Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former chief rabbi of the British Commonwealth, released this video on why he’s a Jew. He relates that it’s not just because of tradition, but rather because of an allegiance to a belief system of mitzvot, hopefulness for a messianic future, a loving God that we can still argue with, and resiliency. This video is well worth a watch.
I have always liked an essay written by Edmond Fleg in 1928:
I am a Jew because born of Israel and having lost it, I feel it revive within me more alive than I am myself.
I am a Jew because born of Israel and having found it again, I would have it live after me even more alive that it is within me.
I am a Jew because the faith of Israel requires no abdication of my mind.
I am a Jew because the faith of Israel asks any possible sacrifice of my soul.
I am a Jew because in all places where there are tears and suffering the Jew weeps.
I am a Jew because in every age when the cry of despair is heard the Jew hopes.
I am a Jew because the message of Israel is the most ancient and the most modern.
I am a Jew because Israel’s promise is a universal promise.
I am a Jew because for Israel the world is not finished; men will complete it.
I am a Jew because for Israel man is not yet completed; men are completing him.
I am a Jew because Israel places Man and his unity above nations and above Israel itself.
I am a Jew because above Man, the image of the Divine Unity, Israel places the unity which is divine.