Why Bother Being Jewish?

ShabbatTable

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Why should American Jews bother to be Jewish? According to a new Pew Research Center survey of the American Jewish community, more and more American Jews have reached the conclusion that there is no reason to be Jewish.

Outside of the Orthodox Jewish community, intermarriage rates have reached 71 percent. Thirty-two percent of Jews born since 1980 and 22% of Jews overall do not describe themselves as Jews by religion. They base their Jewish identity on ancestry, ethnicity or culture.

Whereas 73% of Jews say that remembering the Holocaust is an essential part of being Jewish, only 19% said that observing Jewish law is a vital aspect of Jewish identity. Fourteen percent say eating Jewish foods is indispensable for their Jewish identity. Forty-two percent say that having a sense of humor is a critical part of being a Jew.

Gabriel Roth, an intermarried Jewish author, welcomes these numbers. In a column in Slate, Roth claimed that the reason most cultural Jews keep traditions of any kind is a sense of guilt toward their parents and previous generations of Jews. He believes that it’s time to get over the guilt. Keeping such traditions has “no intrinsic meaning.”

“How much value can ‘Jewish heritage’ have if it signifies nothing beyond its own perpetuation?” he asked sneeringly.

Obviously, the answer is no value. To do something you feel is intrinsically meaningless just because your forefathers did the same meaningless thing is a waste of time. If Judaism has nothing to offer beyond lox and Seinfeld, then there is no reason to remain Jewish.

The findings of the Pew survey, and indeed, sentiments like those that Roth described are no surprise to those who have been following the downward trajectory of the American Jewish community.

Numerous initiatives have been adopted over the past decade or so to try to reverse the trend toward assimilation and loss of Jewish identity. These initiatives, including websites like JDate that help Jewish singles find and marry one another, and Birthright, which has brought tens of thousands of young, largely unaffiliated Jews to Israel, have had a positive impact in slowing down the trend. But the move away from Judaism for non-Orthodox American Jews remains seemingly inexorable.

“We have tried a lot of different things and created a lot of wonderful programs,” explains political theorist Yoram Hazony, the founder of the Shalem Center and author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, published last year.

Hazony, who now heads the Herzl Institute, continues, “We’ve tried everything other than the central thing. Jews need to understand that there is an attractive and compelling idea that makes it valuable to be Jews.”

That idea, as Hazony explained in his recent book, is found first and foremost in the Bible.

Roth wrote, “If you believe that Jewish traditions are part of a covenant with God, of course you want your children to continue them.”

Yes, of course. But if you think that Judaism can be summed up so glibly, then you have no idea what it is that you are abandoning.

So in a sense, you are abandoning nothing. Because you cannot abandon what you never had in the first place.

And what Jews like Roth never had is basic Jewish literacy.

Hazony’s excellent book explains in easy, approachable language that the wisdom and philosophy imparted by the Hebrew Bible was purposely denied by the anti-Semitic philosophers of the Enlightenment. Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel and other leading philosophers of the Enlightenment were vicious Jew haters. They sought to cleanse modern philosophy of all references to the Bible in a bid to write Jews and Judaism out of the history of ideas and the contemporary intellectual world.

This they accomplished by subsuming the Hebrew scriptures (like the New Testament) under a broader criticism of “work of revelation.” As a revealed text, (a divine covenant ordered by a deity with which none of us have direct dealings), the Hebrew scripture was then misrepresented as something that has no relevance for people trying to determine for themselves what it means to live a good, moral and just life. Those concepts, we were told, could only be learned from Greek philosophers, who, in turn, were falsely characterized as atheists.

Hazony does not simply expose the philosophical crime against the Jews undertaken by the Enlightenment philosophers. He demonstrates why the ideas found in the Bible are deeply relevant and important to our lives, and indeed, how they form the basis for man’s quest to live a good, moral life.

“The Jewish idea is in the Tanach, the Hebrew Bible and the rabbinical commentaries on the Tanach,” he explains.

“To the extent we care and see something worthwhile in these ideas then everything falls into place. When you take it all out, everything turns into a bagel – it all tastes good but there’s a big hole in the center where the idea is supposed to be.

“The Jews were the people who brought the idea that an individual was responsible for discovering truth and right and for bringing it into the world. That is the idea that freed mankind.

“That is the biblical idea. The Bible is about the expectation that a human being is going to take responsibility for discovering the truth and what’s right and devote his or her life to bringing what is right to the world.

“The fact that most Jews no longer study it, no longer remember it, means they stopped being part of the historic Jewish drama. It is being part of that great drama that makes people care whether their children receive a Jewish education and marry Jews, and that makes them support Israel. Without the great drama that we learn from the Bible, then Israel becomes meaningless and intermarriage becomes obvious,” Hazony concludes.

Orthodox Jews feel that the Holocaust is less essential to their Jewish identity than Conservative and Reform Jews, (66% of Orthodox, versus 78% and 77% of Conservative and Reform Jews, respectively). On the other hand, 69% of Orthodox Jews believe that being part of a Jewish community is essential to their Judaism. Just 40% and 25% of Conservative and Reform Jews, respectively, feel this way. And this makes sense.

The Holocaust was the most recent attempt of an oppressor to annihilate the Jews. In the 4,000-year history of the Jewish people, there have been dozens of attempts to annihilate us. The Jewish story is the story not of others’ attempts to destroy us, nor even of our capacity to withstand and survive these attempts. The Jewish story is the story of the lives we lived, the culture we developed, and the life of the mind that bound us together.

Jews who have learned the Bible know their history did not start in 1933. They know that the Jewish story is the story of a people that believes so strongly in its mission to bring the liberating idea of personal responsibility to choose good and life over evil and death that it refused to surrender to its oppressors.

The Jewish drama, as set out in the Bible, is the story of a nation that from the outset and until the present day chooses freedom over submission, while maintaining allegiance to a sacred trust, and an ancient people and a promised land.

When you understand this, remaining Jewish is a privilege, not a sacrifice.

And, alas, when you fail to understand this, leaving Judaism not a tragedy but simply a natural progression.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Sarah

    What an absolutely beautifully written piece filled with so much wisdom. Thank you Caroline Glick and FrontPage Magazine for this gem.

  • DrMantisToboggan

    thank you caroline for such beautiful words of wisdom. although I’m surprised that only 69% of orthodox jews think being part of a community is essential, considering that its almost impossible to remain observant outside of one.
    I’m very sad that Latma tv is no longer making videos, but it was fun while it lasted.

  • Texas Patriot

    Another great article by Caroline Glick, and I think authentic Christians are on board with more or less the same idea. There is a reason to be Christian, and it is found, first, in the Hebrew Scripture of the Old Testament and, later, in the Gospels of the New Testament, and it all has to do with man’s relationship with God and other men.

    As Jesus said, ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20.

    Of course, Jesus’ claims that he was God and that consumption of his flesh and blood was necessary for salvation were what got him killed, but that’s another story. For Christians, God has been hard at work trying to save humanity ever since our common ancestors were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and the gift of the Law to the Jews was an indispensable part of that overall plan of Salvation.

    One book I would recommend for all Jews and all Christians is Jonathan Klawan’s book “Impurity and Sin in Ancient Judaism” (2000). Klawans is Jewish, but his treatment of the necessity of purity and holiness for God’s presence in our lives is an essential lesson for all believers.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “Of course, Jesus’ claims that he was God and that consumption of his flesh and blood was necessary for salvation were what got him killed, but that’s another story.”

      That’s quite a teaser. Care to elaborate on your understanding?

      • Texas Patriot

        OFM: “That’s quite a teaser. Care to elaborate on your understanding?”

        The story is a familiar one and well documented. It’s all set out in Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. If you’ve read it, you will recall that Jesus fed five thousand men by transforming two small fish and five small barley loaves into enough food so that everyone had more than enough to eat with plenty left over.

        Everyone was astonished and wanted to make Jesus king, but he withdrew to a mountain by himself. At dusk, his disciples left by themselves in a boat for the other side of the lake. After it became dark, a storm arose, the waters became rough, and they were afraid. Jesus came after them, walking on the water. They took him into the boat and immediately the boat reached the shore safely.

        The next day, the crowd on the opposite shore realized that Jesus’ disciples had left without him in the only boat available, but that Jesus was also gone. The crowd got into boats and went to search for Jesus across the lake. When they found him, Jesus rebuked them for looking for more earthly food, “Do not work for food that spoils but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Jn. 6:27. Obviously still amazed by Jesus, the crowd asked him what work they must do to get the food he was talking about. Jesus responded, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Jn. 6:28.

        Reflect on what Jesus was saying, the crowd declared that God had given their ancestors manna from heaven to eat. Jesus responded, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty.” Jn. 6:35. At this, the crowd began to grumble that Jesus was nothing more than the son of Joseph, whose father and mother they already knew. Jesus responded, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:51.

        With that statement, the crowd began to argue that what Jesus was saying was preposterous. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.” Jn. 6:53-57.

        At these words even his own disciples started grumbling and many left him. The die was cast, and from then on it was just a matter of time before all of his disciples left him, and Jesus was crucified.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them.”

          What is the meaning if this in terms of what followers must actually do?

          • Texas Patriot

            OJM: “What is the meaning [o]f this in terms of what followers must actually do?”

            Christians normally interpret those words in light of Jesus’ last meal with his disciples, which is usually referred to as The Last Supper, an event which is described in all four Gospels, e.g., Mt. 26:17-30, Mk. 14:12-26, Lk. 22:7-30, and Jn. 13:1-17:26. It is in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine that Christians believe they actually come into communion with the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is done ritually as a part of a church service by Christians around the world, with some variation of the following words:

            “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,“Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:26-27.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            So people rejecting these words as some kind of cannibalism may have misunderstood the symbolism.

            It seems like a way to describe dedication and commemoration in an intense way, but it also creates a “stumbling block” which might have been intentional, giving people a way out.

            Is that your reading of the texts more or less?

          • Texas Patriot

            I agree that the symbolism was easy to misinterpret, easy to reject, and perhaps intentionally so. Eventually all of his disciples deserted him, and he was left to die on the cross alone.

  • JD Rose

    YOM KIPPUR 2013 — REQUESTED ADDRESS TO CUBAN-JEWISH CONGREGATION IN MIAMI BEACH, FL
    By renowned International Artist and Cultural Director of Zionist of Chicago (Chartered in 1895 and founded in 1850′s) when Jews were still experiencing anti-Semitism in USA. Historically, the ZOC has saved the ZOA more than ONCE.

    “The paintings which are out on exhibition are only part of a
    major exhibition I gave in 2003 at the request of the largest group of
    Holocaust survivors here in the United States that live in Skokie, IL. When
    they asked me if I could paint more of Torah than just a couple moments.

    What I brought here to the synagogue; these are memories. Memories
    that we should all share. We’re the only people on earth who remembered Adam.
    We’re the only people on earth who remembered that ten generations later, when
    the earth had become almost as bad as it is today, or similar, that there was a
    Great Flood. And a family. A man and his family that God took to survive and
    birth us all

    And we’re the only people on the earth who know that Abraham
    was a first-born. As Noah said, “Shem is my first born”. And after Shem, he
    gave birth to a first-born male . We KNOW that we are from Noah, that we’re
    from Shem. We even say his name . We say “SHEM-A Yisrael”, DON’T we?

    We remember these things. We are the Earth. We’re what
    brings freedom and joy to this planet. People might bring us misery, but it’s
    our indomitable spirits that survive. So
    I brought you, “Noah”, and “Noah and his Three Sons”, one of which who had a
    genetic problem it seems…he had the blood of Cain in him. He was ROTTEN. We’re
    still dealing with him today. These are the enemies of civilized people, are
    from Ham, of his first-born son.

    But for the rest of us, we’re from Europe, the second son of
    Noah. We’re from the lower half of the earth, from Shem, the first-born of
    Noah. And we should remember that the whole earth KNEW the law. The whole earth
    believed in Elohim, the invisible God that created all things. That it’s a way
    of life. You don’t HAVE to be forced to sit in a room and recite words. You
    LIVE those words. You live that life every day.

    And that’s why the painting of “Abraham Destroying Idols”
    was a very important moment for me to depict. It’s not a graven image, its Cubism,
    it’s not made to look real, not meant to be worshipped. But is meant to be
    remembered.

    His father, Terah, was “screwing around” with a bad guy in
    Babylon, an Assyrian who had helped demolish most of the law of Mesopotamia for
    probably the twelfth time since about 3,000 BC. And Abraham got mad at his
    father. He said, “You’re making ME learn everything the first-born learns. You
    learned it. But why are you making this guy statues so that he can pray and say
    ‘this is God’? WHY are you DOING that?”

    Well, Abraham took care of that problem. And by the time he
    was an early man, he was betrothed to a girl who came from the second son of
    Noah, from the house of Japh, which was in Haran. We hear that place often in
    our Torah. We hear it for Jacob and
    Isaac and Abraham. We hear the mixture
    of the blood of the families of the earth.

    And Abraham was then told by God, “Well your wife might
    think she’s gonna live in Ur” which was like New York back then. That was the
    city with the stores and the waterfront on the river. It was the seat of all
    the best of civilization in Mesopotamia and the world, and he said, “Honey, I’m
    sorry, we’re moving to the desert. You’re really gonna like it. So, Sarah put
    up with it. Heheh.”

    But they did raise a nation according to what God had asked
    them to do. To number like the stars on the land. And our Diaspora, I wonder, I
    think it was as much the wisdom of God to disperse people with morality, with
    kind hearts, with laws – through the whole world—to influence the whole world,
    than it was to be a punishment.

    I think the Jewish people, we are the punishment on the bad
    people of the earth. So, I look at this Day of Atonement, and I think of it in
    joy. No matter where we are on the
    earth, WE SPEAK to the Creator of All Things. We LOVE the Creator of All
    Things. We remember, together, around the world, and we know, that we’re ONE
    family, sometimes loving, sometimes dysfunctional, but we’re an IMMENSE family.
    We incorporate the four corners of the earth.

    And that brings me to the end of what I wanted to say, which
    is actually the beginning.

    When The Flood ended, and Noah’s boat, the Ark, was firm on
    dry ground for a matter of a week or so, he disembarked, and he climbed a high
    hill. He stacked rocks. And there were animals born on the Ark during that
    period. And he killed a lamb, and he had a barbeque, which we call burnt offerings,
    and he made a dinner of Thanksgiving for his family.

    And I think that’s really the message for these High
    Holidays. That we ALL have to say “Thank You”. Thank you that we ARE. That we
    KNOW what we know. That we have everything we have. And to remember to share it, to love it, and
    be joyous.

    Thank You.”

    RABBI: ” Mr. Marc Rubin, will you exhibit with us for the next year?”

  • wilhelm

    what a bunch of BS about Kant, this is from the jewish virtual library

    Kant’s negative view of Judaism, however, in no way interfered with his congenial relations with the Jewish community or with individual Jews, such as Moses *Mendelssohn. Nor did it deter many emancipated Jews from becoming attracted to Kantian philosophy. In Kant’s lifetime Markus *Herz, Lazarus *Bendavid, andSolomon *Maimon were among his staunch supporters, and later, in the neo-Kantian revival, Hermann *Cohen and Ernst *Cassirer were numbered among his ardent followers. Kant also exercised an appreciable influence on Moritz *Lazarus, and a less pronounced, though significant, influence on Solomon *Formstecher, Solomon *Steinheim, and Franz *Rosenzweig.

    • Danny

      Whether enlightenment philosophers had decent relationships with individual Jews is beside the point. It was Jewish philosophy and in particular Jewish philosophy of their own people’s purpose in the world that was so abhorrent to the enlightenment philosophers. If you think about the progression of philosophy from Voltaire to Marx, you will understand why Jewish principles were so dangerous to their POV.

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

      Thanks, Wilhelm, for commenting on the BS about Kant. Kant was not anti-Jewish.
      See the recent biography of Manfred Kuehn (2002). Kant, A Biography. Cambridge University Press. pp. 162,333,371.

      Here is his criticism of the Jewish religion on Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Judaism#Philosophical_criticism

  • Chezwick

    Not being Jewish, it’s a bit delicate for me to weigh in on this. But my question would be, why the need to emphasize the religion of one’s heritage at the expense of all else? After all, the Jews have made innumerable contributions to the world in the fields of science, literature, art, industry, finance, philosophy, etc. There is so much there to derive a proud and devoted sense of identity from.

    Being of Scotch-Irish extraction, I take enormous pride in the culture of freedom of my ancestors, their pioneer spirit….and their musical distinctiveness. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking religion into account. I’m just saying it need not be central to one’s heritage….(it certainly isn’t central to mine).

    Finally, regarding inter-marriage, maybe I’m just an incurable, but I believe love transcends all. How sadly parochial to pass on someone whom you might love dearly simply because they are not of the right ethnic or religious pedigree.

    These are just my own sentiments. I’m sure others have contrary arguments that are every bit as heart-felt and valid.

    • Danny

      Central to the Jewish tradition is not “chosenness” but the particular mission for which the Jews were chosen to fulfill: to spread the ideas of ethical Monotheism throughout the world, first by setting an example for others to follow, second by proselytizing to those who don’t know. Sadly, the Jews today are largely a group of people who have forgotten their mission. As for one’s own personal need to be loved, there are more important aspects of Judaism, and one may not overlook them in order to gain love, particularly from members of other faiths. This article talks about the holocaust; but there has been an ongoing internal destruction among Jews since the enlightenment: That is full assimilation, the need to be liked, the spiritual devastation of the Jew from the Left, from Reform and Conservative Judaism. Historically, it is only recently that this has become a pandemic. Judaism was supposed to universalize its values, and Christians were supposed to spread that message all over the world. This has largely stopped, and it couldn’t have stopped at a worse time, now that the Left and Islam are much more serious and diligent in furthering their traditions.

      I’m getting off track. Love is necessary, but the need to be loved does not outweigh your responsibilities as a Jew.

      • Texas Patriot

        In times like these, there are more important things than romantic love.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfxJCdBFuLk
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SQuyKlt1Ew

      • Brooklyn dave

        Danny, help me out here. I am assuming you are Jewish. I want to know the Jewish take on the afterlife. Judaism is very unique in that it is a culture-ethnicity besides being a religion. One can be cultu-rally Jewish with observing all 600+ laws of Moses. By heritage I am a European mutt who had immigrant great grandparents. By religion I was raised Catholic. My ethnic heritage has little to do with my religion and my religion has nothing to do with my ethnic herit-age. Why do I still put some stock in Christianity? Because of my fundamental belief in the afterlife. I have gotten all sorts of answers of what Jews believe in as per the afterlife. If that belief isn’t there, why bother with it? Judaism w/o an afterlife is nothing more than a culture club. So Danny I look forward to an answer.

        • Dave

          Jewish tradition without question believes in an afterlife, Messianic times, and resurrection of the dead.

          • Shmalkandik

            This is only partially correct. Biblical Judaism ha no mention of the afterlife at all. Remez and drush are not substitute for good history and intellectual honesty.

      • fish

        If I’ve read my bible correctly, the Israelites forgot their mission 5 minutes after they were given it, and have been forgetting it over and over again. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Hebrew bible reads rather like a comedy of errors.

        • defcon 4

          Better a “comedy of errors” than the genocidal rantings of a psychopathic child molester and Jew hater.

    • Suzanne

      Thanks for your interesting post. Hopefully, I can try and shed a little light on your understanding of Jews, their religion and their reluctance to intermarry. Although there are many that have a different understanding of Judaism and what it means, I personally feel that at it’s core Judaism is a RELIGION and a people who embrace it. Therefore, areas of secular excellence (like science, literature, art, etc.) are only that,., secular areas and not religion. Many different nations excel in different areas, Jews are not alone in this, but secular areas don’t address G_d, His morality, our place in the world or the meaning of existence which most religions do and Judaism certainly does. So, Judaism being first and foremost a religion and a people who embrace it believes it has the truest answers to these eternal questions and that this is worth holding onto. (Right here, it needs to be said they we are not unlike most other religions in believing that our version is the best!) Religious Jews also believe that we are put on the earth to be examples of our religion, i.e, “a light to the nations”. We believe this even though you will not see many Jews speaking about G_d too loudly or openly, (like on certain religious television programs etc.) but we still do believe that G_d and the laws he gave us from Sinai are central in the existence of the world. It also needs to be said, however, that we also believe that ALL righteous people no matter what their religion go to heaven, or, as we would put it “have a place in the world to come”. We Jews certainly don’t have a monopoly on that, however, we do believe that we have a unique (not better!) place in the unfolding of human history. So, at the end of the day, without wanting to offend or hurt anyone, Judaism is a religion and a people who embrace it and we Jews feel that our religion is the best religion. As for your comments concerning intermarriage, many, many Jews HAVE genuinely loved gentiles and HAVE married them. (That ‘s why the intermarriage rate is so high). The reason it is frowned upon is because history has shown that in spite of many of these couples’ good intentions, Judaism, for the most part, does not endure in their descendents. I’m not saying it’s impossible for this to happen, there are certainly cases where it has, but a Jew asking a gentile to convert in order to have a one faith family is an enormous request. You are basically asking a person who was born into a completely different world to forever adhere to a very difficult religion and it’s commandments. You ask asking them to live almost exclusively among other Jews and leave the customs of a usually well loved family and cultlure behind them. In present day American, you are asking them to spend incredible amounts of money to educate their children Jewishly and, in general, pretty much asking them to change just about everything about themselves. It’s a huge request and often proves too difficult to undertake therefore resulting in a high assimilation rate for the children.

    • Debbie G

      “Do not be yoked with unbelievers..”
      http://biblehub.com/2_corinthians/6-14.htm
      This is a thread that is in both the New and Old Testaments. I don’t think it’s a parochial issue.
      As a Christian, I would find it personally difficult to be married to someone of a different belief system. And how would you raise the kids?

  • Dotsson

    If you don’t believe in God can you still be Jewish?

    • Deshawn

      “If you don’t believe in SATAN can you still be jewish?” There, fixed that for you.

    • motherofbeaver

      No.

  • DeShawn

    This is wodnerful news to wake up to read, that judaism, that gutter religion that rejects the teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is going extinct. Hey “goys,” did you know that Islam, which y’all folks are always beating up on on here, accepts Jesus as a great prophet and embraces His teachings, while jews say that He is boiling in hot excrement?

    Now the problem is that it is not just enough for young jews not to embrace their filthy and dangerous religion…they must REJECT it. They must reject the hateful talMUDIC teaching that have been taught since young kids, call out their fellow jewish supremacists who lie, cheat, steal, and murder. There has to be an alcoholics anonymous kinda group for jews to set behind their wicked ways and embrace the rest of humanity. They must speak out against jewish control in the US and reject the illegal terrorist state of Israel. They must be reborn in Jesus Christ and embrace the message of the Gospels. Only then can we finally stamp out this hateful cult “religion” that is ruining our planet. PEACE y’all.

    • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

      Can we get rid of this crap from an obvious troll? Does enough down votes hide this?

      • DeShawn

        What’s the matter, jew? If what I wrote is “crap” what are you afraid of? The “goys” figuring out the truth?

        • Softly Bob

          Muslims may accept Jesus as a prophet but they reject him as Messiah and Son of God, thus committing the ultimate blasphemy.
          What the Muslims have done therefore is worse than what the Jews have done, because the Jews have simply ignored Jesus, but the Muslims have twisted his character into nothing but a mere prophet and a lesser one to Mohammed.
          Muslims are therefore claiming that Mohammed is greater than God.
          DeShawn, you need to be warned about what God thinks of those who hate Jews. You are gong to face a very nasty time in eternity if you don’t change your views very soon!

          • defcon 4

            I’ve read that, at least in the Shia theology, Issa is to come back to the earth to lead a worldwide purge of unbelievers and to break the cross.

          • Lookatme

            Why? without the cross Ala couldn’t be the best of the deceivers.

          • PAthena

            See Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew

        • iluvisrael

          It’s true that some goys really are dumb and full of hate – you’re a good example. Go clean the houses of some rich Jews – that’s about all you’re good for.

        • UCSPanther

          We’ll get rid of your insane propaganda soon enough, don’t you worry.

          The only people who like your drivel are your fellow sewer dwellers at VNN…

        • defcon 4

          Have you ever wrote a comment that wasn’t antisemitic in some way? It’s not even criticism, because it just revolves around re-iterating the same old tired antisemitic lies.

      • laura

        you need to contact the site.

    • 1Indioviejo1

      Islam accepts Jesus as a great Prophet? And Mohammed the great genocidal killer, rapist, sodomite, and paedophile among other adjectives, is “Allah’s prophet? You are a sick man. Just go kill yourself.

    • laura

      why are you reading a jewish online paper? the owner,& most of the writters are jewish.

    • Judith

      Don’t anyone be deceived into thinking that DeShawn is a Christian. By posing as a Christian she is trying to shame Jesus. The devil, your father, De Shawn, tried and failed and so will you. A place is being prepared for wicked and the evil……………………..

      • defcon 4

        I’ve endured hearing antisemitism from Christians too many times to think it’s accidental. I’ve also met one Christian who kept the Sabbath holy, observed Passover, and was trying to learn Hebrew all on his own (along w/this wife).

        • Raymond_in_DC

          As one now tasked with organizing the weekly Torah readings in my minyan, I googled for the established reading portions on Google and found such a breakdown on a Christian site! Apparently, there are Christians who want to read along with what Jews are reading.

          I once worked with one woman whose church organized a Seder just before Passover. It was partly led by a liberal rabbi, but their text added a little section tying Jesus to the Passover. The rabbi obviously didn’t lead that part.

          • defcon 4

            Could such Christians qualify as Noahides?

  • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

    Hazony is obviously a philosophical illiterate. Glick would do better without relying on such dubious works.

    • Raymond_in_DC

      Says you. His previous work, “The Dawn”, a political analysis of the Book of Esther, is quite impressive. Your comment is just a juvenile slur. Go play in traffic.

  • NLB

    DeShawn,
    For you to mention Jesus’ name in your hate filled diatribe is a shanda, and reveals the darkness in your own heart….

    • DeShawn

      Says you, whose talMUD said that He is boiling in hot excrement for eternity and who has His blood on your hands. WHo you do you think you’re fooling?

      • iluvisrael

        go take your meds you hateful psycho.

      • UCSPanther

        Save your “Christian” Identity propaganda for someone who cares….

      • defcon 4

        The Romans crucified him fool, not the Jews.

        Just out of curiosity? What religion do you think
        Yeshua’s apostles (i.e. those that knew him) claimed for their own?

      • http://www.themadjewess.com/ The Mad Jewess

        Interesting, DeShawn.. This MAY have been said over 1900 years ago. However, the same words which you claim to hate are the words you live by to bury you some Jews.
        Projection.

    • defcon 4

      I don’t believe there was anyone named Jesus in Israel in the 1st CE. I don’t even think Jesus is a Hebrew name.

  • ML NJ

    My parents couldn’t care less. A still small voice tells me it’s the right thing to do.

  • steven l

    A significant % of the American Jews are “universalists” and therefore not supportive of Il.

  • steven l

    The promotion of the culture of ignorance is a powerful equalizer and is an easy way to follow. That characterizes the American education system and results in the elite having more control over the masses of ignorant.

  • 1Indioviejo1

    IMHO I believe the loss and dispair among secular jews is but a reflection of what transpires among Christians. According to Yoram Hasony, the basic idea, “central to Western Philosophy is the Tanach or Hebrew Bible and the Rabbinical commentaries on the Tanach.
    The Jews were the people who brought the idea that an individual was responsible for discovering truth and right and for bringing it into the world. That is the idea that freed manking.” (Yoram Hazony).
    We find this central theme repeated in the New Testament to reinforce the individual’s responsibility for his own “salvation”. Clearly it is at odds with all movements embraracing the collective salvation of a family, clan, group, or nation. Our own liberty is predicated on the freedom of the individual’s conscience as his most sacred property. I believe it has a direct connection to that 2,500 year Tanach’s basic idea. So when we lose our knowledge and respect for our intellectual and religious legacy we are unprepared to deal with the same old ideas wrapped up in new camouflage. I believe we are weaker for it.

    • Texas Patriot

      “IMHO I believe the loss and despair among secular jews is but a reflection of what transpires among Christians.”

      I agree. It began in the 17th Century with the so-called Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution later to be followed by the Industrial Revolution. In some respects it is entirely possible that our success in mastering the material aspects of reality has obscured our relative poverty if not bankruptcy in the spiritual realm of things. Otherwise, it is almost impossible to imagine the events of the 20th Century including the impossibly inhuman conditions of trench warfare in WWI, the Stalinist purges in Russia, the worldwide atrocities of WWII (including most notably the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews), the Maoist purges in China, and the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the 50 million abortions that have taken place in America. No one could plausibly argue that genocide has not been a dominant theme throughout the course of human history. But there is something rather chilling about the way it was all carried out in the 20th Century and is now being carried out in the 21st Century. Perhaps it is time to reclaim our authentic humanity, and this cannot possibly be done without recognizing the distinct possibility that each and every unique human being was created in the image of God.

  • sotiredofthebs

    A majority of “jews who don’t care about being Jewish” voted for Obama. I used to wonder why but now I understand. Great article.

  • paladin712

    Wow, she nails it!

  • Bellerophons_Revenge

    Another attack on the Enlightenment? Most Enlightenment thinkers were not anti-Semitic, they were pro-reason. It was the irrationality of the Bible that offended them, not the fact that the Old Testament was written by Jews.

    The savage brutality of the Old Testament with the slaughtering of innocents by a cruel and vengeful god was, for Deists like Thomas Paine, a slander on God. It was inconceivable that a kind, benevolent deity would send bears to “rip up” children who made fun of Elisha. A god that would command the mass slaughter of the women and children of Midian could only have been a monster.

    The New Testament was not nearly so brutal and was considered to be more funny than offensive. Many Enlightenment writers, Jefferson among them, expressed admiration for Jesus and the life that he led but thought that the stories of miracles and a virgin birth to be fairy tales written by ignorant men to exploit the life of a fine man.

    Modern Jewish identity has replaced the old rites and rituals with progressivism. I’m sure that people like Glick and Dennis Prager find this to be horrible. I find modern “progressive” thinking to be stupid at best and horribly malevolent at worst but the answer to “progressivism” isn’t to collapse into the ignorant past. It certainly isn’t to retain “Jewish bloodlines” by only marrying within the community. The answer is to fulfill the stillborn promise of the Enlightenment and found a society based on reason, freedom and individualism.

    • defcon 4

      What religion is “slaughtering” innocents en mass in the 21st century? More importantly why don’t you ever have anything to say about that rather than 2500 year old atrocities?

      • http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/ Jason P

        Socialism. It’s a collectivist ideology where God is replaced by the state. The great classical philosophers, Aristotle, Polybius, and Cicero, warned about unconstrained democracy degenerating into tyranny. Our founding fathers were steeped in classical philosophy, Locke, and the Enlightenment.

      • Bellerophons_Revenge

        The subject was whether the Enlightenment was anti-Semitic, not which religion today is associated with the most murders. Of course the answer to that question is Islam and I have repeatedly attacked Islamists for their brutality which they claim to justify using the Koran.

        • defcon 4

          “claim to justify using the Koran”? Really? Muhahahahamad seemed to be brutal to the Jews who used to live in the Saudi peninsula — despite the fact they did nothing to him. He also seemed to be brutal to his detractors by having them killed.

          • Crocus

            I too believe that Jews constitute a religion not a “tribe,” even though Jews have not yet decided whether they are a religion or a tribe. Jews have not been a tribe since they left Africa (Egypt). In any case, population genetics (Y-Chromosome DNA and Mt-DNA) have come to enlighten us more on what has always been evident.

            Without expressing any view on the string of comments here or on the article, I want to point out that it is not a historical fact that adherents of Judaism did not commit despicable crimes in the Arabian Peninsula (as did Christians and Muslims). 5th Century C.E., the milieu
            from which Islam was born, was a bloody theatre between the Christian Empire of Axsum (Abyssinia) and the Jewish Kingdom of Himyar (Yemen). When Mohammed came of age, he allied himself with the Ethiopians, who were instrumental in the birth of the religion. For one, they protected and sheltered the Muslims (Believers) of the First Hejira, when they were being persecuted by the Quaraish. In contrast, the Quaraish, the pagan aristocracy from which he originated, allied themselves with the Jews of Medina and the Sassanid Persians. Professor G. W. Bowersock has recently published two important books on the period, “The Throne of Adulis: Red Sea Wars on the
            Eve of Islam” and “Empires in Collision in Late Antiquity”.
            (The Menahem Stern Jerusalem Lectures.) I suggest you consult these works for well-known, but little highlighted, period which continues to have repercussions into our age.

      • http://www.themadjewess.com/ The Mad Jewess

        Killing MURDERERS for the sake of a WHOLE is not an atrocity.
        Who God told them to kill were the likes of the Nazis of their day.

        If you agree the Nazis should have been killed, then you should not disagree with God.

        • defcon 4

          I see your point.

    • http://www.themadjewess.com/ The Mad Jewess

      God did not demand that his people slaughter INNOCENTS. The people that God told them to kill were murderers.

      You have a conflict with the word kill and murder.

      A murderer must be killed in self defense of the whole.

      ‘Modern Jewish identity has replaced the old rites and rituals with progressivism’

      You are looking at 2 sects and judging all by some.

      • defcon 4

        I had always believed that the ancient Hebrews were at war w/the Canaanites etc. The atrocities wasn’t done out of spite, but self defense and never under the color of a peace treaty.

  • Xcalicoco

    Great article.

    When Judaism is “shallowed-out” into just another “belief system” like Christianity, that’s when people lose interest.

    What makes Judaism different it that it involves all of life ~ the calendar is filled with dates that are all deeply mystical meditations, arranged in a sequence designed to impart life lessons about ethics, interpersonal skills and simple organizing. There is a dense, rich tapestry of tunes, stories, puzzles, inspiration, yearning, study, and absurdities that is deeply rooted in ancient tradition.

    Greater than that, though, is the Lashon ha Kodesh – the Hebrew language of the Torah and the prayer service – which is so much more profoundly deeper than the translations. Each word is so full of varied meanings that the difference is like the Real World vs. black and white television.

    The biggest problem in Western society is boredom and emptiness. People take Esperanto classes or watch football in order to have something to do. If they’d like a hobby with meaning, they should learn Hebrew. It’s a lifetime project filled with wonder, mystery, challenge and personal growth.

    As you say so well, “you cannot abandon what you never had in the first place.” Jews who think Judaism is just Hannukah candles and redundant starches are bound to lose interest.

    And to our hubristic slayer of brothers and chimeras [Bellerophon], Thomas Paine’s romantic ideas on the nature of “God” is childlike wishful thinking born out of the Christian milieu, as is most of the criticism of Judaism and the Torah.

    The Torah, or the “Old Testament” as you Christian-world people call it, combines primeval ur-stories, history and quasi-history, ethical lessons, dreams, and unvarnished human fumbling preserved as pedagogical devices that have an inexhaustible staying power owing to their paradoxical nature.

    In Judaism, “God” is not defined as an “entity,” as in Christianity or Greek mythology, but as simply “the One who is creating” – our simple minds can’t comprehend what that is, so we have various names to “bookmark” the incomprehensible.

    The violence and cruelty in the Torah is all part of life, just like the news today. And people who talk about the “angry, vengeful, Old Testament God” forget that this “God” also created Eden – this planet we’re on, along with all the beauty in the world, which we see as an act of inexhaustible compassion.

    The Torah is not rational, but neither is life. The “Promise of the Enlightenment” is a hopeless, unrealistic, Utopian pipe dream that will not work in the gritty real world. The Torah and Judaism is about finding joy and meaning in the face of paradox and arbitrary disappointments.

    “When you understand this, remaining Jewish is a privilege, not a sacrifice.”

    The privilege of a life infused with ancient, not entirely logical, beauty, rather than a life of once a year, frantic, last minute Christmas shopping.

    • defcon 4

      Well, Christmas is a re-branding of a pagan, Germanic(?) holiday. I don’t think Yeshua or his disciples celebrated anything remotely like Christmas.

  • dartson

    The bottom line is simple: the Jewish communities in Diaspora have no future in the long range. The Diaspora Jews will either assimilate (in US/Canada) or will be wiped out when Europe becomes islamic. As an Israeli, I believe it’s time to stop investing resources in “many wonderful programs” and start spending money on providing better opportunities for young people in Israel. Today two Israeli scientists won Nobel prizes in chemistry, both of them work in American universities and live in US. Caroline should focus on how to stop this brain drain, and let the American Jews make their own choices.

  • Pastor Mike

    In Acts:7 Stephen recounts the whole of Jewish history in order to show that the entire point of it was to bring the Messiah into the world. The great tragedy of history is that many (not all) of them missed it due to political expectations. The Messiah is still calling His Jewish sheep.

  • ceecee

    The secularization of the Jews is absolutely sad to me and I am not a Jew. God Himself must be incredibly broken-hearted over His Chosen People. “Leaving Judaism is not a tragedy but simply a natural progression.” To what? Nothingness? This is a sad indictment on how we have all drifted from God, His Word and His Peace.

    • http://www.themadjewess.com/ The Mad Jewess

      I feel this way many times. I dont relate to Bolshevik, Liberal, Secular Jews in the least bit.
      BUT, in the words of life, there is peace. So, this reason alone drives me to get closer to God and farther from *Religion*

  • De Doc

    “In the 4,000-year history of the Jewish people,…”

    An anachronistic statement. Even if the Biblical accounts were true, then persons born before the Tribe of Judah was established could not have been Jews. As a distinct political entity, Judah did not arise until after the break-up of the United Monarchy (c. 700 BCE).

    • emptorpreempted

      Glick’s statement may have been wrong, but your refutation of it is even more wrong. Since the Jews constitute (according to tradition) the only surviving remnant of the Biblical Israelites, the terms Jews, Hebrews, and Israelites are all interchangeable — except in special contexts where confusion is possible. In some languages the usual word for Jews is a translation of “Hebrews.”

      • De Doc

        Unfortunately the Hebrew Scriptures tell another story. The entire Torah does not mention once the word ‘Jew’. That takes us to the time of Joshua. The term ‘Israelite’ gained traction after the Canaanite conquest and beyond up until the United Monarchy phase. We have the first reference to ‘Jews’ in 2 King 6:16, a verse that refers to an event in the 8th c. CE. At this time Judah was its own polity and by then the word started to find a currency for use.

        That the word Hebrew is still applied to Jews today in other parts of the world does not make your argument. The question is did the Hebrew or Israelite peoples know themselves as Jews? And the Biblical writings indicate that they did not. Projecting the term ‘Jew’ to apply to Hebrew and Israelite forebears (people who would have never known the term Jew) was a product of latter, rabbinic interpretations. In other words it was a theological innovation, not a reflection of the traditions found in scripture.

        • emptorpreempted

          Your objection strikes me as senseless pedantry. Unless the rabbis are insisting that Abraham and Moses literally knew themselves as “Jews,” in which case these rabbis might be committing a factual error, I really don’t see your point. Indeed, the people originally known as the Hebrews have, by an accident of history, come to be known by the name of one of its constituent tribes. This has been established usage for 2000 years and I see nothing in it perverse or sinister.

  • Yaakov

    I am a Jew by choice and a Hebrew by choice –the explanations of being a Hebrew will need to wait. I present both the Jew and Hebrew as a matter of thought, study and reason, which I neither now nor have I treated them as simple choices.

    I was raised in various religions related to 2000 year ago ideas. Every religion has failed my basic tests. 1) Does this text contradict itself? 2) Do I feel compelled to make excuses for the god and religion?
    There are many more reasons and test, but to keep this short. I know that the Five Books of are the LAW. THE GOD OF OUR FATHERS is mine, and so I strive to keep HIS law. Anything else is self worship for it just is not SO.

  • Mac

    Caroline Glick, one of the few truth-tellers out there, thank you Caroline for all your great work over the years. Please remind Israeli businessmen, that is, potential employers, that anglo immigrants can make good employees. In my extensive experience, Israelis don’t like to hire anyone without interlaced connections into their own world. This is a big problem for ‘olim.

  • antiallanbloom

    This they accomplished by subsuming the Hebrew scriptures (like the
    New Testament) under a broader criticism of “work of revelation.” As a
    revealed text, (a divine covenant ordered by a deity with which none of
    us have direct dealings), the Hebrew scripture was then misrepresented
    as something that has no relevance for people trying to determine for
    themselves what it means to live a good, moral and just life.

    Hazony does not simply expose the philosophical crime against the Jews undertaken by the Enlightenment philosophers.

    ^^^

    it’s harangue like this that makes me proud to support the freedom from religion foundation and other secular atheist activism

  • Shmalkandik

    The lies about the philosophers Kant and Hegel being anti-semitic are libels – lies intended to do harm. The did oppose al revealed religion – they both believed religion must exist within the bounds of Reason. It is thanks to the Aufklarung they initiated that Jews were admitted to European society, with what impact and results is well known. When Europe killed its Jews it did, in the same action, blew its brains out. I would note the children of the Evangelicals are also abandoning their religion as Jews, and for much the same reason.

    If Judaism cannot survive in a free society, that is a criticism of the religion and not the society. Marx is a degenerate bastard child of the Enlightenment;National Socialism was in open revolt against it. Fact is that what was good in Judaism and Christianity was recognized and absorbed by the classical Englightement. Unless you are prepared to believe in a personal Deity, what need then for either
    religious tradition?