Judge John Hodgman Episode 99: Judge and Jewry


Beca brings the case against her sister Jessica. They're both proud of their Jewish heritage, but Jessica objects to Beca's claim that they are both "part-Jewish" due to their ancestry. Jessica says that since she and her sister were raised in the Catholic faith, they can't in good conscience call themselves “part-Jewish”. Who is right? Only one man can decide.

Thanks this week to Rabbi Mike, former litigant from the episode "Parents Just Don't Understand", who joined us to share his expertise.




Special thanks to listener Larry Herold for suggesting this episode's title!


Jewish Jeans

There is most certainly such a thing as "Jewish Jeans"
(From a 19080 SNL sketch)


Jews and the afterlife

I loved this podcast. I think John and Jesse were brilliant in how their humor intentionally poked fun at stereotypes by not relying on them. I am impressed at the comedy skills displayed!

Concerning the subject matter, I find my agreement with Judge Hodgeman to depend on whether Becca considers herself a religious Catholic. Traditional Catholic theology sends Jews to hell in the afterlife, and that's the rub: participating in the belief of Jews' damnation should preclude one's affiliation with Jewishness. But if she's not at all a believing Catholic, maybe the Rabbi's relative leniency is a more appropriate ruling.

I feel like I could write a thesis on this podcast (which would rob all humor from the subject).

Catholic doctrine - credit where credit is due

I think it's important to define 'traditional Catholic Theology'. Current doctrine, I believe, was clarified by Pope John Paul II, who stated publicly that the Jews have a separate covenant with God, never revoked by God, and that Catholics should not proselytize them, since they are not in fact damned to hell in the afterlife. There are some Traditionalist Catholics who reject Vatican II, and all recent doctrine. But I doubt that Rebecca, who couldn't remember the last time she had been to mass, would identify herself as one of that group.

Certainly there has been a lot of anti-semitism in Catholic history, but let's give credit where credit is due - current doctrine is tolerant.

I'm not religious, and I'm inclined to apply the ethnic definition - your father was a Jew, hey, you're half-Jewish. I thought the Judge's coinage of Not Not Jewish was artful.

It was a great show, and it raised for me the question of why Jewish identity should be as much religious as ethnic. I'm Italian, and there is one and only one religion that is strongly identified with the Italian ethnicity! My father left the Catholic Church as a young man, and never observed Catholicism again, yet he was never considered even slightly less Italian for that fact, and I would not in any way feel more Italian if he had been Catholic his whole life. I'm half Italian, and religion has no bearing on my ethnicity. Why the double standard for Jews?

Judge and Jewry - Jews and the afterlife

I think you'd better define what you mean by 'traditional Catholic theology'. I believe that the current official doctrine came from John Paul II, who maintained that the Jews have a separate covenant with God, never revoked by God, and that therefore Catholics should not proselytize the Jews, who are saved by their own covenant. I doubt that Becca, who couldn't remember the last time she went to a Mass, would identify as one of those Traditionalist Catholics who reject Vatican II and all recent doctrine.

I'm not religious, so I'm more inclined to use an ethnic definition anyway - your father's a Jew, hey, you're half Jewish - but I thought the Judge's coinage Not Not Jewish was pretty artful. They are certainly Not Not Jewish, notwhithstanding their baptism and confirmation.

Great podcast anyway, and I admired everyone's honesty.
Kavi M.

Nutty Jews

Did you know that there is already a term for Catholic Jews? Cashews!