My great-grandfather was a German Jewish immigrant with the surname Landau (changed it to Landow to make it sound more WASPy I guess). He also converted the whole family to Catholicism because it was the most prominent religion in the neighborhood of New York he had moved to. My grandfather claims he was always “trying to live as normal a life as possible”. I’ve always identified as Jewish in ethnicity, as has most of my family. If you wanted to put it into percentages, I’m literally “100%” Jewish. I understand my story is similar to John Kerry’s as well.
However, the other day I was talking to an old conservative Jew at a party and he seemed to get offended when I referred to myself as a Jew. He claimed that in order to be a real Jew you have to be “religiously” Jewish as well.
Although, I’ve heard the opposite from many other Jews [you must be ethnically Jewish to be a real jew]
Plenty of Jews, if not most, identity as “secular” or “irreligious”, so what’s the difference if I was technically born a Catholic? Can I not be a Catholic Jew?
I’m interested in hearing more opinions on this from other “full” Jews.