Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
Are Jewish people part of an ethnicity, a race, a religion or all of the above?
Your query seeks to define what differentiates those identifiable, or identified, as Jews from others.
Different answers to this question will emanate from differing people who consider themselves, or are so considered, Jewish.
This is their common denominator, i.e. that they consider themselves Jewish and others agree with them.
Nevertheless the degree of their Jewishness is determined, as they themselves in lucid moments will usually admit, by the degree of their being a Jew by religion.
One is either born Jewish or becomes Jewish by undergoing a process determined by the Jewish Religion.
Judaism is therefore a religion membership of which is largely (but not exclusively) determined by heredity.
It also is centered around promises and obligations undertaken by an ethnic group that formed the core body of the nation.
The terms race and/or religion may be misleading in this context: "People" is preferable. The Jews are a people.
One has the American people, the French people, the German people.
These other polities are all communities centered around an original group on to which others became attached.
All members of these peoples more or less consider themselves as having a common interest with their own entity.
The interpretation as to what this interest may well differ from one to another.
Nevertheless it will be identifiable from history, present prevailing attitudes, and how others perceive them.
the Jewish Religion is what has always differentiated the Jewish People.
In recent times attempts have been made to define the Jewish People as centered around a common heritage or a shared right to live in the Land of Israel, etc.
These attempts however do not lend themselves to sufficiently precise definitions. What is more, they too are dependent on the Jewish Religion.
Being a Jew therefore means belonging to the Jewish People, with the Jewish Religion whether actively or by default, determining what that is.