Jewish Atheists

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

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Started by Freethinker31. Last reply by Freethinker31 on Saturday. 2 Replies

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Comment by Alan Perlman on June 22, 2012 at 3:46pm

I have been a Jewish atheist since age 12, when they put "under God" in the pledge, and I said, "I'm not saying that."  Great to meet a group of like-minded folks.

Comment by Selina Mannion on May 5, 2012 at 11:24am

am writing a book on people who leave their religion. I am including my story with leaving islam. If a jewish person on here has an egaging story on how they embraced secular values please contact me. thanx

Comment by Selina Mannion on January 18, 2012 at 4:38pm

I am writing a book on people who leave their religion. I am including my story with leaving islam. If a jewish person on here has an egaging story on how they embraced secular values please contact me. thanx

Comment by ronys on December 3, 2011 at 11:40pm

Sure there are, but they're mostly in Hebrew! ("Hofesh" means "freedom" in Hebrew) ("secular")

Not to mention various facebook groups:


Comment by Harvey F on December 3, 2011 at 10:25pm

I wonder if there are any Israeli humanist/atheist groups or activities here. I haven't found any...

Comment by Natalie A Sera on November 24, 2011 at 8:29pm

Interesting, Sophia! When I was still a believer, I lived in Japan and   married a Japanese man who converted to Judaism (even though I never asked him to do it), and we were married at the Tokyo Jewish Community Center in Tokyo by Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, who is quoted in that article. There were still a good number of Jews in Tokyo at that time (1970), who had escaped from the Nazis. I remember having lunch after the morning Shabbat service, and listening to them singing the old songs they had brought from Europe. However, they were making sure that their children managed to get to the US, if at all possible, or else Europe or Israel, so I'm sure that the escapee Jewish community there is dying out if not already dead. On the other hand, there must surely be Israelis who work there, and probably Lubavitchers (you find them EVERYWHERE), so maybe the community center is still there.

Comment by David Danon on June 13, 2011 at 7:31am
It's alright, I've been beaten up on both sides, kids at my old catholic school weren't very nice, but high school is when they get a lot nicer
Comment by Natalie A Sera on June 12, 2011 at 8:57pm

David, I'm so sorry you had that experience. Fundies are fundies, no matter what their religious roots, and are NOT known for any concept of the basic humanity of all people, let alone respect for anyone but their own group. I shouldn't hate anyone, but I do hate fundies of any stripe, primarily because they insist on forcing their views on the rest of us :-(

I have had contact with Chasidic groups in Los Angeles, in Katmandu, Nepa, and in Grodno, Belarus, and they have no problem considering me Jewish -- first off, they want money from me, and second, if I would follow their ways, they would be only too eager to marry me off to some schmuck. Neither proposition is acceptable to me!! LOL!!

Comment by David Danon on June 12, 2011 at 8:15pm
Look I'm considered christian, I was raised but always tended to have jewish roots that I used to want to know, but the hassids in my neighborhood used to beat the shit out of me chanting Halfbreed or Christian, then when I started building muscle that tune quickly changed to welcome to the tribe then more rage happens, but yah they consider u guys not jewish
Comment by Michael Pianko on June 12, 2011 at 4:11pm
My ancestors immigrated to New York and then moved to Pennsylvania and Chicago and Detroit. My grandfather on my mother's side, his ancestors trace to Kovno, which is now called Kaunas and is in Lithuania. (For some reason, people think Kovnat has something to do with Kovno. My Grandmother on my mothers side's family was from Minsk and Pinsk in Belarus, another ancestor on my grandfather's side might be from a town that my great aunt pronounced like Vitsnits, but I can't find it but it sort of wounds like Vannitsa, Ukraine.

On my dad's side my grandmother said her parents owned a dairy farm in Lapis, Poland. I can't find Lapis, maybe it is now part of a bigger town or city, or maybe it is now not in Poland. It never occurred to me to think there can be any association between Kovnat and Kovno, Lithuania. Then I found the name Kovnat in a dictionary of Jewish surnames in the Russian Empire. Kovnat, Kovnator, Kovnatskij or -ski or -sky were listed as variants of the same name. The name is from the German or Yiddish pronunciation of a town in Latvia that is now Kaunata, Latvia. My ancestors had the name Kovnator and then a great uncle changed it to Kovnat in the U.S., and a few Jews still have the name Kovnator but its less common that Kovnat. There are non-Jews with the name Kownat and Kownator. A few live in France. Notice that when non-Jews use the name, it is spelled with a w but in German, w is pronounced more like English v.

Paul Wexler is or was a linguist at Tel Aviv University who wrote articles and a book about Yiddish trying to prove that Yiddish started when a community of Jews, Probably in Bavaria, spoke a Slavic dialect, likely Old Sorbian or something similar. Sorbian is still spoken by a few thousand people in at least two towns in East Germany, and Bavaria used to speak an old-Slavic dialect. Then Germans migrated east and the Jews started to switch to their Germanic dialect. But certain German words for some, but not all Jewish religious concepts and for some other words that sounded too christian, the old Sorbian (not Serbian; look up upper and lower Sorbian) words for these things were relexified with old Hebrew words. A few basic Slavic words were retained. A second relexification might have happened later among another Jewish community around Poland or Russia or NE Europe, as speakers of old Yiddish migrated north-east and the Polish Jews relexified to Yiddish. In all cases of relexification, most or all of the older grammatical structures are retained, just the vocabulary gets changed; more research needs to be done comparing Yiddish thought patterns/morphology/syntax to old Slavic dialects. I should have done this but I'm too lazy and I'm too afraid to talk to people to teach college classes.

Arthur Koestler's 1976 book “the Thirteenth tribe” gives a good argument for why most Ashkenazic people are not descended from the Ancient Israelites or Hebrews. I have no emotional vested interested in Israel or Hebrew or my so called mythic, glorious Semitic past and I have no reason to think I am descended from the tribe of Judah in Ancient Israel. Never mind that the exodus from Egypt is probably a total myth and the red sea didn't really split, that's just a myth. Anyway, the passover hagadda doesn't not mention Moses even once, and there is almost no story, just praising Adonai over and over for taking the Jews out of Egypt and giving us the torah...

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