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Started by Cecilia. Last reply by Michael Pianko Aug 3.
Started by jlaz. Last reply by Freethinker31 Aug 3.
Started by Diana D. Last reply by Freethinker31 Aug 1.
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!!
HI Freethinker31:One thing I do sometimes is say that I'm a member of the "Tribe of Israel". I think some folks get that claiming to be a member of a "Tribe" doesn't necessarily bring into play the assumption that one believes in the creation myths of the tribe.I guess there's a case to be made for claiming to be culturally or geographically or tribally or politically Jewish, depending on this or that. I try to be careful and self-respecting as to not trying to claim too much of a connection to Judaism. If I am honest about it, regardless of assurances from this or that person or Clergy, then to me (my judgment) one of the main defining and central thing about Judaism (if not the defining things) is believing in and dedicating oneself to God and the Torah, and I'm definitely not a believer in God, nor dedicated to the Torah.With that said, there is plenty of precedent for claiming some sort of grey area and a lot of Jews, both famous and not famous have either been outright atheists or sort of semi-agnostics or atheists. There is also, explicitly, a small movement within Judaism formalizing the practice of the religion but without a belief in God (Secular Humanist Judaism I believe). I'm not ultra-recommending it, only mentioning that it's kind of interesting that it even exists... I don't know that there could be a "Christian Atheism" but there's a certain amount of "Jewish Atheism".I've found in watching conversations over the years that Christians who break away and become atheists seem to be interested at times in somewhat different topics and may have been through a somewhat tougher time than Jews, particularly if one didn't have a particularly observant Jewish upbringing.I've found at times that's interesting to contemplate what it means to be a Jewish atheist, but then at other times for me it gets to be a somewhat old or tired topicAnyway, those are some initial thoughts.
Hello everyone.....I am a recent `convert' to Atheism......I was born and raised Jewish but was never really into it that much...Mainly because my parents were not really into it....The more I learned what was in the Bible, Old Testament, the more disillusioned I was...Since I no longer believe in a god,nor believe in the fables in the old testament, nor do I believe in eating Kosher..(I love all shellfish )...am I still Jewish? I still feel quite strongly about Israel and give to the JNF annually....I like to think of myself as Jewish by ethnicity but not by religious belief....I would appreciate any comment.
How one woman got a religious group to stop their unwanted daily 7 a.m. texts to Knesset staffers:
"Mysterious Group Sends Knesset Staffers Text Messages Telling Them To Put On Tefillin To "Bring The Redemption," Staffers Fight Back, Win"
After complaints to the group got no response, and the police said there was nothing illegal about the repeated texts, "Lior Finkel had an idea.... [she] put on tefillin, took a picture and sent the picture to 'The Light for Tefillin.' The 7 am messages stopped cold."
The Jerusalem Post quoted her: “The next day, the harassment stopped. I guess they were right – I put on tefillin, and redemption came.”
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