Sunday, March 27, 2011

A comment I tried to leave on a Qaraite's Blog with an article about the 'Telugu Jews' (Bene Ephraim) of Andhra Pradesh, India:


I am a young American Jewish man of Ashkenazi-Sephardic descent and have been living in the Far East for several years. Currently, I am in the process of making a somewhat singular 'Aliyah to Israel. Armed with a ukulele, unicycle, and small word processor, I am making a tour of various countries where human rights violations have occurred. I am traveling by bus, by foot, and by unicycle. The unicycle, having one wheel, for me is a reminder that Ha''Sh is absolutely unpairedly Ekhad. A bicycle, a tricycle would not do for obvious reasons.

The hardest part is having to observe many Yamim Tovim alone---which is not advisable.
However, by Pirqei Avot, a "Minyan of one" has to be enough between my sojourns with Jewish communities along the way to Israel.
Kashrut is another challenge. However, I eat no meat of any kind that is not Kosher outside of Jewish Communities---& restrict what I consume to what is deducibly "Pareve".
Unfortunately, unknown Treifizing "contaminations" of produce before purchase do occur, which thwarts perfection for the time being. Plus, I am not a licensed Mashgiakh.

At the time of writing, I am in Vietnam. However, within a few months, I intend to round my tour into India. For several years, I have been planning to go to the 'Bene Ephraim' of Andhra Pradesh to check on the current situation as per "Yiddishkeit"---but I better correct this to "Yahadut". To me, though I come from a traditionally "Rabbinic" family, with probable Hasidic ties on my mother's side before immigration to the Unites States (when they seem to have Judaically "normativized"), the Qara'im are within the People Israel and are Jews. Certainly, there are clear differences in certain adherences, but they are not so different as to totally disqualify one from the other---in terms of co-Yahadut. That is, there are certain Oral Torah adhrences that one must perform to be a "Rabbinic Jew" that are not held within the Qaraite Community---but both are Jewish Communities, or better yet, The Jewish Community. At most, in difference, the two are sects. They do not by any means constitute separate religions.

Now, I would like to come to the Bene Ephraim as a "Rabbinic Jew" to observe their adherences---which act includes seeing performance of Mitzvot and observance of family purity. However, what I will most look for is an expediency toward Identity as Jews, as Sufferers against Persecution to Guard the Sanctity of the Holy Torah, to study Hebrew, to study Torah, to practice strict Jewish monotheism against all manner of 'Avodat Elilim, and to effect Tikkun Ha'Olam, Ahavat Yisrael (which by extension leaks into all Humanity and Life), & Ahavat Shamayim.

I am not a Rabbi as per Smichah, thus I am no certain authority (by Rabbinical definition),
but I will do the best I can to assist and learn, if allowed, among the Bene Ephraim for a short time. Thereafter, making 'Aliyah to Israel, I will do what is possible to popularize the case of the Bene Ephraim, insofar as my concept of their Yahadut has reached the level of Anavat HaTzaddiqim.

I must say: I do believe that an Orthodox conversion is necessary for inclusion into Rabbinic Judaism. This is a reflection of the Law of Return in current Medinat Yisrael. This is not to say there is no such thing as a 'Jew' outside of Rabbinica---clearly as I have said, I do not agree with this preposterousness. A Qaraite is a Jew and deserves without question the right to make unimpeded 'Aliyah. The Bene Ephraim, on the other hand, I do believe, should undergo normative Orthodox conversion in order to make 'Aliyah---unless they were to be "converted" (I say this in quotations to demonstrate my uncertainty that they are not Already Jewish) into an existing "sect". The cohesion of Judaism must be maintained
for the highest Sake.

My email address is
My blog is

Sincerely, Alon Ben Qeini (Alex M. Schwartzman)AKA "AMO''Sh"

-Saigon, Vietnam, 5771