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Jewish Atheists

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

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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 Mordekhai ben-Yosef on September 5, 2012 at 7:25pm

Shalom! I have just joined up here and will gradually become more active. Thank god I found other online atheist Jews! Some of the places I've been harbored Jew-hating atheists. Oyvavoy!

Comment by Michael Pianko on June 24, 2012 at 5:40pm

                Comment by Michael Pianko1 second ago           Delete Comment

You have all of your organs. I do not. Abuse is abuse even if you are not comfortable admitting it and you could STILL do Jewish culture if you are intact. Nobody takes off peoples underwear at a klezmer performance or Israeli Independence day celebration and checks to make sure all males have the proper amount of tissue missing. When you hear of someone who is going to have a kid, you really ought to inform them about why they must not let their son get circumcised. This abuse happens because otherwise good people like you refuse to speak up and say anything. The holocause should have taught us that bad things happen when otherwise good people just remain silent. If you think really hard about it, being circumcised is like having a big sign on your body that says, hey everybody, I'm Jewish! Come and get me!

Comment by Natalie A Sera on June 23, 2012 at 6:34pm

Michael, one of the good things about freedom of and from religion is that you are free to do anything you think is ethical as long as it is legal too. If you should have a son, and don't want to circumcise him, it's your right, Mom notwithstanding. To tell the truth, I didn't want to circumcise my son, either, but felt compelled to because of my mother and my husband. So he had an Orthodox circumcision, and *I* cried more than he did (he only let out one little wail, and that was it -- the wine put him to sleep), because I didn't want to see my baby hurt, and I had been looking at that normal little penis when I changed him for 8 days.

What I'm trying to say is that cultural pressure IS strong, but if I had been of stronger mind I would have refused it. But I was a weak little ninny at the time. I once apologized to my son for doing it, and he said he held no grudge and what is done is done, but I ALSO think that this is as much a personal decision for the parent as the choice to abort or carry the pregnancy. I really do believe in freedom of religion, and while I know you are anti-circumcision, and I will never know exactly what you feel, I don't feel comfortable making that decision for anyone else.

Comment by Michael Pianko on June 23, 2012 at 5:31pm

I meant *foot binding*,

Comment by Michael Pianko on June 23, 2012 at 5:29pm

The Shema even says something about how you are supposed to love the lord our god and take these words to heart... and in 2nd paragraph it says, if you don't love god enough he will close up the heavens and it won't rain and the crop won't grow.

Comment by Michael Pianko on June 23, 2012 at 5:25pm

Look, its not that I want to be offensive, but if you are going to do Jewish culture then at least admit that inthe past there was no distinction between religion and culture, and you could still do Jewish culture while being intact, and in case I have a son I should not be allowed to make a decision about circumcision because nobody should be allowed to make a decision about circumcision because the decision should not exist because circumcision should not exist, for the same reason nobody makes decisions about hurting other parts of your kids bodies (because we are only taught to circumcise, not do other abuse). No, I don't specifically think our ancestors or the ancient Jews were better or worse than various other cultures - the chinese did food binding to their daughters and in Mesoamerica they strapped heavy boards to their kids' heads until the age of 4 heads so the heads would be longer in width than the normal shape, different tribes give their members various tattoos or piercings or put sticks of wood through their faces or lips, and yes, a few other tribes do hurt their son or daughters organs also. My worldview was that one of the two following possibilities is true and not both: 

1. There is a god, therefore it is necessary to do every detail orthodox Judaism says you have to do, or

2. there is no god, so I'm free to not do anything Jewish.

 

But I'm tired of my mom, every so often, telling me I might want to go to some Jewish young adult events, and I'm tired of feeling guilty about the possibility of not doing Jewish stuff. Most Jewish men don't know about circumcision or don't want to care, and nobody wants to feel bad about himself for having reduced sex organs. The thing is, most religions do not want you to have that much of a relationship with another person. Most religions want you to take all the romance you would have devoted to another person and devote it towards HaShem or whatever other god. Judaism has the so called family purity laws I thought I was going to have to put up with. I'm not sure what the punishment for ejaculating in Ancient Israel was but I'll find out. Judaism hurt me (because I'm one of the few Jewish men who stepped really far outside the bubble of Judaism and realized what Iam missing). Most of Yiddish culture or modern secular Jewish culture doesn't matter, so for all it matters you could do any of it. That part of Judaism didn't hurt me. The circumcision is the main thing I want eliminated since thats mainly the thing about Judaism that hurt me most.

Comment by Alan Perlman on June 23, 2012 at 2:31pm

In reply to commments/questions on Humanistic Judaism: Yes, it did enable me to maintain Jewish identity without believing BS.  Rabbi Wine insisted on using as examples "real Jews in real time," not Biblical figures.  He and his followers reinterpreted each holiday to purge it of divine involvement.  Services: subject matter consisted of statements/reflections around a certain theme, plus music (secular Jewish/Hebrew).  Then they backslid.  His successor never even acknowledged receiving my book.  I think I know why. They're back to the old stories and midrash, a word Rabbi Wine never used.  And I've moved on, from religious humanist to secular humanist (terminology from Sam Harris). 

Comment by Alan Perlman on June 23, 2012 at 2:21pm

PS. to Prog Rock Girl: Yes, they are too smart, but social pressure makes them show up at High Holidays, perfumed and dressed to the nines, to see and be seen, and to mutually pretend.  Turn off reason and yield to groupthink.  And the davening can be very restful... 

Comment by Alan Perlman on June 23, 2012 at 2:18pm

Comment on Jewishness: I think that if we can document the proposition that circumcision undermines human well-being (back to sex again) and if medical reasons are bogus, then the truth should be told, and parents would have more of a choice.  In reality, this is a deeply-ingrained custom that most Jews wouldn't ever abandon (wasn't Luke uncircumcised?).  See Genesis Ch. 19. 

Christianity didn't require circumcision - major selling point.

To fellow linguists: IMO, there's still some mystery about exactly who wrote the Torah and when.  There could have been four authors...or multiple authors, all writing in the style of one of what appear to be the four authors.  But apparently there were four documents edited into one.

Welcome, Steph and Prog Rock Girl.

Comment by Alan Perlman on June 23, 2012 at 2:01pm

Natalie...I agree completely.  The Tanakh is worthy of anthropological, linguistic, and other scientific forms of inquiry.  I'm not that interested in it. 

There is a clear bright line between this and regarding the Torah as an actual historical accounting...and, further, acknowledging divine power, both then and now.  A line I will never cross. 

Where I thought you were going with Leviticus....is that it's also full of ancient directives, many rules and regs, harsh punishments.  Priestly stuff.  To modern people, mostly laughable.  A few commonsense rules (don't make a harlot of your daughter).  

 

zei gezint,

Cousin Alan

 

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