Jewish Ethnicity (Explained)

What does it mean to be ethnically Jewish?

Are the Jewish People an ethnicity?

Let us explain...

What is Jewish Ethnicity?

An ethnic community feels a sense of collective uniqueness and togetherness.

Therefore, when you look at The Jewish People, there is no doubt that we are unique and also have a strong form of togetherness.

Regardless of how religious we are, the vast majority of Jews will fast on Yom Kippur and have a Seder on Passover.

However, if we view ethnicity under the lens of 'what group of people do you identify with?', it can cause confusion due to The Jewish People's constant movement between countries.

In this regard, Jews have always been on the move. And you may meet someone who identifies with African culture but is also a Black Jew.

So, Judaism is more of a race than an ethnicity because being Jewish is something deeply rooted in a persons soul.

Just like in all of the previous Jewish persecutions, you can always tell a Jew from a non-Jew.

Jewish Ethnicity or Religion?

Under The Religion of Judaism, people who are born to a Jewish Mother are born Jewish.

Jewish Ethnicity would not suffice to be labelled compltely seperate to common ethnic groups such as: White, Black, Hispanic or Asian.

For example, when applying for a job, a White Male Jew living in USA would state himself as being a 'White Male' instead of a 'White Jewish Male'

Ashkenazi vs. Sephardic Jewish Ethnicity

If we understand Judaism to be a race.

Within Judaism, there are many Types of Jews.

Most commonly, split up into Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews.

During the diaspora, Jews ended up in different areas of The World.

With Ashkenazic Jews ending up in Europe and Sephardic Jews ending up in Africa and The Middle East.

It could be said that Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews each took on their own ethnicities will being seperated from each other, while of course, both still being part of The Jewish Race and both very much living Torah Observant lives.

After over a thousand years, Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews did develop different customs.

These customs are still centred around Judaism but because The Torah is so complex, it opens up many areas for interpretation.

This highlights the fact that the ethnic composition of The Jewish People is very diverse.

The Children of Israel

Overall, it is difficult to label Jews as an ethnicity.

Jews are said to be "The Children of Israel"

This is another possible ethnic division.

Anyone will tell you that The Jews in Israel are very different to Jews in the West.

In Israel, a Jew has 'chutzpah'

However, if all Jews are "The Children of Israel" then this contradicts the idea of "The Children of Israel" literally being defined as Jews living in Israel.

To repeat what was said earlier in this article: the ethnic composition of The Jewish People is very diverse.

Jews have always been on the move for thousands of years.

And living in many places, in many cultures, with many struggles has led to The Jewish People developing a rich variety of traits.

However, with all the different upbringings and difficulties faced in our lives, one thing keeps us together: Our Jewish Roots.

Till next time!


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