Video interview of George Galloway with Shlomo Sand
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Generally speaking, a Jew is a person named after his/her religion called Jew-ism or Jew-dah-ism, as a Christian is named after his/her religion called Christianity. The word Jew is not found in the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek texts of the Sacred Scriptures, but in many English Bibles the word Jew has become associated with a rendering of the Latin word Judaeus, which was a translation of the Greek word Ioudaios, the Aramaic word Yahudain, and the Hebrew word Yahudah. Although not found in either the Hebrew, Aramaic or the Greek Scriptures, the word Jew is an incorrect English rendering most often translated from the Latin word Judaeus, a Latin translation of the Hebrew word Yahudah. As translated, it is referring to one of the tribes of Israel (Yisrael) named after one of the 12 sons of Jacob. The word Jews, the plural of the word Jew, is incorrectly translated most often from the word Hebrew Yahudi, descendants of the tribe named after Yahudah. It must be noted, that the letter 'J' was not in general use until after the 16th century as is now used in many English Bibles to form the incorrect Biblical word 'Jew.' In some English Bibles we have received from the translators, the word Juda. This is also an error in translation because the word derives from the Greek Iudaios, which in the English would be Judaios. Judaios was none other then a Greek pagan diety (see W.H. Roscher's lexicon of mythology).
As used in the Scriptures, the word 'Jew' is sometimes translated to refer to a Yahudain a native or inhabitant (which would include many diverse races and people groups) who were living in the region of Yahud, as the word 'American' includes many diverse peoples living in the Country called 'America'. The word most often refers to an advocate or an adherent to the religion of the Yahudi. In some cases it may refer to a literal descendant of Abraham, Issac, Jacob/Israel, one of the descent of the tribe names after Yahudah, but this would be very rare.
Modern Jews are divided into two primary groups, the Ashkenazi Khazar Jew and the Sephardim (or Sephardic Jew). There is a great difference between these groups. They are not one united people. They are divided socially, politically and racially. See Jew Ashkenazi, See Jew Sephardim.
In present day generic usage, the word Jew has no relationship to the Hebrew or the Greek translated word 'Jew' where used in the Old or New Covenant Scriptures. The word is associated primarily to one as an adherent or advocate of Jew-ism the religion of the Jews, but not through ethnics or race. Basically, a Jew is anyone who decides to call himself/herself a Jew.
Within Jewish Circles, there are two other official ways one can become a Jew. One can be born from a mother who calls herself a Jew, or one can 'convert' to become a Jew. (A convert is called a Ger which literally means stranger). Being born a Jew is pretty simple. If one's mother is Jewish (of the Jew-ism religion) then he/she is considered a Jew, if one's mother is not of the Jew-ism religion, then neither is the child officially a Jew. (It doesn't matter what race the father is).
Modern Jew-ism as a religion began about 1000 CE, and is traced to Rabbenu Gershon of Mainz, Germany, considered the 'Father' of the Ashkenazi Jews. Ashkenazi Jews constitute approximately 90% of all the worlds approximately fourteen million Jews. Modern Jew-ism is not the Scriptural worship system of the Hebrew Yahudi (of the tribe of Yahudah).
Jews do not actively encourage conversion; to a large degree they discourage it. This is the reason Jews have never had missionaries trying to convert non-Jews. They want the convert but the convert must be 100% committed to being a Jew. Discouraging conversion helps to filter out those 'lacking the proper degree' of commitment. Jew-ism is strongly Anti-Christian.
If the non-Jew still wants to become a Jew, the male is circumcised. After he is healed, he immerses himself in a mikva. A mikva is a special pool of water which is used for many religious purposes in the cult of Jew-ism. (It must be made according to very specific rules). A female convert only has to immerse herself.
The term 'Jew', has come to be used synonymous with the term 'Israel, or Israelite', however, this is error. Scriptural "Yisraelites," the collective descendants of the 12 tribes of Jacob/Israel (the Northern Kingdom) were never called Jews. Modern Jews are not of the tribe of Yahudah, and are not a part of the Yisraelites of the Scriptures. They take the name Jew because the name is in the name of their religion i.e. Jew-ism. Jews have deceived may Christians into thinking that Jew-ism is a continuance of the Scriptural worship system of Jacob/Yisrael, but it is not.
Jew-ism, (modern Jew-ism, Jew-dah-ism)
Jew-ism, is a cultic (ritual-istic) religion which originated approximately 1000 CE, and is traced to Rabbenu Gershon a Khazar/Jew of Mainz Germany through the publishing of his 'halachic creativity' (interpretation of Old Covenant laws), he thereby established the beginning of the modern cultic religion of Jew-ism. Today the religion is also greatly influenced by the Babylonian Talmud, an ancient Pagan ritual-istic system of various extreme opinions, interpretations, codes, rules, and regulations.
The modern cultic religion of Jew-ism has nothing in common with the Scriptural sacrificial worship system which was completely destroyed by Yahshua the Messiah of Yisrael in 70 CE, at the destruction of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) Herod's Edomite Temple. Yahshua then completely established the New Covenant. Christianity is the religious system of Faith which replaced the ancient Cultic (ritual-istic) sacrificial worship system of Yisrael, and the Yahudi.
A term loosely applied to anything pertaining to modern Jews. In Scripture sometimes incorrectly applied to a Yahudi, a descendant of the tribe of Yahudah. Scriptural accuracy has no bearing on the use of the modern term 'Jewish.'
Jew (a Definition from Jewish sources)
Jew - an individual who is a member of the Jewish People.
The Question of "Who is a Jew?" has arisen with particular urgency today, especially in the modern State of Israel. This is because of intense pressure from the Movements of Reform and Conservative Jewry, who feel that they have been excluded or, more precisely, that Conversions performed by their Rabbis have not been recognized by Israeli authorities. Another major factor is the immigration of hundreds of thousands of individuals from the former Soviet Union, many of whom claim that they are Jews and who were in fact persecuted in their homeland because of that identification, but who may not, according to the Halachic definition (a definition according to Jewish Law) given below, be Jewish.
According to strict Halachah, the answer to the question is clear. A Jew is someone who either … is a child of a Jewish mother or is a Convert to Judaism who, after a period of serious and verified study of the Principles of the Faith and the Laws of Judaism, has done the following:
Accepted upon Himself or Herself the "Yolk of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Yolk of G-d's Commandments" Immersed Him or Herself in a Ritual Pool of Water known as a "Mikveh," symbolizing Rebirth If a male, has undergone the Process of "Brit Milah," Circumcision.