Judaism, Jewishness and everything you were never taught in school about it.

I've been hanging around for a while, and the amount of ignorance and misinformation abounding around Judaism, Jewishness (not the same thing), and Israel just astounds me.

Because we are an ethnic group that just happens to have a religion attached to it (much like the Japanese) it is entirely possible to be a Jewish atheist -- and I don't think I'm the only one here, although it seems to me that others may be unwilling to come out, because of the rampant hostility that I have seen expressed against us.

I think that this hostility comes from ex-Christians truly not understanding the difference between the definition of a Christian and a Jew, much less the profound cultural differences that exist. Americans in general, which mostly means Christians, haven't a clue about Jewish history, nor approaches to philosophy, nor how we have evolved, nor our world-view. 

So I have a lot of topics in my head to write about -- but I'm also VERY interested in genuine questioning, just so some of you can understand before you attack.

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According to the US Supreme Court in a WW2-era case (before Congress added two infamous words), reciting the Pledge of Allegiance brings schoolchildren into the political culture.

According to the professor in a cultural anthropology course I took after I retired, when we die we leave the culture.

Natalie - // There is a very distinct American culture //

Ok I can think of two (2) that come to mind but I'm sure you have additional ones I'd like you to list out.

1. American 'culture' seems 'entitled'. People here think everyone else should do the work and they should reap the profits. People from other countries come to America and are terribly thankful for the opportunities (well...they used to)......American born people seem to think it's automatic - and they are entitled.

2. American's being overwhelmingly Christian - act holier-than-thou. They seem to think that being an American means they are God's chosen now - and not anyone else. It's just that holy and chosen attitude that I've been seeing for decades.

Without reading the other posts, I can honestly say that I was - and still am - ignorant about Jewish history.  I was raised Roman Catholic and attended parochial school for 12 years.  I never learned about any other religions while in school - they didn't want the competitions, I guess.  Honestly, I was in mid to late grade school before really hearing about Judaism and unfortunately, only heard the negative stereotypes (my dad raised us to be racist bigots...thankfully, my sisters and I were able to eventually think for ourselves and realize dad was full of shit).  

So, you are right, Natalie, that I am ignorant  of Judaism, Jewishness, and Israel.  I certainly don't wish to stay ignorant.  That's why I was glad to see the post stating you were going to create this post.  I'm looking forward to educating myself about your heritage.  

That is the most complex writing I've seen since I studied differential equations.

Obvious or simplistic? No danger of that.

Hi, Kalikiano! At least I understand the aloha i ka pono part (even if I didn't quote it properly!)

You wrote quite a dissertation, and your knowledge of formal philosophy is FAR beyond mine. My reason for starting the thread was to clear up misconceptions which I found far too common in other threads I read.

My own interest in clarifying Judaism is NOT to convert anyone (heavens no!!) but to share my cultural knowledge with people who have often been taught a very distorted and truncated view of it. I get tired of people quoting ancient biblical writings, and then accusing modern Jews of following that long outmoded view of the world. I get even more tired of people presenting Christian lies about the Jews as if they were true. So I guess that shows.

It's like if people were yelling about native Hawai'ians throwing virgins into the volcano to appease Pele, when first of all, they aren't doing that any more (if they ever did), and second, the Hawai'ian culture is far richer and more complex than that. You don't have to believe in the myths to enjoy learning about them, and you can certainly find and apply the pearls of wisdom that are definitely there.

So I don't know a term to apply to what I do. I study culture as a hobby, and for many if not most native cultures, a certain set of beliefs and a world-view is simply part of that culture, not separate as in Christianity. If I could impart one concept to the majority of those who were raised in Christian cultural/religious separatism, that would be it.

Dang, Kalikiano!  You know, if we really WANTED to read the entire Old Testament, we would all just convert.  I've gotta give you credit, though-it certainly IS a thorough and well thought out reply.


In one of my discussion posts, "Christianity- a brief history", which you have seen, I have described two savage mobs, practising brutality in the name of religion. Both of them belonged to the same region and for both of them the target for proselytisation were mainly Jews. Therefore, while they fought each other for dominance over a geographical region, they persecuted those Jews who did not accept their religions. The people were brutal, those were the days of savagery and the Jews suffered utmost form that savegery. The seeds of anti-semitism that were planted in those time culminated in to the holocaust. This is the history of the past. I think that the past has not been totally undone even now.

Madhukar, you are right, but history cannot be undone, whether ancient or recent. That is my reason for my position that the only rational action we can take about ANY problem is to find the solutions that will hurt the fewest and help the most.

I admit my ignorance and misinformation.

During WWII many Jews were taken to the deathcamps and few people tried to help them - it gave rise to an uncomfortable feeling in this country. Lots of people are parading their Anne Frank-admiration, but I think that´s just to cover up guilty feelings. The fundies in this country love Israel, and they never miss an opportunity to state that Israel cannot do wrong because Jews are god´s own people, and of course it´s allright to murder Palestinians because they are not god´s people. Jews in this country divide in two groups: one is agressive-defensive (Watch out, I´m a Jew and I´ll get you when you discriminate against me!), the other group consists of people who behave normal, keep their own culture but don´t push it at you. You can see from this that it´s easy to get disgusted and misinformed. It taught me not to talk about ethnic groups but to meet people one by one and just estimate their behaviour.

I notice in your post : ´Because we are an ethnic group that jus´

Are you so connected to your ethnic group that you talk about we? Why? Including yourself in a group often means that you exclude other groups - is that also true for you? Don´t think that I want to attack you or other people. I´ll happily try out your recipes and listen to your own world-view.




Chris Breman

I do not know the motives of fundies in your country but as a third party observing form a distance, I have independent views and they may not be wrong even if they are not far from the fundies.

The Jewish country is surrounded by 11 nations that do not even willingly acccept the right of Jewish people for a homeland that has been deprived to them for over 2000 years. This possibly created a overly agressive psyche among the Israelis and it is quite possible that they are overacting because of this. Offence, to them, has become the best defence.  The situation in the middle east keeps on changing and it is difficult to find any solution without a party having equal interests and equal weight with all concerned.

You make an important point. Plus the overly aggressive stance is compounded by the long history of bloody oppression by Christians in Europe and Muslims in the Middle East, only culminating in the still very present trauma of the Holocaust. It is no accident that a common slogan is "Never again!" Or what a dear friend of mine said her grandfather told her: "Don't ever forget you are a Jew, because the rest of the world won't!"

I have trouble understanding the smug condescension and outright hostility of some atheists toward a community that has suffered millennia-long bloodshed and oppression, when atheists themselves are the target of bigotry and hatred.

I am talking about the Jewish community just like one would talk about any community. Armenians, Hutus, Tutsi, Moors, etc. are all communities, aren't they? Again, to speak only of those about whom I actually know something, there is a VERY clear sense of community among Armenians in the US, even though they were born here, usually of grandparents and great-grandparents who fled the Turkish genocide. Asian Americans have a sense of community; gays have a sense of community -- why shouldn't Jews?

And I do NOT say "so what?" about other peoples' narratives. The Armenians pass on the story of their genocide to their children, and the Japanese-Americans retain the memory of the detention camps -- that is their right as a people and a community. Don't Jews have the same right?

Your so-called "joke" about Orthodox Jews dressing like Abraham Lincoln (I already explained your mistake), is merely tasteless, but you have the right to be tasteless if you wish. Pardon me if I don't laugh.

And no, I don't want you to say the Jewish religion is great, or that a part of Jewish writing (the term "Old Testament" is an insulting misnomer) is sublime -- that's not what this discussion is about. I don't dispute your right to disagree with the actions of the Israeli government, either. I never asked for a pity party, nor do I myself countenance wrongs that have been perpetrated by individual Jews.

All I started this discussion for was to counteract the obvious anti-Semitism and ignorance about what Judaism and Jewishness are on this website in general. I was disturbed by the mis- and dis- and lack of information (I won't call them lies, because I give the authors of the statements the benefit of the doubt) about the history of Judaism, and the state of the modern Jewish community in many threads I had started reading. I came to AN expecting rational and interesting and civil discussions, and was upset to see the amount of ignorant ranting that goes on. I would expect to find that on a fundie site, but was blind-sided to find it here. That's all.


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