Ivanka Trump and the Politics of Being a “Real” Jew


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How important is it, to know the right people? Or better yet, to be related to the right people? In Ivanka Trump’s case, when it comes to being recognized as “Jewish” in Israel, it can cut right through the red tape.secretgenealogyiifrontcover

For decades, I’ve understood how painful it is for those seeking acceptance by the Israeli orthodox rabbinate. An American friend of mine, tells his story of attending boarding school in Israel. “Everyone was so welcoming,” he said. His father was Jewish and born in Israel. But when it came time for his bar mitzvah, he was told no, that he could not have it in the synagogue that his grandfather helped build, because his American mother wasn’t Jewish. He was offered the opportunity to live and study with an orthodox family for a year, to meet the conversion requirements. My friend declined. It was during the 1960’s and he was more interested in listening to the Beatles and the cultural revolution that was unfolding, than to put in the time and work required to be a “real” Jew. His grandmother was furious with the rabbi. My friend felt excluded by the people who had been so warm and welcoming. He was hurt. So was his younger brother, who fifty years later had a bar mitzvah in a reformed synagogue. After all these years, he was finally accepted. To a large crowd in the synagogue, he spoke of his rejection in Israel. “It was very, very painful.”Hand Painted Roses Cover Sec Gen III

Now enter the drama unfolding around Ivanka Trump. She fell in love with Jared Kushner, from a New York orthodox Jewish family.  She went through the rigorous steps required to convert. Probably a year attending classes. Memorizing and learning Hebrew law, prayers, etc. She must have loved Jared very much and welcomed the orthodox lifestyle. From what I’ve read, they take joy in celebrating Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, which begins on Friday evening and ends on Saturday evening. The custom of taking twenty-four hours every week, to refrain from work or business, is rejuvenating. The ancients knew this, that’s how it began. Clear the head. Rest the body. It’s good for you.Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

But now, the New York rabbi who converted Ivanka, is in the spotlight because he is a bit too liberal for the orthodox rabbinate in Jerusalem, and they have declined to accept some of his former conversions. But because Ivanka is the president’s daughter, they are changing their tune. Bringing to mind, the old saying, “it is not what you know but who you know, that matters.” And even more importantly, who your father is. But beware, there is another old saying, “never argue religion or politics.” This situation involves both.BLOG Size FRONT Canva Cover Secret Genealogy V

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family TreesAvailable here:

Secret Genealogy:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Volume-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X

Secret Genealogy IV:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

Secret Genealogy V: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Hamite-Ancestors-Family-ebook/dp/B01HJ622DU

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Donald Trump and Celibate Monks? I Don’t Think So…

SecretGenealogyFrontCoverDuring the election, I heard a caller to a San Francisco radio station say that Donald Trump was a member of the Knights of Malta. That sounded fascinating. Whether it was true or not, I was curious about the group, so I did a little research and wrote a blog. https://suellenoceanchats.wordpress.com/2016/03/11/someone-said-donald-trump-belongs-to-the-knights-of-malta-whats-that/

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Shortly afterward, a reader commented:

“The Knights of Malta are a ceremonial Roman Catholic order. This is where I get suspicious since Trump is not Catholic. They are mostly rich old men. Where it does get interesting is that they have observer status at the UN.”

Hand Painted Roses Cover Sec Gen IIIThat was the last that I heard about the rather cryptic group. Until today. The Daily Beast has a rather detailed story about the Pope and his defense of the Knights of Malta, who (against Catholic doctrine) were distributing condoms to sex workers in Myanmar, in an effort to stop the spread of AIDS. An interesting story. You can find it here:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/25/heads-roll-at-the-vatican-over-missionary-condom-scandal.html

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IVHaving heard the rumor that Donald Trump was a member of the Knights of Malta, I was surprised to learn that these Catholic knights are celibate monks. Whoa. Back off a little. Celibate monks? The rumor (emphasis on rumor) that Donald Trump is a member, could only be true if the knights have a service group that allows married men. But an organization of celibate monks? I can assure you, Donald Trump is not in their inner circle. But then again… these are strange times.

BLOG Size FRONT Canva Cover Secret Genealogy VSuellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees.  Available here:

Secret Genealogy:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Volume-Suellen-Ocean/dp/0965114082

Secret Genealogy II:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-II-Christian-Ancestors/dp/1484053222

Secret Genealogy III:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-III-Jewish-Anglo-Saxon-Acadians/dp/148407579X

Secret Genealogy IV:  http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

Secret Genealogy V: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-Hamite-Ancestors-Family-ebook/dp/B01HJ622DU

Can We Trust the Politicians? What Would Churchill Say?

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I grew up during the Vietnam War. My mother wrung her hands as she watched the news. I knew horrible things were going on but I never worried about it. It was an adult problem. I trusted the adults to figure it out. And they did, eventually. That war was an atrocity that ruined millions of lives. Young American men were forced to go to war and then disrespected when they got home. How does a generation heal from that? Not easily. Perhaps never.

Every day, I wait for that naive, childish faith to kick in. Sometimes, I can feel it close, but I can’t grab it. I look for hope by reading dozens of political articles. Whether written in anger or not, all of them are informative. But no matter how many I read, I just can’t seem to let go and trust. But I believe that I should. The only thing that gives me hope, is something that Winston Churchill said during WWII.

“You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they have tried everything else.”

The power lays within every American. How we think and feel as Americans, pushes this country. Because most of us are vocal, compassionate, fair and respect our laws. If you doubt that, take a drive and watch how every single driver stops at the stoplight. Let’s hope that the politicians that we voted for are true Americans. And like Churchill said, we can count on them to “do the right thing.” Because I, for one, would like to relax a little and regain some of that child-like trust. And don’t forget… our taxes that we worked hard for, are paying for them to do the right thing. For us. The American people.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78