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

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


Do You Believe in Anima Mundi?

Black PansyAnima Mundi means soul of the world. It is the belief that there is one ethereal, organizing soul, acting upon all of the universe. Those who believe it, believe that the one soul of the world controls the universe, similar to how the mind controls the human body. Anima Mundi is similar to a form of pantheism, (the belief that the universe taken or conceived of as a whole, is God). Soul of the universe philosophy is frequently used by those accepting that doctrine as well.Canva Blue Violet Cover

There are many people who do not think of themselves as religious yet they are quite spiritual. They tell people that they are atheists, leaving religious adherents aghast. But religious advocates should not be quick to judge them as nonbelievers. In reality, most of them probably do believe. Very much so. They believe in the awe and beauty of life. They believe there is something out there, they just don’t know what it is and they don’t believe in pledging allegiance to it.

New Cover Black LilacSuellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1484900278

Book Two, Blue Violet: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B018ZWX0R4

Book Three, Black Lilac: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EKJMTKA

What is an Apostle Spoon?

First off, let’s make sure that we know what an apostle is. An apostle is one of the twelve disciples of Christ sent forth to preach the gospel. Originally, there were twelve: Simon Peter; Andrew; James; John; Philip; Bartholomew; Matthew (Levi); Thomas (Didymus); James; Jude (Thaddacus); Simon; Judas Iscariot.TheCelticPrinceCoverGOLD

Their religious beliefs are summarized in one of many versions of the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic and apostolic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

So what is an apostle’s spoon? It is a spoon that has one of the apostles depicted on the handle. A set of apostles’ spoons consisted of twelve spoons and an extra, thirteenth spoon was that of Jesus. It is an old custom dating back to at least the 1500s, to give a spoon to a child upon their baptismal.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

What Does the 1960’s Hippy Revolution Have to do with the Puritans of 1620?

New The Lies of the Lion Kindle CoverBelieve it or not, I’m reading the journal of the first governor of Massachusetts, John Winthrop. The manuscript is missing teeth. (There are gaps in the words where the ink faded or never printed correctly.) The first thing that struck me is the Puritan’s anger at the Church of England. In their new colony, they were embracing new worshiping methods, like the laying on of hands. History tells of their cruel oppressive ways regarding religion, something most modern people don’t agree with, myself included. But the new colonists wanted to do things their way, not the old way dictated by the church of England. It was their revolution, like the 1960’s when young hippies wanted to do things their way. Believe me, I lived through the 1960’s and there was oppression and religious push back everywhere.

Massachusetts’s Puritans probably thought that they were the “in” thing. They believed in their new spirituality and America was the place where they could grow it. As far as the intolerance and cruelty placed on those who didn’t go with the program, well… that was the status quo for everything back in 1620. But the two groups share one thing in common; they had new ideas about their spirituality and they were determined to keep the establishment from imposing the old ways on them. They came to America to live a new way… their way.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here:  http://www.amazon.com/Suellen-Ocean/e/B001KC7Z78

What Inspired the Nazis to Burn Books and Destroy Art? Leftover Religious Beliefs?

Chimney FireIn the early 1500’s there was a Protestant religious group that arose in Zurich, Switzerland, called the Anabaptists. They were seen as fanatics and history says that the leader, (Thomas Munzer) and his doctrines, helped bring about the German Peasant Revolt. The Anabaptists did not believe in infant baptism, instead they thought that a man should be able to confess his faith first and then be baptized. New Hot Snow CoverThe Anabaptists practiced polygamy and were big on the separation of church and state. One of their German sects received the name Abecedarians. The name derives from the first four letters of the alphabet… A, B, C, D. The reason for the alphabet reference is because they did not believe in “human knowledge,” they felt that it prevented men from hearing the voice of God. The Abecedarians refused to learn to read. They would not even learn the alphabet. Four-hundred-years later, the Nazis were burning books and destroying art. Makes you wonder…

Suellen Ocean is the author of The Steinberg Conspiracy Series. Available here: Book One, Chimney Fire: http://www.amazon.com/Chimney-Fire-Steinberg-Conspiracy-Book-ebook/dp/B00XDCPLEW

Book Two, Hot Snow: http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Snow-Steinberg-Conspiracy-Book-ebook/dp/B014XHUT1K


Native American History… What is Peyote?

Kindle COVER Secret Genealogy IV

Peyote is the fruit of a cactus found in Northern Mexico and the American Southwest. It looks a little bit like a mushroom. There is a fuzzy substance in it that is removed before it’s eaten. After feelings of nausea, it gives the partaker a high euphoric feeling and visions. In other words, it’s a hallucinogen. Peyote was used and is still used today by Native Americans in spiritual ceremonies. It was also eaten during war and for times of hard work because of the stimulating nature of its properties and its ability to subdue hunger and thirst. Unless you belong to one of the Native American religious groups granted legal permission to consume peyote, you will find yourself in trouble with the law if you have it in your possession. Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:


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Jesus Wasn’t Born in December Nor in a Manger

Many religious scholars have concluded that Jesus was not born this time of year. I’m not sure when he was born, it might have been June. It was Roman Pope Julius I who proclaimed December 25th as the birthdate to celebrate Jesus’s birth. My research tells me that the December date was chosen to coincide with Pagan solstice celebrations that people were already enjoying this time of year. It was a festive holiday, with astronomical attributes due to its being the darkest time of year. After this winter solstice, the light gradually returns. The return of the light is a great excuse for a grand celebration! And since we are trying to be factual, Jesus probably wasn’t born in a manger either. More likely he was born in a cave. You can find the spot for this cave in Bethlehem at the “Church of the Nativity,” located at the “Grotto of the Nativity.” When Luke wrote his gospel, he said that shepherds gave shelter for Mary. These shepherds housed their flock in a cave. 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 and Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians. 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

eBooks and computer downloads available through Smashwords:


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SecretGenealogyFrontCover  SecretGenealogyIIFrontCover  Hand Painted Roses Cover Sec Gen III