of the state of Israel were good Jews motivatedrnby love of Israel (ahavath yisrael) —rnor so I was told by Talmud instructors inrnan Orthodox school I attended. And althoughrnNorman Podhoretz may not acceptrnthe theological formulation thatrnProfessor Neusner wishes to use to definernJews, the orthodox Yeshivah Universityrnawarded Podhoretz (undoubtedly forrnhis Zionist zeal) an annual award forrnoutstanding Jewish service. Alan Dershowitzrnhas also received multiplernawards from Jewish organizations for hisrndevotion to the Jewish community. Outsidernof transplanted ultraorthodox EasternrnEuropean settlements, Dershowitz’srntheological improprieties do not upsetrnvery many of his fellow Jews.rnAnother problem with Neusner’s restrictiverndefinition is quantitative. Howrnobservant must a Jew be to qualify asrnsuch under his standard? While somernJews keep fewer biblical and rabbinicrncommandments than Rabbi Neusner,rnothers keep more. Do these Jews have arnright to declare Neusner non-Jewish byrnvirtue of nonobservance in the same wayrnhe challenges the Jewish identity of AlanrnDershowitz?rnBut Professor Neusner’s most startlingrnproposition is that “Jewish ethnicity” hasrnbeen discovered only recently, both as arnresponse to, and a symptom of, decliningrnJewish religiosity. In A People That ShallrnDwell Alone, psychologist Kevin Mac-rnDonald cites the copious Jewish restrictionsrnplaced on intermarriage since thernageofEzraand Nehemiah. Despite thernreductionist nature of his thesis thatrnJudaism is a “genefic strategy,” MacDonaldrndoes demonstrate the ethnic and geneticrnconcern shaping these prohibitions.rnLike Japanese Shintoists, IndianrnParsees, and Armenian Oriental Orthodox,rnJews have refrained from contactsrnwith outsiders for ethnic (as well as other)rnreasons. Growing up in a tradihonalrnCentral European Jewish community inrnthe United States, I would have had to berncognitively challenged not to notice thisrnfact. The members of my communityrnmarried only those with “Jewish blood.”rnThough a gentile, MacDonald seemsrnto understand this Jewish fear of miscegenafionrnas well as I did as a child, whichrnis why neither of us is surprised thatrnJewish ethnicity has survived the disappearancernof Jewish ritual observance.rn-Paul GottfriedrnElizabethtown, PArnDr. Neusner Replies:rnProfessor Gottfried accurately portraysrnthe viewpoint of the sources that he believesrnshould define “Judaism,” and I dornthe same with mine. The question is,rnwho has identified the definitive sourcesrnfor the definition of Judaism, the religion?rnHe invokes Spinoza, who was declaredrna heretic by the rabbis of Amsterdam.rnMy definition derives from thernTorah of Sinai, oral and written, whichrnguided the rabbis of Amsterdam in theirrnrejection of Spinoza. They had goodrnreason. The sages of the Torah definern”Israel” as a holy people who worship thernone true God, and were called by God tornSinai. In other words, Israel is a communityrnof faith, comparable to the Church,rn”the mystical body of Christ,” as my colleaguernBruce D. Chilton and I havernshown in Christianity and Judaism: thernFormative Categories. II. The Body ofrnFaith: Israel and Church (Trinity PressrnInternational). By this definition of “Israel,”rnderiving from the authoritativernwritings of the Torah, we deal with a religiousrncommunity. Gottfried maintainsrnthere is no such religion as “Judaism,”rnonly a sociology, a politics, an ethnic culture.rnHe speaks of ethnic customs andrnceremonies, but the Torah speaks ofrnGod’s commandments and the sancfificafionrnof Israel. On the question of Judaismrnas a religion he is wrong, and thernauthoritative sources of the Torah showrnhow and why he is wrong.rnBut he is right, too, when he maintainsrnthat the Jews as a whole do not practicernJudaism; some practice another religion,rnwhether Buddhism or Christianity,rnand many practice none. Secular Jewsrntherefore do not define Judaism, and Judaismrndoes not dictate the opinions orrnpractices of secular Jews. A Jew whorndoes not believe in God and who doesrnnot accept the Torah, oral and written, asrnGod’s teaching, does not carry out commandmentsrnbut mere customs, and hisrnopinions are not statements of that religion.rnHe may be a “good Jew” in somernother context, by some other definition,rnbut as an atheist, he cannot be deemed arnfaithful part of holy Israel, God’s people,rnwho meet and know God in the Torah.rnProfessor Gotriried knows enough of thernclassical sources of Judaism to find inrnthose sources ample evidence for thernstatements here set forth.rnI do not mean to suggest that secularrndefinitions of the Jews or of Israel or ofrn”Judaism” do not compete with the religiousrnone. The ethnic definition speaksrnof “the Jews,” and refers to a communityrnof fate, not of faith; to a group characterizedrnby common traits or sentiments;rnor to an individual who regards himselfrnas Jewish by some other criterion altogether.rnSome ethnics will invoke thernNuremberg definition of 1935; a singlernJewish grandparent suffices. The politicalrndefinition speaks of “Israel” as “thernState of Israel,” and it derives from Zionism,rnwhich defined the Jews as not onlyrn”a people, one people,” but also as a politicalrnentity. The issue, then, is not settledrnby someone’s declaration of who is arn”good Jew.” That is irrelevant to rigorousrnthought, based on clear categories andrnproportionate evidence. Theology, sociology,rnand politics frame matters in accordrnwith a particular logic. The confusionrnof Gottfried’s discourse, its appeal tornheresy in place of theological norm, itsrnintroduction of distinctions (“collectivist/rnOld Testament” vs. “individualist/rnNew Testament”) that have no standingrnin contemporary scholarship, itsrnargument from cases—and rather weirdrnexamples at that (Dershowitz indeed!) —rnall of this will stand corrected upon furtherrnreflection on his part.rnSo the issue is not “Jewish identity.” ArnJew by the law of Judaism is the child ofrna Jewish mother, and however he mayrnsin by the definition of the Torah, hernnever ceases to be “Israel,” in the Torah’srndefinition. And judged by the Torahrn(written and oral), holy Israel, God’s people,rnis not answerable to Kevin MacDonald,rnAlan Dershowitz, or Elliott Abrams,rnbut only to God, who, happily, revealsrnHimself in the Torah as infinitely mercifulrnand possessed of a good sense of humorrnand the patience to sit through ageoldrnarguments about the definition ofrnIsrael.rnOn the New New MathrnTo Marian Kester Coombs’ articlern(“Dumb and Number,” October) on therndumbing-down of math standards, I say,rn”Hear, hear.” In fact, the complaintrnabout the downgrading of mathematicalrnknowledge is gathering stiength amongrnmathematicians as well as the public. Irnhear anecdotes all the time of a freshmanrnwho, asked to divide 387 by ten, takes outrnhis calculator.rnBut on Coombs’ other pitch —concerningrnthe feminist victory in thernDECEMBER 1997/5rnrnrn