So this is a bit complicated and I guess unusual, didn’t really find anything about this on the internet but I am trying to reconnect with my ancestry.
So I actually grew up in Europe but my parents are Palestinian. Paternally, my family is aware of significant Jewish ancestry. But not in the traditional style, as in “we know that person X and Y was Jewish” but rather in the entire village knew their ancestors were Jewish. The “common story” know is that at some point they converted to another religion although kept some of the traditions. For example some people used to keep the Shabbat (and apparently some still do, although they won’t make it public for obvious reasons) while the older graves have these candle boxes (sorry, I am not sure what they’re called). It is unfortunate that this village didn’t really have any proper records. Those that existed within the Ottoman period aren’t with the village, and who knows who actually has them. Even if they were found, with the way names and especially last names were commonly changed it would be difficult to gather any meaningful information. Either way we know that the majority of the village was Jewish at some point. I have also taken a DNA test and got a high percentage of Mizrahi Jewish ancestry but these are often inaccurate and at best only hint towards actual ancestry (and I should know that, given I am a geneticist). I am unsure of the maternal lineage because their village records all disappeared and I haven’t had the time yet to properly investigate. It’s difficult to do if you’re like me and speak neither Arabic nor Hebrew, nor live there, but so far I know that at least one person in this village 4 generations ago was Jewish, and there was a lot of intermixing but that’s all I know thus far.
So I know I have at least some direct Jewish ancestry, I am not religiously Jewish and I know that Orthodox Judaism doesn’t accept patrilineal lineage either way. But Reform Judaism does and secular Jews often continue this lineage by calling themselves cultural or ethnic Jews. I am not ethnically Jewish in the way people would expect. The reason I am asking is because I don’t want to be offensive to Jews or claim something I have no right to claim as people usually understand this in terms of the most popular viewpoints. Obviously, I also don’t want to fuel any further antisemitism by random people to which I wouldn’t know how to respond to.