The Islamic Veneer in Median Judaism

There is to varying degrees an Islamic veneer in the denominations of core Median Judaism, i.e.  Alawism, Alevism, Alianism, Bektashism, Druzism, Yarsanism and Yezidism, yet these are not denominations of Islam, their adherents do not practice Islam, do not believe in Islam and have not converted to Islam. There are historical traces in denominations of core Median Judaism of similar syncretism with other historically dominating religions in the region. It is important to emphasize that adherents of core Median Judaism are not Muslims but rather that their denominations are somewhat historically syncretistic and have historically always been so towards the dominating religion. This is not the same as converting to the dominant religion or becoming part of the dominant religion but rather surviving in its shadow. 

Thus may it be confusing to Rabbinic Jews to whom Jews have historically either remained Jews or converted to religious imperialism, i.e. Christianity and Islam. Median Jews are different because they have been tactically syncretistic. Why are they partly syncretistic? They are tactically syncretistic to fit into the dominant civilization of the era and to avoid being forcibly converted to its religion. This is very different from converting to religious imperialism and abandoning Judaism. On the contrary, Median Jews of core Median Judaism practice Crypto-Judaism and remain fully Jewish. 

In preparation for Aliyah (Jewish immigration) to Israel need religious leaders of core Median Judaism systematically remove syncretic elements from the various eras of religious imperialism and learn from local traditions and inter-denominationally within Median Judaism in reviving partly lost Jewish traditions of Median Judaism. It is important that Israeli Jews realize that Median Jews are not somehow “Muslims” and that tactical syncretism as a historically speaking strictly temporary concession to religious imperialism must not ever be confused with actual conversion to religious imperialism.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization

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