We live in a time of dramatic rethinking of accepted givens about Jewish identity. In a sense, all of this forces us to embrace new ways of thinking about lineality and the boundaries of Jewish communities. In other ways, we don’t need anything new at all.
Note: This essay is part 3 of a 3-part series published in 2015. These essays propose a long-term, communal vision for re-imagining these concepts over the course of generations. They were never intended, in theory or in practice, to play any role in undermining the Jewish status of those who have been treated as unambiguously Jewish by the halakhic discourse in the communities in which they were raised. The essays are currently being revised to more clearly reflect that original intention.