April 8th 2015
Assignment 8: Jewish Identity
A.What is the criteria for being Jewish? What does it mean to be Jewish?
When looking at Judaism, one has to go far back to biblical times to fully understand its origins. It started with the Hebrew people in the country of Israel. The bloodline of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob is what constitutes people as being Jewish. Being classified as a Jew, or a Jewish citizen has more to do with family ties, then what you believe in. The standard for being considered Jewish is that you have to be born to a Jewish mother. Some sects of Judaism like to include being born to a Jewish father as part of being Jewish. It can be looked at as more of a nationality or an ethnicity than a religion. In most sects of Judaism, a non-Jew can go through the process of conversion. This would mean that they are now recognized as a Jew, but to many Jewish born people, they do not consider converts as actual Jews. Being Jewish means that you acknowledge the history, and the struggle of the Jewish people as a nation. Not just the past, but sharing hopes for Israel in the future, and participating in their customs.
B. Can anything disqualify a Jewish person who wishes to be called a Jew from continuing to be Jewish?
The Torah is a form of Jewish law, and Orthodox Jews, unlike other sects strictly follow its teachings. The Torah forbids a Jewish man from marrying a Gentile woman (non-Jew), because his children by that woman will not be Jewish. When looking at other sects of Judaism who are not so strict with the Torah the children would be considered Jewish. Depending on how you interpret the law, children born to a Jewish father and a Gentile woman could not be considered Jewish. According to the law they are not. One has to live within the law to gain the inheritance.
C. Are there Jews who do not believe in God and do not practice Jewish customs? Does believing in atheism, pantheism or monism disqualify a person...
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