I've been hanging around for a while, and the amount of ignorance and misinformation abounding around Judaism, Jewishness (not the same thing), and Israel just astounds me.
Because we are an ethnic group that just happens to have a religion attached to it (much like the Japanese) it is entirely possible to be a Jewish atheist -- and I don't think I'm the only one here, although it seems to me that others may be unwilling to come out, because of the rampant hostility that I have seen expressed against us.
I think that this hostility comes from ex-Christians truly not understanding the difference between the definition of a Christian and a Jew, much less the profound cultural differences that exist. Americans in general, which mostly means Christians, haven't a clue about Jewish history, nor approaches to philosophy, nor how we have evolved, nor our world-view.
So I have a lot of topics in my head to write about -- but I'm also VERY interested in genuine questioning, just so some of you can understand before you attack.
Patrick - my name is spelled Steven (lol)..........
Mr. Einbein just didn't go to Israel to visit and meet some 'nice' people. He went there to please his parents and community here in America to LIVE and marry a really nice (haw) Jewish girl.
Before you can possibly understand what this man is telling the public, I suggest you read his book. That's the only way to have an intelligent discussion about what he knows is certain. I was fortunate enough for him to stumble across a few of my postings and he offered to send me a signed copy for reading. How about that!
He's not the only person I've had the wonderful fortune to get their blood boiling enough to send me some books.
My Christian missionary F/B friend of two years now sent me a book titled: "The Heavenly Man"....the story of 'Brother Yun' who is responsible for spreading Christianity throughout China. It's just another chapter to add to my knowledge of what goes on all around us. lol
All this is just way to much fun.
Sorry about the misspelling, Steven. And I'm also sorry for those Chinese being so heavily "mission-ised". I know that here in the south, Asians are a favorite target of missionary churches, and a recent post on Richard Dawkins website revealed a scam in which children from China are being proselytized through Christian universities and their families are paying through the nose for "flat-earth"educations (that's my own phrase for xtian teaching in public/private schools) for example: "Jenny is doing exceptionally well in science, but Johnny goes to a "flat-Earth" school."
I'll definitely read the book you mentioned, as liberation from religion and it's sharp and pointy talons is still one of the high points of my existence. Like I have said previously, I'm ignorant of Jewish culture inside and out-and I've never been to Isreal, so I can't exactly judge from the standpoint of direct knowledge. And I'm sure that you're right about there being a difference between living there and visiting.
My real question at this point is: Does it really differ so much from anywhere else, when it comes to "established cultures" looking their noses down on "implants" and ex-patriots? And how many cultures of Jews are there? In Isreal? In the world at large? It's hard to believe that a group of folks who number less than 15 million worldwide could have that much variation. Is the whole of Isreal one big marketplace of different Judaisms? Oy!
If they're still sending her their newsletter, then they're asking her for money! (I guess there really is ONE universal truth agreed on by all religions). I hope she isn't sending them any, because they can be relentless.
It saddens me to see Asians (the one people who are truly good at math) fall to such a sham. When I was in Honolulu, I noticed that the Mormon church owns damn near everything there. It makes me think of the phrase "the rape of paradise"-which is usually applied to the Christianization/Europization of the West Indies. Sad.
The important thing, naturally, is that her faith doesn't interfere with your relationship with her. Conversation is a vitally important part of living together and hell-only-knows my last lover who was a southern Baptist was insufferable in his condescension. I'll never try a relationship like that again. But it was definitely a learning experience.
It's good to go off topic, when you've got something to say spit it out. I like having a break from the prevailing flow of thought. Besides, the concept that religion effects us all regardless of whether or not we ourselves actually practice it IS one of the underlying ideas here.
Patrick, to answer your question about subcultures of Jews, of course they exist. How could they not, considering the world-wide dispersion of the Jewish people at the time of the Roman conquest? The differences run from the ultra-Orthodox, who are fossilized in 18th century Poland, to the Jewish community of Kaifeng, China, which, encountering no particular discrimination, has totally assimilated into the Chinese, and we only know about it from historical records, and a few photographs from around 1900 which show the last Jews of China.
Israel has taken in Jews from all over the world, with the emphasis being on persecuted communities, and the decisions on whether to admit people are made by Orthodox rabbis, who, unfortunately wield disproportionate power in a parliamentary governmental system. Thus many decisions made by the Israeli government do not necessarily reflect the real views of the majority.
But examples of people who have come to Israel are Yemenites, Ethiopians, New World Conversos (descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492 who managed to get certificates of "clean blood" in order to emigrate to Mexico, and from there to Colorado and New Mexico), Bene Israel from India, and of course, Jews from all Arab, Mediterranean, European and New World countries. Each group has brought its own customs, and foods and language, and a pressing need for the Israeli government has been Hebrew education.
It seems obvious to me, but let me point out, that these people wouldn't have come if they had felt comfortable in their countries of origin. While there ARE, of course, American Jews who have emigrated, the percentage is very small, because American Jews ARE very comfortable here and the vast majority of Jews here identify strongly as American, because it HAS been a relatively safe place to live, as opposed to the situation in most other countries in the world.
Religiously, Israeli Jews vary from the ultra-Orthodox, who tend to have a strangle-hold on much of Israeli policy, because their small, but significant numbers are often just what one party or the other needs to attain a majority in the Knesset (parliament), to liberal Jews, whose practice and beliefs are more in line with the American Reform Movement, to "cultural" Jews who speak the language, know the history, but don't really practice except that they celebrate the holidays just like "cultural" Christians here who celebrate Christmas but don't really think much about religion and don't much follow the Toraitic laws, to atheists who share much in common with atheists anywhere.
It's harder to be a "cultural" Jew or an atheist in Israel, because of the afore-mentioned stranglehold of the Orthodox rabbis -- Israel was NOT set up to be a secular democracy. In that way, Israel is identical to its Arab neighbors, who are ALSO not inclined to allow for secular, democratic government. The Middle-Eastern culture, and ethos, in which traditional Jews tend to be far more similar to their Arab cousins than to their European neighbors (family reference intentional), very much values religious law, and it's pretty much unthinkable for either group to envision a secular society. That's very much a European, enlightenment-era idea, and the US has probably taken it further than any other country on earth, although some European countries are moving in that direction.
If Israel had remained mostly Ashkenazic, and true to the values of the original pioneers, Israel might have evolved into a secular society, but the influx of Arab Jewish populations (who now make up about 50% of the Israeli Jewish population) made that pretty much impossible, because those who had lived in Arab lands, contrary to Arab myth, have a MUCH more negative view of the people they had lived among. After 1948, Jews living in Arab lands couldn't get out of there fast enough. When I was in Israel in 1965, I lived in a youth village composed almost entirely of Arab-Jewish teenagers whose families had sent them to Israel even though they couldn't come themselves, usually for financial reasons. But they wanted freedom and safety for their children. Arab Muslims weren't the only people affected by the establishment of Israel, although in an opposite way -- Arab Jews were overjoyed for the chance to live without oppression, whereas Arab Muslims either had the land sold out from under them by absentee landlords, or fled the war.
To address you question about "looking down their noses" at implants -- Jewish law says that the convert is to be treated exactly as the native born. But you can't change human nature -- there are those who distrust the motives of converts, and do not accept them, and there are those who accept them freely. You can't make any generalizations.
I hope you understand from my discussion that I am not in favor of Orthodox rule and discrimination, and that I am just as appalled by Jewish abuse of Arab human rights as any other conscientious humanist would be, but I'm trying to impart a view of the situation and the history from the Jewish viewpoint, and hoping that you realize that it is varied, and that there is much disagreement.
Oh, yeah, and your last phrase: Israel is a "marketplace" of NOTHING religiously -- a Jew is born a Jew, and there is a real and strong antipathy to conversion -- not looking down our noses, but just feeling that a person needs to be a part of his own community, and find his own way, and really doesn't need to be a member of our tribe unless he's determined, and crazy. That's the same philosophy I personally apply to my dearly beloved gay nephew -- I WANT him to find his place in the gay community, because that's who he is, he was born that way, and I would come out fighting like a tiger if anyone tried to "convert" him!
Steven, perhaps Mr. Einbein came from an ultra-Orthodox community? And went to a similar one in Israel? That is the only way I can think of for his story as represented by you to have any resemblance to reality. And it is definitely NOT representative of the VAST majority of Israelis, American Jews, or Jews of any other country.
Natalie - Perhaps this - Perhaps that - and yet you perhaps don't know the very society you say you know.
Read his book - get the facts of his story - then you can speak intelligently about it.
Some might say you don't get an accurate 'take' on Christianity by being a Catholic. Yet, knowing that story - and then investigating other Christian sects - you see the same horrific and unjustified freakin nut-jobber attitude regarding their 'take' on whom they are and whom they think 'others' are. A different route - same destination. I've found this to also be true with Muslim's - and yes, with the Jewish community.
Just because they don't all do it exactly the same way - the end is the same. They are chosen of God - and I'm certainly not. They don't need to swing chickens and be cruel to animals to act holier-than-thou - claiming they are a special genetic culture - obviously better than I for certain - it's US vs. THEM...and obviously I feel like I'm one of 'them' - not a part of that 'culture' either by unbelief or as you've so clearly stated - by my very DNA. Go figure.
Only when we, the chosen children of the great anti-god "Atheos" are delivered from all the evil believers in ridiculous myths. Why can't they all just see...?
I'm curious about the history of Israel who was involved in the decision making process around establishing a promised land. I've heard that it was England who created the problem. But after the holocaust there was a need for Jewish people to have a safe haven.
FOOD - Ok some few people hae commented on Jewish culture and FOOD.
Here is another Jewish FOOD source maybe someone would like to comment about: I'll give you the 'title' and you comment. If no one (Natalie?) knows anything about it - I'll finish it.
"THE KAPPAROT CHICKEN-SWINGING RITUAL"
Food?! Did someone say food?!!
Hey wait that's not a food tradition-that's one of those whacko animal sacrifice things! Eeeewww! Gory!
Have you ever checked out how they geld a reindeer in Scandinavia or Norway-a woman literally bites the testicles off (it's also great for ensuring a good harvest and human fertility as well). Somehow I don't think the reindeer would agree. And despite the story Death in the Afternoon, I still don't buy it that bullfights are such a beautiful and noble thing.
Yes it IS a big deal that people do horrible things to animals. Many people speak out against such rituals. Diana joined in a protest against fox-hunts much to BPC's and QE2's chagrin. And many Jews speak out against animal cruelty.
Yes and I also disapprove of all animal sacrifice (the scapegoat, for example-another Jewish tradition) or the sacrifice of chickens, goats, turtles and doves by pratitioners of Santeria-even though they also try the whole "but later we eat it for food" excuse, face it-it is just a cruel act based on superstition (and I'm not sure that most of the practitioners of either belief system really believe for a moment that anything magical or holy happens when these acts are performed).
Why can't we just shave our balls if we want to enact some ritual for good fortune-the real act of trust would be letting someone ELSE shave our balls-then we would truly feel like we were risking something-and while a successful "nut cut" wouldn't necessarily make fertility a certainty, an unsuccessful attempt could damn sure ensure the opposite. Just a thought.
OK, that is a primitive ceremony practiced by ultra-Orthodox Jews on Yom Kippur. All of your sins are said to be transferred to the chicken, and it is swung over the head 3 times while reciting a prayer, and then slaughtered and donated to the poor. There is more to it, but you can read the Wikipedia article yourself. And they spell it Kaparot, but you can spell Hebrew and Yiddish any way you want to.
Of course, this is a primitive, fossilized folk-rite -- no stranger than the ritual cannibalism of the Catholic Church, or of Hindus sacrificing a goat to Kali, or lots of other customs I don't even know about. Again, modern Jews of the non-ultra-Orthodox variety don't do this. You can compare the ultra-Orthodox to the Amish -- both groups are frozen in the past, and do things we would never consider. But don't hold the acts of this fossilized group against the Jewish community in general.
Natalie - You stated // don't hold the acts of this fossilized group against the Jewish community in general //
I don't hold every Christian sect responsible for what Catholic's do like 'exorcisim'. I don't need to because every Christian sect has their very own asswipe godly and dispickable rituals and rites.
The Kapparot Chicken Swinging Ritual is strictly 'religious'...and it's pure animal curelty. The very fact that other 'JEWS' don't step in and STOP this horrific (for the chickens) religious ritual - always in the name of GOD isn't it? No one can justify and stand by as this is done - unless they believe in some frickin God.
In the days leading up to this 'Jewish ritual' the chickens are treated poorly. The birds are crammed into crates, where they are typically kept in their own excrement, without food, water or shelter, for up to six days before the "SHULG KAPAROS" (swinging of the chickens) is performed on the eve of Yom Kippur. Animal cruelty indeed.
In 2005 and 2006 ASPCA in NYC confiscated hundreds of starving chickens abandoned in crates in a garage and a parking lot when the 'ceremony' was over. An ASPCA members interviewed said 'the chickens are brought to the slaughter in cramped cages without water in the broiling sun and half of them die on the way.'
While women and little children 'dance in the streets'.....these pitiful birds are swung around the 'practitioner's' head. Then the vocal chords are slit so the chicken cannot scream in pain, the writing birds are thrown into a plastic trash bag while still walking around looking for a way out of the bag with the head clinging to a cut throat.
The ceremony asks for a good life - while these Jews are taking the life of another creature.
I'm glad these are not 'my people' - - I reject them exactly as I've rejected Christians of all sects because each one has disgusting 'rituals' in the name of their GOD - and I will not be connected in any way to such a people.
It's good you started this thead - so that others may know 'of what they do' in the name of God. Oh don't worry - I'm certain the other Jewish 'sects' that are approved of by many - their true colors will hopefully also be shown - so that we may all see what they do in the name of God.
We've been picking on Christians for a very long time - not long enough for me - and they deserve every single second of our wrath - with a LOT more to come - but it's good to show some colors of the Jewish religion isn't it? Islam is also on my radar.