Is Judaism a religion or a Nationality?
There are American Catholics and American Muslims and French Catholics and French Protestants but there are…… Jewish Americans and Jewish Frenchmen.
Judaism has traditionally transcended the national identity. As an aside it was the questioning of 4 of my non-Jewish friends that motivated this blog. ALL 4 of them defined being Jewish as a Nationality.
Is this because Jews have not been accepted as mainstream in the history of nations. If we were in a discussion about those people living in the geography called France…we would call them Frenchmen…but would the general population do the same for the Jews who live in that geography or would they be identified as Jews.
Having never practiced Catholicism, Islam, Hindu or other religions I can only proffer my view that most of these sects primarily define their religion as their relationship with God. Jews on the other hand have defined their Judaism as their relationship with God, their life philosophy, their culture and their traditions. I believe more Jews celebrate Passover or Chanukah than attend Shabbat services on a regular basis. A recent Pew study observed that only 20% of the Jews they surveyed think observing Jewish law is primary to their Jewish identity and only 47% of those under age 30 identify religiously as Jews.
Why is this transformation taking place…I take issue with the Jewish religious leadership…our Rabbis. While they guide and lead us in the religious observance and relationship with God, they do not seem to appreciate that today’s Jew is looking more for leadership in the culture, customs and traditions of our ancestors…again only 20% think observance of Jewish law is primary to Jewish identity. While 69 %say “leading an ethical and moral life.” is an essential part of what it means to be Jewish. But our leadership is missing the need, they believe that discussions of a liberal agenda is the solution to this need. I belief this isn’t the need, Our history, who our ancesters wer and how they lived, what made a jew a jew 100 years ago and what were the trdiaions we lived by are what most jews want to understand as the define their current Judiasm.
Jewish Americans are quickly becoming American Jews…they are losing their Jewish cultural & tradition identity and are replacing those with American culture and identity…yet our Rabbis seem to overly focus on the relationship with God. While our relationship with God is of primary importance, if we are losing the Jewish population through assimilation, then there may not be a Jewish population to guide in their relationship with God.
Check out my rantings on itsmyview.blog you will never know what’s next on my wandering mind