Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin?
People from Iran who've immirgated to the U.S. call themselves Iranian-American (not Muslims). Chinese who've immirgrated to U.S. call themselves Chinese-American (not Buddhists). Irish who've immirgrated to U.S. call themselves Irish American (not Catholics). Why don't Israelis who immirgrate to the U.S. call themselves Israeli-American? They always refer to themselves as Jews.

Does that mean they are more religous than other religions? If so, why do the non-practicing Jews in the U.S. still call themselves Jews? Why?
Are Israelis who've immigrated to the U.S. uncomfortable with identifying with Israel?
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Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin? People from Iran who've immirgated to ... in the U.S. still call themselves Jews? Why? Are Israelis who've immigrated to the U.S. uncomfortable with identifying with Israel?

Part of it is that a good many Jews do not come from Israel. These Jews have religious or cultural relationships with other Jews and do not necessarily relate to Israel.
My family had been Jewish and religious for generations and if people prefer to consider me Jewish, it seems OK to me, but I maintain no Jewish culture in my life and certainly have no religion. Persecuters of Jews treated it as a genetic trait and impose the label in that manner. I am neither proud of nor ashamed of my forebears. But if I am labeled as a Jew, I can accept that, even if it makes little sense to me.
Jan Sand
Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin?

As a Jew, and a non-believer at that, I can tell you I call myself one because, when the chips are down, and they come after us again, they'll certainly include me in the group, whether I'm from Israel or USA-born, atheist, Christian by choice, or Muslim
So why not make it easy for them?
Bob G
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Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin? People from Iran who've immirgated to ... in the U.S. still call themselves Jews? Why? Are Israelis who've immigrated to the U.S. uncomfortable with identifying with Israel?

1. The vast majority of Jewish-American families emigrated fromGermany, Russia, and Eastern Europe.
2. In many of these families, "Jewish" means, "My grandfatherattended synagogue regularly, much to the relief of his wife and children."
-skipka
Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin?

We do refer to ourselves by our country of origin. It's nominally Yehudah, or Judah, and "Jew" comes ultimately from the name of that kingdom. (I say "nominally" because I look a lot more like an Eastern European than a Middle Easterner.) The Biblical kingdom of Israel comprised the tribes that were "lost".
People from Iran who've immirgated to the U.S. call themselves Iranian-American (not Muslims). Chinese who've immirgrated to U.S. call themselves ... (not Catholics). Why don't Israelis who immirgrate to the U.S. call themselves Israeli-American? They always refer to themselves as Jews.

Catholic Americans of Irish descent may indeed call themselves Catholic if they're talking about religion rather than ethnicity. I've heard Israeli "yordim" (emigrants) in America called Israelis, though I don't remember what they call themselves.
Does that mean they are more religous than other religions?

No.
If so, why do the non-practicing Jews in the U.S. still call themselves Jews? Why?

Judaism was originally an ethnic religion, that is, it was only for the ethnic Jews. At one time all religions were of that type. The most populous today are Hinduism (I've read that you still can't be a Hindu unless you're of Indian descent and note the etymological connection between "Hindu" and "India") and Shintoism, and various tribal religions are also of that type. In contrast, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism originated the idea of religions that are for everybody, and Christianity and Islam have since also made a good thing of that idea. Thus we now have a distinction between ethnicity and religion.

This distinction is more recent than Judaism and still doesn't apply completely to Judaism most people who are religiously Jewish consider themselves to be ethnically Jewish. Thus we have the same word for both. When a distinction is necessary, I use the phrases in the first sentence of this paragraph.
Are Israelis who've immigrated to the U.S. uncomfortable with identifying with Israel?

Not that I know of, though such discomfort is certainly one possible reason for leaving Israel.

Jerry Friedman
Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin? People from Iran who've immirgated to ... in the U.S. still call themselves Jews? Why? Are Israelis who've immigrated to the U.S. uncomfortable with identifying with Israel?

There surely can't be many people who have emigrated from Israel to the USA. I know many Jews in the UK and have never met one who previously held Israeli citizenship, as that country was only formed in 1948.
Uri Geller lives in the UK and seems to describe himself as Israeli, but he probably retains his Israeli citizenship.

David
I say what it occurs to me to say.
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Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin? People from Iran who've immirgated to ... in the U.S. still call themselves Jews? Why? Are Israelis who've immigrated to the U.S. uncomfortable with identifying with Israel?

The Israelis I know in this country don't hesitate to refer to themselves as Israeli. My sister-in-law is married to one, and I've met several of their Israeli friends. The apartment complex we lived in in Palo Alto was probably about a third Israeli. One of the women we sublet to in the house we rented before that was an Israeli grad student. I have family that lives in Israel, and when they come here they are definitely Israelis. And when you get a feel for it, it's pretty easy to pick out the Israelis in a roomful of Jews.

All of these(1) are part of the larger Jewish community, most of whose ancestors came to the US before there was a state of Israel. My own ancestors, for example, probably hadn't been in the Middle East for upwards of a thousand years (probably more). But in Europe, their Jewish identity kept them separate from all of the countries they lived in over the centuries and made them more similar to other Jews than to non-Jews in their countries. Even most of the Israelis (my brother-in-law's family is an exception) hadn't been in Israel "all that long". Before that, they were just Jews(2).
(1) I don't think I've met any non-Jewish Israelis in this country. (I did when I visited Israel.)
(2) Okay, often "filthy Jews".

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Why do Jews refer to themselves as Jews instead of their country of origin?

As a Jew, and a non-believer at that, I can tell you I call myself one because, when the chips ... whether I'm from Israel or USA-born, atheist, Christian by choice, or Muslim So why not make it easy for them?

I agree. As a Catholic and a non-believer at that, when the chips are down and they come for us Catholics again, I want to make it easier for them.
\\P. Schultz
As a Jew, and a non-believer at that, I can ... or Muslim So why not make it easy for them?

I agree. As a Catholic and a non-believer at that, when the chips are down and they come for us Catholics again, I want to make it easier for them.

As a heretic, I'm not making it easier for anyone by standing near fire-wood.

Tony Cooper aka: tony (Email Removed)
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