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The Rise Of The “Partially Jewish”

Survey shows more Jews have “unconventional identity configurations”

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Photo of a "Jewish pupil" at a New York School, circa 1910. (Library of Congress Flickr)

The big headlines from the Jewish Community Study of New York: 2011 are already about polarization — mostly between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews’ wildly diverging birthrates, level of Jewish participation, and income, but also in age, between the babies born to religious families and the growing elderly population. But that confirms already-apparent trends (many echoed in the only Jewish community that exceeds New York in size). There’s something else in the report that’s so far been mostly overlooked: What it says about shifting ways of identification among the intermarried and the multiracial.

The report, which results from 5,993 interviews, takes care to describe the New York Jewish population as it is and not how it’s commonly represented:

Reform congregants in Scarsdale, struggling single mothers in Queens, young adults on the Lower East Side, middle-class families in Staten Island, Russian speakers in Brighton Beach, Haredim in Borough Park, affluent businesspeople on the Upper East Side, isolated seniors in Suffolk, Modern Orthodox Jews in the Five Towns, Conservative congregants in Flushing, and biracial families in the Bronx. Secularists, Israelis, Syrian Jews, and others are all part of the mix, as are the vast numbers of poor people in Jewish households and the thousands of very affluent New Yorkers who are also part and parcel of the Jewish population in the area.

Lloyd Blankfein, you count too.

But seriously, here’s what caught my eye: The assertion that “rising numbers of people report unconventional identity configurations. They may consider themselves ‘partially Jewish’ or may identify as Jews even while identifying with Christianity or another non-Jewish religion (many more do so now than who so reported in 2002).” Such identification clearly corresponds to high rates of intermarriage among non-Orthodox Jews: 70 percent of the group that had a “both/and” style identification had a non-Jewish parent – or, the report adds, two of them.

That number should only rise, in light of the fact that half non-Orthodox couples that got married in the last five years were intermarried. Meanwhile, 87,000 households, or 12 percent of all New York Jewish homes, have biracial or non-white members, which the report contends “should serve as a reality check for those who are accustomed to thinking of all Jews as ‘white.’”

The elective flouting of the Jewish/non-Jewish binary isn’t on its own going to placate those worries about declining community and religious engagement, but it’s clearly not going anywhere.

Jewish Community Study Of New York: 2011 [UJA-NY]
Related: Aided by Orthodox, City’s Jewish Population Is Growing Again [NYT]





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josephmateus says:

Dear Friends:
Mr. David C. Pack, head of the Reformed Church of God, the successor of Herbert W. Armstrong from the former Wide World Church of God claims that the northern ten tribes of Israel were lost and also lost their identity, that is, today their descendants believe that they are gentiles, rather than Israelis. He also claims that the only Jews are the descendants from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, as according to him, the word “Jew” simply means a “Judah tribe member”.  He claims that the descendants from the other 10 tribes that split in the reign of King Solomon’s son are not Jews, but simply Israelis, whereas the Jews are also all Israelites, but the Israelites are not all Jews.
Further he goes on to say that the tribe of Dan started immigrating to north western Europe shortly after arriving in the promised land from Egypt, and that the first migration took place 200 years before the reign of King David. He also says that the second big migration took place in 723 BC after the Assyrians conquered the nation of the ten tribes and took them as slaves and captives to the region of the Black and Caspian Seas, and from there they took  them to northwestern Europe as well, where they joined with the earlier migrating tribe of Dan, only this time, other non Judah tribes were also in this migration, including the descendants of Joseph through his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh. 
Mr. Pack claims that the descendants of Dan and Joseph namely of his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh settled on what is today Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany, and that they are the forefathers of today Irish, Danish, Swedes, Norwegians and British. According to Mr. David C Pack, none of of this modern Norwegians, Swedes, some Germans, Irish and British know today that they are descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel, and believe that they are gentiles – non Israelis.  Also, according to Mr. Pack, the Germans are the direct descendants of the Assyrians, with a smaller percentage being from the northern 1o Israeli tribes descent. He claims the the word Denmark originates from “Dan” as the land of the Israeli tribe of Dan.
Further he goes on to say that later on this descendants of Menasseh the British, immigrated to America as the first wave of colonists in the 13 colonies and that the nations was founded by their descendants. The descendants of Efrain stayed in the British isles and are the founders of the British nation, therefore they are the original British people.
Using this kind of reasoning, Mr. Pack goes on to write that this two nations, America and Britain, as well as the other British Commonwealth nations are destined to impending destruction by the wrath of God, because they rejected the true God that had adopted them as his sons and His favourite people, and this destruction is described the the Book of Revelation, as the coming world war of Armageddon. The remaining true gentiles nations will be destroyed by God right after Britain, the Commonwealth, and America.
What follows after Armageddon is a restored paradise on Earth, with the survivors of the ten tribes receiving unlimited blessings from God during the thousand years reign of His son Jesus Christ, who will be reigning over the entire world then. Therefore, according to Mr. Pack, this Armageddon will be a war of punishment for the ten tribes, whereas after repenting during the Armageddon war the survivors will again be receiving God’s favour and unlimited grace, in the restored paradise on earth.
Dear friends, please let me know what you thing about this: I find it very hard to believe that the “lost” ten tribes of Israel lost their identity and now believe that they are gentiles, because the descendants of the southern Kingdom of Judah and Benjamin never lost their identity and according to Mr. Pack, only these are the ones who identify themselves as Jews and Israelis.
Another question is this : > As Jews, do you really know what tribe you originated from? After all, the genealogical records were all destroyed in 70 AD when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and took all the Jews captive. This of extreme importance to solve this riddle, because if you do not know from whom of the 12 tribes you originate from, then Mr. Pack theories don’t hold water, as it is impossible to tell whether you are descendants from the northern 10 tribes or from Judah and Benjamin.

Mr. Pack claims that the Jews who were all taken captive during and after the destruction of Jerusalen in 70 AD were only the ones from the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, as the other “lost” ten tribes had already left Israel long before the Roman invasion in 70 AD. Afterwards, these descendants of Judah and Benjamin were taken as prisioners and slaves to the far corners of the Roman Empire, and to this day these are the ones who identify themselves as Jews and Israelites in these “gentile” nations where they were taken in 70 AD, before some of them started migrating back to the modern nation of Israel today after World War One. Then point and the inescapable conclusion here that Mr. Pack makes is that the modern day Israelites living in Israel today are all descendants of Judah and Benjamin only, as the other ten northern tribes had lost their identity and today they believe that they are gentiles non israelis and non jews, therefore they did not migrate back to Israel in modern times. What do you think, is this all true ???
Eagerly awaiting for you detailed response,
Calgary,  Alberta

    First of all are there any other sources that supports Mr. Pack’s story? Secondly according with the New Testament, there is no more jew or gentile and all the people were forgiven by the blood of Christ; so why the need to punish the ten tribes. Are G-d and His son on the same page? Third reason  why this sounds like a story is the tribe of Levi. The Levites were given no land, so they were dispersed among the other tribes. When the 10 tribes were taken in captivity, so were the levites among them. A random genetic testing of the white Europeans compered to known Levites of today should be sufficient to rule out this story. We do know these days who is a levite, they still have explicit privileges in the liturgical program’s in the synagogues. ‘Live Long and Prosper’ is not a Star Trek expression, it is the blessing said by the levites over the people annually.  Incidentally, if i am not wrong, Leonard Nimoy, is a levite. There is a current movement in the Protestant camp to move closer towards their roots, Judaism. Before this movement the idea was that the church replaced the Chosen People, a subtle form of antisemitism that originated in the begging of the church and is responsible for much of the Jewish blood shed in the last 2000 years. So when a religion employs the Replacement Theology we are in the presence of hidden feelings. So get familiar with the Replacement Theology and compare it to Mr’s Pack’s theology. What may be the reason behind it? 

    “What do you think, is this all true ???” No, none of it is true.

True, we’re not going anywhere. And we’re content with our non-binary selves. Nice to be acknowledged though!

Jacob Arnon says:

Children of intermarried Jews may claim to be both Jewish and non Jewish, but if history is the guide their children and grandchildren will not make the same claims. Most will identify themselves as non Jews, especially if there is a rise in antisemitism which is something that can never be ruled out. 

tlacour_1 says:

What does intermarrage have to do religion? Are there any “half Muslims” or “half Christians”? There is no such thing as a Jew by blood or genetics.

GuestOfGuests says:

“There is no such thing as a Jew by blood or genetics”

Wrong, refer to Behar et al, Bray et al and Atzmon et al’s autosomal studies.


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The Rise Of The “Partially Jewish”

Survey shows more Jews have “unconventional identity configurations”

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