty. But any wealth accumulated by that individual through fraud and gifted to others in his clan may be unrecoverable. Also, other clan members would be more tempted to protect high earners who are generous for this reason.

2) Pressure to be a big earner is more intense in the clan: in a tribal society, you must routinely deal with (and impress) in-laws and other relatives whom you could largely avoid in a nuclear family. You are also more likely to be in hock to those relatives, especially for entrepreneurial purposes. Once again, big earners who resort to fraud would be protected by the clan for the same reason.

3) The more clannish a society, the more corrupt a society. This means that legal troubles that could sink an individual or business in the United States can usually be smoothed over through bribery in other countries.

Any other reasons?

DissidentMan said...

I wonder what sort of press coverage a white Christian sect would receive if it had similar standards? I have to think that the SPLC would declare it "a hate group."

I believe so, and some of the assailants would doubtless be explicitly Jewish (the ADL for example), which is morally inconsistant when we consider that they do not bring down the hammer on Jewish groups with these types of practices.

Anyhow, one can't remove Syrian Jewish practices from their proper context.

Without such harsh strictures there would be no Syrian Jews.


If western nations didn't keep historically keep outsiders out, I, being what I am, would not exist, which is a thought that runs through my head quite often. It is likely that there is nothing particularly great about me, but Darwinism dictates that self-deprecation is a genetic and memetic dead end.

Chaim said...

"I wonder what sort of press coverage a white Christian sect would receive if it had similar standards?

Like the Amish? They seem to get pretty good press.

tommy said...

It was a better deal. Odin and Thor and the Celtic gods were always demanding human blood. Sometimes even your cute little sister or cousin. Or maybe someone else's. That sort of thing promotes violence and wars. And besides, your cute little sister or cousin could be far more profitably married off to the neighboring chieftan who is now obliged through blood and marriage to support you against your enemies.

I agree. I remember seeing a documentary on the Viking settlers of York, England. The archaeologists involved mentioned the willingness and speed of Viking conversion to Christianity. Not only did the new religion not feature human sacrifice, it offered a sunnier view of the afterlife than the paganism of the North. (Unless you were a Viking warrior and your idea of a good time was killing or being killed by your enemies anew every day in the Halls of Valhalla.) Most of these remaining sects in the Mideast are clan cults sustained only through intermarriage and many of them are similar to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam in outlook.

DissidentMan said...

One other thing,.., as a continuation of what i just submitted.

Who is the real egotist, someone like me who accepts the grittiness of reality or someone who thinks he's too noble and too holy for these worldly considerations? All that these people stand for will be swept aside by an insouciant universe that has no regard for their airs.

the wily marmot said...

... They don't necessarily hate non-Jews anymore than the Amish hate the non-Amish...

I'm glad someone brought up the vile Amish, who are well-known for their operation of puppy-mills. How can a people that cruelly mistreats "man's best friend" be considered holy? Time to shift some heat from the Jews on to the Amish.

AMISH PUPPY MILLS
(...)
Yes, that’s uncharitable of me. I admit it. But knowing that there are people who profit from letting sick animals live in filth, exposed to the elements and producing puppies from their starved, sick bodies until they can produce no more (at which point they have been shot and fed back to the others) just makes me wonder about the ability of our kind to care about anything more than the almighty buck.

I wish these people an afterlife as miserable as the one their dogs live in now. Knowing that’s possible is one thing that gets me through this, the puppy-mill season.

See, all year long as a pet-care columnist I hear from people who cannot house-train their pet-store puppy (because the animal grew up in filth, and thinks it’s normal) or who cannot afford vet bills to fix congental defects (caused by careless, clueless greed-head puppy-millers) or who cannot deal with the temperamental nightmares these animals can be (because of more clueless, careless greed-head puppy millers and lack of proper socialization). I have no answers for these people because there are none. They were doomed from the minute they pulled out their credit card at the pet store.
(...)
AND
HERE
HERE

HERE

Nanani said...

So... how is it that such a strict group isn't suffering from the diseases of inbreeding? Isn't it reasonable to expect that they will, sooner or later, inbreed themselves to death or serious problems?

John said...

Are the Syrian Jews also connected to the photo stores that proliferate in Brooklyn and that are famous for cheating customers? There are a number of interlocking stores that appear under different names but which are all owned by the same few people. When one store gets sued for fraud, they close up shop and transfer their business to another name. I remember reading that they're all owned by the same group of Jews, and I have this vague recollection that there might have been some connection to the Crazy Eddie people. Or perhaps it was simply a different group of Jews using the same business methods.

TH said...

I'd suggest that one reason for the survival of various pagan/heretical sects in the Muslim world is that Muslim leaders have been less pious than Christian ones. Islam has not traditionally had anything like the Christian system of popes and bishops, i.e. people whose job it is to enforce orthodoxy.

Muslim caliphs and sultans, regardless of their status as "commanders of the faithful", were not necessarily particularly religious, and were often driven by purely secular ambitions, the most prominent of which was the filling of the coffers of the state. (Not that this wasn't true of e.g. some popes, too.)

The fact that Islamic law decreed higher taxes for non-Muslims meant that rulers had a great incentive to have non-Muslim subjects. There are many stories of Muslim leaders actively discouraging their infidel subjects from converting to Islam, because it would have reduced tax revenues. Strictly interpreted, Islamic law mandates the destruction of faiths other than Islam, Christianity, and Judaism (the latter two must only be subjugated), but in reality the interpretations have been lax, and blatantly polytheistic religions like Hinduism have been tolerated.

Another reason for the survival of non-Muslim communities might be that governments in the Muslim world were usually rather poorly organized and inefficient, meaning that distant regions were relatively autonomous.

Another thing is that even as recently as a couple of centuries ago Europe was perhaps not entirely Christian. In some rural areas, pockets of paganism survived, often in syncretistic forms.

Anonymous said...

Christianity is not inherently more or less tolerant than Islam. It's just more malleable.

The Bible does not specify how tolerant Christians should be towards other religions. It gives the general idea that other religions are false and that their adherents should be converted, but it doesn't specify exactly how. So you can do it by torturing heretics to death, if you're Torquemada, or by working some Jesus stuff into your mostly-secular pop music, if you're Scott Stapp.

Islam, on the other hand, has rules about how to treat infidels. The don't prescribe anything as nasty as the Spanish Inquisition or the Albigensian Crusade (not to people of the book, anyway), but they're bad enough that no sane person would want to live under them.

In general, this is why Christianity is better than Islam from my secular point of view. Islam is overspecified, and paints its adherents into a 7th century corner, whereas Christianity is so vague that it's almost whatever you want it to be.

Anonymous said...

How so? Perhaps you could explicate. If you can't do so without giving away plot points then never mind, since others here might want to read it.

It's not a spoiler to say that the protagonist is the spawn of two white trash low-IQ losers of the 22nd century, who nevertheless rises to become a Nietzschean Uberfrau herself due to her accidental possession of a technological interface that is designed to Nuture her to greatness despite her lack of any gifts from Nature.

Anonymous said...

Cochran's idea that clannishness is the wave of the futures makes a lot of sense. Ideals of fairness seem to be almost designed for self-destruction. They involve regarding the interests of others to be as important as your own, which is total self-pwnage from a Darwinian point of view.

I would draw a biological analogy - a cohesive, non-tribal nation with rule of law and fairness would beat small tribes as easily as a person would destroy bacteria cultures, but if pathogenic bacteria get inside that person, and he lacks an immune system, he's screwed. Of course, the person is Western-style society, the bacteria are tribal societies, and instead of an immune system that works we have a weird autoimmune disease called liberalism which destroys anything that tries to save the organism.

c23

tommy said...

For the record, the Amish do accept converts but very few people in contemporary society can comfortably adapt to a lifestyle largely free of electricity and other modern conveniences. Converts would also have to learn to speak the dialect of German used by strict Mennonites. My father actually knew someone who joined the Hutterites (who are somewhat similar to the Mennonites) later in life. The Amish also allow their children to choose whether or not they will remain with the sect when they come of age.

To compare the Amish to the Syrian Jewish community is misleading. The barriers to joining the Amish community would have seemed less severe a century or two ago and were never intended as a way to keep outsiders from joining or insiders from leaving; the Syrian Jewish edict preventing intermarriage between even converts is intended to do precisely that.

mnuez said...

Another thing is that even as recently as a couple of centuries ago Europe was perhaps not entirely Christian. In some rural areas, pockets of paganism survived, often in syncretistic forms.

Uh, no. "Syncretistic forms" don't count and aren't very impressive considering how practically EVERY Christian community in the world has synchronized elements of pre-Christian religions into their faiths. Heck, if we want to go far back enough we've even got "pockets of" Canaanite religious groups still around today... synchronized into all the worlds Jews, Christians and Muslims!

The simple fact is that nestled within centers of the Islamic world today you still have pockets of non-Islamic communities while no such thing (with the always present Jewish Exception - yay Jews!) survived the onslaught of Christian Love.

Wanna say that every last one of those communities vanished among the Christians while some (though clearly few) survived among Muslims owing to reasons other than tolerance/a lack thereof? That's fair, and at the end of the day I doubt that the human community has enough accurate information to be able to sort it all out with any definitive explanation - but, we'd be comparing apples and apples in our attempts. Comparing the survival of the Mandaeans among Muslims to something like... I dunno, Halloween? among Christians is hardly the same business.

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com

Mark said...

The Muslim Middle East contains a lot more remnant and/or old heretical religious groups than does Europe

Maybe Europe was left void of other religions because Islam was harsher and less desirable than Christianity. Christianity was soft around the edges where Islam was not.

As a side note, The Derb had a post the other day linking to an article on the Eastern Orthodox Church which claims (no data is presented) to have a better hold on men than other Christian denominations these days. No further comment, but worth reading.

mnuez said...

Oops. I think that there's something I should fess up to: I've long been pleased with the Syrian Jewish Community of Brooklyn's strong stance against accepting (even) converts. Their reasons (for the record, and best I'm aware of them) aren't out of any aesthetic distastes for people not born to Jewish parents but rather in order to ensure that their children don't stray from the Jewish faith and start dating non-Jews under the common rationalization that "she can always convert". When you know that converting your potential spouse is not an option you won't even consider dating a non-Jew.

And why not date a non-Jew (from the perspective of a believing Jew) who can then convert before she marries someone from your community? Well, for one, she may not choose to convert and your slimy kid has already "fallen in love" with her. Well, you know those kids, everything is love, Love, LOVE! He'll just leave Judaism entirely and marry her even though she's still a shiksa (a term the Syrian Jewish community would not know, by the way).

And besides, do you know the state of conversions nowadays? It's a shanda! Teach this sheigetz to spell (or even pronounce) Chanuka correctly and this "Rabbi" (who doesn't know an Aleph from a swastika) will slap a yarmulka on him (for the duration of the wedding service) and call him a Yid!

It's nonsense. And it does not a Jew make. But raise your kid with the knowledge that he can date goyim and still be in good standing in the community because after all he'll only marry a girl "if she converts" and you'll be under a lot of pressure to start calling the ignoramus johnny-come-lately who was "converted" through some holy water and a bagel a Jew! And, as mentioned, and as all of the members of the Syrian Community of 1935 knew, he/she is NOT a Jew.

So, to summarize: Traditionally, Jews have considered converts into the Jewish community to be the creme de la creme of the community. Jethro was a convert, Ruth was a convert, Onkelos was a convert, the Prophet Obadiah (with his own chapter-volume in the Bible) is said to have been a convert, etc. I can tell you from PERSONAL experience that I've always considered true geirim (converts) to have been people worthy of the highest adulation. Almost worship in fact.

And OBVIOUSLY entirely regardless of what ethnicity or religion they originated from. There is no hatred of other races going on here with the Syrian Community's edict.

What is going on is that only geirei tzedek ("righteous converts") are worthy of this worship. "Converting" in order to marry your "beloved" doesn't count. In fact it doesn't even work. According to traditional Jewish sources you can dunk yourself in the mikva a thousand times and circumcise your entire netheregions to non-existence but if you converted for marriage you are simply NOT A JEW.

But your kid might not see it that way (traditional sources be damned) so in order not to get into an Orthodox-Conservative-Reform-Reconstructionist-Humanist debate you simply post up on the wall: "We will not accept your converted spouse as a Jew."

Lotta time saved.

And personally, I'm pleased as hell that they did it and WISH that all other Jews had done it as well. Alas, they haven't - which is why in a very short while Reform synagogues will be filled (for the Yom Kippur brunch only) with a majority of Halachically non-Jews and any of them who wish to marry an Orthodox Jew (of any stripe) will have to prove their bona fides in exactly the way that they now must when desiring a marriage with a member of the Syrian Jewish Community. It isn't a matter of "race" and never was (we worship TRUE converts, remember?), but in order to convert you've got to be the Real McCoy. And HE comes along rather seldom.

Cheers,

mnuez
www.mnuez.blogspot.com


I'll save myself the bother of my next comment by posting it now:

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools...

Lucius Vorenus said...

Sy: Where does it say that they hate non-Jews? The point of the edict is to prevent their community from assimilating and disappearing like most non-Syrian Jews. They don't necessarily hate non-Jews anymore than the Amish hate the non-Amish; they just don't want to be like non-Jews (or like Americanized non-Syrian Jews).

Uhh, isn't that what just got Dog the Bounty Hunter fired from his job?

Trying to dissuade his son from assimilating with a different community?

tommy said...

Oops. I think that there's something I should fess up to: I've long been pleased with the Syrian Jewish Community of Brooklyn's strong stance against accepting (even) converts. Their reasons (for the record, and best I'm aware of them) aren't out of any aesthetic distastes for people not born to Jewish parents but rather in order to ensure that their children don't stray from the Jewish faith and start dating non-Jews under the common rationalization that "she can always convert". When you know that converting your potential spouse is not an option you won't even consider dating a non-Jew.

That explains this part:

Kassin said. Even Orthodox candidates are screened, to make sure there are no gentiles or converts lurking in the family tree. ...

You never know what hideous goyish cultural influences might find a vector among those who converted to Orthodox Judaism three or four generations back. We can't risk that. No, siree.

Mark said...

because after all he'll only marry a girl "if she converts" and you'll be under a lot of pressure to start calling the ignoramus johnny-come-lately who was "converted" through some holy water and a bagel a Jew!

Nice try, mnuez, and well-spoken, but remember these folks aren't just rejecting converts - they're actually going back 3 generations to check for "purity." Which, all-in-all, reminds of the purity tests conducted by a certain Austrian-cum-German.

And personally, I'm pleased as hell that they did it and WISH that all other Jews had done it as well.

I wish we had required such racial purity tests for entry to our country, too.

Not really, but what's good for the goose...

Anonymous said...

...any outsider who wants to marry into a Syrian family — even a fellow Jew — is subject to thorough genealogical investigation.

I suspect that non-Jews who want to marry into a Syrian-Jewish family aren't subject to any kind of genealogical investigation - they're just given the boot.

The International Jew said...

The "Edict" is clearly and unequivocally against Jewish law.

The Torah commands us specifically to love the convert.

Anonymous said...

Under edict put forward in 1935 and most recently reaffirmed by community leaders in 2006… producing proof, going back at least three generations and attested to by an Orthodox rabbi, of the candidates’ kosher bona fides. This disqualifies the vast majority of American Jews, who have no such proof. “We won’t take them — not even if we go back three or four generations — if someone in their line was married by a Reform or Conservative rabbi, because they don’t perform marriages according to Orthodox law,” Kassin said. Even Orthodox candidates are screened, to make sure there are no gentiles or converts lurking in the family tree. ...

(mnuez) And personally, I'm pleased as hell that they did it and WISH that all other Jews had done it as well.


These edicts from the Syrian Jewish community are the same in purpose in defining who is “chosen” by racial purity yet much more restrictive than the Nazi’s Nuremberg Laws (also first passed in 1935). The Nazi’s only went back 2 generations. In addition, someone was considered Jewish only if 3 or 4 of their 4 grandparents were Jewish. Germans with 1,2 or 3 Jewish grandparents were 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree Mischlings or half-breeds with officially restricted rights which were often bent depending on family connections or state needs.

Something tells me you wouldn’t be “pleased as hell” if whites reaffirmed a non-violent form of the Nuremberg Laws today.

Mark said...

“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert,” Kassin told me by phone, summarizing the message. “Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? Because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”

Another thought: Does the Syrian Jewish community and its synagogues qualify for tax exempt status as a religious group? Does it have to file publicly accessible IRS reports, like non-religious charities, or is it exempt like a religious group?

Because it seems to me that our basic understanding of a religion in this country is a particular set of beliefs, not a particular set of genes. And it has occurred to me that there are, in fact, Christian examples of the SY community. Bob Jones University refused to admit unmarried black students until 1975, and even after continued to ban interracial dating until 2000. In 1970 the IRS ruled that schools with racially discriminatory policies were not eligible for tax exempt status. The Supreme Court backed that decision in BJU vs United States (1983).

And there was controversy. BJU has been vilified all over the press, as have presidential candidates who have spoken there.

The Mormon Church and its Brigham Young University also suffered vilification in the press and challenges to their tax exempt status when blacks were barred not from baptism but just from the priesthood, which policy they changed in 1978. 29 years later they still catch hell for it. Indeed, I'm sure the press will pay lots and lots of attention to that change in its 30th anniversary year if a certain Mormon presidential candidate happens to win the GOP nomination.

So to answer my original question, YES, Christian sects with racially exclusive policies DO get vilified in the press for racist policies, and even get denied tax exempt status. So the double standard here is actual, not theoretical.

But as I've said above, I'm all for allowing the Syrian Jews to do as they will. Bully for them. But not if other groups can't do so as well.

Anonymous said...

I think that what you fail to understand is why Syrian Jews are so weary of converts. You are talking about an extremely wealthy group of people with international connections. There are strong Syrian Jewish communities in NY, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Palo, and Panama City. You might be very surprised if you knew what % of the modern skylines of these cities Syrian Jews were responsible for. There is an extremely disproportionate number of Billionaires in this international community with less than 400 last names and 100,000 people.

What they are protective over is an extremely rich quality of life and standard of living where family and character are everything. Of course, some people do stray from the flock and marry who they want. The culture is lost, children start identifying themselves as ¼ or 1/8 or 3/16ths Jewish, the end result is often the infamous “Hanukah Bush.” Maybe that is acceptable to European AIPAC Jews, but not to Syrians who wish to maintain their CULTURAL characteristics.

If you wanted a comparison, maybe the best could be made to the Phillips Academy – Yale group of WASPs in Connecticut. You can be as White and Christian as you want and never be accepted after marrying into that society. Lets face it, you aren’t being allowed into Skull and Bones and most likely no one in your family ever will be. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are racist, it means they are elitist.

This group isn’t political, they shy away from the media, and they have no interest in forcing culture on you. They are not use to complaining or trying to change society, they just live by the rules of the world as presented to them.

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like all of the formalities about the Syrian Jews have resulted in ttheir being exposed as actually human beings, just like any other culture group, they are not any less corrupt,nor any better, nor do you have any closer connection to God than the rest of the people all over the world, just humans with shortcommings, imperfections so..
your stand on the statement below cannot be justified...
“Never accept a convert or a child born of a convert,” “Push them away with strong hands from our community. Why? because we don’t want gentile characteristics.”

Anonymous said...

that is one person speaking on behalf of the entire community!!! not too mention how highly criticized he was when his comments came out. not to mention how false the idea of syrians not seeking higher education or professional jobs. I myself am attending the wharton school of business and many of my peers are attending schools just as prestigious.

Anonymous said...

I happen to be a Roman Catholic and to my luck, I happened to fall for a Syrian Jewish man. We've been dating for three years. Have I been told “RUN ", "break up with him", "date a Jew, but not a Syrian", etc., oh yes, everyday. Is it easy to leave someone you're just so connected to, and above all when you're in love with that someone? No. The older I get the harder it is. I've considered Orthodox conversion, not for marriage but to be on the same page, feel happy, make a life together and raise kids of the same faith. So you can't say it's for marriage, it's for personal belief. Yet, I know this will not be accepted by the community. I can honestly say, his parents won't find him a better match within their community, maybe a 10X richer match, but that's about it. I'm struggling all the time with this rejection, and I did nothing wrong to his parents nor do I have any "bad goy qualities". So, thanks to the Edict, people such as myself and the Syrian man I am dating suffer the consequences, but of course no one cares; this community looks at me like i'm some sort of a rock or better yet nothing. It's a really cruel and unneeded rule especially in the current world.

Anonymous said...

Yet there are many Syrian Jews who deal art behind the scene. And what about the famous Syrian Jewish fashion designer.

Anonymous said...

Trangressing a Torah prohibition of loving and accepting the convert means nothing to this community? Midah Keh Neged Midah. Maybe that's why the Rabbi's daugther ran off with a Goy. It is one thing to not want to intermarry with goyim, but to treat and consider Gerim as goyim is assur min Ha Torah. Hashem Yirachem.

Anonymous said...

"We told her she was welcome to come back, but not with her husband or kids."

I wonder what kind of people would honour an edict that would have a mother abandon her child? How can you even begin to stand for virtue much less Religion when you must make literally inhumane ultimatums.
The ironic thing is, Syrian Jews are not even good specimens in the first place; it's impossible to reason what exactly they're trying to preserve? Intelligence? Their physical beauty? They sadly have none of either.

P.S.: When they look your way act distraught at your ineligibility to spend the rest of your life next to a falling-house-magnet.

jewamongyou said...

Sounds like they're doing a good job of maintaining their identity. If they keep it up, "Jewish" will be synonymous with "Syrian Jew".

SephardicGuy said...

My thoughts and prayers to those sincere gerim who wish to be a part of these communities. I could've sworn from my Syrian Yom Kippur Mahzor that one of the confessions was for not loving the ger. Thrice daily the gerei sedek are mentioned in The Amida. I wish the Chief Sephardic Rabbis would come out with an edict stating that those communities who partake in such views against sincere gerim will have no share in the Messianic times less alone World to Come.

Anonymous said...

"The Syrian Jews of Brooklyn differ from Ashkenazi Jews in many ways: their birthrate is very high; their intermarriage rate with gentiles is miniscule; they show no interest in science, the arts, or ideology; they don't pursue higher education; they don't become doctors or lawyers; they don't seem concerned about making the world in general a better place; and very few Syrian Jews become celebrities. Well-known half-Syrian Jews include Jerry Seinfeld and Paula Abdul, but Dan Hedaya (an actor best known for looking like Richard Nixon) is perhaps the most famous celebrity raised in a Syrian Jewish environment."

How ignorant can the poster be? Syrian Jews of Brooklyn do not differ at all to Ashkenazi Jews in Brooklyn in terms of anything relating to birthrates, educational attainment, etc. It is a RELIGIOUS thing, not a Syrian thing - Jews in Brooklyn do tend to be more traditional and religious compared to Jews living in the rest of the country.

Syrian Jews in New Jersey tend to be more secular and have low birthrates, but still do not differ from Ashkenazi Jews in terms of educational attainment, income, etc. They do tend to work professional jobs and earn incomes above the national American average, just like all Jewish ethnic groups.

As for 'very few Syrian Jews becoming celebrities', well obviously seeing as there are only around 60,000 Syrian Jews in the US compared to the at least 6 million Ashkenazi Jews living here. Use your brain please.

Anonymous said...

Who ever wrote this article has very poor information and should truly get their facts straight.

I actually know a handful of educated Syrians. Lawyers,doctors,rabbis, teachers, nurses, engineers ect..
All educated, Harvard law, NYU, Wharton, Brooklyn college, FIT, Manhattan school of music.

I have never seen a more tight knit community with several organizations to help their fellow Jews,
Or Jews in general.

As far as the edict and marriage, in order for a person to convert they have to go through several years of studying about Judaism and Jewish laws.

From what I hear, the Syrian community also feels that there is no way of telling wether the individual (who is converting) is converting for the love of the religion, which is how it should be when converting as you take on the religion and prayers and followings, versus someone who wants to be married (to a Jewish person) and needs and has to convert for those reasons than the love and belief of the religion.

As a religious person,