High holidays? Meh

Middle East
on 47 Comments

The high holidays this year have been the most relaxed of my lifetime. It used to be that I was quite caught up in the new year and the ten days of awe leading up to Yom Kippur. I made it a point to get to synagogue a time or two, I always fasted. I anticipated the question from my tribal minders, “What did you do this year, Phil?” and aimed to pass the test. Especially after I got married to a non-Jew. I felt guilty about my lack of adherence to traditional Jewish ways, and tried to make up for my violations in spasmodic ritual.

This year, not so much. And I notice that few of my Jewish friends are being observant. One went camping. Another made a comment to me about their Buddhist spouse. A third made a blasphemous joke with pleasure: It took 2000 years for the Jews to get Chinese food.

Yet another has refused to go to synagogue since the rabbi used the pulpit on the high holidays to express compassion for the Israeli Defense Forces. Anti-Zionism is obviously a factor here. It’s hard to get pumped for a religion so many of whose institutions align themselves with a militant apartheid state. All the polling shows that the more religious Jews are, the more supportive they tend to be of Israel.

But I’m speaking more generally about assimilationist tendencies in the United States. I have more Jewish friends than ever but a lot of them are intermarried, and the High Holidays feel more and more like something traditional people do. It used to be that Sabbath services were that way; Jews only showed up in shul for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Now even that observance seems to me to be slipping slowly away.

The other night a Jewish friend had us over for a Rosh Hashanah dinner, and said the prayers, under her breath. My wife later asked why she didn’t sing em out. All three Jews there were intermarried; and when I talked with the other Jewish guest about these trends, she was more comfortably lapsed than me. She’s looking forward to Christmas with non-Jewish grandchildren in another country; she’s moved for jobs too many times to have kept Jewish friends, but isn’t sure what to do about it.

So everything that Alan Dershowitz (The Vanishing American Jew) and other tractarians warned us about is happening, and still I shrug.

Other moderns are going through the same process. My close non-Jewish friends stopped going to church a long time ago, my wife and all her sisters and cousins, too. I think of Kafka’s objection to the synagogue in Prague– his father stretching out his hand to show his weirdo son the “sons of the millionaire Fuchs.” Chosenness and prestige culture are problematic, no matter who’s expressing it. If I hated one thing about Antonin Scalia, it was his refusal to consider other legal norms than American ones.

I need religion; and in crises, I have found myself turning to a few intimates, several from my wife’s family, and reaching for lines from Dickinson, Kafka, Tolstoy, Melville, Shakespeare, Doris Lessing. My wife is a full-on seeker, and I piggyback on her discoveries. The ayurvedic temperaments are a very useful typology, right up there with Myers Briggs. “You’re either a nature or a culture person,” my wife said recently, and I’m with nature.

Am I assimilating? I don’t know. My closest friends are more unconventional than ever, I’m going to fast on Yom Kippur, and the community of anti-Zionist Jews is important to me. They’re going to spread me in the woods anyway.

These are all observations, not moral commandments. Though I find that the guilt is ebbing; I’ve made my choices, and loss of tradition is one of the consequences. Cultures change and develop; in New Guinea they are losing languages by the day. We should pray that what we replace our old ways with is an improvement.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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47 Responses

  1. Jackdaw
    September 23, 2017, 3:14 pm

    Let’s learn more about Phil.

  2. Citizen
    September 23, 2017, 4:07 pm

    Winsome post, Phil.

  3. Eva Smagacz
    September 23, 2017, 5:21 pm

    I deeply believe that people seek religion, and ritual that comes with religion (some call that ritual an observance) when the world around them is being destroyed and controlled by “others”.

    Raise of nationalism (some call it patriotism) also follows destruction and luck of control.

    In the evolutionary terms, we lessen sense of dread and anxiety with ritual and repetition while seeking to strengthen our tribal links, to close ranks within our extended families, while our xenophobia and paranoia are ranked up by our primitive reptilian brains.

    Phil feels increasingly not a outsider but an American, and he is middle class, as are his friends. His wife is free to search for improvement in her eudonic rewards including her spirituality.
    Friends that Phil describes feel safe.

    Politicians are masters in manipulating those feeling of safety, or dread, or being attacked either from inside or outside of society that we reside in. They are also masters in “divide and rule” and “unite and lead” techniques.29/34

    I mourn the loss of languages on the planet. One of those is Yiddish, and it has been destroyed by design.

    • Mooser
      September 23, 2017, 8:20 pm

      “Phil feels increasingly not a outsider but an American, and he is middle class, as are his friends.”

      Not an easy row to hoe for a kid whose Dad was a school-master in a rural one-room schoolhouse, somewhere in New England.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 24, 2017, 9:46 am

      In the evolutionary terms, we lessen sense of dread and anxiety with ritual and repetition while seeking to strengthen our tribal links, to close ranks within our extended families, while our xenophobia and paranoia are ranked up by our primitive reptilian brains.

      it seems like it would be a very strange time to be jewish. so many mixed messages. people are voting today in germany:

      German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said this month that if the AfD gets its projected 10 percent share of the vote, “We will have real Nazis in the German Reichstag for the first time since the end of World War II.”

      and the mindboggling thing is how many people fueling this hatred are jewish (https://static.theintercept.com/amp/german-election-afd-gatestone-institute.html). it’s truly befuddling. “In the evolutionary terms” how would one reconcile these mixed messages, this deliberate infusion of xenophobia, with ‘high holidays’?

      • catalan
        September 24, 2017, 10:36 am

        “and the mindboggling thing is how many people fueling this hatred are jewish (https://static.theintercept.com/amp/german-election-afd-gatestone-institute.html).“ annie

        I agree completely, people who are Jewish just fuel the hatred. That’s why I choose to not be Jewish, because I like peace, harmony, understanding. Like Marnie, I am disappointed with Judaism.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 24, 2017, 10:47 am

        I agree completely, people who are Jewish just fuel the hatred.

        you’re not agreeing with me, because obviously i didn’t say that. own your own bigotry – don’t pawn it off on me.

        p.s. try reading the link embedded in and supporting the sentence you quoted — i took the liberty of adding it where you cited me so there would be no mistaking the context.

      • Mooser
        September 24, 2017, 12:10 pm

        “That’s why I choose to not be Jewish”

        “Hello, my name is “Catalan”. I am not Jewish. Not Jewish. NOT JEWISH, I tell you! Why are you looking at me as if I am Jewish? Cut it out! And, damn it, stop thinking I am Jewish!

      • Citizen
        September 24, 2017, 12:34 pm

        Latest exit poll result is AfD got 13% of the vote, but also due to other coalition configuration comments, it won’t be the official opposition party.

      • catalan
        September 24, 2017, 7:57 pm

        ““Hello, my name is “Catalan”. I am not Jewish. Not Jewish. NOT JEWISH, I tell you! “ Mooser
        It’s a choice Mooser. My choice is to be a Unitarian Christian; ethnically I choose to be half French and half Chinese. With some Greek and English mixed in. It’s a much easier life now where I am not responsible for Israel, high (or low) interest rates or bad Hollywood movies (or Netflix or whatever the thing is now). What a relief! It’s totally worth it; yes I will never have real power (by virtue of being Jewish a lot was granted to me effortlessly) but honestly it’s a better life.

      • Mooser
        September 25, 2017, 1:01 pm

        “(by virtue of being Jewish a lot was granted to me effortlessly)”

        And you lose no chance to let us know it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

      • catalan
        September 25, 2017, 2:05 pm

        “And you lose no chance to let us know it. If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” mooser
        No more mooser – I am a better person now. I know there is no “chosen” people. I have accepted all men as my brothers and my equals. I invite you to join me. This battle you have been fighting, it is not worth it. You will lose the tribal privileges that you enjoy, the access to power, the ability to enter any field you like. But you will gain what I have now – peace of mind. All this stuff, usury, Holywood, the media, Zionism, anti-Zionism – you won’t have anything to do with it. Also, remember, the Christians help each other too. It’s not like you will be left alone.

      • Mooser
        September 25, 2017, 2:41 pm

        ” I am a better person now. “

        Many, many people say that Christian conversion and baptism, being received into the Church, has made them a better person. YMMV

        Ephesians 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”

      • Mooser
        September 25, 2017, 6:06 pm

        “My choice is to be a Unitarian Christian”

        You should have no trouble finding a Unitarian-Universalist congregation near you in New Mexico. And remember, “Catalan”, you can’t say “Universalist” without saying “A-list”.

    • Misterioso
      September 25, 2017, 3:35 pm

      @Eva

      As well as suppressing Arabic spoken by Mizrachim immigrants, Ben-Gurion and his associates also wanted to minimize the use of Yiddish, the language of Eastern European Ashkenazi immigrants. Thus, it was decreed that a modernized version of Hebrew would be the official language of Israel.

      After arriving in Israel, Ashkenazi Jews, especially those in public life, Hebraized their names as Ben-Gurion (born David Gruen) and many others had done: Yitzhak Shamir, born Yitzak Yzernitzky in Poland; Golda Meir, born Golda Mabovitch in the Ukraine, married Morris Meyerson in the U.S.; Ariel Sharon, born Ariel Shinerman; Yigal Allon, born Yigal Faikovitch; Moshe Sharett, born Moshe Shertok, Shimon Peres, born Shimon Persky. The adoption of the Hebrew language and Hebrew surnames also served to establish a link between the modern Jewish state and the ancient Israelites, albeit a fictitious one.

      As a consequence of being cut off from their Yiddish and various (primarily Arabic) linguistic roots, Israeli Ashkenazi and Mizrachi Jews have paid a high price in terms of history and culture. “The quick empowerment of Hebrew over the languages of the immigrants caused the loss of Jewish cultural memory and dramatically narrowed its scope, cutting connections to the cultures from which these immigrants came and impoverishing the society that could no longer draw on these cultural roots. Most Israeli Jews, secular and orthodox alike, had hardly read the rich sources of Jewish culture; at the same time, most Israeli Jews have been exiled from non-Jewish cultural arenas in which their grandparents felt so much at home.” (“100 Years of Zionism, 50 Years of a Jewish State,” by Ariella Azoulay and Adi Ophir, Tikkun, March/April 1998, p. 69)

      Once they arrived in Israel the Mizrachim were treated little better than animals. Those from Yemen were shorn of their side locks and they were sprayed with DDT to “disinfect” and “delouse” them and again crammed into unsanitary overcrowded camps.

      The fair-skinned Ashkenazi immigrants, however, were welcomed with open arms as equals and housed in the homes of dispossessed Palestinians. As Soviet immigrants arrived during 1969-70 Prime Minister Golda Meir greeted them at the airport with such statements as: “You are the real Jews. We have been waiting for you for twenty-five years…. You are a superior breed – you will provide us with heroes.” (Quoted by Joseph Massad, Zionism’s Others …JPS Summer 1996, pp. 61-62)

  4. Marnie
    September 24, 2017, 3:35 am

    “We should pray that what we replace our old ways with is an improvement.”

    Amen.

  5. Sibiriak
    September 24, 2017, 8:38 am

    Mooser: Not an easy row to hoe…
    ————————————————-

    Well, as Keith has pointed out several times, Jews have traditionally eschewed hoeing, .

    • Mooser
      September 24, 2017, 12:32 pm

      , “Jews have traditionally eschewed hoeing”

      Not I, “Sibiriak”! I have returned to my Judean agricultural roots. And these are the harvest days. Manly, wholesome work in the outdoors, bringing in the sheaves.
      In a week or two, it will be time for the traditional “trimming bee” at our little kibbutz.

      • Mooser
        September 24, 2017, 2:38 pm

        And I feel I should point out that it is fish blood (and other fish-processing by-products) we feed them with. So I don’t want to hear any bud libels!

      • RoHa
        September 24, 2017, 7:09 pm

        Which agricultural roots are Judean? Turnips? Carrots? Unbuttered parsnips? Can’t be the ones Americans call “rutabaga”. Those are Swedes.

      • RoHa
        September 24, 2017, 8:41 pm

        Of course, mention of agriculture makes me think of the Rev. Jenkins and his father

        “who, undogcollared because of his little weakness, was scythed to the bone one harvest by mistake when sleeping with his weakness in the corn. He lost all ambition and died, with one leg.

        “ Poor Dad,” grieves the Reverend Eli Jenkins, “to die of drink and agriculture.”

        (Dylan Thomas)

        And then of Thelma’s sister.

        Keep me from Thelma’s sister Pearl!
        She puts my senses in a whirl,
        Weakens my knees and keeps me waiting
        Until my heart stops palpitating.

        The debs may turn disdainful backs
        On Pearl’s uncouth mechanic slacks,
        And outraged see the fire that lies
        And smoulders in her long-lashed eyes.

        Have they such weather-freckled features,
        The smooth sophisticated creatures?
        Ah, not to them such limbs belong,
        Such animal movements sure and strong,

        Such arms to take a man and press
        In agricultural caress
        His head to hers, and hold him there
        Deep buried in her chestnut hair.

        God shrive me from this morning lust
        For supple farm girls: if you must,
        Send the cold daughter of an earl –
        But spare me Thelma’s sister Pearl!

        (John Betjeman)

      • echinococcus
        September 24, 2017, 11:21 pm

        RoHa,

        Jerusalem artichokes (topinambour) are roots.

        Well, Jerusalem has no part in it, as the name was anglicized from “girasole”, “artichoke” naming the peculiar flavor but, guess what? Zionists have predictably seized the name and organized a Jerusalem Artichoke Week. No joke. http://www1.alliancefr.com/actualites/israel-cest-la-fete-du-topinambour-a-jerusalem-6050566

        So that Judean root will be served with ancient-izraelian hummus, I suppose.

      • echinococcus
        September 24, 2017, 11:42 pm

        I apologize, RoHa. Here’s a link in English that won’t trigger your allergies
        http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Over-50-eateries-in-Jlm-take-part-in-Artichoke-Festival-479450

      • RoHa
        September 25, 2017, 9:11 pm

        Thanks, echinococcus. That makes sense. A plant native to North America, cultivated by the American Indians, and which was then taken to Europe and cultivated by Europeans, is exactly the right plant to be a Judean root. Invented by Israelis.

      • gamal
        September 25, 2017, 10:19 pm

        “is exactly the right plant to be a Judean root. Invented by Israelis”

        It is also, so I have heard, a cause of flatulence.

        As to Betjeman, we will leave Joan Hunter Dunn where she belongs in obscurity, I was always impressed that he wrote, during the blitz the line

        “Come friendly bombs fall on Slough”

        They never put that one up on the walls of the Underground, its why people don’t like poems they never quote the good ones, I always felt that Waugh and Betjeman were one person, but now I know better, only larkin’ about Gov.

      • RoHa
        September 26, 2017, 1:17 am

        Waugh is usually savage. Betjeman usually seems much gentler, singing the lost Elysium of once-rural Middlesex. But there is nothing gentle about

        http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/john_betjeman/poems/794

        Good rhythms in

        http://www.famouspoetsandpoems.com/poets/john_betjeman/poems/811

        Anthony Burgess was not kind to him in Earthly Powers.

        I confess that I have never read anything by Larkin, but I am certain that, like Thomas, Betjeman, Waugh, and Burgess, it is far more worth reading than JeffB’s effusions.

      • gamal
        September 26, 2017, 9:05 am

        “Waugh is usually savage”

        Sometimes its very hard to say things in front of modern White people,

        many times in mixed company one of my black friends would be in a bad mood and you know, we would know and get the White people to leave,

        every man would have his spliff rolled, maybe tea if you lucky, the ritual begins, the bad mood man takes a deep breath as he exhales he utters

        ” you know what the matter with fucking black people”

        “Uh hunh” comes the response from the assembled Jamaicans

        “when they get 50 pound they waste it on boseyness and fuckries”

        the litany is then recited,

        Once me and my black friends were speculating about how so many of our friends looked like monkeys, Prang, a 7ft tall Rasta was particularly funny, we had a friend Stan, very dapper gent great Gospel voice, he had a goatee and moustache that had gone white at the sides,

        He walked in and like school kids we collapsed into laughter

        “what you talking about”

        “How many of the bretheren look like monkeys”

        There was silence he said one word

        “Gibbon” and stood in his 5ft 2″ dignity we lost it laugh but he did, now the beard gone white look just like a dapper little Gibbon.

        somethings you can’t say around white people who still insist we carry their burden, the English I grew up around were pretty unsentimental about themselves and the nature of society

        nowadays precisely because of the insane rambling of people el HefeB ( i honestly thought he had 2 b’s, i only see what i want to see) no one can say anything,

        we can not be forever explaining ourselves, its the inclusive “we”, we can at least all unite around our delusions, surely, what else do we have.

  6. JLewisDickerson
    September 24, 2017, 9:05 am

    Dershowitz is looking rather pitiful, but I certainly will not lose any sleep over it.

    • JLewisDickerson
      September 24, 2017, 11:42 am

      P.S. I certainly will not lose any sleep over it (i.e., Dershowitz’s aging), in stark contrast with how much I agonize over Chomsky’s aging!

  7. Mooser
    September 24, 2017, 2:11 pm

    “Especially after I got married to a non-Jew. I felt guilty about my lack of adherence to traditional Jewish ways, and tried to make up for my violations in spasmodic ritual.”

    And that’s how Phil Weiss became the king of the Cool Jerk!

  8. mcohen..
    September 24, 2017, 7:12 pm

    there was a time in my life when high holidays had a cheech and chong feel to it.lately i binge watched “american gods” having previously read the book and many truths about relegion were expressed.
    in australia there is a yes/no debate about same sex marriage and i heard people bolster there choices with references to the bible.others who choose yes talk about human rights
    myself i came up with the “laws of nature” defence.the queens cannot hang out together on the board because nature says only the king and queen can make a pawn.
    but back to “american gods”
    one relegion has been ditched for another since adam and eve.jews might be turning there back on judaism as phil says but it has nothing to do with israel.
    i personallly believe that the internet has a lot to do with it.sources of knowledge have always been respected.and relegion had played a large role.
    these days that same knowledge is freely available and commitment free.just need an internet connection to worship.and there is no shortage of gods to follow on twitter and instagram.
    they say the american bible belt has replaced jesus with donald trump.every tweet a blessing.
    a small problem is the “fake news” thing but hey …..every relegion has used a bit of the old “magical dust” to put a shine on the moon.
    this year i too lacked my usual enthusiasm for rosh h. but went for a few hours anyway to hear the shofar.
    i grew increasingly bored.the drone my man the drone.
    standing next to me was a guy from the ussr.we started chatting.he started telling me about his parents and what it was like for jews in russia under stalin.he said that there shul was underground in someones cellar.i thought he was joking.imagine a shul in a cellar.jews were not allowed to worship openly he said.
    eventually they got out and many russians went to israel where jews could end up going to shul in underground bunkers.ironic like a tonic.
    this year i am seriously considering not fasting.i never used to.fuck it why should i do something that has no meaning for me.however i do worry that God will kick my ass.
    did you know that a commandment states that you shall put a sign upon your door post.the sages said it has to be a mezzuzah with a scroll in it containing a few paragraphs.i believe that the commandment is open to interpretation and put a drawing of the universe and its connectedness on my doorpost.some people hang lucky charms.asian people put many sided mirror things.many people have nothing at there doorpost.just a door bell.
    one day God will ring your door bell phil.he always does

  9. Ronald Johnson
    September 25, 2017, 9:53 am

    This is an educational experience – to learn the entymology of ” jerusalem” in jerusalem artichokes. But anyway, there is an argument that human mortality serves for the survival of humanity – to let the old minds die off to allow the youth to discover the ever-new world and adapt. There are numerous infrastructures, architectural and dogmatic, still standing, that served earlier concepts,that need to be repurposed or dismantled.

    A charming parable, in miniature, is told by the Movie, “Brooklyn”

    https://newrepublic.com/article/123336/brooklyn-different-kind-immgrant-movie

    • Mooser
      September 25, 2017, 11:59 am

      ” to let the old minds die off to allow the youth to discover the ever-new world and adapt”

      Sure, that used to happen. But then came pelf and advanced geriatric medicine. And the battle of wills turned into trench warfare.

      • RoHa
        September 25, 2017, 9:16 pm

        If youth wants to dismantle my infrastructure, they’ll have to do it over my dead body!

  10. genesto
    September 25, 2017, 12:17 pm

    You’re just growing as a human being, Phil. It looks like it’s just a matter of time before you eschew religion entirely. After all, religion, by its very nature, is divisive, and you have an inclusive spirit. No matter how progressive any particular religion may try to be, every one of them claims exclusivity to knowing ‘the truth and the way’ to salvation. All other religions are assigned to second-class status, at best, and to condemnation, at worst.

    Take it from me, a born-again agnostic who gave up Catholicism for Lent as a 17-year old, it can be lonely at times not belonging to a religious group. But, it’s so wonderfully liberating!

  11. aloeste
    September 25, 2017, 1:17 pm

    an intermarried anti-zionist. who needs you? just do us a favor–don’t call yourself a jew. fifty years from now, the website , advocating for the arab cause in that part of the world hoping for an end to the 120 year old zionist entity, will be all that is left you…

    • Mooser
      September 25, 2017, 1:57 pm

      “an intermarried anti-zionist. who needs you? just do us a favor–don’t call yourself a jew.”

      It never, ever fails. We haven’t had a Zionist yet who doesn’t think there are too many Jews, and a good culling is necessary.

      Of course, I quite understand it. There’s only so much Holy Land to go around.

      • Mooser
        September 25, 2017, 2:10 pm

        If I had the right kind of meter (graduated in Herzls-per-second, I guess), I could measure how many times a second we alternate between being a beleaguered minority religion, nearly persecuted into extinction, to a rich and powerful sort of exclusive corporation, to be excluded from which means loss of sinecure and benefits.

    • Talkback
      September 25, 2017, 8:44 pm

      Aloeste: “an intermarried anti-zionist. who needs you? just do us a favor–don’t call yourself a jew.”

      Yes, Aloeste. That’s not only rassenschande but also resisting gleichschaltung! Release the shepherd dogs.

    • yonah fredman
      September 26, 2017, 12:59 am

      yeshayahu leibowitz was a zionist.

      there are other means of jewish continuity or jewish futurism and none of them are of any real interest to phil weiss.

      • Mooser
        September 26, 2017, 12:54 pm

        “there are other means of jewish continuity or jewish futurism and none of them are of any real interest to phil weiss.”

        “yonah” please don’t let Phil Weiss’s disinterest in “other means of jewish continuity or jewish futurism” discourage your own. There’s no reason why it should. Don’t let Phil Weiss spoil Judaism for you.

  12. Abba Solomon
    September 26, 2017, 1:46 am

    Brave and decent thing to write. The pressure from a group — in big ways or small warning against equally valuing the outsider — is as strong in Jewish life as anywhere else, and it’s a wonderful thing to resist it.

  13. catalan
    September 26, 2017, 9:00 am

    People who choose the religion based identity of “Jewish” wish for society to confer upon them special rights. The same people deny these rights to the Palestinians. It’s all due to the victim hood mythology which holidays such as these encourage.

    • Mooser
      September 26, 2017, 12:59 pm

      ” It’s all due to the victim hood mythology which holidays such as these encourage.”

      “catalan”, wouldn’t it be better not to indict Judaism, and just concentrate on your future in the Unitarian-Universalist community?

  14. catalan
    September 26, 2017, 2:55 pm

    “catalan”, wouldn’t it be better not to indict Judaism, and just concentrate on your future in the Unitarian-Universalist community?”
    Mooser, you have chosen the religion-based identity of “Jewish” because of the privileges it bestows on you. As a universalist, and also just a caring person, I cannot sit by as small groups of people exercise power completely inordinate with their social contribution.

    • Mooser
      September 26, 2017, 4:55 pm

      “Mooser, you have chosen the religion-based identity of “Jewish” because of the privileges it bestows on you.”

      Which “privileges” does my “choice” (really, I was born this way) of being Jewish “bestow” on me? I know what I think they are, but I’d love for you to tell me what they are.

      Oh, BTW, have you checked with the Unitarian-Universalists to see if they are ready to join you in your condemnation of those “small groups of people exercise power completely inordinate with their social contribution”as it relates to Jews? You maybe better, now that you have decided (and in a matter of 48 hours) you speak for Unitarian-Universalism.

  15. biggerjake
    September 26, 2017, 7:53 pm

    Phil: You don’t need religion.

    From Christopher Hitchens:

    “As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam.”

    Good, robust critical thinking eliminates the need for religion and at the same time takes it’s place.

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