BALTIMORE JEWISH CULTURAL CHAVURAH
WHO IS A JEW?
Excerpts from the Resolution of the International Federation of Secular Humanistic Jews: Who is a Jew? After more than thirty centuries, Jews continue to debate this question.
At stake is the integrity of millions of Jews who do not find their Jewish identity in religious belief or religious practice, but who discover their Jewishness in the historic experience of the Jewish people . . .
We believe that the survival of the Jewish people depends on a broad view of Jewish identity. We welcome into the Jewish people all . . . who sincerely desire to share the Jewish experience regardless of their ancestry. We challenge the assumption that the Jews are primarily or exclusively a religious community and that religious convictions or behavior are essential to full membership in the Jewish people . . .
The authority to define "who is a Jew" belongs to all the Jewish people and cannot be usurped by any part of it . . .
In the name of the historic experience of the Jewish people, we affirm that a Jew is a person of Jewish descent or any person who declares himself to be a Jew and who identifies with the history, ethical values, culture, civilization, community, and fate of the Jewish people.