BY RACHEL LAVICTOIRE / AJT //
Even those of you, like me, who don’t follow “pop-culture”— don’t’ care about the lives of the Kardashians or the absurdity of Honey Boo Boo — probably paid attention to the recent news that the world has a new prince.
For the hopelessly unaware, on June 22, 2013, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed into the world their first baby boy, George Alexander Louis.
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About two years ago, newspapers and magazines were filled with clever catch phrases announcing the marriage of a small-town girl, Kate Middleton, and a real-world Prince Charming, William of Cambridge.
Back then, I had little interest in the matter.
To me, it was just another celebrity marriage – an event publicized because of the bloodlines and / or deep wallets of the two people involved. But the birth of George Alexander Louis is, in fact, an event that has grabbed my attention.
Prince George of Cambridge is currently third in the line of succession to the British throne. He is also possibly Jewish.
Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of research done on the matter.
Some Jews would like to prove that the potential heir is a “Member of the Tribe,” but many non-Jews are working hard to prove just the opposite. Obviously, searching for undeniable evidence about someone’s religious background is nearly impossible. But here are a few facts that people are trying to make sense of:
- Judaism is a religion that’s passed down through maternal blood lines. 2
- Prince George Alexander Louis is the son of Catherine Middleton, grandson of Carole E Goldsmith, great-grandson of Dorothy Harrison, and great-great-grandson of Elizabeth Temple.
- Starting with Kate and tracing back five generations, all marriage ceremonies were held in churches.
The majority of the arguments out there, on both sides of the debate, are based solely on these three facts. They can be seen to support both sides.
Some people argue that names like “Goldsmith” and “Temple” are proof that young, Prince George has a little Jewish blood running through his veins and that many Jews married in churches centuries ago to hide their ancestry. That’s understandable when you recall the Spanish Inquisition’s persecution of Jews.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, those arguing that Prince George is not Jewish seem to have a stronger case: Kate was not raised Jewish, her family has been in England for over six generations, and many of the marriages have been performed in churches.
Still, though, the question remains open, and many Jews continue to hope that there is actually a “Member of The Tribe” currently sitting third in line as heir to the British throne.
And I understand why so many of us cling to this hope.
It would be an incredible leap for the Jewish community, a people held down by years of discrimination and isolation, to have a representative in the royal family. It would be inspirational and uplifting, and it would cause Jews worldwide to beam with pride.
But if more evidence surfaces disproving George Alexander Louis’ Jewish background, we need to let it go and wait patiently, rather than contort the facts to align with our hoped-for truth.
In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about the formal leadership of the Jewish people. The parshah, sensibly named Shoftim, meaning judges, begins with a commandment from G-d:
“You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself in all your cities that the Lord, your G-d, is giving you, for your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment… Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live and possess the land the Lord, your G-d, is giving you.” – Deuteronomy 16:18-20.
G-d continues, explaining how exactly these appointed judges should handle criminals: capital punishment may be enacted “by the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses” (17:6), but not by the mouth of one. Then, above the judges is the Sanhedrin, or the Rabbinic Supreme Court, which consists of the Levitic kohanim.
The judges are instructed to bring any disagreements to the kohanim, and to follow their judgments precisely. Any man who intentionally disobeys either the kohanim or the judges may be sentenced to death.
But aside from the laws given to the judges about their new responsibilities, there’s also much to be said about the judges themselves.
“You shall set a king over you, one whom the Lord, your G-d, chooses; from among your brothers… And it will be, when he sits upon his royal throne, that he shall write for himself two copies of this Torah on a scroll from before the Levitic kohanim. And it shall be with him… so that his heart will not be haughty over his brothers, and so that he will not turn away from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, in order that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his sons, among Israel” – Deuteronomy 17: 15-20.
Clearly, the leaders that G-d chooses for us will be good men. They will be righteous and diligent, and in constant pursuit of a just nation. They will be unbiased, and fair in their punishments. But most importantly, they will be Jewish and they will be chosen by G-d.
I neither endorse nor oppose the idea that George Alexander Louis will one day be a Jewish monarch, but I do fully support the movement of people out there trying to seek out their own modern-day Jewish leader.
You may have noticed the similarity in G-d’s commandments: “You shall set up judges and law enforcement officials for yourself” and “You shall set a king over you.”
We, inevitably, will all choose our own leaders.
We will seek out men and women we respect and admire, leaders who hold a moral code similar to our own. Maybe we’ll choose a non-practicing Jew in the British line of succession, or maybe we’ll choose our favorite high school teacher.
In the end, who’s to say how much of our “choosing” is actually crafted by the hand of G-d?
“[G-d] will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths [G-d] will guide them” (Isaiah 42:16). Maybe Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was in fact chosen by G-d to lead the Jewish people; then again, maybe not.