Join TSR now to have your say on this topicSign up now

Who is a Jew?

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Abstract_Prism)
    Do you think there should be distinctions made between ethnic and religious Jews?

    Do you believe ethnic Jews to be superior or purer than merely religious Jews?
    First question: perhaps - to make people less confused.
    Second question: absolutely not - only a small minority of batshit rabbis and haredis hold this opinion.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by WoodyMKC)
    I think it's more of an American thing just to class someone as Jewish because of their family inheritance, like it's an ethnicity or race. I like to think that us Brits don't have strange perceptions of things like our transatlantic cousins and see Judaism as what it is - a religion, that you either chose to follow (in which case, you're Jewish) or not (in which case, you're not Jewish).
    Judaism is a religion. Ashkenazi Jews are an ethnic group.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by anarchism101)
    The short answer is that Jews are an ethnoreligious group.

    The long answer is that ethnicity is a fairly fluid concept, which is intersubjective and depends on the value attributed to it by various people and institutions. They can diverge, change and merge over time as a result of events. Initially religious divisions can become ethnic ones. For example, in Germany whether you're Catholic or Protestant is a purely private matter, and conversion is easy. In Northern Ireland, 'Catholic' and 'Protestant' don't really refer to religious observance but rather to community background.

    While Judaism was to some extent a proselytising religion in the past, for a long time now it's been very rare, with conversion only really used for the non-Jewish spouses of Jews, or for those of Jewish heritage who identify themselves as Jews but are not halachichally Jewish. So it became, de facto, a religion on passed down kinship lines. When the rise of nationalism came about, and the issues of who was authentically a member of the 'nation' became a major political issue, there arose a dispute on the status of Jews relative to the 'nation' - were they ethnic Englishmen/Frenchmen/Germans/etc who merely happened to practice a minority religion; or were they a separate people who merely happened to reside in the same country as the aforementioned groups?
    But distinct groupings of Jewish followers (Ashnkeazi, Sephardic, Mizrahzi) are ethnic groups.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Sexathlete)
    The echo meme tho :sly:
    just inb4 tbh.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by simbasdragon)
    It's not an American thing, being Jewish due to maternal lineage is a fundamental part of Judaism universally.
    Judaism, yes. But not Jewishness in general.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Be warned... it gets heated from here on!
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jambojim97)
    if it was just a matter of religion, then surely all the Holocaust victims would have just converted to Christianity.
    nahhhh. I thought they were all just really stubborn?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    How much did the Holla cost ?


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by BadboiQ)
    How much did the Holla cost ?


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    dayum u so edgy
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Dheorl)
    So do you see people who can trace their lineage back to the founding of Christianity in the Roman Empire as ethnically Catholic? If not then why not?
    If you're going to start bumping it any chance you could answer the questions in it?
    Offline

    3
    I'm a jewboy
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    The one who runs the central bank
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Dheorl)
    So do you see people who can trace their lineage back to the founding of Christianity in the Roman Empire as ethnically Catholic? If not then why not?
    No. Because Catholics do not have a history of living together in isolated communities like European Jews do. Historically, there has been much less intermarriage due to Jews being persecuted and as a result isolated and ethnocentric.

    Please refer to the sources - studies of European Jewish genetics - of this wikipedia article for clarification:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    "In an ethnic sense, an Ashkenazi Jew is one whose ancestry can be traced to the Jews who settled in Central Europe. For roughly a thousand years, the Ashkenazim were a reproductively isolated population in Europe, despite living in many countries, with little inflow or outflow from migration, conversion, or intermarriage with other groups, including other Jews. Human geneticists have argued that genetic variations have been identified that show high frequencies among Ashkenazi Jews, but not in the general European population, be they for patrilineal markers (Y-chromosome haplotypes) and for matrilineal markers (mitotypes).[104] Since the middle of the 20th century, many Ashkenazi Jews have intermarried, both with members of other Jewish communities and with people of other nations and faiths.[105] A 2006 study found Ashkenazi Jews to be a clear, homogeneous genetic subgroup.

    Strikingly, regardless of the place of origin, Ashkenazi Jews can be grouped in the same genetic cohort – that is, regardless of whether an Ashkenazi Jew's ancestors came from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Lithuania, or any other place with a historical Jewish population, they belong to the same ethnic group. The research demonstrates the endogamy of the Jewish population in Europe and lends further credence to the idea of Ashkenazi Jews as an ethnic group. Moreover, though intermarriage among Jews of Ashkenazi descent has become increasingly common, many Haredi Jews, particularly members of Hasidic or Hareidi sects, continue to marry exclusively fellow Ashkenazi Jews. This trend keeps Ashkenazi genes prevalent and also helps researchers further study the genes of Ashkenazi Jews with relative ease. It is noteworthy that these Haredi Jews often have extremely large families.[10]"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashken...s#By_ethnicity
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jambojim97)
    I have noticed of late that there seems to be a lot of confusion around TSR regarding the definition of ‘Jewish.’ Many people still think that being Jewish is simply a matter of religious observance or religious inheritance from the mother. The truth is that it is much more complex.Firstly, ask yourself, if it was just a matter of religion, then surely all the Holocaust victims would have just converted to Christianity. The Jews are an ethnic group – an ethnicity. Just like Africans, Caucasians, South Asians, Kurds, Aboriginals &c. In fact, there are many different ethnic groups associated with Judaism – the most common of which are the Ashkenazi Jews.

    The Ashkenazi Jews originate from a distinct group of Jews settling in the Roman Empire and originating from Ancient Israel. Ashkenazi Jews are a distinct, homogenous ethnic group who, due show distinct ethnic markers not found in the general population of Europe. The Sephardic Jews are another European Jewish sub-group who settled in Spain, although they are less well known.

    They share these distinct ethnic markers regardless of where they were located in Europe. Like Sephardic and Mizrhazi Jews (less common), they branched off from the ‘original’ Jews of Ancient Israel around 2500 years ago when they settled in the Roman Empire. They originated from the Middle East (Ancient Israel). When I tell people I am half-Jewish (father’s side) they respond with statements such as “you can’t be half a religion” and “you are only Jewish from your mother’s side”. In a religious sense, they are correct: you cannot really adhere to half a religion. Also, by Talmudic law, having an automatic label of Jewish religion is passed on from the mother’s side. However, from the perspective of genes and ethnicity, half of my ancestry consists of previously isolated and largely homogenous Jewish communities originally from the Middle East, while the other half is of the general British population.

    I took an Ancestry.co.uk DNA test, and whaddayaknow, around half of my ancestry was classed as ‘European Jewish’.The term ‘secular Jew’ means that one is ethnically and perhaps culturally Jewish, but does not practice Judaism (practicing Jew). Of course, one can also be defined as Jewish if they convert and adopt the religious and cultural customs associated with the Jewish people.Hopefully this clears things up. Predictably, there may be some Neo Nazi/Fascist/Anti-Semitic responses, but hey ho, this is the internet.

    And if anyone’s interested: I do not particularly support Israel, I am not circumcised, my family do not own any banks or media institutions, I am not a revolutionary Communist, I am not a greedy Capitalist, I do not have a big nose, I am not part of The Conspiracy, and I am British by nationality, cultural values an in part by ethnicity.

    Regards,
    (((jambojim97)))
    Sorry to disappoint you but they are right you are not Jewish you are a Nocri -non jew. Born of a jewish father does not make you part of*Am Yisrael. So upon you to go through*Giyur - jewish conversion. in order to become a Jew,

    Dna/ancestry means nothing and absolutely nothing to religious jews *
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Matthew12)
    Sorry to disappoint you but they are right you are not Jewish you are a Nocri -non jew. Born of a jewish father does not make you part of*Am Yisrael. So upon you to go through*Giyur - jewish conversion. in order to become a Jew,

    Dna/ancestry means nothing and absolutely nothing to religious jews *
    Matralineality is a value judgement and not a scientific fact - based on the religion of Judaism. Judaism can have very little to do with being Jewish. It has cultural and genetic bearings.

    Genetically I am half-Jewish, as my father (and thus half of my ancestry) is Ashkenazi Jewish. I refer to the studies I have previously cited in this thread, which clearly shows that Ashkenazi Jews are distinct, homogeneous, ethnic group with genetic traits not found in the general population of their host countries.

    If I was alive in Germany during the 30s, I would have been persecuted because of my ethnic background - just like all other Jews.

    Finally, from a religious viewpoint, matralineality is by no means universal. Like all religions, Judaism has different denominations. Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism are matralineal. Reform Judaism and Reconstructionist Judaism see someone as being Jewish when they are born to one Jewish parent (mother or father). Ethiopian Judaism and Lemba Judaism are patralineal, meaning that one is automatically assumed Jewish when born to a Jewish father.

    So, from a religious viewpoint, you are quite right - you cannot be half Jewish as in half adhering to Judaism.

    However, from an ethnic viewpoint, you can be half Jewish - as somebody with one Chinese parent and one Caucasian parent can be half-Chinese.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jambojim97)
    Matralineality is a value judgement and not a scientific fact - based on the religion of Judaism. Judaism can have very little to do with being Jewish. It has cultural and genetic bearings.
    Nope. Almost all Jewish traditions are connected to Judaism.
    If I was alive in Germany during the 30s, I would have been persecuted because of my ethnic background - just like all other Jews.
    It is irrelevant how Germans or other nations define who is a Jew. Only Jewish people can define who is Jewish.
    Ethiopian Judaism and Lemba Judaism are patralineal, meaning that one is automatically assumed Jewish when born to a Jewish father.
    Who cares?
    However, from an ethnic viewpoint, you can be half Jewish - as somebody with one Chinese parent and one Caucasian parent can be half-Chinese.
    The subject of the thread is "Who is a Jew?", not "Who is a half Jew". You got the answer.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by admonit)
    Nope. Almost all Jewish traditions are connected to Judaism.

    It is irrelevant how Germans or other nations define who is a Jew. Only Jewish people can define who is Jewish.

    Who cares?

    The subject of the thread is "Who is a Jew?", not "Who is a half Jew". You got the answer.
    How does one convert to Judaism?

    Why is somebody only considered to be Jewish if their mother is a Jew but not the other way around? I could be wrong so do enlighten me
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by admonit)
    Nope. Almost all Jewish traditions are connected to Judaism.
    Connected to Judaism, but not necessarily adhering to Judaism.

    (Original post by admonit)
    It is irrelevant how Germans or other nations define who is a Jew. Only Jewish people can define who is Jewish.
    There is no objective definition of who is religiously Jewish, as different denominations of Judaism have different definitions and opinions. In terms of who is ETHNICALLY Jewish, that depends on ancestry and is rooted in science and nothing will ever change that.


    (Original post by admonit)
    Who cares?
    All your responses to my previous post have been stupid, but this has to be number 1. It quite clearly shows that there is no objective definition of who is and who isn't Jewish, and there is no single 'Jewish people'.

    (Original post by admonit)
    The subject of the thread is "Who is a Jew?", not "Who is a half Jew". You got the answer.
    Ethnically, I am half Ashkenazi Jewish - this is a scientific fact and has nothing to do with religion whatsoever. I also have cultural ties to Jewish tradition. I was not trying to pretend I am 'fully Jewish' - just pointing out that there are such things as half-Jews.

    Contrary to your borderline racist Israeli Zionist worldview based upon Orthodox Judaism, there is no clear definition of who is Jewish.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by queen-bee)
    How does one convert to Judaism?
    It's not a simple issue and it is better to use an authoritative Rabbinic source. At the end of the process a person is declared a Jew.
    Why is somebody only considered to be Jewish if their mother is a Jew but not the other way around? I could be wrong so do enlighten me
    Here is a Hasidic answer:
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Jewishness is not in our DNA. It is in our soul. The reason it is passed down through the maternal line is not just because it is easier to identify who your mother is. It is because the soul identity is more directly shaped by the mother than the father.
    From a purely physical perspective, a child is more directly connected to their mother. The father's contribution to the production of a child is instantaneous and remote. The mother, on the other hand, gives her very self to the child . The child is conceived inside the mother, develops inside the mother, is sustained and nourished by the mother, and is born from the mother.
    This is not to say that a father and child are not intimately attached. Of course they are. But as deep and essential as the bond between father and child may be, the child's actual body was never a part of her father's body. But she was a part of her mother. Every child begins as an extension of their mother's body.
    This is a simple fact. It doesn't mean she will be closer to her mother, or more similar to her mother, or follow her mother's ways. We are not discussing the emotional bond between parent and child, but rather the natural physical bond. There is a more direct physical link between mother and child, because a child starts off as a part of her mother.
    The body and its workings are a mirror image of the workings of the soul. The physical world is a parallel of the spiritual world. And so, the direct physical link between mother and child is a reflection of a soul link between them. While the father's soul contributes to the identity of the child's soul, it is the mother's soul that actually defines it. If the mother has a Jewish soul, the child does too.
    If the mother is not Jewish but the father is, his Jewish soul will not be extended to the child. There may be a spark of Jewishness there, but if it was not gestated in a Jewish mother, the child will have to go through conversion for their Jewishness to be activated.
    Jewishness is passed down by the mother because being Jewish is a spiritual identity, it defines our very being. And our very being we get from our mother, both in body and in soul.

    http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman...the-Mother.htm
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    You are jewish if your mother is jewish or if you undergo an orthodox conversion to Judaism. No two ways about it.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
 
 
 
Poll
Which party will you be voting for in the General Election 2017?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.