Recently I had a discussion with a Russian-Jewish friend about Chanukah and the history surrounding it. Yea, I know what you’re thinking… Wow gasmonso, you sure have an exciting life… but please bear with me. We talked about what Chanukah represents and so on.

The discussion then turned to Christmas and how it is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, which has a very apparent religious meaning. I pointed out that Chanukah seems to be more of a historical account of a group of people. Now here is where it got a little interesting.

Now my friend is a Russian Jew and was brought up under the Soviet system where religion and the belief in God were all but squashed. As a result, many Russian Jews don’t believe in God. But I know that according to Judaism, there is a belief in God. When I mentioned that, my friend said I understand that… however my mother was Jewish and therefore I too am Jewish.

I of course responded and said that Jews believe in God though. How could you be Jewish and not believe in God? From there it got a little hazy and we both were a little stumped.

So I pose the question to the religious collective that is Religious Freaks. Are Jews a race, a religion, or both?

If you chose to respond, please include your religion or belief system so I see how others perceive Judaism.

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