In response to Keith Dvorchik and Rabbi Aaron Meyer’s discussion on “For the Sake of Birthright” (Dec. 13 and 20), I think both are right. As a young Jewish adult, I know friends that have gone. Some have had amazing experiences that made them more committed to their Hebrew heritage, while some just partied hard and came back the same pork-eating secular humanists they went in as. Jews ought to appreciate the Birthright experience, especially since not everyone gets to go.
If the goal of Birthright is to get more youth involved in Judaism, why not let others who truly are interested in Judaism join in? Isaiah 56 says that foreigners who embrace the covenant are accepted on God’s Holy Mountain, which is a house of prayer for all nations; and Micah 4 says many nations will seek to go to Zion to learn how to walk in the ways of Torah. By screening out sincere individuals, not only are we hindering the vision of prophets, but we are also not following through on the Torah. Does not Leviticus 19 say to treat strangers as native born, for we were strangers in Egypt?
Instead of screening out those with different beliefs, why not screen out only those who aim to proselytize? We are living as if teshuva is limited only to those born of a Jewish mother, while Ezekiel 18 seems to say otherwise. Blessings in HaShem.