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Jewish identity is the objective or subjective state of perceiving oneself as a Jew and as relating to being Jewish.[1] Under the broader definition, the Jewish identity does not depend on whether or not a person is regarded as a Jew by others, or by an external set of religious, or legal, or sociological norms. Accordingly, Jewish identity can be cultural in nature. Jewish identity can involve ties to the Jewish community. Traditional Judaism bases Jewishness on matriarchal descent. According to Jewish law (halacha), all those born of a Jewish mother are Jewish, regardless of personal beliefs or level of observance of Jewish law. Jews who are atheists may have Jewish identity. While the absolute majority of people with this identity are of Jewish ethnicity, people born from a mixed Jewish and non-Jewish background may have Jewish identity. (See also "half-Jewish".)


Jewish identity can be separated into three separate, independent parts:

  1. ethnic Judaism (those of Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi or other Jewish ancestry)
  2. religious Judaism (those who follow the tenets of the Jewish religion)
  3. cultural Judaism (those who celebrate Jewish holidays and were "raised in a Jewish home")


Jewish identity can involve a sense of kinship with Israel. Jews in the Jewish diaspora may see Israel as the homeland of their people.

A cultural concept

Jewish identity can be cultural.

There are religious and cultural components to Jewish identity, just as there are religious and cultural components of Christian identity or Muslim identity. However, Jewish identity also has a strong ethnic component to it, absent (especially in the United States) in most of the Christian identity.

Antisemitism and Jewish identity

According to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, modern Jewish communities and the modern Jewish identity are influenced by antisemitism.[2] Jewish identity can be influenced by the antisemitism that some non-Jews harbor toward them. The Jewish diaspora in most places suffered persecution by Church or Mosque. They were landless and suffered periodic massacres, expulsions and other abuses. It also involves identification with abusers and attempts to appease them.[3] (See also self-hating Jew.)

See also


External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Jewish identity. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.