For this year's minyan we are focusing on Jewish identity and engagement. In our second meeting we dug into the data from chapter three of the PEW 2013 study http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/. Chapter three focuses on Jewish identity.
Here are a few questions that bubbled up from our conversation:
1) How do we define being Jewish? Is believing in Jesus crossing that line? Are their belief requirements? If you lead an ethical life but don't do Jewish rituals are you living a Jewish life?
2) Is Judaism primarily a religion, an ethnicity, a culture? If most Jewish Americans believe that Judaism is mainly a matter of ancestry or culture, why do we frame it in terms of religious affiliation?
3) What are the top things that define people's Jewish identities? In the Pew study they were asked whether certain items were essential, but we wonder if asking people to rank the list would illuminate Jewish identity in a different way?
Have any thoughts? Comment!