To Be A Jew

If you ask ten Jews what it means to be a Jew, you should prepare yourself for an all-niter. For centuries now, Jews have been attempting to define and re-define the meaning. Israeli Jews say that American Jews are not real Jews. American Jews say that is nonsense, after all, if you are raised in Judaism, you are a Jew. And every Jew knows that those who claim to be Jewish, but believe in Jesus, are not Jews at all. Right? There are orthodox, ultra-orthodox, Hasidic, reformed, conservative, observant, and, of course, non-observant Jews. The majority of Israeli Jews claim to be atheist, and then there are all the other fragmented groups calling themselves Jews for one reason or the other.

Is Judaism a bloodline, or is it a religion? If Judaism is a bloodline, how do we explain black, Ethiopian Jews, pale, white-skinned, blond-haired, blue-eyed Jews and olive-skinned, brown-eyed, black-haired Jews? Some would say they are from the different tribes, but how would that be possible since all twelve tribes come from the same mother and father?

There is no clear definition of what it means to be a Jew, or is there? The word, Jew, comes from the Hebrew word, (Y’-hu-di). It is a combination of two words. The first is the shortened version of God’s proper name, i.e., (Yah). The second word is from the Hebrew word, (hud), which means doer or follower. Together the meaning becomes follower of (Yah), i.e., doer of the (To-rah). Those who live out their lives in obedience to the (To-rah) are (Y’-hu-dim) [Jews], while those who fit (To-rah) into their lives are not, regardless of their bloodline. The father of Judaism, (Av-ra-ham), wasn’t born a (Y’-hu-di) [Jew]. He was born a (Khas-dai) [Chaldean]. (Ra-khav) [Rahab] and (Rut) [Ruth] were not born (Y’-hu-dit) [Jews]. What made these (Go-yim) and their descendants (Y’-hu-dit)? They all converted from a lifestyle of disobedience to the (To-rah), i.e., sin; to a lifestyle of living according to (To-rah), i.e., righteousness.

Much Luv and Shalom,

Robert Allon