Atheist Nexus Logo


Jewish Atheists

For Atheists of Jewish origin and others interested in Jewish history and culture.

Members: 83
Latest Activity: Dec 21, 2014

Discussion Forum


Started by Freethinker31. Last reply by Freethinker31 Sep 19, 2014. 4 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Jewish Atheists to add comments!

Comment by Michael Pianko on June 9, 2011 at 3:01pm

I realize that technically Yiddish doesn't matter, but then Hebrew matters even less. I'm not going to be religious about maintaining a spoken Yiddish.  I think Ben Yehuda was able create modern spoken Hebrew because of a propaganda campaign promoting Hebrew and bashing Yiddish. The Jewish who wanted a Jewish state in Israel needed Hebrew to help transform the Jews into a semetic people who belong in Israel and not Europe.


Jews living in Israel are required to serve in the army for a certain amount of time, so I'm glas I don't live in Israel.  I took a Yiddish class in Lithuania in 2007 (before I came out as an atheist). There is a small Jewish community in Vilnius, Lithuania (they maintain a community center that is a few rooms used for meetings and events, no fitness equiptment; a holocause museum in a house-sized building, and in two separate places, an art and exhibit exhibition galary, and placks about the vilnius ghetto). I would feel safe visiting the country again.  I think in terms of hatred of Jews, E. Europe has  improved since communism ended. I think that recently, Lithuanins have not been more anti-semetic than other countries in Europe, and they are hate us less than most of the middle east and North Africa and central Asia.     


(You don't seem to hear much about Ladino/judezmo or dzhudezmo or a few other Jewish dialects that might or might not be extinct now). There was a conference in 1908 in a town called Cernowiz (the spelling varies depending on which article you read or which language) where they decided that Yiddish should be the Jewish national language. Hebrew went extinct as a spoken language by the 100's AD or CE when the Jews began to speak Armaic dialect(s). I have met native Yiddish speakers, but yeah, I know it has declined a lot.  Yiddish is as in danger of going extinct as the world's other small languages that (now) have less than about a million speakers.  My grandfather on my mother's side was Meyer Rothenberg and a great-great grandfather had the same name and there was a Rabbi Meyer of Rothenberg who lived in the 1200's in Germany and there is a town in Germany called Rothenberg but I have no evidence to indicate whether the rabbi is my ancestor.

Comment by Natalie A Sera on June 9, 2011 at 1:25am
I feel pretty lucky, because while I'm "pure" Jewish, and my grandparents were Orthodox, my father was pretty anti-religion, and my mother became increasingly a-religious as she got older. My brother is agnostic, as is his son, and Lutheran-raised wife, and my own son is atheistic, which he came to on his own -- I didn't teach him one way or the other. So I have no family conflicts, and I'm free to enjoy my ethnic heritage in whatever way I want to. I like the latkes, and the Chanukah gelt, and the potato kugel and the blintzes, and I like Yiddish, Ladino, Mizrachi and Israeli music, and I LOVE Talmudic argument (which doesn't even refer to god very often). I would certainly like Yiddish if I knew more of it, but I enjoy Yiddish authors in translation. I see no conflict in being a Jewish agnostic (or atheist) -- I just get to be who I am.
Comment by David Danon on June 9, 2011 at 1:14am
Mixed bloods have existed in Judaism for thousands of years, if there wasn't mixing between Jews and Gentiles there would be a tiny minority of Arab looking people, there would be no such thing as blonde Jews, black Jews,white Jews,Latino Jews etc. Pretty much it's a way to fuck with people to me I can't really say because on my dads side I have a religious family and on my moms side it is a semi religious family it's hard cuz I get into fights with my all Jewish cousins who fight me because, how I am, for a while I was fucked up with assholes, it's nice to see religious people in action, then on my catholic side it is ok not completely looked at but their happy I was raised catholic
Comment by Natalie A Sera on June 8, 2011 at 4:14pm

Michael, I'm not really sure how to answer you, except to point out the parallel with Latin. It's not really spoken today, but the descendants of its speakers are clearly with us. Hebrew WAS preserved as a liturgical language, and the reason that Ben Yehuda managed to revive it was because so many of the Ashkenazi immigrants to Palestine had such a deep knowledge of it, not just for prayers, but also for reading the literature (much broader than the


We are CLEARLY mixed bloods -- during the Roman Empire, the Jews traded throughout the Mediterranean, and made their way up north to Eastern Europe. It's been genetically proven that they took Germanic wives, because Germanic mitochondrial DNA is common in Ashkenazi Jews. But Middle-Eastern Y-chromosomal DNA is also common, although not universal.

Since almost all of humanity is mixed-blood, there is no reason why you have to care about your Semitic roots -- if you identify more with Lithuania (which doesn't give a SHIT about you) so be it. You're a jigsaw puzzle just like the rest of us, and since none of us can be completely committed to any specific part of our own puzzles, why don't you just sit back and enjoy learning about the parts that DO intrigue you?

Comment by Ralph Dumain on June 8, 2011 at 12:50pm
It's really culture, not genetics, that matters. And yes, there's a historically important Yiddish culture, which amazingly is being rescued from oblivion. It matters a lot more than ancient Judaea. There is a whole history of specifically secular, mostly left-wing Yiddish culture that vanished--or was disappeared--in the 1950s.
Comment by Michael Pianko on June 8, 2011 at 12:44pm
My mother insists that "way back when" our ancestors were the Hebrews in ancient Israel. OS there seems to be this big devotion to this mythic past of ancient Israel. On the other hand, religious Jews insist that when someone converts to the Jewish religion, they are exactly equal in status to those whose ancestors were Jewish. And then what about Yiddish culture? I know that technically Yiddish culture doesn't matter, but There used to be 11 million Yiddish speakers and no native Hebrew speakers. I can see that my genetic lineage technically doesn't matter, but I want to prove that my mother may be wrong; there were many small, historically unrelated ethnic groups in Europe and Asia that might or might not have been partially descended from the Jews in ancient Israel. If my ancestors were the ancient Hebrews, I might have to prove why I don't care about the Hebrew language, but if my ancestors were not the ancient Hebrews there is no reason for me not to think my heritage has something to do with Yiddish and Lithuania instead of Israel and Hebrew.
Comment by Natalie A Sera on June 8, 2011 at 1:56am

There is DNA research that proves that Jewish groups all over the world are more related to each other than to their surrounding communities, although, of course, there were conversions and intermarriage. Jews are an ethnic group -- a tribe, which happens to have its own religion. You DON'T have to believe in god in order to be Jewish, because Jews are born, not made (except through conversion). People of Japanese descent don't stop being Japanese, just because they were born here, and they are also a tribe with its own religion (Shinto), although most stop following it when they've been here for a few generations.

As far as the Torah and other Jewish writings -- we should accept them for just what they are: a picture of the thinking of primitive pre-scientific peoples who were trying to figure out the mysteries of life the universe and everything else. If every other culture has its mythology, the Jews have a right to theirs, too -- it's just that the Christians have perverted our mythology into something "holy" and "inerrant". But that's not OUR fault! What I like about the Jewish writings is the window into the past, mythology, genealogy, along with oral histories that gradually merge into provable histories, literature, sex poetry, moral and ethical arguments, mysticism, and all the ways the human mind tries to grapple with its environment. You don't have to believe in god to be interested in how humans have thought about their world. I enjoy having an ethnic and cultural heritage, and it has nothing to do with theism.

Comment by David Danon on June 8, 2011 at 1:32am
My dad is jewish but my mom was catholic, to think I was raised catholic almost converted to judaism, couldn't learn hebrew so I went back to catholicism got bored in Sunday school, then got stoned alot in sunday school, then said fuck it I'll be an atheist, but still half jewish
Comment by joel farris on May 26, 2011 at 1:49pm
I love the culture but the stories in the torah are so fucking stupid especially jona and the big fish lol.
Comment by Michael Pianko on January 15, 2011 at 2:27pm
My mother insists that her ancestors are originally from Israel, and she does seem interested in the fact that her ancestors immigrated to the US from towns that are now in Lithuania and Belarus and possibly Ukraine; whenever I mention this she always says that "Way back when" her ancestors were from Israel.

Members (83)


© 2015   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: Richard Haynes.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service