Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud


No Membership Required

Does the high cost of membership in synagogues deter membership? Absolutely.

It doesn’t matter that my synagogue is dedicated to never turning anyone away for lack of funds. I personally know individuals who do not want to have to ask for a special consideration, regardless of how confidentially or sensitively it is handled. Other honest souls want to carry their own weight. Not being able to afford the going rate makes them feel bad, and why be part of a group that makes one feel bad?

The problem, my lay leaders tell me, is finding enough money each year to keep the lights on and pay the mortgage. Most American Jews are well off enough to pay much more than their membership fees if they wanted to, they just have other priorities. Would they be generous enough if a set fee were not required? Would more Jews come?

I was invited to preach at a large church last spring. They held three collections: for the tithe, for freewill offerings, and a third for special vows and gifts of the heart. They do this every Sunday. Sometimes I think if we could pass the plate, Jewish communal life would be easier. I briefly rued the mitzvot that prohibit using money and writing on the Sabbath.

To be honest, many synagogues do “pass the plate.” On the High Holy Days, preprinted cards with fold-down tabs are distributed with each member’s name already labeled upon them. What if we did this each week? Perhaps then we (and our local lay leaders) would have even more incentive to deal with the fact that only a small percentage of our membership attends services on a regular basis at all.

The other day, one of my leaders asked me if we could find a donor so we would not have to charge membership fees for High Holiday family services. There are groups who do have such support. Not far from me, a group dedicated to connecting unaffiliated Jews to traditional Judaism received major foundation support for their building and programming. Are we mainstream congregations just not applying for the right grants? I would love to have the money to train or bring in top people to offer similar outreach programs in an egalitarian setting in which men and women, boys and girls, could sit together and be treated religiously as equals (males and females are separated in the programs run by the group I referred to above).

A rabbi friend of mine in California started a synagogue that will not charge membership fees. They are solely dependent upon free-will offerings. I hope she makes it and the synagogue thrives. If it succeeds, then maybe the rest of us will have the courage, and the faith, to try something similar.



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Charlene Hecht

posted September 12, 2006 at 1:56 pm


I am not Jewish, but love to read and listen to Jewish teachers. I also pray for the peace of Jerusalam. However, I was reading the article, and thought that the Jewish religion taught that that first fruits went to the church and that the first 10th went to the church…how is it that there is problems with finances?



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Tzvi

posted September 12, 2006 at 3:25 pm


In response to charlene’s Comment that: “the Jewish religion taught that that first fruits went to the church and that the first 10th went to the church…how is it that there is problems with finances?” What Charlene apparently does not realize is that like the US Constitution, the Torah was written for an Agrarian(Farming) Society, when there WERE first fruits to be offered, and a TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM to offer them at! Mostb synagogues struggle to do do innovative programming, to try to bring in new people, in the hope that they will get new members. My synagogue ( http://www.beittikvah.org ) has done all kinds of new programs, and keeps looking to do more. Sometimes its not about the donors, sometimes its about the people themselves. Its what makes a House of Worship, a HOME. Then again maybe there is something to a virtual “passing of the plate”(doing like on the High Holidays but year round) as it were, and I may suggest that to my congregation’s board.



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Mitch

posted September 13, 2006 at 4:19 am


“Most American Jews are well off enough to pay much more than their membership fees . . .” I don’t know if this is true–in my own case, I suppose I could manage a little more than membership fees were I willing to give up my son’s extracurricular activities, put off some home repairs, not eat out, decrease the car insurance to the minimum required, etc.–I haven’t done the demographic research. But somehow, hearing a rabbi stereotype me and indeed all Jews in this way rubs me wrong.



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Karin

posted September 13, 2006 at 6:09 pm


My shul bases membership dues based on a fair share policy. Albeit considered unfair by some, logistically, doctors, attorneys and other high income professions are going to pay more than retirees, for example. In my case, upon retirement, I provided the board with my new “income” and my dues were adjusted. At the point I can start drawing social security benefits, I will provide them with the increase so my dues can be adjusted again. Do I feel bad or demeaned about paying less? No, because I am still paying my fair share. Also this year, for the first time, High Holy Days seating is being offered free to one and all; those who wish to donate may do so; it will allow the program to continue. The concept of passing a plate once is foreign and strange; G-d forbid I should see it three times!



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Larry Lennhoff

posted September 13, 2006 at 6:51 pm


Sometimes I think if we could pass the plate, Jewish communal life would be easier. I briefly rued the mitzvot that prohibit using money and writing on the Sabbath. Actually at my Orthodox shul the plate (actually a tzedakah box) is passed 12 times a week most weeks – shacharit (morning) and mincha/maariv (afternoon/evening) services on weekdays, when carrying and using money is permitted. There are usually boxes for several causes available, including a synagogue maintenance fund. Kol Tuv Larry



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Karin

posted September 13, 2006 at 8:53 pm


A tzedakah box, yes … when it is permitted to carry money, but certainly not on shabbes! An offside remark that has nothing to do with this subject, Larry, but your map on your homepage, had the arrow on my house! Pretty cool!! Kol Tuv



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Yossel

posted September 13, 2006 at 10:36 pm


B”H A story: Many years ago, in a small shtetl (village) in Eastern Europe, the Village Rabbi would make his rounds to serve his congregants’ spriritual needs, on horseback. Our Rabbi’s horse was always well-groomed, with a warm blanket on his back, his coat always combed and glossy. He always could look forward to returning home to his stable at the end of the day, to a large bucket of fresh oats, a drink of fresh cool water, and a thick blanket of straw to lie on at bedtime. However, our Rabbi wasn’t so lucky. His shabby coat was clean but patched in more places than there was orginal material, his gloves had holes in them, and his hat was out of style for many years and so worn, that its creases were frayed. His pants were also worn at the knees, and his shoes lacked heels. When he returned to his shabby one-room hovel, he had nothing to eat but old, hard bread and watery soup. On Shabbat he “treated” himself to cooked potatoes and onions and a piece of herring. One day, one of the Rabbi’s congregants observed, “Dear Rabbi…why is your horse so well-groomed but you aren’t?” “My dear friend, you see, I take care of my horse; my congregation takes care of me!” ‘Nuf said. It costs money to take care of a Rabbi as well as a Shul.



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Anonymous

posted September 14, 2006 at 12:51 am


You bet high membership fees keep people from joining synagogues! It’s very, very sad — and, perhaps, not even in the Jewish tradition to charge membership fees at all. (I’m not sure about this — but come to the conclusion only because I DO know that, years ago, even Rabbis did not accept payment for their jobs, as it was not considered proper to make money only from one’s knowledge. Of course, times have indeed changed from this. Perhaps susidizing, or even free “scholarship” memberships could be given to deserving could-be synagogue members? (A great way to raise money for the synagogue, too…as 10% of the “scholarship” money could also be given to the synagogue itself!) Still, I think ALL synagogue memberships should come down in price….otherwise, they will also become known as “syna-GOUGES”! When I first saw the title of this discussion, “The Members Only Dilemma”, I assumed, (wrongly), that it dealt with the problems Jews (and other minorities), still have with joining “the best” snobbish country-clubs. As I have some VERY strong opinions on the subject, I would like to write them here. Perhaps, this subject itself can be discussed at a later time as well….but here are my viewpoints, perhaps to start the discussion off…….. It’s not only missing an elite at- mosphere, great food, and fine athletic facilities that minorities, (including Jews), miss out in not being allowed to be members of these clubs: FOR IT’S USUALLY IN THE HOURS AFTER THE BUSINESS-DAY, ‘AT THE CLUB’, THAT BUSINESS POLICY AND DEALS, (OVER A HAND-SHAKE), ARE MADE. Groucho Marx may have been facitious, (or perhaps not), when he said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will not have ne as a member.” He didn’t to rise in the business world….he had his talent and his hubris, (or “chutzpah”) to take him to the top. Many of us don’t. For myself, I’m still working to become SO rich and famous that ultra-snobbish “Everglades Club” in Florida, (which presently accepts NO Jews or Blacks), will invite me to become a member. (Would they allow a super-rich African king to become a member, I wonder? Or a super-rich Arab king? Hmmmm….) Because access to power should be available to all. Al Smith became governor, and John F. Kennedy, President of the USA! They were Catholic, (and probably could have joined The Everglades Club, should they have so wished! Jews will NEVER reach the pinnacles of power UNLESS (far too many) Jews continue to fulfill the anti-semitic stereotypical ideas of thinking of all Jews as “Chosen”, and so “better” than others! (In Hebrew School, our rabbi taught us that “Chosen” means chosen FOR helping others, NOT chosen BECAUSE Jews are any better!) Also, until “super-patriots” for Israel continue to live outside of Israel, (in “galut” as it were), their patriotism to the land in which they are living will always be in question. (If they love Israel so much, why don’t they live there?) If this is impossible, PLEASE — for the sake of shattering stupid stereotypes for all Jews — at least take the attitude of the late Alan King, who said: “Israel is my mother, America is my wife. I LOVE THEM BOTH!” (When I was in Hebrew School, the teacher asked us a (to me totally shocking) rhetorical question: “If Israel and America went to war, what side would you be on?” As both are democracies, I couldn’t picture this happening….and sure hope it never does…but, after 30 or so years, I have an answer for this misguided Hebrew School teacher. I WOULD BE ON THE SIDE OF AMERICA…BECAUSE I VALUE FREEDOM OF CHOICE, WHICH ISRAEL, SADLY, DOES NOT SEEM TO WANT TO GIVE ANY OF ITS CITIZENS! I wish Israel were more pluralistic. I wish more Jews would be more HUMANISTIC, and less stereotypically “Jewish Proud”. It’s OK to be proud of your ancestry….everyone, (except the Native Americans and First Canadians), is an immigrant, at least to the American continent. BUT WE DO LIVE ON THE AMERICAN CONTINENT, NOW….AND OUR FIRST LOYALTY SHOULD BE TO THE COUNTRY IN WHICH WE LIVE! Freedom of (and also, from), religion is a HALLMARK of the USA. Is it a hallmark of Israel, I wonder? (I suspect not. At least, not at present. Which, to me, is shameful in a country founded on freedom….and which, in ancient times, even had a law which freed all slaves every 50 years! Should a country founded on such freedom, today continue, by custom and/or by law, to enslave people’s minds, by not allowing them freedom of (religious), and other choices? Plurality is GOOD…. And if plurality ultimately leads more Jews to convert to other faiths…perhaps it will also lead to more people of other faiths converting to Judaism? In any event, plurality –and freedom of choice — WILL lead to more humans being happy! (And will also probably lead to a reversal of the present statistic that 3 times as many people leave Israel than migrate to it!) Happier humans around the world. The death of stereotypes and the beginnings of understanding of our comman humanity. Isn’t that what happiness is all about?



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Gene K. Edlin

posted September 14, 2006 at 12:58 am


I hadn’t heard whether or not Bill Gates (or someone else like him) is committed to some other group, but if he were persuaded suddenly to become very Jewish, that might help.



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Anonymous

posted September 14, 2006 at 12:30 pm


Reply to Karin: “Passing the plate” is a humane, anonymous way for each person to give as much as he or she sees fit, with no-one knowing the amount, ex-cept the person who gives it, that person’s conscience, and G-d. Is this to be considered “Strange”? Or “Foreign”? Surely the right to privacy is SOMEWHERE in the Torah, (if it isn’t, I’m mistaken in thinking that Judaism values each Individual, and Judaism’s valued streak of Humanism!) Judaism is nothing if it is not an ADAPTIVE religion, (being through so many countries and so many vicissi- tudes, Judaism, and Jews, have HAD to adapt, to survive.) Chanukah — traditionally a very minor Jewish holiday — has now becom a very IMPORTANT Jewish holiday, (at least in North America), to compete with Christmas’ enticements, (especially in and for Jewish children.) Bend but not break is the watchword here.. To be more explicit: allowing children a “Chanuka Bush” might be frowned on by the ultra-orthodox — yet, in later years, these children, now grown up, have fond memories of Chanuka bushes…which, try as they might, at least mingle with their yearnings for a Christ- mas tree….and give warm feelings for Judaism, which they might not have otherwise had. (I was never too religious myself — and besides, being Jewish — unlike being Protestant, Catholic or Moslem, precluded me from achieving the dream of ALL little girls…that of becoming a real-life Princess! I mean, even Grace Kelly…an Irish Catholic!…found her way to becoming a Princess, (and one who was eventually warmly welcomed by other Royalty as well.) But, although there were rich Jews, there IS NOT ONE JEWISH PRINCE IN THE WORLD, and even though the rationale for this — that G-d is our King, and so Jews don’t need any other — was little compensation to a romantic young (American!) girl! And it STILL isn’t….(I’d be more than willing to consider a descendant of King David, who wants to become King of Israel — and I HAVE heard that such an “Israeli Monachist” party does, (perhaps informally) exist. Still, memories of warm Sabbath evenings, when my father used his wonderful voice to chant “kiddish”, and my mother lovingly lit the candles, cannot help but give me warm feelings towards Judaism, and most Jews…especially the Humanistic ones, who, like my parents, broke every stereotype. They took Judaism primarily as a RELIGION, and though they did believe in Jews as a nationality, as well, they also FIRMLY believed, (as do I), that Jews are NO BETTER, AND NO WORSE, THAN ANYONE ELSE. There is even Biblical back-up for this belief: Everyone is (SUPPOSED TO BE)descended from Adam and Eve, after all! In Hebrew school, we were taught that G-d only created one man, and one woman, for this very reason: that NO ONE, (INCLUDING JEWS), should think themselves better than anyone else! So, if passing a “Tzkeda” Box is a Jewish adaptation of “passing the plate”, I see nothing wrong in it. Ruth, in the Bible, was, after all a “Foreigner”….and Yiddish itself, if I’m not mistaken, is an amalgam of Hebrew and the languages of the lands Eastern Jewish people found themselves to be in. (In my pocket 24 language translator, Yiddish and Esperanto stand apart from other languages, as both are “combo-languages”….and should, I believe, become international translationary languages for everyone! Jews and Judaism ARE adaptive! Otherwise they probably wouldn’t exist now! If a Jewish version of “passing the plate” will help to increase synagogue coffers, it should be reverently adopted. If it isn’t, and Judaism dies a slow death fom lack of funding, (the lack of interest is already there in too many people)….well, not following what I believe is the adaptive Jewish tradition of “bending tradition to keep it, but not breaking tradition altogether) is, I believe, sure to have disastrous consequences!



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Anonymous

posted September 14, 2006 at 12:45 pm


Reply to Karin: (Another one!) Carrying money on the Sabbath is forbidden…yes. However, the paper that we carry around today doesn’t even have “full faith and credit” on it. It is NOT backed by silver or by gold. Therefore, (backed by faith in the US goverment wisdom only!), it CAN be construed as not really money, and therefore permissible to be carried on the Sabbath! Therefore, if the “Tzkeda” box IS passed around the synagogue on Sabbath, (when most Jews today attend synagogue on an on-going basis, if indeed they attend at all), BILLS ONLY, AND NOT COINS should be allowed. (Yes, most coins — of most countries –are made from base metals today, but even base metals have SOME value. Paper has almost none.)



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Anonymous

posted September 14, 2006 at 1:18 pm


Dear Gene K. Eldin: Thanks so much for your reply! Hmmmm….. Bill Gates HAS been very supportive of helping Africa…so who knows? Maybe he WILL support Judaism and Israel next, (and at least acknowledge that the notion of “Christian Charity” is at least in part derived from the Jewish notion of “Tzkedah”, and that the two traditions today mesh very nicely together! It COULD actually happen! : ) In the meantime, GEORGE SOROS, a VERY liberal billionaire, is quietly giving money to good causes — including making the USA a more open society! I don’t know if he is that religious, or that much affiliated with Judaism to use his efforts in a publicity camnpaign to help defeat stereotypes and prejudices, (he more or less keeps himself out of the headlines as much as possible), but he IS doing something….and this makes me happy! (Doing things too, is STEVEN SPEILBERG. He DOESN’T just do Holocaust films, after all….and his delightful fantasies are not only wonderful — but are also wonderfully anti-stereotypical, and show how well-rounded a modern (Orthodox!) Jew can be! (o : ) Kippah and t’fillin-wearing smilie!



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Dana

posted September 14, 2006 at 7:29 pm


“Most American Jews are well off enough to pay much more than their membership fees” I wonder where this info comes from? I am in my mid-to-late 30s. I am a married full-time mother of one. We own our home. Other than my mortgage, we have no debt. But joining a synogauge is out of the question, finacially, at least for now. Without the generousity of our own parents, we could not comfortably send my daughter to pre-school (she goes to a Jewish one! ) And by comfortably I don’t mean while living in luxury. I mean (including housing, car insurance, gas, groceries, health care costs, clothing a growing child, the VERY OCCASIONAL night out to a movie… )by not spending more per month than we earn! I look around at my circle of middle-class, well-educated Jewish friends and find that rather than being the exception, we are the rule. In fact, we are probably better off than most – job security, low debt, (good ) health insurance… So, this year I will not attend High Holiday services, because, while I could afford the $500 tickets for myself and my husband ( though it could mean NOT going on a vacation this Spring, or not enrolling my child in ballet, soccer, or camp this summer), it rankles me that this is required for us to worship, to repent, to reflect alongside othrs in my community simply because I can not afford to pay dues and building funds in addition to tuition. My daughter will not attend, or learn about the theme, mood or flow of this service except what whe will glean from pre-school class. I understand religious leaders want to keep buildings in running order. And dues help. But I was also raised to believe that Judaism put more of an emphasis on leading a “good” life – on helping others. With limited resources as far as disposable income, I would think it is more of a mitzvah for me to support Mazon, or the Red Cross, or any one of the countless worthy medical causes striving to end ravaging diseases instead of paying for the privledge of being considered a “member” of a community of which I am already a part. And yes,I do participate in other meaningful ways, including sitting as PTA president at the synogauges preschool this year. I am also concerned with the implication that, while certainly important to me, Judaism must come before all other priorities if I am to be a “member” of the community. The discussions I have heard focus on ways jusitfy membership and ticket fees largely by asserting it demonstrates some committment to participation. Certainly there must be other ways to show the same willingness to come, join in, participate, share some of the load, that are NOT strictly financial. Must I be made to feel guilty or inadequate for deciding that it is more important to find enriching socal and learning activities at this stage of my daughter’s life during summer months ( camp ) or after school – ones that teach things schools can’t or don’t, like team-work, body-awareness, fitness, art or music – than to formally JOIN a synogague. Or if I chose to spend scarce “extra” funds taking time for my husband and I to go away by ourselves for a weekend – reinforcing / making time for our relationship in a at a time when so many marriages unravel from stress and neglect… Yes, I probably could talk to the rabbi or president of the board and negotiate other arrangements. But I shouldn’t have to! Where in any Jewish text does it state or imply that my privacy is secondary to the community chest – that my financial status OR choices are any business of anyone other than myself and my creditors? Or that my choices in other areas mean I am less committed to leading a Jewish life while I do whatever else it is that I do when I am not IN a synogague? Just my 2 cents…but NOT my $500



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shelly

posted September 14, 2006 at 11:52 pm


Interesting! I’m hearing that Jews think they are better than other people,who don’t know where they belong, supporting Israel which is not a nice place as there are too many religious impositions, and who have money hungry synagogues. Have I missed anything? I guess I’m glad you signed yourself anonymous, because you seem to take every possible stance possible against the Jews. Since my divorce I have had to ask my synagogue for a dues reduction every year. I did not like to do it, but had no choice. No one hold that against me or points me out. I go several times a month, sometimes every Shabbos because I enjoy it and I like to see the various people in my community. I go for the High Holidays and enjoy that. I am now taking my granddaughter to Tot Shabbos when I go. She loves it and I am glad we can do it. As Karin said I like to feel that I am pulling my weight as best I can. I work hard to be sure that my children and grandchildren are involved with the holidays so that when I am not around they will still feel comfortable doing the holidays at home and falling through a synagogue door. All those complaints about Israel – have you ever been there? helped to run the country? My daughter loved it and seriously thought of staying there. She was very sincere and still talks about going back. What has held her back was that she would miss us all. There is another stereotype that you did not mention. The Jew who apologizes for being Jewish, who is ashamed of people who are openly Jewish, who denigrate israel and the way it is run, who complain incessantly about the way all Jewish institutions are run in every country of the diaspora, who are happy to state that we are no better than anyone else and probably are less than that. Funny, doesn’t that sound a little anti-semetic? I have never thought I was better than anyone else. I do know that I was taught all people are good – for the most part, all are worthy of help or zdukah if needed and to always try my best to take care of myself and help those around me. I’m sorry anonymous, you don’t sound very Jewish to me.



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Millah Mandel

posted September 15, 2006 at 12:58 am


The sterotype of jews being well off may have been for another generation, but to assume it these days is wrong. Most people these days are in debt, have lost their jobs, divorced paying alimony etc. It is a hardship to fork over the synagogue dues, which is why synagogues are EMPTY. Would the Rabbis rather see a full synagogue with people paying what they can, or hold on to a ridiculous, archaic assumption of the wealth of a Jew just because they are Jewish. We are not all doctors and lawyers. As Dr. Phil says, its time to “get real!”



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Karin

posted September 16, 2006 at 3:24 am


Shelly, Thank you for confirming my sanity! I read Anon’s remarks and did not think I implied anything about being better … perhaps I should have said strange or foreign to me. My daughters were a little “envious” of their friends as children; however as adults their best Chanukah memories were the major game, e.g. Monopoly that they received on the first night; they helped making latkes and kugel (the “old-fashioned” way). We lit candles and watched them burn. They got the traditional gifts … gelt, nuts and candy; we played the dreidl game. After everything was done, we played on the “new game”, sometimes late into the night. Their memories of Chanukah are of family, fun and love … not a “Chanukah bush”; they learned there was more to life than being a “Jewish princess”. As to your second comment, Anon, my rebbes do not write checks on shabbes. Under your theory, that would be acceptable, too, since it is only paper, backed up only by trust that there is money in the bank account. Some of you will remember the wonderful one-liner written by Ogden Nash: “How odd of G-d to choose the Jew.” Then there is the response to Nash’s poem: “Rejoice! The choice annoys the goys.” by Anonymous … in this case, obviously Jewish; however, if I had been clever enough to write it, my name would have been there. I think Shelly hit the nail on the head. It is almost dark and time to light shabbes candles. Gut shabbes.



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Anonymous

posted September 16, 2006 at 8:24 pm


Dear Shelley: Thanks for your reply. I suppose I’m the kind of Jew that the late Mike Todd was. As described by his wife Elizabeth Taylor in her auto-biography, one day Mike was speaking to someone, (I forget whom), who, though he showed himself to be an anti-semite, said to Mike Todd: “You’re what I call a ‘White Jew’. Mr. Todd just about took the table the two of them were sitting at, and twisted about the guy’s neck! I’ve known too many Jewish people who seem to derive the major part (or all!) of their self-respect from the fact that they are Jewish. To me, this is not what being a “Mesch”, (Jewish human being), or a human being itself is all about. Did you know that Adolf Hi5ler derived his “Master Race” idea from learning that Jews consider themselves “The Chosen People”? Of course, Jews never, (and I mean NEVER in their long history), have hurt anyone who didn’t hurt them first….and certainly were not rsponsible for the extermination of any racial group, through hatred, as Hitler killed not only Jews, but Gypsies, Homosexuals, other minorities….and anyone who had the termerity to speak against him. (Jews WERE responsible for the death of all the Amalakites, at the time of Queen Esther….but their leader, (Haman), hurt the Jews first, of course. Anyway, the idea of basing one’s self-respect on only being Jewish is not what I consider a humanistic thing to do. Or even a Jewish one. (Judaism does have a strong streak of Humanism in it, as I see it…and, being a “re;igious Humanist”, I rejoice in that.) Perhpas you have been fortunate enough to live amongst level-headed Jewish people, who consider themselves Human first….but I’ve known too many who not only derive most or all their self-respect from being “of the Chosen People”, but also have this awful “Jewish Paranoia”….they think everyone hates them because they’re Jews, and that the world at large has learnt Nothing from the Holocaust, the Inquisition, etc. As for me, I’d be a fool to think there were no anti-semites left….but I REFUSE to “see one behind every tree”, and unless someone shows him or herself to be an Anti-semite, I’m more than willing to consider them to be what, in fact, they are….just fellow human beings! No, I’vw never been to Isreal. But I’ve read a great deal of it in my mether’s HADASSAH magazine. I always wondered why a rational, immensely fair-minded person like my mother even belonged to this organization, (although Her mother did) — because, from the articles it published, at least in the 1990s, (such as “Is Star Trek Jewish”? — the conclusion there was “no”, and, thoough there were many “Jewish elememnts” in Star Trek, it was mentioned that in ST, “we are cheering for the mongrels”, and that, being a pluralistic story–of many nations working together, and sometimes inter-marrying, (as did Spock’s parents!!!!), Israelis more or less rejected it. THIS is the kind of xenophobic paranoia that has made me turn from Judaism in so many ways. (But I can’t completely estange myself from it: the beautiful ceremonies, the family togetherness, and the fact that my parents both adhered to it…in their own way, (kosher? Yes. Go to Synagogue? Once a month. But my sister and I went to Public school, and took ballet lessons(!)….on Saturday….because that’s when they were offered….although we took our SATS on Sunday. An amalgaman…yes. But most people live like that today. Anyway, I finally found out why my mother still belonged to Hadassah. Yes…the fact that HER mother was president of the Hadassah chapter when she was growing up had something to do with it….but, like many people who get many magazines, my mother rarely READ her Hadassah Magazine. When she finally did….she was found the contents as abhorrent as I always had…and refused to renew her membership. (This even as she could have had it for free….for a lifetime….as she was over 75 years old, on Hadassah’s 75th anniversary.) To our family, at least, Judaism may have been an important part of our lives, (or at least, we thought so)….but not our whole lives, or even the center of it. Even so, I was always the “black sheep.” I TR$ED to like Judaism. But when our Hebrew school teacher asked, rhetorically, “If Israel and the USA went to war, what side would you be on?”, I was SO SHOCKED. If they are both democracies, how could they go to war? WHY was the Hebrew school teacher asking such a question?????? And WHY did she tell us the bald-faced LIE that Arab soldiers, captured by Israel, were SO WELL TREATED THAT THEY USUALLY DIDN’T WANT TO GO BACK TO THEIR ARAB HOMELANDS ONCE THEY WERE RELEASED????? Israel,she told us, was the PERRECT country…a heaven on earth…especially for Jews! (Lies, Lies, Lies!!!!! If you make any money above the average in Israel, they take almost EVERYTHING in taxes…until quite recently, they even put taxes on reparations that Holocaust survivors got! A well-known NY Jewish radio host told this true story: he wanted to make “Aleiah”, and go to Israel. But he made the mistake of being nice to Arabs! No, they told him — any Jew can return to Israel…any Jew but Meyer Lansky…and you, who are nice to Arabs! Israel — a paradise for Jews? With high taxes if you make a little more than most people, and barring you from entry if you are nice to Arabs….hardly. Three times as many people LEAVE Israel as enter it…and no wonder. It’s not that I dislike Israel…I see its faults…and I am very upset. To me, (even for America), it’s NOT: MY country right or wrong. It’s “I love my coumtry too much for it to be wrong.” Any country that does not allow Christians to put up Christmas Trees, or celebrate the Gregorian New Year, is, to me, very very wrong. Living in the U.S., I sure wouldn’t like it if the US Government didn’t allow me the freedom to celebrate Chanukah, or other Jewish Holidays! I am NOT that religious, true. But I am, (like the late Ayn Rand), “anti anti-religion”….I don’t like it when anyone is forbidden religous freedom, wherever they live! When my father was young, he, too, was torn between Jewish and American Identities. This tore him up in knots…and, like many second-generation immigrants — from whatever heritage — developed an ulcer. This ulcer kept him out of WWII, (though he didn’t think it should have, and showed up for induction. His mother was the one who told the authorities about her son’s ulcer….they toolk x-rays, and saw it was true.) This ulcer developed into cancer, and killed him at age 64. For myself, I’ve had an illness since the age of 4. I, too, struggled with the American-or-Jewish identity thing. And it tore me up, too. I had a chance of losing this illness during puberty….(with all the hormonal changes, etc.). But the American-or-Jewish Identity thing took up SO much energy, that I still have this illness@!!!!! Other things bothered me too…and I may not have lost it in any event — but the “Where does your loyalty lie…with America or with Israel and Judaism?” thing sure didn’t help me!!!!!! On top of all of this, I had, (and still have), the “typical American” girl’s dream of becoming a Princess. Grace Kelly was an IRISH CATHOLIC, for goodness sakes…NOT the most looked up to group in world history….yet SHE was able to find a prince…or, that is, a Prince found her. And she was loved by the whole world until she died. Can you do that if you’re Jewish? NO! Because there ARE no Jewish Princes! I’m serious about this! The present Princess Mary of Denmark is not only a commoner from Tanzania, but also part Aboriginie! I have NOTHING against Aboriginies…Russel Crowe and Yvonne Goolagong are also part Aborigine. But THEY can possibly marry royalty, and I can’t? Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Holland is the ex-wife of a drug dealer! And she had a CHILD by this drug-dealer BEFORE she married the Crown Prince! THESE people can marry into Royalty and I can’t because I’m Jewish? Who needs to be Jewish if it hinders my dreams….hard enough for go for, in any event. Why
have EXTRA impediments others don’t. Is Judaism worth all that? Not to me! (Before she married, Princess Mary had to 1)give up her job 2)take a fertility test 3)change her religion. That’s ALL. Would I do that? You BET!!!!! AND MOST OTHER AMERICAN JEWISH WOMEN — AT LEAST THOSE WITH A ROMANTIC BENT — WOULD DO IT TOO! To put it another way: It may very well be true that God does not want Human Sacrifices….but, thinking of my father, my self and my illnesses, and my self and my dreams…JUDAISM CERTAINLY SEEMS TO WANT THEM! I believe in going anywhere I wish — to any webswite I wish. I once or twice have gone to a very, very prejudicial website, and wrote down, that not all Jews like being Jewish. I came back later, and someone else had written: “I love this website. I learn things here about Jews I never knew before!” So, now this anti-semite knews that NOT all Jews are “So proud of being part of the Chosen People, I don’t have to be proud of anything else about me!” Maybe now he’ll start to see Jews as we are….INDIVIDUALS! And I’m proud I helped hin see this!! Why should I have to be afraid of people hating me, when I don’t hate anyone? (My watchword is: ‘My right to swing my arm stops where youre nose begins. Live and Let Live!) Why should I give up my loyalty to a country that would bar a person from living there because he was nice to other people? Why should I give loyalty to a religion and a people that would destroy my romantic dreams? I can’t hate Judaism, much as I’d like to. I’ve seen it’s gentler and Humanistic sides, as well as its didactic and paranoid ones. But I reserve the right to criticise, as I see fit! O see Judaism as M



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Anonymous

posted September 16, 2006 at 10:13 pm


Dear Karin: I’m not the only one with “Christmas Envy” == though for years I thought I was. Then I heard the actress, LAINIE KAZAN, said she had it too. What you and your rabbi do with money is your business, of course. What I do with mine — and how I handle it, is mine, of course. I choose not to limit myself in ANY way. For me, NOTHING is, or should be “foreign”. After all, isn’t ehre just one race — the HUMAN race — wherein everyone is descended from Adam and Eve? I was taught that God could have made more people to begin with…but didn’t, because He wanted people to realize they were all descended from the same two people….and therefore, all equal. And I believe it! Why shouldn’t I be able to dream of becoming a princess? Mette-Marit, now Crown Princess of the Netherlands, was once married to a drug dealer…and had a child by the drug dealer, before she met and married her prince! When my cousin got married, they didn’t even play “Here Comes The Bride”….too “foreign,”, (or “goyish”, as my uncle put it.) BUT IF THERE’S ONLY ONE RACE, THE HUMAN RACE….WHY SHOULD ANYTHING BE ‘FOREIGN’ TO ANYONE? I never even had a Chanukah bush! And the hard, brass menorah didn’t substitute for the Christmas trees I so wanted! Because Christianity, in my mind, equals eligibiity to become a Princess. Whereas Judaism equals eligibility to be hated, and murdered! How any ambitious person can have loyatly to Judaism is beyond me. Respect for it? Yes. I have respect for ALL TRADITIONS. But Loyalty? No — my loyalty is to the U.S.A.! (How I wish I could be a blonde cheerleader…or a glamourous model or actress!) NO ONE IN PUBLIC SCHOOL EVER ASKED ME WHAT SIDE I’D BE ON IF THE U.S.A. AND ISRAEL WENT TO WAR….THEY ASKED ME THAT INCREDIBLE QUE3STION IN HEBREW SCHOOL! THE U.S.A. IS NUMBER ONE WITH ME….U.S.A….ALL THE WAY! In the3 U.S., we have the “melting pot”. From this we learn that NO ONE IS A FOREIGNER! We’re all Human! And nothing will ever change my mind on this! Equality for All means Equality for ALL! p.s. Have you ever heard what Israeli soldiers did to the ship, the U.S.S. LIBERTY, in the 1960s? If you are curious, look it up! It’s an eye-opener on how Israel treats its “allies”.



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Karin

posted September 17, 2006 at 5:16 am


Dear Anon, (9-16-06 @4:18pm) Perhaps I misunderstood some of your post or perhaps I forgot parts, so I did a little cut and paste and printed it for reference this time. Of course, how you handle your money is your business, but I also have that same right … same with your dream of being a princess. I assume it is age appropriate? (And if that is your dream/goal why not work for it?) “Foreign” has many definitions: 1)situated outside one’s own country; 2)born in, belonging to, or characteristic of some place or country other than the one under consideration; 3)of, relating to or proceding from some other person or material thing other than the one under consideration; 4)alien in character; not connected or pertinent; 5)related to or dealing with other nations; 6)occurring in an abnormal situation in the living body and often introduced from outside; 7)not being within the jurisdiction within the jurisdiction of a political unit. SYN: Extrinsic There are some things that are indeed foreign to me. A US citizen blowing up the Murrah building (OKC) on 4-19-95 is one of them; I was here and saw the devastation. McVeigh knew there were babies; the bomb was placed directly under their location. The WTC/Pentagon/Pennsylvania on 9-11-01 is another example of something hideous. Neither act is acceptable to me and how anyone could conceive of it IS foreign to me. You mention your loyalty to the US; have you served your country? I have, spent 13 years in the US Army, and left with rank of SFC (not easy for a woman to achieve, especially 30-35 years ago). I am also a combat veteran who served in a very unpopular war. Unlike the Gulf War veterans, my “honor” was to have a hippy spit on my uniform and to be called names that would violate the rules on this board. I KNOW the atrocities of war and not just by reading about them on a web-site, either! I also know what the hippies of the time would have described as a “massacre of innocents” was a totally different situation when one was there; it’s not a game, in fact it’s a matter of life and death. And that is ALL I am going to say on this subject. Since you seem to love all the externals of Christianity, why not convert (if you haven’t already)? Perhaps you could find some happiness and peace. I feel sad to see any human living with so much hatred for themself; it is even sadder when the hatred of self is transferred to all others in the group. Nu, I can’t help but wonder what will happen when you learn that Christmas trees, etc, are not the magic key to happiness.



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shelly

posted September 18, 2006 at 5:56 am


Dear Anon, Your diatribe merely shows how self centered and ignorant you really are. I don’t normally say things like that but you really need a wake up call and you need some one professional who can help you sort out your very confused ideas. For your information, a member of the extended Royal family in England is married to a woman who was born Jewish and who converted to follow her heart. They have been married for many years and there never was any kind of scandal around it. Where do you think you can meet someone in this social strata??? As both Karin and I are writing here you obviously did not need to repeat all of your misconceptions for her, after writing them addressed to me. I really don’t think either of us would have been offended if you addressed your “note” to both of us, thereby saving us the trouble of reading it all a second time. I am thrilled that your public school experience was so positive. I faced antisemitism, stupidity and ignorance and only some of it was from my peers. Most of it was from the adult population – teachers and parents of my peer group. Clubs that said no Jews allowed! You of course never had that problem. You were never called names – right?? Well, you make up for it by calling the rest of the Jewish population names, – whether Israeli or American. Now, are you aware that most ulcers are caused by H. Pylori and can be cured with the appropriate antbiotics? This has been known for some time. That’s how my sister’s ulcers were cured. I don’t know how long ago your father had his problem or when he passed away, but fortunately new advances are discovered all the times. You obviously love cloaking yourself in mystery. You insist on signing yourself anon, and then can’t or won’t name your mystery disease. It is fairly evident that you have blamed everything negative in your life on being Jewish. You keep referring to Humanistic Judaisn and maybe that was one of your problems. If you had enjoyed your religion more maybe you would not feel the way you do. We were not wealthy or even comfortable financially when I was a kid, but we really enjoyed all the holidays. I never felt deprived or missed having Xmas trees or anything else. My children never missed all that. They did on occasion help a non-Jewish friend trim a tree and then brought that fiend home to share Chanukah or Seder. My grandchilren are not missing it either. No Xmas trees or Chanukah bushes, but they do give toys to the various drives at Xmas so poor children who have nothing will have a good Christmas!!! They are 15 and 6 and have been doing this for the last 3 years. The younger one worries about other children who won’t have a good holiday with enough to eat. This Friday night, we will all gather at my home to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. We will talk about making sure that we have all thought about our actions and whether or not we owe anyone an apology for our actions; whether or not we have acted properly; and in the case of the kids – if we still owe any thank you notes. We will make the ideas as relevant as we can for the smaller ones, and make sure the older ones are appreciating it all too. I wish you a good New Year, and if you fast – an easy fast. I hope that you will do some real self discovery and that the New Year will be a happier and less bitter time and place for you. Shanah tovah!



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Anonymous

posted September 18, 2006 at 1:49 pm


Dear Karin and Shelly: Thanks for your replies. I could not convert because other religions also have dictactic dogmas of their own….but it’s interesting how upper-class people tend to have evolved different rules. For example, the Queen of Jordan, (who worked for Apple before her marriage, and of whom I am a great admnirer), does not wear a veil…although she has said publicly that she has not ruled it out. In the meantime, she often wears jeans! Should I marry a prince, I will find ways to accustomize myself to his religion. (If only there were a monarchy in Israel! I know there is an unofficial monarchist party in Israel…which doesn’t get too far, because, of course, the biblical line is that God is our king, and so we don’t need any other, and that there were only kings in Israel because the population wanted to be like other countries of the time. But a monarchy today in Israel would mean the modern Israeli king could meet other middle-eastern kings as an equal! But I’d marry ANY prince, of any religion! Thank you for the information on the member of the extended Royal Family who has married someone Jewish, and has been happily married for some time. But — was this person BORN Jewish, or did he/she only have a Jewish ancestor? If this is the case, I know of whom you speak. But he wasn’t Jewish, though he had REMOTE Jewish ancestors. Still, tongues did wag at this marriage….and perhaps still do. But, if the person you speak of was born Jewish…..wow! I don’t know of this…but will research it. Thanks for giving me hope!!!!! I’m sorry for your anti-semitic experiences. I recently was in the hospital…my roomate was a Holocaust survivor. My uncle, a doctor, was hired by a town in the Dakotas years ago. The townspeople weren’t precisely anti-semitic….because they DID hire him as their doctor….but when he arrived, they were AMAZED that he didn’t have horns! More recently, my sister lived near a well-known Jewish radio personality….and when he was killed….she and my (now ex-) brother-in-law found a swastika pained on their house! Though I haven’t experienced much anti-semitism myself, (except for one guy who said, in telephone conversation, “er…matzoh, I think. I think that’s very good — isn’t it???’”), I have been blessed…or cursed…with an extremely good imagination, and empathy for other’s pains. (When I was little, in fact, at Christmastime, I though I could feel the longings of just about everyone in the world at night as I lay in bed. This stopped when I moved to a new home at age 9, but I can still remember the feeling….) I’m just a normal human being, who doesn’t want to be hated by the rest of the world. I don’t want to be afraid that everyone could hate ne. Christians — though there are those that hate them, too — do NOT have this widespread hatred against them. And if I converted, it might not help….because there is, of course, the case of the Catholic nun…born Jewish…who tried to make Pope Pius XII stop the WWII persecution of Jews, who wound up in a concentration camp anyway, died — and was later made a Catholic Saint. (Proving, too late, that there are good people — like Pope John Paul II, who was a resistance leader, and slave labourer! — in WWII; and bad people — like Pope Pius XII, who was a conspirator, in every religion and group). Had she NOT been made a saint, charges of racism could have been brought, because she had been born Jewish…. My father was one of 10 children, seven of whom survived into adulthood. NONE of the others had ulcers. I believe it was a combination of my father’s quandry of Jewish-or-American-loyalties AND the H. Pylori. He attended syanagogue and kept kosher…but showed, by example, his idea that Jews are no better, and no worse, than anyone else. He said — so many years ago — that passing the plate would be a good idea, because it was an anonymous way to give as much as you wanted, with only God and your conscience knowing how much you gave. Instead of being told how much you must give! Unlike his brothers, he took his Judaism “with a grain of salt”, and bought Sholem Asch’s “The Nazarene”. Born in Russia, he loved America as HIS country. Israel was OK…but not the center of his life. He even thought of moving there, but was put off by the taxes Israel puts on the wealthy. When my mother (a bit more religious than he), experienced the tragedy of her father’s passing, she INSISTED on a full year of mourning….no movies, no parties. My father — who only went out with her — was devastated, and even thought of divorcing her because she was “too religious”….but eventually, he realized that he loved her too much, forgot about divorce, and, in his wonderful baritone voice, often sang, “If Ever I Would Leave You”, whenever the occasion allowed it. I’m glad you and your family enjoy Chanukah. There is little enough of real family togetherness and enjoyment in this world for anyone, nowadays, so — wow! It’s good to hear someone has some kind of family joy! It’s wonderful that you, your children and grandchildren help others to have a happy holiday, (Christmas), too…even though it is not their own holiday. This not only gives all individuals involved happiness…but also may go a bit to erase anti-semitism, too! But I’m not the only one who has had “Christmas Envy” all her life. The actress LANIE KAZAN has said that she, too, has had this. I’m glad she has “come out of the (religious) closet”….for so many, many other Jewish people…especially, Jewish children, feel this way. I recently visited a VERY prejudiced website. (Why not?) I added a note to their guestbook, telling them that all Jews do NOT like being Jewish. Some see nothing in it for them… Later on, I read something someone else had written: “I love this website! I learn things about Jews I never knew before!” Hopefully, this insight I provided will help stop the “Chosen People, Better People” Myth. ( Although you may not know Jews who believe this, I have met some…including my ex-brother-in-law.) I do not want to call ANYONE names. When I was in high school, a teacher, (who turned out to be the best teacher I ever had), gave us a “Prejudice test”. We were given a number of statements, such as “English people are snobs”, “Asian people are smart”, and asked to classify each statement as being true: “Aways” “Often” “Sometimes” “Rarely” or “Never”. The secret to passing the test was to NOT put a check in the “Always” or “Never” column. Because doing so showed that you had a sweeping generalization of one, (or more) racial groups. (I passsed the test). So — I don’t want to call ANYONE by names…especially bad ones! SOME Jews think they are better than other people because they are Jews….but NOT all of them! Goodness…I sure don’t, and from what you have written, you don’t either! But I suppose, in my Humanistic way, I go even further than this….I don’t believe Jews are different, either. For me, it’s ONE RACE…THE HUMAN RACE. (Did you learn in Hebrew school, as did I, that God created only one man, and one woman — though He obviously could have created more — so that EVERYONE would have to realize that they were all descended from the same twp people….and so that no one would be able to say they were better than anyone? Therefore, believing that “Jews are better than others” could be construed as misconstuing Judaism! (In Hebrew school, we were taught that “Chosen” meant “Chosen FOR” (helping others), NOT “Chosen because”. (Got to tell my ex-brother-in-law that, if and when I see him again. But I try to stay away from him as much as possible….) I recently saw the movie, “THE HEBREW HAMMER”. While some ideas in the movie can be discussed, (Jewish children hating being Jewish….which happens A LOT, but which may not be right, in the end, for many — but not all! — people), there is also a scene wherein the villian of the piece, (Santa Claus’ evil son), is shown trying to destroy Hannuka by distributing copies of “IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE” to
Jewish children. Specifically, the phrase: “Every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings”, is shown to be destructive of Judaism. Huh????? I’ve never seen a heavenly angel myself — but I believe in them, somehow….and I also think they are DEFINITELY non-sectarian!!!! (And William Shatner — another Jew who does not like himself to be categorized as such — was supposed to have seen angels in the desert who helped him!) It’s one-viewpoint movies, like THE HEBREW HAMMER, which serve to Torture a gentle Humanist, such as myself! (“One race, the Human race….One Race, the Human Race…One Race…”,,I try to keep repeating to myself!) What bothers me, also, are things like a movement afoot to help Jewish victims of AIDS. Why separate Jewish victims from other victims? Shouldn’t we help ALL these people? As someone who believes that Jews are just Human Beings, and Just Like Anyone Else…(No Better, No Worse…No Different!)….Any such “separation” bothers me….even a helping separation. As for me, I AM HUMAN, FIRST! I don’t blame Judaism for everything….I also blame doctors and teachers who treat patients and students as lesser human beings than they. I suppose I’m far fromt the only victim of the world-wide mindset that treaats children as “little idiots” — but it continues to amaze me that most peoole do this, (even though they were children themselves!) Children are little PEOPLE, and if they have to be taught some things, (like crosssing the street correctly), so they won’t kill themselves by ignorance….still, they should be respected AS FELLOW HUMAN BEINGS by adults! But maybe I’m being ahead of my time, again. Hopefully, in the ne



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Anonymous

posted September 18, 2006 at 2:08 pm


(continued….seems I used up too many letters before)…. near future, children will be see for what they are….little PEOPLE, WHO SHOULD BE TAKEN AS SERIOUSLY AS ANYONE ELSE! ( When I was a child, I SWORE to myself I wouldn’t forget how it was not to be taken seriously. And I haven’t…and try to talk to children as EQUALS, as much as I can manage…) Going to a doctor who’s ego was SO big, other DOCTORS still talk about it today, though he died over 20 years ago, didn’t help either. But the doctor-patient relationship has gotten more and more to the “Senior Partner-Jr. Partner” stage, (and less like the “Master-Slave” relationship it used to be), and that,at least, is getting somewhat better. In my less-angry moments, I do reflect that many people have had it a LOT harder than me. Specifically, Holocaust survivors, who had EVERYTHING, (and more) taken from them. Most of them have built new and good lives….so perhaps I shall , too. I have plans for the future, (write some book, lose weight, find ways to get rich!), and must concentrate on THEM. I earnestly hope that, in the next few years, I can do what one version of the (non-Jewish????) CINDERELLA has the heroine saying to her step-sisters at the very end of the story. “In my happiness, I forgive you all.”



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Tzvi

posted September 18, 2006 at 4:07 pm


While I would say that I had a very “interesting read on “anonymous”‘s posts, and at some level i feel sorry for him/her. I’m young, was blessed/Cursed by having a mom who gave me a name straight from hebrew as an “american” first name(try growing up with some of thise in conventional non-jewish settings) but there was a statement(as follows), where he/she says: “What bothers me, also, are things like a movement afoot to help Jewish victims of AIDS.”(anon) The Issue for separating jewish victims out is partially because for example among the Orthodox, they believe that because one cannot be Homosexual, that AIDS is a result, and the ingrained homophobia is inense in that community, no different than say among people of color. Jewish victims need to understand more than the fact that the torah condemns the act of having sex with men like one does with a woman, that its ok, that the ACT of having a sexual relationship with someone, you open up to them, become part of their lives. I call it the “Yom Kippur Principle”; that you need to be honest with ones self, and if one has sex with men that one should not ‘pretend’ that one is doing it with a woman, and that act of being honest with ONESELF, is the true key to making amends with both a person’s fellow man, and with the Holy one.



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Anonymous

posted September 18, 2006 at 5:09 pm


Hi, Tzvi: Yes, Jewish victims of AIDS might have a different sense of guilt than non-Jewish ones…and perhaps need special counselling. However, I personally see no difference between guilt of Orthodox Jewish men (and women), who are homosexuals/lesbians, and, say the guilt of Catholic men and women who are homosexuals/lesbians. Each has transgressed upon the tenants of their religion — at least as seen through the eyes of their co-religionists. However, perhaps Orthodox Jews, (and Catholics, too), are more comfortable being amongst “their own kind”, and, if this helps them feel more relaxed, and so lengthen their lives, why not? I used the “AIDS” reference only as an example. ANYTHING that arbitrairily separates people because of race or religion is abhorrent to me. (Take the current “SURVIVOR” on TV, for example. Ridiculous! I’m just glad there isn’t a “Jewish” team on the island. (If there was…or if an individual who keeps kosher were on “SURVIVOR”, they could eat crickets, (instead of other insects), as I have read these are kosher!) Would I like seeing a Jewish individual on “SURVIVOR”? Yes! It would break a LOT of stereotypes! Would I like to see a TEAM made up SOLELY of Jews? NO! Just as I see the other “teams” — racially segregated, at least to begin with — as abhorrent. As abhorrent to me, as when I was watching “Holocaust” on TV years ago, and a character addressed the crowd there as “Fellow Jews”. Hello? Isn’t that what all prejudice likes to do…..categorize groups of Humans as “different” from each other? It’s ridiculous — I learnt that when the brightest girl in school, (who became our Jr. High’s valedictorian), also was the chief cheerleader for our school’s basketball team, (we couldn’t afford a football team.) And this well-rounded, “all American girl” was ALSO, (parenthetically), Jewish! Jews — like any other group of people — come from ALL interest groups, ALL degrees of devotion to their religion, ALL types of looks, (from traditional beauties like the half-Jewish Jane Seymour, to people like Barbara Streisand, who has forged her own type of beauty through her personality.) What I’m trying to say here, I guess, is that I FIRMLY believe in the American adage, “OUT OF MANY ONE”, or, in Latin: ‘E PLURIBUS UNIM”. There was even a Jewish revolutionary war soldier, (forget his name….learnt of him on the children’s PBS series, “LIBERTY’S KIDS”) who was forced to sign a “loyalty pledge” to the US, because early American anti-semites thought his loyalty was to the Jewish People, only. He complained….and George Washington then not only made EVERYONE sign a loyalty pledge…..but was the first person to sign it, himself! My loyalty is to the USA, first and foremost. To me, Judaism is a religion only! I will NOT vote for someone just because they are Jewish, nor will I hide info on a crime committed by someone just because they are Jewish. I judge everyone as an INDIVIDUAL. That, to me, is the American Way….and, as an American, I am proud of it! (If someone asks my ethnicity, I say, “Earth”, or “Human Being”. If I find “religion” on a form, I’ll put “yes”! If pressed, I’ll say “mind your own business”! Sterotypes are WRONG! And even though I wish one stereotype, (that all Jews are rich) were true, it is sadly not so in my case. Everyone IS, and should be judged to be, an INDIVIDUAL! Or, as a self-improvement expert I once saw on TV put it, “Get Beyond Tribal”! Or, as I once saw it written: “It is fine to be proud of your ancestors, but more fine, by far, to make sure your descendants are proud of YOU!” Peace and Love! (And why should these be only Christian virtues???? They’re good for everyone, I think!)



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Tzvi

posted September 18, 2006 at 5:22 pm


Anon, I’m a reconstructionist, and as such we have removed most traces of “chosenness” from the Liturgy, but perhaps its not that we are special, but for example in the Aleynu prayer,the original version the actually translation of part of it thanks G-d for giving us a destiny different from that of others. I don’t know but I believe that each person deserves his/her own individual destiny, and that i personally don’t want the destiny meant for others. And as for the history note you made you should look at Napoleon’s France the first country where jews had trully the same rights as any other citizen.



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shelly

posted September 19, 2006 at 12:53 am


Too bad that was only true under Napoleon!! During WW2 they couldn’t turn Jews over fast enough – even tiny children. Anon, you remind me of someone else who used to watch Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best and to him this proved how dysfunctional his family was as they were nothing like these tv families. When I asked him how many families he knew that fit this mold – he had to admit, he never knew any real families that were like that. Being brought up Jewish, usually means that you have a strong social conscience, and a definite desire to help your fellow man. It does not mean that you only want to help other Jews. In todays world there are unfortunately too many Jews who are living on the edge financially and who need a lot of help. The churches of various faiths are not going to help any of these people, and that has always been true. Perhaps that’s why we do try and help our own first and then others. The Royal personage I mentionned was a woman. She would be quite old at this time, but there was never any scandal in her family. Which Prince do you think is worth marrying? Personally I haven’t seen or heard anything about any of them that would make me want to put up with all the crap that goes with the position. I find that most Jews who complain about the religion itself just don’t know enough about it.



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Karin

posted September 19, 2006 at 6:12 am


Shelly, I am so glad you suggested Anon write to both of us at once. Anon doesn’t know it, but I am just a little “envious” of you. Your plans for the holidays sound wonderful! I lost both of my daughters (one 26, one 33), so I won’t know the joy of grandchildren. (I do have some proxy granddaughters, all born this year, a blessing). When my 40 year partner died in January, I took a lot of his personal items to the Jesus House here … staff and volunteers loved it. Some of those personal care items are considered to be luxuries by the homeless! The medical supplies were taken to a medical clinic run by Christians; the nurses saw the wound care and diabetic supplies, came over and hugged me; they could even accept presecription medicine as long as the pharmacy label was on the bottle. The mitzvah is to help the poor and the sick. It really didn’t matter to me who ran the organizations, what mattered most was seeing it benefit someone. Your answers to Anon are far better than mine; I, too, wish she used a name. I keep seeing visions of the KKK, declaring their piety, standards and values … proud Americans who hide their faces as they burn crosses, etc. Some of my friends here have educated me on the history of the KKK in Oklahoma; in fact one man said his uncle was hung on a tree in front of the uncle’s house and he witnessed it. (I hope Anon realizes I’m not saying she is part of the KKK, it’s just a vision that comes into my head). I too grew up with anti-Semitism. I wish it didn’t exist, but it still does. There is an area of Oklahoma (NE corner) with people who believe Jews are out to steal their land. Before I was disabled, I used to like to go up there to fish. I was in the restauarant one Sunday morning and listening to the various diatribes about the “GD Jews”. I calmly finished my breakfast, stood up, went to the table and asked them “what do you know about me?” One said, “well, you are one hell of a fisherwoman, you can pull bass out the lake when no one else can”. Another said, “it’s obvious you don’t have a lot of money ’cause you are driving a 1964 Ford.” (It was 1984). The concensus was that I “was one of them”. And that is when I chose to tell them “I’m one of those Jews you are speaking about.” It got deadly quiet and I left. No, I have never gone back, not stupid. I could list other instances as recently as a year ago. The bigotry is not just us either … and I speak out on it. I can’t remember the poem that came out of WWII, perhaps you can. It started with “when they came for the Jew, I didn’t speak out” … finishes with “now that they are coming for me, there is no one left to speak out for me.” I can’t remember all Anon wrote to us, figure she will read what I have written you. Again, you have it the nail on the head when you mentioned the TV families of the 60′s. Oh, but the grief that has run through my soul for 11+ and 5+ years could be eased in a 30 minute or 60 minute TV show! (Sorry, the holidays are bittersweet; both my daughters loved them … I couldn’t even light Chanukah candles until the 6th year after my baby’s death and it is still hard). Shanah Tovah!



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Anonymous

posted September 19, 2006 at 6:52 am


Dear Shelly: Thanks for your reply! I often thought how truly FUNCTIONAL my family was, growing up. No, we weren’t perfect — but the only complaints I had were not being taken seriously, (at times), but as I grew, I guess I was taken more and more seriously, (only I didn’t realize it, it was SO gradual.) My dad worked in the family business….and I was SO proud he didn’t have any bosses! My mom was a housewife — but with a mind SO wide and brilliant, and rarely has kindness and brilliance been combined in any human being. Though not “Jewishly connected”, I was, and am, “family connected” — it’s amazing to me that, when my grandmother died, the ONLY one who wanted the photographs of my grandfather’s parents was he was the only one who wanted them! I took ballet lessons and piano lessons, went to public school and Sunday school….and more or less had a very normal, functional childhood. Not dysfunctional..but definitely functional….though it could have been more so. None of my cousins took ballet lessons, (especially on Saturday!) — but my parents were both very religious in the way THEY saw being religious. Maybe the rabbi wouldn’t have approved, but they never thought to ask permission for how they ran their lives! They went to synagogue on Saturdays, then took us to ballet classes for a while, then switched to piano lessons on Saturdays, (we couldn’t afford both.) Charity contributions consisted of synagogue membership. Not the perfect Jewish family, (if you look at all the religious rules and regulations) — but a family filled with something more important, I think: genuine love and respect for each other. When I meet the Prince I wish to marry, I will know I have met him. I have one or two in mind…but if I mentioned even descriptions of them here, others might also want to marry them, and provide even more competition for me! I have to keep reminding myself that Helena Rubenstein wound up marrying a White Russian Prince — and she was MUCH older than I, so there is hope for me, after all, I guess. (I don’t care if they are in power or not. And of course, love does count — a lot!!!) I know I am very happy at being a contradiction to just about every evil stereotype there is about Jews! Perhaps that is the route God has chosen for me to take…to show anti-semites that some Jews do NOT see Judaism as the center of their being; that many Jews are going OUTSIDE of traditional Jewish ideas, to find themselves as just plain PEOPLE. (For instance, there is a prohibition against putting one’s life in danger, because it is traditionally believed that one’s body is only on LOAN from God, and so one must not endanger that body! But try to tell Evel Knieval that! (Or Josh Bernstein, of the great cable show, “Digging for the Truth”. Perhaps to a lesser extent, even Orthodox Jew Steven Spielberg has put his life in danger, (as directing all his movies cannot have been without its physical hazards) — but I suppose he has decided that bringing knowledge, (through “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”), and entertainment (through “E.T.” and others of his movies), to people, is more important than keeping his body out of danger for God’s sake! Every Jewish person makes up his or her own mind as to how much “The (Jewish) Law” is important in his or her life. Two of my cousins are Orthodox….and one lives in Israel, in the Golan Heights! If they want to live their lives this way, I can only wish them well. But I will NOT abide anyone telling ME I must live. My watchword is, “My freedom to swing my arms ends where your nose begins!” It is true that Christians mainly help other Christians….or, if they do help Jews, it is either to convert them or, (as in a well-meaning Christian organization who wants to help older Jews in Russia immigrate to Israel), with the idea that transplanting ALL Jews to Israel will help fullfill the Christian idea that when this happens, Jesus will come again. (I obviously do not take kindly to THAT idea. I love the USA! If pressed, I guess I could quote the late Alan King, who said: “Israel is my mother, America is my wife. I love them BOTH!” And, yeah — I like Israel. I just wish it were more pluralistic and allowed more freedom of religion, (like letting Christians have Christmas trees at Christmas time! And allowing celebrations of the Gregorian New Year, as the US allows celebrations of the Jewish New Year….etc. Like I said before, for me it’s not Israel right or wrong….it’s that I like it too much for it to be wrong! Freedom to disagree with the official line, please! (Maybe that’s one reason 3 times as many people leave Israel as immigrate to it!) Many people of all kinds of religions want to help their fellow man. Red Cross workers! Peace Corps people! Nuns and priests! Jews do not have a lock on wanting to help people! Have you ever heard of Christian Charity? “Faith Love and Charity” are hallmarks, not just of Christianity, but of EVERY modern world religion! I suppose that’s my main point….goodness (and evil), can be found in EVERY religious group. Because every religious group is made of INDIVIDUALS — who each can hopefully can think for themselves! I don’t know everything about Judaism. But I do know enough about it that I follow (what I believe to be a very) wise dictum: “Don’t be too Jewish for your own good”. Others may not agree for this in their lives…and it’s their lives, so what can I do about it? As a Humanist-type human being, I have to respect others decisions on how to live their own lives. But PLEASE don’t tell me what I can do with my life! (The right to swing one’s arm principle, again). Peace and Love!



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Anonymous

posted September 19, 2006 at 7:31 am


Dear Tzvi: Thanks for your reply! It’s great that Reconstructionist Jews don’t feel separate from other people! We;re all people, right? : ) But I believe that everyone CREATES their OWN destiny. That’s part of the American dream, (to which I subscribe 100%!), and also the reason the Macabees and the people of the Warsaw Ghetto, for instance, rebelled! Other people thought they knew these people’s destinies…but these people wanted to make their OWN destinies! Even the people on board Flight 93, during the World Trade Center disaster! They decided that, if they had to die, they would NOT die while killing people at the White House! And they didn’t! If I see a better life for myself, as married to a Prince….this is the decision I have made for MY life! And no one is “born” to be president of the US…every president-to-be decided to MAKE this his destiny. (And those who lost, at least TRIED!) And no one is “born” a Broadway star, (except possibly people from theatrical families), a model, a writer, etc. Even with talent, one must write the book, get in touch with an agent, and a publisher! Destiny is what WE make it! It’s true that in Napoleon’s France, Jews were free and not afraid. But it’s also true that ANY country can “turn” against Jews at any time….as Shelly mentioned France did in WWII. Personally, I am truly upset that as someone born Jewish, I have to be afraid of everyone all the time. I fight this feeling…I try to keep telling myself that, with the horrible examples of WWII, and the increased communication in today’s world, perhaps (most) people, (at least in our own lifetimes), will have the common sense to see Jews as they really are….INDIVIDUALS, who all think differently from each other, (even on litergical matters), and HUMAN BEINGS, deserving of basic Human rights! But still, sometimes, when I lie in bed, I try to imagine how I’d feel if I wasn’t born Jewish, and never had to think about the possibility of anyone hating me. I pretend I’m Scandanavian, or English…. It’s SUCH a wonderful feeling…. (At least it is for me!) When I was in bed one night as a child, I decided to say, “G’Zuntheit” to everyone in the world who had sneezed. After a while, I realized how impossible that was, and stopped. Each person has his/her opinions on life…one can’t change them. One can only be a better version of themselves!



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Anonymous

posted September 19, 2006 at 1:21 pm


Sorry….I didn’t see your suggestion that I write to both of you at once. From now on, no individual salutations…. (All comments are open to all to read, anyway.) I honour your encounter with the anti-semites, Karin. Took a lot of guts to do that! Sadly, I couldn’t…because they’d know by my very name that I’m Jewish. However, one Yom Kippur, (when I rebelliously stayed at home while my mother went to synagogue), I happened to turn on the TV. A well-known TV star, (female), had a brand-new talk show. On it, she mentioned that her son had taken to calling “Yom Kippur” by the words “Yul Brenner”…and had a similar disrespectful name for Rosh Hashanah. I guess she thought no Jews would be watching, as it was Yom Kippur and all. Well, I WAS watching, and called up the network, pointing out what she had said. Needless to say(?) her talk-show did not last long! Seems we all try to do our parts! Yours was more personal and braver….but I did put in my bit, too!



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Anonymous

posted September 19, 2006 at 11:05 pm


Sorry if I upset anyone with my repeating of the phrase “Don’t Be Too Jewish For Your Own Good”. I DIDN’T make it up….but I do think it’s a good watchword for those who would want to rise in the wider world. Who knows….maybe I’m too Jewish for my own good. I respect Judaism, and realize its beauties and wonders. But I also see the uncomfortable side of Judaism. Mark Twain put it this way: “See how wonderful Jews are! See all the great things they have done! And they’ve all done it with one hand tied behind their backs!” Can you understand that some of us don’t want to have to live with even a proverbial one-hand-tied-behind-our backs? I want to be as free as anyone who isn’t Jewish! Is that wrong??????



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Santa Paws

posted September 20, 2006 at 5:24 am


I guess this thread is about the fees to go to the H H services at the local synagogue – until Anonymous took the floor and filibustered us all to death! There’s virtue in brevity! About the fees, note that Christian’s take the tithe as a standard of giving. That is generally understood to mean one tenth of your pre-tax earnings. For someone earning $52,000 a year, that would be a contribution of $5,200 a year, or $100 a week. And a good fraction of Christians adhere to this discipline. So it seem odd to hear folks complain that they have to pay $300 or $500 to go to services once a year. It’s amazing the things we spend money on that we really don’t need, and the standard of living we feel entitled to.



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shelly

posted September 20, 2006 at 5:32 am


Anon, YOu say you want to be as free as those who are not Jewish. You’re assuming that they are really free. You’re also wasting too much time worrying about being too Jewish or not enough Jewish or worrying that there are those Jews who want to be more Jewish or less Jewish. The truth is that most people are happy with themselves on some days and would be very happy to change all kinds of aspects of themselves on other days. You keep saying your a Humanist – that means your into jewish tradition and don’t believe in G-d? I’m happy to feel I have a personal relationship with G-d. The Jews in the Warshaw Ghetto were trying to survive! The people on Flight 193 refused to be used as a weapon against their own countrymen. There is a difference there. Karin, I am truly sorry for the losses you have suffered. I do hope this year will be a new happy healthy beginning for you.



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Anonymous

posted September 20, 2006 at 6:22 am


It’s the standard of living in the West vs. tradition again. I know there are people, (like my sister), who, through curcumstances not completely of their own making, (she never finished college, so the library where she works can’t promote her even if they wanted to, and she makes $24,000 a year as a library assistant) — who find themselves with enormous credit card debt, (she doesn’t own a car, and lives in a 450 square foot condo). I also know there are people even worse off than my sister, (who at least has me to help her when and if I can…which sure isn’t as much as I’d like to. Being handicapped, my parents left me the bulk of their estate — but this has to last me for the rest of my life(!) and, (also without a car), I’m looking desperately for something I can do over the internet, at home, to legitimately make a living wage. Some people don’t have cars, or relatives with a legacy, or even a year or two of college. Some people are making a living wage..but they have 3 or more children, and, perhaps, want them to go to Jewish religious school, and/or take a small vacation once in a while? While I was growing up, “eating out” meant going to the local McDonald’s or Burger King….and even then, my dad had this great idea to save money. We ate our meal at home…but we went out for dessert! My father said he had this horrible “disease”: “No-Mon-Ya”, (Pnemonia…no money), and, with my medication and the car which, yes, he had…..because he needed it to get to his job 30 miles away…..there was just no money for synagogue membership. With the inflation that has occurred since I’ve grown up, and the unemployment statistics the way they are, it’s really a wonder to me that ANYONE can afford the skyrocketing prices for membership that synagogues charge today. In Europe, 100 years ago, of course, things were different. Even in the early part of the 20th century, in the New World, immigrant Jews, (like Jews forcibly in Old World Ghettos), Jews, (and other minorities), stayed mainly in their own neighbourhoods….usually out of choice, in the New World…but not always, of course — housing prejudice being often as confining to would-be movers to the suburbs in the New World as ghettoization was in the old. But gradually, that prejudice has ALMOST disappeared, (in the US, we now have the “Equal Housing Act”, which makes it illegal to refuse to rent or sell homes to anyone, based on religion, race, national origin, sexual preference, handicap — or anything else, except ability to pay.) In a way, it might have been better — for some people — when most of these prejudices were in place, for then there was no “beckoning” to spend money on “luxuries” such as television, cars, ipods, computers, ballet lessons, vacations, $200 jeans, etc. Money used to be spent on “necessities” like (kosher) food, and synagogue membership. The world was more closed-in in those days. Can you really blame a hard-working person, in 2006, for electing to pay for cable TV, and/or a computer, (and attendant monthly internet connection fees) for one’s self and/or one’s children, instead of synagogue membership? Although Judaism IS still deeply important to many Jews, there are also many who, today, for better or worse, prefer to partake of the joys of the secular world to what they perceive as the narrowness of centering their lives, and those of their children, around Judaism, and its encumbent expenses. High synagogue membership prices certainly do not make Judaism attractive in a mostly-open, pluralistic society! And what about those who are out of work, or, as members of the “working poor”, just CAN’T pay? $52,000 may SEEM like a medium income to many….but there are SO many people to whom making even that amount of money myst seem like a dream, and so many others who are living on unemployment insurance, or who have used up their unemployment insurance. I believe that the true worth of a person is his or her ability to EMPATHIZE with others — to, (as the Native Americans put it), “walk a mile in another’s mocassins.” (Or Florshiems, Nikes, Easy Spirits, etc!) To put it briefly, times have changed and are changing even faster. Unless synagogue leaders “playact” in their minds, and put themselves into the “shoes” of other people…whose opinions they probably don’t agree with, but whose opinions they must at least understand, if only to present arguments in reverse of them, more and more Jews will — through choice or necessity — not join synagogues, not give their children even a Sunday-school education, not go to High Holiday services, not eat (expensive!) kosher food….and gradually stop being Jewish. If synagogue leaders to NOT put themselves in the place of other people, and see their problems, Judaism may just disappear in a few generations — except for those willing to do what is increasingly difficult for most people in this society: sacrifice for their beliefs. What Hitler could not do, assimilation just might. The carrot or the stick? Synagogue leaders should lower their dues….and also beware the joys of the “poisoned carrot”, most people today enjoy. (Or is that really an apple?)



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Karin

posted September 20, 2006 at 6:49 am


Anon, Thank you, didn’t think of my actions brave at the time; just something that needed to be said. I am glad to know you spoke out to the network … silence indicates approval. I am curious about something; you keep saying you have a Jewish name and everyone would know. Down here in Oklahoma are many people with “Jewish” names; a name does not necessarily mean a person is Jewish or any other faith, for that matter. What would it matter if you signed off with your name? If you don’t want to use your name, pick a “handle” or use initials … just a thought. Shelly, Thank you for the kindness. I learned from TCF (The Compassionate Friends) that years 5, 10, 15 and 20 are just like being back at the first year. I can’t attest to 15 or 20, but year 10 snuck up on me and “slam-dunked” me. After 20, I am told you learn to live around it; (I’ll let you know if that is true in 9 years, G-d willing). In the meantime, G-d has afforded me the opportunity to share my experience many times with others who have lost a child or grandchild; I can only pray the sharing gives them a little hope.



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Anonymous

posted September 20, 2006 at 6:54 am


Actually, I DO believe in God…but I’m not too much into Jewish Traditions, at least for myself. I’ll admit I do have my “atheistic” days, when I don’t believe in God…but then the next day, I do again. To tell the truth, sometimes I feel Jewish, some days I feel Protestant, some days I feel Catholic, some days I feel Moslem, some days I feel pagan, (on those days, I always equate “God” with Jupiter, the chief Graceo-Roman God….and then I go back to feeling Jewish again! I really don’t see much difference between all the major religions — all believe in being good to other people, and in “not treating others as you would not want yourself treated”, as Hillel put it, (or “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”, as Jesus said.) Basically, the same thing! To me, goodness is goodness….(my goodness!) I suppose what I really am is an Agnostic, with some Jewish knowledge….I believe in God, (most of the time), but not in Organized religion, (most of the time.) I’m glad Organized Religion is around…it seems to make a lot of people happy, and happiness is good! But as for me, I believe in “live and let live”, in NOT trying to “convert” anyone, (whether it be Jews, (and others), to Christianity, or Jews trying to make other Jews “more Jewish”), in rising as high in a free society as I can, and in helping others along the way. To put THAT succinctly, I believe in: “Live Long and Prosper…And Help Others To Do The Same.” Politically, I’m a Moderate — conservative on some issues, liberal in others. I do NOT believe in telling others: “But the BIBLE says….” because the Bible is just one of many world religious books, and the Bible is always open to interpretation, (and different translations), in any event. I don’t believe in hatred, (or fear) –and try, hard, to stop myself whenever I have either of these negative emotions. I judge people as INDIVIDUALS, not as members of any group. (Like — Pope Pius XII was a collaborator with the Nazis, but Pope John Paul II was in the underground against the Nazis, and had to spend some time as a slave-laborer). I don’t think abortion should be used as a contraceptive device — only to save a mother’s life — and, if parents honestly feel they can’t take care of a disabled child, they should put it up for adoption…not kill it!) But that’s just my opinion….how can I force others to follow it? I’ve been forced into saying “yes” to too many things I didn’t agree with when I was young, (like “Israel is a paradise, and all Jews should move there”) — and still don’t believe in. I can’t believe in forcing others to my opinions….everyone has a right to their own opinions and their own lives! (Like the TV show “Different Stokes” said in its theme song, “What’s good for one, might not be good for some”.) So, I’m a “Religious Humanist”….believing in God, (usually), believing in the unity of the Human Race, in not forcing any opinions on others, (who do the things that are right for THEM), in every individual AS an individual, and not as a member of any stereotypical “group”, and, basically, in “live and let live”.



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shelly

posted September 20, 2006 at 7:10 pm


In our synagogue, they do try and do membership more like a tithe. However, for some people the recognized amount is not a possibility. That does include me. I have written a letter for the last several years, explaining what I make and pay out and what I can pay in dues.There has been no problem and that is what I pay. If I could pay more I would. We pay for the entire year. At my Dad’s shul, they pay a large membership fee and then they pay for their seats at the high holy days, which we don’t. I am very cognizant of the fact that it costs to keep the doors open, and do know of many shuls who have had to close their doors because of lack of funds. I do know that the dues at a neiboring shul are less and they include the price of Sunday school. For me the problem there is that they are Reform and I prefer ours which is Conservative. I think how you spend your money is always a trade off. I am hoping that my son gets a scholarship for his little daughter to stay at her school (jewish), but if not I will help to find the money to pay her way. When I was growing up in an orthodox home, strictly kosher, we may not always have had fancey gourmet meals, but we always had food on the table and we all remember hotdog stew very fondly.



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Anonymous

posted September 21, 2006 at 2:12 pm


My mom was a great gourmet cook. Strictly kosher as far as meat went…but we also had Velvetta and Kraft cheeses, (except on Passover when we had Miller’s Cheese), and also Cambell’s Vegetable Soup, and Tomato Soup, before they were OU. However, should my mother have bought a vegetable dish which listed ham or bacon in the ingredients…back it went to the supermarket! Now that I’m on my own, I guess I PREFER kosher meat….but it’s very difficult to get where I live. (Especially as I don’t have a car.) There are NO REAL BUTCHERS in this city….even non-kosher meat is frozen! Some people just can’t afford kosher meat, especially with large families. I priced kosher meat on the internet…it really wasn’t that much more expensive than non-kosher meat….but the postage costs added 1/3 more to the price! Anyway, if unkosher meat is good enough for Queen Elizabeth II, it’s sure good enough for me! I KNOW kosher meat is healthier…but I also have to worry about the health of my bank account….who will help me if I spend all my money on Kosher meat? Jewish Agencies? What about my all-American sense of wanting to be and live independantly! They say that you can tell the national character of a country and a people by their national dances. In American, I guess that would be square dancing: each couple dances together…and they join in a group at times. In Israel, it’s the Hora….and everyone is holding each other’s hands in a circle, all the time!!!! I believe in caring for each other….but also in rugged individualism, for as long as one wants it!!!!!!!



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Cayla

posted June 21, 2007 at 7:46 am


What can I say?



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D. Pritchard

posted April 13, 2008 at 7:54 pm


I earn just enough to get by. I wanted to join a Congregation but did not feel comfortable asking for special consideration. More, many of the members of the Reform Congregation I visited are highly paid professionals. Without a doubt…this creates an elitest environment and excludes many financially struggling folk that desire to join in worship.



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