How Jewish is Dominique Strauss-Kahn?

October 23, 2008

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French head of the International Monetary Fund, has hit the headlines not over the way he is dealing with the world's ailing finances, but rather because he has been embroiled in a fling with a subordinate. We thought it was worth checking that there was definitely nothing Jewish about him.


Sacre bleu - according to our team of halachic researchers, Strauss-Kahn is half-Ashkenazi, half-Sephardi, but completely Jewish by birth. He has associated himself with the fight against antisemitism - he was MP for Sarcelles, an area with France's highest density of Jews, and said: "Antisemitism in our country is growing and it would be wrong not to see it." His wife, Ann Sinclair, is also Jewish. Strauss-Kahn follows in a tradition of Jewish bosses of international financial institutions becoming embroiled in scandal... No, stop, we're really not going to go there. Not helpful to the Jews. So we won't even mention the trouble Paul Wolfowitz had at the World Bank last year.


Not a huge amount here, we're afraid. His girlfriend, Piroska Nagy, does not seem to be Jewish, although you do not get a higher score for having a Yiddishe mistress anyway. Kahn sounds a bit Indian - sorry, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel here.


Il est un Juif.

So we say he is 89% Jewish

Last updated: 10:52am, May 18 2011



Wed, 10/29/2008 - 13:40

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Religious Confusion
My father John Kirsch was born into an orthodox Jewish family of Polish decent.
After the war he met our mother Dorothy Crothers who was in fact a devout Christian both by birth and faith. ( as confirmed by her parents church wedding).
This would have posed a huge problem in my father's Orthodox Jewish circles and so our mother pretended to be Jewish by attending the Orthodox Synagogue.

A civil marriage in a registry office went ahead in August 1949 and our mother signed her newly assumed name Dorothy Cohen on the marriage certificate. Ten months later Nicola Kirsch was born on 2nd July 1950, notably out of Jewish wedlock.
An orthodox Jewish ceremony took place in August 1950 at the United Synagogue in St Johns Wood. Our mother would not have had a Katauber possibly using the War and subsequent London Bombings as an excuse for the lack of paperwork. They must have shown the Civil marriage certificate to the registrar as proof of her Jewish origin. A technically invalid katauber was produced for them in good faith by the synagogue. They subsequently had two further children, Diana and myself David.

Rabbi Schindler, the current registrar at the United Synagogue in St Jons Wood obtained the Authorisation document for me recently and drew my attention to the question mark by the side of the name Dorothy Lilian Cohen. He suggested the registrar at the time had obviously not been convinced that the name Cohen was authentic and had highlighted the area in doubt on the document. He said to me, “ it would not have been the first time people tried to pull the wool over the officials eyes “, but in this case they appear to have succeeded.
Charles Tucker, the eminent archivist has helped us with the historical facts surrounding our parents. He confirms there is no evidence to suggest our mother converted to Judaism. In any case, our mother presented herself as a born Jewess and not as one who converted.

Martyn Rose, (president of the Southampton Synagogue), was so helpful and explained the dedicated requirements for conversion.
“Converting Orthodox takes 5 years at least and the person has to live in a fully Orthodox environment for the whole period and take exams. It is not easy. That also means working only 5 days per week and finishing on every Sabbath by 14.00 hrs in winter. Living within 1 mile of the synagogue and so on.”

Our parents have now passed on, (my father in 1997 and my mother in 2006), both are buried in the Orthodox Jewish Cemetery, Southampton and we believe should remain there undisturbed.

In view of the fact the special area designated for the Jewish Community in Southampton is gradually filling up with gentiles, can someone please clarify whether or not we can class ourselves as Jews with the right to be buried in the Orthodox Jewish cemetery at Southampton in due course?
Will the community accept we are Jewish if we suddenly start attending the Synagogue with our sister Nicola as our mother did in her time or should we convert in accordance with Martyn Rose’s guidelines ? We are in a state of total confusion and would be grateful for some guidance.