The Diary of a Young Girl The Diary of a Young Girl question

Does it bother any of you when someone says they're "part" Jewish?
Mariana Mariana (last edited Aug 03, 2014 02:36PM ) Aug 03, 2014 02:29PM
Someone posted on another thread on The Diary of Anne Frank that they were part Jewish. It bothered me because Judaism is not a race, it's a religion.

@Mariana - Why does this bother you? If someone identifies as something then that's their own self-design. I have many friends who are Jewish Atheists. They have not given up their cultural identity simply because they do not have a literal relationship with the religious texts. They are Jewish. One of these gentlemen had a mother that was Jewish and a father who was Christian. He is an atheist who understands and sees the cultural value of both religious texts. He identifies as "part Jewish". Where's the problem?

OddModicum Rachel (last edited Aug 07, 2014 04:57AM ) Aug 07, 2014 04:40AM   3 votes
I could be wrong, but I belief the identifier 'Jewish' is unique in that it can refer not only to people of a specific religion, but also to persons of a specific cultural race of people. Not all religions are like that... you don't have a 'Catholic nation'... its an identifier of religion, full stop. 'Jew' as a title is different, so I don't think its a issue with political correctness in this case. I believe, if memory serves, there's even a forensic/archaeological classification of characteristics of persons of a likely Jewish heritage, much like there are for Caucasian , Asian persons. Not sure if that makes sense, but hoping someone out there knows what I'm talking about. It would be clearer if I could remember the actual term. lol Semitic characteristics, maybe? By the way, just as an aside, I know Jews who are die-hard Atheists, as well as those who believe in the spiritual concept of a living Christ as Savior, but still embrace the other tenants of Judaism; Jews for Jesus. And like 'Easter and Christmas Catholics' there are Jews who identify themselves as Jewish, but only go to temple on holy days.

However, in my own life, when I've experienced what you describe... encountered something that made me uncomfortable in that sort of way.. I usually take it as a sign that whatever aspect of my life the topic covers could use a bit more attention or is something that I should delve into more deeply. So for instance, if what happened to you happened to me, I'd take it upon myself to seek out some really great Jewish Cultural history books or historical fiction, maybe even something more esoteric like analyses of Kabbalistic mysteries. You might be surprised how 'right' an exploration of Judaism feels to you from a spiritual standpoint. i believe there's some great historical Jewish fiction in this shelf... And if there's not, you could certainly request great recommendations in the "Mysteries based in Mythology, Religion, and the Occult' thread that I set up.

Judith (last edited Aug 04, 2014 02:09PM ) Aug 04, 2014 02:04PM   1 vote
Mariana wrote: "Someone posted on another thread on The Diary of Anne Frank that they were part Jewish. It bothered me because Judaism is not a race, it's a religion."

Why should it bother you? You are mistaken in your belief that it is "not a race, it's a religion".

It has always been my understanding - explained to me by my Jewish father, that it is both a religion and a race. He denounced the religion when he was a teenager, but he is still Jewish - his family roots are Jewish. I am part Jewish, and I'm not going to say "and proud of it", but I'm not ashamed of it either. I am what I am, so why should I be proud or ashamed? Many of my relatives are Orthodox, many are not My parents raised their children to be neutral and embrace all races and religions. We are all atheists, but my father is still Jewish.

No-one has any control over the family or ancestry they were born into, so don't make a big deal about it.

Why does it matter? It's their business, not anyone else's.

Dusty Bibliophile (last edited Aug 04, 2014 09:40AM ) Aug 04, 2014 09:39AM   1 vote
No, it doesn't bother me. As has been pointed out already, being Jewish can be looked at either as a culture or a religion. It's possible to be "ethnically" Jewish without practicing the religion as well as to be religiously Jewish without having Jewish parents.

"Is Judaism a people or a religion? Or both? The belief that Jews may be psychologically or physically distinct remains a controversial fixture in the gentile and Jewish consciousness, and Ostrer places himself directly in the line of fire. Yes, he writes, the term “race” carries nefarious associations of inferiority and ranking of people. Anything that marks Jews as essentially different runs the risk of stirring either anti- or philo-Semitism."

Does anyone wish for a more politically correct background? Are you an old, white male looking to change your social designation to something that will get you more respect? Help has arrived, operators are standing by to assist! Call now!!

Petergiaquinta (last edited Aug 03, 2014 06:03PM ) Aug 03, 2014 05:12PM   1 vote
Look, my Nanny came to America from Latvia to get away from the persecution of Jews there in the early 20th century. It's a good thing she did because Hitler killed most of the rest of them during the Holocaust, and after that Stalin helped wipe out many of the ones left.

So she married my great grandfather, a Jew, whose families came from England and Germany. My grandmother was 100% Jewish and may have practiced the religion a teeny bit, but she married a Sicilian and after my father was bar mitzahed, the religious aspect of the Jewishness there tapered away.

He married my mother who is German, French, Welsh, whatever.

Am I 1/8 Latvian? No...

I'm 1/4 Jew. Don't you people understand what DNA is?

"Jewish" is a word with many meanings. It is not just a religious identity. "Judaism shares some of the characteristics of a nation, an ethnicity, a religion, and a culture, making the definition of who is a Jew vary slightly depending on whether a religious or national approach to identity is used.Generally, in modern secular usage Jews include three groups: people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion, those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage..., and people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and therefore are followers of the religion." Wikipedia, "Jews"

It's more than a religion.

doesn't bother me, it may cause me to raise one eyebrow, wonder why they chose to define themselves in that way, but if it works for them - then fine.

Willow (last edited Aug 04, 2014 12:27AM ) Aug 04, 2014 12:25AM   0 votes
Mariana wrote: "Someone posted on another thread on The Diary of Anne Frank that they were part Jewish. It bothered me because Judaism is not a race, it's a religion."
Judaism is both an ethnicity and a religion.

deleted member Oct 31, 2014 02:28PM   0 votes
I am the product of a mixed marriage between a protestant-raised woman of English, Scottish, Irish, and French Canadian descent, and a Jewish man of German and Russian descent. I went to the synagogue, learned to read and speak Hebrew, read from the Torah when I turned 13, but I have always been on the borderlands of Judaism and the dominant Christian culture in America. When people ask, I say I'm "Jew ... ish" complete with a little wavey, uncertain hand motion.

Geoffrey (last edited Nov 05, 2014 01:54PM ) Nov 05, 2014 01:53PM   0 votes
When someone says they're half Jewish they're giving tribute to the faith of one of their parents. This is a show of pride for their ancestry. I fault those kvetchers who are critical of parental pride.

I am angry with those people who don't give one's ancestry its due. And for all those who I've heard argued, oh well, Tiger Woods, he's mostly white,blacks can't claim him as their own as if the white part of his ancestry was solely responsible for his winning so many golf tournaments, pull up your pants, your slips are showing. Shame on you. Your attempt is solely an insidious one at attempting to lower another's self-esteem. And that my friends is subtle racism at work.

My dad is Jewish and goes to a synagogue but my mom is Christian and goes to a church. I am religiously Christian but the Jewish culture was a big part of my upbringing. It annoys me when people say that I can't be part Jewish because I go to church. Each religion has a cultural element and you can be part of one without necessarily being part of the other.

The thing about Judaism is that, whilst you can convert to the faith, it's something that is passed down, mother to child, unlike other religions. It's become associated with much more than just a religion, but a whole cultural and ethic heritage - which it seems reasonable that someone could partially identify with. I have a friend who is an atheist, but who is very proud of her Jewishness.

"Jewish" is an interesting identifier because it's not just about religion, it's about cultural heritage, more than with many other religions. So I don't mind someone identifying as half Jewish. There are nonreligious and even atheist ethnic Jews. I'm technically half ethnically Jewish. According to the Jewish religion, I'm Jewish because my mom's side of the family is. According to me, I don't practice Judaism, but have Jewish heritage.

Maria (last edited Aug 04, 2014 08:35AM ) Aug 04, 2014 08:29AM   0 votes
Just because your ancestors were of a certain religion and you were baptized in that religion- that does not make you "one of them".

People who identify themselves as a member of any religion have to actually believe and practice ALL of their teachings. Religion is not just a name you call yourself. It is a way of life. If you're not "walking the walk", that is, living your entire life in harmony with that religion's teachings, beliefs and morals - you're not a member.

It's so funny when I hear people say "I'm Catholic" - when they use birth control, have sex before marriage, and haven't stepped foot in a Catholic church since they were a child. They think that because they were raised as a Catholic, then they are still one. "My family is Jewish". Really? What do Jewish people believe? Do you live your life that way?

Sure, you can call yourself anything you want - that definitely is your business. I can call myself a Martian too - but I too would be incorrect.

Tytti Well the Catholic church doesn't agree with you.

"Please remember that a divorce alone would not affect, or hinder in any way, your participation in th
Nov 05, 2014 02:22PM · flag
Mariana Excuse you Tytti. I believe I know my own religion better than the writer's on that website, who, might I add, likely go to a much less traditional Ca ...more
Dec 05, 2014 04:12PM · flag

Might I submit that "Jewishness" can be both a religion and/or a race?

"Jew is a term used to denote both followers of a religion and members of an ethnicity (adj. Jewish).
In a religious sense, the term refers to followers of Judaism. In an ethnic sense, it refers to the people, or "nation", that traces its ancestry from the Biblical patriarch Abraham through his son Isaac and in particular Jacob, Isaac's son, as well as to those who subsequently joined them over the course of history as "converts". Ethnic Jews include both "Observant Jews", meaning those who practice the Biblical and Rabbinic laws, known as the mitzvot, and those who, while not practicing Judaism as a religion, still identify themselves as Jews in a cultural or ethnic sense."

Does that help?

That's funny Lisa!

Mariana wrote: "Someone posted on another thread on The Diary of Anne Frank that they were part Jewish. It bothered me because Judaism is not a race, it's a religion."

Are you Jewish?

Judaism is a religion and a culture. I identify as Jewish in faith, but part Jewish in my background, as I have a Jewish mother (adopted, we do not know any of her location background) and a Spanish/Italian Roman Catholic father. I know many people who do not identify with a faith, but consider themselves Jewish culturally.
In the grand scheme of things, I think each person can choose how to identify themselves, it has no bearing on me if a person chooses to identify as part anything. I've jokingly called myself a "Cashew" (Catholic Jew) because of my child of intermarriage status.

Nope,doesn't bother me. I have several Jewish friends. 2 of them are "part Jewish". Their words, not mine.

Actually, it is both. A person my be Jewish and not religious at all.
But yes, 'Judaism' is the term for the religion. But I'm guessing the person you mentioned did not say "I'm part Judaism".
I don't see why it should bother you any more than someone saying they are part Native American or part Scottish. Or in my case, part Italian and part Polish.

Monty J (last edited Aug 03, 2014 09:34PM ) Aug 03, 2014 09:33PM   0 votes
Mariana wrote: "Someone posted on another thread on The Diary of Anne Frank that they were part Jewish. It bothered me because Judaism is not a race, it's a religion."

It's also a cultural orientation, just like "Texan" or "German" or "New Yorker" or "Southerner" or "Northerner" or "Midwesterner."

Mariana wrote: "Someone posted they were part Jewish. It bothered me."

Which part bothers you the most, the part that is Jewish or the part that isn't?

It's always been a challenge to identify as "half Jewish" because of the notions that others have placed on the idea of Jewish by race. I have no issue with it - my mother's people are Jewish likely going back thousands of years - and yet I understand the sensitivity that some have because of last century's little eugenics experiment. I have never practiced Judaism (my mother converted to Catholicism shortly after my birth) and so it's clear to me that the half portion is in terms of race and not religion. I'm proud of my Jewish heritage, which makes me feel more deeply connected to my mother's rich history of story-telling and survivors.

PS - my sister likes to say "I'm half Irish and half Jewish, which makes me a cheap drunk".

One of those things that only the individual is permitted to say about themselves!

Mariana wrote: "Someone posted on another thread on The Diary of Anne Frank that they were part Jewish. It bothered me because Judaism is not a race, it's a religion."

It does, a little. When someone who's predominantly Christian is all "But I'm HALF Jewish" and they don't actually follow any of the traditions/believe anything connected with the religion it feels like they're just using the religion as an accessory.

No, but I do ask them which part.

I've got this friend who's a Blackfoot Indian (I mean really, he grew up on a reservation and is a tribal elder) and he just loves it when somebody tells him they're "half Indian" or something - he looks at them and says "Which half?", so he can watch their two braincells fry...

Nope, not in the least. People can define themselves however they wish.

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