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Old 02-06-2007, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Maine
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"Jewish" is not a race. "Jewish" signifies a culture.

Yes, religion does play a part of it, but I know lots of Jewish folks who are not "practicing Jews," but if you dare suggest they are not Jewish to their face, you're in for a fight.

 
Old 02-06-2007, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
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This is among the quirks of identity and association in this country. In other countries, this is not a topic for discussion.

However, here in the States, yes many non-practicing Jewish folks associate with bagels and cream cheese and not the Sabbath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
"Jewish" is not a race. "Jewish" signifies a culture.

Yes, religion does play a part of it, but I know lots of Jewish folks who are not "practicing Jews," but if you dare suggest they are not Jewish to their face, you're in for a fight.
 
Old 02-06-2007, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,265 posts, read 43,569,747 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
And, gizmo, although to some extent Jewish people have a culture in this country, I don't get the pseudo-race concept. Can you enlighten this dumb, inarticulate person!
Sorry, that was probably a bad choice of words. What I meant was that we have a distinctive culture, which can often be confused for "race" or ethnicity. We come from all different countries, and can have different colored skin... but the Jewish heritage goes beyond religious beliefs (considering many of us are more agnostic than anything - like myself), since we share cultural beliefs and practices. Even if a Jew doesn't believe in God, we all have pieces of history in common. Just ask any nazi or KKK member if it matters whether we believe, or which sect of the religion we practice!

Anyway, some of the things that are part of our culture, which you wouldn't see among different types of Christians for example - our food, traditional clothing, languages (Yiddish and Hebrew), appearance, and the history of our ancestors. An Irish Catholic and a Mexican Catholic don't share things such as this, which is why many confuse us with an ethnic group. I personally don't mind, since I also believe that in some ways... it's hard to explain to a non-Jew, but there really is something that goes deeper than what Bible we follow.
 
Old 02-06-2007, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,265 posts, read 43,569,747 times
Reputation: 18790
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
"Jewish" is not a race. "Jewish" signifies a culture.

Yes, religion does play a part of it, but I know lots of Jewish folks who are not "practicing Jews," but if you dare suggest they are not Jewish to their face, you're in for a fight.
Yup, you're absolutely right, which goes along with my essay above. Judaism runs deep into our blood, regardless of whether we practice the religion. I know some people hate bringing up this subject (not sure why), but it also relates to our struggles throughout history... I may not be a "believer", and that doesn't change the fact that my relatives were killed in the Holocaust - and I would be as well, if I'd lived in Europe during that era. My great-aunt is a survivor, and I would be disrespectful to her if I renounced my faith/culture/whatever.
 
Old 02-06-2007, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
28,265 posts, read 43,569,747 times
Reputation: 18790
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
This is among the quirks of identity and association in this country. In other countries, this is not a topic for discussion.

However, here in the States, yes many non-practicing Jewish folks associate with bagels and cream cheese and not the Sabbath.
Hey, bagels and cream cheese are good! But nothing compared to my mother's homemade matzoball soup and noodle kugel...

Btw, I'm not just a "bagel Jew", despite my questions of faith... I still attend services fairly often, follow what I can of the Torah/Bible, was Bat-Mitzvahed, and read & write Hebrew quite well.
 
Old 02-06-2007, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,814 posts, read 11,909,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
"Jewish" is not a race. "Jewish" signifies a culture.

Yes, religion does play a part of it, but I know lots of Jewish folks who are not "practicing Jews," but if you dare suggest they are not Jewish to their face, you're in for a fight.
There is a hereditary aspect to being Jewish in most cases. Most Jews object to being called a "race", and it's clear that with converts it is also a religion. Jewishness isn't one culture as the varying groups have vastly different cultures. Yet there is also that fact that you can be Jewish and not be the least bit religious or even believe in God. Half of Israel's Jews are secular. What makes them Jewish if they don't believe in God or Jewish religious rituals then? Jewishness is passed through the maternal line. A Jewish mother having children with a non-Jewish father has technically Jewish children according to Judiasm. Yet a Jewish father having children by a non-Jewish mother has children not automatically recognized as Jewish by Jewish religious law. So is it an ethnicity, a race? Genetic research shows most Jews do indeed share a common ancestry that leads back to the tribe of Judah. Clearly for most Jews, they are ethnically related, even if they themselves often don't think of themselves as an 'ethnicity'.
It's also become ever more clear that even if the Jews in ancient Israel didn't understand the laws of genetics, their religious law, by relegating Jewish descent only to the maternal line, unknowingly, but tellingly, chose the only path that certain genetic markers can be passed down unchanged. Males are not good at passing down genes intact. Females are. Apparently God knew what He was doing didn't He?
Most American Jews are Ashkenazi (Ashkenazi means "Germany" and refers to Jews who live/lived in Central Europe and spoke Yiddish) and their rituals and perceptions of what it means to be Jewish are based on the European tradition they share. Bagels and all the stuff we think of as Jewish are Ashkenazi, not necessarily "Jewish". Sephardic Jews (generally Sephardic referred to Jews expelled from Spain) share the Ashkenazi Jews' gene pool through maternal lines in ancestry, but their cultural traditions, what they consider to be "Jewish" are different from Ashkenazi perceptions. They don't know jack about bagels and lochs or dredels. Think of the Ethiopian Jews who are accepted as Jewish as well. Many of them are black. Yet all Jewish groups basically descend from the Patriarch Jacob who became "Israel". The best way to describe Jews is that whatever their current branch and culture, they are a family which includes thousands of years of consistent descent through the maternal line for most and also includes converts.

Last edited by MoMark; 02-06-2007 at 04:06 PM..
 
Old 02-06-2007, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,496,444 times
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However, ironically David's mother was not Jewish.

The concept of hereditary line of children through the mother was a product of the 14th century! I'd have to get some historical references, but this is a subject I've studied over the years.

And many NYC Sephardic Jews own bagel shops.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoMark View Post
There is a hereditary aspect to being Jewish in most cases. Most Jews object to being called a "race", and it's clear that with converts it is also a religion. Jewishness isn't one culture as the varying groups have vastly different cultures. Yet there is also that fact that you can be Jewish and not be the least bit religious or even believe in God. Half of Israel's Jews are secular. What makes them Jewish if they don't believe in God or Jewish religious rituals then? Jewishness is passed through the maternal line. A Jewish mother having children with a non-Jewish father has technically Jewish children according to Judiasm. Yet a Jewish father having children by a non-Jewish mother has children not automatically recognized as Jewish by Jewish religious law. So is it an ethnicity, a race? Genetic research shows most Jews do indeed share a common ancestry that leads back to the tribe of Judah. Clearly for most Jews, they are ethnically related, even if they themselves often don't think of themselves as an 'ethnicity'.
Most American Jews are Ashkenazi (Ashkenazi means "Germany" and refers to Jews who live/lived in Central Europe and spoke Yiddish) and their rituals and perceptions of what it means to be Jewish are based on the European tradition they share. Bagels and all the stuff we think of as Jewish are Ashkenazi, not necessarily "Jewish". Sephardic Jews (generally Sephardic referred to Jews expelled from Spain) share the Ashkenazi Jews' gene pool through maternal lines in ancestry, but their cultural traditions, what they consider to be "Jewish" are different from Ashkenazi perceptions. They don't know jack about bagels and lochs or dredels. Think of the Ethiopian Jews who are accepted as Jewish as well. Many of them are black. Yet all Jewish groups basically descend from the Patriarch Jacob who became "Israel". The best way to describe Jews is that whatever their current branch and culture, they are a family which includes thousands of years of consistent descent through the maternal line for most and also includes converts.
 
Old 02-06-2007, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,814 posts, read 11,909,507 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
However, ironically David's mother was not Jewish.

The concept of hereditary line of children through the mother was a product of the 14th century! I'd have to get some historical references, but this is a subject I've studied over the years.

And many NYC Sephardic Jews own bagel shops.
Actually, it goes back long before the 14th Century!
I lifted this from Torah.org because it was easier to simply pop it in than try myself to explain it:
"The statement that Jewish identity is determined by the mother is found in the Mishnah (Kiddushin 3:12), which says that the child of a gentile woman is like her. The Talmud derives this from the passage in Deut. 7:3-4: "Do not intermarry with [him], do not give your daughter to his son or take his daughter for your son, for he will turn your son from Me": A child born to your daughter (fathered by a non-Jew) is called "your son", but a child born to your son (by a non-Jewish mother) is not called "your son", but "her son". The Talmud is assuming here that the "he" in Deut.7:4 is your gentile son-in-law, and that "your son" whom "he" will turn away from G-d is your grandson, born to him and to your daughter. The Torah calls that grandson "your son" because he is regarded as Jewish since he had a Jewish mother. In the other case, where a Jewish man marries a gentile woman, the Torah doesn't speak about the woman's influence on her children (i.e., it doesn't say "for she will turn your son from me"), because her children are non-Jewish to begin with since their mother is non-Jewish."
Additionally, Leviticus 24:10 speaks of the son of an Israelite woman and an Egyptian man as being "among the community of Israel" (ie, a Jew). On the other hand, in Ezra 10:2-3, the Jews returning to Israel vowed to put aside their non-Jewish wives and the children born to those wives. They could not have put aside those children if those children were Jews. The Jews returned to Israel LONG before the 14th Century we can both agree!!!
And if I were a Sephardic Jew living in New York, I'd see profit in selling bagels too! What they do in contemporary America has nothing to do with their historic traditions if they adapt to the here and now does it?
I eat bagels occasionally too, though not often as I prefer donuts and I don't find bagels particularly tasty, but that doesn't mean that I'm Jewish, ever was Jewish, or was or never was ethnically European and Christian does it?
 
Old 02-06-2007, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Springfield, Missouri
2,814 posts, read 11,909,507 times
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Are you sure you're not referring to Ruth? Ruth was a convert to Judiasm from Moab and she was David's greatgrandmother through his father's line, not his mother's! Ruth converted to marry Boaz and then had Obed. Obed's son Jesse was King David's father. King David's mother was Nitvezet (or something like that...not sure of the spelling) who was Jewish as far as I know. The whole story of King David being badly treated had to do with Jesse questioning his ancestry because of Ruth and seeking to make sure he could have children who were unquestionably Jewish, so he sought out one of Nitvezet's maids. But the maid told Nitvezet and they switched places and Jesse impregnated his own wife thinking it was the maid. When Nitvezet became noticeably pregnant, her sons tried to have her killed for adultery as everyone assumed she had had an adulterous liaison. But Jesse told them to leave her alone and David was born. He was born in controversy for sure, but he was Jewish
I'm not sure why Jesse had this fixation as his mother was Jewish anyway. Oh well. Too late to go back and ask them
Hey ontheroad! No fair! You removed your posting and I was freaking out why I couldn't copy/quote it in my response! I only see after putting this one through that yours is now gone! NO FAIR!!!
 
Old 02-06-2007, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
10,189 posts, read 24,496,444 times
Reputation: 3826
I am relying on my memory, not a book here to consult. My former partner was a history major, and this reference to David was in one of several books.
It was written by one of several scholars interested in "decoding" the bible--that's all I remember.

It really isn't important enough for me to spend a few hours trying to track it down. Frankly, I'd rather eat a bagel. We don't have good ones here in the SW--at all.

And also, I don't believe we will be able to ask any of these fine gentlemen from biblical and post-biblical times.

PS - and yes, it is likely that the reference came from ancestral lines!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoMark View Post
Are you sure you're not referring to Ruth? Ruth was a convert to Judiasm from Moab and she was David's greatgrandmother through his father's line, not his mother's! Ruth converted to marry Boaz and then had Obed. Obed's son Jesse was King David's father. King David's mother was Nitvezet (or something like that...not sure of the spelling) who was Jewish as far as I know. The whole story of King David being badly treated had to do with Jesse questioning his ancestry because of Ruth and seeking to make sure he could have children who were unquestionably Jewish, so he sought out one of Nitvezet's maids. But the maid told Nitvezet and they switched places and Jesse impregnated his own wife thinking it was the maid. When Nitvezet became noticeably pregnant, her sons tried to have her killed for adultery as everyone assumed she had had an adulterous liaison. But Jesse told them to leave her alone and David was born. He was born in controversy for sure, but he was Jewish
I'm not sure why Jesse had this fixation as his mother was Jewish anyway. Oh well. Too late to go back and ask them
Hey ontheroad! No fair! You removed your posting and I was freaking out why I couldn't copy/quote it in my response! I only see after putting this one through that yours is now gone! NO FAIR!!!
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