The tag currently has the description:

the monotheistic religion of the Jews.

Judaism has a several meanings:

  • a religion,
  • an ethnic group/nationality, and a
  • a culture.

You can be someone who falls into one, two or three meanings.

  • For example, converted Jews, secular Jews, Christians with a Ashkenazi genes.

The tag is also broadly in this way. Sometimes it's used for questions about purely religious matters:

Sometimes it is used for questions that relate to the Jewish nationality:

I think that the description should include something along the lines of

This tag can be used for question about the Jewish religion or the Jewish people.

And I wanted to consult about it.

  • 1
    This leads into a bigger problem which keeps miring the questions in this tag: that people don't make the distinction in the claims, leading inevitable quibbling about what was intended.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 13:32
  • Do you have any reference for "Judaism" having a widely-accepted meaning of ethnic or culture contexts? (as opposed to "jewishness")? The fact that the questions are lazily mis-tagged isn't such evidence, it's just people not tagging right.
    – user5341
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 3:50
  • @user5341 not a reference but most of my self-identifying jew friends are not religious.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 11:57
  • 1
    @Sklivvz - the point is, are they identifying specifically as belonging to Judaism and not to Jews/Jewish, which are two different terms (at least in English, there's a chance in Italian it's same word which would explain the discrepancy?). In USA, I never heard of "Judaism" term used outside religious context.
    – user5341
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 12:52

2 Answers 2


"Jewish" has several different meanings.

However "Judaism" means:

The religious doctrines and rites of the Jews, as enjoined in the laws of Moses.

The same dictionary has the traditional definition of "Jew":

noun [a contraction of Judas or Judah.] A Hebrew or Israelite.

In the United States, the Supreme Court held in Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb that Jews were considered a distinct race at the time a previous law was passed, but that Jews are no longer considered a distinct race.

So "Judaism" refers to the religion, while "Jew" and "Jewish" can refer to ethnicity.

  • 3
    +1. Questions that aren't about religion (culture, ethnicity) shouldn't have "[judaism]" tag and should simply be retagged as being tagged errorneously.
    – user5341
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 3:49
  • After thinking about it, I think that @user5341 is right in the aproach, please add this to the answer so that I could accept it and then go and untag all the falsly tagged questions.
    – SIMEL
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 23:12

I personally don't really mind, however it does make it a bit of a meta-tag. In this case it's probably appropriate as the concept itself is very fuzzy.

As long as this does not propagate to other religion tags, I'm OK with it.

  • I don't know why, but I wrote the exact opposite of what I meant in the last sentence. I've now fixed it.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Dec 16, 2016 at 12:14

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