Date: February 02, 2023 02:17PM
Thank you, everybody, for your thoughtful input. I appreciate it so much. As usual, some of your comments have me delving deeper into the points you've raised.
In the name of accuracy while writing the OP I took the precaution of checking to see if 'Jewish' is considered a race. I nearly wrote 'the Jewish race' but it didn't sound right, although I've heard it before. From what I found in various apparently reliable sources, it is not correct to label Jewish people as a separate race. I didn't think so (my memories of high school science are vague) but I never actually looked it up before to confirm.
Here is an interesting (short) description of a book titled 'The Myth of the Jewish Race':https://lupress.cas.lehigh.edu/content/myth-jewish-race
"...from Day One Jews have married non-Jews, and therefore there is no way to genetically characterize them as a race. Nevertheless, many people find it difficult to accept the ideas that Judaism is not hereditary, but a religion, and that Jews who abandon the Jewish faith, whether they adopt another religion or none at all, are no longer Jews."
"As a trained geneticist, he [the author] became convinced that there are not and never were human races. In the last twenty years, an increasing number of anthropologists and biologists have reached the same conclusion. They argue that there is no way to genetically characterize race, because no human population has ever been isolated long enough from other populations to avoid "crossbreeding." The history of the Jews, in particular, supports this thesis. From Day One they had children with non-Jews. Hence, biologically, Jews are not different from non-Jews."
"The Jewish communities of the world constitute no pure race, and in their features and physical characteristics represent no single uniform or even average type. An examination into the origins of the Jewish people offers an ample explanation of this diversity of appearance."
From the Jewish Virtual Library:https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/are-jews-a-nation-or-a-religion
"Judaism can be thought of as being simultaneously a religion, a nationality and a culture.
"Throughout the middle ages and into the 20th century, most of the European world agreed that Jews constituted a distinct nation. This concept of nation does not require that a nation have either a territory nor a government, but rather, it identifies, as a nation any distinct group of people with a common language and culture. Only in the 19th century did it become common to assume that each nation should have its own distinct government; this is the political philosophy of nationalism. In fact, Jews had a remarkable degree of self-government until the 19th century. So long as Jews lived in their ghettos, they were allowed to collect their own taxes, run their own courts, and otherwise behave as citizens of a landless and distinctly second-class Jewish nation.
"Of course, Judaism is a religion, and it is this religion that forms the central element of the Jewish culture that binds Jews together as a nation. It is the religion that defines foods as being kosher and non-kosher, and this underlies Jewish cuisine. It is the religion that sets the calendar of Jewish feast and fast days, and it is the religion that has preserved the Hebrew language.
"Is Judaism an ethnicity? In short, not any more. Although Judaism arose out of a single ethnicity in the Middle East, there have always been conversions into and out of the religion. Thus, there are those who may have been ethnically part of the original group who are no longer part of Judaism, and those of other ethnic groups who have converted into Judaism.
"If you are referring to a nation in the sense of race, Judaism is not a nation. People are free to convert into Judaism; once converted, they are considered the same as if they were born Jewish. This is not true for a race."
I get that the history is complex and feelings run high. It can be a sensitive topic, undoubtedly. But hopefully getting accurate information from definitive sources will keep the record straight.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2023 02:20PM by Nightingale.