How many different kinds of Jews exist?

By Mark S. Railey
June 22, 2021

Here is a short list of different kinds of Jews:

Ashkenazi (Israel, USA, Eastern Europe, Germany, France), Sephardi (Israel, USA, Spain, Portugal, France, South America), Mizrahi (Israel, Iran, Iraq, Middle East), Messianic Jews (Israel, USA, Europe, Eastern Europe), Beteisrael (Israel, Ethiopia), others (Uganda, Italy, India, USA, etc.).

Each group defines itself as being "true Jews." Many of the groups have several “denominations.” Additionally, there are Muslims and Christians that also consider themselves as related to Judaism, if not actually Jewish, in some way.

What does this mean? It is time to stop considering only one or two or three groups as being the whole and to understand that Judaism is actually very diverse.

But let’s take this further… are the non-religious still Jewish? Are the religious “hybrids” (lives dedicated - more or less - to Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, New Age…) still Jewish? Are ex-converts still Jewish? Are those whose ancestors were Jewish but they themselves are not, are they still Jewish? Since the whole world celebrates Shabbat for one hour every week (see the previous posting on time zones), is the whole world Jewish? When the Messiah comes, will the whole world be Jewish? If the whole world is Jewish in the future, and G-d is eternal, does that mean the whole world has always been Jewish (in G-d’s eyes)? What about the "nations," the goyim? The answer to some of these questions surely must be “No!” So, now I challenge you to test it and prove it! Warning: Handwaving and shouting will not prove your point. Still, opinions are welcome!

Hint: I believe it is time to start measuring truth and righteousness as the identifying norm for what it means to be Jewish. I also believe there are many paths to many different truths (such as faith, the Bible/Tanakh, science, philosophy, art, literature, story...) - all of these paths point to the beauty and glory of G-d. However, I believe only the Spirit of G-d can lead you to know G-d. And, that the knowledge of G-d without works of love toward G-d and your neighbor, is incomplete and thus prone to deception. What I am saying is you must both know G-d through the Torah and love G-d and your neighbor to reach the hope of salvation.

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