How can you be born Jewish?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Ord_Sgt, Aug 11, 2007.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    They've been blathering on on the news about the Archbishop of Paris who has died. They are saying he was born Jewish but later converted to Christianity. Now how can that be, Judaism is a religion or belief system so how can you be born 'it'?

    There was another program I saw where a brother and sister said they found out 'they were Jewish'. How can you discover you beleive something?

    I've no beef with the Jews but this, well arrogance I suppose, gets right up my nose.
  2. Judaism is a multipurpose phenomenon: it's a religion AND an ethnicity!

    So you can be born Jewish, you can become Jewish, you can be Jewish even if you're Buddhist. You can eat prawns and still be Jewish. You can become Archbishop of Paris and still marry a nice Jewish girl ... well, maybe not that last one.

    This is why having a Jewish state is a bit more like having a French state or an Italian state than it is having a Buddhist state or a Christian state. But maybe that's off topic.
  3. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    OK, but says who?
  4. Because according to 5,000 years of tradition, 'Jewishness' passes down the maternal line and has aspects of both a nation and a religion. You may consider this as arrogance but the other side of the coin is that, because Judaism is a birth religion rather than a prostheltysing (sp) religion, you don't get Jews banging on your door asking you to believe what they believe. And I'd say that it is no more arrogant than baptising your children into a religion that they are far too young to understand.
  5. Funny this. I was 55 or 56 when two very good friends (I had known for almost 10 years) told me they were Jewish. I had no idea and had no idea what it meant!

    When I left school, about 36 or 37 years before this 'revelation', I was articled to my father's partner (when 'partner' meant business partner) who I was told was: 'Jewish'. He was one of the nicest, cleverest and super blokes I ever met.

    His son became my best mate and my best man. The subject was never raised but was my best man 'Jewish'? If so, so f'ing what!

    I spent years not knowing and never understanding what the 'problem' is. I'm not entirely sure I do now. 'Thicko' Aged 66!
  6. Who says we're an ethnicity and not just a religion?

    The Communists did in the early Soviet Union -- establishing an atheist Jewish republic (Birobidzhan).

    The Nazis did -- you didn't have to believe in Maimonides's 13 Principles of Faith to be carted off in a cattle truck.

    Far more important: we do.
  7. The vast majority of people I know have no idea I'm Jewish either, primarily because - like a lot of Jews in Britain - I am a) almost totally unreligious b) loyal to Britain and consider myself a Brit, over and above anything else.

    And Ord Sgt, the reason the situation is as it is is just an accident of history. These things happen.
  8. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Don't missunderstand me I'm not having a go just trying to figure out why you can be born into a a belief system. It just doesn't make sense to me. I wasn't born Christian although the society I come from is predominantly Christian.
  9. Because you are thinking in terms of 'Judaism'. As other posters have suggested, try looking at Jewishness as having elements of ethnicity and religion and bob's yer uncle.
  10. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    See thats the thing I can't get my head around. Jewishness is a belief system - you believe in various religious teachings, how can that become ethnicity? It just doesn't make sense to me.
  11. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    And surely you can become Jewish or follow the religion but that doesn't change your ethnicity.
  12. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    You may not consider yourself 'Born Christian', but you are! Ask most Catholics, for example, they will probably say that they are born Catholics. I'm sure it's the same in most other Christian demoninations/Sects - people tend to stay with the religion of your Parents, it's simple.

    And of course, if grabbed by the nasty people in the Middle East you will be treated as if you are a Christian, whether you say so or no.....
  13. Ok. It's easy to think that all the nations that we know as existing today were somehow predestined to exist, within the confines of their present borders. But, when you think about it, different nationalities and sub-nationalities have risen and disappeared many, many times over the course of recorded human history (met any Hitites recently?) And, of course, relatively few nations today are ethnically homogenous - just take Iraq or Turkey as obvious examples. Now, because the Jewish people were scattered around the known world a few millenia ago, they found themselves as sub-groups in many different countries, not just one. Usually, over time this would have resulted in their disappearance as a seperate entity BUT the unique circumstances of the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire meant that the Jews, uniquely, survived as a people-religion. Later on, they existed outside the feudal system in europe, we re-entrenched the sense of seperateness. Any clearer Ord?
  14. Judea was a province in the middle east where Judeans came fromm, the principal religion of Judea was apparently Jewish. Therefore if your roots are in Judea you can be born a Judean (and Jewish) just as my two sons who were born in Hong Kong were born British (Welsh) and Christian.
  15. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    OK that really does help, very nicely put. So you can be Jewish but not believe in Judaism?