Is being Jewish a race or ethnicity?

On my Father's side I have Scottish (My last name is Bell) heritage and German heritage. On my Mother's side I have almost full German heritage (My Mother's family on her mother's side is all German and half German on her Father's side). My great-great-grandmother on my mother's side had the last name Getz or Götz, so my mother is claiming that we are Jewish. Is being Jewish a race or an ethnicity? We are Christian Protestants and no one in our family practices Judaism. Would you consider us Jewish? I'm not sure if being Jewish is truly a race, or if Hitler has just convinced the world that Jews are a race so he could call them inferior and try to kill them out. Please give me some insight.

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  • 9 years ago
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    It is both a religion and an ethnicity. There are four races of mankind,Caucasian, N e g r o i d, Mongoloid

    and Australoid. At least those are the races that were defined by an anthropologist a long time ago.

    You can have Jewish ancestry and not be considered a Jew.

    Reconstructionist Jews define a Jew by the religion alone. If a child is being brought up in their congregation and has only one Jewish parent whether father or mother they will regard that child as Jewish.

    Orthodox and Conservative Judaism define a Jew by the mother alone. If you have a Jewish mother even though you are an atheist you are considered Jewish by them.

    If you only have a Jewish father the only way hey will consider you a Jew is for you to convert to Judaism.

    http://www.jewfaq.org/whoisjew.htm

    Since traditionally in western countries at least, the surname comes from the father, a man could be born an O'Brien and still be born a Jew. Any surname can be Jewish and exclusively Jewish surnames are almost unknown. A lot of names in the U.S. are viewed as Jewish as a large portion of immigrants with certain names were Jewish while back in their country of origin the same name was used by Jews and non Jews.

  • 3 years ago

    Is Being Jewish An Ethnicity

  • 9 years ago

    Great question!!

    My grandfather was Jewish, so I consider myself 1/4 Jew. Actually my mother has a Jewish ancestor, but we don't know exactly how far back it goes, so I'm a little more than 1/4. I know what you mean about it being confusing if it's a race or ethnicity. Obviously it's a religion, but the Jewish or Hebrew people and their culture have origins too. Just as someone that is Scottish or Irish or German, etc. have a typical look to them, so does someone of Jewish origin.

    Whenever I say my heritage, I always include Jewish, I wouldn't know what else to say, it's pretty self explanatory when you say Jewish, anything else would need further explanation.

    Does anyone know if there's a better term for someone that has a Jewish or Hebrew ancestry?

  • 9 years ago

    From doing internet searches:

    The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation. Converts to Judaism, whose status as Jews within the Jewish ethnos is equal to those born into it, have been absorbed into the Jewish people throughout the millennia.

    The total world Jewish population, however, is difficult to measure. In addition to issues with census methodology, there are halakhic disputes regarding who is a Jew and secular, political, and ancestral identification factors that may affect the figure considerably.

    So even amongst the Jewish people themselves there is a disagreement as to the who is or can claim to be a "Jew".

    I have read The Orthodox Jewish Church only allows those who's maternal line are Jewish to be members. Otherwise one is a "Convert" to Judaism.

    Unless your mother has proof her ancestors were "Jewish" by documentation, family records or temple membership, having such names is not enough proof to make claims of Jewish race or ethnicity, in my opinion. Also if one claims an ethnicity of being Jewish there are several ethic divisions of same and one needs to identify which one.

    Source(s): Wikipedia
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  • David
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Race, ethnicity and religion are just ideas that people choose to believe. DNA is real.

    According to orthodox Jewish belief, whether someone is Jewish depends on whether their mother was Jewish. This means that if your great-great-grandmother down the maternal line was Jewish then you would also be Jewish according to the Jewish definition.

  • 9 years ago

    There are three races - white, black and Asian, or, in the old style, Caucasian, Negr0id and Mongoloid. "*******" is so politically incorrect Y!A splats it out if you don't spell it with an 0. "Mongoloid" makes people think of Down's syndrome. All in all, the three have their problems as names.

    Jewish isn't a race. It is a religion, sort of. They don't have many converts, and if you are Jewish and convert out, people would still consider you Jewish. So, I'd say it was an ethnicity.

    With three exceptions - Cantor, Cohen and Levi - there are no "Jewish" surnames. There are German surnames that can be used by Jews and Christians alike.

    I would not consider you Jewish.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Religion. It has nothing to do with race or ethnicity. You may have Jewish confused with Hebrew.

  • 9 years ago

    It is both a religion and ethnicity.

    Not so much a race. Race is used loosely sometimes. Mexicans use "la raza" for themselves.

  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Is being Jewish a race or ethnicity?

    On my Father's side I have Scottish (My last name is Bell) heritage and German heritage. On my Mother's side I have almost full German heritage (My Mother's family on her mother's side is all German and half German on her Father's side). My great-great-grandmother on my...

    Source(s): jewish race ethnicity: https://shortly.im/XWR4e
  • 9 years ago

    If you are born to a Jewsih mother it is an ethnicity. If you convert to Judaism it is a religion.

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