Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Tacoma Talmud answers - Question 1

What is Judaism?  Is it a religion, nation, race, civilization?  Do any of these words adequately describe Judaism?

- Judaism is a religion, however in some context it can be considered a race.
- I think it is a religion because we have one God.
- Judaism is whatever you want it to be to yourself. If all you want from Judaism is a religion, then that is all it is.  For it to be more you have to want it to be.  Judaism is more than something to be categorized but you are still able to take only a part of it away if a part is all you want.
- Judaism is all of these and more. It is a religion by having worshippers, a nation by owning Israel, a race because of its ancestry and a civilization because of the temples. But none of these describe Judaism enough.
- Judaism is a race and religion.  It’s a race because it has its own people.
- Judaism is both a religion and a race. Judaism is always transforming, just like any culture or tradition, it grows and changes.  You can be a part of Judaism as both a member of its religion and/or it race. Judaism's origins were racial starting from the nomadic Hebrews and when we lived together w/out connections to the outside worlds in shtetls and ghettoes.  In that way Judaism is a race or ethnicity.  But Judaism also is a religion that you can convert to and believe in.
- A race and a religion worshiping our God and praying.
- Judaism is a religion because you celebrate Jewish holidays.
- Judaism is a way of life, and a system of beliefs. More than just religion. None of these words describe it.
- Judaism is d: all of the above, none of the words describe Judaism singly, you need all of them to get a good idea.
- Judaism goes back to a time when there was no difference between a nation, a religion and a people.
- It depends on the person. It is different for everyone!
- It is not just one of those nor all of these.  It depends on who you are what Judaism is to you in your life.
- Some rebitzens say it is a culture that is passed down from generation to generation. And we still have it today because we learned from our ancestors and it's our job to teach it to our children. It's  like a line that never ends. Judaism is a religion, however it doesn't completely define what it is.  Judaism can be any race.
- Judaism is more of a civilization. Since it's based on mostly tradition there's no pressure to believe in God.
- Judaism is a 1. Nation in the way that it is a collected group of people with a followed set of laws, 2. Race in the way that our "family" has been able to pass down certain recognizable traits/features, 3. Civilization in the way that it has recognizable and specific culture that ony Judaism provides, 4. Religion in the way that it provides explanation, for things otherwise not understood, in a  supernatural way….so all 4.
- None of these words will do! We are a people that transcends national boundaries. Race is a social construct with no biological reality. We have religious and non-religious Jews….SO….We are a people with a common history, religion, language, and ruach!!
- Judaism is all of the above, the meaning of it is whatever it means to you on a personal level.
- We Jews are a religion which has contributed to civilization – so we are a civilization also. Being Jewish often leads to an inquisitive mind.
- Judaism is a religion. That is self-explanatory. I would argue that it cannot be a civilization because there has never been a wholly Jewish land, not even Israel by a long shot. I consider the race to be Hebrew. I would say that in a certain connotation, it can be considered a "nation" of sorts, not in the way like a civilization, but that Jews all over the world represent a scattered nation.
- It is a complete community, not just a religion or a way of life. As a convert in process, I've wanted to be Jewish since age 12. I've always been drawn to the people and how accepting they are. I want to be a part of the Jewish family. Being a Jew is not just a religion, it is a family.

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