Who are you?
Who am I?
Who are we?
From birth to death, humans ponder the question of self-identity. From our earliest moments we self identify as “the kid next door,” the athlete, the scholar, the lawyer, the teacher, the doctor, and so very much more.
Religion, ethnicity, citizenship, political loyalty or belief…you name it.
We are the Catholic or the Protestant, the Jewish boy or the Muslim girl. We identify as Americans or Canadians. The Red Sox fanatic or the Brazilian soccer fan….who are you?
Who are we? Pew Research Center Survey, A Portrait of Jewish Americans recently published its latest study on American Jews.
Or Jewish Americans. If you read my book, Operation Last Exodus, you will know why I make the distinction. Let’s examine what we said about our identities.
Seventy thousand of (yes, 70,000) us responded. They didn’t call me but I have some opinions too which you will soon learn about.
According to the study, published on Jewlarious, American Jews are overwhelmingly proud to be Jewish. The survey suggests, however, that one out of five Jews, 22%, currently describe themselves as having no religion.
Yes, the article says, they were “Jews of no religion,” meaning that they identified as Jews but stated they are atheists or agnostics. I’m only a little offended. But as cable shopping networks like to shout, “but wait, there’s more!”
My fellow Jews say, “Remembering the Holocaust was the most common response to the question of what an “essential part of being Jewish means.”
Seventy percent (70%) of U.S. Jews felt attached to Israel. That’s nice. How about the other 30%? Are those the Jews who are in favor of B.D.S., the subject of my last column?
That would be the terrifying prospect of the Jew who hates Israel and wishes to economically boycott, divest, and institute sanctions against companies or organizations supporting Israel. This includes tens of millions of very misguided Christians.
I wonder if they also watch the Home Shopping Network.
Yes, there is the Orthodox community, a rather small percentage of Jews living in America. At least they believe in God, whoever they may believe He is.
Let’s look at some more. I love the next item…
“Regarding the Middle East, American Jews tend to be more optimistic about peace with the Palestinians than other Americans, with 61% saying it is possible versus only 50% of the general public. 17% describe themselves as pessimistic about prospects for peace,” Pew says.
Hmmmm. Let’s see, American Jews are optimistic about peace with the Palestinians, more than say, the “general public.” Fascinating. I guess the general public must know something judging by the press or history. Sad to say, but they are right.
My Jewish brethren are simply wrong on this. Open your Bibles and you will discover that we’ve been fighting over that plot of land for almost 4,000 years. Ain’t gonna be fixed by your well-meaning intentions. No siree!
And then there’s intermarriage. Pew elaborates:
“Whereas 44% of Jews said they were married to non-Jews, the number rose to 58% among those marrying since 2005. Unsurprisingly, 98% of those identifying as Orthodox married Jews, whereas 50% of Reform Jews and 31% of non-affiliated reported doing so.”
Sad to say, being Jewish just got in the way when the boy or the girl of your dreams saunters into the room. Religion be damned!
“When it comes to their political attitudes, those with a Jewish affinity are more conservative and Republican than either secular or religious Jews,” the survey adds.
Jewish affinity? Really?
And there’s this:
“More than half (56%) say that working for justice and equality is essential to what being Jewish means to them,” the survey says. Translate that to liberal, or as I like to say, living in the past. That ship has sailed.
So, let me get this right… one out of five Jews are either atheists or agnostics, and think the holocaust, working for justice and equality, and being liberal defines the essence of Judaism. Do I have that right?
Notice anything missing?
Did God get a vote?
And this is where my opinion comes in.
There was a time when being Jewish meant you represented God on earth. Way back in Bible times (and I know we live in a different era), being Jewish meant something. We knew our Bibles, in my humble opinion, the only true measure of being Jewish.
It meant a connection to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It meant your life was spent in the presence of a special people who were chosen for a reason. It meant more.
We’ve become so very distracted by “things,” “causes,” “events,” “success,” and who knows what.
Everything but the worship of the One True God. Whoever He may be.