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Latest Activity: Dec 21, 2014
Started by jlaz Dec 21, 2014.
Started by jlaz. Last reply by jlaz Sep 25, 2014.
Started by Freethinker31. Last reply by Freethinker31 Sep 19, 2014.
PS. Why give the Jews a homeland in the most violent part of the world, just because the Bible says so? Why not give them a chunk of Bavaria?
Freethinker, There's a Philip Roth alt-history novel, The Plot against America, in which the country becomes much more anti-Semitic (under a Lindbergh Presidency!). But I don't worry about American Jews - they're thoroughly entrenched and assimilated...and financially/politically too influential and too committed to Israel.
Alan ......Sadly this is true.....But I haven't given up on them yet.. Although I agree with you on American Jews having it pretty good here.....It still is nice to know there is somewhere we can go as a last resort......My ancestors emigrated from Russia when the Cosacks tried to kill off the Jews in the Pogroms...So Israel is the only Homeland I would have ,if anything bad happens in the US..
I have thought about Israel my whole life. A map of it was on the wall of our Hebrew school classroom.
I loved it at first because in the beginning it was about tough, secular Jews kicking ass, not praying like the whimpering hasidim or other puny stereotypes.
I loved it because Jews had to have a homeland where no one could throw them out. That argument has weakened, since America is far more hospitable than anywhere they've ever been, and they're less threatened here than in Israel.
Lately my feelings about Israel have run head-on into my hatred of religion, as Orthodoxy seems to be taking over the country. And on a broader scale, Islam is the cause of most of the enmity towards Israel. So the Israelis have to defend against fanaticism from within and without.
Really, you could have a nominally Jewish country, e.g., following the Jewish calendar the way America follows the Christian without denying anybody their rights, but the f'ing Orthodox won't have that.
Alan.....You forgot to include the mutual love for the State of Israel....It is after all , the Homeland for all the Jews in the world, including Atheist Jews like us......Israel is the only absolute for me when considering my Jewish identity...
Over and over I have been asked, "How can you be Jewish and be an atheist?" People who ask this have not thought it through (and have probably had no occasion or motivation to do so). Judaism is one or more of the following:
(i) a religion, with mythology and ritual, just like every other; there are different sects and different degrees of observance (most middle-class Jews of my acquaintance practice Judaism Lite -- High Holidays, Passover, and Hanukkah).
(ii) a spurious and ad hoc genetic grouping; this notion is fostered by the fact that Jews around the world live in enclaves, intra-marry, and thus overestimate their genetic unity, whereas a white suburban American Jew has little in common with an Ethopian or Oriental Jew.
(iii) a culture of song, food, language and other traditions held in common by the people who believe (i) or (ii).
So as a Jewish atheist, I ignore or ridicule (i), conform to (ii), and have a passing acquaintance with (iii).
When burying the mice our cat kills, I chant phrases in Hebrew from the Kaddish (Jewish prayer for the dead).
jlaz.....I know it is very frustrating.. A married couple are Jewish friends of mine, I told them I was an Atheist, and they just shrugged....They are not religious but want to be accepted by the Jewish community....So they belong to a Temple and go to services during the High Holy days....The wife admitted she was unsure if there was a god but would never say so publicly...I bet there are many like her who are on the fence.... I, myself, want to embrace what I truly believe and am tired of faking it....
Actually maybe that's a bit unfair as to what I said about guilt/nastiness. I can't really expect ardent believers to hold their tongues forever when I am kind of clear (not constantly loud, but clear) as to what I believe.I got kind of an interesting comment back recently from a relative. I said that I thought the invention of the day off from work once every 7 days, and the choice to relegate this for contemplation of and commitment to the most important things in life, seemed to me like a wonderful innovation of the Jews, or whoever may have come up with it. A relative interjected that it was an invention of God. What are you gonna do? :-)
Freethinker31:Best of fortune.I have found that some Jews are ok with me being an atheist, and some are not. Some of my family members who believe ardently in God are sometimes a bit negative. It's not nearly as bad as the severe issues I see from some Christians on this board, but there is a more subtle Jewish-guilt/nastiness thing that maybe you've encountered.Other options for some Jewish atheists wanting a sense of community include Unitarian Churches and meetup.com, and some group activities (hiking for example) that have nothing to do with religion per se.One experience I've had with most of these is that it's not just about whether they're atheist. For example I once attended a Jewish Secular Humanist service that I didn't find that inspiring. On the other hand, there is a Reform synagogue that I attend once every year or two (kind of "for the heck of it"). The Rabbi knows that I'm atheist and is ok with my respectful attitude when I attend, and I have found his comments well worth listening to, even with all the theism. Just as when I was a kid and would look forward to the Rabbi's comments because usually it was philosophy discussion (was I starved for it?) or political philosophy discussion (when Israel was under attack), I think now that it's not just about whether or not the speaker is Atheist, but what do they have to contribute to my thinking overall.Anyway, some further thoughts.
Hi jlaz, Thank you so much for responding...It is nice to know that I am not alone in this dilemma.....I have heard about Secular Humanist Judaism, and I may check it out.....I completely identify with Atheism now, but am finding it difficult to break completely free from considering myself Jewish...I somehow feel loyal to my ethnic origins I guess....Wish me luck!!
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