Judaism, Jewishness and everything you were never taught in school about it.

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.

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Hi Steven,

I don't think I've heard anything anti Israel here

Me either. I can't think of anything anti-Israel here.  But I wrote what I wrote because of the following written by Natalie.

the amount of ignorance and misinformation abounding around Judaism, Jewishness (not the same thing), and Israel just astounds me.

Natalie has put no example about this ignorance. This is what got me. But she has made the post so I will go through it next week.

I happen to know a lot about the foundation of Modern Israel. And will be posting it next week. 

But I feel there is something wrong with this whole thread. Judaism and Jewishness are totally religious. Everything about the two is based solely on religion, nothing else.

 

Natalie has made the following statements:

rampant hostility that I have seen expressed against us.

it is entirely possible to be a Jewish atheist

our world-view.

Where are the examples of these points?

 

From my personal atheist perspective:

Judaism is a myth, therefore Natalie can not be Jewish.  I can never accept anybody as being Jewish. Nor can I accept anyone as being a Muslim, a Christian etc etc. In Natalie's mind she thinks she is Jewish but the reality is, she is a homosapien. Genetically only 2.7% different from a chimpanzee. Her classification as a homosapien is provable. Her classification as being Jewish is not provable.

 

Can Natalie be classified as an ethnic Semite, or an Israelite, I would say yes. This can be proven genetically. But Jewish, nobody can be proven to be genetically Jewish. Because Judaism doesn't exist. 

  

Got to answer a couple of things. You wrote "

Me either. I can't think of anything anti-Israel here.  But I wrote what I wrote because of the following written by Natalie.

the amount of ignorance and misinformation abounding around Judaism, Jewishness (not the same thing), and Israel just astounds me.

Natalie has put no example about this ignorance. This is what got me. But she has made the post so I will go through it next week."

I am interested in what you post, but here's an example of ignorance: the claim that Steven made that Israelis consider everyone who is not Israeli a "goy" and look down on them. Simply not true.

The general Christian idea that the Jewish god is a vengeful, angry god, and Jesus is kind and compassionate -- that is a miscomprehension based on the writings of a few prophets, and does not characterize the whole of Jewish philosophy, which is very much legally-based, and extremely concerned with maintaining goodness, kindness and fairness in the community. You can take god out of the equation, as I do, but the value remains.

The idea that the Jews killed Jesus, which is manifestly and patently impossible, although it was used by Christians as an excuse to kill and oppress Jews all over Europe through the millennia.

I could go on but I won't, because it would end up being a book. I prefer to answer questions, NOT because I want to convert people -- I wouldn't be here if I was a religious Jew, but because I would like to see genuine knowledge about my ethnic group. I forget who posted it, or where, but there was a message full of hatred against Jews, simply for being Jews, regardless of anything else, and that is what spurred me to start this thread.

As far as Judaism being a myth -- that's an overgeneralization! Jewish MYTHOLOGY is of course, a myth, but there is nothing mythological about philosophy, customs, language, archaeology, and genetics. You can take all god references out of Jewish philosophical writings, and they're still solid.

Christians and people raised in Christianity have the concept of religion as being separate from culture, and of religion being consciously accepted or imposed on children. You can be from any nation in the world and still be Christian if you declare that you have accepted Jesus as your savior. You were NOT born that way, and as atheists, you have rejected the dominant religion of your country, WITHOUT rejecting its culture, which is why many atheists celebrate Christmas, for example.

Jews, and Muslims, and many other cultures in the world do not have this concept. You are BORN a Jew or a Muslim, or a Hawai'ian, or a Native American for that matter, and there is no question that you are a member of the tribe. Yes, it's tribalism, and Christianity explicitly rejected tribalism, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. As a child, I had a hard time understanding that Christians weren't born that way, because I had been brought up with the unspoken understanding that I was a member of a tribe (although we didn't call it that), and couldn't understand that Christianity ISN'T a tribe.

You can nitpick semantics -- call me a Semite, or an Israelite, or a Hebrew or a Jew -- it all amounts to the same thing, although Arabs are Semites as well, but definitely not Jewish. They are clearly a related group of tribes, but absolutely not the same. And yes, I'm homo sapiens (but also 2.6% Neanderthal, per 23andme), but to deny the existence of human tribes is patently ridiculous. I'm proud and happy about my Neanderthal heritage, but unfortunately know nothing about their culture, language or anything else. But I DO know about my Jewish heritage, and it suits me to identify with and enjoy those parts of it that don't involve prayer and worship. The philosophical arguments are varied and wonderful, and I'll NEVER get to the end of them. And if I can help people to understand Jewish history and philosophy WITHOUT any reference to religion necessary, then I want to do that.

Hi Natalie,

nitpick semantics

Sorry. I also dislike semantic games, so I'll stick with Jewish, Jew, Judaism etc. 

 ...I could go on but I won't, because it would end up being a book

Ok, I think I understand this point. Which I think is: the Christians decided to adopt the Jewish faith without really understanding everything Judaism was. Therefore Christian understanding of Judaism's God was flawed from the start.

  As far as Judaism being a myth -- that's an overgeneralization! Jewish MYTHOLOGY is of course, a myth, but there is nothing mythological about philosophy, customs, language, archaeology, and genetics. You can take all god references out of Jewish philosophical writings, and they're still solid.

In this case, what is the origin of Judaism? Does it matter?

 

You are BORN a Jew or a Muslim, or a Hawai'ian, or a Native American for that matter, and there is no question that you are a member of the tribe.

... You(Christians) were NOT born that way

Ok, I see the problem we are going to have here, or maybe it's a difference of opinion. And our opinions are very different here. But I can see the point you are trying to make. 

Take the Kaifeng Jews for example. Genetically, linguistically, culturally they are going to be indistinguishable from the Han Chinese. Yet, Israel has accepted a few of them as Jews, after a few ceremonies. I also read of 3 girls from Henan Province who also got Israeli citizenship, so they could study in Israel. 

So are these people Chinese or Jews or Persian(Because they are descended from Persian Jews)? 

With Muslims, just because the Quran says the child of 2 Muslims is a Muslim doesn't make it true. Just because Jewish custom says a Child born of a female Jew is a Jew, doesn't make this true either. These are just man made laws, they have nothing to do with the natural world. 

Also if I get a Palestinian kid and a Jewish kid and swap them at birth, Culturally they will believe what ever they are taught.

 

deny the existence of human tribes is patently ridiculous

Apart from genetics, the only definition of a tribe I know of is in the Aboriginal Land rights act 1984.

"Aboriginal person" means a person who:

(a) is a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia, and
(b) identifies as an Aboriginal person, and
(c) is accepted by the Aboriginal community as an Aboriginal person.

In Israel the law of return is what determines Israeli citizenship. And there are only two ways to get this. Via a religious conversion or if your mother is Jewish. In the future this could cause a real problem if genetic testing were to be brought in.

 

When it comes to race based tribes, it can be proven via genetics. And what I think your main point is, is that the Jewish race came first. And after that the tribe adopted the religion. 

But I DO know about my Jewish heritage, and it suits me to identify with and enjoy those parts of it that don't involve prayer and worship.

This is where it becomes difficult. And it is difficult because Science(Genetics) is being mixed up with Cultural Identity(personal opinion).

What I think you are describing has more to do with belonging, feeling, food and dance. I don't think science(genetics) should be included in any definition of 'What is a Jew?' If we use genetics to prove who is from what tribe, what will all the European Jews do when it is genetically proven they aren't Jews. And what will all the Palestinian Bedouin Muslims and Yemeni's do when it is proven they are Ethnic Jews of the Islamic faith?

After thinking about your original statement, I think it posses an interesting problem/dilemma if proven or accepted as true. Actually you are going to create a lot of head aches if you get your way in regards to proving Jews are an Ethnic group and not a religious group. 

 

Natalie - // here is an example about this ignorance - the claim that Steven (that's me) made that all Israeli's consider everyone that is not Israel a GOY //

That's NOt what I said Natalie. I'm just the messenger. That was not only stated by a JEW - but one that was not born in Israel but married an Israeli woman - lived there - has children there - and without your knowledge - has presented a complete book regarding communities, entire cities, businesses etc. in Israel and how they 'really' look on outsiders.

 Yes, even Jews from decent from other countries are NOT equal in status (or even close) to a Jew born in Israel.

Deny it - run away from it - but don't read the book about all this as I've presented (as the messenger) already. Should you order and read his book...only then can you discuss the truth of how Israeli Jews feel about othr Jews (outsiders) and people such as myself.

Once you've educated yourself and read Einbein's book...you can then even contact the writer (as I certainly have multiple times) and have a  really concrete discussion.

I'm obviously not just spouting off about Israeli Jews and the word GOY. I had never even heard that word before "Leaving Judaism'. Now I know it well and it's about as nasty and vile a word as any JEW ever thought up.

Don't worry. Christians took over - multiplied and overran the Earth - and also have many 'choice' words for people like me.

I used to live with an Arab Jew in Melbourne, he was livid towards the European Jews. "In the army, the European Jews get all the good jobs, whilst the Arab Jews get all the shit jobs."  Even in the street, he would get "questioned by the police constantly". Once he showed them his Jewish ID he was ok. I think he was an anti-Semitic Semite. :)

 

Another example of European Jewish racism comes from my boss in Japan. He is an Arab Jew from Morocco. After being kicked out of Morocco and emigrating to Israel, he was on a bus with his mother.

They were speaking Arabic, their mother tongue when an European Jewish woman came up to his mother and spat right in his mothers face and told them both to get out of Israel because Israel was only for the Jews. They explained to the woman they were Jews. That woman then told them to never speak Arabic in Israel again. My boss decided to take the initial advice, he got a scholarship to Switzerland from the German embassy, married a Japanese woman he had met in Switzerland and became a Japanese citizen. Problem solved.

 

Leveni - In his book 'Leaving Judaism' - the author's wife's parents/family were from Morocco - imigrated to Israel...I believe his wife was born in Israel though. Their attitude was shown as being superior - because they lived in Israel...their business dealing etc. were all quite nasty. The author, being the husband of their daughter was a goy...outright and plainly stated...because he was just an American Jew - far and away below Israel standards. The author's children were treated special becaus eof course, their mother was an Israeli Jew.

It's obvious by your posting above that Israeli Jews are just as hateful and bigoted towards their own as Christians are towards each other with special vile towards homosexuals and atheists.

Hi Tom,
Once I get started on something I just keep on going.
After Googling 'what is a Jew' I've found 10's of millions of definitions and people who consider themselves Jews can't even define it.
I think I now realize what Natalie was trying to do. She wasn't trying to scientifically define Jewish, she was hoping to share her experiences as a Jew. Oh well. 

I would like to point out a couple of facts, that haven't been mentioned yet.  About 80% of the "Jewish" people in Israel are of "Yiddish" (Ashkenazi) decent, who immigrated there just prior to, and after WW2.  I had my Mitochondrial DNA sequenced, and discovered that one of the very small group of people descended from one of the 4 founding women of Ashkenazi Jews.  This means that my Great, etc., Grandmother married a Jewish man in 13th century Germany, thus becoming a founder of  Ashkenazi Jews, in spite of having never been near the middle east.  In fact,  my  Mitochondrial DNA shows that my maternal line left that area some where around 40,000 years before the raving psychopath of the desert was invented!!

Perhaps what makes a person adhere to their "Jewish" heritage, has more to do with the persecution that Jews have faced (both from with in and with out), than any real distinct genetics.

MacRex - I am told by my Jewish friend that YIDDISH is the language spoken by Jews in Germany - nothing more and nothing less. It's equalivent to Southerners talking in the American South...nothing more nothing less. That's what a lifelong Jewish person says.

I've heard Ashkenazi Jews referenced as Yiddish, as they were the people who spoke it.  Also -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi
This also seems to miss my point about them being genetically very removed from people who's ancestors have continuously occupied the land that makes up Israel and Palestine.  Thus, their "Jewishness" comes from the religion they were infected with, and not from being genetically linked to the raving psychopath of the desert's "chosen" people.

A reply to both of you. Yiddish is the Yiddish name for the language spoken by the Yiddish people, also known as Yidn IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. It is a descendant of old German, with a lot of Hebrew and some Slavic words mixed in. It was spoken by Ashkenazic Jews in Germany and Eastern Europe. An interesting equivalent is Ladino, or Dzhudezmo, a combination of Spanish and Hebrew spoken by the Jews in Spain who were expelled in 1492, and immigrated to countries all over the Mediterranean, the Netherlands and the New World.

And Ashkenazic Jews are NOT so far genetically removed from Jews who never left the Middle East. Jews have been proven genetically to be a single people, with admixture from the other peoples they lived among. There is clear archaeological evidence of Jewish occupation of the lands along the Jordan until they were killed or driven out by the Romans. Why are you so unwilling to admit proven scientific fact? Your point about genetic remove is incorrect. And there are plenty of groups of Jews who never left the Middle East, either.

Now, I'm fully willing to accept the idea that Abraham is at best a legend, based on an oral history that was thousands of years old before it was written down. But Jewishness does NOT come from being "infected" with a religion, as if Jewish ancestors had no religion before they became established as a tribe. Why is it that other tribes can have their mythology, oral history, customs and ceremonies, and Jews can't?

//Why is it that other tribes can have their.......etc... //

Jews get ridiculed because they were stupid enough to write it all down' beginning with 'we are God's chosen ones'...and ending with the genocie of entire societies and taking only the virgin girls and once in a while a 'comely' woman that was basically kidnapped and raped under the guise of 'marriage'. All in the name of their God and under His orders.

So - go ahead an name any other 'tribe' that did all this - and proudly wrote it down for everyone to see. Should there be none it was because this 'tribe' of jews murdered and exterminated everyone in sight and burned anything and everything.

That's the reason we even talk about such a 'tribe'.

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