Half Jewish, Just Jewish And The Oddities By Sarah Imhoff: Article Analysis

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Classification in Action Essay The article “Half Jewish, Just Jewish, and the Oddities of Religious Identities” written by Sarah Imhoff, Indiana University discusses how Jewish identity is not only about religion but also involves cultural, ethnic, and ancestry background. In 2013, the Pew Forum conducted a survey where they asked Jewish Americans about their religious beliefs, cultural practices, and ancestral beliefs, highlighting the many factors that contribute to Jewish identity beyond religious belief. In order to determine if the person was eligible for the survey, they did not just ask the question “Are you Jewish”, but instead asked them a range of questions regarding their religious beliefs, and ancestral background. The results …show more content…

The terms “half-Jewish” and “just-Jewish” are too simple and doesn’t fully capture the complex nature of Jewish identity. The author writes that “Jewishness is neither an either/ or proposition nor is it solely a matter of religious adherence.” Jewish identity involves a complex involvement of religion, culture, history, and family. Imhoff also examines the difficulties that arise when identifying with a religion. She goes into detail and explains that religious labels can be restrictive and often leave people out, people often use these labels to navigate different social and cultural situations. For example, people may choose to identify themselves as “half-Jewish'' or “just Jewish” depending on the audience and their surroundings. The author argues that religious identity is not fixed and unchanging, but it is flexible and changes depending on the context and individuals involved. Understanding the complexity of religious identity is very important for creating more inclusive and welcoming communities. Sarah suggests that having a more detailed understanding of religious identity can help us become more informed and respective towards the different ways people approach their religions and cultural affiliations. She says “recognizing the quirks of religious identifications can help us form communities that are more open, adaptable, and imaginative, and that can welcome and support a wide variety of religious and cultural appropriation.” Overall Sarah Imhoff’s article emphasizes the importance of recognizing the complexity of Jewish Identity and religious identification in general for building more inclusive and accepting

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