…by Gilad Atzmon
Humanistic Judaism (HuJews) is the latest attempt to portray Judaism as humanist and universalist in nature. One may wonder, what is it that motivates liberal American Jews to launch this project? Is it a heartfelt acknowledgement that something is deeply wrong with their religious and cultural heritage? Is it the acceptance that something is uniquely non-ethical with the Jewish State and its devoted lobbies? Is it just another facelift to Judaism in an attempt to conceal what may seem as the Judaic non-universal supremacist inclination?
According to the HuJews website, http://www.shj.org/,
Humanistic Judaism or Secular Humanism Judaism is one of the six major branches of Judaism, along with Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal.
The site lists the principles with which most “Humanistic Jews” identify;
the use of reason and scientific inquiry for the pursuit of knowledge…
Reason and science are undoubtedly terrific, and have added greatly to human achievement. But Judaism, and rabbinical Judaism in particular, have contributed little toward the development of ‘reason and science.’ Not a single scientific contribution came out of the Jewish ghetto until the 19th century. It was Jewish emancipation that liberated the Jew from the ghetto and rabbinical tyranny. The emancipation introduced Jews to Western rationality, reason, mathematics, and science. Assimilation into European culture and its ivory towers eventually brought reason and science to the Jew. It is, therefore, peculiar that HuJews see reason and science as Judaic principles.
the importance of human needs and dignity for all people…
Dignity for all people is a beautiful concept and ‘loving your neighbor’ sums it up quite well. But as far as I can recall, one guy who attempted to preach this message about neighborhood love to the Jews found himself nailed to some wood. Maybe the Palestinians can elaborate further on the Jewish state’s attitude towards other people’s dignity.
respect for ourselves and others…
‘Respect for ourselves’ does fit nicely with the Jewish notion of ‘self-love,’ but respecting others contradicts the Jewish notion of ‘choseness.’ One may prefer to elaborate on the Jewish circumcision (Brit Milah), and ancient blood ritual that symbolizes a covenant (brit) with God. It is worth mentioning that within some Orthodox Jewish sects, the above ceremony inlcudes an act of blood sucking. And I am left wondering, is the Jewish brit the manner in which Jews show ‘respect’ to their male infants? This leads to the inescapable question whether HuJews call for the abolishment of this primitive blood ritual?
accountability for and acceptance of the consequences of our actions…
This would be an inspiring development in Judaism. Does it mean that the HuJews will examine the troubling ingredients within Jewish culutre that have made the Jews hated throughout their history and in so many places around the globe? Will the HuJews address the issue of Jewish ‘accountability’ for their own suffering? Maybe not.
responsibility for the health of our planet…
This might signal a unique moment in Jewish history in which the Jews look after the entire planet and care for the goyim as well as themselves. I wonder whether this also means that the HuJews will tray to prevent their brothers, the anti-humanist Jews at AIPAC, LFI, CFI, and the CRIF from dragging us into a nuclear war with Iran?
Universalism is the opposite of Judaism that is inherently tribal, racially driven and exclusive to the core. As we will read soon, the HuJews are a racially driven sect, as exclusivist and tribally driven as all the other Jews-only groups.
heavy dose of skepticism and innovation…
Skepticism is a great philosophical construct, but it stems from an Athenian orientation, totally removed from the Jerusalemite perspective. Judaism orders the Jews to accept the Torah with the Hebrew statement, “naaseh v’nishma,” literally, “we will do and we will hear.” This translates roughly as, “first you obey, and then you contemplate.” In Judaism, obedience is paramount. This assessment of Judaism as a religion is encapsulated in the biblical verse in which the Jews standing at Mount Sinai signal their acceptance of the Torah with the words, “We will do and we will hear/understand.” The Jewish people promise first to observe the laws of the Torah, and only afterward, to study or even attempt to apprehend those laws. This injunction that is at the core of Judaic belief is the exact opposite of scepticism.
The HuJew website insists that Humanistic Judaism is “open to new ideas, beliefs and practices.” Accordingly, it suspiciously endorses a set of principles that contradict traditional Judaism. The explanation of this maneuver follows next:
Humanistic Judaism seeks to provide ideas and practices for modern Jews that have meaning and integrity and provide a foundation for future generations of Jews.
Once again, Jewish identity is a pragmatic populist amalgam. As such,
Humanistic Judaism is just one Jewish religion amongst many. Holocaust is a nice Jewish religion, moral interventionism is a popular Jewish precept, so are hedonism and the free market and at one time, Bolshevism and Marxism, were the call of Judea. Jews are very quick in forming new religions that serve to keep the tribe together. I guess that what qualifies as a precept in a Jewish religion is the formation of a Jews-only club.
Humanistic Judaism is such a precept. It claims to be inclusive — it accepts all kinds of Jews. Its “followers identify themselves with a variety of names including Humanistic Jews, secular Jews, cultural Jews, philosophical Jews or ‘just Jewish.’ Humanistic Jews comes from all sides of the political, racial, ethnic and economic continuum.” But they will also take in Hammed from Gaza? Will they take Bashir from the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp?
The answer is obvious. We are, once again, dealing with an ethnocentric Jewish cell. Bashir and Hammed are not racially qualified. Humanist Judaism defies some traditional Judaic values but it does so in the service of retaining blood kinship and a racist narrative.
The ‘Humanist’ Kosher Holidays…
Humanistic Judaism refreshes the notion of the Jewish holiday. The Shabbat (Sabbath) is the most frequently celebrated holiday on the Jewish calendar. According to Humanistic Judaism,
Shabbat offers the opportunity to celebrate a connection to the Jewish people, to affirm a Jewish identity and provides a time for self-reflection and an affirmation of human responsibility.
So much for universalism, the so-called ‘humanist’ and ‘inclusive’ Jews connect with other members of the tribe. But how would a ‘humanist Jew’ react when he learns about a gathering of ‘humanistic Aryans’ down the road? Will he accept other people celebrating their blood kinship?
How would a ‘humanist Jew’ respond when he discovers that next door, Wolfgang Helmut contends that ‘for White Christians, Sunday offers the opportunity to celebrate a connection to the White people, to affirm a White identity and provides a time both for self-reflection and affirmation of human responsibility’? One supposes that the Humanist Jew would contact the ADL immediately.
Like other Jewish groups, the Humanistic Jew is an exclusive blood-oriented social category. Their message is devastating. Jews cannot emancipate themselves from their racist culture.
Writing on the Purim, the Jewish holiday that teaches Jews how to infiltrate foreign administrations and dominate other people’s lives, Humanistic Judaism claims that the holiday is a “celebration of ‘girl power’ and feminine tenacity ordained before these qualities were generally admired.
Purim tells the story of Esther and her heroic deeds that saved the Jewish people. Humanistic Jews celebrate Purim in line with traditional Purim festivities in large part because the story commemorates “human actions rather than involving a deity.” Indeed the story of Purim doesn’t involve God. It is about Jews who are left on their own to subvert the Goyim’s life and belief. The Book of Esther sets the agenda that drives AIPAC and the CFI.
This isn’t exemplified solely by Monica Lewinsky and her unique ability to preserve presidential semen.
Passover is the Jewish festival of freedom. One would expect that, unlike the Zionist, the Humanistic Jew would use passover as an opportunity to celebrate Jewish ‘accountability’ to the Palestinian and others denied freedom through Jewish political abuse.
Using a Humanistic haggada for our seder, Humanistic Jews celebrate freedom, the power of humans to change their own destiny and the power of hope. Passover is also a time to remember the common past, the perseverance of immigrants to travel to America, the fight for freedom during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis, and the modern exodus of Soviet Jews to Israel and America. A Humanistic Passover is a celebration of human power, freedom and courage.
As described above, the ‘Humanistic’ Seder fails to mention the crimes, abuse and oppression inflicted by Jews on others. The Palestinian Nakba is not mentioned. The Ukrainian Holodomor, which was the systematic starvation of millions of Ukrainians imposed by Bolshevik Jews whom Jewish historian Yuri Slezkinel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Slezkine) labeled “Stalin’s willing executioners,” is not mentioned. The Spanish Catholics who saw their churches and clergy burned and murdered by the Yiddish-speaking International Brigade are not mentioned.
Instead the Humanist Jewish Passover is a celebration of the primacy of Jewish suffering. Humanistic Judaism — Just Another Collective Zelig Apparatus The verdict is devastating. Humanist Judaism like Zionism and Jewish anti-Zionism, is a desperate populist attempt to give Jewish identity positive meaning. Such a task is pretty much impossible. Like Zionism, Humanistic Judaism suffocates itself with its own lies, spins and concealment. Like the Jewish anti-Zionists, it tries to claim for itself humane and universal qualities that not only don’t exist in Judaism, they, in fact, oppose the Judaic spirit, culture and religion.
Authentic Humanist Jews must face their cultural demons to be truly humanist. This would be a first and crucial step toward true liberation. Such a move could emancipate the Jews from their horrid past and provide an opportunity for Jews to join humanism as equals. Those who choose to follow such a path would probably stop considering themselves as ‘Jews,’ ‘Humanist’ or otherwise. They would simply celebrate the human experience normally in an Un-Chosen manner.