It’s All in the Family

It’s no wonder that it’s easy to play “Jewish geography.” Not only are Jews small in number, but we’re also all related, the children of Abraham. And while the Torah delineates clearly each and every one of your relatives it’s not okay to have sexual relations with, we see in the parshah that we just read this past Shabbat that it’s okay to marry your cousin.

And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother and the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother, that Jacob drew near and rolled the rock off the mouth of the well, and he watered the sheep of Laban, his mother’s brother… And Jacob loved Rachel, andhe said, “I will work for you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.” (Genesis / Bereshit 29: 12, 18)

Shortly before Shabbat, I went into a jewelry store to get information about getting my engagement ring resized. The lady who helped me was named Claudia, and her Hebrew had an unusual accent. So I asked her the question I get asked a gazillion times: “Where are you originally from?”


“Wow. How many Jews live in Guatemala?”

“About 500 families”.

That’s an answer I often hear when the size of a Jewish community is in question – not people, but families. I’ve never heard that kind of answer given when asking about any other population demographic.

It’s clear that what makes the Jewish community and the Jewish people is the family.


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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