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

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Started by Freethinker31. Last reply by Freethinker31 yesterday. 4 Replies

The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel (by Chabon)

Started by jlaz. Last reply by Mordekhai ben-Yosef yesterday. 1 Reply

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Comment by Selina Mannion on September 9, 2012 at 10:17am

i will join you

Comment by Mordekhai ben-Yosef on September 9, 2012 at 9:16am

Knock, knock! Is anybody here? I came for company and discussion. Who will join me?

Comment by Mordekhai ben-Yosef on September 6, 2012 at 5:09pm

Stop the world. I wanna get off.

Strongly opinionated, sorely under-educated people make pronouncements: Thus and so! That is all!

I use the Jewish definition of matriarchal descent. It's practical. And god didn't tell us to do it this way.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 6, 2012 at 5:01pm

Mordekhai...I just meant that I did Jewish, not Christian or Muslim or Hindu things.  Extends to food, too. 

The "who is Jewish?" question is traditionally answered by determining whose womb the child came from. But by that definition, none of my brother's progeny, kids, grandkids, are Jewish (the thought would greatly unsettle my mother), because his wife isn't. 

There are various ways to be Jewish, including conversion and simple declaration (the humanist definition), not all accepted by all who call themselves Jews.  It's complex, but I was trying to keep it simple - genes, culture, and corned beef on rye. 

I had a bar mitzvah party at the Adelphia Hotel in Phila., with a punch fountain!

I too make a point of understanding what I don't believe. It's true - most people don't know the difference between the Torah and ther Bible!  I read the whole thing and wrote a book, "An Atheist Reads the Torah."  Available on amazon. 

There's not much there, but Jews revere it.  Obviously not the work of God or Moses, but, as investigation shows, of four different writers and four source texts.

Comment by Mordekhai ben-Yosef on September 6, 2012 at 2:29pm

Alan, you threw me off with the "more seders than masses" remark. And I know people with "Jewish" surnames who are not Jews by birth according to Jewish law and custom.

I never met my dad's parents. Grandpa was also good at making babies. His other talent was sopping up liquor in a saloon on Allen Street in Manhattan.

I got a good Jewish education. I'm one of those who understands what I don't believe. Jewishness is almost a social club for the secularized. They don't know (as most people don't) a simple fact like the Torah is simply the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Oy!

My mother was raised mostly by her maternal grandfather. He never took her to any church (her divorced parents never baptized her) and told her he didn't believe that Jesus was anyone's "savior". Mom later came to theorize that the old boy was a descendant of Spanish conversos and therefore a crypto-Jew. Well, it's certainly possible.

Anyway, a good Jewish education teaches one to ask questions. I asked many and eventually, the answers all came down to, "Why god?"

And on I go.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 6, 2012 at 2:13pm


Right, they don't even believe in the legitimacy of the state of Israel, fucking idiots.

My Jewish cred is thorough: two Eastern European families of immigrants (maternal grandfather Hymie Schwartz, a pattern-maker, and Jake Perlman, a tailor, something of a character, packed heat, maybe in case the Cossacks came back).  Yiddish and Yiddish accent on both sides. Parents spoke English, thoroughly acculturated into watered-down, drive-by Judaism.  Orthodox wouldn't consider them Jewish, but they don't care.

Comment by Mordekhai ben-Yosef on September 6, 2012 at 12:37pm

"The Jews are like everybody else, only more so."

Everyone's birth is a genetic accident. My mother is a Jewish Puerto Rican and my daddy was pure Ashkenazi. Considerable human ancestry ...

It kills me to see a secular Israel cater to men who spit on the flag then demand to be supported while they make babies and, oh yeah, discuss pilpul. It is enough. As outside political and financial support for the state of Israel dwindles, the government cannot afford to succor able-bodied people who give NOTHING in return.

Alan, you're not a Jew? Gentile mother? Well, you'll have had your moments as have we all.

I know what I am. I am peeved.

Comment by Alan Perlman on September 6, 2012 at 10:23am

Excellent discussion here, and I would like to participate more in this thread.  My Judaism is a genetic accident and a cultural familiarity (been to many more Seders than Midnight Masses).  That's it. 

I don't hate Jews, but I know they're capable of the same bigotry, sense of specialnesss, and ritual/fantasy engagement as the practitioners of other religions. 

It's heartbreaking to see Israel, founded as a secular stste, slide into religiosity.  I find it profoundly irritating and stupid that the Israeli govt. allows so many of these Orthodox idiots to study Torah full-time and avoid military service or in fact any productive work. 

Mordecai, loved your comment.  You know who you are.

Comment by Mordekhai ben-Yosef on September 6, 2012 at 6:46am

I had a feeling about this, Natalie. And I tell you that I figure I'll spend time mostly in this club. Of course, I'll "shop around" but I recently left Delphi Forums because fundie xtians had pretty much moved in and set up housekeeping.

I'm tired of dealing with people who believe the world is theirs to rule because some demon told them so. It's hard enough , life, without irrational jerks threatening to make me an "un-person" (or worse) because I am in touch with, you know, reality.

As I walk through "their" world, I am damned repeatedly. I am ethnically Ashkenazi and Puerto Rican, politically centrist, a heathen, and I dunno, some sort of dog. But I bite, and I intend to live in dignity. My citizenship is not "conditional", as a human being i expect the same esteem I give to others. Even if they are a bunch of fig bat doodyheads. ;-)

Comment by Natalie A Sera on September 6, 2012 at 4:56am

Well, Mordekhai, I have come across any number of Jew-Hating Atheists here, too. They speak from complete ignorance of the difference between believing in god, and the fact that we are an ethnic and cultural entity just as much as any other people in the world, and don't deserve their scorn and hatred. That's why I have really stopped doing much in other threads, and restrict my participation only to the threads where I have found reasonable people. Just because someone claims to be atheist doesn't mean they don't harbor bigotry.


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