In Pew poll on American Jewish identity, ‘caring about Israel’ is way behind ‘working for justice’

Israel/Palestine
on 144 Comments

Everyone’s talking about the new Pew poll and its “portrait” of Jewish American attitudes and culture. Pew’s main findings are that one in five Jews says he or she has “no religion,” that nearly three in five are now marrying outside the group, and that the non-religious are more distanced from Israel. Also, affluence is a feature of the Jewish presence; more than a quarter of Jewish households have incomes of $150,000 or more–more than three times the national average.

Some excerpts from Pew’s findings:

[T]he survey also suggests that Jewish identity is changing in America, where one-in-five Jews (22%) now describe themselves as having no religion.

Who is a Jew? Pew counted those who said

 (a) that their religion is Jewish, or (b) that aside from religion they consider themselves to be Jewish or partially Jewish, or (c) that they were raised Jewish or had at least one Jewish parent, even if they do not consider themselves Jewish today.

Pew found that only 46 percent of Jews said that being Jewish is very important to them (and the figure falls the younger Jews are), and that Jewish is a cultural identifier:

When asked whether being Jewish is mainly a matter of religion, ancestry or culture, six-in-ten (62%) cite either ancestry or culture (or a combination of the two). Fewer than one-in-five (15%) say being Jewish is mainly a matter of religion.

As to what it is essential to being Jewish, religion scores low. Nearly 3 in 4 say it’s remembering the Holocaust, while the numbers for caring about Israel and having a good sense of humor are roughly equal (43 and 42 percent). Being intellectually curious and “working for justice/equality” score a lot higher (49, 56 respectively). And lower down are being part of a Jewish community and observing Jewish law (28, 19).

On Israel: 47% of Jews who are religious say they believe the land that is now Israel was given by God to the Jewish people, but only 16% of Jews of “no religion” make this assertion.

At the same time, many American Jews express reservations about Israel’s approach to the peace process. Just 38% say the Israeli government is making a sincere effort to establish peace with the Palestinians. (Fewer still – 12% – think Palestinian leaders are sincerely seeking peace with Israel.) And just 17% of American Jews think the continued building of settlements in the West Bank is helpful to Israel’s security; 44% say that settlement construction hurts Israel’s own security interests.

More on Israel. Looks like non-Jews are twice as likely as Jews to say that the U.S. is too supportive of Israel.

More than half of U.S. Jews say U.S. support for Israel is about right (54%), although a substantial minority says the U.S. is not supportive enough of the Jewish state (31%), and 11% think the U.S. is too supportive. By comparison, 41% of the general public thinks support for Israel is about right, while the rest are nearly evenly divided between those who say the U.S. is not supportive enough (25%) and those who say it is too supportive of the Jewish state (22%). Interestingly, more white evangelical Protestants than Jews think the U.S. currently is not sufficiently supportive of Israel (46% vs. 31%).

Income:

Fully one-quarter of Jews (25%) say they have a household income exceeding $150,000, compared with 8% of adults in the public as a whole.

As I often say, it’s no wonder Jews marry outside the group; people want to marry up in America.

The Forward planted the idea of the poll and Josh Nathan-Kazis reports on it:

“I don’t know how to spin this report as being a good news story,” said Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, who acted as an adviser to Pew on the study. “It’s a story of a community that’s contracting.”..

Survey results point to an American Jewish identity that is at once filled with self-pride but is increasingly fluid, with widely varying ideas about what it means to be Jewish. Meanwhile, non-Orthodox birthrates are low, and non-Orthodox Jewish denominations are losing members fast, particularly among the young. Since 2000, 71% of non-Orthodox Jews who married chose to wed non-Jews.

32 percent of Jews born after 1980 say they are Jews of “no religion.” And they are fairly assimilated religiously. 79 to 36 percent intermarried. compared to 36 percent of Jews of religion.

Having no religion means distance from the community.

Just 20% of Jews of no religion said they give to Jewish organizations, compared with 67% of Jews by religion. Only 10% of Jews of no religion said that being part of a Jewish community is essential to being Jewish.

“Their patterns of connection with Jewish life seem highly attenuated,” Wertheimer said of the Jews of no religion. “They have no religion, yet the majority of them have Christmas trees.”

A friend writes that the poll shows the amazing fluidity of what people understand to be religious “belief”:

Of Jews married between 1995 and 1999, 55% are married to non-Jews. Jews who married in the past five years married non-Jews 58% of the time.

The discussion reminds me of the plasticity of religious belief. Foundational myths go back no further than one own’s memory.

If you gave Americans the Bill of Rights today, but don’t tell them what it is and modernize the language, the majority would most likely reject it.

The attitude of religious Jews toward Israel is a great example. The Ultra-orthodox and the more traditional Orthodox first rejected or looked wearily at the state and its secular founders. As the advantages of the state to their communities became more obvious, God’s promise of the land became more actual and concrete. Modern orthodoxy evolved by melding ultra-nationalism with religious belief. And everyone has a different kind of head covering or yamaka to demarcate where they stand.

The Reform have zig-zagged on the issue of Zionism a number of times. Many initially opposed a Jewish state, then fell in love with the New Jews of Israel, and now are so conflicted many reform synagogues try to avoid the subject as much as possible.

All this occurred within a space of my lifetime. No historical myth has lasted as long as me.

 

144 Responses

  1. Sycamores
    October 4, 2013, 9:57 am

    no matter the establishment will ignore consensus findings.

    link to forward.com

    “In other words, it is not the leadership of Jewish communal organizations that is out of step, but Jewish communities”

    link to electronicintifada.net

    • Walker
      October 4, 2013, 11:24 am

      no matter the establishment will ignore consensus findings.

      What do you mean? The survey shows that 85% of American Jews regard US support for Israel as being “about right” or “not supportive enough”. Since US policy is already heavily skewed towards Israel mainly due to the efforts of that establishment, doesn’t this demonstrate that AIPAC reflects the consensus?

      Maybe not.

      • Sycamores
        October 4, 2013, 2:57 pm

        hi Walker,

        i was referring to the heading on Forward

        Jews Express Wide Criticism of Israel in Pew Survey But Leaders Dismiss Findings
        Establishment Sticks to Guns Even as Consensus Frays

        Read more: link to forward.com

        yes you are right that most Jews regard US support for Israel as being “about right” but it also found high levels of skepticism of the Israeli government and high levels of opposition to the continued construction of settlements in the West Bank.

        it’s the skepticism from American Jews that been dismiss by American Jewish establishments that are pro-israel. well thats my take on it.

      • tree
        October 6, 2013, 8:22 pm

        Speaking of polls and “shared values”, the 2013 Israeli Democracy Index just came out. From the Guttman Center for Surveys:

        Jews and Others

        Rifts in Society –The overall sample (68%) sees the rift between Jews and Arabs as the greatest area of friction in Israeli society. This is followed, in descending order, by tensions between rich and poor, the religious-secular divide, differences between right and left, and friction between Mizrahim and Ashkenazim.

        More Rights for Jews? – Jews are split over whether Jewish citizens of Israel should have more rights than non-Jewish citizens: 48.9% agree with this notion, while 47.3% disagree.

        Attitudes Toward the “Other” – When it comes to having “others” as neighbors, Jews expressed greatest aversion to living next to foreign workers (56.9%), followed by an Arab family (47.6%). Arabs expressed greatest aversion to having a homosexual couple as neighbors (46.2%), followed by a Jewish family (41.9%).

        Arab Emigration – This year saw a decline in the share of Jews who support government policies that encourage Arabs to emigrate: 43.8% favor such policies, as opposed to 50.7% in 2010 and 53.6% in 2009.
        A Jewish Majority for Critical Decisions? – Most Jewish respondents feel that critical national decisions should be determined by a Jewish majority, both on matters of peace and security (66.7%) and on social/economic issues (56.9%). A majority of Arab Israelis disagree.

        A Peace Treaty Referendum? – On the question of who should have the final authority to approve a peace treaty that includes withdrawal from the West Bank, the prevailing response among Jews (30.6%) was that only Jewish citizens should decide the issue by referendum. Among Arab respondents, the most frequent response (45.2%) was that all Israeli citizens should determine the outcome by referendum.

        link to en.idi.org.il

        PDF of Survey is here:

        link to en.idi.org.il

  2. John Douglas
    October 4, 2013, 9:58 am

    So in the sample, 22% of American Jews descibe themselves as having no religion, but 16% of those same 22% profess that the land of Israel was given to Jews by God. Okay!

  3. Krauss
    October 4, 2013, 10:00 am

    Your canard that people marry Jews because they’re golddiggers have no foundation in reality, at least in my circles.

    It’s cultural assimilation, people get together and only later do they marry.
    Then again I’m in my early 20s, so the lovelife I see tend to be idealistic/romantic. If you’re middle aged, perhaps you see more instances of women chasing dollars and men chasing 20-30 years younger women(mutual benefit).

    But I think that’s a sideshow.

    As for assimiliation, it shocked even me. 71% of non-Orthodox Jews intermarry according to the NYT article.
    It differs from the 58% figure in the actual report, but those 58% includes the Orthodox where basically no intermarriage occurs.

    One of the more amusing things was when the reporters confronted the ADL and other Jewish organizations. Asking what legitimacy they had, they responded that they don’t poll their members, because why bother, y’know?

    Perhaps even more amusingly, one leader, who wanted to withhold his name, slammed over half of Jewish America as ‘JINOs’ – Jews In Name Only.

    I guess he didn’t get enough donations and sulks about it.

    • Krauss
      October 4, 2013, 10:08 am

      By the way, I do care about these issues. I sometimes worry about assimilation.

      I understand that the concept of racial purity is problematic.
      Which is why the Jewish establishment prefers terms like ‘Jewish continuity’ instead, but by and large that’s what we’re talking about. Of course, people can also convert but most people view Jewishness in the lens of “is your mother Jewish” and general ethnic/racial ancestry.

      Nevertheless, when 70% or more non-Orthodox Jews intermarry according to the NYT, we’re talking about a complete wipeout here. Jews won’t disappear; the Orthodox will continue to live and thrive. Their retention rates will hold up better than in history. You have 3.0 in fertility rate in Israel among Jews.
      Do we want a Jewish life that is marked by extreme right-wingers both in America and in Israel?

      Still, it seems to be no matter how much we talk about it, the assimilation train has left the station. You can’t undo 70% intermarriage or 58% if you include the non-intermarrying Orthodox.

      This is what America is. Ask 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese-Americans or Italian-Americans how Japanese or Italian they feel, if they even know Italian or Japanese anymore.

      America is an acid on your racial and ethnic identity.
      This is the bargain that is too rarely spoken about in our debates on identity and immigration. Nobody tells people this anymore, because there’s no need. It just happens. I’ve read an interesting book recently by a 2nd generation Cuban-American women, who wanted to ‘escape’ – as she put it – Miami, or ‘North Cuba’ as she called it and go to university in Michigan. Her mother had all these notions what it means to be a cuban woman.

      It’s really a tale of assimilation too. Few Cubans today under the age of 30 are 1st generation immigrants. Most of the young ones are 2nd generation Americans and you already see their heritage coming apart and a new being forged, one that is shared by all in America.

      Is this not the old Jewish liberal dream? Now that it is here, why the despair?
      Maybe we’re seeing the other side of things. But in the long run, is it bad that people give up their ethnic identity in favour of something based on ideals instead?

      • Krauss
        October 4, 2013, 10:20 am

        Oh! Just one more final thing.
        This is a small side note, but important in some respects, I think.

        According to Pew, 94% of Jews view themselves as white. So 6% nonwhite.
        This differs with other numbers I’ve seen that is around 20-25% non-white.

        My initial guess is that they lumped the Sephardi/Mizrahi Jews in America, who definitely exist but who are mostly invisible, into the Ashkenazi mix.
        Still, quite perplexing. I do wish they had more statistics on that.
        Particularly for the young ones, often when a Jewish father intermarries it’s with an Asian woman. There’s also more and more Jewish/black intermarriages as well as Jewish/latino intermarriages.

        Nevertheless, if the 94% number holds true then Jews in America are more white than even the mormons. It’s easy to see why people like Erika Davis feel very alienated in such an environment or why mixed-race kids feel out of place when they grow up and become distant to Judaism.

        But the white-only Jewish establishment slam them as ‘Jews in namy only’.
        Bunch of idiots.

      • Theo
        October 5, 2013, 12:03 pm

        Another tiny note!

        I really do not care if a person is white, (have anyone see a human being being white, outside the albinos?), or brown, yellow, pink, striped or with polka dots, all these are used to classify and degrade humans.
        The only thing that counts is the character of that person!

      • yrn
        October 4, 2013, 1:13 pm

        Krauss

        Most Israeli’s are Non religious at all and don’t belong to any congregation, but the reality is that there is No Assimilation in Israel and most insist to marry in the Orthodox way, Although you can choose reform weddings.
        Jews assimilated in Germany and western Europe in the beginning of the 20th Century.
        I don’t feel any issue regarding Jews disappearing in the US, over History it always happened, but there was always those who continued, that’s why Jewish Population never increased , as always those with a weak jewish identity went to Assimilation, as they did not have and do not have any basic connection to the Jewish Nation, I know my kids who are to completely non religious will continue with the Jewish way, as it is routed in everyday life in Israel.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 4, 2013, 2:19 pm

        Jews disappearing in the US, over History it always happened, but there was always those who continued, that’s why Jewish Population never increased

        this is a myth, what are you talking about? the jewish population in the US is growing link to mondoweiss.net

        they are just less religious. it doesn’t mean they do not identify as jewish and are not counted. straight growth, year after year. the only decline was in the 1940’s, probably due to immigration to israel: link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

      • Citizen
        October 4, 2013, 3:58 pm

        @ Krauss

        “I know my kids who are too completely non religious will continue with the Jewish way, as it is routed in everyday life in Israel.” David Duke wishes his people had their own state to continue his way like yours is routed in everyday life in Israel.

      • yonah fredman
        October 4, 2013, 11:04 pm

        annie robbins- A preposterous theory becomes probability? You write: the only decline was in the 1940′s, “probably due to immigration to Israel.”

        The stagnating population depicted in the survey between 1937 and 1950 was related probably to general stagnation of the general American population during the depression and the war, (plus immigration limits.)

        As far as immigration to Israel from America during the period 1937 to 1950, I would guess numbers as high as 50,000 although probably closer to 10,000, certainly not a significant contributor to the stagnation of Jewish population during that period.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 5, 2013, 2:34 am

        The stagnating population depicted in the survey between 1937 and 1950 was related probably to general stagnation of the general American population during the depression and the war

        according to my source link (and i am not sure how accurate it is), the drop from ’37 to ’40 was about 60,000 people. then it went up 200,000 during the 40’s, but then from the end of the 40’s to the beginning for the 50’s it dropped over 500,000 people. that’s a lot of people and it declined during the baby boom. it jumped back up by the end of the decade (50’s) tho. not sure how you can account for a ‘general stagnation’ during the baby boom. link to en.wikipedia.org

        that said, maybe it wasn’t israel. i don’t know.

      • Theo
        October 5, 2013, 12:06 pm

        yonah

        There was no immigration from the USA to Israel during the time period of 1937 – 1950, because there was no Israel until 1948!!
        Did you mean to say Palestina?

      • Ecru
        October 6, 2013, 5:22 am

        @yrn

        Of course there’s no assimilation in Israel you ethnically cleansed as many non-Jews as possible, dispossessed and did your best to isolate the ones who are left, cultivated bigotry against non-Jews on an epic scale and even made intermarriage all but illegal. Even the term “Israeli” has just been rejected by your highest court, it’s so fixated on ethnic labels. Hell you don’t even let Arabs assimilate to Israeli Jewish culture because Zionism is so mired in xenophobia that just can’t be allowed. And just to prove how disgusting Zionism is, here you are crowing about all this as if it’s a good thing.

      • ziusudra
        October 5, 2013, 5:20 am

        Greetings Krauss,
        …. ask 2nd & 3rd. generation Jap. or Italo Americans how they feel….
        My Grannies got off de boat 1905 & 1908.
        I’m of Italo/Greco ethnicity.
        All of us only have our subjective memories & upbringing.
        We only know of our subjective past.
        As an American, there’s is no way that i can truly feel Greco/ Italo, my consciousness gets in the way.
        We all remember the ‘star spangeled banner’ of our school days & everything that goes with it, whatever ethnicity we have.
        ziusudra
        PS Me Grandpappy always talked of the lemon trees in Sicily, pppst.,
        he ne’er went back. He was Italian, not me.
        PPS yes, we eat Pasta once a week, but so does all of the US.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 4, 2013, 1:14 pm

      Your canard that people marry Jews because they’re golddiggers have no foundation in reality, at least in my circles.

      i agree. it’s more likely that, statistically, the chances an assimilated person falling in love with someone of the same religion is much much less than someone who is only exposed to socializing within ones ethnicity. that’s because it’s normal for love to trump religion.

      • Betsy
        October 5, 2013, 8:01 am

        I agree, Annie.

  4. eljay
    October 4, 2013, 10:55 am

    >> As to what it is essential to being Jewish, religion scores low. Nearly 3 in 4 say it’s remembering the Holocaust …

    For Zio-supremacists, that number is nearly 23 in 7.

    >> “I don’t know how to spin this report as being a good news story,” said Jack Wertheimer, a professor of American Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary, who acted as an adviser to Pew on the study. “It’s a story of a community that’s contracting.”

    What’s to spin? This is a story about people choosing not to have their lives hobbled by religion-based tribalism. That sounds like good news to me.

    • RoHa
      October 4, 2013, 9:40 pm

      >> As to what it is essential to being Jewish, religion scores low. Nearly 3 in 4 say it’s remembering the Holocaust …<<

      Holocaustianity seems like a religion at times.

  5. Woody Tanaka
    October 4, 2013, 12:36 pm

    “Of course, people can also convert but most people view Jewishness in the lens of “is your mother Jewish” and general ethnic/racial ancestry.”

    Okay, and all things being equal, half of those intermarrying will be women, and their children will be Jewish under Jewish law.

    “Nevertheless, when 70% or more non-Orthodox Jews intermarry according to the NYT, we’re talking about a complete wipeout here.”

    Nonsense. They’re becoming American. “Jewish” is increasingly nothing more than another ethnicity.

    “Ask 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese-Americans or Italian-Americans how Japanese or Italian they feel, if they even know Italian or Japanese anymore.”

    They aren’t Japanese or Italian. They’re Americans of Japanese or Italian descent. This is a good thing.

    • yrn
      October 4, 2013, 1:24 pm

      “Nonsense. They’re becoming American.”
      Read the About of this blog you reside in Tanaka.
      ” To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.”
      ” American Jewish identity.” if there is NO Jewish Identity and you just want them to become American and “Jewish is increasingly nothing more than another ethnicity.”
      What the hell are you doing in this blog.
      Or this blog is another hypocrite fake.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 4, 2013, 2:14 pm

        “Read the About of this blog you reside in Tanaka.”

        Read it, yarny. Doesn’t alter the fact that Jews in America are increasingly seeing themselves as just Americans of a different ethnic background.

        “if there is NO Jewish Identity and you just want them to become American…”

        The doctor who diagnoses the cancer doesn’t give you the disease. In other words, it’s not a matter about what I want. They are becoming just another set of Americans of a particular background. I’m just pointing it out. I neither want or don’t want that. I don’t have a dog in that fight.

        “‘Jewish is increasingly nothing more than another ethnicity.’
        What the hell are you doing in this blog.”

        Commenting on the crimes of the israelis against the Palestinian people, of course.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 4, 2013, 2:24 pm

        They are becoming just another set of Americans of a particular background.

        oh the shock of it, jewish americans act like other americans, they increasingly identify more as …. american! someone call the doctor please! they need to get their heads examined.

      • Theo
        October 5, 2013, 12:16 pm

        Woody

        I really don´t think you can call jews as an “ethnicity”, just as you cannot call catholics or buddhist the same.
        What has a maroccan jew have in common with one from Russia or Germany? Only the religion, if both are religeous. They have no common language, no common habits or culture.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 7, 2013, 5:30 pm

        “I really don´t think you can call jews as an “ethnicity”, just as you cannot call catholics or buddhist the same.”

        I disagree. It’s both. Catholicism was never anything other than a religion which was open to anyone; it was universal in the scope of its adherents. (Fun fact: it’s what “catholic” means — universal.) Judaism, on the other hand, was simply the religion of the Jewish tribe, who now self-identify as an ethnicity. It would be the same if, for example, the Greek people retained the Greek religion and, in the 21st Century, “Greek” was the adjective for both the people and the religion. Such is what “Jewish” is today.

      • Theo
        October 9, 2013, 8:33 am

        Woody

        In my simple opinion “ethnicity” is never based on religion, but on the idea of a group of people coming from the same location, having ethnic similarities in their origin, therefore I refute your comment.
        According to many sources good 80% of the jews today have absolutely no connection to the original 12 tribes, but are converts from other “ethnic” groups, such as slavs, khasars, etc., therefore we cannot talk about a jewish ethnicity. Just look around, how many christians in the USA took on the jewish religion after marrying a jewish person, I know a few personally? You can change religion anytime you want, but you are stuck with your “ethnicity” or according to you those converts from anglosaxon or slavic ethnicity suddenly belong to jewish ethnicity, caused by the change of religion?

        Your greek example also have very short legs.
        If the greeks kept their religion and others would join in, like slavs, germans or negroes from Africa, they never could have a greek ethnicity, but be a member of that church.

  6. yrn
    October 4, 2013, 12:56 pm

    “The percentage of U.S. adults who say they are Jewish when asked about their religion has declined by about half since the late 1950s .”

    That’s says it all, the about of MW declares” To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.”
    So what is the alternative American Jewish identity, if there will be less and less Jews in the US.
    Most here who go for assimilation know, that their 3th Generation are not going to be Jews Anymore.
    If this your alternative?
    You all know what the outcome is, less and less Jews, is this the American Jewish Alternative.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 4, 2013, 2:03 pm

      what do you mean “less and less Jews in the US”? only 15% saying religion is the main identifier, therefore the vast majority of US jews primarily identify as jewish otherwise. it doesn’t mean they are not jewish.

      the U.S census population in the late 1950’s (1959) was 177,829,628……2.9%..average 3%…5,157,059 identify as jewish aprox.

      the US population in 2012 was 312,780,968, 6,721,680 (american jewish demographics) is actually 2.15%

      link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

      in 2012 the population of american jews (6,721,680) shows growth, not decline. a growth of over 1.5 million jewish americans. so there are not less and less jews in the US. their demographics in comparison to the growth in total US population is just less. the growth in the jewish population is more than 25% of the total american jewish population in the late 1950’s, whereas the growth in the total american population is a little over 43%.

      This shift in Jewish self-identification reflects broader changes in the U.S. public. Americans as a whole – not just Jews – increasingly eschew any religious affiliation. Indeed, the share of U.S. Jews who say they have no religion (22%) is similar to the share of religious “nones” in the general public (20%), and religious disaffiliation is as common among all U.S. adults ages 18-29 as among Jewish Millennials (32% of each).

      this fits in with something i said the other day to a person who claimed jews were more likely to be secular than other people. not so.

      btw, did you know the demographics of the US is changing, not just for jewish americans. the percentage of white people in comparison to the whole, is in decline. this doesn’t worry me tho, especially in calif where latino/hispanic will be over 50% of the total demographics shortly. and it doesn’t mean the white population is not growing or becoming extinct, it just is not growing as fast.

      • Woody Tanaka
        October 4, 2013, 3:09 pm

        “what do you mean ‘less and less Jews in the US’?”

        I know, right? It’s “fewer and fewer Jews in the US.” God, I hate when people mix them up.

      • Citizen
        October 4, 2013, 3:54 pm

        @ Annie Robbins

        This article admittedly skims the surface of the 200 page Pew Poll Study Results and concludes merely there are many ways to read the data, depending on your agenda: link to myjewishlearning.com
        It includes a few items not mentioned so far on this blog, even more surprising stats, and so I’d like to see an in-depth review, wouldn’t you?

      • RoHa
        October 4, 2013, 9:36 pm

        “the vast majority of US jews primarily identify as jewish otherwise. it doesn’t mean they are not jewish.”

        It doesn’t mean they are Jewish, either.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 5, 2013, 1:57 am

        RoHa, we’ve discussed this before. if someone self identifies as jewish, i consider them jewish.

      • talknic
        October 5, 2013, 2:50 am

        @ AR quite! link to google.com.au ‘cept the zionist controlled Jewish state should one ever want to visit, work or go live there

      • yrn
        October 5, 2013, 4:32 am

        “if someone self identifies as jewish, i consider them jewish.”
        You declare it as a Jew?
        You declare it as a Jewish Rabbi Judges?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 5, 2013, 5:05 am

        what i am declaring is that i respect people’s self identification as truth unless i have some reason to believe they are lying or deceiving me.

      • Shmuel
        October 5, 2013, 5:21 am

        You declare it as a Jew?
        You declare it as a Jewish Rabbi Judges?

        Spoken like an Israeli. In Israel (as in pre-emancipation Europe), identity is decided by rabbis and judges — delegated by the state. In democracies, how one defines oneself and with whom one associates is a thoroughly personal matter.

        Annie’s view is an accurate reflection of Jewish reality where it is not forced under state control, with far-reaching legal ramifications. להיות עם חופשי בארצנו (“to be a free people in our land” – from Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem) rings rather hollow in the only place where Jewish identity and ritual are determined by the state.

      • talknic
        October 5, 2013, 5:41 am

        yrn “You declare it as a Jewish Rabbi Judges?”

        None of their business. Read the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. Freedom of religion means….. freedom from anyone telling you what religion you are or can be or how or where or when or why you may worship whatever deity you wish. Quite simple really.

      • ziusudra
        October 5, 2013, 9:15 am

        Greetings Annie,
        Dear Annie, i just don’t fathom it.
        Does Jewish Jewishness have more value than
        Chinese Chineseness in America?
        All diff. ethnic groups in the US have a ‘ness’.
        No other ethnic group runs around in the US
        claiming a ‘ness’! There is no value here!
        I can grasp that three people could claim to be of
        Judaism, Christianity or Islam, but nothing more
        than that. These don’t claim Judaism to be in the
        equasion of ‘Jewishness’!
        ziusudra
        PS There is a bigger existencial problem by not
        accepting ones ethnicity or ones citizenship, which is
        what collective world confessors of Judaism ne’er speak of!
        PPS How many wave the banner of the US, but go & serve
        only in Zionistan?
        PPPS It is for me solipsistic, narzissistic & nihilistic.
        PPPPS Bye, Dear.

      • eljay
        October 5, 2013, 9:17 am

        >> You declare it as a Jew?
        >> You declare it as a Jewish Rabbi Judges?

        yrneee, since you’re offended by Annie’s comment, please explain – in clear, definitive and unambiguous terms:

        1. What are the criteria for considering a person to be a Jew?

        2. Under what circumstances can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

      • Shmuel
        October 5, 2013, 10:26 am

        2. Under what circumstances can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

        With yrn’s permission (or not), I’ll take that question.

        It’s really quite a simple process (except in Israel, where everything is more complicated). Reuven says to Shimon: “You call yourself a Jew? You’re no Jew!” To which Shimon replies, using the customary formula: “Mind your ******* business!”. And it’s over. Henceforth it is Reuven’s prerogative not to count Shimon for a minyan (prayer quorum), and it is Shimon’s prerogative not to want to pray in Reuven’s ******* minyan in the first place. There’s also the Groucho Marx variant, but I think you get the point.

      • yrn
        October 5, 2013, 4:35 pm

        Shmuel
        “Annie’s view is an accurate reflection of Jewish reality where it is not forced under state control, ”
        “ewish reality where it is not forced under state control,”
        All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.
        was is delegated by the state? where exactly show me evidence.
        or you also think that you can identify as a Jew and not be a Jew.
        you sound like you are not Jewish but struggle to identify as one.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 5, 2013, 5:13 pm

        I can grasp that three people could claim to be of Judaism, Christianity or Islam, but nothing more than that. These don’t claim Judaism to be in the
        equasion of ‘Jewishness’!

        as far as i know, christians or muslims signify people of faith by their belief (if you believe in christ you’re a christian etc). whereas for jews it is not exclusively a religious signifier. it includes non religious people based on ethnicity. so a person who doesn’t believe christ was the son of god wouldn’t call themselves a christian. so we don’t have christian-ness because we do not recognize the ethnicity outside the faith. whereas jewishness is jewish culture which apparently lots of people experience outside of faith.

        interestingly, israel doesn’t recognize this non faith for others. everyone upon entering the state is required to associate w/a religion as an identifier, so they would not accept i had no religion and went back to my grandfathers religion, and placed christian on my visa. weird.

      • Shmuel
        October 5, 2013, 5:33 pm

        yrn,

        In Israel, “who is a Jew” is a matter of state law (with various legal ramifications). To cite two laws that presume to determine the identity of Jews (including the delegation of such decisions to official rabbinical courts):

        According to the “Law of Return 5710 (1950)” (Amendment 2, sect. 4b), a Jew is “a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.”

        According to the “Rabbinical Courts Jurisdiction (Marriage and Divorce) Law, 5713-195″: “Matters of marriage and divorce of Jews in Israel … shall be under the exclusive jurisdiction of the rabbinical courts”; and “Marriages and divorces of Jews shall be performed in Israel in accordance with Jewish religious law [din torah].”

        Outside of Israel things are much more fluid, and annie is right (for her purposes), that if someone identifies as a Jew, that’s good enough for her. Various organisations and communities may have their own rules, and may or may not require proof beyond self-identification, but it is a matter of individual choice whether to associate with such groups or not.

        you sound like you are not Jewish but struggle to identify as one

        LOL :-)

      • eljay
        October 5, 2013, 6:24 pm

        >> All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.

        Is that it, or are you leaving anything out? And what about Jewish non-religious movements – do they concur with the Jewish religious movements, or do they have different criteria?

        And under what circumstances – if any – can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

        Please answer this. You speak as though you are an authority on this matter, and I really would like to get a definitive answer on it.

        Thanks.

      • Hostage
        October 5, 2013, 6:30 pm

        All Jewish religious movements agree . . .

        But the religious movements, the Israeli Interior Ministry, and the Central Bureau of Statistics have always accepted Jews by birth, with Gentile fathers, and no religious affiliation at all. Everyone has always accepted the fact that Jewish mothers can, and do practice that form of “assimilation”.

        On the other hand, the rabbis of the Jewish Reform religious movement already accepted persons with a Jewish father and Gentile mother as born Jews. That was true long before the DNA studies, like Gil Atzmon et al., “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry,” The American Journal of Human Genetics 86 (June 11, 2010) 850-859. If nothing else, DNA studies have always confirmed that there is a biological basis for inherited Mendelian “Jewish” genetic disorders, which can be passed on by either a Jewish father or mother. FYI, financial support for these studies came from both private and public Jewish sources, including the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation.

        You don’t need a rabbi to know all of this information.

      • Hostage
        October 5, 2013, 7:29 pm

        Outside of Israel things are much more fluid, and annie is right (for her purposes), that if someone identifies as a Jew, that’s good enough for her. Various organisations and communities may have their own rules, and may or may not require proof beyond self-identification, but it is a matter of individual choice whether to associate with such groups or not.

        Of course there are still many western countries where newborns inherit their Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish community member status from their parents and pay “Church taxes,” unless they choose to opt out. There’s a list of some of the countries here: link to en.wikipedia.org

        In Germany I knew atheists who chose not to do that, due to social pressure from potential employers, friends, or family or because they would loose valuable fringe benefits provided by the community. This longstanding practice was always reflected and carried over into the Ottoman millet system under the regime of Capitulations. That, in part, is where the modern notions of a separate Jewish secular “national” minority community, distinct from the mainstream ethnic national, religious ones evolved.

      • Shmuel
        October 6, 2013, 3:34 am

        Of course there are still many western countries where newborns inherit their Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish community member status from their parents and pay “Church taxes,”

        In such cases, membership does not necessarily imply identity. The state may decide who is a member of a given “Church”, but does not presume to decide “who is a Jew” or “who is a catholic”. It is a wholly administrative decision that is voluntary (requiring active registration or allowing opting out). The state does not delegate such decisions to the clergy of the respective communities or adopt religious definitions. I know Jews who are administratively not members of the official community, and non-Jews who are.

        The bottom line (except in Israel) is that individuals decide their own religious identity, and “Rabbi Judges” have absolutely nothing to do with it (unless the individual voluntarily decides to submit to their authority).

      • German Lefty
        October 6, 2013, 6:34 am

        Of course there are still many western countries where newborns inherit their Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish community member status from their parents and pay “Church taxes,” unless they choose to opt out.

        No, you don’t inherit the member status. It doesn’t happen automatically. The parents – not the state – decide about the religious membership of their children until the children are old enough to decide for themselves. For example, I was baptised as a small child because my parents wanted it. Since then I have officially been a member of the Protestant Church. However, I am actually an atheist and don’t identify as a Christian. Likewise, there are religious people who choose not to be official members. Therefore, membership and belief are two different things.
        The church tax is not like an ordinary tax. It’s a membership fee that is charged by the religious communities. The state collects these fees on behalf of the religious communities. In return for this service, the state gets to keep a certain percentage of the collected money. In Germany, it’s not just Christian communities but also Jewish communities that employ the state’s service. One can say that it’s a cooperation between state and religious communities. It’s not a merger.

        In Germany I knew atheists who chose not to do that, due to social pressure from potential employers, friends, or family or because they would loose valuable fringe benefits provided by the community.

        What you describe is the exception to the rule.
        Roughly 50% of Germans are non-religious. Officially, 35% of Germans are not members of a religious community.

      • yrn
        October 6, 2013, 2:37 pm

        “The bottom line (except in Israel) is that individuals decide their own religious identity,”

        Shmuel and Co Hostage your ignorance is Amusing.
        You should go to Germany and investigate.
        You CANNOT become a member of the Jewish community if your mother is not Jewish, go and check out the ZWST
        That’s just a small example to explore your ignorance.

      • yrn
        October 6, 2013, 2:46 pm

        “But the religious movements, the Israeli Interior Ministry, and the Central Bureau of Statistics ”
        Read, I thought English is your mother language
        “According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother”
        what’s the connection between what I wrote and your useless comparison.

        “All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion.”
        Read again it doesn’t say that the mother in this agreement has to be Jewish .
        If you don’t have anything to argue Don’t.

      • German Lefty
        October 6, 2013, 5:39 pm

        go and check out the ZWST
        I just checked out the website. I am a little shocked to learn that there are Birthright trips for German Jews, too. In order to be eligible for such a trip, you must be Jewish. The website says that you are Jewish if one of your parents (mother or father) is Jewish.

        You CANNOT become a member of the Jewish community if your mother is not Jewish
        On which page of the ZWST website did you find this piece of information? Besides, even if what you say is true, then this condition is imposed by the Jewish community, not by the German state.

      • eljay
        October 6, 2013, 6:03 pm

        >> That’s just a small example to explore your ignorance.

        Since you appear to be an authority on this matter, please answer my questions in clear, definitive and unambiguous terms:

        1. What are the criteria for considering a person to be a Jew? Please don’t omit any.

        2. Is being a Jew the same as being Jewish?

        3. Under what circumstances – if any – can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

        4. Can a person be a Jew and not belong to “the Jewish people”?

        5. Can a person belong to “the Jewish people” and not be a Jew?

        Thank you.

      • Shmuel
        October 6, 2013, 6:27 pm

        You should go to Germany and investigate. You CANNOT become a member of the Jewish community if your mother is not Jewish

        Where have I implied otherwise? The fact remains that the state does not decide “who is a Jew” or delegate such decisions to “Rabbi Judges”. At most, it recognises administrative membership in a given community. If you can find anything in European legislation remotely resembling the 2 Israeli laws I have cited, please don’t be shy.

        That’s just a small example to explore your ignorance.

        Please tell me more. You can start with my “struggle to identify as a Jew” if you like ;-)

      • tree
        October 6, 2013, 7:49 pm

        Please tell me more. You can start with my “struggle to identify as a Jew” if you like ;-)

        Come on, Shmuel. We all remember that a few years ago, on this very website, Chief Secular Rabbi eee, cum secular Jewish Pope, personally excommunicated you and a few other dissident Jews here for the ultimate blasphemy- failure to love Israel sufficiently.

        ” And you shall love the Lord your God the State of Israel with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

        Yrn is simply the new ex-communication enforcer in town. ;-)

      • Hostage
        October 6, 2013, 11:51 pm

        You should go to Germany and investigate.

        I lived in Germany for 3 years and saw how the system there worked first hand. It didn’t work the way you describe it at all.

        As I explained, there was tremendous financial and social pressures and incentives that kept people from opting out of the “Church tax” system. Community leaders were given financial incentives, salaries, and state funding commensurate with the number of registered members in their community. So naturally it was a common practice to admit persons who were not halakhically Jewish. Here is an extract from an account written by a ‘Liberale Rabbiner’ published in the Jewish Quarterly:

        Initially I was appointed for three years as Liberale Gemeinderabbiner in the Jewish community of Berlin, a top-heavy organization of some 12,000 registered members and 400 employees, which runs six synagogues (one ‘Orthodox’, the rest ‘not Orthodox’); a kindergarten, primary and secondary schools (including a Gymnasium section); an old people’s home and a care home; three cemeteries (two of them still in use); a library; a Volkshochschule (offering evening classes to the public); a youth department, social welfare department and all the trappings of a small state. The chairmanship can be a very well-paid, full-time job, with limousine, chauffeur and bodyguards at all times. (The current Chairman is a lawyer and is not taking the salary.)

        Imagine, if you can, the Board of Deputies receiving several million pounds from the British government, and allocating it to whichever synagogue organization can claim to be ‘the only true legitimate one’. You can imagine the wheedling and jockeying for position that would take place! Further, imagine that you had to register at the local town hall as ‘Jewish’ (or Protestant or Catholic) and that in consequence 9 per cent was added to your income tax and paid directly to the local community (or church). Almost no member of any community here pays substantial voluntary subscriptions to their congregation. Instead, the money either comes involuntarily – through the Gemeindesteuer or community tax levied on everyone registered as ‘Jewish’, whether or not they are interested in belonging – or in the form of direct financial assistance paid by local, regional and federal state authorities towards the costs of running communities composed largely or entirely of recipients of social security benefits. Such people do not pay tax and are therefore not liable for the Gemeindesteuer. (This ‘church tax’ system, dating from Prussian times, is applied only to Protestants, Catholics, the separate group of so-called ‘Old Catholics’ and Jews . . .

        To take just the example of Berlin, which proudly boasts to be the largest Jewish community in the Federal Republic, although the principle applies nationwide. Of around 12,000 registered members, about 80 per cent are recipients of social security payments – as pensioners, ‘Victims of National Socialist Oppression’, unemployed, ‘New Refugees’ or whatever. Why does the community not go bankrupt? Because it is classed as a Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts – a term hard to translate but essentially meaning a quasi-governmental organization, permitted to claim tax revenues, have access to government population data and enjoy tax privileges. (Since everyone in theory has to register their religion at the Standesamt, it can claim 12,000 members even if barely a tenth of these are remotely interested in any of the community’s activities. Its payments from official sources reflect this higher number.)

        A major consequence of this quasi-official status and funding ‘from above’ is that the communities are seen as branches of government – something which Paul Spiegel, the President of the Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland, complained about when a federal court recently described their function in distributing state subsidies in exactly those terms. Members perceive the communities as quasi-governmental agencies responsible for providing them with social services, language instruction, assistance in integration into the host society, assistance in finding accommodation and employment, in getting their qualifications recognized (or not) . . . There is little sense that the community needs the members, more that members can use the community to meet their short-term needs.

        The system leads to many anomalies. First, since the communities are defined less by their religiosity and more by how many people have been registered as ‘Jews’ – and are paid according to their size, on a per-head basis – there is an incentive for the lay leadership to inflate numbers and thereby their income. What matters is quantity rather than ‘quality’ of commitment.

        In one community, which I dare not name, I have heard that a Chairman paid the members to join – only a small amount of pocket money but significant for these elderly and virtually penniless refugees from the East. He was then able to go to the local authorities and say: ‘Look, we have a Jewish community here of so and so many members! We need resources!’ Research has revealed that in several communities entire refugee families of five or six persons have been included in the statistics even if only one member – say, the husband/father – is halachically Jewish. Not really interested in Halacha, the community cashes in and does not mind, perhaps until the day when an Orthodox rabbi is appointed and declares certain members not to be Jewish after all . . .

        — Walter Rothschild, Unified communities?, Autumn 2005, link to jewishquarterly.org

      • Bandolero
        October 7, 2013, 12:37 am

        Research has revealed that in several communities entire refugee families of five or six persons have been included in the statistics even if only one member – say, the husband/father – is halachically Jewish.

        From my knowledge even that is an understatement. I personally know that there exist quite a lot of allegedly jewish families in Berlin, where nobody is jewish.

        The reason behind it is that “jewishness” was a golden entry ticket with refugee status into Germany after the Soviet Union broke up. And like so many things in the Sowjet Union at that time, papers making someone “jewish” were on sale there on what seems to have been a relatively large scale scam.

        Nobody from the official Germany has any interest in poking into that because the jewish lobby is very strong in Germany. As jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union by far outnumbered the standing jewish communities, representatives of the refugees took over power in most communities, and, during the hight of that kind of immigration the German CDU government also was happy, because many of the Soviet Union refugees seemed to vote for CDU.

        In 2004, after some 200.000 jewish refugees came to Germany from the former Soviet Union, the then SPD government of Germany quietly stopped accepting refugees from the former Soviet Union based on their real or alleged jewishness.

        German Wikipedia has a very “careful” article on the jewish “Kontingentflüchtlinge” from the former Soviet Union, where some basic legal facts are mentioned, but – of course not – not the scam behind that due to curruption in the former Soviet Union or the motivations of the CDU government:

        link to de.wikipedia.org

      • Shmuel
        October 7, 2013, 1:21 am

        Yrn is simply the new ex-communication enforcer in town. ;-)

        Yrn was merely helping to illustrate the circumstances under which a Jew can “be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew” I described above.

        It’s not always a very nice thing to do, but every Jew (and non-Jew) in the world has the inalienable right to declare someone else “not a Jew” (or “not Inca royalty”*). The object of said declaration is equally free to have a good laugh.

        *Your Highness, in all fairness, you might want to consider the last part of annie’s sentence: “… unless i have some reason to believe they are lying or deceiving me”.

      • RoHa
        October 7, 2013, 1:57 am

        ‘*Your Highness, in all fairness, you might want to consider the last part of annie’s sentence: “… unless i have some reason to believe they are lying or deceiving me”.’

        Annie has read enough of my comments to know that I am always deadly serious and scrupulously truthful in everything I write, and so she followed her principle of recognizing people on the basis of their self-identification.

        But I notice that she did not write “unless I have some reason to believe they are lying, deceiving me, or deceiving themselves.

        Or just plain nuts.”

      • talknic
        October 7, 2013, 2:20 am

        yrn “You CANNOT become a member of the Jewish community if your mother is not Jewish, go and check out the ZWST”

        = no one can convert to Judaism in Germany … I smelled the pungent odour of little Red Heifer sh*te, so DID go and check out the ZWST

        …. you are considered Jewish if at least one parent of you is Jewish (mother or father) and you consider yourself as Jewish, or if you (certificate required) have completed a conversion course. link to zwst.org

        Thanks again for the opportunity to show honest readers how dishonest supporters of Israel’s expansionist policies can be. They simply cannot be trusted not to break the most basic of Judaisms tenets. Rather odd when in support of the ‘Jewish’ state.

        Might be time for yrn to adopt another user name … the current one has shredded its credibility

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 4:05 am

        “I lived in Germany for 3 years and saw how the system there worked first hand. It didn’t work the way you describe it at all.”

        Give me a break I worked for the JEWISH COMMUNITY IN FRANKFURT for four years.
        So don’t tell me your bull, you probably worked in the US army, which non in Frankfurt had any communication with the local Jewish community, they have their your own Liberal reformist synagogues.
        Again NO one that was Jewish according to the Halcha meaning had a Jewish Mother could not be a member of the Jewish community, so don’t tell me stories.

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 4:23 am

        Shmuel
        So “who is a Jew”? in the kingdom of Shmuel ?

      • Cliff
        October 7, 2013, 7:34 am

        LOL

        oh god this entire debate on who is and is not a Jew is hilarious

        Zionist Jews are the most self-centered sociopathic collective today

      • Shmuel
        October 7, 2013, 9:34 am

        So “who is a Jew”? in the kingdom of Shmuel ?

        You haven’t been paying attention. It’s not up to me — or you, for that matter. You can try to be a control freak, if you like, but it won’t make a bit of difference to the way people self-identify (in free countries).

      • German Lefty
        October 7, 2013, 9:42 am

        NO one that was Jewish according to the Halcha meaning had a Jewish Mother could not be a member of the Jewish community.

        So what? What are you trying to prove?
        Anyway, in Germany “Jewish” is considered a religious identity. Just like Christian or Muslim. Therefore, saying “I am a Jew who doesn’t believe in god.” makes as little sense to Germans as saying “I am a Christian/Muslim who doesn’t believe in god.” Jewishness can’t be inherited. Only Nazis and Zionists believe that Jewishness is inherited. If a secular person self-identified as Jew, then most Germans would probably believe that this person only makes this (false) claim because he’s an attention whore, wants to be viewed as special and benefit from preferential treatment.
        By the way, why are my comments from yesterday still awaiting moderation?

      • eljay
        October 7, 2013, 10:06 am

        >> yrneee: So “who is a Jew”? in the kingdom of Shmuel ?

        It’s clear that you believe Shmuel does not know the correct answer.

        To educate him and to educate me – and to educate any other person who might be interested to know – please answer the questions I raised in a previous post, but which I will list again in this post for your convenience:

        1. What are the criteria for considering a person to be a Jew? Please don’t omit any.

        2. Is being a Jew the same as being Jewish?

        3. Under what circumstances – if any – can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

        4. Can a person be a Jew and not belong to “the Jewish people”?

        5. Can a person belong to “the Jewish people” and not be a Jew?

        Thanks.

      • Hostage
        October 7, 2013, 4:44 pm

        so don’t tell me stories.

        I’m not. I quoted a German rabbi’s first hand account from the Jewish Quarterly, which contradicted your claims about the way the system there actually works.

        It’s run a lot like any other transplanted oriental fiefdom. It earns profits and doles out social benefits by increasing the size of its tax farm or membership. The lay leadership tends to ignore the halakhah and routinely allows assimilated, mixed-marriage “Jewish” families to either sign-up or stay-on their community rolls. The majority of the members don’t attend synagogue and are not actively involved in the community anyway.

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 4:55 pm

        So “who is a Jew”?
        “It’s not up to me — or you, ”
        So up to whom Shmuel ?
        although this is a halakhic definition that a Jews is someone who is born to a Jewish Mother, that the reforms expended it that one of the parents has to be Jewish, the Halacha doesn’t even say that a Jew has to believe in the Torah of Moses or in God to be a Jew.
        Thus, the definition is essentially a definition of peoplehood, or tribalism, using the most minimal possible basis – being born to a Jewish mother or a Jewish Father and All Jewish religious movements (with NO connection to Israel) accept that.
        This means that logically it would be a mistake to include Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Jews in one category, just as it would be a logical mistake to put Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Norwegians in one category. The correct classification is Muslim, Buddhist, Christian and believing (or religious) Jew. Alternately, it would be logical to put an Englishman, an Argentine, a Jew and a Norwegian on the same list.
        In other words, according to the halakhic definition, Jewishness is an affiliation with a people, not a religion.
        But a person born to a Jewish mother who doesn’t believe in God or the Torah, and even denies any connection to the Jewish religious tradition or anything that has to do with Judaism, will still be considered a Jew in every way, even under the most stringent rendering of halakha.
        So if you identify yourself as a Jew, you identify yourself as someone who belongs to the Jewish people tribe etc…. and as Israel is the Jewish state you cannot accept it, meaning you have a problem of identifying yourself with the Jewish people, as Israel is the Jewish state, as it identity’s itself as a Jewish state and you say its Kosher to people to self Identify and for Country’s to identify them-self (in the free world).

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 5:25 pm

        Hostage
        “like “Jewish”, “national home”, and “Jewish State” that are still undefined and have no agreed upon scope of applicability.”
        Agreed
        Make up your mind,It’s you and Annie and Shmuel that push the issue that everyone can self Identify himself, so the all Israeli Jews identify them self as the Jewish state and not you or Annie or anybody else in the free world can say anything, or the double standards here apply’s to this issue too..

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 5:35 pm

        Hostage
        Who are you tying to fool
        You mentioned :
        “I lived in Germany for 3 years and saw how the system there worked first hand. It didn’t work the way you describe it at all.”
        What are you pushing your quote from ONE German Rabi as an excuse to your bull.
        At list German lefty went in a checked the ZWST .
        The German communities are not forced by anyone to declare who is a Jew and become a member, the Jewish communities decided that in order to become a member of the Jewish community your parents have to be Jewish, the Jewish community in Frankfurt, where I worked for four years made it even harder and only those that had a Jewish mother, could be a member of the Jewish community, incase the youngsters with no Jewish mother wanted to be a member, they had to convert in the orthodox way, so don’t tell me your bull stories that you don’t have a clue about.

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 5:39 pm

        LG
        call Beni Bloch the head of the ZWST.
        He will love to have a conversation with you, you are just his type……

      • yrn
        October 7, 2013, 6:01 pm

        Hostage
        When you go for a resource, usually check up regarding who the person is.
        “When Berlin’s Yorkshire-born rabbi Walter Rothschild brandished a condom during a sermon last month, the congregation didn’t get the joke and he was sacked. ”
        Now think regarding motives etc….
        Are more resources you bring up so much the same.

      • Hostage
        October 7, 2013, 7:36 pm

        No, you don’t inherit the member status. It doesn’t happen automatically. The parents – not the state – decide about the religious membership of their children until the children are old enough to decide for themselves.

        By way of analogy, many cases of inheritance are not automatic and involve a state official carrying out the decisions made by the parents.

      • Hostage
        October 7, 2013, 7:54 pm

        “All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew either by birth or through conversion.”
        Read again it doesn’t say that the mother in this agreement has to be Jewish .
        If you don’t have anything to argue Don’t.

        All of your dissembling aside, I’ve pointed out repeatedly that all religious movements do not agree with you about children of mixed marriages. One of the largest Jewish religious movements believes that a child with a Jewish father and a Gentile mother or vice versa is a born Jew who doesn’t need a conversion.

      • Shmuel
        October 8, 2013, 2:55 am

        So up to whom Shmuel ?

        You are a bore, yrn.

        Let me give you an example of a European family I know:

        A. Great-grandparents. Fluent in a Jewish language (Western Yiddish), familiar with Jewish customs and liturgy, nominally religious. Nationality: French.

        B. Grandfather. Raised nominally religious (major holidays, bar-mitzvah, etc.), persecuted as a “racial” Jew, decided he was no longer Jewish. Married a Catholic. Nationality: French.

        C. Father. Raised nominally Catholic, unaware of any Jewish identity in his family. Atheist. Married another nominal Catholic. Became interested in Jewish religion and culture and decided to convert to Judaism (Conservative conversion) – even after he discovered that his father had been raised Jewish, because he had not been raised that way and because he wanted to be fully accepted in a particular synagogue that does not recognise patrilineality. Studies a lot of Torah, observes the holidays, goes to synagogue. Still an atheist. Children all born before conversion. Nationality: French.

        D. Child 1 identifies as a Catholic with a Jewish father; child 2 as an atheist with a crazy Jewish father; child 3 as a Jew – enjoys Jewish traditions, feels comfortable with that part of her father’s identity, and considers it a part of her own. Nationality (all): French.

        None of the above identified or identify with Zionism or the State of Israel. Please feel free to “de-Jew” any or all of them (or tell the non-Jews that they are really Jewish after all). They won’t care one bit. Not even the live ones.

        you say its Kosher to people to self Identify and for Country’s to identify them-self (in the free world)

        If you can do it without compromising the rights of others, knock yourself out.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2013, 4:18 am

        So if you identify yourself as a Jew, you identify yourself as someone who belongs to the Jewish people

        You were doing okay until you used the definite article, i.e. “the Jewish people”. That’s like saying “the Hispanic people”. Neither ethnic group is a real nation or a nationality. There are a variety of Jewish and Hispanic ethnic cultures and groups, not just one. If Israeli-Jews have a sense of shared values, belonging, and national identity, that’s all fine and good. But it doesn’t happen to include all of the rest of us.

        Why exactly is it of “paramount importance” for Israeli officials that everyone accept the idea that “Israel is the State of the Jewish people”? I though we were over that when the UN Declaration granting independence to colonial peoples and non-self-governing territories prohibited secession and the practice of conditioning the exercise of self-determination on the basis of race or ethnicity. The UN partition plan required Israel to adopt constitutional guarantees against that sort of outcome. link to un.org

        Israel’s lead negotiator in the current talks has stated publicly that Palestinian citizens of Israel have to pursue their national aspirations elsewhere. Members of her party and others in the Knesset have introduced a draft Basic Law which says that “the State of Israel is a modern state where only the Jewish people can exercise national self-determination.” Adoption of that law would violate the terms of the UN Charter.

        It is NOT the case that anyone is denying “the Jewish people” their right to “self-determination”. We simply recognize that “equal rights and self-determination of peoples” is a single, indivisible principle of international law. See Article 1(2) of the UN Charter. Self-determination is a basic human right. “The people” of a territory (or any polity) can’t be defined artificially in terms of ethnic identity alone. When that happens, participation in the political process is determined solely on the basis of ethnic characteristics, contrary to Article 1(3) of the United Nations Charter.

        So there is no entitlement in the 21st century to establish a state, complete with population registry that pigeon-holes the inhabitants into more than 120 nationalities, while some fraction of the population runs around shreying that a bi-national or multinational State is out of the question. That’s just racist and makes you a bigot.

        White South Africans and Southern Rhodesians wanted the very same thing, but the bases of their claims to independence and self-determination were flatly rejected by the international community. Peace has prevailed in western societies governed on the basis of the Enlightenment values of popular sovereignty, multiculturalism, and representative government. You can argue that model isn’t perfect, but we’ve all seen what happens in places where nation-states are established though ethnic cleansing or on the basis of the 19th century phenomenon of a nationalism limited in scope by ethnic and cultural factors. The latter is not what the UN Charter defines as “self-determination of peoples”.

      • German Lefty
        October 8, 2013, 5:19 am

        So if you identify yourself as a Jew, you identify yourself as someone who belongs to the Jewish people

        Not true. Just because I identify as an atheist doesn’t mean I believe that atheists are a people and deserve to have their own state. Just because someone identifies as a Christian doesn’t mean he believes that Christians are a people and deserve their own state.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2013, 5:43 am

        Hostage
        When you go for a resource, usually check up regarding who the person is.
        “When Berlin’s Yorkshire-born rabbi Walter Rothschild brandished a condom during a sermon last month, the congregation didn’t get the joke and he was sacked. ”

        Supposing for a moment that’s true, what does that tell me about who this person is? There are entire books of the Talmud devoted to detailed discussions of the subject of sex and plenty of television commercials today marketing packages of condoms. That’s all pretty standard fare. Are the Jewish sages advice on the subject supposed to be taboo now?

        So I fail to see how that automatically impeaches anything he had to say about the management of the German Jewish Communities where he worked in an article that was vetted and published by the Jewish Quarterly. I notice that you didn’t supply a link to the article you are citing so that we can check it. The Guardian said Rothschild seems an unlikely figure to find at the centre of such a row. He is the same Yorkshireman whose lively sense of humour and informal, approachable manner made him a popular figure in Britain back in the days when he was a rabbi in Leeds. It also said that he had experience serving all sorts of orthodox, conservative, reform, and liberal congregations in several countries and that:

        “I used to be a teacher. I learned that what you hear you forget and what you see you remember. The point I was trying to get across was that they should not be thinking about certain things in the weeks ahead. At the end of it, I pulled out a prayer book to say, ‘ This is what you should be thinking about.’

        “But first, I showed them a sandwich to illustrate food, a bottle of schnapps for drink, a packet of pills for health, a newspaper and so on. The condoms were to represent sex. I mean, what else do you use to illustrate something that is so important that there are entire books of the Talmud devoted to it? If I’d held up a sex magazine it would have been worse.”

        At all events, Rothschild was soon engaged in a running battle with the synagogue’s redoubtable elderly cantor, who died in January. “He was notorious for being a strong character. On the positive side, it enabled him to survive Auschwitz. On the negative side, it made him very hard to work with,” says Rothschild. “If ever I read a prayer a different way or faced in a different direction, the excrement hit the air conditioning.”

        The Guardian, “Rolling in the aisles”

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2013, 5:57 am

        Hostage
        Who are you tying to fool
        You mentioned :
        “I lived in Germany for 3 years and saw how the system there worked first hand. It didn’t work the way you describe it at all.”

        I think it’s pretty obvious by now that you were wrong about the ZWST and everything else you’ve had to say on the subject. I only quoted the Rabbi because he was an official who noted that families resulting from mixed marriages forbidden by the halakhah were still counted and registered as Jews. That holds true for the ZWST as well, contrary to what you claimed.

      • German Lefty
        October 8, 2013, 6:00 am

        @ yrn
        Don’t call me “LG”. I’m German, not South Korean.

        call Beni Bloch [...], you are just his type
        I just looked him up. I wouldn’t mind his age, but he’s a Zionist and already engaged. Therefore, he’s not my type.

      • Hostage
        October 8, 2013, 6:14 am

        so the all Israeli Jews identify them self as the Jewish state and not you or Annie or anybody else in the free world can say anything, or the double standards here apply’s to this issue too..

        That’s nonsense. There is no right to self-identify States without the consent of the inhabitants. Palestine was never “a Jewish state”, let alone “the State of the Jewish people”. States are territorial entities or polities. If you artificially define a “people” or “state” on the basis of non-territorial or ethnic characteristics that are not shared in common by the inhabitants, and deny them the right of equality and self-determination, that flagrantly violates the norms of international law. You can’t condition participation in the political process solely on the basis of ethnic characteristics that exclude major portions of the existing population. That’s racism and it’s contrary to Article 1(2) and 1(3) of the United Nations Charter.

      • eljay
        October 8, 2013, 7:51 am

        >> But a person born to a Jewish mother who doesn’t believe in God or the Torah, and even denies any connection to the Jewish religious tradition or anything that has to do with Judaism, will still be considered a Jew in every way …

        So, you’re saying that a person born to a Jewish mother is a Jew regardless of his affiliation with Judaism. Therefore, a Jew can be atheist or of some other religious persuasion, yes?

        If ‘no’ – actually, regardless of whether it’s ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – please answer my questions, which I’ve included again below, in clear, definitive and unambiguous terms.

        >> So if you identify yourself as a Jew, you identify yourself as someone who belongs to the Jewish people tribe etc…. and as Israel is the Jewish state you cannot accept it, meaning you have a problem of identifying yourself with the Jewish people, as Israel is the Jewish state, as it identity’s itself as a Jewish state …

        This paragraph makes you sound like a complete moron. You’re saying that a person can be a Jew even if he disavows himself of his god and his faith, but if he disavows himself of a supremacist construct called “Jewish State”, his status as a Jew is in question.
        ______________________________
        Here are the questions:

        1. What are the criteria for considering a person to be a Jew? Please don’t omit any.

        2. Is being a Jew the same as being Jewish?

        3. Under what circumstances – if any – can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?

        4. Can a person be a Jew and not belong to “the Jewish people”?

        5. Can a person belong to “the Jewish people” and not be a Jew?

      • talknic
        October 8, 2013, 7:52 am

        @ yrn “Thus, the definition is essentially a definition of peoplehood, or tribalism, using the most minimal possible basis – being born to a Jewish mother or a Jewish Father”

        OK have it your way. POOOOOF goes your previous statement link to mondoweiss.net BRAVO!

        When are you going to learn that you cannot come here, spout bullsh*t and expect to be taken seriously? YOU are part of the problem.

      • RoHa
        October 8, 2013, 11:06 pm

        @eljay

        “3. Under what circumstances – if any – can a Jew be stripped of his Jewish identity and rendered not a Jew?”

        It seems that is what happened to Spinoza. So for the sake of completeness we should follow on with a few more questions.

        3a. Under what circumstances – if any – can a person who has been unJewed be subsequently reJewed?

        3b. Under what circumstances – if any – can this be done without that person’s consent?

        Since Spinoza is now claimed as a Jew again, it seems this can be done at least if the person in question becomes famous and admired.

        But this raises the interesting question

        3c. Under what circumstances – if any – can a person who never was a Jew be made a Jew without that person’s consent?

        We know that eee cast out Shmuel, Mooser, et al. without their consent. Could yrn be plotting to cast me in?

      • Annie Robbins
        October 9, 2013, 2:33 am

        According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.

        this was just posted elsewhere on another thread. link to nytimes.com

        Genes Suggest European Women at Root of Ashkenazi Family Tree
        ……
        A new genetic analysis has now filled in another piece of the origins puzzle, pointing to European women as the principal female founders, and to the Jewish community of the early Roman empire as the possible source of the Ashkenazi ancestors.

        The finding establishes that the women who founded the Ashkenazi Jewish community of Europe were not from the Near East, as previously supposed, and reinforces the idea that many Jewish communities outside Israel were founded by single men who married and converted local women.

        so what are the implications of this?

      • Hostage
        October 9, 2013, 5:25 am

        so what are the implications of this?

        The usual:
        a) The inference that any of these women of European origin ever converted to Judaism is unscientific pablum. You can’t detect their religious beliefs by looking at their descendant’s DNA today.
        b) Conversion is feel-good extra-biblical mumbo jumbo that keeps Christians, Jews, and Muslims quiet about assimilation.
        c) If the Ashkenazi Jews really had been genetically isolated, there should be a whole lot more evidence of inbreeding (long chains of Identical By Descent segments) than any of these studies have discovered.

      • eljay
        October 9, 2013, 7:53 am

        >> Could yrn be plotting to cast me in?

        That depends on whether or not you sufficiently love and support the “Jewish State”. ;-)

        Although yrneee has so far dodged my questions – funny, you’d think an authority on Jews/Jewishness/Judaism such as he would be eager to set the record straight once nad for all – it seems he places nation-state idolatry above all else when it comes to the qualities or characteristics that most define what is a Jew.

      • miriam6
        October 9, 2013, 9:01 am

        Annie@;

        so what are the implications of this?

        Those women converted and became Jews.

        According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.

      • Danaa
        October 5, 2013, 1:19 am

        annie, your numbers from the jewishvirtuallibrary is just one set of numbers that is not always backed by other polls.

        On this particular Pew poll, there are some numbers to take into account that definitely give the population numbers a different twinge:

        For the Adult Jewish population of the United States, the following were counted:

        Jews by religion (Judaism) 4.2 million
        Jews of no religion 1.1 million

        Total: 5.3 million.

        Note: if the numbers of Jews born jewish but who don’t consider themselves jewish any longer (ie, they may have another religion, or none at all) is not included, then another 0.6-0.7 million have to be subtracted. These jews were referred to as “Jews by background with other types of religious beliefs”.

        But here is the kicker: this survey also included estimates of “Other types of Jews”, such as:

        Messianic Jews, Christian Jews, “completed Jews”* – about 1.7 million.
        With these “non jews” or “completed jews” the total # of adult Jews in major belief groups comes to 7.0 million. Subtracting the aforementioned “jews by background who are no longer Jews” (estimated at 0.6-0.7 million), the total of all those who consider themselves jewish adds to 6.3-6.4 million.

        Another note: the survey also estimated the numbers of Jews by affinity (gentile Christians, “grafted-in Jews)* as .7 million, and a category called “Other Jews by affinity” estimated at .5 million.

        Conclusion: the number of those who identify as jews DID go down over the years, quite substantially, it’d seem. I base that not only on the relatively low number of 5.3 million Jews (see above), which further includes nearly 0.7 million of those who are only “Jews by background but no longer consider themselves jewish”, and excluding the messianic, christian and “completed” Jews as well as the “Jews by affinity”.

        I base that conclusion on projecting from the numbers quoted in late 1950’s and 60’s, assuming natural growth, which should have added up to well over 7-7.5 million of just the Jewish category (aside from those 1.7 million messianic and “completed” Jews that are separate). The total number of those who identify as jews is now only about 1.6-1.8% currently of the total US population, which represents a precipitous decline from the 3-4% it once was in the late 50’s and 60’s. That nominal 1.6-1.8% (depending who’s counted) BTW is well in line with other estimates, provided for comparison in the complete Pew report, and conforms to the 5.3 million number above (give or take some adjustments to the US population totals). To me this speaks to a picture of really rapid – and accelerating – assimilation.

        I will also note the divergence from the numbers provided by the jewishvirtuallibrary that Annie quoted. More needs to be said about the discrepancy, but basically we don’t know where those estimates came from. I can see why the jewish Agency declined to conduct the survey, letting the pew organization take on the task.

        More later….

      • Annie Robbins
        October 5, 2013, 2:12 am

        check out 2:15 in the video, pew researcher on white demographics in the US. it’s shrinking fast. down from 87% in the 1950’s to an estimated 47% by 2050 link to psmag.com and in 2010 it was 72% link to en.wikipedia.org

        it means the growth of other ethnicities are growing faster. and where did you get the 3-4%. even jewish library had it at 2.9%. my hunch is they’d deflate US numbers today before they’d shrink them. not in israel, but here.

      • Citizen
        October 5, 2013, 6:19 am

        @ Danaa
        Yes, yet view it in over all context that the poll also says, although self-identified Christians remain in the majority in America, the trend is also toward no religious affiliation among Gentile Americans.

      • Danaa
        October 5, 2013, 1:49 pm

        citizen, I definitely agree that the numbers of “Jews of no religion” should be viewed in context of trends in America, and is in line with the decline in religious affiliation among the rest of the population. the pew poll did indeed note that but also it was hard not to notice that the decline among those who identified as jews was more precipitous than in the population as a whole.

        Similarly for the total of whites in the population – that category is in decline in general, but in the case of the “Identify as jews” it’s the absolute numbers that tell the tale.

        Mind you, there are another factors that may bolster the “Jews of no religion category”. For one there has been some serious influx of jews from Russia to the US, many by way of israel. Those will likely not identify strongly as “Jews by religion”. On the other hand, these Russians should have bolstered the total of jews substantially. So, the question is – why didn’t they? have many of those who were reached gone to the category of “Jews by background but no longer jewish”? or did they simply refuse to identify as jews at all?

        And what of the large number of ex-Israelis in the US population? surely some would have been reached by the survey, as many of these have become citizens and quite a few have some jewish affiliation 9say a school if not a synagog).

        What I am trying to point out is that this total number of 5.3 million (leaving aside now the messianic/christian jews, the “affiliated” jews, etc), should have been considerably larger, even given ongoing trends. basically,given the influx from Russia (somewhat overlapping with israel), the influx from israel (how many are now US citizens is a number no one is willing to stake reputation on), the total number should have been higher by about 1 million, if the “jews of no religion” are included. It is impossible not to conclude that assimilation has not only been more rapid than projected but also much much deeper.

        Sure, the pew Poll could be undercounting, but I would love to see others’ take on this.

      • RoHa
        October 5, 2013, 8:41 pm

        I raise a simple point of logic, and this is what happens!

        (Incidentally, Annie, I now self-identify as Inca royalty. Please address me as “Your Highness” from now on.)

      • Annie Robbins
        October 5, 2013, 9:50 pm

        of your your highness

      • Annie Robbins
        October 6, 2013, 12:30 am

        the pew Poll could be undercounting, but I would love to see others’ take on this.

        me too danaa. i read somewhere it is in israel’s interest to represent themselves as ‘the majority of jews in the world’. in fact i read in the last couple months they had reached that distinction.

        and their records are mushy. if a jew is out of the country (for years) but still a citizen are they counted in the demographics? and the way you described how hard it was to get rid of an israeli citizenship? could it be an effort has been made to bolster israeli jewish citizenship while keeping US figures low?

        and the resistance even here to my saying i consider a self identifying jew a jew vs yonah’s question of whether it was recognized by the rabbis or israeli state. and i think about my friends, one in particular i have known all my life…she is unquestionably completely jewish, most of her friends are jewish, but she doesn’t affiliate w/any jewish orgs, she’s not in any jewish groups, how do they count her? do they dissappear people?

        a few years ago i was researching something about the jewish demographics in ny state and came across this poll, this collection of polls about long island. and what i saw over a period of time was they were no longer counting lots of jews as jews. iow, if they were not involved w/jewish interests, married outside the faith, didn’t contribute to jewish causes, they went off their radar. who is keeping track of these demographics, and isn’t it rather a coincidence that the US figures of US jews are neck n neck w/israeli figures? and how likely is that if we’ve got a huge percentage of US jews assimilating and having kids who are jewish…assimilation doesn’t mean someone is no longer jewish, with lower demographics?

        of all my jewish friends i have only heard of one (ONE) whose daughter told her she no longer identified as jewish. i had never heard of such a thing (in my circles).i said ..why? what would be the point? well, she just didn’t. she married some fancy stock analysis on the east coast (chinese american) 2 gorgeous kids, the (very) jewish grandmother (friend of mine) flies out there AT LEAST every 2 months and takes care of the kids (while the parents jet set around the globe, or not) religiously she’s visits them. and they are like … completely jewish, that mother and daughter. so what exactly does that mean that the daughter says she’s not jewish and the grandmother throws up her hands and raises the grandchildren and they are the same as they always were?

        does it mean the daughter’s children are not jewish? i knew my friends parents before they died. from vienna. and needless to say everyone still comes to the hanukkah parties, full house w/grandchildren in tow. but i respect the daughters wishes to be considered a non jew. what about her kids tho? they’ve still got the grandmother! lol. anyway, i think the numbers have been deflated.

      • yrn
        October 6, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Roha
        Bingo !

    • talknic
      October 4, 2013, 2:54 pm

      @yrn .. October 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      People are waking up to odds that a God who doesn’t bother to show up during the Holocaust, isn’t a good bet, the same lame schmuck giving land some 4,000 years ago is just as unlikely. An AWOL failure dictating one’s life seems rather ridiculous.

    • Hostage
      October 4, 2013, 3:30 pm

      So what is the alternative American Jewish identity, if there will be less and less Jews in the US.

      I guess I don’t follow your logic. The government of Israel has helped fund dozens of genetic studies which demonstrate that, even persons with four grandparents from the same Jewish community, can end up agnostic and with admixtures of non-Jewish DNA. Upwards of 60 percent of this “Orthodox Jewish” DNA already came from non-Middle Eastern sources anyway. So even in Israel, “Jewishness” is really just a mixed ethnic culture like any other with a lot of groundless superstition about its “purity”.

      If there really is a biological basis for “Jewishness”, then even Christians of Jewish descent, like former Defense Secretaries Caspar Weinberger, James Schlesinger or William Cohen could pass on the same degree of susceptibility to any inherited Mendelian Jewish genetic disorders to their posterity. So those traits won’t disappear on the basis of an individual’s religious convictions or supposed non-Jewishness. If those offspring (or anyone else for that matter) can reacquire “Jewishness” after the fact on the basis of some metaphysical religious ceremony, then its impossible to predict whether people will or not. So you should stop shreying gevault and worrying about the Jews disappearing. It’s all a bunch of mental masturbation.

      • Dutch
        October 4, 2013, 11:31 pm

        @ Hostage
        “So you should stop shreying gevault and worrying about the Jews disappearing. It’s all a bunch of mental masturbation.”

        Touché.

      • yrn
        October 5, 2013, 4:28 am

        Hostage
        Your metaphysical religious bull of Jewishness with DNA issues has nothing to do, with the basics that All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew, either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.
        Those who assimilate like Phil and Marry non Jews, their children are not Jewish anymore and your “metaphysical religious” want hide it.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 6, 2013, 12:57 am

        their children are not Jewish anymore and your “metaphysical religious” want hide it.

        lol, this is hysterical yrn. fyi, as an aside, my criteria for respecting a persons self identification was formulated decades ago, waaaay before i became involved in pro palestinian activism and encounter jewish navel gazers. and i am supposed to change my own theories based on some rabbis? or jewish religious ‘movements’. i don’t think so. i don’t care who the parents are, if kids are raised jewish and think they are jewish far be it from me to tell them they are not. just like i wouldn’t try to unconvert a christian. let people be who they want to be. the private club thing is so last century.

      • Hostage
        October 6, 2013, 4:31 am

        Hostage
        Your metaphysical religious bull of Jewishness with DNA issues has nothing to do, with the basics that All Jewish religious movements agree that a person may be a Jew, either by birth or through conversion. According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.

        Correction: You’re in no position to accuse me of peddling metaphysical crap, since I’m just describing the situation created by the various Jewish community authorities who have weighed-into the age-old debate on this subject.

        The metaphysical religious bull is touted by the Jewish religious movements that you are endorsing. Many of them claim Gentiles acquire a “Jewish soul” through the act of conversion or some such nonsense. I don’t believe this kind of bullshit for one minute: How does a convert get a Jewish soul? link to askmoses.com

        One of the authors of the Abraham’s Children study claimed that the biological basis for “Jewishness” cannot be denied. He and the government of Israel are trying to revive racial theories that mainstream science discredited and discarded long ago. I don’t accept this for even one minute: DNA links prove Jews are a ‘race,’ says genetics expert link to haaretz.com

        I notice you cite “all of the religious movements” when it supports your claim. But you are conveniently ignoring the fact that one of the largest ones here in the USA doesn’t employ matrilineal descent or the halakah to determine whether someone is a “born Jew” or not. That inconvenient fact undermines your claim about mutual agreement.

        Those who assimilate like Phil and Marry non Jews, their children are not Jewish anymore

        Unless of course they are females who assimilate and marry Gentiles. In that case their children are born Jews according to your own illogical metaphysical theory.

      • yrn
        October 6, 2013, 2:56 pm

        “Unless of course they are females who assimilate and marry Gentiles. ”
        What Logic.
        I guess you mentioned Females and not males as you follow the issue that you are Jewish if your mother is Jewish.
        But smart guy, since Phil Married a NON Jew, so the daughters are not Jewish anymore based on your assumption, so their children are not Jewish.

        Train you mind.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 6, 2013, 3:33 pm

        Train you mind.

        lol, ok.

      • tree
        October 6, 2013, 4:34 pm

        My understanding is that Phil doesn’t have any children. Period. So his non-children are non-Jews, just as my non-children and yonah’s non-children are non-Jews. They are also non-Christians, non-Hindus, and non-Muslims, etc, etc. Mostly they are just non.

        So maybe you need to train your own mind, yrn. And what is a “NON Jew”? Is it someone who is more indefatigably not Jewish than a non-Jew? Or is the NON-ness so important to you that you felt the overwhelming need to put it in all caps?

      • Hostage
        October 6, 2013, 6:12 pm

        But smart guy, since Phil Married a NON Jew, so the daughters are not Jewish anymore based on your assumption, so their children are not Jewish.

        I don’t need to. I already pointed out that your halakah is based upon illogical metaphysics in the case of a Jewish female who assimilates and has Jewish children with a Gentile husband. You are laugh out loud funny.

      • Light
        October 6, 2013, 7:19 pm

        According to halakha, a Jew by birth must be born to a Jewish mother.

        Except
        1. There is no single authority for halakha.
        2. Even if there were, many people who identify themselves as Jewish don’t follow it.

        You still don’t get it. Religious association and practice are voluntary. Orthodox Jewish authorities don’t get to make the rules for Reform or agnostic Jews unless those Jews wish to join an Orthodox community.

      • Hostage
        October 6, 2013, 10:02 pm

        So maybe you need to train your own mind, yrn.

        The bottom line is that Zionists have been dispossessing, killing, or exiling Palestinians for more than a century. They justify their actions on the bases of terms, like “Jewish”, “national home”, and “Jewish State” that are still undefined and have no agreed upon scope of applicability. That is powerful evidence of sloppy thinking that usually comes from undisciplined and untrained minds.

      • talknic
        October 6, 2013, 11:47 pm

        yrn

        “since Phil Married a NON Jew, so the daughters are not Jewish”

        Unless of course the daughters practice Judaism

    • jimby
      October 4, 2013, 3:44 pm

      @yrn, Maybe if Zionism hadn’t become such a turd sandwich more young Jews would be more involved. Too bad Zionism has come to represent such ugliness instead of the beautiful foundations of Judaism.

    • RoHa
      October 4, 2013, 9:31 pm

      “You all know what the outcome is, less and less Jews, is this the American Jewish Alternative.”

      You say this as if it were a bad thing. Why is it bad?

    • Dutch
      October 4, 2013, 11:21 pm

      @ yrn

      I live in the Netherlands, not the U.S., but I have watched ‘Jewish identity’ fade away here since the seventies. And you know what? Everybody is completely at ease with it.

      This is how we, as Jews, like to live here, each of us free in defining what being Jewish means. But most and for all we are Dutch. Unlike before there simply is no drive of putting ‘being Jewish’ upfront; it’s private, and for many Jews not even important anymore.

      And you know what was the major factor in the ongoing change that took place within the community: the killing response to just the least bit of critisism, the fact that your Jewishness was again being used against you – this time by your own people: we were ‘Wrong Jews’. Traitors. ‘Worse than …’.

      The show is over, yrn. What is left of this proud Jewish community is the fanatical, often religious core. The rest will find their own way, and more will follow, as this core will continue to claim ‘Jewishness’ for ever more radical behaviour. Zionism and Israel have dissolved the Jewish identity, and will continue to do so. It’s a bizarre spectacle.

      Unless you are able to redirect this process, your mission is hopeless. It’s not true that there are less Jews – their numbers increase and they’re doing fine. They’ve just found a better way to deal with their Jewish identity. And they are proud of it.

      • yrn
        October 5, 2013, 4:15 am

        “The show is over, yrn. What is left of this proud Jewish community is the fanatical, often religious core.”
        Touché.
        Tell it to Hostage, for him “shreying gevault and worrying about the Jews disappearing. It’s all a bunch of mental masturbation.”
        Hostage I mentioned that “I don’t feel any issue regarding Jews disappearing in the US”
        So read before you come up with your “mental masturbation”.

      • Hostage
        October 6, 2013, 5:11 am

        Hostage I mentioned that “I don’t feel any issue regarding Jews disappearing in the US”
        So read before you come up with your “mental masturbation”.

        I think you missed my point about your ability to predict whether or not children of assimilated Jews would opt to reacquire their Jewishness at some point in the future through Yrn/Rabbi-approved metaphysical mumbo jumbo. For that matter, there is a ready supply of Gentiles here who could eliminate any deficit, since anyone can legally become a Jew. See Israeli High Court Approves Conversions Done Abroad link to jewishvirtuallibrary.org

        You seem hell-bent on claiming that people, like Phil, can’t produce offspring with Jewish DNA or ones fit for conversion. That seems odd, since Israel itself employs a religious conversion authority that routinely mints thousands of brand new Jews from the ranks of mixed Jewish-Gentile marriages exactly like Phil’s. Israel also funds a covey of scientists who are willing to publish claims that say the offspring of people, like Phil, still possess undeniable genetic evidence that proves they are members of the Jewish race. So I’m just trying to set your mind at ease about all this assimilation nonsense.

      • ziusudra
        October 5, 2013, 9:44 am

        Greetings Dutch,
        Bravo!
        My matriarcal Grannies came over from Greece in 1910.
        They ne’er past on the atrocities of the Ottoman Empire
        to their children. They had 7 children. I have grand children
        today. that is a total of 3 generations times 7 children that carry
        no animosity of the Turks. World Judaism must take off that shoe,
        seal that can of worms forever! Don’t spread atrocities of the past.
        Stop poisoning your future generations.
        ziusudra

      • RoHa
        October 7, 2013, 2:04 am

        @ziusudra

        Well done, your Grannies. The world need more like them.

      • Theo
        October 5, 2013, 12:22 pm

        I certainly hope we will have in the future less and less jews in the USA and at the same time less italians, polaks, germans and mexicans, but a lot more americans!!! After 2 – 3 generations who cares where your grandparents came from, we all should be americans with different religions or without one, if we choose so!

      • yrn
        October 8, 2013, 11:18 am

        “I certainly hope we will have in the future less and less jews in the USA and at the same time less italians, polaks, germans and mexicans, but a lot more americans!!! After 2 – 3 generations who cares where your grandparents came from, we all should be americans with different religions or without one, if we choose so!”

        Going back to basic this is the message and answer to the section 4 in the ABOUT of Mondowiess.
        4. To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.
        “we all should be americans with different religions or without one, if we choose so!”

        So this is the alternative to Zionist as a basis for America Jewish identity.

      • Annie Robbins
        October 8, 2013, 1:03 pm

        So this is the alternative to Zionist as a basis for America Jewish identity.

        yrn, i think theo’s comment would more likely fall under #2.” To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.”

        i like all the different ethnicities and think it’s a huge part of what makes america, especially the area i live in, beautiful. but unlike many americans i was not raised to identify with a specific tribe or group of people based on any specific ethnic identifier other than american. so i don’t think it’s unusual or wrong about this sentiment “we all should be americans with different religions or without one, if we choose so!”” it’s how a lot of americans feel.

        so check out 1-3 on the about page too. it’s not all about 4.

      • Theo
        October 9, 2013, 8:46 am

        yrn

        My comment only reflects my own personal idea and wishes and have nothing to do with the MW policy. If we match, it is even better.
        Religions divided people and nations for thousands of years and it will continue to do so if we allow it. Major wars were fought on these grounds.
        Look at the jewish faith, a very small religion compared to others, yet it has many, violently different fractions, who are ready to fight eachother.
        Israel could end up with a civil war, orthodox settlers against the more moderate or non-religious ones.

  7. Woody Tanaka
    October 4, 2013, 1:53 pm

    “Interestingly, more white evangelical Protestants than Jews think the U.S. currently is not sufficiently supportive of Israel (46% vs. 31%).”

    This is not surprising to me. The Zionist Lobby in the US is, in significant part, Christian.

    • Citizen
      October 4, 2013, 5:38 pm

      At least one in four American Christians surveyed (fairly) recently (2008) by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel. This view is known as Christian Zionism. The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63 per cent among white evangelicals. Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches. It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians. The Christian Zionist leaders claim 50 million followers of this doctrine: link to intifada-palestine.com

      If memory serves, the usual figure trotted out is 30 million Christian Zionists. In my personal experience, the fundies I know who are true believers (to my mind oddly) never even use the world Zionism, or Zionist, and they are unaware of the history of Jewish Zionism. To them the word “Israel” in the bible means today the present state of Israel and the land encompassed by the concept of Greater Israel.

      • ziusudra
        October 5, 2013, 9:55 am

        Greetings Citizen,
        … biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel…..
        That sentence fills me with joy. It get me all chocked up.
        Ah, the silver slippery tongues of Zionists.
        ziusudra
        PS Don’t even the high Echelon Zio-Nazis know that after
        the Christian Zionists help rid them of the Falesteeni that
        either they convert to Christianity or be destroyed.
        The Messiah cometh, their messianic dreams are approaching
        yiddle by yiddle.

    • kalithea
      October 4, 2013, 10:32 pm

      “The Zionist Lobby in the US is, in significant part, Christian.”

      I disagree. The Zionist Lobby is a foreign lobby made up mostly of Zionist Jews supporting Israel and pushing policy that Israelis/Zionists favor. The Lobby campaigned aggressively to rally Christian Evangelicals to its corner because it knew that with this group in the Zionist corner; it would become even more powerful. Aipac and other Jewish organizations have been actively reaching out to other communities for years to keep public opinion in Israel’s corner. The following article refers to this “outreach”.

      link to forward.com

      • ziusudra
        October 5, 2013, 10:10 am

        Greetings kalithea,
        Giasou. Eucharisto, Ti kanis?

        Your post is kalos kalgatos, but
        These Zios & Zio Christians are together.
        They get their money from US taxpayers
        appropriations of monies that goes to
        Zionistan & partly comes back to AIPAC
        to pay off our politicians.
        Kala? Parakalo.
        ziusudra
        PS It doesn’t matter, who’s who.

      • kalithea
        October 7, 2013, 11:33 pm

        Yia sou!

        Thanks. I’m not Greek; but I am related, albeit, distant.

    • Theo
      October 5, 2013, 12:27 pm

      The 50 million born again christians, waiting for the rapture, are mostly WASPs, therefore it is natural that they wastly outnumber the 6 million jews.
      According to their belief the rapture will not happen until a jewish state is established in Palestina.
      After waiting 65 years long they should start wondering why that bus is not coming.

    • MRW
      October 6, 2013, 9:49 am

      From a Christian site:

      Christians United For Israel was spawned by the State of Israel in July 1991, right after Operation Desert Storm, to gain Christian support for its occupation of Palestine. One of Israel’s political propaganda front organizations, Unity Coalition for Israel, spun off the activist organization Christians United For Israel, to be run by San Antonio Pastor John Hagee. It is a political group, not a Christian one; it serves Israel, not Christ.

      Art Preisinger, a Lutheran minister associated with the Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism, attended a “Night To Honor Israel” at Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio and had this to say: “From dramatic processions to keynote addresses; from offerings taken and offerings given — there was not a shred, a trace, a scintilla of Christianity in the proceedings. It could well have been sponsored by the PTA or the Rotary Club.”

      Our 32-minute video entitled Christian Zionism, The Tragedy and the Turning, Part 1.(2) is free on Vimeo to anyone who will watch it. It contains a visual witness of Israel’s bombing raids on the Palestinians photographed from a rooftop in downtown Gaza City by this writer. You will hear my agonized narration as bombs fell and ambulance sirens screamed. They carried four dead and 39 wounded civilian Philistines out from their historic Gaza City in front of my eyes.

      Tragedy and Turning also explains how the meanings of Bible text were manufactured and distorted in the footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible and bibles that have followed it. These distortions have been used to support the preposterous claim that today’s political “Israel” owns the land where Abraham is believed to have lived 3000 years ago. “The Turning” is the growing movement against Zionism in churches world wide. We are asking your church to be part of “The Turning” instead of “The Tragedy” of supporting Israel’s occupation and wars against their neighbors.

  8. RoHa
    October 4, 2013, 8:33 pm

    Pew counted those who said … (c) that they were raised Jewish or had at least one Jewish parent, even if they do not consider themselves Jewish today.

    “No, I’m not. My father was a Jew, though.”
    “O.K. That counts as a Jew.”
    “But I’m not a Jew.”
    “Meh. We’ll put you down as a non-religious Jew.”
    “And you’ve got my name wrong, too. It’s Benedict, not Baruch.”

  9. kalithea
    October 4, 2013, 10:09 pm

    “More than half of U.S. Jews say U.S. support for Israel is about right (54%), although a substantial minority says the U.S. is not supportive enough of the Jewish state (31%)…”

    In other words, 85% of Jews are fine with supporting Israel to the tune of billions or more. How backward is that, when you consider that U.S. funding helps fuel INJUSTICE. Which begs the question: why the positive spin on this poll in the title of this piece? If Jews really are “working for justice”; then why are 85% supportive of the funding and almost a third of those wanting more funding?

    So maybe the Jews that took this poll LIED about caring more about justice than Israel, because there’s definitely a contradiction or major hypocrisy going on here.

    Again, let me repeat, the vast majority of Jews just don’t care that Palestinians are suffering under Zionism because they just can’t let go of Zionism and the false illusion it represents and thus refuse to face the truth that Israel is a state founded on ethnic cleansing and continuing oppression and take responsibility for the brutal reality Zionism created. Also, only 12% believe Palestinians want peace. That’s becasue Palestinians want peace built on JUSTICE and the vast majority of Jews either can’t stomach justice for Palestinians or fear the day Palestinians are restored their rights.

    Obviously, the vast majority of Jews care squat that U.S. funding furthers the injustice; they think the billions are just right or inadequate and that’s because Jews are NOT in fact “working for justice”. Let’s just say that when it comes to the Palestinians, the vast majority of Jews are real lethargic in “working for justice”.

    If it really were as the title states; Israel wouldn’t be the APARTHEID STATE it already is.

    • Citizen
      October 5, 2013, 6:29 am

      @ kalithea
      I think you articulate the most important aspect of the Poll results. If Holocaust (Never Again! Adelson’s or Arendt’s?), ethics, and justice are prime self-identifying values of what most Jews think is the core of being Jewish, why, after all these years of Israeli oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians, of the on-going slow-motion Nakba, do 85% of Jewish Americans find US foreign policy re Israel satisfactory (such a huge chunk of total US foreign aid!), or that said policy should favor Israel even more than it does?

      • yrn
        October 6, 2013, 2:23 pm

        “why, after all these years of Israeli oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians, of the on-going slow-motion Nakba, do 85% of Jewish Americans find US foreign policy re Israel satisfactory”

        Well WHY?

      • kalithea
        October 7, 2013, 11:35 pm

        Whyyyy? Uh, let’s see…might selfish and inhumane have anything to do with it?

      • talknic
        October 8, 2013, 2:20 am

        yrn // “why, after all these years of Israeli oppression and dispossession of the Palestinians, of the on-going slow-motion Nakba, do 85% of Jewish Americans find US foreign policy re Israel satisfactory”//

        “Well WHY?”

        Simple, they’re ignorant of the law and fact, having been fed instead lifetimes of nonsense Hasbara

      • yrn
        October 8, 2013, 11:20 am

        kalithea
        So 85% of the Jews in the US “might selfish and inhumane”
        sounds great

  10. Nevada Ned
    October 5, 2013, 1:25 am

    The Pew survey is consistent with what Norman Finkelstein says in his book, Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish romance with Israel is ending.
    Younger American Jews are increasing indifferent to Israel. A few are opposed to Israel’s policies, but a much larger group is “distancing” themselves from Israel.

    The hawks tend to be older Jews: moral philosopher Michael Walzer (78), Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz (75), New Republic publisher Marty Peretz (74), and ADL head Abe Foxman (73).
    Contrast that with the younger Jewish critics of Israeli policy: Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald (46), Think Progress blogger Matthew Yglesias (32), documentary film director Max Blumenthal (35), and our own Phil Weiss (58).
    As Finkelstein puts it, the hawks climbed on board the Zionist bandwagon in their youth, while Israel’s young critics are jumping off it.

    • Nevada Ned
      October 5, 2013, 8:09 am

      I should have also included superhawk Sheldon Adelson (80), one of the wealthiest men in the world and owner of the right-wing Israeli newspaper Israel HaYom.

  11. yrn
    October 5, 2013, 4:38 pm

    From all the comments here I see the routine Anti and criticizing routine
    Non has to add anything regarding the main issue of this blog, “alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.”
    Nothing only Assimilation.

    • talknic
      October 8, 2013, 2:22 am

      yrn “Non has to add anything regarding the main issue of this blog, “alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.”
      Nothing only Assimilation.”

      Uh? Assimilation IS an alternative

      • yrn
        October 8, 2013, 11:21 am

        Any Jew in this blog accepts Talknic vision

  12. James Canning
    October 6, 2013, 5:21 pm

    I thought the percentage of Jews (non-Orthodox) who marry non-Jews, at 71%, highly significant. Up four times in past 45 years.

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