Prayer-Shaming, Jewish Style

Well it seems that the topic of the day is “prayer-shaming,” prompted by yesterday’s New York Daily News front page headline about the San Bernardino shooting. It made the important point that maybe some people should stop praying so much and actually do something.I’ve actually thought about “prayer-shaming” before, but the other way around. In the Jewish community I often feel that “prayer-shaming” is not directed toward those who pray, but to those who do not.Michael Knopf, one of “Amer … [Read more...]

In Reply to Rabbi Stephen Fuchs

Rabbi Stephen Fuchs left a couple of comments on my blog about my post, Imagine THIS! where I addressed a post from his blog. He’s definitely getting an earful from my commenters. I believe his remarks merit a full reply so I’m posting one here.He wrote: Please quote me an atheist text that predates the Torah that urges people to care for the widow and orphan, to accord the resident alien the same protection under the laws as the citizens and commands us to clothe the naked, feed the hungry … [Read more...]

Imagine THIS!

**Update** Rabbi Fuchs commented at the bottom of this post. My response can be found here.Stephen Fuchs, the rabbi emeritus of West Hartford’s Beth Israel and former president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, really, really does not like John Lennon’s song, Imagine. This is from his blog, (and I thought "theatheistrabbi" was a mouthful):I detest John Lennon’s iconic, Imagine. Not only do I find the melody insipid, but the lyric “And n … [Read more...]

A God That Could Be Real but Isn’t

I just started reading Jerry Coyne’s new book, Faith vs. Fact and I’m finding it to be quite good. Last year he wrote a piece for The New Republic in which he addressed an issue that always frustrates me: the so-called sophisticated theologies. For those of you who haven’t spent years and years studying religion, these are notions of “God as Ground of Being” or the many varieties of process theology. They veer away from an interventionist God, sometimes even shunning the heavily supernatu … [Read more...]

Shabbat Funerals And Other Transgressions

On Monday morning I attended a meeting of the Michigan Board of Rabbis. Like most big city rabbinical groups, the Michigan Board of Rabbis is really just a board of some rabbis. There are no Orthodox rabbis involved.When I arrived, the chairperson took me aside and told me that he was sorry for the late notice, but there would be an agenda item relevant to me. Someone had requested a discussion about “Funerals on Shabbat.” I may be new here, but I didn’t just fall off the matzah truck. There … [Read more...]

Yoffie Redux: Godlessness Is Not The Answer!

I am thoroughly frustrated with Rabbi Eric Yoffie, former head of Reform Judaism. You may recall his January piece in HuffPost - and my response - in which he called secular Jews deluded and argued that Judaism is useless without God.Now comes the Pew Report and the waves of discussion about how growing numbers of Jews report that they are atheists or agnostics and definitely not Jewish by religion. This has led some people to consider the possibility that the Jewish world may be better … [Read more...]

The Deluded Ramblings Of A Secular Jew (Me)

As I’ve written here before, I was reared in and received ordination from the Reform movement. My experiences in Reform Judaism were often richly fulfilling. While I have taken my leave of the ideology of Reform Judaism, I continue to support its goals of modernizing Judaism and working for a pluralistic Jewish world.So imagine my frustration when I read the latest HuffPost blog from Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism.  In a post titled "The Self-Delusion of Secular … [Read more...]

Reform Judaism Leads To Atheism

Mark Zuckerberg’s supposed break with Judaism has inspired a chest-beating column by Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan in The Forward:...If...he has lost interest in Judaism, it is much more a reflection on us than it is on him. For those in the Reform movement...we take an accounting of our accomplishments and, as in this case, our failings.While I could not find any direct quotes in which Zuckerberg disavows the God of Israel, either the omnipotent, omnipresent version or even the “still sma … [Read more...]

Reform Islam?

If you’re a liberal Jew, there are denominations for you.  If you’re a liberal Christian, you’ve got them, too.  Liberal Muslim?  Not so much.HuffPo has a piece about how this might be changing: … [Read more...]

It’s Lurie Versus Falick!

While Jerry Coyne has been “crossing swords” with Rabbi Alan Lurie on his site, the good rabbi and I have been engaged in a more collegial dialogue via e-mail.You’ll recall that I’ve been a little harsh on some of Lurie’s factual claims about God, though not nearly as brittle as Coyne, who calls him the “wacko rabbi.”  In fact, he’s not wacko at all.  He’s pretty representative of most liberal rabbis.After my most recent critique (okay, attack) over his recruitment of Einstein into theolo … [Read more...]