Jewish assimilation


Jewish assimilation

Jewish Assimilation is a social and religious process of loss of the Jewish identity of an individual by marriage to a spouse that is not Jewish, or the abandonment of the Jewish religion to adopt another religion which is more common, and thus more acceptable at the new habitat of that individual. In reality the act of the assimilation comprises a number of elements: the assimilator will usually relinquish the Jewish values and embrace cultural customs of nations that are not Jewish.

History

Enlightenment (Haskala)

Jewish assimilation began on an extensive scale towards the end of the 18th century. Jewish Enlightenment began in Western Europe, mainly Germany. Reasons sited for this included a hope to be better assimilated into the non-Jewish European communities, (especially in the upper classes) and an absence of a Jewish state in which they could realize their national religious identity.

First awareness

Assimilation had reached the earliest political debates in the emancipation era on whether and to what extent Jews should relinquish their right to difference in return for civic equality. Preserved within the concept are traces of the struggle between the Zionists and anti-Zionists and between the Reform Judaism and Orthodox movements over the future form of a modern and sustainable Jewish consciousness.

Halakha

According to Halakha, when a Jewish man marries a non-Jewish woman, their children are considered to be gentile. However, when a Jewish woman marries a non-Jewish man, who does not undergo conversion, their children would be considered Jewish.


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