Anonymous asked: My parents are Jewish. As an atheist, I'm not sure whether I should consider myself jewish or not. I come across as self-hating. The Jewish people are not a race. There are Jewish people all around the world, including Yemen & Ethiopia. Most white Jews are khazarians. No one is a descendant of Abraham or Jacob, they are fictional characters.
Regardless of our origins, we have been a tribe, a people, living together for a long time. That definitely means something.
Whether you want to actively consider yourself part of the jewish people, or just consider it your background, it’s up to you.
I personally find it harder and harder to associate with the jewish people bc I don’t share their values. But I definitely consider it part of who I am, if only historically. but to each their own.
"I personally find it harder and harder to associate with the jewish people bc I don’t share their values"
what? there are no jews who share your values?
Is no one going to address the khazar thing?
I don’t like to imagine the values of someone who can’t seem to find any if theirs mirrored in the Jewish people…
So apparently what I wrote hit a nerve in a lot of people. I’m going to elaborate just to make my position clear. Some may still dislike it, which is fine. I just don’t want to be misunderstood.
So, it’s not that I don’t know any Jews who I share values with - I have several OTD jewish friends with whom I agree on many, many things - it’s just that the “jewish” parts of the identity are not what I share (except perhaps the shared “getting over it” aspect). The values I share are more universal ones, and often ones which are the opposite of those with which I was raised, and those I hear from prominent voices in the Jewish community.
I suppose I could find a jewish humanist group, but that already doesn’t feel like I’m being honest to myself, because, honestly, I don’t feel any need to frame my humanist values in jewish terms. They’re just values, values which anyone could have.
The nebulousness of “jewish values” perhaps contributed to some misunderstanding as well. So maybe I should ask those criticizing me what they mean by “jewish values”? If they mean something like “education”, then yeah, of course I value that, but not because I’m jewish. It’s not rooted in my being jewish. And it’s not a value which I feel I only or must or exclusively share with other jews. Nor necessarily a value which I think all jews share. Not at all.
And if what’s meant is something more exclusively jewish, like separating milk and meat, or sacrificing a goat for god, it’s pretty obvious that I just reject those values. Even secular celebrations of things like hannukah really hold almost no interest to me, let alone fasting on yom kippur as many chilonim do.
So, like I said, my values are not framed in jewish terms, so there’s no real connection to be made with other jews in that way. And when I hear about “jewish issues,” they usually don’t really interest me, except for the fact that it’s fun to study something you know a bit about. Of course, I hate to hear about antisemitism, and it does create some sense of connection, but hearing that terrorists want to bomb america creates a similar connection - and frankly, I don’t feel particularly connected to most americans. and, to me, the jewish struggle against prejudice is the same struggle that all minorities must fight. I identify more with the larger struggle - though again, of course as well with my particular ones.
I also just don’t feel a particularly strong connection to my fellow jews. It’s not that I dislike them, nor that I don’t recognize a connection to them on my own and through the eyes of others, it’s just that I don’t feel a connection, and so I don’t necessarily identify myself through my association with them. The historical or genetic connection is more of just an interesting fact for me. Put another way, I felt way more connected when I used to meet my fairly diverse group of friends at a primarily atheist group I used to belong to. Meeting anyone there felt more connected to meeting someone and finding out they’re jewish.
For me, my jewish heritage is more a thing of the past: my youth, my family history, my people’s history, my genetic heritage… but not so much something I actively share with other jews. With perhaps the exception of a taste for jewish food. (but that doesn’t add up to much of a connection or identity for me.)
So it’s not to say that other jews with my views and values don’t exist, it’s just that I’m much more likely to connect to someone - whether jewish or not - based on those values, and not based on our immediate shared ancestry. So when I think of the people I identify myself with, jews aren’t really at the top of the list, certainly not like it used to be. It doesn’t mean I’m ashamed of being a Jew. I have no problems with it, and there’s what to be proud of. I even named my blog “Jewish Atheist.” I know I’m a Jew. But I also know that I’m an American, a virgo, a millennial, a New Yorker, a college grad, etc etc And just as I don’t really define or strongly identify myself in those terms, I similarly do not primarily identify myself as Jewish. It’s part of who I am, but it is not who I am. And the people with whom I once felt very close, and the community whose concerns were once my own, are now distant voices and minimal concerns. And frankly, I don’t mind.