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JLeslie's avatar

If you are Jewish: does the country your family is from mean anything to you?

Asked by JLeslie (65335points) April 10th, 2022 from iPhone

How do you feel about that country? Do you identify with it at all?

Where is your family from and what country do you live in now? How many generations has your family been in the current country?

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7 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not really.

Dad’s family was from West Germany. Mother’s was from Pale of Settlement (roughly Poland, Moldova, Belarus, western Russia, etc.).

I was born in the US.

Dad’s side was German (thrown out in 1938 – just before WW2)
Mom’s side came over right around WW1.

LuckyGuy's avatar

All 4 of my grandparents came from Lithuania.
Some day I’d like to visit. But odds are, I won’t. Too much effort – and I’m too lazy.

Caravanfan's avatar

My grandfather and grandmother never identified with the nations they was from. They only spoke Yiddish and always identified with being Jewish. So, no.

Caravanfan's avatar

My mom’s side of the family was Finnish. I identify more with that nation than Belarus or Poland.

janbb's avatar

I connect with the literature and culture of the shtetl; the small towns where my grandparents came from, partly because one of my brothers is a scholar in that field. They were from the Russian Pale of Settlement where Jews were allowed to live and came to America partly to escape being pressed into the Russian Army where they would have to serve for 25 years.

I find a lot of 19th century Russian history and literature interesting but I don’t feel any connection with it or modern day Russia.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Interesting. I’m not Jewish but I’ve had a lot of Jewish friends and one wife. They almost all described their heritage as proudly Jewish and vaguely Polish/Russian/German/whatever. I never thought about how universal that is before reading the comments above.

One exception is a Mexican-American friend. Her parents left Poland to escape the Nazis. She has the strongly Jewish and vaguely Polish thing going on, but also loves her Mexican roots. I think most gringos only think of her as Mexican.

JLeslie's avatar

Thank you everyone who has answered so far. GA’s for everyone.

@Call_Me_Jay Many years ago I was talking to a Black woman I worked with and she was telling me how it bothers her that she doesn’t know her roots, her national background, doesn’t know much about her grandparents or further back, and doesn’t have traditions from her ancestry. She wanted those things not only for herself, but especially for her sons. My response was I don’t know anything about the generation before my grandparents, and I think a lot of Jews don’t. We know we were hated, many of us very poor, and we have history books to tell us what was happening in our former countries.

We do have traditions in the religion, in Judaism, but not so much with a country, it’s more regions like Eastern Europe or the Middle East, etc. She was shocked. She thought all white people know so much about their families back 10 generations and have strong identification with the specific countries before coming to America.

About your friend, if she was born and raised in Mexico her Mexican identity is very similar or the same as our American identity. My husband’s father was born and raised in Mexico and his parents were from Tel Aviv and Haifa and spoke Hebrew and Arabic in the house (In Mexico) but my FIL feels a strong identity with Mexico. My husband also was born and raised in Mexico, but he was raised Catholic and converted to Judaism when we were engaged. If I had to guess, his strongest identity is being Mexican, but now I wonder. He feels gratitude to the US, and I would say patriotism too. He’s both. I’m not sure where he would rank Judaism in that hierarchy.

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