“Partly Jewish”

Susan Katz Miller has recently published a book entitled Being Both, which looks at the process of raising children in interfaith families where the goal is to raise children within the faiths of both parents, rather than choosing one. Her most recent post is one of many responses to the recent Pew study on Jewish identity. She’s given the post the title, “Partly Jewish.”

This is an interesting title to me. I’m not sure how one could be anything but partly Jewish! I know, of course, what the phrase usually means: one parent is Jewish, the other not. And I understand the need for line drawing: some people have to be in, others out.

But I wish we would realize that any of us who are Jewish are inherently partly Jewish–we are never only Jews, and our families throughout history were never only Jews–and that we would put to bed the term partly–or partially–Jewish.

Only one Jewish parent? OK–do you identify as Jewish? Then I’m probably happy to call you Jewish. Wacky, that humanistic Jewish thing…