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Warning: Irrationality

BUT RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISTS AREN’T THE ONLY PROBLEM By Alan Rutkowski   AN UNAPPRECIATED but dangerous consequence of the Trump era is widespread liberal/secular oversimplification of the emerging danger. In their attacks on religion, for example, the so-called New Atheists — Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens (RIP), and Sam Harris — have fostered the notion that […]

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Jewish Heretics and Heretical Jews

by Bennett Muraskin   A JEWISH HERETIC, in Yiddish and Hebrew, is an apikoyris –– a reference to the 3rd-century BCE Greek philosopher Epicurus, who taught that the gods have no interest in human affairs and that people would be better off if we did not believe in divine rewards and punishment. (It is not surprising […]

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The Six Holiday Components of Khanike

by Judith Seid Adapted from her God-Optional Judaism, Blue Thread Books, 2017. Statue of Liberty Menorah by Mae Rockland Tupa. KHANIKE IS RICH in meaning, with all six classic holiday components: primitive, seasonal, historical, religious, national, and ethical. The primitive and seasonal components have to do with the winter solstice. Like many cultures, the Jews […]

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Lewis Black

The ranting and raging comedian Lewis Black was born in Washington, DC on this date in 1948. He earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1977 and began his career as a playwright-in-residence and associate artistic director at a theater in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, where he collaborated with composer and lyricist Rusty Magee and artistic […]

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My Path to Atheism

by Alan Rutkowski I RECENTLY HAD an epiphany: I don’t believe in God. For a very long time — most of my life, actually — I sort of thought I did. Religion has played a big part in my life. For some reason my mother, who was not religious at all, sent my sister and […]

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Going Solo for the Autumn Holidays

Text and Illustrations by Lawrence Bush From the Autumn 2016 issue of Jewish Currents This is the first of a series of essays about the Jewish calendar and life-cycle observances, created as part of our new Schappes Center for Cultural Jewish Life, a school-without-walls for families interested in non-theistic participation in Jewish holidays, rituals, and […]

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Bridging the Jewish Secular-Religious Divide

by Lawrence Bush Discussed in this essay: Putting God Second: How to Save Religion from Itself, by Rabbi Donniel Hartman. Beacon Press, 2016, 180 pages. AS THE EDITOR of Jewish Currents, which tags itself on the cover as a “secular, progressive voice,” I am occasionally invited to synagogues to speak about secular Jewish identity. I […]

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The Talmud’s Atheist

by Lawrence Bush ONE SABBATH AFTERNOON, some two thousand years ago, Rabbi Elisha ben Avuyah was studying Torah when he looked up and saw a man climbing a palm tree. The fellow had apparently spotted some birds’ nests and was breaking the sabbath law to raid them. He seized both a fledgling and its mother […]

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Christopher Hitchens vs. Rabbi David Wolpe

A Cultural Milestone on the Jewish Internet by Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel AMERICAN JEWS already possess a vast internet video treasure-trove of Jewish culture and thought, whether under synagogue auspices or not. I was recently moved to explore some of the video offerings of New York’s Temple Emanu-El and discuss what they say about American […]

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