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Shlomo Sand resigns from being Jewish. Totally. Mostly. Almost

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This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Say it ain’t so, Shlomo Sand. I thought you resigned from being a Jew in your magisterial deconstruction of Jewish identity – The Invention of the Jewish People.  But now you’re back again with an even more definitive resignation in a new book – How I Stopped Being a Jew.

Reading your Op-Ed excerpt in the Guardian, I’m not sure you’re done resigning.

On a personal note, Shlomo, if I were your psychoanalyst, I think your ongoing desire to resign from being a Jew is fraught with entanglements. Some of them are in plain sight, others are hidden in your subconscious. In any case, I doubt resignation is going to take you far enough from where you want to be. Even if you change identity locations, your continuing resignations won’t take you far enough from who you are either.

In short, Shlomo, it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible, to carry through with your resignation.

Besides, resigning from being Jewish is one of the more ancient of Jewish traditions. As starters, think of Moses and the Biblical prophets. Though they were intimately engaged with Jewish life or perhaps precisely because they were, at times they longed to get as far away as they could from the people Israel.

Even God wanted out on more than one occasion. To create a people with a destiny, to promise to accompany them as they created a new social and political order based on justice – to see the people Israel devolve into the Egypt they barely escaped from – and so very early on! – I can certainly understand the prophets and God wanting out. I’m not sure your desire to opt-out is very different.

Personally, I’ve never had the urge to resign my Jewishness, even if I could. However, your sentiment is certainly understandable. In the Golden Age of Constantinian Judaism, what Jew with a conscience wants to identify with normative Jewish life?

Like many Jews of Conscience, Shlomo, you’re fed-up with all things Jewish. Your tone is searching and declarative. However, your reasoning is entangled and sometimes confused. You want out – totally, mostly, almost.

Here’s how you begin your resignation:

During the first half of the 20th century, my father abandoned Talmudic school, permanently stopped going to synagogue, and regularly expressed his aversion to rabbis. At this point in my own life, in the early 21st century, I feel in turn a moral obligation to break definitively with tribal Judeocentrism. I am today fully conscious of having never been a genuinely secular Jew, understanding that such an imaginary characteristic lacks any specific basis or cultural perspective, and that its existence is based on a hollow and ethnocentric view of the world. Earlier I mistakenly believed that the Yiddish culture of the family I grew up in was the embodiment of Jewish culture. A little later, inspired by Bernard Lazare, Mordechai Anielewicz, Marcel Rayman and Marek Edelman – who all fought antisemitism, nazism and Stalinism without adopting an ethnocentric view – I identified as part of an oppressed and rejected minority. In the company, so to speak, of the socialist leader Léon Blum, the poet Julian Tuwim and many others, I stubbornly remained a Jew who had accepted this identity on account of persecutions and murderers, crimes and their victims.

Now, having painfully become aware that I have undergone an adherence to Israel, been assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters, and have appeared in the world as one of the exclusive club of the elect and their acolytes, I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.

But just as you want to cease considering yourself a Jew, Israel, your home, is caught up in perverted logic that defies resolution:

Increasingly it appears to be already too late; all seems already lost, and any serious approach to a political solution is deadlocked. Israel has grown used to this, and is unable to rid itself of its colonial domination over another people. The world outside, unfortunately, does not do what is needed either. Its remorse and bad conscience prevent it from convincing Israel to withdraw to the 1948 frontiers. Nor is Israel ready to annex the occupied territories officially, as it would then have to grant equal citizenship to the occupied population and, by that fact alone, transform itself into a binational state. It’s rather like the mythological serpent that swallowed too big a victim, but prefers to choke rather than to abandon it.

The personal conundrum is obvious:

Does this mean I, too, must abandon hope? I inhabit a deep contradiction. I feel like an exile in the face of the growing Jewish ethnicisation that surrounds me, while at the same time the language in which I speak, write and dream is overwhelmingly Hebrew. When I find myself abroad, I feel nostalgia for this language, the vehicle of my emotions and thoughts. When I am far from Israel, I see my street corner in Tel Aviv and look forward to the moment I can return to it. I do not go to synagogues to dissipate this nostalgia, because they pray there in a language that is not mine, and the people I meet there have absolutely no interest in understanding what being Israeli means for me.

In London it is the universities and their students of both sexes, not the Talmudic schools (where there are no female students), that remind me of the campus where I work. In New York it is the Manhattan cafes, not the Brooklyn enclaves, that invite and attract me, like those of Tel Aviv. And when I visit the teeming Paris bookstores, what comes to my mind is the Hebrew book week organised each year in Israel, not the sacred literature of my ancestors.

You conclude on an interesting – shall I say quite Jewish – note:

My deep attachment to the place serves only to fuel the pessimism I feel towards it. And so I often plunge into despondency about the present and fear for the future. I am tired, and feel that the last leaves of reason are falling from our tree of political action, leaving us barren in the face of the caprices of the sleepwalking sorcerers of the tribe. But I cannot allow myself to be completely fatalistic. I dare to believe that if humanity succeeded in emerging from the 20th century without a nuclear war, everything is possible, even in the Middle East. We should remember the words of Theodor Herzl, the dreamer responsible for the fact that I am an Israeli: “If you will it, it is no legend.”

As a scion of the persecuted who emerged from the European hell of the 1940s without having abandoned the hope of a better life, I did not receive permission from the frightened archangel of history to abdicate and despair. Which is why, in order to hasten a different tomorrow, and whatever my detractors say, I shall continue to write.

“I shall continue to write.” Shlomo, you know what this sentence means even in your deconstructed sense of Jewish identity. Translated historically in Jewish history: “I shall continue to protest against injustice in public, regardless of the consequences. Under no circumstance will I remain silent. Especially when it involves my history, my people, my community. There is a path beyond this madness. Even if I don’t experience it in my own life, I will continue on.”

Shlomo, this sounds like the Jewish prophets and the prophetic tradition you so ably deconstructed and seek to resign from? Is it so difficult to see your own life here?

On the contemporary scene you sound a bit like the French Jew, Jean Daniel, who years ago wrote a similar broadside with a fascinating title – The Jewish Prison: A Rebellious Meditation on the State of Judaism. Like you, Shlomo, Daniel wants to cease defining himself as a Jew and wants others to stop identifying him as a Jew as well. Yet in the end, it hasn’t worked. Daniel feels like he is trapped in a prison. No (Jewish) exit.

As a citizen of Israel, you are likewise trapped but your Jewish identity is only one part of the problem. Your Israeli identity isn’t working out either.

But then, at least on the international scene, Shlomo, you are known primarily for your writing on Jewish identity and Israel. You don’t seem to mind that notoriety. In fact, your last three books have focused on deconstructing and resigning from Jewishness and Israel. If you would like to be released from the contradictions of Jewishness and Israel why not return to your expertise in the history of nationalism, film travel and French intellectual history? Or perhaps call it a day and retire to parts unknown and live in blessed anonymity. If you didn’t make a fuss about it you might even be able to mingle with your neighbors without them knowing you are Jewish or Israeli.

As yet, you haven’t taken the easy way out, Shlomo, and for that the highest praises – and much derision – come your way. You remain in the Jewish prison, from which, if the truth be told, your prophetic fire comes.

Shlomo, tell me – better, tell us – as you continue to write – would the world be better off if you actually resigned from being Jewish once and for all?

Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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153 Responses

  1. Krauss on October 12, 2014, 12:04 pm

    It was a bizarre article. I guess it’s a part of what happens to Zionism. Shlomo is a sabra. He is native to the land(as in, he was born there).

    For him, Judaism is obviously Zionism on some level, even if he tries to deny it on the surface. Maybe it’s a side effect of living in a country where basically no Jew is an anti-Zionist and everyone who says no goes to jail or worse.

    Nevertheless, the logic of his argument has little to no bearing on the reality of the diaspora, and it will continue with or without Zionism.

    • Shmuel on October 12, 2014, 12:21 pm

      Shlomo is a sabra. He is native to the land(as in, he was born there.

      Actually, he was born in Austria, but his culture is certainly Israeli (Jewish-Israeli or Hebrew-Israeli, but that’s a separate issue).

      Maybe it’s a side effect of living in a country where basically no Jew is an anti-Zionist and everyone who says no goes to jail or worse.

      Nevertheless, the logic of his argument has little to no bearing on the reality of the diaspora

      He very clearly explains that his observations regarding his own identity are directly linked to being an Israeli. As a matter of fact, the original Hebrew title of the book is “When and How I Stopped Being a Jew — An Israeli perspective“.

      I would further suggest that Sand’s positions should be understood within the context of the “I am an Israeli” (ani yisre’eli) movement, which has, for the past 15 years or so, been seeking legal recognition from the Israeli state of the existence of an Israeli “nationality” (a petition recently rejected by the High Court) and, going back a little more, within the intellectual and ideological tradition of the “Canaanite” movement.

      • Citizen on October 12, 2014, 1:13 pm

        @ Shmuel
        Insightful. For those like me who had never heard of the Canaanite movement, here’s a brief introduction: http://members.tripod.com/alabasters_archive/kuzar_intros.html

        I wonder what that movement’s response was, is to the High Court’s reasoning on Israeli “nationality”? Does the movement have a key spokesman or two, three? How conscious is Israeli society today of the movement’s artistic tradition?

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:23 pm

        “He very clearly explains that his observations regarding his own identity are directly linked to being an Israeli. As a matter of fact, the original Hebrew title of the book is “When and How I Stopped Being a Jew — An Israeli perspective“.

        Thank you, Schmuel. Yes, I do believe that is the perspective of the book, as the author himself says it is. The book serves as a cautionary tale.

        It was a sad book, really. I cried from the moment I picked it up until the moment I put it down.

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:30 pm

        “I would further suggest that Sand’s positions should be understood within the context of the “I am an Israeli” (ani yisre’eli) movement, which has, for the past 15 years or so, been seeking legal recognition from the Israeli state of the existence of an Israeli “nationality”

        A very noble attitude, but unfortunately, not one borne out by the facts. No matter how much the “ani yisre’eli movement” would like to see us absolved, Zionists outside of Israel bear a lot of blame and responsibility, too.
        But I appreciate the thought, it’s nice, of them. Maybe it’s an effort meant to reduce anti-Semitism?

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:36 pm

        “Actually, he was born in Austria”

        In a displaced-persons camp, to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. Not the most advanteogeous spot. And he had to choose among the choices he had, as far as “identity”. A very, very tough spot, and he took what he thought at the time was the best choice for him.

      • Shmuel on October 12, 2014, 2:08 pm

        Mooser,

        As far as I know, both of his parents were Jews (and communists). What I meant to say was that his primary identity and culture are Israeli — regardless of where he was born and regardless of the other cultures with which he identifies (French, academic, secular, western, etc.).

        I have not yet read the book, but from what I have gathered based on articles and interviews on the subject, he views Jewish identity as the ethnocentric component of Israeli culture/identity. This goes without saying, but I tend to look at things the other way around — Israel and Zionism (Jewish nationalism) are the ethnocentric component of modern Judaism (which was taking a number of very different tracks, before nationalism became the dominant one).

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 2:38 pm

        “As far as I know, both of his parents were Jews (and communists).”

        You are correct, I mis-read (and mis-remembered) the sentence about his Dad’s origin. Thanks.

        I often wondered, while reading the book, how much the vagaries of translation entered into some of the things I could not grasp in the book. One thing not clear: Was the book originally in French, or Hebrew?

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 2:46 pm

        “modern Judaism”

        Strictly as a clarification, the dividing line between old-style (if you will) and modern Judaism occurred when other people stopped telling us we are Jewish, and we started telling everybody else, insisting, in fact, that we are Jewish. A huge change, the implications of which have not been completely absorbed.

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 3:00 pm

        “What I meant to say was that his primary identity and culture are Israeli”

        And Sands is in a good position to know pretty much what “Israeli culture” consists of. That is something he’s looked into, and it’s had an effect on him.

        But I don’t know, this whole idea of saying ‘Hey, don’t blame us, we’re just Israelis, the Zionists are the people you want to go after’ seems like a pretty thin reed to lean on.

      • Shmuel on October 13, 2014, 9:37 am

        Strictly as a clarification, the dividing line between old-style (if you will) and modern Judaism occurred when other people stopped telling us we are Jewish, and we started telling everybody else, insisting, in fact, that we are Jewish.

        A development that Zionism and the State of Israel (like other ethnic-nationalist ideologies and regimes before it) have actively sought to reverse. Sand may feel that he needs to affirm that he is not Jewish, precisely because someone else (his country) has the nerve to tell him what he is and what he is not. Had he been completely free to determine and define his own identity, he might have made a different choice — or it might simply have been of no importance to him.

      • Shmuel on October 13, 2014, 10:02 am

        Like Sand, I also decided that I no longer wished to be a member of a privileged ethnicity in a racist society. So I left that society, moving to a place where the authorities neither register nor care about my ethnic or religious background (not counting my privileges as a white male, of course, but that’s another story).

        Sand also has an “advantage” over non-Israeli Jews, in that anything in his culture, personal or family history that someone in New York or Paris might identify as Jewish, he can simply call “Israeli”. But what kind of Israeli? Certainly not the “Israeli” of a Palestinian from Taybeh or Umm al-Fahm. When Sand was growing up, “Hebrew” was often used as a euphemism for “Jewish” (to distinguish the new Zionist man from his despised diaspora counterpart/predecessor). I guess “Hebrew-Israeli” would work.

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 11:20 am

        “Sand also has an “advantage” over non-Israeli Jews, in that anything in his culture, personal or family history that someone in New York or Paris might identify as Jewish, he can simply call “Israeli”. “

        As I recall (and I’d rather have a copy in front of me than a frontal lobotomy) Sands sums that up as mostly “Slavic” (in a general way, especially the humor).

        I am so glad I don’t have Sand’s problems. If my driver’s license said “Jew” on it I don’t know what I would do, but I can’t imagine, conceive in any way, of liking it.

      • Shmuel on October 13, 2014, 11:52 am

        Sands sums that up as mostly “Slavic” (in a general way, especially the humor).

        It goes without saying that there is no such thing as “pure” culture, and I was delighted to find I had so much in common with Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Serbian and Slovenian friends (food, humour, folk sayings, history, and even language, although the only “Slavic” language spoken in my family was Yiddish). One could also say that much of the Jewish religion and mythology is Egyptian, Mesopotamian or Zoroastrian, Jewish philosophy and poetry are Arabic, Jewish mysticism is Gnostic, etc. Sand has a political and ethical reason for his either/or approach. It doesn’t have to be that way.

      • Shmuel on October 13, 2014, 11:57 am

        I am so glad I don’t have Sand’s problems. If my driver’s license said “Jew” on it I don’t know what I would do, but I can’t imagine, conceive in any way, of liking it.

        I’ve still got my Israeli ID, and it disgusts me to see “yehudi” printed there, next to gender and date of birth. Fortunately I don’t need to carry it around with me any more.

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 12:29 pm

        Thanks, Schmuel.

        It’s a short book, Schmuel, my lips didn’t even get tired. And you could read it in the original Hebrew (or French?, my copy isn’t clear) and the translation to English. That might be interesting.

      • Shmuel on October 13, 2014, 12:40 pm

        It’s a short book, Schmuel, my lips didn’t even get tired. And you could read it in the original Hebrew (or French?, my copy isn’t clear) and the translation to English. That might be interesting.

        I plan on reading it in Hebrew (the French edition seems to have come out first, but is a translation from the Hebrew). I don’t think I’ll bother to read it twice though.

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 1:43 pm

        “(the French edition seems to have come out first, but is a translation from the Hebrew).”

        Thanks.

    • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:25 pm

      “Nevertheless, the logic of his argument has little to no bearing on the reality of the diaspora, and it will continue with or without Zionism”

      Krauss, are you laboring under the misapprehension that it is the Diaspora which has the problems with being Jewish?

  2. Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:19 pm

    Well, I gotta admit one thing, I feel a little bit vindicated. I’ve always felt it would be easier to sing “I Enjoy Being a Jew” (lyrics available on receipt of SASE) with the proper “vim and vigor” if I stayed as far from Israel and Zionism as possible.

  3. hophmi on October 12, 2014, 1:49 pm

    At least he’s being honest. Lots of people who stopped being Jews a long time ago claim nevertheless that, as Jews, they have the right to criticize everything the Jewish community does, often in antisemitic tropes. Sand makes clear the Pablo Christiani quality of such people.

    • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:56 pm

      “Lots of people who stopped being Jews a long time ago….”

      Hophmi, you shock me! You really do! How can people “stop being Jews”? If their isn’t some essential thing about Jews which is different than other people, what is Zionism all about? If there isn’t some essential quality which makes being a Jew different from being anything else, why, that makes all the Zionists just like-minded colonialists and thieves! That can’t be true.

      Unless of course, you are going to say the essential difference between Jews and other people is that the other people don’t like us?

    • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 2:11 pm

      “Lots of people who stopped being Jews a long time ago claim nevertheless that, as Jews, they have the right to criticize everything the Jewish community does, often in antisemitic tropes.”

      You know, I’ve never been a small-dog kind of guy, but I’ve conceived a very high admiration for dachshunds! You’d have to be a brave little guy to go down a hole after that sentence.

    • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 5:34 pm

      ” Lots of people who stopped being Jews a long time ago claim nevertheless that, as Jews”

      There’s just never a sicarii around when you need one, is there, Hophmi ?

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 4:12 pm

        “Lots of people who stopped being Jews a long time ago claim nevertheless that, as Jews”

        You can’t quit, Sand! You’re FIRED!!

  4. Mooser on October 12, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Gilad Atzmon’s review of this book is very entertaining. He needs to see a little more self-hatred from Sands before he’ll be convinced!

  5. Mooser on October 12, 2014, 3:04 pm

    “Sand thus poses the crucial question: what does it mean, then, to be Jewish in Israel? To which he answers that primarily to be a Jew is to be favored over non-Jews, and to enjoy privileges and advantages that are not enjoyed by non-Jews. To be Jewish is not to be Arab. Judaism in this sense is the negation of the Palestinian Arab and the negation of his or her individual and collective rights.”

    http://english.dohainstitute.org/release/2fd3c06b-ab8e-41f1-8744-73b83a546252

    • notatall on October 13, 2014, 5:50 am

      Exactly what it meant historically to be white in the U.S.: someone who in return for privileges and advantages could be relied upon to suppress rebellions of slaves and the indigenous.

  6. W.Jones on October 12, 2014, 3:16 pm

    . In the Golden Age of Constantinian Judaism, what Jew with a conscience wants to identify with normative Jewish life?

    This sentence is another example of why the phrase Constantinian Judaism, or for that matter “Constantinian Christianity,” is another nonsequiter and misnomer.

    Would it be sound to ask rhetorically, “In the Golden Age of Constantinian Christianity, what Christian with a conscience wants to identify with normative Christian life?” Maybe I am missing something, but I don’t know that normative Church life in Constantine’s “golden age” was really so “imperial” as you portray it that a Christian would not want to identify with Christian life.

    Having a Christian life meant that you went to Church, followed Christian social teachings like helping sick or poor people, believed in Christian theology, etc. Christian life did not demand that Christians support imperial campaigns. Sometimes the Bulgarians or other Christian nations fought Byzantium. There was no expectation from the church that you agree with one or the other state. In fact, I would guess that there were a lot of Church people who opposed wars between Christian countries.

    There were major saints who were part of church life who supported capital punishment and others who not only opposed it, but intervened but stopping executions while they were about to occur. I don’t know why they would not want to be part of Church life. It was expected that you obey the rules of the empire if they were not unconscionable, but it was not demanded that you support its general politics. In fact, the Church itself was sometimes at loggerheads with the Byzantine state, especially when it came to religious debates.

    • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 3:21 pm

      W Jones, are you a liberal Constantinist ? Don’t see too many of those around here.

      • W.Jones on October 15, 2014, 5:08 pm

        Mooser,

        Strictly speaking, I am not one in a political sense, since Constantine was an autocratic emperor.

        On the other hand, I agree with religious pluralism, and this was something he followed: he did not make Christianity the only religion allowed- or for that matter the one “official” religion, he can in a sense play some helpful roles in political thinking.

        Constantine accepted Christianity, legalized it and helped to spread it. Those actions also meant spreading knowledge of Israel’s God and its prophets throughout the world, a process that has indirectly led to the basis for M. Ellis’ own Liberation Theology, since it comes from Christian social teachings.

        Probably most Christians are non-imperial “Constantinists” – they like religious pluralism, while also they also approve of his acceptance of Christianity, if not occasional favoritism to it. I don’t normally want to see crosses etc. painted on army shields, but perhaps it was OK because it meant bringing in Christian (and even then indirectly Jewish) morality.

        So overall I believe he was a positive individual in Roman imperial history and in Church history for accepting Christianity, having religious pluralism, and unifying the empire, but I don’t agree with imperialism, which he was part of too.

  7. seafoid on October 12, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Sand is a Mensch. By resigning he obviously thinks Zionism is going to bring Judaism down with it. He is probably right.

    • just on October 12, 2014, 3:58 pm

      that’s what I think as well.

      • seafoid on October 12, 2014, 10:24 pm

        Ebola. You have to follow procedure to the letter in order not to get infected if you are a health worker with exposure to the virus. It is possible to transfer the virus from the outside of a protective suitbto the hand and a moment’s thoughtlessness can lead tonthe hand touching the face from where the virus gains access to the.body. Ebola becomes more contagious the sicker the patient gets. Zionism is like a trauma virus. Poor judaism with its diaspora morality had no chance.

    • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 4:34 pm

      “By resigning….”

      Seafoid,I believe the “resigning” is a metaphorical act. I don’t think he actually did anything. He didn’t even say he would, oh, destroy all his Israeli “Jewish” identity papers and say the Government of Israel has to take him as he is. Would it matter? The GOI has him down as “Jewish” and he cannot change that. Can he change it to “Arab”? Can he change it to “Other?”

      • Mooser on October 12, 2014, 4:36 pm

        “is going to bring Judaism down”

        Sands is a self-described atheist. I don’t think he is much concerned for the Jewish religion, Judaism.

      • Sibiriak on October 13, 2014, 9:24 am

        Mooser: “Sands is a self-described atheist. I don’t think he is much concerned for the Jewish religion, Judaism.”

        ——————————–
        “Judaism” refers not just to “the Jewish religion,” but to ” the philosophy, and way of life of the Jewish people” as well.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism

      • Keith on October 13, 2014, 11:12 am

        SIBIRIAK- “Judaism” refers not just to “the Jewish religion,” but to ” the philosophy, and way of life of the Jewish people” as well.”

        Are you suggesting that Judaism is more than a religion whereas Christianity and Islam are merely religions? If so, does the religious component of Judaism have a name? However, if all religions embody a philosophy and way of life, then are atheists also religious?

        I think that Mooser’s point is well taken, no need to muddy the waters.

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 11:34 am

        “Judaism” refers not just to “the Jewish religion,” but to ” the philosophy, and way of life of the Jewish people” as well.”

        And the “philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people” consists of what, exactly? Can you tell me what it is? How does it differ from everybody else’s “philosophy and way of life”

        You certainly can insist there is some ineffable difference if you like, but your case gets weak if you can’t say what it is and why it can’t be anything other than “Jewish”.

        Look, here’s a clue: if there really was a difference between Jews and other people, Israel wouldn’t need identity cards with “Jewish” on them. They would be superfluous.

      • Sibiriak on October 13, 2014, 5:52 pm

        Keith: “Are you suggesting that Judaism is more than a religion whereas Christianity and Islam are merely religions? ”

        —–

        I was just elucidating the possible meanings of the word, not advocating any particular definition.

        In addition to the Wikipedia article linked above, see , for example Merriam- Webster’s third and fourth definitions of the term “Judaism”:

        3: the cultural, social, and religious beliefs and practices of the Jews
        4: the whole body of Jews : the Jewish people

        http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/judaism

        So, yes, the word can refer to more than simply a religion.

      • annie on October 13, 2014, 10:17 pm

        Sibiriak, i think what we have here is a case of some people deciding they can define judaism in a much broader way than other people. for example..this is from wiki:

        This article is about the Jewish religion. For consideration of ethnic, historic and cultural aspects of the Jewish identity, see Jews.

        Judaism (..) is the religion, philosophy, and way of life of the Jewish people.[4] Judaism is a monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text

        see what i mean? out here in the real world, religion is frequently not the same thing as philosophy. here’s what we all know, the “way of life” of (arguably) millions of Jewish people doesn’t include religion. so clearly judaism is NOT the way of life of those Jewish people, therefore the opening sentence is inaccurate.

        many religious people make wacko claims and try to portray the influence of their religion thru adherents that do not exist (scientologists are great at this). anyway, there are just way to many jewish people who do not practice judaism. this is why wikis article starts out w/this opening redirecting the reader to “see Jews

        and tradition is different. heck, i love singing ‘silent night’, doesn’t make me christian nor mean i am practicing christianity when i sing christmas carols. being jewish culturally is not necessarily practicing judaism. no more than being american-jewish culturally is being a practicing christian if you have a christmas tree. being religious entails believing in the basic tenants of religious beliefs core to the religion (ie: god).

        btw, wiki’s source for this is one locked article. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/307197/Judaism

        Judaism, the religion of the Jews. It is the complex phenomenon of a total way of life for the Jewish people, comprising theology, law, and innumerable cultural traditions.

        The first section of this article treats the history of Judaism in the broadest and most complete sense, from the early ancestral beginnings of the Jewish people to contemporary times. In the second section the beliefs, practices, and culture of Judaism are discussed. Dates are listed throughout as bce (before the Common Era = bc) and ce (Common Era = ad).

        in order for “a total way of life for the Jewish people” to be correct, it must apply to all jewish people. and we already know it does not.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 11:19 am

        ” i love singing ‘silent night’, doesn’t make me christian nor mean i am practicing christianity when i sing christmas carols.”

        My organ arrangement of “Silent Night” is killer! (I think so, anyway) I do it in a sort of Gospel half-time which leaves lots of space to interpolate the “Hallelujah”s from Handel’s Messiah in between each line.
        Of course, being Jewish, I use a lot of trinity-tone substitutes.

      • annie on October 15, 2014, 8:46 pm

        mooser, i just saw that comment. you sooo crack me up sometimes. ;)

      • Mooser on October 17, 2014, 11:25 am

        For some reason, I just love Christmas tunes. Maybe that’s cause I grew up in what might be called the Golden Age of popular Christmas music. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the reason. I can live with that.
        But something very sinister, very omnibus has happened to me in recent Christmases. What with all the advances in plastic molding, materials, and tinting, and all kinds of new light-sources (LED, low voltage bulbs) and digital control, I’m starting to like Christmas decorations and lighting displays.
        I’m going soft in the head, I tell ya.

      • annie on October 17, 2014, 2:10 pm

        last year after christmas this little shop in my town was having a sale on unsold christmas decorations. they were these really cute miniature balls with glitter! lol, and i don’t even like christmas. but they sold me the rest of their stock for $10! if course, i had to buy them. i’m going to string them up on satin ribbon and dangle them from the ceiling. don’t get me started.

  8. John Douglas on October 12, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Mark Ellis seems to think that, “Once a Jew always a Jew.” It reminds me of my Roman Catholic catechism days where the “sacrament” of baptism (like being born from a Jewish mother) creates ” . . . an indelible mark on the soul.” One that conveys special privileges and duties.” Essentialism. The most destructive idea in all of human history. Will we never be rid of it?

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 12:15 pm

      ” . . . an indelible mark on the soul.”

      Hmmmm, he must have missed.

    • Nina F on October 13, 2014, 5:55 pm

      I don’t read Ellis that way, though. It’s more like this (I don’t remember who wrote it):

      “We are never so much *in* history as when we believe we are outside of it.”

      I think Ellis is saying that the “special duties and privileges” that are part of Jewish identity (especially in the Israeli context) are precisely what Sand repudiates, in pragmatic (if not philosophical) way.

      But different kinds of privilege persist. What some call “epistemic” privilege is a knowledge—and therefore a kind of moral authority—-that is conferred on a person when they speak from a position of direct experience—“as” a Jew or ex-Jew, or “as” an Israeli (or ex-Israeli), or “as a”…. whatever.

      Here’s the conundrum. As soon as we identify as *anything,* we logically differentiate ourselves from others who are NOT that. So that gesture in and of itself designates a kind of privilege, and even responsibility. I don’t know how to get around that, except to simply stop identifying OR repudiating as *anything*. Which is to repudiate received “identities” altogether.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 3:33 pm

        “Here’s the conundrum. As soon as we identify as *anything,* we logically differentiate ourselves from others who are NOT that. So that gesture in and of itself designates a kind of privilege, and even responsibility. I don’t know how to get around that, except to simply stop identifying OR repudiating as *anything*. Which is to repudiate received “identities” altogether.”

        Yes, that’s a problem.
        My personal solution is to identify myself as a nobody. Nobody cares what or who a nobody is, so nobody gets upset. When I define myself as a nobody, and treat the person I’m relating to as a somebody, everybody seems satisfied with the group they are put in. It works pretty well.

      • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 4:01 pm

        Like Mooser I consider myself a nobody as well. Perhaps we should get together, identify as a people, and do nothing.

      • Shmuel on October 15, 2014, 4:12 pm

        Like Mooser I consider myself a nobody as well. Perhaps we should get together, identify as a people, and do nothing.

        That’s awfully exclusive of you. You must think being worse than everybody else makes you better than them. And what’s this doing nothing stuff? Are you suggesting that people who do something are not part of your little tribe? :-P

      • Shmuel on October 15, 2014, 4:22 pm

        Here’s the conundrum. As soon as we identify as *anything,* we logically differentiate ourselves from others who are NOT that.

        Gender, language, profession, religious beliefs, political convictions, education, ethnic background, family background, sexual orientation, marital status, children, interests, income, nationality … and I’ve barely gotten started.

        We all identify as many somethings. No one is just “people” — although everyone is “people”.

      • annie on October 15, 2014, 4:40 pm

        As soon as we identify as *anything,* we logically differentiate ourselves from others who are NOT that.

        no, we do not *always* “logically differentiate ourselves” from others who identify otherwise.

        for example, if i identify as a red head it is not inherent that i then “logically” differentiate myself from my sister with brown hair. or if i identify as a shy person there is no inherent mental structure or system that my consideration take into account others who do not self identify as such. some people don’t think of their identity in relation to others. if someone lived in a box and had no awareness of anyone outside the box and had a splinter in their foot and identified with that pain, there is no logical reason to consider that pain in relation to others who do not have a splinter in their foot.

      • oldgeezer on October 15, 2014, 5:07 pm

        lol spot on Shmuel. I will go back to being a lone nobody. This tribe stuff has already become too much :)

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 7:16 pm

        “You must think being worse than everybody else makes you better than them.”

        Oh no, not “worse” morally or ethically or anything, just less significant. Oh, you know, a zelig I think they call it.

      • annie on October 15, 2014, 9:00 pm

        and just to take that thought (about ” there is no logical reason to consider that pain in relation to others who do not have a splinter in their foot.”) further, one could “logically differentiate” oneself in relation to how one may have felt about themselves at another time ( vs the idea of differentiating in relation to another person). and that could pertain to feeling shy or a variety many feelings. a person might be just as likely to “logically differentiate ourselves from” another time when we did NOT feel (or identify) the way we do now.

  9. Keith on October 12, 2014, 5:28 pm

    SAND- “In London it is the universities and their students of both sexes, not the Talmudic schools (where there are no female students), that remind me of the campus where I work. In New York it is the Manhattan cafes, not the Brooklyn enclaves, that invite and attract me, like those of Tel Aviv. And when I visit the teeming Paris bookstores, what comes to my mind is the Hebrew book week organised each year in Israel, not the sacred literature of my ancestors.”

    This is an absolutely incredible paragraph, very revealing. Previously he says that he rejects the racism of Zionist Israel, yet here he identifies with scenes in London, Paris and New York, the capitals of two of history’s most brutal empires and the financial capital of the equally brutal and racist global hegemon. Yet somehow he is blind to their dark underbelly. The myth of Israel deeply tarnished, yet the myth of Western liberalism and humanism as bright as ever. He wants to have his cake and eat it too. To be able to enjoy the fruits of empire without the victims of empire. To salve his conscience while continuing to live the good life. Apparently, this is the liberal fate: to remain a member of the loyal opposition and salve one’s conscience by incessantly whining about it.

    While I liked “The Invention of the Jewish People,” his op-ed is a very narrowly focused critique of Israel and Zionism. I am surprised that Marc Ellis lauds Sand’s self-indulgent op-ed as an example of the “prophetic” voice. Apparently, prophets are much more shallow than I realized.

  10. eGuard on October 12, 2014, 5:40 pm

    Who is Marc H. Ellis anyway? Did this Marc ever lose a penny for saying something?

  11. Mooser on October 12, 2014, 5:41 pm

    “Mark Ellis seems to think that, “Once a Jew always a Jew.”

    Maybe Marc Ellis thinks that attempting to “resign” from Judaism gives the idea of essentialism, and of an essentialist Jewish identity more validation and actuality than it deserves?

  12. American on October 12, 2014, 6:22 pm

    The Gentile interpretation of Sand’s resignation.

    ”Ugh… I can’t take it anymore!!! I am fed up with the mythical shit and lies and being a Jew instead of a Israeli. It’s like living in a ethnic asylum of fun house mirrors !
    Let me out!!!”

    Run Sands run.
    You can be or not be whatever you want.

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 11:44 am

      “You can be or not be whatever you want.”

      Not in Israel he can’t. In America, by contrast, even the not-government-sanctioned-privileged-designation of “white” can be, to some extent, opted out of. And it’s not imposed by law, along with its privileges and obligations.

  13. Clif Brown on October 12, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Can an identity be dropped? I think that without erasing memory, it can’t. Which is not to say an individual can’t depart from a common path, choosing a novel one, even one that is anti-old-identity, but even then there it is yin from yang. This is true of any human being and is not specific to race or religion.

    Our brains are wired as they develop. We can’t blank out experience with others that happened during that development. No sane person could come out of a youth spent in an empty room with gray walls. Our brains latch on to the environment necessarily to make us into a thing that fits in and survives. The result of our maturation binds us just as tightly as the genes of our parents.

    This means we are stuck with our identity and can only turn the mirror to reflect differently. We can deceive others about identity but we can’t deceive ourselves or drop it for another. What we can do is leave a practice of similar identities behind. Though I read “The Invention of…”, I haven’t read Sand’s latest. My impression is that the practice of Zionism is what he is renouncing, no matter how hard he tries with words to make it more than that.

    We may be, we appear to be, we very much want to be free to act, but whatever path we take as adults, we cannot erase the one we took to get there.

    • RoHa on October 12, 2014, 7:54 pm

      “Can an identity be dropped?”

      What do you mean by “identity”?

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 11:25 am

        “Can an identity be dropped?”

        I once left my wallet, complete with all identification, and cash, in a phone both once. I was a regular Philip Nolan for a while.

    • American on October 12, 2014, 9:53 pm

      Clif Brown
      October 12, 2014, 6:43 pm

      Can an identity be dropped? I think that without erasing memory, it can’t.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

      I think you all need to decide what identity you are talking about.
      There is identity (who or what you think you are)— then there is heritage—- then there is upbringing and so forth—-so there can be combinations in identity.

      What if you were adopted as a baby by a Christian French Canadian couple and later you discovered your biological parents were Spanish Catholics? What would your identity be—-would you want to keep maintaining that you are a French Canadian Christian because of your ‘upbringing’ —- or would you then consider your identity to be Spanish Catholic because of your biological ‘heritage?

      You can’t change your ‘upbringing’ —but people can take on and shed different identities –‘how they see or define themselves’—-for any reason.

      • Stephen Shenfield on October 13, 2014, 7:18 am

        I now think of identity neither as fixed and unchangeable nor as something that we are completely free to choose, but rather as a JOURNEY whose starting point is imposed on us but whose course we are to some extent free to shape (subject to various constraints).

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 3:03 pm

        If I am not mistaken “Jewish identity” is a whole different ballgame in Israel than it is in other places. It is not a voluntary religious, quasi-religious or social association, it is a legal definition of who you are, what you are entitled to, and what obligations you have in regard to the state. Whole different ballgame.

      • Clif Brown on October 13, 2014, 11:21 pm

        American: In the way that I think of identity, my answer to your example would be that biological parents have nothing to do with it, unless they are also the people who raise the child. Though it’s undeniable that we inherit characteristics from our genes, certainly our temperaments come largely from that, the contribution they make is insignificant compared to upbringing in the view of the self regarding the world that I call identity. Physical appearance, of course, has long been a strait-jacket for individual freedom, particularly in the case of distinction by skin color. That badge, because it announces itself in itself, lays a heavy load on the individual.

        But putting aside unavoidable stark physical contrast, I think trying to put people in categories by descent is a destruction of freedom, usually done for the purpose of gaining membership for one’s group or reproducing one’s own outlook on one who is not able to question it.

        My ideal of child care, which I have tried to put into practice, is to raise the individual without inculcating the “we” idea. Needless to say, I think the trips that Israeli teens take to Auschwitz promoted by the government (though I assume it is optional?) is a psychological crime, jamming historical events into fresh minds, forcing in the most intimidating way an identity that the individual has not chosen and, in effect, forcing the future of the individual into the mold of the past. It is virulent racism to mark the recipient at a suggestive age, but I say racism without regard to biological race, so perhaps ethnism would be better. It could also be compared to branding an animal that is powerless to escape the process.

        From what I have read of Netanyahu and his father, Bibi appears to be exactly what his father would have wanted him to be, holding all the views the elder held dear as to what a Jew should be. From what I hear Bibi say, the inculcation went deep and there is no reason to doubt that what comes from the man’s mouth is deeply held, though so uncomprehending of the other that it can take my breath away.

        Shouldn’t a parent be striving for “human being” as the basis upon which to build an identity, commonality taking the placed of specificity? Too much to ask of humanity? We do seem to be inching that way. My I hope?

      • American on October 14, 2014, 9:57 am

        @ Cliff

        Well, that’s nice sentiment –but the fact remains some people do ‘refuse to be branded’ and revolt against some assigned identity or reject it for another one.

        Christians who become atheist for some reason or atheist who become Christians , people who move and change citizenships, and so on.

        The only thing about a person that might be considered ‘indelible ‘ or unchangeable is his genetic makeup.

  14. JLewisDickerson on October 12, 2014, 7:46 pm

    RE: “Now, having painfully become aware that I have undergone an adherence to Israel, been assimilated by law into a fictitious ethnos of persecutors and their supporters, and have appeared in the world as one of the exclusive club of the elect and their acolytes, I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.” ~ Schlomo Sand

    MY COMMENT: I know the feeling. Most days I want to resign and cease considering myself a Homo sapiens.

    • JLewisDickerson on October 12, 2014, 8:01 pm

      P.S. The only thing I feel like I can truly rely upon is my trusty Freedom Edition℠ HurryCane®. Without it all hope would be lost.

      • annie on October 13, 2014, 10:52 pm

        hurry cane ;) you crack me up dickerson

      • JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 1:49 am

        If you have a friend
        On whom you think you can rely
        You are a lucky man
        And if you found the reason
        To live on and not to die
        You are a lucky man

        The preachers, and the poets
        And the scholars don’t know it
        The temples, and the statues
        And steeples don’t show it
        If you’ve got the secret
        Just try not to blow it
        Stay a lucky man
        Stay a lucky man . . . ~ Alan Price, O Lucky Man!, 1973

        ENTIRE LYRICS – http://rock.genius.com/Alan-price-o-lucky-man-reprisal-lyrics

        Alan Price: O Lucky Man! [VIDEO, 02:20] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KszsQOAbajo

      • JLewisDickerson on October 14, 2014, 2:40 am

        Me and my shadow HurryCane™
        Strolling down the avenue
        Me and my HurryCane™
        Not a soul to tell our troubles to

        And when it’s twelve o’clock
        We climb the stair
        We never knock
        For nobody’s there

        Just me and my Freedom Edition℠ HurryCane™
        All alone and feelin’ blue . . . ~ Rose/Dreyer/Jolson (1927)

        (The Four) Mills Brothers: Me And My Shadow 1958 [VIDEO, 02:06] – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJyGBJ0t6FY

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 3:05 pm

        “Me and My Shadow”, great song!

    • Stephen Shenfield on October 13, 2014, 6:39 am

      You can. Why not? Especially now that we know so much about the intelligence and sensitivity of certain non-human species such as whales and bonobos, we could adopt an identity broader than just human. That would also prepare us for any encounters with extraterrestrial intelligence (should we be so lucky).

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 11:51 am

      “MY COMMENT: I know the feeling. Most days I want to resign and cease considering myself a Homo sapiens.”

      I empathize, Dickerson. Fortunately, I got over that years ago.

    • JLewisDickerson on October 13, 2014, 4:50 pm

      P.P.S. THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: Imagine the U.S. on Cruz control.

      • JLewisDickerson on October 13, 2014, 10:20 pm

        P.P.P.S. The United States of Fear! ! !

  15. RoHa on October 12, 2014, 7:56 pm

    So what does he have to do to for you to agree that he is an ex-Jew?

  16. Marco on October 12, 2014, 9:58 pm

    I guess I find it odd that the left is normally so supportive of people freely adopting new identities, yet reacts violently when someone like Shlomo Sand says he no longer considers himself a Jew.

    A man can consider himself a woman and vice versa, mostly Caucasian people can identify as belonging to tribal nations, mostly indigenous Mexicans can identify as Caucasian, a half-white President can call himself black, yet a Jew cannot call themselves a gentile.

    Why? Is the left secretly ethnocentric?

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 1:56 pm

      “yet a Jew cannot call themselves a gentile. “

      Not in Israel. There may be a legal process which would permit it, but it’s probably no fun.

  17. Gene Schulman on October 13, 2014, 5:05 am

    What nonsense. Sand has every right to resign from Judaism. Just as a Catholic or Protestant has to resign from the church. Judaism is a religion to which one may adhere, or not. I, myself, have done the same. I am an atheist and find it inconsistent to identify myself with a belief system, such as Judaism, which is based on belief in a god. I will not let other people identify me. By attempting to do so, they only manifest their own prejudices. In Sand’s case, having a nostalgia for Israel is not the same as being Jewish.

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 1:57 pm

      Gene, if you went to live in Israel, what would your identity papers be marked?

      • Gene Schulman on October 13, 2014, 2:09 pm

        @ mooser: I would never want to live in Israel. I have disapproved of Israel from its very birth on the basis of its identifying itself as a Jewish state! They wouldn’t have me, anyway. I’ve already declared, publicly, my apostasy.

        I will say, that Sand’s book, which I read in French, was an influence.

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 2:55 pm

        “@ mooser: I would never want to live in Israel.”

        I’m sorry Gene, I phrased that badly.
        I think what I meant to say was “If you (or I, for that matter) did move to Israel (or even just buy some property there and establish residency) our identity papers would be marked with something. That’s the system.

      • Gene Schulman on October 13, 2014, 3:11 pm

        Even though I’m not, mine would probably be marked with “Self-hating Jew”. I prefer “ex-Jew”!

      • RoHa on October 13, 2014, 8:48 pm

        “I prefer “ex-Jew”!”

        But not, I presume, with ex having the same meaning as in “ex-parrot”.

        You will have to make sure you don’t become famous, though. If you do, when you become ex in the parrot sense, you will be dragged back into the fold and called by a Hebrew name you never used.

        (This happened to poor old Benedict Spinoza. When he was a young man, He was expelled, reviled, and cursed for his philosophical views. Now he is safely dead, he is honoured as a great Jewish philosopher (for the same views) and we are supposed to call him Baruch.)

      • Gene Schulman on October 14, 2014, 2:42 am

        RoHa: Not sure just what “ex-parrot” implies. But I’m VERY happy to be compared to Spinoza. As Einstein said; “My god is Spinoza’s god”, meaning there is no god. I would be honored with a herem. But I and Sands, and, I suppose, many others beat them to it. The best they can do now is call us self-hating Jews. The irony is that it is the Zionists who are creating all this mishagass. They are a secular political entity that doesn’t believe in god itself.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 11:32 am

        “Not sure just what “ex-parrot” implies.”

        Wow, Gene, you really are an ex-Jew! Forgotten the implications of the ex-parrot? That’s a honda, a real honda.

        “I would be honored with a herem.”

        No, Gene, you wouldn’t. I thought having more than one wife would be big of me, but it didn’t turn out that way.

      • Gene Schulman on October 14, 2014, 11:47 am

        mooser: I haven’t forgotten; I never knew what it is. If you read my Declaration of Independence you will see that I was hardly ever a Jew in the first place.

        I know what a shanda is, but what’s a honda? I once had such a motorcycle.

        BTW: Are you locked in a cage and forced to comment on every comment? You are ubiquitous on this blog.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 11:33 am

        “The irony is that it is the Zionists who are creating all this mishagass.”

        Zionism has always given me the vapors.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 1:45 pm

        “I know what a shanda is, but what’s a honda? I once had such a motorcycle.”

        Gene, that’s the tragedy of it. My Mom said they were exactly the same thing. I kept on telling her Mom, such nice people, the nicest, you meet on a honda, but she wouldn’t have it. “Only hoodniks ride motorcycles” was her opinion.

        “BTW: Are you locked in a cage and forced to comment on every comment? You are ubiquitous on this blog.”

        Am I locked in a cage? Of course I’m locked in a cage. I’m in a Jewish prison! For Gawds, sake Gene, send me a challah with a file in it!

      • RoHa on October 15, 2014, 12:21 am

        I will forbear from giving a lecture on Spinozan pantheism (I’m retired, so no-one pays me for it these days) and simply clarify ex.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218

        And of course Mooser is ubiquitous on this blog. When you realise who he is, you will remember that omnipresence is one of his attributes.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 11:15 am

        ” When you realise who he is…”

        “I haven’t decided yet who or what I am”.

    • American on October 14, 2014, 10:01 am

      @ Gene

      ” In Sand’s case, having a nostalgia for Israel is not the same as being Jewish.”>>>>>

      Exactly right.

      There is no such thing as a ‘religious’ gene that people inherit .

    • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 2:50 pm

      “In Sand’s case, having a nostalgia for Israel is not the same as being Jewish.”

      Gene, do you think Sand would have the same nostalgia for Israel if his identity papers were marked “Arab” or “Other”? Or if he was a Palestinian?
      I would say his nostalgia for Israel has everything to do with being identified as “Jewish”.

      • Gene Schulman on October 14, 2014, 3:19 pm

        Mooser,

        20% of the population of Israel are identified as Arab Palestinians; several generations worth. Can you conceive of a Palestinian who grew up in Israel and then moved to another country, might still have some nostalgia for his life in Israel? For the culture and language he left behind? I can.

        In Sand’s case, as he admitted in his book, the main nostalgia was for the language. Ask any exile from his/her native country, and his main complaint is the loss of his language: Nabakov, Koestler, Said, et al.

        I am a voluntary exile from America and actively dislike what it has become. But I still am nostalgic for what it was to me when I lived there. Nothing to do with religion or color of skin, or anything like that. Merely its culture.

  18. Talkback on October 13, 2014, 8:16 am

    Nonsense. There’s nothing EXCLUSIVELY Jewish about the alleged rest of Sand’s Jewishness. It’s a fallacy to assume that someone who writes something which has been written by a Jew(ish prophet) must be “Jewish”. Morality was not invented by Jews.

    And the “Jewish prison” is only a mind f***. There’s nothing to escape from.

    • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 2:23 pm

      “And the “Jewish prison” is only a mind f***. There’s nothing to escape from.”

      It’s a whole different can of worms in Israel. I suppose Sand could change his designation to “Arab”, but is that possible?
      Schmuel might know the answer to that. Could an Israeli “yehudi” (and one well-known) change his identification to “Arab”, and be considered, from then on, an “Arab Israeli”? I don’t know.

      • Shmuel on October 14, 2014, 2:33 pm

        Could an Israeli “yehudi” (and one well-known) change his identification to “Arab”, and be considered, from then on, an “Arab Israeli”?

        Sand could never be registered as an Arab, but he could conceivably change his designation to “Muslim” or “Christian” or “Druse” (assuming they accept converts), were he to undergo religious conversion — a rather unlikely scenario that would hardly solve his problem. I presume Uri Davis, for example, could change his listing (if he hasn’t already done so) to “Muslim”, following his conversion.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 3:17 pm

        Sand could…

        Thanks much. If Sand did change (“conceivably”) to one of those other designations, would that effect his life? Would he keep his job, his house, all that? Have the same rights?

      • Shmuel on October 15, 2014, 2:02 am

        Thanks much. If Sand did change (“conceivably”) to one of those other designations, would that effect his life? Would he keep his job, his house, all that? Have the same rights?

        At his age and status, and considering the fact that he lives within the privileged Jewish sector, it would probably make no difference whatsoever. He would probably not be subject to informal discrimination either, as he would still be identified as a Jew.

      • Talkback on October 15, 2014, 8:04 am

        @ Mooser

        What Shmuel said.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 11:19 am

        “At his age and status, and considering the fact that he lives within the privileged Jewish sector, it would probably make no difference whatsoever.”

        Well, that’s extremely liberal and open-minded of them.

      • Keith on October 15, 2014, 6:50 pm

        SHMUEL- “He would probably not be subject to informal discrimination either, as he would still be identified as a Jew.”

        Would not the death threats he has received be considered “informal discrimination?”

      • Shmuel on October 16, 2014, 3:37 am

        Would not the death threats he has received be considered “informal discrimination?”

        Those are for his opinions, not his ethnic or religious affiliation. That is not the same as the informal discrimination suffered by those who are recognisably Arab.

  19. Nevada Ned on October 13, 2014, 8:30 am

    Jewish identity can have a religious dimension and an ethnic (racial) dimension.

    As far as the religious dimension is concerned: most US Jews are not members of any synagogue. So by this standard, most US Jews have already stopped being Jewish. Many Israeli Jews also have no interest in religion.

    The ethnic dimension persists, however. It’s the real qualification for first-class citizenship in Israel.

    • Gene Schulman on October 13, 2014, 8:41 am

      Can you please explain just what defines ethnicity of the Jewish people? Can Ashkenazi claim the same ethnicity as oriental Jews? Or is it just that they consider themselves MOT? Let’s drop the racism here. It is not justified.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 2:16 pm

        “Can you please explain just what defines ethnicity of the Jewish people?” Gene Schulman

        Gosh, if we could do that, maybe we could “Declare Independence” from it! After all, we do need to know exactly what it is we are declaring independence from, huh? So you must know.

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 11:59 am

      “The ethnic dimension persists, however. It’s the real qualification for first-class citizenship in Israel.”

      And how does Israel define this “ethnic dimension”, so they know who is Jewish and who is not? Seems like that should be easy to look up.

      And, of course, every person identified as “Jewish” in Israel has had their ethnicity truly and completely investigated, and of course, the decision to grant them “Jewish” status was made in a completely disinterested manner, with the needs of the State not playing any part. Yup, they are real Jews!

    • American on October 14, 2014, 10:19 am

      Jews are not a ‘race’…..distinct from all other races.
      If they can be defined as anything distinct — according to all the ‘new age’ definitions of ‘ethnics’ —the shared this and that ethnics is now based on—it would be as a ethnic religious ‘ culture’……not as a race.
      Secular Jews and zionist who want to define themselves as Jews without Judaism still come from the religious ‘culture’ of Jews despite their promotion that Jews are some definable separate race.

      • American on October 14, 2014, 10:33 am

        You could probably add to that that ‘ minority cultures’ sometimes incorporate and chose from several different definitions of themselves depending on what they are seeking—protection, religious recognition, or to claim some rights. Catholic ‘&’-Hispanic, Christian ‘&’ Arab in the ME and so on.

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 2:36 pm

        ” Secular Jews and zionist who want to define themselves as Jews without Judaism still come from the religious ‘culture’ of Jews “

        So religion is so widespread among Jews that even Jews who aren’t religious are inculturated by it? So again, what is the “religious’culture'” of Jews? Being Jewish?

        Look, why don’t we just get down to brass tacks, and say that ‘Jewish culture’ is a lot like pornography! Nobody really knows what it is, but everybody knows it when they see it.

      • American on October 14, 2014, 8:46 pm

        @ Mooser

        ” So again, what is the “religious’ culture’” of Jews? Being Jewish? ”

        As you know I am not an expert on Judaism, don’t pretend to be.
        But the gist of what I have gotten from all discussions (and some research) on this is that some Jews who dont follow Judaism still claim they are Jewish by ‘heritage’ or blood lines or etc..

        I call it coming from the ”Jewish religious culture’ by looking at the tribe from ancient days to today. From when ancient pagans banded together in ‘tribes’ for survival and society—-then became religious One God tribes with different beliefs ‘which created’ the religious tribe ‘cultures’. So non religious Jews can still come from or claim that ‘culture’ even without the religion.

        As said I don’t believe in inheriting ‘ religious genes.’ But a lot, I would say most people believe they ‘inherit their cultures’—-their ‘heritage’.

        That is only way I see that atheist Jews can claim to be Jews—thru the culture–that was ‘begun by’ Judaism.

        Don’t blame me if its a unexplainable can of worms—they started this stuff not me.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 11:24 am

        “Don’t blame me if its a unexplainable can of worms—they started this stuff not me.”

        And of course, you are powerless to change anything about it, even the way you think about it. So much easier to take their word for it.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 3:06 pm

        “the shared this and that ethnics is now based on—it would be as a ethnic religious ‘ culture”

        I see, an “ethnic religious culture”! What percentage of Jew receive any religious instruction? What are the attributes of this “religious ethnic culture”? The ones which are common to every Jew, of course, whether in conformance or opposition?
        Anytime you want to say what they are, I’m sure I’d like to hear of them.

        Of course, American, if what you are trying to say is that all people who are Jewish are Jewish, I can’t argue with that.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 3:09 pm

        “I call it coming from the ”Jewish religious culture’ by looking at the tribe from ancient days to today.”

        So you think those “tribe from ancient days to today” are the same people? What distinguishes them.

        And what are the characteristics of that “Jewish religious culture”. You refuse to answer that and there is a good reason for that..

      • American on October 15, 2014, 3:20 pm

        Mooser
        October 15, 2014, 11:24 am

        “Don’t blame me if its a unexplainable can of worms—they started this stuff not me.”

        And of course, you are powerless to change anything about it, even the way you think about it. So much easier to take their word for it.”>>>

        Actually, I am powerless to change how any Jews define or want to think of themselves.
        I don’t know what you arguing here—that Jews aren’t really Jews if they don’t follow Judaism—- or they are—or what?

        I have already given you my opinion that in my view, from what I know, Jewishness is not a inherited race or ethnic thing. IMO Jewishness is defined by religion –do they or dont they practice Judaism.
        But its not my business to tell a non religious Jew he isnt a Jew when he claims to be by some kind of Jewish cultural heritage.
        Its not my fight and I am pretty certain that there aren’t any Jews who care how non Jews view the question of Jewish or not Jewish.
        That’s a insiders battle.

      • annie on October 16, 2014, 11:21 am

        I don’t know what you arguing here—that Jews aren’t really Jews if they don’t follow Judaism—- or they are—or what?

        american, that’s not what mooser is arguing, it’s what you think as evidence by

        IMO Jewishness is defined by religion –do they or dont they practice Judaism.

        while you might be powerless to change the way “any Jews define or want to think of themselves.” you are not powerless to change the way you think about it.

        so we’ve all witnessed time and again in these threads right wing jews ‘de-jewing’ secular jews, claiming they are not really jewish and ideas like that based on whether they meet certain criteria like support for zionism or religion or whatever and the way it appears to me here you are basically agreeing with them. and mooser makes the point “And of course, you are powerless to change anything about it, even the way you think about it” and your response is yes?

        well i am not “pretty certain that there aren’t any Jews who care how non Jews view the question of Jewish or not Jewish.” not when someone makes statements that effectively denies the jewishness of a decent percentage of secular jews with a broad stroke such as you have done.

        the reality is lots of self defined jews simply do not practice judaism. so in effect, you are choosing to ignore their self identification based on your own qualifications of what it means to be a jew. if that’s an ‘insiders battle’ you’ve taken a side in that battle by aligning yourself with the one side that is exclusive.

      • American on October 15, 2014, 4:27 pm

        Mooser
        October 15, 2014, 3:09 pm

        “I call it coming from the ”Jewish religious culture’ by looking at the tribe from ancient days to today.”

        So you think those “tribe from ancient days to today” are the same people? What distinguishes them.

        And what are the characteristics of that “Jewish religious culture”. You refuse to answer that and there is a good reason for that..>>>>>

        I will answer you one more time—try to get it.

        It is not about whether they are the same people as ancient days—-that’s a stupid question.

        The subject was, is there a Jewish culture—coming from religion or not—that has been passed down thru generations of religious or non religious Jews, their families and/or societies .

        Its about did they, the members of Judaism, create and evolve a culture and traditions’ in their society’ that has been passed down in some parts from generation to generation.
        I say they did.
        Because most every group, religious or not, that defines themselves as any kind of group does have traditions and beliefs that are passed down.

        As for my refusing to answer what I see as characteristics of that “Jewish religious culture” I dont know enough to describe the strictly religious part except the prayers and holidays Jews celebrate related to past events in history.

        What “distinguish them” you want to know? I cant answer that about whatever supper duper stuff there is in Judaism or Jewish society that distinguish them because I’m not in it , I am sure there is much good.

        I can only answer as a gentile on the ‘characteristics’ gentiles see most often—- 1) the eternal enemies thing and 2) the eternal obsession you are exhibiting right now in picking, picking, picking at the Jew thing with gentiles and even other Jews.

        Gentiles don’t like those 2 characteristics directed at them all the time. And just like you dont care whether we like it or not, we don’t care that you dont care …..so there you go…even steven.

        If you aren’t bored out of your gourd with this nitpicking the Jews thing 24/7 by now something is wrong with you.

      • annie on October 16, 2014, 11:59 am

        The subject was, is there a Jewish culture—coming from religion or not—that has been passed down thru generations of religious or non religious Jews, their families and/or societies .

        that’s not really how i see the subject. i don’t define “jewish culture” as “Jewish religious culture” just because one may have originated from the other. it’s too limiting. many cultures developed from what were once solely or primarily religious cultures, it doesn’t mean that remains stagnant or permanent. for example, i didn’t come from a religious culture but my ancestors were christian.

        if you check the common definition of ethnicity, note the many factors:

        An ethnicity, or ethnic group, is a socially-defined category of people who identify with each other based on common ancestral, social, cultural, or national experience.

        and as for ” ‘characteristics’ gentiles see most often” i think it would be prudent not to speak for all of us. i say this because i happen to know many jews (including my child’s godmother) who definitely has NO “eternal obsession” with “picking, picking, picking at the Jew thing with gentiles”. in fact i can’t recall ever a time in the last 40 years of friendship that she’s ever mentioned it! so this is not something i’ve ever really noticed in any personal relationships but have noticed it in these threads…. but, maybe you sort of draw out this kind of ‘picking’ by the way you’ve defined “jewish culture” as being synonymous (or somewhat synonymous it seems) with “Jewish religious culture”. it stamps a “religious” branding on secular jews, many of whom were simply not raised in religious environments.

      • Mooser on October 16, 2014, 3:40 pm

        Thanks so much, Annie.

        And American, always remember, Jews are just like other people, only more so.

  20. notatall on October 13, 2014, 8:49 am

    What is the “ethnic dimension” to being a Jew in Israel? Given that “many Israeli Jews have no interest in religion,” what “ethnicity” is shared by Mizrahi, Americans, Russians and Poles, all of whom are officially recognized as Jews? Except for the religious, to be a “Jew” in Israel is to belong to a state-defined group that carries with it privileges (and burdens) — like “white” traditionally has been in the U.S.

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 12:04 pm

      “Except for the religious, to be a “Jew” in Israel is to belong to a state-defined group that carries with it privileges (and burdens) — like “white” traditionally has been in the U.S.”

      No, it’s actually worse. America is, at least legally and in fits and starts socially, is dispensing with these ‘traditional” racial distinctions.

      In Israel, the racism is state-mandated! How can you move beyond a system of racism the state feels is necessary to its survival?

      Another words, you might say that “Jewish” in Israel is officially like “white” has “traditionally” been in the US. Big difference.

      • notatall on October 13, 2014, 12:28 pm

        “you might say that “Jewish” in Israel is officially like “white” has “traditionally” been in the US. Big difference.”

        My point exactly. Thank you, Mooser .

      • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 2:00 pm

        My pleasure! I hoped I could augment your point.

  21. notatall on October 13, 2014, 8:55 am

    The groups I cited above do not even share a common language. Many Arabs who have grown up in Israel speak the Israeli language (sometimes called “Hebrew”) better than recent arrivals from the U.S. or Russia. Do they qualify for “first-class citizenship”?

  22. eljay on October 13, 2014, 10:39 am

    Mr. Sand, who has the power to stop being Jewish, has decided to stop being Jewish. I respect Mr. Sand’s decision. I find it a little disturbing that Mr. Ellis rejects it, insisting that Mr. Sand remains “in the Jewish prison”.

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 11:56 am

      Sands is talking about being “Jewish” as a government-sanctioned identity in the State of Israel!!!

      • eljay on October 13, 2014, 12:34 pm

        >> Mooser: Sands is talking about being “Jewish” as a government-sanctioned identity in the State of Israel!!!

        Hmmm…I didn’t catch that distinction in his comment: ” … I wish to resign and cease considering myself a Jew.”

        If your interpretation is correct, that would mean that Mr. Ellis is also correct and Mr. Sand remains “in the Jewish prison”. Why is the Jewish identity a “prison”?

        If your interpretation is not correct – if Mr. Sand has chosen to leave “the Jewish prison” – why would Mr. Ellis wish to keep him in it?

      • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 2:10 pm

        “Hmmm…I didn’t catch that distinction in his comment: ”

        That’s the problem. This thread is about an excerpt from the Sand book (How I stopped & etc.) published in the Guardian, Get a copy of the book.

        Problem is, the book was written before “Protective Edge”. At this point all things which have to do with a change in the Zionist conception of Jews, or with a change in Israeli’s outlook, have to be balanced against the genocidal program Israel has adopted towards the Palestinians.
        After all, it will be easy to accept Palestinians as full citizens, equal citizens of Israel, as soon as there aren’t any.

      • eljay on October 14, 2014, 8:26 pm

        >> Mooser: That’s the problem. This thread is about an excerpt from the Sand book (How I stopped & etc.) published in the Guardian …

        OK, thanks for the clarification.

        >> After all, it will be easy to accept Palestinians as full citizens, equal citizens of Israel, as soon as there aren’t any.

        Posthumous citizenship for Palestinians: A demographic threat-free response to the “Israeli orgy of guilt, self-recrimination, finger-pointing, and Palestinian chic”.

      • Mooser on October 15, 2014, 12:50 pm

        Shoot, got lost. The book was written before PE, and we’ll have to see what Sand’s response to that is. He’s got one hell of a row to hoe.

  23. lennylapon on October 13, 2014, 10:47 am

    I just finished reading Sand’s “The Invention of the Jewish People” and found it very useful in many ways. I am eagerly awaiting delivery of his new book which I’ve ordered, “How I Stopped Being a Jew”. I publically renounced my Israeli citizenship a few months ago, a statement of which appears here on Mondoweiss. Renouncing being a Jew is certainly very tricky, but Sands gives food for thought. I personally am an atheist, but the ethnic (or is it pseudo-ethnic?) piece is quite challenging.
    Anyway, what I would like to suggest is that Marc Ellis, “retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies”, collaborate with Shlomo Sands in the writing of a new book whose title I propose to be “The Myth and Reality of Jewish Justice”.

    • Mooser on October 13, 2014, 12:11 pm

      “The Myth and Reality of Jewish Justice”.

      Ah, that I have lived to see such a day! For the first part of my life, all I ever heard about was others dispensing injustice to Jews, and now, we are dispensing the justice! It’s a whole new world, one I can’t really comprehend.

    • just on October 13, 2014, 12:38 pm

      What a great idea, Lenny!

      (so nice to see you again!)

      • notatall on October 13, 2014, 3:40 pm

        Since the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts in the U.S., the fall of (legal) apartheid in S. Africa and the Easter Accords in Ireland, Israel is the last standing example of old-style racial oppression, where the status of first-class citizen is explicitly assigned by the government on the basis of descent (or ascribed descent).

  24. chuckcarlos on October 13, 2014, 4:22 pm

    he became a Presbyterian?

    one watches Charlton Heston lead the millions if not zillions of something or other out of big bad Egypt and out strides Yul Brenner fresh off the Battle of Kadesh to lead his chariots against the assorted billions of supposedly Hebrews…

    and just exactly where in the hell are all these Hebrews heading? Yep…Egypt occupied territory…once they have seen the burning bush and consulted the Invisible Swordsman…

    Wrong bricks and mortar, wrong age, wrong computation of populations, wrong archaeology, wrong DNA, Exodus is just about wrong on everything…

    well maybe Schlomo (great name) has become a Mormon…

    surprised Sand still lives in Israel as he has pointed there is no more factual basis for modern Israel claiming an exalted past as there was for the Third Reich

  25. tidings on October 13, 2014, 8:58 pm

    Be a little compassionate, y’all. Breaking up is hard to do and the deeper the “adherence,” the greater the ambivalence, confusion and pain which for Shlomo apparently goes very deep indeed. So how about showing some of that famous Jewish mercy? Especially since he is one of the 363 Israelis who signed a letter asking British Parliament to recognize the Palestine State which, mirabile dictu, they did today!
    http://www.juancole.com/2014/10/parliament-recognize-palestine.html

  26. Antidote on October 13, 2014, 9:49 pm

    “resigning from being Jewish is one of the more ancient of Jewish traditions. As starters, think of Moses…”

    according to Freud, Moses first resigned from being Egyptian. Apparently, the man had some major identity issues

    • Mooser on October 14, 2014, 11:48 am

      “according to Freud, Moses first resigned from being Egyptian. Apparently, the man had some major identity issues”

      The story goes that when the producer saw the first rushes of “The Ten Commandments” he said “This flic is gonna flop” he said, “who goes to see a picture where the hero has a bigger chest than the heroine?”

      • Mooser on October 16, 2014, 3:42 pm

        Shoot, wrong again, I looked it up and it was the movie Hercules.

  27. American on October 16, 2014, 2:12 pm

    Annie says…..

    ”I don’t know what you arguing here—that Jews aren’t really Jews if they don’t follow Judaism—- or they are—or what?..American )

    american, that’s not what mooser is arguing, it’s what you think as evidence by

    IMO Jewishness is defined by religion –do they or don’t they practice Judaism.

    while you might be powerless to change the way “any Jews define or want to think of themselves.” you are not powerless to change the way you think about it.

    so we’ve all witnessed time and again in these threads right wing jews ‘de-jewing’ secular jews, claiming they are not really jewish and ideas like that based on whether they meet certain criteria like support for zionism or religion or whatever and the way it appears to me here you are basically agreeing with them. and mooser makes the point “And of course, you are powerless to change anything about it, even the way you think about it” and your response is yes?
    ……”

    Well annie you arent “getting it” either.
    I AM NOT THE ONE ‘DEFINING’ JEWS.

    This Mooser discussion started over whether or not Sands, a non religious Jew, could quit being a Jew.

    I said….so pay attention:

    That ‘first’…in my ‘opinion’ Jews are not a race and that people don’t inherit ‘religious’ genes.

    “Second’….that Jews originally became define as Jews thru Judaism.

    BUT…. that’s its possible NON RELIGIOUS Jews define themselves as Jews due their upbringing, heritage, society etc etc…

    I ALSO said that the Jewish religion may have created some of or ‘the’ Jewish ‘culture and traditions’ .
    BUT…..Those “cultural traditions ” DID NOT HAVE TO REMAIN ‘SOLELY’ CONNECTED TO RELIGION for Jews as generations progressed.

    So how you get that I am agreeing with:.

    “so we’ve all witnessed time and again in these threads right wing jews ‘de-jewing’ secular jews, claiming they are not really jewish and ideas like that based on whether they meet certain criteria like support for zionism or religion or whatever and the way it appears to me here you are basically agreeing with them. and mooser makes the poin – “”

    Is fricking beyond me.

    I do not personally give a rats ass how Jews or anyone else defines themselves.
    And furthermore I said—-> IT IS NOT MY BUSINESS TO TELL JEWS HOW TO DEFINE THEMSELVES.

    IMO….and it is MY OPINION because that is the view I was raised with, most Jews ‘were’ defined as followers of Judaism.
    Furthermore —I see absolutely NO CONTRADICTION in saying the that ETHNIC CULTURE component of Jewishness arose *originally * from a shared religion.
    BUT–that as generations passed some Jews ‘maintained’ much of the traditions and culture that evolved but ‘not’ the religion.

    If you don’t get this you don’t know as much about sociology as you think you do.

    And this crap?….” you are not powerless to change the way you think about it.”

    Who the hell is Mooser or you to tell me I should change ..” the way I think” to satisfy the Moosers or whatever the hell the other side of the Mooses is?

    And don’t fucking lecture me on ‘my opinions’ when I state they are’ just my opinions’ and further state –TO MAKE THAT POINT–that I am not an expert on the subject of Judaism or Jewish culture. That this is just how IT APPEARS TO ME.

    And Do Not fucking try to dictate to me ‘what opinion’ or rock bottom belief I should hold about Jews or not Jews when they don’t even agree among themselves.

    My ‘opinions’ and what I have said in this discussion — HAVE LEFT ROOM FOR BOTH SIDES —THE RELIGIOUS AND NOT RELIGIOUS DEFINING OF JEWS—-IN WHAT IS A ‘ INTER JEWISH’ DEBATE.

    I am not going to ‘take a side’ in the Jews aren’t Jews without Judaism or secular Jews are just as Jewish as religious Jews because No 1—I dont care. and No 2–Its not my business.

    • annie on October 16, 2014, 8:33 pm

      oh my you sound really angry! i wasn’t “fucking lectur[ing]” or “dictating” to you, just commenting.

      I AM NOT THE ONE ‘DEFINING’ JEWS.

      i guess i missed your meaning when you wrote IMO Jewishness is defined by religion –do they or dont they practice Judaism.

      also, i didn’t read all 100 plus comments in this thread including all of yours or moosers. so i’ll admit being guilty of that.

      Who the hell is Mooser or you to tell me I should change

      i never told you to change. your opinion is your choice, as is mine. we just disagree on some things.

  28. Mooser on October 16, 2014, 9:10 pm

    “Who the hell is Mooser or you to tell me I should change”

    No, as the sentence of mine you quote immediately above that retort says, hopefully,.” you are not powerless to change the way you think about it.”
    Naturally, I could be wrong about that.

    • American on October 16, 2014, 10:31 pm

      No, I am perfectly capable of changing my opinions on new information—that is why I said my view was always that Jews were those who practiced Judaism.
      But due to the discussions here on how and what different Jews define themselves as, I believe a Jewish culture exist and that is how some Jews define themselves–by the culture, not the religion.

      The HISTORICAL FACT however is there were No Jews prior to Judaism’s creation.
      If you can’t goggle you can go to any library and look it up that fact in world history books.
      Therefore there was no ethnic culture of Jews ‘ before’ Judaism.
      Therefore any ethnic culture of Jews that some Jews define themselves by ORIGINATED —or had its nucleus —in the shared religion.
      Whether or not as it evolved it was any longer connected to the religion itself for some Jews.

      I realize you are joke not a serious person but even you should be able to follow the historical steps and evolution.

      Meanwhile to help you out of your painful contortions, lies actually, on others comments, words and stated views– humanitarian that I am— I have called the National Park Service and ask them to look out for a Moose with his antlers stuck up his ass.

      • Mooser on October 17, 2014, 11:33 am

        ” I believe a Jewish culture exist and that is how some Jews define themselves–by the culture, not the religion.”

        Okay, so what does that “Jewish culture” consist of? Not what you say Jews say it consists of, what you think it consists of. That is the question you won’t answer.

      • Mooser on October 17, 2014, 12:03 pm

        “I can only answer as a gentile on the ‘characteristics’ gentiles see most often—- 1) the eternal enemies thing and 2) the eternal obsession you are exhibiting right now in picking, picking, picking at the Jew thing with gentiles and even other Jews.”

        Ah, I apologize, you did give an answer. Thanks.

      • Mooser on October 17, 2014, 12:10 pm

        “I can only answer as a gentile on the ‘characteristics’ gentiles see most often—- 1) the eternal enemies thing and 2) the eternal obsession you are exhibiting right now in picking, picking, picking at the Jew thing with gentiles and even other Jews.”

        That does it! No bagels for you!

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