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DSeid
01-08-2004, 11:57 AM
In another thread (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=232637) we explored how group identities form in America using Black/White as a first case study. The general issues are ones of detrmining how: others determine how to identify us; how we identify ourselves to others; how we self-identify privately; all according to various, occassionally conflicting factors, including bloodline, external features, and cultural attributes. In that thread a strong argument was made that for Black/White identification it is, well, black and white - a remnent of the old "one-drop" rule. If you have any combination of any "significant" bloodline to African ancestry and any external appearence at all of that descent, then you will be identified as Black by others, and since such an external identification is so influential on how you are treated in this country, then your public (political) self-identification almost must be "Black" as well. Private identification was of little interest to most posters in that thread. Any additional comments about Black/White are invited to that thread.

Here I would like to continue the general theme here with thequestion of "who is a Jew?" This question has different answers depending on who you speak with. Is it bloodline, cultural identity or religious only and does it change for which face we are talking about (externally imposed, self-identified public, and private internal)? I am most interested in those cases at the edges. My Chinese adopted daughter, converted according to Conservative guidelines but will deal with having her Jewish identity questioned along the way. A writer interviewed today on the radio whose mother was Jewish, father arrested for collaberating with the Nazis, raised Dutch during WWII by his Dad. Thank you.

Eve
01-08-2004, 12:10 PM
The rule in our family always was, "if you're Jewish enough for Hitler to kill, you're a Jew."

So even though I'm an atheist, I'm still a "Jew."

Mehitabel
01-08-2004, 12:27 PM
Maybe it should be like being an American citizen--if you have Jewish heritage and fit the rules of being considered Jewish by other Jews, you're Jewish even if you scarf down the bacon cheeseburgers, unless and until you get baptized or whatever in another faith?

Palo Verde
01-08-2004, 02:35 PM
I heard and interesting question related to this matter. If Gen. Clark gets elected president, would he be the first Jewish president?

As I understand the story, his father was Jewish and his moth was not. His father died when he was about 4 and his mom remarried a Baptist. He was raised Baptist.

So biologically he's half Jewish, but he wasn't raised in the culture and doesn't practice Judaism.

So, would he be the first Jewish President?

grimpixie
01-08-2004, 02:58 PM
Religious-wise, you are considered Jewish if your mother was Jewish.

Culturally, much more difficult to acertain - could it be as simple as if you consider yourself to be Jewish?

Grim

Eve
01-08-2004, 03:32 PM
Originally posted by autz
So biologically he's half Jewish . . .

There is no such thing as "biologically Jewish."

John Mace
01-08-2004, 03:40 PM
From the OP:
This question has different answers depending on who you speak with.
That about sums it up as best as anyone is going to in this thread.

Abbynormalguy
01-08-2004, 03:59 PM
Being someone who is currently researching Jewish history in America, this is an interesting subject to me.

According to halachah , one is a Jew if his/her mother is Jewish (one of the few, if not only, faith that has matrilineal descent).

Yet, in America, it becomes a much more difficult situation to describe...especially with intermarriages.

The Reform "Movement" says that even if the mother is not Jewish, if 1) at least one parent is Jewish and 2) the child is raised a Jew, then he/she is Jewish. The Conservative, Orthodox, Sephardic, etc. communities do not support this idea. But just because the others disagree with an opinion, does that make the opinion in question invalid?

Following this line, many Orthodox Jews claim that Reform Judaism is not a "real" Judaism. I would pose the question: who are we to decide whether a person is or is not a "real" Jew just because they are Ortho. or Reform? According to Orthodox belief, a non-observant person who was raised Ortho. is "more" of a Jew than an observant Reform one. (And I may as well say it here...I was raised Reform, but I do not any longer associate with it; I'm more of a conservative Jew, leaning towards Orthodox). I personally think that all this bickering about which Movement is "proper" Judaism and whatnot is absolutely absurd. It's for this reason that I like the Sephardic ideas: some are more observant, some are less observant, some are secular, but they all consider themselves as "Jews" plain and simple. None of this "well, I'm Reconstructionist" or "I'm conservadox." It's simply "I'm a Jew."

Why can't we all just get along?

plnnr
01-08-2004, 04:10 PM
A few days ago I heard a radio report that used the term "Jewish race."

Are the Jews generally considered a separate race from an anthropological viewpoint? Are there other races that are defined by their religious practices?

Eve
01-08-2004, 04:49 PM
Originally posted by plnnr
A few days ago I heard a radio report that used the term "Jewish race."

Good lord, someone still uses that phrase? What station were you listening to, WKKK?

Malthus
01-08-2004, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by plnnr
A few days ago I heard a radio report that used the term "Jewish race."

Are the Jews generally considered a separate race from an anthropological viewpoint? Are there other races that are defined by their religious practices?

From an anthropological standpoint, there are no "races" of people, only different characteristics which some find important for social reasons (such as skin colour).

Some people may be genetically closer than others (i.e., share a common ancestor closer in time), but skin colour and other characteristics are a poor indicator of this. Indeed, it is only determinable by DNA studies.

Jews are not necessarially biologically closer to each other than to non-Jews, and they don't share external characteristics such as colour in common; nor is there such a thing, from an anthropological POV, as a biological "race" of people in the first place.

Rather, Jews are an ethnic group that happens also to be a religion. They are an ethnicity for the same reason other ethnicities exist - because they think they are one; and so do others. To Jews, the quality of "being Jewish", while it no-where appears in their genetic make-up as a definable characteristic, is socially important, just as the (equally arbitrary) quality of having dark skin is important for social reasons to others - thus creating the "Black" ethnicity.

In summary, "ethnicity" is defined by people depending on what they find important: it may be based on objective physical characteristics (such as dark skin), but it is not objective in and of itself.

Judaism is an odd ethnicity, as it is also the name of a religion. As a generalization, the quality of "being Jewish" is considered by many Jews to be more important for self-identity than (say) skin colour (although there are all sorts of subdivisions within Judaism itself).

kelly5078
01-08-2004, 07:17 PM
From Abbynormalguy
Following this line, many Orthodox Jews claim that Reform Judaism is not a "real" Judaism.

This is true (depending on how you define "real"), but I don't know any Orthodox who would dispute that the Reform are Jews. Unless, that is, the person is a convert. Who accepts what conversion can get pretty tangled, although the rule of thumb is that the branch that did the conversion, or ones more liberal, will accept the conversion, while more conservative branches won't.

But then you get into the point, earlier alluded to, that the Reform will accept a person as Jewish if they have a Jewish father, at least if they do something to assert their Jewishness before bar/bat mitzvah age.

I personally like Eve's definition, though.

Abbynormalguy
01-08-2004, 11:11 PM
Kelly, I agree with you wholeheartedly as far as describing what the situation is ...however, I'd personally like to see it exist otherwise (hence my little plug about sephardic culture above). For what it's worth, all of these different "movements" have their origins in Ashkenazi culture. In Sephardic culture, you don't see any of this. You are not a "reformed" Jew or a "conservative" Jew or anything like that...you just simply ARE a Jew.

Here's another thing that has always kinda irked me about the non-acceptance of other "Movements"...one of the central aspects of Judaism is that there really isn't any one interpretation of what is Judaism. There are standards (like the Shulchan Aruch) and whatnot, but they are all entirely man-made...except for perhaps Torah itself. All of these man-made standards are interpretations based upon Torah and the subsequent texts. Certainly, there can be schools of thought (I'm failing to remember Rabbi Hillel's "competitor" in the area of schools of thought)...but even in the ancient days, there were differing schools of thought, but both schools acknowledged that the other was valid; they just had a disagreement about their approach to the Law, etc.

Judaism was built around differing opinions, and it's for that very reason why I find the Orthodox rejection of non-Orthodox "Movements" to be absurd. At the same time, though, I wouldn't be given the light of day, as I'm not Orthodox myself. It's a vicious cycle, ain't it?

DSeid
01-08-2004, 11:56 PM
Eve, you do see your self-contradiction?

For your self-identification you used the negative definition of others (Hitler) ... the Jewish equivilent of the "one-drop" rule ... but then dismiss biological heritage as being relevant to identification. (It also must be noted that it is not only Jew-haters who buy into the biologically Jewish myth; my own father, May He Rest In Peace, loved to play the Who's A Famous Jew game, and would take full credit with pride of the Grand Mishpacha for someone having a Jewish father but raised Christian as being a Jew anyway)

So let us use you as a case example. Atheism, shmatheism. I was an atheist for a large portion of my adult life and still felt myself to be religious, I just felt that Torah stories were stories to make points that told greater truths and that the religion's value were in the ethics and complexities that the stories were really about. I am no more or less religious now that I have become a soft theist. I am still faairly unobservant even though I always saw the value of ritual even as an atheist. I presume that you also consider yourself arelgious. So are you "a Jew" because some Jew hater might declare you a Jew on the basis of some definition of a Jewish race ... which you disavow ... but still defacto declaring yourself Jewish on the basis of biology? Or because your were raised in a Jewish family amidst Jewish culture of some form? Clearly the religious rules of who is a Jew, whether they be Reform or Orthodox, are not the critical factor to your self-identity as an areligious woman. And given your areligiousity, does your self-identity as a Jew have a role of any significance in your private self conceptualization? If so, why?

Malthus, how does your ethnic group identification fit in my daughter to the mix? Or the Bene Yisrael of India? Or Ethiopian Jews? and so on. Are they all one ethnicity because they/we declare it to be so? Even though their versions of the faith differ substantially and their looks and cultures do as well? I think that you would say so, and if so I would suggest a substitution of the word "tribe" as catching the flavor better.

Abbynormalguy
01-09-2004, 12:06 AM
As far as the ethnicity schtick goes, here's my take.

First we've already established that "race" per se is a construct completely made up by man and rejected from any and all scientific arenas (except for those run by Klansmen and Neo-Nazis and the like, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms)

Ethnicity is also a completely human construct, yet for whatever reason, it is more accepted in the social sciences. (as to why? I don't know)

Now, getting to Jews as an ethnicity...we may see drastic differences between the Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Indian Benei Yisroyael and the Ethiopian Jews. However, to the public at large, it's tomato-tomahto. To illustrate, in America, we generally classify anyone from the Indian subcontinent to be of the "Indian" ethnicity. However, in India, it is much more complex...and I'm not even talking about the "outlawed" caste system.

There are distinct differences between the Indians of Bengal and the Indians of Punjab and the Gujarati Indians as well (just to name the three Indian ethnicities that I've come into contact with at my university). To them, each group is a separate entity, yet at the same time, they have some common bond that classifies them all as "Indian."

To make another illustration, think about Americans. We have Texans, New Yahkahs, Suthenahs and the like. You bring someone from Austin, someone from the Bronx and someone from Biloxy, Mississippi into one room, and tell them to discuss their differences, they are all like night and day, yet at the same time, they are all Ameicans.

Why can it not be the same with the different "flavors" of Jews?

kelly5078
01-09-2004, 12:15 AM
I admit to not knowing much about the Sephardis, so I'll stick with writing about the Ashkenazi.

The split does seem somewhat more severe now, but I think that maybe too much is being made of it. I don't think there's usually any particular rancor involved (though there are exceptions); it's more an attitude of "you're not doing it right." There's a lot of truth to the old joke that Judaism is more a family quarrel than a religion.

Also, up until the 19th century, there wasn't too much variability in Jewish observance. It was only when the Reform movement was launched that the idea that many mitzvot could be bypassed gained currency. In earlier times, there may have been differences in how to interpret a mitzvah, but the value of the mitzvah was not in question (although some, like temple stuff, had become inapplicable, and some embarrassing stuff was quietly overlooked).

BTW, you're thinking of Shammai.

DSeid
01-09-2004, 08:30 AM
As to the slight hijack ...

There once was this Jewish guy, Sidney, who got stranded on an island. Years later he was rescued. Before leaving he had to show his rescuers around - he was proud of what he had built! "Here's the Temple, here's the infirmary, here's the butchering facility, here's the farm, here's the Temple ...", "Hey!" interupted one of his rescuers, "didn't you already show us a Temple?" "Yes," Sidney answered, "this is the one I don't go to."

Anyway, most Orthodox would still recognize me, the nonobservant secularized gnome, as a Jew, but might have a problem with my daughter (the one adopted from China). But neither would they have approved of her converting at an Orthodox Mikveh, since we do not live an Orthodox life. In many areas where diverse Jewish faces are seen, she will have no problem being seen as a Jew by other Jews, but in some locales her identity will be questioned by Jews because she does not fit their external expectations. Would Hitler consider her a Jew?

Darph
01-09-2004, 08:34 AM
Originally posted by Eve
There is no such thing as "biologically Jewish."

In Israel You are only jewish if your mother is a Jew.

In Nazi Germany you are jewish if you practice judaism, Or if you have more than 1 jewish grandparent(or display jewish prominence in apperance.


Whoever said there is no such thing as a biological Jew,must not beleive there is such a thing as a biological bosnian, german,Englishman,Chinaman..ect. Remember..Israel was a nation once upon a time,with their own bloodlines..some of them very famous..the Levites, They make more than just great pants, They made king David, and Jesus.

DSeid
01-09-2004, 08:36 AM
Oh and Abby, I agree. I still like "tribe" better, with its implication of a group bound by a variety of conventions, mainly just because ethnicity has a different flavor to me, but that's just me.

Darph
01-09-2004, 08:36 AM
Also - the the orthidox jew,if you are born of a jewish mother you are a jew no matter what. If you become a christian, you are a "messiahanic jew" Remember..afterwall Christanity and Islam are both a seperate branch of Judaism,they all use the old testament as their root. :-)

Darph
01-09-2004, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by Malthus
From an anthropological standpoint, there are no "races" of people, only different characteristics which some find important for social reasons (such as skin colour).


Youre arguing against yourself, If there are no "races" of humans,what are there "Races" of?

What is the definition of the word "race"? There is obviously undeniable cultural,biological and religious differences between many people of the world, and thus we have designated ourselves as different "races". Its pointless to argue otherwise,because doing so completely mutes the meaning of the word "Race" other than a competition of speed and endurance. :-)

plnnr
01-09-2004, 08:42 AM
Originally posted by Eve
Good lord, someone still uses that phrase? What station were you listening to, WKKK?

Nope. Someone used the term in an NPR report (I don't recall the context).

Malthus
01-09-2004, 09:45 AM
Originally posted by DSeid
Malthus, how does your ethnic group identification fit in my daughter to the mix? Or the Bene Yisrael of India? Or Ethiopian Jews? and so on. Are they all one ethnicity because they/we declare it to be so? Even though their versions of the faith differ substantially and their looks and cultures do as well? I think that you would say so, and if so I would suggest a substitution of the word "tribe" as catching the flavor better.

I would indeed say so.

Malthus
01-09-2004, 09:48 AM
Originally posted by Darph
In Israel You are only jewish if your mother is a Jew.

In Nazi Germany you are jewish if you practice judaism, Or if you have more than 1 jewish grandparent(or display jewish prominence in apperance.


Whoever said there is no such thing as a biological Jew,must not beleive there is such a thing as a biological bosnian, german,Englishman,Chinaman..ect. Remember..Israel was a nation once upon a time,with their own bloodlines..some of them very famous..the Levites, They make more than just great pants, They made king David, and Jesus.

I agree. There is no such thing as a biological Englishman, Chinaman, etc.

I thought I made that quite clear. All of these terms are invented distinctions, many of them quite receint in origin, which people find important for their own reasons.

Malthus
01-09-2004, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by Darph
Youre arguing against yourself, If there are no "races" of humans,what are there "Races" of?

Non-human animals?

Originally posted by Darph
What is the definition of the word "race"? There is obviously undeniable cultural,biological and religious differences between many people of the world, and thus we have designated ourselves as different "races". Its pointless to argue otherwise,because doing so completely mutes the meaning of the word "Race" other than a competition of speed and endurance. :-)

Yes, there are cultural and biological differences between people. The decision of which of these differences is important for self-identity and which are not is entirely subjective.

The term "race" implies a biological inevitability about this process which by no means exists. The term gained currency during the 19th century, when attempts were made to "scientifically" classify people into four or five "races". These attempts had little to do with science and much to do with how 19th century Europeans perceived the world and their place in it. For example, one of the main purposes of this classification was to determine the immutable characteristics of each "race", which just so happened to scientifically prove that Europeans were superior in every way to others.

This 19th century viewpoint is of little use these days, and so this method of classifying people has fallen out of favour among many anthropologists.

Instead of "race", it is preferable to think of "ethnicities", which emphasizes the subjective element of their composition over the objective, biological one.

Darph
01-09-2004, 09:59 AM
Originally posted by Malthus
I agree. There is no such thing as a biological Englishman, Chinaman, etc.

I thought I made that quite clear. All of these terms are invented distinctions, many of them quite receint in origin, which people find important for their own reasons.

Well Race is a word. Used to describe our differences, if this isnt valid,then what is? Do we have to seperately list all of our differences now on a checksheet?

Whats not an invented distinction? Is German shepard not different than a Doverman Is this a "made up distinction that has no scientific basis" too??

They ARE all *dogs* who can interbreed right? I think our anti racist furor is a little over the edge when we deny the differences that make us stand out as individual races.

Do you see what i'm saying? You can't say that "Race" is a made up thing for humans only, when it clearly applies to the animal world as well.

Darph
01-09-2004, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by Malthus
Non-human animals?

Instead of "race", it is preferable to think of "ethnicities", which emphasizes the subjective element of their composition over the objective, biological one.

No, ethnicities are subcatagories,often discribed generally as a nationality and even more generally as a race

A Mccloud is an ethnicity, "Scottsman" his nationality,Caucasian his race. Race is a much broader term used to identify A scottsman with an Englishman with a German,realising we all came from the Caucase Valley,and are still blood relatives.

Race identification is about unity with those who accept and need unity,and division with those who want division.

Now..racial intermixing is about unification.

Malthus
01-09-2004, 10:08 AM
Originally posted by Darph
Well Race is a word. Used to describe our differences, if this isnt valid,then what is? Do we have to seperately list all of our differences now on a checksheet?

Whats not an invented distinction? Is German shepard not different than a Doverman Is this a "made up distinction that has no scientific basis" too??

They ARE all *dogs* who can interbreed right? I think our anti racist furor is a little over the edge when we deny the differences that make us stand out as individual races.

Do you see what i'm saying? You can't say that "Race" is a made up thing for humans only, when it clearly applies to the animal world as well.

*Sigh*

Take your example of an "Englishman". Are you saying that the English "race" is as biologically different from the German "race" as a Pekinese is from a doberman? [Or indeed that they are biologically different at all?]

There are undoubtedly biological differences between *some* groups. Many Africans have dark skin, for example. What makes this biological difference important?

To give an example relevant to this thread, there are Jews from Ethiopia who have black skin, like other Ethiopians. I think they are called "Falashas", but am not sure.

Depending on context, what is important to their identity according to others *may* be their skin colour, or *may* be their Jewishness. If one moves to America, he or she will be considered (by others) as belonging to the "Black Race". If one moves to Israel, he or she will be considered to be "Jewish".

Malthus
01-09-2004, 10:15 AM
Originally posted by Darph
No, ethnicities are subcatagories,often discribed generally as a nationality and even more generally as a race

A Mccloud is an ethnicity, "Scottsman" his nationality,Caucasian his race. Race is a much broader term used to identify A scottsman with an Englishman with a German,realising we all came from the Caucase Valley,and are still blood relatives.

Race identification is about unity with those who accept and need unity,and division with those who want division.

Now..racial intermixing is about unification.

Unfortunately, your category of "caucasian" category is just about meaningless in objective terms. All it means is "colour of skin", and indicates that the person using the term finds this a relevant characteristic for organizing people.

A nationality may also be an ethicity (indeed, you yourself used the term as such in your "Englishman, Chinaman" example) - or it may not. It depends on whether people self-identify with the nation or not. In some cases they do - as in "I am Scottish"; in some cases they don't - "I am African-American".

kelly5078
01-09-2004, 10:32 AM
From Darph
Do you see what i'm saying? You can't say that "Race" is a made up thing for humans only, when it clearly applies to the animal world as well.
All words are made up things for humans only. "Race" is a word meant to describe differences among humans, and I don't think there's much question that differences exist. The question is whether "race" is a useful word in that regard. I tend to think it isn't, because it has become politically and emotionally charged to the extent that it's lost any descriptive power it might have once possessed. And, as others have said, it may not have ever described anything worth describing.

Dogs, BTW, don't seem to notice their differences in breeding. If it smells like a dog, it's a dog.

DSeid
01-09-2004, 12:04 PM
Oh crap. Not a race hijack.

Look Darph, you are new here and haven't been through the many threads on this. You are welcome to search the archives or to open up a new thread on it. In short you will read the response that "race" is a word with lots of baggage and implications mostly bad that captures neither the meaning of how we divide ourselves up sociologically by external features and habits (for which "ethnicity" is often a better concept) or provides any utility to the biological study of groups of people (for which the more flexible concepts of "populations and subpopulations" are more salient.) But can we avoid making this thread into that discussion please?

Darph
01-09-2004, 01:35 PM
"Unfortunately, your category of "caucasian" category is just about meaningless in objective terms. All it means is "colour of skin", and indicates that the person using the term finds this a relevant characteristic for organizing people.
"

Wow..You think the only difference between blacks and whites are skin color? You must not study biology or Art sir.(Art is the main reason i got into looking closely at peoples differences.)


Theres a LOT of differences, Size for one, Muscle density, The shape of ones hands and feet, and knuckles, How about that thing called a NOSE? Eye color? The way the face is Made up,The brow,facial hair,cheek bones, ear size,Chin, the shape of the skull..lips,hair anyone?

You can even go to a lower level.. Sickle cells , Fast Twitch muscle fiber density (white people have slow twitch as the majority,why do you think no white guy can run the 100meter dash in under 10 seconds?) . The amount of Oxygen the blood can hold per quota,the Density of bones. There are probably thousands of differences. To ignore them is just bad biology man!

As a society we are too cowardly to admin there are more differences than just skin color in the different races, because we are afraid of the racist witch hunt, Its a fanatical beleif that may be good for brain washing people into accepting each other in the short term, but very very very very very bad in the long term,because it takes away from individuality over the long run.

Why are you scared to look at these? Are you afraid people will call you a racist? A true scientist would screw the political hang ups and look at the truth. We are as different as any other species of mammal :-) . If you had a breed of short stocky dogs with kinky hair and smooshed facial structor (like a kinky bulldog) and one with long limbs and long face,different eye and hair color- doesnt share some diseases as the other,is it the same thing? A dog? Or are you scientific minded enough to classify it by its many differences. It doesnt seem like you are. :-)

DSeid
01-09-2004, 01:52 PM
Please? (he says seeing the trainwreck approach and with no hope of avoiding it.)

DSeid
01-09-2004, 01:59 PM
Look. I'll even link you to place where you can discuss it to your heart's content!
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=234127

Bring it there. Okay?

kelly5078
01-09-2004, 02:58 PM
Well, I won't follow Darph down that rathole anymore, if that helps.

But I think the question of who is a Jew has been answered. For the most part Jews are self-defining, and it really isn't anyone else's call. The only time this isn't true is when some idiot decides Jews are a race, in which case some ad-hoc definition is made up. But that brings us back to the rathole.

Jews don't have any problem figuring out who is and is not Jewish, except when conversion or the idea of Jewishness through the father is claimed. But Jews, unlike Christians, are not in the business of conversion. You go to the Jews, they don't come to you. There's nothing stopping a person from converting Orthodox if he/she chooses, except that they are required to buy into Orthodoxy. Not an unreasonable requirement, I think.

kelly5078
01-09-2004, 03:01 PM
Finishing the thought, if you convert to Orthodox, no Jew will question your Jewishness. If you convert Conservative, like I did, or reform, well, buyer beware.

Palo Verde
01-09-2004, 03:15 PM
Soooooooo... if Clark were elected, would he be the first Jewish president, or not?

kelly5078
01-09-2004, 03:24 PM
Not.

Abbynormalguy
01-10-2004, 12:31 AM
Ideas like race and ethnicity have no natural science standing (in today's world, at least).

Sociologists use "race" and/or "ethnicity" as a means of classifying people for demographic purposes. For example, when they cite a stat saying that a certain percentage of African-American people <insert quality here>, they are not implying that African-American people are genetically predisposed to do said quality. It's just showing that a certain segment of the population that has a similar background (having their origins traceable back to slaves from Africa, primarily) also has a certain quality. There is nothing "biological" about it.

DSeid
01-10-2004, 08:52 AM
Back to the thread. I'll expand to outside of "in America"

Here are a few situations (source book "Fragile Branches" by James Ross), please comment on each:

"Crypto-Jews." Individuals whose heritage includes a direct bloodline (unable to document if entirely maternal) to Jews who hid their Jewishness from the Inquisition and whose families have some cultural traditions that clearly are of Jewish origin. Many of us are aware of the "Marranos" in Mexico but in Brazil alone there may be 15 million people who descend from Iberian exiles. If/when these individual's embrace Judaism should they be embraced? Rabbis usually weon't without formal conversion. They are shunned by other Jewish communities.

Africans who claim ancient ties to the Judaism. The Lemba who have some gentic evidence on the Y chromosome of common genetic heritage with the bulk of other Jewish populations. Ethiopian Jews, who claim descent from the lost tribe of Dan, but who more likely were Ethiopian Christians who formed a sect based on the Hebrew Bible about 500 years ago (and have been accepted in Israel although subject to significant discrimination). The Abayudaya, who claim no bloodline link and whose evangelical embrace of Judaism dates back roughly 100 years of practice.

Others as well, in India several groups with varyingly well believed bloodline claims, who practice some very traditional beleifs. Do they need to convert before being acccepted as Jewish? They believe they already are. If they were still around Jews in China who apparently migrated there about a thousand years ago and intermarried but kept up traditions until several decades ago. Communities across the world that identify themselves as Jews, often facing great difficulties in the process. Are they Jews to you? If you are Jewish, do you feel a kinship with them? Would that sense be stronger if you knew they had bloodline connections? If they looked like you? Is it stronger because they are oppressed by virtue of their choice to call themselves Jewish?

And Eve, I'd still like to hear your answers from before if you stop back.