Re: please comment #general

David Shapiro <dshapiro@...>

At 10:34 PM 11/16/98 +0200, you wrote:
Dear Jewishgenners,

I received this letter >from my (I am ashamed to say) 2nd cousin who wrote
this in relation to our SHILLMAN/MIRRELSON family tree.

I am very proud of all the family Trees I have prepared and religion does
not enter into it at all (for my part). What is important to me is the
GENES which connects us all to the Progenitor and not our religious

You should not be ashamed of your cousin, nor he of you. You have two
different approaches and interests in a family tree.

The late Rabbi Shmuel Gorr took your cousin's approach and would not record
on a famiy tree chart the names of any gentiles married into the family
(but he would include children of a Jewish woman by a Gentile father). This
would make sense since according to Halacha children of a Jewish woman by a
gentile are not related to their father, even if he converts after their
conception. Thus they do not inherit him, nor are marriages to his children
by another woman, even after his conversion, considered incest.

But the main point seems to be that your cousin is interested in his family
tree to inspire his children and relatives to follow in the family
tradition -- which is a legitimate reason to pursue genealogy -- and the
chart you have sent him is not helpful in this direction.

On the other hand, you say you are interested in genes. If you mean that
literally and are doing genetic research then your cousin should certainly
understand your interest. Even if you are just interested in historical
facts, and later will decide how to interpret them or to utilize them, no
one can complain. It's even possible that some of the relatives your cousin
would omit might have further information which would be of interest even
to your cousin.

I would suggest two possible solutions.

Solution A: Prepare two charts. One for research purposes, and the other
suitable for framing.

Solution B: Send your cousin a note explaining that since their are various
views on who should be included in the family chart (as he himself said
when he alluded to various views on what is considered a valid conversion),
you will not take a position, but will just present the dry facts. Anyone
who wishes to prepare his own partial chart is welcome to, but perhaps
should include a note that it is based upon a more comprehensie chart
prepared by you.

David Shapiro

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