Jews of No Religion

 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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01 March 2016 08:37
 

Bernie Sanders has been evasive about his Jewish background and beliefs and this is causing consternation in the Jewish community because he is not a loud and proud Jew who is as close to winning the Democratic nomination for president as any Jew has come.  This brings up the question of Jews who claim to be culturally Jewish but not religiously Jewish - what the hell does that mean?  Does this mean one is a closet atheist?  Usually when someone claims some ephemeral, wishy-washy religious view it causes eyebrows to raise in wonder of what the person is hiding and elicits questions for clarification.

Bernie is not the first time I have heard a Jew make this claim but he does have the highest profile.  But is it fair to ask how Jewish a person is?  Donald Trump scored a win over the Pope when instead of kneeling to kiss the Pope’s ring and beg forgiveness that the Pope would even need to make such a statement, Trump angrily declared no one may question anyone’s religious beliefs.  Is it the same for Jews?

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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01 March 2016 15:14
 
Skipshot - 01 March 2016 08:37 AM

This brings up the question of Jews who claim to be culturally Jewish but not religiously Jewish - what the hell does that mean?

It means that I like Latkes, menorahs, and Passover seders, and I know that supernatural beings do not exist.
So sue me.

Skipshot - 01 March 2016 08:37 AM

Usually when someone claims some ephemeral, wishy-washy religious view it causes eyebrows to raise in wonder of what the person is hiding and elicits questions for clarification.

Nah,
Its just safer to be a Jew than to be an atheist.

 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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01 March 2016 16:38
 
jdrnd - 01 March 2016 03:14 PM
Skipshot - 01 March 2016 08:37 AM

This brings up the question of Jews who claim to be culturally Jewish but not religiously Jewish - what the hell does that mean?

It means that I like Latkes, menorahs, and Passover seders, and I know that supernatural beings do not exist.
So sue me.

Good point. Maybe I’ll add some Jewish celebrations to my list if it means having a good time.  But why stop there?  Americans have foolishly adopted the Corona beer holiday of Cinqo De Mayo as a excuse to party like a Mexican, so let’s keep thinking of other excuses to eat, drink, and be merry.

jdrnd - 01 March 2016 03:14 PM
Skipshot - 01 March 2016 08:37 AM

Usually when someone claims some ephemeral, wishy-washy religious view it causes eyebrows to raise in wonder of what the person is hiding and elicits questions for clarification.

Nah,
Its just safer to be a Jew than to be an atheist.

Another good point, but sitting on the fence makes everyone suspicious.  Best to pretend to be Jewish when convenient.

 
jdrnd
 
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jdrnd
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01 March 2016 16:49
 
Skipshot - 01 March 2016 04:38 PM

Best to pretend to be Jewish when convenient.

I do!

In fact I don’t have to pretend,
I am.

Sholom Skipshot.

 
Sliver
 
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Sliver
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02 March 2016 14:16
 
Skipshot - 01 March 2016 08:37 AM

This brings up the question of Jews who claim to be culturally Jewish but not religiously Jewish - what the hell does that mean?

A cultural Jew would be someone like Bill Maher whose mother is Jewish. In Judaism you can be an atheist cultural Jew through your mothers lineage.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
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hannahtoo
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02 March 2016 15:48
 

I don’t think Sanders has been cagey about it.  He’s Jewish by heritage, but he’s not a practicing Jew.  It’s like saying, “I grew up Catholic and got confirmed, but I don’t go to church any more except for my family’s weddings and funerals.  Sure, I’ll go to my nephew’s christening.  But I didn’t feel it was important for my kids to be christened.  We did it for the sake of the grandparents.”

Jewish is a little different than other religions because there are so many secular trappings, mostly food-related—like delicatessen food and grandma’s famous kugel recipe.  Is there really Catholic food or Baptist food?  Most people from Jewish background have a soft spot for Israel.  Bernie is sometimes critical of Israel’s policies.  That makes some Jews dislike him.  I’ve even heard of Jews who are more inclined to vote for Republicans simply because those candidates are steadfast in support for Israel.  So certain Jews may understand Sanders’ secular relationship to his heritage, but distrust his views on Israel.