Traditional rabbis teach that the rabbinic Jewish law defines the Jewish identity by the identity of family where a child is born (the rabbis are right - the stable genetic nature of the human characteristics is a scientific proof of this):
A child born to a Jewish mother or an adult who has converted to Judaism is considered a Jew; one does not have to reaffirm their Jewishness or practice any of the laws of the Torah to be Jewish.
God through the Torah adds to the Jewish identity the "Chosenness":
A member of the tribe, which was singularly chosen to enter into a covenant with God to fulfill a certain purpose on the Earth; one has to reaffirm their Jewishness by doing something along the lines of the “PURPOSE”.
What might be this purpose? The purpose can be found in the Torah, which says that God creates all humans in His image and likeness. Furthermore, the Torah presents the chief feature of “His image and likeness” that is God is the Creator! Therefore, all humans have to be creators – to continue the God’s creative work in what had been created in the Six Days of Creation.
“His image and likeness” is not what we the humans are accustomed to see or feel in our normal human lives. Therefore, everybody is entitled to his/her own image from an easy-to-imagine human-shape like-caring-father Super Power to a science-based cosmic Super Power.
Thus, the God’s purpose for all humans is to be creators and continue God’s creative work. What might be a specific purpose for the Jews the Chosen in in this creative work? If we apply the reason to understanding the Torah, we can find this specific purpose for the Jews the Chosen in the following way.
· The truly creative work that has to be present in all spheres of human activities – spiritual, economic, social, political, scientific, legislative, etc. - demands the competition to find the best “designs”.
· The best “designs” can be found only if all competing alternatives are being developed based on identical fundamental principles aimed at enhancing the common GOOD and restricting the common BAD.
· The identical fundamental principles (what is GOOD and what is BAD) are described in the Ten Commandments and the entire Torah.
· If it is so, the specific purpose for the Jews the Chosen in continuing the God’s creative work is to help the Gentiles understand these identical fundamental principles (what is GOOD and what is BAD), and in this respect the Christianity and its Christian Bible may be considered a real Jewish success story.
All that defines the Jewish identity – by God! – nowadays in the contemporary Judeo-Christian world, and that is what is missing in the traditional rabbis’ approach to defining the Jewish identity.
This purposeful mission-based Jewish identity is analyzed in the book “In search of Jewish Intellectual Identity in the Modern Judeo-Christian World” by Vladimir Minkov which can be found at amazon.com.
From the news media:
Tens of thousands of protesters took part in an anti-corruption demonstration in Tel Aviv amid the government’s efforts to push through the so-called police recommendations bill, which critics say is intended to shield Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a pair of graft probes.
The protest, which was organized by the leaders of the weekly anti-corruption demonstrations held near Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s home in Petah Tikva, was held under the banner “The March of Shame.” Turnout was far higher than at previous such protests.
We may like or dislike this story, but it is how the Jewish identity plays in the public arena in Israel and elsewhere – the corruption is a social enemy of all competing forces.
From the news media:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told advisers that non-Orthodox Jews will disappear from the United States within two generations because of assimilation and low birthrates, Israeli media has reported.
Yes, the non-Orthodox Jews may change in the future their beliefs to get closer to the beliefs of the Chosen – to join the Jewish forces searching for a common spiritual ground for all competing social forces in the USA – instead of joining one competing force as they do now.