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Am I Still Jewish?

Started by Cecilia. Last reply by Michael Pianko Aug 3. 22 Replies

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Comment by Grinning Cat on March 25, 2013 at 1:54pm

Some thoughts on Passover and its Four Questions, from Mark Hurvitz's A Growing Haggadah: (emphasis added)

Questioning is a sign of freedom, and so we begin with questions.

To ritualize only one answer would be to deny that there can be many, often conflicting answers. To think that life is only black and white, or wine and Maror, bitter or sweet, or even that the cup is half empty or half full is to enslave ourselves to simplicity.

Each of us feels the challenge to search for our own answers. The ability to question is only the first stage of freedom. The search for answers is the next.

Can we fulfill the promise of the Exodus in our own lives if we do not search for our own answers?

Does every question have an answer? Is the ability to function without having all the answers one more stage of liberation? Can we be enslaved to an obsessive search for the answer?

Many people have reclaimed the holiday in a godless way. A couple of humanist haggadahs I've found:

http://uuja.org/holidays/lit/Humanist_Haggadah.pdf (from Machar -- the Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism)

http://www.eszter.com/Haggadah.pdf (adapted by Eszter Hargittai from the haggadot of Machar and of the City Congregation for Humanistic Judaism, New York City)

Comment by sammy on November 15, 2012 at 8:19pm
I would just copy and paste your comment Leila.
Comment by Leila Cook on November 15, 2012 at 7:51pm

I don't really think this group is the place for me.  Sorry to have disturbed you so much Michael with my opinions. 

Comment by Leila Cook on November 15, 2012 at 7:49pm
Comment by Michael Pianko on November 15, 2012 at 7:36pm

There is no such thing as a procedure to replace the excised penile tissue. The immune system would reject donor tissue. There is no clear boundary between what is shaft skin and what is foreskin. Foreskin restoration is when men try to stretch their shaft skin with devices or tape for a few years until finally, enough skin grows to cover the glans most of the time.

If you are a rational, decent, caring person, you will see that ass-raping boys, raping children, seriously starving children, beating, spanking, slavery, and female circumcision are wrong. The reason you are able to recognize that these behaviors are bad is because you are in the bubble of American culture and in American culture, these behaviors are usually recognized as bad. But these behaviors would still be bad even if everybody was doing them. Circumcision is bad because of the damage it does, even though circumcised people don't often become aware of it just like color blind people are not able to understand that their eye sight is off, it is not just the case that circumcision has to be good because a lot of people think it is good or don't care. The reason you are not able to see that circumcision is bad is because you are in the bubble of American culture, and in American culture, circumcision is considered good or neutral. But circumcision is actually just as bad as those other abuses, you just don't see why yet because: the human brain usually tries to align its thought patterns or beliefs with the people around him or her, and you are in the bubble of US culture. Step outside the bubble of US culture and you will see how bizarre and abusive it is to cut boys anywhere, and on the crotch, of all places?? I'm still glad that at least you recognize that HaShem is imaginary and religion is bogus. It follows that you are not entitled to have an opinion about rear-end raping boys, because no matter what your opinion, it is still wrong. Same thing with cutting your kids crotch or paying someone to do it.

Comment by Leila Cook on November 15, 2012 at 8:38am

This is kind of the reason I hesitate in joining atheist minded groups.  I have met as many intolerant atheists as I have intolerant fundamentalists.  Besides the lack of fairy tales, what is the difference?  Both feel they need to be vigilant about swaying the other to their respective sides.  I always thought being a non-theist meant that you could have a discussion and disagree but respect that the other person's viewpoints.  I'm sorry that you feel you have been irreversibly harmed by your parents and their decisions Michael.  (This IS what you are referring to in all your exclamations- the fact that your parents made a choice for you or that your brother is making a choice for his son).  That's okay- its your life and you can have rage at your family all you want.  But it is hard for me to see as someone who supposedly embraces rational thought, that you can project your emotions about the subject and make blanket statements about everyone feelings about the subject.  I'm not suggesting that you can't have opinions, and, I may even agree with them to an extent, but that's the beauty of being a non-theist is that we can have our own thoughts and we are content to let others have theirs as well without feeling the need to change them.  If male circumcision is so terrible, I have a hard time believing that the medical community would still practice it with all the knowledge that is our there.  And, if you wish, you can have a procedure to have your foreskin replaced, if you wish.    I don't have boys so I never had to make that decision although I am positive my husband would have even though he is non-religious as well.  And as many Jewish anti-circumcision advocates as you have named, there are thousands more for each one who still have no problem with the practice.  Some of them are even doctors themselves. 

Comment by Michael Pianko on November 14, 2012 at 11:47pm

No. I know perfectly well how bad circumcision is. And I know of other Jewish anti-circumcision activists: Ronald Goldman, Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Norm Cohen, Miriam Pollack, and others. There are non-Jewish circumcision activists, along with anti-circ organizations and some doctors and nurses are against the practice. If you are a man and are circumcised and claim not to have a problem with yourself, of course you lack the sensation you are supposed to have, your brain is misinterpreting the discomfort as real sensation, and of course people don't like to admit that something very bad was done to them. Yes, I am entitled to interfere with your so called decision when your decision is hurting someone. People are not entitled to have a viewpoint about circumcision and people are not entitled to make their own decisions because the decisions and viewpoints should not exist because circumcision should not exist. If you are a real atheist, you will be rational about circumcision also and you will see that circumcision is serious abuse just like you can see that religion in general is bogus. The so called medical benefits are all false, just myths and superstitions (circumstitions). I realize you don't want to feel like you have been harmed or that you harmed your son but that is the truth. Just give in to the truth and help end circumcision. Yes, I'm a real anti-circumcision activists and my moral duty is to do what I can to end this abuse.

Comment by Natalie A Sera on November 13, 2012 at 3:19pm

Like Sammy said, I don't feel I have the right to interfere in other people's decisions, unless they affect me directly, OR significant injury occurs. I actually asked my son, once, how he felt about being circumcised, and he said it didn't bother him in the least -- he never knew any different. So, Michael, that's why I worry about you -- it seems to have assumed a great importance in YOUR life, which it doesn't seem to have, in other men's lives. I won't invalidate your feelings -- they're real, and they affect you greatly, but perhaps objective reality says that many if not most circumcised men don't share those feelings.

Alan, circumcision MAY have medical benefits -- I've read articles saying it does, but I've never seen anything definitive one way or the other, and can't quote what I've seen, anyway. If a circumcision done by an MD is more esthetically pleasing, then people are free to do it that way, or they're free not to do it at all. I really don't have a vested interest in it, other than the fact that I'm put off by people who try to interfere with the decisions of others when they're not the one being affected, and they are projecting their own feelings onto others.

Comment by sammy on November 12, 2012 at 9:43pm

Michael, I was raised orthodox jewish, and actually my father circumcised my own 'brother' few weeks ago, and i DONT CARE, why? because Its non of my business what others do!    

Listen Michael, When i was in the community i was used to hear exactly your tone day and night from the believers, complaining and criticizing other religions (and non-believers) the way are acting.

Being an atheist i have the advantage of "calming down" and dont give a f.... about how religious people act. 

I am circumcised and i am perfectly fine, actually 'some' even like it...;)

And as Natalie said, It sounds like you feel tremendously hurt, and can't get over it, and are pouring your feelings out on other people's decisions, when they have the rights to make decisions on their own.

Comment by Alan Perlman on November 12, 2012 at 7:02pm

The decision should be made on the basis of science alone: does the procedure have medical benefits? 

The mythology -- God gets a piece of the penis instead of the whole child -- then the oral thing the moel does...it's all so ghastly and primitive that it has no place in a modern, civilized society (but then, neither does religion).

 

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