Over a month ago now (yikes), I got the following question.
My father comes from a very long heritage of Jews, originally from Germany, Hungary and originally the Ural mountains. My entire family line from my father’s side were Ashkenazi Jews, many who perished in the second world war or who live in central and eastern Europe today.
My question is, am I considered Jewish to other Jews? I have dark curly hair, a “jewish” nose, high IQ like my father and all other stereotypical/non-stereotypical Jewish traits. As far as genetics go, my genes are 50% my father’s which were pure Ashkenazi (I have a somewhat complete family tree thanks to my Hungarian uncle but it is of course hard to trace family lines due to the war..).
However, according to Judaism I am not Jewish because my mother is not. This presents a problem since most people identify me as a Jew but according to Judaism I am not. The Ashkenazi’s are a people as far as I am concerned and evolution doesn’t discriminate; 50% of who I am genetically has been passed down from countless Ashkenazi Jews.
Am I Jewish by blood but not by faith? Or what gives/goes? I am not religious for the record, my father was atheist/Christian for a limited time, but nonetheless very much Jewish by blood.
This is my first time reaching out like this and asking, thanks for the site.
Well a short answer would be to say you are not Jewish as your mother isn’t but different groups of Judaism will see you as a Jew, others will not. I would say do not let it bother you and although the term is not correct and doesn’t make sense, if anyone asks just call yourself half Jewish (Judaism is a culture as much as a religion).
However that said if you want to be Jewish then go ahead and convert if it is right to you. Do not feel pressured to convert simply because others are calling you Jewish.
Kyle ben Avraham Avinu (קייל בן אברהם אבינו) (2013) Am I Jewish. [online] Ask a Jew. Available at: https://askajew.co.uk/question/am-i-jewish/ [Accessed 06 Dec 2023]