All Blog Posts Tagged 'Judaism' (39)

Reply to Ian’s bar mitzva invitation (not sent)

I recently received an invitation to the bar mitzvah of the son of my first cousin; this ceremony is, as you may know, the induction of the youngster into Jewish adulthood.

Bar/bat mitzvah invitations have been getting cuter, trendier, and ever more adolescent in form and content, as if we needed to be reminded that it’s all in honor of a child whom we pretend has reached some sort of milestone.

I just got a chance to see my own invitation (1956), in a photo album I salvaged…

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Added by Alan Perlman on October 27, 2014 at 3:42pm — 15 Comments

Belle's funeral: epilogue

Thanks to all those who commented on my pre-funeral anxieties and other issues.  Things went quite smoothly in PA,  because the funeral was held in the social hall, where we also ate after the burial. So no religious problems.  I saw another funeral being held in the holy sanctuary but was told that they usually hold funerals in the social room, and the event in the sanctuary followed a sudden death.  So Belle is off to that Great Kosher(-Style) Deli in the sky, where every meal is brunch…

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Added by Alan Perlman on October 25, 2014 at 4:22pm — 5 Comments

Update on life, death, Mom, and the rabbi

Thanks to all who read my previous post.  I found out today that Mom is in hospice and sinking fast, so I launched the letter (previous blog entry) to the Rabbi, slightly edited.  Done and done, right?  Not so fast.  Here's the auto-reply:

Thank [sic] for your email.

I will not be reading my emails during the Jewish Holiday of Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah or the Sabbath following them.

I will look forward to reading and responding to my emails…

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Added by Alan Perlman on October 15, 2014 at 3:00pm — 16 Comments

Letter to Rabbi Rosin

FELLOW HERETICS: I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO SEND THIS LETTER (OR SOME VARIATION OF IT) TO THE RABBI IN MY MOTHER’S (AND MY FORMER) HOME TOWN. COMMENTS WELCOME.

Oct. 5, 2014

Dear Rabbi Rosin,

Thanks so much for visiting my Mother today. I know you’re really busy with the High Holidays. As in my youth, it’s still the only time everybody shows up, as if God doesn’t notice their non-observance the rest of the year, so you have to make the most of it. I do appreciate the time you…

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Added by Alan Perlman on October 5, 2014 at 8:30pm — 17 Comments

The Battle for Zachary's Brain, IX; "Can I show that to Daddy?"

There is nothing that is too obvious of an absurdity to be firmly planted in the human head as long as you begin to instill before the age of five by constantly repeating it with an air of great seriousness.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series of posts will know that the narrative is not a Gothic horror tale…but something that is just as disturbing: resisting the religious programming of a child.

His step-mother,…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 16, 2014 at 1:00pm — 2 Comments

Happy Easter, Bloody Easter

“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

You’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade…

On the Avenue, Fifth Avenue, photographers will snap us

And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure…”

Irving Berlin

“They tried to nail him down, but he got away.”

Marquee outside church in Massachusetts

Well, it’s that day again, and our Greek Orthodox friends, as well as our Roman…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 19, 2014 at 7:00pm — 9 Comments

Another Passover, another celebration of non-deliverance; on not being a jerk

Imagine the religious principles which have, in fact, prevailed in the world. You will scarcely be persuaded that they are anything but sick men’s dreams.”



David Hume

Psrt I: The Non-Event

Another Passover is upon us. I’ve said just about all I can say about this holiday when Jews celebrate their founding myth, the…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 18, 2014 at 7:30pm — 4 Comments

The Battle for Zachary's Brain, VII: Counter-Church/The Absurdity of Jonah

There is nothing that is too obvious of an absurdity to be firmly planted in the human head as long as you begin to instill before the age of five by constantly repeating it with an air of great seriousness.

– Arthur Schopenhauer

Followers of the riveting “Zachary’s Brain” series of posts will know that the narrative is not a Gothic horror tale…but something that is just as disturbing: resisting the religious programming of a child.

His…

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Added by Alan Perlman on April 14, 2014 at 3:00pm — 5 Comments

Say NO to "Noah"

Back in the day, a trip to my grandparents' row home in South Philly, for Passover or the Jewish New Year, was preceded by a family movie in Center City.  The theaters were huge and ornate -- not at all like your bare-bones cineplex; the movies were usually Biblical and always accompanied by chocolate covered cherries.

Of course, we saw Charlton Heston as Moses.  I think Ben-Hur got sneaked in there, as well as Israeli-themed movies like the heart-rending Exodus,…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 22, 2014 at 2:23pm — 19 Comments

Happy Hanukkah -- sort of

"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."

 

Voltaire

“Hanukkah celebrates the triumph of tribal Jewish backwardness.”

Christopher Hitchens

“Hanukkah is…the Feast of Lights. Instead of one day, we got eight CRAZY…

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Added by Alan Perlman on December 1, 2013 at 7:30pm — 5 Comments

Jewish Atheist spreads reason and heresy on the Net

I was contacted by www.askimo.com , a new internet portal featuring video interviews of experts talking on their field of expertise.  I decided that my field of expertise would be “what the Torah really says” (since I am one of the few laypeople who has actually bothered to find out), along with related questions about atheism, blasphemy and the “clear alternative to the Torah” (It's SCIENCE!). 

The questions were partly supplied by me, generally…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 8, 2013 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Q&A: Jewish Atheist replies to Christian Atheist

In an email exchange, an old friend and fellow English-prof colleague wrote this:

"I know you're 'the Jewish atheist,' but don't you feel a strong sense of identification with the Jewish ethos, aside from religion? You've sought out Jewish wives, and friends to some degree could be, the way I might seek out writers as friends. I think of my former Catholicism not angrily but gratefully. When I grew up, I decided on my own that I didn't believe. But my Catholic education was excellent;…

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Added by Alan Perlman on May 2, 2013 at 12:23pm — 7 Comments

Let my people go!

“Men create the gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regards to their mode of life.”

Aristotle



I have been hearing from people who have had to sit at Seders year after year, uncomfortably, stifling their inner thoughts about what nonsense this is, how tedious, what’s the point?  Early in her adulthood, my wife decided that THIS was the year she was going to stand up at a family Seder (with two rabbis present, mind you) and…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 30, 2013 at 10:10am — 2 Comments

Reply to Matthew's Bar Mitzvah Invitation (not sent)

I recently received an invitation to the bar mitzvah of the grandson of my first cousin; this ceremony is, as you may know, the induction of the youngster into Jewish adulthood. 

The invitation itself was colorful and cheery, produced, no doubt, with invitation-creation software and thus exhibiting neither coherence nor originality but just an electronic mad mix of fonts, patterns, and such, chosen from among an infinity of alternatives.

Strangely, the trifold invitation had a…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 17, 2013 at 9:00pm — 1 Comment

A Pious Jewish Prick (updated)

“I find it necessary to wash my hands after I have come into contact with religious people.”

Friedrich Nietzsche



True story:

A Jewish American young man, baby boomer generation, grows up and gets married in the New York area. His wife is a nice Jewish girl. They live on Long Island.  They apparently believed themselves unable to have children, because they adopted a child, sort of through a gray market, but they got a Caucasian child, a daughter, whom they…

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Added by Alan Perlman on March 10, 2013 at 8:00pm — 24 Comments

The Battle for Zachary’s Brain V: Tears on His Pillow; The Consequences of Unbelief

“Do you know that many people believe in God?

They think God made the world and runs the universe.

Some people grow up and learn that God is JUST PRETEND like Santa.

But some people still believe God is real. . .

Some people believe in a god who gives rewards to favorite people.

They imagine a place called Heaven with gold and crowns and music and no pain or work.

Some people believe in a god…

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Added by Alan Perlman on February 9, 2013 at 7:23pm — No Comments

Remembering Bill Perlman

February 1 is the anniversary of the death of my father, Hyman William Perlman (1910-80). 

He was indirectly responsible for this blog – and in fact for all the secularism, skepticism, atheism, and humanism that have been the foundation of my intellectual life.  He was the first skeptic I ever met, and the effect was lasting.  Every time Mom would babble on about “God’s will,” he would snap back, “What’s God got to do with it?”

What indeed.  Things may happen for some reason or…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 31, 2013 at 4:05pm — 1 Comment

Religion and Death: How Will I Behave at Mom’s Funeral?

“Heaven, as conventionally conceived, is a place so inane, so dull, so useless, so miserable that nobody has ever ventured to describe a whole day in heaven, though plenty of people have described a day at the seaside.”

--George Bernard Shaw

 

“It’s an incredible con job, when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death.  Even corporations, with all their reward systems, don’t try to make it…

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Added by Alan Perlman on January 8, 2013 at 11:46am — 9 Comments

The choice of “nice” over “truth”

“Put on your yarmulke;

It’s time to celebrate Hanukkah…”

Adam Sandler, “The Hanukkah Song”

 

“Hanukkah celebrates the triumph of Jewish backwardness.”

Christopher Hitchens…

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Added by Alan Perlman on December 8, 2012 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

How Far Will Zionism Go?

"My question to these people has been simply to ask how far will you go? The bible clearly promises Abraham all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates. That represents an absolutely ludicrous amount of territory for Israel to conquer and the logical conclusion of a prophetically informed expansionist policy is to annex significant portions of Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. "

 …

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Added by John Remington on December 7, 2012 at 3:00am — 9 Comments

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