Re: Raising goyim

1

I stopped being a Catholic a long time ago, but I'm still sad that my kids don't comprehend or care about the Bible.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:25 AM
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Wow. I suspect my mother went through the exact same phase. (Assimilationist family, married to a goy.) There were a few years I remember when she lit a menorah and recited whatever goes along with that, but it didn't last.

Just raise your kids as rootless cosmopolitans and I think that will fulfill your obligation.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:26 AM
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There's time yet to make them haters of the self.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:29 AM
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I have no idea at all what's available in your area, but could you put them in Hebrew school when they're a little older? It's a couple of hours a week, so not a huge imposition, and it's cultural background and some language learning that's not even dead anymore. Without something like that, I think you just have to grin and bear the assimilatedness, and accept that you're raising Gentiles with a Jewish extended family.

(We've got an intermarried couple of friends whose seder we go to most years, and it's a very goyish seder -- the wife and her kids are usually the only technical Jews in the room, because all her family is out of town. She's not terribly religious (I think not religious at all), but her kids are doing the Hebrew school thing for what I think is pretty much the same reason -- without it, her kids won't be secular Jews in the next generation, they won't be Jews at all.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:30 AM
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I'll tell the dudes in the Mitzvah Tank to swing by Heebieville. Should only take 24 hours or so.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:30 AM
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I can't tell you how disappointed I am that there was no actual tank involved.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:31 AM
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You haven't seen what's inside the RV.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:32 AM
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For a while Zardoz was the only baby in her daycare class whose parents weren't Israeli, so maybe she'll turn out Jewish.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:36 AM
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I am sad about this, that I don't know the basics of being a Jew at all. I doubt I'd practice them, but I wish I knew them so at it were a choice rather than the default.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:36 AM
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Since this thread is about Jewishness, I'll note, without further comment, that the American Studies Association is in the process of trying to adopt the PACBI's boycott of Israeli academics and institutions. I don't know if other American scholarly organizations have already made such a move, because I spend a great deal of my time actively avoiding discussions of Israel/Palestine, but I don't think so.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:37 AM
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9: No cheeseburgers or Jesus.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:38 AM
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I'm not clicking on that link just for fear of a reaction like 6.

But I expect it leads to something like this:

O the days of the Messiah are at hand, are at hand!
The days of the Messiah are at hand!
I can hear the air-raid siren blow away the age of iron
Blast away the age of iron
That was builded on the soft quicksand.
O the days of the Messiah are at hand!

Don't you hear Messiah coming in his tank, in his tank?
Messiah in an armor-metalled tank?
I can see the pillared fire, speeding on the metal tire
Over muck and out of mire
And the seraphim a-shooting from its flank!
O Messiah, he stands grimy in his tank!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:41 AM
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It's interesting how differently people's minds work. All these years, I've been visualizing a giant glass aquarium full of gently bobbing mitzvot. And maybe a couple of little plastic treasure chests or volcanoes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:45 AM
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8- Is it a contagious condition? You never know what kids will pick up at daycare.
Our kids do Hannukah and Passover (the latter with my brother's family, who are serious Jews.) We do Christmas with my wife's parents. No Easter or High Holidays or Purim. We're very selective.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:45 AM
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My (little) kids are blissfully ignorant of Christianity except for what they have absorbed osmotically. I'm not sure whether Keegan has ever darkened a church door and I used to worry that would hurt him come AP English time given the prominence of that mythology in Western lit, but it doesn't seem to have had any negative effect there either. He has developed a healthy skepticism and disdain for religion generally, and I encourage that whenever possible.

His girlfriend has a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, but I get the feeling she's approximately as religious as he is. WINNING.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:47 AM
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My kids absolutely know they're Jewish, but we don't belong to a temple -- because of the centrality of uncritical Zionist rhetoric in all of the local congregations -- and so they might not have bar mitzvahs. This upsets my parents and sometimes makes me feel a bit bad. But it's hard to separate that bad feeling from the other bad feelings, so I don't think I'm likely to do anything about it.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:48 AM
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13: once you come across something as bizarre as the image of Jesus in the turret of a T-34 with a lot of angels with burp guns sitting on the engine grilles at the back, it does rather tend to stick in the memory.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:49 AM
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We're not doing bar/bat mitzvot but we've thought about doing a "You're 13, do something grownup now" like giving them a budget and making them plan an entire family trip.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:56 AM
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Oh, and give them Cartoon History of the Universe to learn their history from.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:56 AM
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Our daughter is learning to use delicately nuanced language on this one, as my wife isn't Jewish (raised Christian, current vocal atheist) and I am (on my mother's side; via a mixed marriage). I think the currently approved formulation is that our family has some ancestors that are Jewish, and some traditions that are Jewish (major holidays), and our daughter can decide what she wants to do about the whole thing when she is older.

Generally I would assume that means she will wind up non-religious and without any significant desire to identify herself as Jewish. She'd have to convert anyway for anyone outside the Reform tradition to recognize her as such. But you never know -- she did recently decide that she believes in God (which version unspecified), although that seems to have been mostly for the sake of disagreeing with her mother.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:02 AM
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"You're 13, do something grownup now"

"Dad, I'm gonna smoke a little weed and fill out an OKCupid profile. Call me when dinner's ready."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:03 AM
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I am really conflicted about not raising the kids atheist and I even haven't told them I'm an atheist. For the ones in foster care, we have an obligation to raise them in their religion of origin while they're in care that I'm pretty sure no one else in our region follows or cares about, but I'm not even sure what Selah's mom's religion is. So it's black Christianity for all of them and because I'm in charge of religious education and practice, most prayers start, "Someone who wanted to pray could say, 'God bless Nia, who got to play on the playground all afternoon and eat grapes at dinner..."' even though I'm sure they don't notice the bracketing. Lee doesn't want to tell them I don't believe, though she's okay with me telling them the devil isn't meddling in their lives or certain other specific things to counterbalance some of the messages they might get from church.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:04 AM
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15. I think people should have some familiarity with the mythology, both of the Tanakh and of the Xtian Gospels, because it enriches their understanding of Western Lit. I feel the same way about the Iliad and the Niebelungenlied, for the same reason.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:05 AM
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"Dad, I'm gonna smoke a little weed and fill out an OKCupid profile. Call me when dinner's ready."
I was going to ask since when Keegan had a girlfriend.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:07 AM
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Yes to 23. I feel very lucky our local art museum has a fantastic collection that lets the girls have a favorite Egyptian deity and see how a qibla works and how you'd orient a prayer rug and so on, though this is partly nostalgia because I loved it so much when I was a little girl.

I've shared this on fb, but there's a giant statue of Eve as you walk in and so when it was just Mara, I told her the story of why Eve was so upset and she always has consoling words now: "It's all right, Eve; everybody makes mistakes! Why they not let Eve have a do-over? I think she wants to try the right way!" etc.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:09 AM
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Re: atheism, I assume people saw this.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:11 AM
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22: I do feel a little bad about atheist indoctrination -- discussions of religion tend to involve a fair amount of self-conscious "Lots of perfectly reasonable people are religious and believe various versions of this stuff. Just because I'm an atheist doesn't make religious people generally stupid or insane." But I don't think it's come across to the kids as much more than "Don't be rude to people even if they believe wacky stuff."

I may be Pauline Kael, but my kids are Kael-squared.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:14 AM
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"Vishnu travels to Earth, he's a king! Buddha abandons luxury, he's enlightened. Jesus leaves Heaven, he's a messiah. I leave the garden, I'm a sucker."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:16 AM
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27: sure, but no reason that should be any more true than for (say) a Catholic's description of Buddhism.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:19 AM
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17 What, no pics?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:21 AM
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Despite being an atheist my first impulse is "you don't just shitcan 5000 plus years of tradition."

My best friend is a Hindu married to a Jew, and they do both sets of holy days, as well as the major Christian ones. They have a Christmas/Hanukkah/Diwali tree, the whole nine yards. The kids will get bar/bat Mitzvahs, as well as thread ceremonies at the appropriate ages. I think it's great.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:22 AM
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24: Well, this one isn't the first, but she seems to be the first one he's serious about.

When Keegan was, I dunno, maybe 9 or 10, I took him to the waterpark in Greensboro. Unbeknownst to me, we went on Christian Youth Day and apparently every church in a 200-mile radius had loaded up a bus for it. At the center of the park, some horrible Christian rock band was playing ("He bled for YOUUUUUUU-AH! For YOUUUUU-AH!") just loud enough to be heard throughout the place. I told him that he was free to believe whatever he wanted about God, just as long as I never caught him listening to music that shitty.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:26 AM
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And heebie's kids can hang out with my cousins who were not raised Catholic or Jewish to match their parents' backgrounds, one of whom memorably had a shrieking tantrum at a mass the whole family attended because "Everybody is having a cracker so why can't I have a cracker?!?!"

(I don't generally let our girls take communion, a packaged wafer and grape juice, because Lee doesn't think they're old enough, but the norm at the church is that kids do and so they get cranky about it. Luckily it only happens once a month and we go so infrequently that it's easy to not have to address it much, but eventually we'll have to. Juggling stuff like that gets hard.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:26 AM
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see how a qibla works and how you'd orient a prayer rug and so on, though this is partly nostalgia because I loved it so much when I was a little girl.

You were raised Muslima?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:27 AM
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30: for pictures, see your local production of Harrison Birtwistle's opera "The Last Supper" from which those lines come (actually from "The Ballad of the Days of the Messiah" by a Canadian poet called A.M. Klein).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:28 AM
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34: No, that was just a college phase and I never quite got there because God, though as a friend joked it's easy for atheists to convert because they've already got the "There is no god" part of the shahadah down. I grew up obsessed with all the material culture stuff at the art museum.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:29 AM
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you don't just shitcan 5000 plus years of tradition

That's what I told Harry Reid. But did he listen? Nooooooo.


Posted by: Opinionated Mitch McConnell | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:31 AM
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When I was about six, I asked my mother why we didn't go to church like my friends. She was immediately guilty, "Church? You want to go to church? Sure, we can go to church!" She ended up picked a pretty liberal (VERY liberal for the area) Congregationalist church. My sister and I had the option of attending or staying home and helping my father clean house. I went. It didn't take, but I'm at least slightly aware of Protestant tradition.

One year, my sister decided we should say grace before Thanksgiving dinner. My father told her to go ahead; the rest of us would listen quietly while we ate. She had no idea what to say (it's possible she'd never personally sat through prayer at mealtime), so she rambled in typical seven-year-old fashion, not knowing how to wrap it up with an amen.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:32 AM
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To be more specific, I think Cartoon History of the Universe let me retain a lot more of the Bible than any religious education would have.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:33 AM
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27: "Don't be rude to people even if they believe wacky stuff."

Eh, society could do worse (and generally does).


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:34 AM
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My best friend is a Hindu married to a Jew, and they do both sets of holy days, as well as the major Christian ones. They have a Christmas/Hanukkah/Diwali tree, the whole nine yards.

It'll be tough on the kids when they end up in a lifeboat with a tiger.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:35 AM
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36 Much to discuss and now I'm regretting once again that I missed that Thorny NYC meetup last year.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:44 AM
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42: I'll be in Pittsburgh Monday, but I gather you won't!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:51 AM
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Atheist parents here, with two atheist children (one of which tried to persuade us all to convert to Judaism when she spent a year at school learning about it (not that long ago)), one possibly agnostic/keeping her options open, and one who believes in the gods of Olympus (and will do stuff like e.g. pray to Hephaestus if we get stuck at lots of traffic lights in a row).

All the kids go to Christian youth groups because I wanted them to learn Bible stories, especially with not going to school, but they don't seem to have been successfully indoctrinated.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:55 AM
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27: My niece, when she was about five years old, said something dismissive to me about religious people. I told her that it's a big, mysterious world, and lots of people have different ideas about it, and that's okay.

But she mistook my meaning. Her eyes got big, and she said, "Uncle ----, do you believe in God?" She was worried that she had been disrespectful. I assured her that I didn't, in fact, believe in God, and she was relieved. Already she had learned that you talk different ways around different people.

(Epilogue: 15 years later she's still goodhearted and sweet as can be, and she's dating a nice young fellow just out of the military, but she's adopted his obnoxious Christian beliefs and rightwing ideology. Her mother, especially, is horrified by this.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 10:57 AM
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"Don't be rude to people even if they believe wacky stuff."

There's wacky stuff and wacky stuff. If somebody wants to believe that god created the universe in six days, as per Genesis I, I'll be perfectly civil to them, and probably not even ask how they resolve the contradiction between Genesis I.xi and Genesis II.v, unless I've had a few beers.

But if they start with the bit about gay people having no rights because Leviticus, then I reserve the right to specify exactly which orifice they can shove their wacky stuff into, without any semblance of politeness.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:00 AM
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one who believes in the gods of Olympus (and will do stuff like e.g. pray to Hephaestus if we get stuck at lots of traffic lights in a row).

I'm stealing this one. Also, JRoth's oldest. We're going to live in the Greek galleries at the Met in manner of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:09 AM
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Atheist, married to agnostic, both raised with (but not totally marinated in) religion. My kids know and participate in their ethnic heritage and traditions -- we always have German stuff, they know I'm 1/8 Canadian, know we're from Plymouth colony stock -- but we don't really bring any of the theological overlay into it, even when the event in question is religious (St. Martin, Thanksgiving, Xmas).

I guess went went to church for Xmas carol services a few times, in English (because the German Catholic congregation was full of SAHMs who can't restrain themselves from openly and vocally pitying the children of Ravenmothers).

Daughter has spent 15 years or so finding her own spirituality. Son seem atheist enough to seriously erode his Xtian gf.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:12 AM
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Both kids had D'Aulaires Greek and Norse books (as did I, I think) and we can all tell you a lot more about Freya and Hermes than we can about Jeremiah. And I don't feel even the least bad about this.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:16 AM
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The key point is "thrown in a well".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:18 AM
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Or a cistern, depending on translation and whether or not I have him confused with Technicolor Dreamcoat Joseph.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:20 AM
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As y'all know, we're an atheist / Jewish family. Which is giving my atheist / Jewish much angst as she comes of age. ("But I don't *feeeeel* like a Jew," etc.)

Here's what you might do, Heebie: introduce some of the traditions. We do Hanukkah, Purim, the Seder, and Rosh Hashanah, the last mostly because the walk down to the river to throw the bread in the water is so much fun. (We started when the kid was four, and the ripping up of the bread and the yelling of your sins -- "I'm sorry I yell at the dog so much!" "I'm sorry I hate the fucking dean!" -- is just delightful.)

The Seder is great because you can invite all your goy friends and make them be afflicted with you!


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:22 AM
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But you don't have to go to temple. Bah, temple.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:22 AM
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Instead, you can explain to the kids as they come of age how Jews have a tradition of leading social justice movements and arguing with authority!


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:23 AM
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Then, when they won't stop talking back to their teachers, you can pull them out of school and home-school them!


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:24 AM
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"I'm sorry the bread I threw in the river last year attracted rodents."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:24 AM
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But you have to actually know the songs and prayers and if you don't, they are hard to pick up. I mean, I could light a candle on Friday nights, but I wouldn't know what to say aloud. If you didn't pick those up growing up and you don't believe in god, it feels pretty inauthentic to learn and say them, even if your dad was bar mitzahed.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:25 AM
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Yeah, see, why that's a better story that Balder's death or even Sif's golden hair, just escapes me. I can see going from polytheism to atheism, but jumping to the monotheism of some desert tribe's (sometimes assholish) god is a leap too far.

Peter Rowan sang of Columbus going to the garden of Eden where paradise dies, in the name of the God who crucifies.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:26 AM
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57 gets it. I'd feel like an idiot hosting a seder.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:28 AM
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I can see going from polytheism atheism to atheism animism because I anthropomorphize everything anyway, but jumping to the monotheism of some desert tribe's (sometimes assholish) god is a leap too far.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:29 AM
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I mean, I could light a candle on Friday nights, but I wouldn't know what to say aloud.

"Close cover before striking."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:29 AM
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Then, when they won't stop talking back to their teachers, you can pull them out of school and home-school them!

Also, what? Are you guys home-schooling The Kid?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:29 AM
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Oh, 60 is weird. Jews don't require you to believe anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:30 AM
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I mean, I can get the food right, that's fine. But it isn't actually my culture anymore and I don't have much of a way to get it back, short of intensive studying. I could do the intensive studying, but I am fundamentally an aethist, so that's a little strange.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:31 AM
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No, but you're saying words to god. And if you are learning them deliberately and painfully, it is hard to avoid that understanding. Or, learn them deliberately and painfully while simultaneously thinking they are patriarchal nonsense.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:33 AM
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Basically the only moderately natural route I have would be to marry a practicing Jew, send my kids to J-school and learn by osmosis or as a gesture to the marriage. But despite his name, that's not who I took up with.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:34 AM
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Despite being an atheist my first impulse is "you don't just shitcan 5000 plus years of tradition."

Right. The kids should at least have some vague notion of why they're getting shoved into those showers.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:35 AM
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Speaking of Jewish food*, I tried a Philly roll for the first time and it was a pretty fair demonstration of the idea that mushing a bunch of different good things together doesn't make another good thing.

*because salmon and cream cheese.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:36 AM
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65: If I were to simulate Hanukkah, wouldn't I just print it out off About.com and read the transliteration?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:36 AM
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Without knowing what the words mean? You could, I suppose.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:39 AM
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Oh, I guess I more or less already know what the main words mean. Baruch atah adonai eloheinu etc etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:40 AM
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You might just be reading "6 ways to lose that stubborn belly fat," so be careful.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:41 AM
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I mean, I know full well the gist of it, that there is no god besides THAT ONE etc.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:41 AM
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73 without seeing 72.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:41 AM
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Re: the mitzvah tank. My sister claims that the scariest moment of raising kids in New York City came when she let her elementary age son run a bit ahead or her on an errand, and couldn't find him when she turned the corner. He had been abducted into the mitzvah van and was subjected to being prayed over for a minute or two. He had given the worst possible answer to their question: "Are you Jewish?" "Uh, I don't know, I guess so, I think my my mother is."


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:43 AM
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That's hysterical. I can just see the reaction: "Guys! We got one!"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:44 AM
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He had given the worst possible answer to their question: "Are you Jewish?"

"Jerry Falwell said the Antichrist would be Jewish, so I guess I must be."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:45 AM
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Atheist, married to agnostic

How did you decide which religion not to bring the kids up in?


Posted by: Opinionated Woody Allen | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:47 AM
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send my kids to J-school and learn by osmosis

Look, I realize aspiring journalists may be disproportionately members of the tribe, but I really don't think that's going to work.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:56 AM
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He had given the worst possible answer to their question: "Are you Jewish?"

If that old saying "you are what you eat" is true, I suppose I am.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:02 PM
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31: There's a funny moment in The Guild where Sandeep Parikh says his family are actually "Hinjews." Later I looked it up and found out that's actually a thing.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:02 PM
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More on the mitzvah tank: If you're over 13 and male, young men with beards walk you into the mitzvah tank, and cover your back with what seems to be a ratty old dish towel. Then they wrap leather ropes around one arm, and put a beanie with a leather box and more leather ropes on your head. So if you're into being being manhandled by dom bearded young men, and/or being bound up in leather ropes . . .

illustration and fun story about tefillin:

http://joshuapundit.blogspot.com/2010/01/pc-overkill-jewish-teen-removed-from.html



Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:06 PM
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[Minister's son and grandson whistles past thread, definitely does not quote South Park: "Not too Jewish to believe in Jesus, I hope."]


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:11 PM
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Surely there's a podcast or DVD that can walk you through a seder?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:23 PM
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||

I just got an email from the alumni director at my high school asking if it's true that The Big Bang Theory is based on me. That's... kind of insulting?

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:24 PM
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I only spread the rumor because of the deep respect I hold for you.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:25 PM
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You should definitely say yes (or, more precisely, say "I can't be sure, but I've heard that rumor, too"). Nothing helps with fame like people thinking something famous is somehow connected to you.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:32 PM
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23 is where I am, too.

I wasn't brought up religious, and I've never had the slightest iota of religious feeling myself. My maternal grandparents weren't religious at all, although they are nominally CofE. My Dad's family were serious Catholics, and my Dad was an altar boy. But he gave it up in his early teens. Marx, Trotsky, and girls, basically.

Despite not being a believer of any kind, I do think it's good to known and understand the major religious traditions, and to have a sense of Christianity and Judaism in particular in among the various things one might want to learn about in order to understand the roots of the culture in which one lives.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:40 PM
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85: Write back and say, no, actually, it was Iron Man. (Or Quantum Leap! It's complicated!)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 12:59 PM
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one who believes in the gods of Olympus (and will do stuff like e.g. pray to Hephaestus if we get stuck at lots of traffic lights in a row).

Almost certainly not the best response, but: that sounds adorable. Perhaps Tyche would intercede?

85: Do you ever do the short-sleeve-over-long-sleeve tee thing? A bit of effort and some creative Wikipediaing and you could be an urban legend.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:02 PM
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83: hey, I'm a minister's grandson, too. Not son, though, as none of my grandfather's four kids and only one of his five grandkids and, let's see, probably two of his six great-grankids has any real connection to religion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:16 PM
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85: Respond by saying that any rumors that you're waitressing in a Cheesecake Factory are exaggerated?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:20 PM
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I believe one of my ancestors was a beneficiary of the Half-Way Covenant.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:25 PM
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85. He's the character with extravagant belts and snug pants.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:29 PM
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89: Roseanne.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:33 PM
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87: The standard way to do this is to act offended, and too strenuously deny any resemblance.
Huh, you're off to a good start with 85, essear.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 1:34 PM
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85: But really, is it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:10 PM
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I don't know what I'd do, not just because I have never in my life considered having kids, but because...I'd be genuinely torn. I've always felt Jewish and always kind of liked it, and in some very vague way I'm glad my parents dragged me through a bunch of hogwash they knew I'd reject, but I did hate it, and I don't think the substance of it is a positive thing for people to be exposed to and I am fully on board with shitcanning 5000 plus years of tradition if, on balance, they suck.

The last few years, I've lit a menorah and actually said the goddamn prayer, since I like the little candles and barely know what word means what anyway. I brought my menorah here but I think I'd feel too ridiculous saying a prayer in front of another human being, so I've been considering alternate texts, like maybe knock-knock jokes or Dolly Parton lyrics.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:12 PM
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I'm half Jewish but with negligible Jewish identity except for Holocaust and antisemitism related stuff. My dad was raised first Catholic (for WWII in Poland health related reasons) then atheist by an atheist and thoroughly assimilated background mom, my mom was raised Catholic by pretty devout but liberal Catholic parents, but she lost her faith sometime in high school. The only Jewish stuff in my upbringing was scary WWII bedtime stories from my grandmother which didn't quite make sense, perhaps because she never would never actually mention anything about being Jewish or why the Germans were trying to kill them or succeeding in doing so with various relatives. And she also sometimes used to make me maca braj. We celebrated Christmas in a very traditional Polish manner but the only religious content was in the carols. Most of the time we also did Easter, complete with very elaborate Easter eggs but absolutely zilch in the way of religious stuff. What I knew of Judaism growing up was all from Chaim Potok novels. When I got to college it was a bit funny that all the northeastern non-Jewish UMC kids were a lot more familiar with Jewish traditions than me. My Korean American ex knew the Hebrew alphabet and Hannunkah songs and so on. Me: 'Jews have Christmas carols type things? Huh'.

I do have a bit of Jewish identity when I'm in Poland simply because there's more anti-semitism than in the US, or at least than in the northeast, and a hell of a lot less political correctness - i.e. they're pretty open about expressing it. Even when just five percent of the people you meet will either express hostility or explain that they think you're awesome, not like those people at all, it's still happens often enough that you become quite self-conscious.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:25 PM
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98.2: You could try burning the candle from 9 to 5.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:27 PM
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A 1/2 Dolly Parton, 1/2 Judais- based religion would be a fantastic kind of syncretist cult, kind of like the Cao Dai. I say go for it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:33 PM
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+m


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:33 PM
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100, 98.2 While making knocker jokes.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:34 PM
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Can someone explain the Hanukkah miracle for me? Maybe Elmo explains it?

It made perfect sense to me when I was a kid, or at least I don't recall questioning it. But as an adult I'm often the only Jew around, and people ask me about Hanukkah, and when I try to explain about the oil that barely seemed like enought to last one day, but miraculously lasted 8 days & so... why did it need to last 8 days? What was happening then?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:41 PM
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104.2: huh, I was way off. Apparently after eight days they... got more oil?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:44 PM
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Wikipedia says 8 days is how long it takes to make new oil.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:44 PM
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We can smash olives in ways they couldn't have imagined.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:46 PM
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That's when the Greek UPS workers had schedules their strike to end and agreed to deliver more oil.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:47 PM
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104: I was trying to explain it to Jammies this morning, and he was like "That's the weakest miracle I've ever heard of."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:48 PM
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Of course that whole part is BS, the real celebration of Hanukkah is an unlikely military victory by what would today be considered a group of fanatical religious terrorists (the Greeks were actually the much more religiously tolerant side) but Judiasm in general doesn't like to celebrate violence so this story was put in place instead as a more peaceful focal point for the festival.
Also it really is just a festival, not a holiday, and one of the more minor festivals that has been promoted to prominence due to its proximity to Christmas.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:49 PM
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When I got to college it was a bit funny that all the northeastern non-Jewish UMC kids were a lot more familiar with Jewish traditions than me. My Korean American ex knew the Hebrew alphabet and Hannunkah songs and so on. Me: 'Jews have Christmas carols type things? Huh'.

Oh boy, this. I had zero exposure to any sort of Judaism one might get socially or from having Jewish peers. I think Teo has mentioned feeling like he had more in common with non-Jews when he went to college.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:50 PM
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Also it really is just a festival, not a holiday, and one of the more minor festivals that has been promoted to prominence due to its proximity to Christmas.

I also mentioned this. That it's just X-mas by proxy so that when the X-tians get a new X-box you can keep up and get one too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:51 PM
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You get an X-Box on the first night plus presents on seven other nights, so suck it tritheists!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:54 PM
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I'll just take your proximity to Christmas and break it into little pieces this year.


Posted by: Opinionated Lunar Calendar | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:54 PM
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Summary

Whereas some modern sensibilities will be offended by the Maccabees' vicious treatment of the Hellenist Jews, First Maccabees not only lauds Mattathias' zealotry against his coreligionists, but uses that very zealotry to legitimize the Maccabean dynasty. In First Maccabees, Mattathias acts in the tradition of other zealots in the Torah by murdering a fellow Jew in Modi'in who approaches a pagan altar to offer a sacrifice when requested to do so by a royal official. When this apostate Jew steps up to the altar, Mattathias kills him as well as the government official and then tears down the altar. Mattathias declares, "Let everybody who is zealous for the law and stands by the covenant follow me" (I Maccabees 2:27). With this self-conscious echoing of the words of Moses when confronted with the Golden Calf - "Whoever is for the Lord, come here" (Exodus 32:26) - First Maccabees begins its justification of Maccabean zealotry.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:55 PM
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That is truly a lame miracle but don't Catholics settle for practically anything when they're miracle-collecting to canonize someone?

He had given the worst possible answer to their question: "Are you Jewish?"

I tried for a while to come up with some answer that wasn't quite as direct as saying "just fuck off" but didn't encourage any further conversation.

It might have been nice to have more knowledge of the bible when I was in college doing liberal artsy stuff. I didn't know that Catholicism/Protestantism was some kind of important distinction until high school. As has come up in other threads, some large part of Judaism did and does consist for me of not being Christian.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:55 PM
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112 There's a Virgin Birth joke in there I'm sure but I'm not sure I'm up to it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:56 PM
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Speaking of festivals, I'd kind of like to do Sukkot, because it's super fun, but man, would I feel like the biggest fraud that ever frauded a fraud. (Snark and I both have Jewish maternal grandfathers, though I had quite a lot of Jewish extended family around growing up, and also got aculturated via JCC after-school care -- but, still, not actually a Jew.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 2:57 PM
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I hear there's a written test before they'll sell you an Etrog.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:01 PM
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I say every day is "hate the Seleucids" day, but that's only because I worship some of the Ptolemys.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:02 PM
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"That's the weakest miracle I've ever heard of."

http://www.strangedoctrines.com/2008/08/odins-compromise.html


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:02 PM
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don't Catholics settle for practically anything when they're miracle-collecting to canonize someone?

Elizabeth Ann Seton just had three lousy miracles, and I understand two of them were card tricks.


Posted by: Opinionated Fr. Guido Sarducci | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:06 PM
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122 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:14 PM
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but Judiasm in general doesn't like to celebrate violence

Well, historically, the religious leaders didn't like to encourage the people to get big ideas and try to revolt against the Gentile overlords.

Of course Zionists love to celebrate every time in history that Jews kicked some ass.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:15 PM
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I'm stealing this one. Also, JRoth's oldest. We're going to live in the Greek galleries at the Met in manner of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler.

Yup, she's up for that. Of course she knows all about the Met from Percy Jackson. (This is Kid D, the Medusa one, of course.) Kid A came home today saying she is thinking of doing Classics at university (she has another year to decide before she applies), so I'll send her over to you too.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 3:35 PM
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I like LB's 92. Maybe I'll go with that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 4:02 PM
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The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
Oh, yes! That book was fantastic!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 4:07 PM
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As someone who grew up with very devout, liberal Xtian parents, I've never really been bothered about being religious. I mean, I think religion is, by and large, stupid and outmoded, but whatever gets you through the night, I guess. As I get older, I've found myself wishing more an more for a perfect L.L. Bean catalog Christmas. Lots of buff Nordic types in reasonably-priced wool sweaters, plus that one black woman who always seems to show up.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 4:31 PM
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You don't need to post every sexual fantasy you have.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 4:43 PM
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"Whatever gets you through the night," indeed.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 4:48 PM
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... I suppose my nominally-Catholic boyhood and I ought to contribute something to this thread in the half-hour before leaving for Friday night services.

The relevant bit is probably that my family's Catholicism didn't look nominal when I was a boy. I attended catechism classes, underwent all the applicable sacraments, and was at Mass every weekend with my parents and sisters. But no matter how involved we were there - and my father was a lector and co-taught "religious ed" in a pinch - I don't remember the Church coming home with us at all. Holidays were predominantly cultural - food and decor and American habits like Easter egg hunts - and whatever moral teaching my parents did at home wasn't thick with Catholicism or justified by citations to Scriptures and priestly doctrines.

I would probably be more likely to be Catholic today, for better or for worse, if that imbalance had been reversed - if my home life had been obviously religious and organized Catholicism were treated as a set of boxes we checked automatically - but as it is that was really easy to walk away from, and probably would've been even if I hadn't gone to college possessing a not-terribly-well-informed inclination toward Judaism.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 4:58 PM
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I think Teo has mentioned feeling like he had more in common with non-Jews when he went to college.

Yes, although in a somewhat different way from what you've described. I was raised in what was a very observant Jewish way given the context, and I thought I knew a lot about Judaism, but then I met people who had been raised in a really Jewish context (some religiously observant, some basically secular) and I couldn't really relate to them at all.

As has come up in other threads, some large part of Judaism did and does consist for me of not being Christian.

This, definitely.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 5:22 PM
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Also, 110 gets it exactly right about Chanukah specifically. I've been meaning to do a post on this topic on my personal blog pretty much since I started it, but I still haven't gotten around to it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 5:24 PM
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LB's 4 is good advice if heebie really wants her kids to learn the basics of Judaism, though it would probably require joining a synagogue in Austin.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 5:29 PM
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... I suppose my nominally-Catholic boyhood and I ought to contribute something to this thread in the half-hour before leaving for Friday night services.

Nah, I won't. Did spend my hs years as a dunkin Baptist, cause of a boyfriend, but never paid any attention.

Rituals are fun! Rituals are cool! By freaking definition, rituals are empty of meaning and can be stuffed with whatever you want.

I recommend Shinto, for the watersports.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 5:49 PM
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We bring together two strongly attenuated traditions: his side - mainstream church of England (i.e., if everyone agrees in an of course unspoken way to treat the established church as if it had zero relevance then we can all act as if religion is in fact irrelevant); my side - utterly lapsed unitarianism. The resulting "religious education" of our child consist of

- occasional musing by his father as to how it is possible to be so deeply moved by Bach and yet carry a strong conviction that all religion is utter rubbish

- my lackadaisical gloss on the biblical/monotheistic tradition through a pretty dark lens with the goal of enabling critical thinking about corrupt and oppressive institutions and okay understanding various cultural (musical, literary, philosophical, etc.) traditions

- a fairly systematic run down of the basics via the standardized French curriculum at his school.

Given my exposure to really hateful white suburban evangelical christianity (var. USA) growing up, I am only willing to extend the religious amongst us the minimal amount of tolerance consistent with maintaining general civility. But I frankly loathe the expectation that we all be mindlessly "respectful" of institutions and belief systems that have consistently not been a force for good or increased happiness (to put it mildly). And the kid seems to have a pretty solid sense of self, background and shared family traditions, there don't seem to be any giant emotional/spiritual lacunae plaguing any of us.

In conclusion - meh, can't get too excited about not perpetuating "cultural" religious traditions in which we most certainly do not believe, and when I do it generally leads to discussing whether the corrupt wielding of power backed by claimed religious authority is inherently worse that that backed by pure military might (provisional conclusion - yes, it is inherently nastier because based on a fundamentally repulsive premise that some made up being has granted unsurmountable power over others, at least with claimed military superiority there's a theoretical chance conceded that the currently oppressed could turn the tables).

Would I feel differently if what we'd essentially slipped out the back door of was a historically oppressed tribe? Maybe.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 5:54 PM
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120 made me laugh out loud


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 5:58 PM
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The pictures you form of people on line. Joyslinger's a dude. Bob is...gay? Mind blown.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:03 PM
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138:Not really. Maybe was back then for a while.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:09 PM
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I got it. Like Bowie, right? That's cool.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:17 PM
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As for knowing words but not meaning, I did any Aliyah at my niece's Bat Mitzvah recently and I easily remembered the prayer words and cadence from mine (it's actually a kind of neat call and answer.) The meaning I only ever vaguely knew, and I had only the faintest idea of what my Torah reading was about, certainly not the meaning of individual words. It was memorization with the symbols as a cue for the correct next sound.
For the Aliyah I also fucked up the procedure. I know you're not supposed to touch the Torah with bare hands. But apparently you're supposed to use the Tallis to touch the place the reading starts, then kiss the Tallis, and repeat that at the place it stops. I knew about kissing the Tallis, everyone does that when they carry the Torah around before reading, but not about the specific place to touch so I just kind of did it off on the side of the scroll and the old guy in charge of the reading have me a WTF look in front of everyone.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:33 PM
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The meaning I only ever vaguely knew, and I had only the faintest idea of what my Torah reading was about, certainly not the meaning of individual words. It was memorization with the symbols as a cue for the correct next sound.

Right, even most observant Jews don't know what most of the words mean. It's all basically by rote.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:36 PM
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Which of course still makes it hard to learn from scratch as an adult.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:37 PM
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Honestly, even though I was/am a totally secularized Jew, I feel just a little weird about marrying a non-Jew as well. (Although not weird enough to particularly want her to convert). Like I broke a 5000-year-old chain letter.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:39 PM
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You're just sparing them undue suffering (from an essay in Ichthus a Harvard campus "journal of Christian thought"):

"We, the Jews, rejected God and hung Him up on a cross to die, and thus we richly deserved all of the punishments that were heaped on our heads over the last 2000 years," the essay said.
...
"Although such is the severity of God, the kindness of God is wonderful (Rom 11:22): in that me, a Jew, a children of Jews, and an utter sinner, can repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, and the curse on me is forgotten," said the essay. "Rather than being at war with God (having killed Him), I have peace with God through Jesus Christ."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:51 PM
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We did a bit more than the heebster with regard to our kids, but emphasis on the "bit." Usually ran a seder (or attended one). We toyed with doing Hebrew school at a very liberal congregation where a "mixed" couple we knew attended, but inertia was on the side of not. We promised her relatively secularized parents a chuppa, a bris, and bar mitzvah, but broke it on the bris (the gendered nature of the request was off-putting to begin with).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:58 PM
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Why are people so pissed at the Jews for killing him if he didn't stay dead? Isn't it like, no harm no foul?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 6:59 PM
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Most uncomfortable moment was when a semi-distant cousin of a very religious branch of her family whose kid was at CMU called several years back to ask if their son could spend the high holidays at our house because he wanted to be with "family." Probably fortunately we were going to be out of town on vacation. That probably was sufficient to clue her in; never heard from her since.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:01 PM
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Not to mention, the long hair and Puerto Rican name--might as well have been wearing a freaking hoodie.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:04 PM
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What to Caiaphas say to Annas?

"These assholes, they always get away."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:05 PM
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144 is really interesting and soft of helpful to me in understanding why Lee keeps holding out hope I'll convert before burning for eternity and I'm not very sympathetic to her point.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:08 PM
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150 is great, but I'm still trying to figure out which religion it is most offensive toward.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:13 PM
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150 also made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:14 PM
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144 is more or less how I feel as well, though there isn't a specific non-Jew involved. I'm not sure how relevant it is to the situation in 151, though; "religious Christian" and "secular Jew" are not categories with a whole lot of overlap in thought processes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:17 PM
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Christ-on-popsicle stick, I even typoed the setup.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:17 PM
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144. That's perfect. And it expresses a significant portion of the regret that I mentioned in 1.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:27 PM
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154: No, not at all, just that kn both cases you have to reevaluate your expectations of how your life is supposed to work even if you don't expect to have those expectations. I used to try to convince Lee that this was essentially the same as having to come to terms with the idea that she'd been raised to believe she'd go to hell for being gay and yet she wanted to keep believing in the same God who was supposed to condemn her. She managed that one after a lot of heartache and work, but it's harder to make the leap for me. I wouldn't push it except that Mara is so scornful about the idea of divinity that I don't want her to ever have to have the same conversation. And also that this is the sort of thing we resort to when things are really bad, her saying that I'll go to hell and that breaks her heart and me saying that at least I hit on a few of the Beatitudes and do something for the poor, which Jesus is on the record as preferring. Not a good argument, I know, but these haven't always been good times.

Mara gets more out of sermons than probably any of us anc pays attention, though she doesn't like loud music. There was one that mentioned David turning his mourning into dance that really hit home for her to the point where she made up specific dances about missing her mom, dad, and deceased grandma that she could do when she was feeling sad, and it definitely helped. Nia has actual memories of going to church with family or when she was with her mom, so for her it's more just what she's always done, and she's mostly there for the music and people-watching.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 7:29 PM
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The strongest guilt I feel related to my emigration to Judaism - and said guilt isn't super-strong - is about something I doubt I'm really responsible for. I don't feel strongly about leaving my parents' religion behind, as such, but I do feel a vague and probably incorrect sense of guilt about the fact than in the dozen years since I left the church, every other member of my immediate family's reduced their commitment too.

It looks as though they've decided based on political or literally parochial concerns, or because their commitment was more relevant while we kids were being raised, but still: Their disaffection was correlated with the disruption I introduced, and I can't entirely shake the notion that I caused them that tsuris.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 8:43 PM
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No, not at all, just that kn both cases you have to reevaluate your expectations of how your life is supposed to work even if you don't expect to have those expectations.

Ah, okay. In that case they do seem like parallel situations.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 8:48 PM
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My parents stuck me in a Hebrew day school because their friends' kids did, and I lasted ten years, pre-K to 8th grade. It's all burnt in pretty deep, although my ritual observances are limited to something around the high holidays and a Passover seder. I would say for anyone who wants to dip a toe back into Judaism, the two best ways in are a) attend or host a Passover seder and b) instigate a hora at a wedding. (With the lifting up in chairs and stuff). Don't worry about feeling a fraud, just tell 'em k-sky said it was OK.

I have a Catholic friend who grew up doing Passover seders because it was a big part of the Jesus story. So you go right ahead!


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 8:50 PM
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The cool thing about Hanukah is it's the guerilla warfare holiday.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 8:50 PM
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After the blog broke, I had trouble posting from my iphone (this evening around 6:30). But I'm having no trouble now with my laptop. Why would that be?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:02 PM
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I wish I didn't have to wait for a wedding before I can lift people on chairs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:12 PM
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Be the change, Mobes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:16 PM
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Jesus McQueen is known to fond of a palanquin ride here and there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:17 PM
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This is purely a product of my individual history, but even for an ex-Catholic I have a weak connection to my Jewish holidays; participating at college, I felt the biggest ones as times when many of the people I spent Friday evenings with went home, and I was navigating a community with more strangers and a camaraderie that was, at best, different. (And both the High Holy Days services and the seder were usually run by Hillel - rather than the student group that organized Shabbat services - which had its own effects.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:20 PM
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Stupid Arby's has the chairs bolted down.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:23 PM
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166 mostly in reaction to 160.middle.

Lately I've attended seders mostly in years when I was dating someone Jewish. My favorite was the one hosted by relatives of an anti-union girlfriend I had; the relatives were wildly more liberal and made explicit, though not extended, pro-labor remarks while telling the story of the Exodus.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:23 PM
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I guess that is why so few wedding receptions are held at Arby's.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:25 PM
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169: It's not kosher, either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:26 PM
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I mean, I assume it isn't. Maybe there's a kosher Arby's in Jerusalem or something.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:27 PM
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166: That's really interesting as a different perspective on the holidays in that context.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 9:28 PM
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||
Oh man, the new Throwing Muses album is fantastic.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:35 PM
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172: I can think of some "structural" factors too - the degree of difficulty would've been higher, and everything that happened merely yearly wasn't what I practiced (pun intended) every week.  But - and I don't mean this as a knock on the wider Jewish community at my college - the social differences are what I remember first.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:39 PM
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I told Bave that the fourth night of syncretic Dolly Partonnukah is the only one I know the prayer for. The prayer begins

I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do,

And then, as the shamus lights each candle:

Jolene
Jolene
Jolene
Jolene

I'm not sure what the others should be.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:41 PM
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Incidentally, more of you are Jews than I realized.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:44 PM
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I'm Jewish where it counts.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:49 PM
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Sorry to hear it.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:51 PM
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Heh.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-22-13 11:53 PM
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There was one that mentioned David turning his mourning into dance that really hit home for her to the point where she made up specific dances about missing her mom, dad, and deceased grandma that she could do when she was feeling sad, and it definitely helped.

This is awesome.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:12 AM
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175 is awesome. What's involved in joining this religion?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:49 AM
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OT: Wallace Shawn voices a goat in an "Air Bud" sequel.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:59 AM
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Does what to a goat?


Posted by: Mickey Kaus | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:24 AM
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Don't worry. Neither of them can get pregnant because chromosomes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:44 AM
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175 is perfect.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 8:07 AM
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Somebody should make a joke about cups overflowing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 9:07 AM
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181 At the risk of violating SOOBK, wasn't it this particular song, er, prayer that Blume performed after the Pegu Club meetup? (I wasn't there, but heard frenzied account.) I think that means y'all are clergy already.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 11:43 AM
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re: 175 / 188

That slowed down 'Jolene' that was doing the rounds a while back:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doz1QJ7LwjA

It occurred to me listening to it again, how much the guitar playing echoes Aaron Neville's 'Hercules':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I68fua61CA


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 12:01 PM
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188: I wasn't there either, but I seem to remember, from the frenzied accounts, that it was "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 12:10 PM
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||

Could one of the front-pagers move the Pittsburgh meetup post back up? I'm pretty sure I have most of the details, but it would be good to have a plan before I leave town Monday.

And Rance, sir kraab offered a spot in her room, so I'll do that because it's easier to inconvenience a hotel than a person. But thanks so much!

|>


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 2:23 PM
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190: indeed it was.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 2:48 PM
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b) instigate a hora at a wedding. (With the lifting up in chairs and stuff)

We were hoisted on chairs at our wedding, despite being rather not-Jewish. It was started by probably the Jewishest of Tweety's friends though, so I think it's okay. At the Seder we attend, this same friend is the one who always sings a song in Aramaic about a goat, during which everyone bangs on the table. (I just googled 'aramaic goat song' and I don't think it's the one that comes up.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:44 PM
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Aramaic goat song.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:48 PM
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Chad Gadya is the name of the goat song in question.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:48 PM
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Dammit, VW.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:48 PM
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To be fair I think he only knows the goat song because his dad is Sephardic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:48 PM
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Jews: as the Passover story makes clear, we live to serve.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:48 PM
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Oh, or maybe not. Shows me!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:49 PM
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Sorry, teo. I'm in league with the oppressors.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:50 PM
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I thought shepards just did sheep.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:51 PM
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Yeah, Chad Gadya is about as canonical a Passover song as there is. If we were to do a Family-Feud-style list of things associated with Passover, I think it would go:

1) four questions
2) telling the Passover story
3) hiding the afikoman
4) pouring one out for Elijah
5) singing Chad Gadya


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:53 PM
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I can't believe I just blew that list. The obvious number one answer is "complaining about matzoh." And yes, teo, my list controls for region and disparities in how observant Jews often are.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:54 PM
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Hm, this doesn't really sound like the song he sings. Are there multiple Aramaic songs about a goat?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:55 PM
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I kid you not: my list is every bit as scientific as the survey results on Family Feud.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:56 PM
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I'm sure there are many Aramaic songs about goats, but that's the only one that's traditionally sung at Passover.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:56 PM
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204: let me check with my survey respondents.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:57 PM
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204: the answer is no.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 3:57 PM
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Googling around, it seems like maybe he just sings a jauntier Libyan Sephardic version.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:00 PM
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Yeah, Sephardic melodies are often more lively than Ashkenazic ones.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:02 PM
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This version is close. I think any differences are likely due to amateurishness/drunkenness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:06 PM
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211: That version is not very Sephardic-sounding.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:10 PM
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I'm a terrible jew.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:11 PM
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I of course read Family Feud as Family Freud. Which would be a pretty bad game show. It would be months or years before the host would respond to anything the contestants said.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:12 PM
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I hope heebie's taking notes on all this.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:13 PM
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213: It could well be based on a Sephardic melody, but he's definitely using Ashkenazic pronunciation, and I think that sort of extensive use of interjected nonsense syllables is generally more of an Ashkenazic thing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:16 PM
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215: The important thing is no matter what choices you make about your children and Judaism is to feel guilty about them.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:21 PM
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that sort of extensive use of interjected nonsense syllables is generally more of an Ashkenazic thing.

And people laughed at us when we sang lyrics like Whack fol the diddle fol the di dol day.


Posted by: Irish-Ashkenazic | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:26 PM
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I'm kinda late (I've been offline!) but:

(1) if you buy the right candles for Hanukkah, the prayer is printed on the box. The right kind = the cheap kind, I guess because they figure you're a bad Jew who doesn't know the prayer?

(2) You can buy a Children's Seder from Amazon online which will give you a really simplified version (not the nine hour version) to go through. We've used several different versions. I can't make any recommendations, none are exactly delightful. It's all about being afflicted! But many are in English!

(3) Yeah, we've been homeschooling the Kid for a couple years now, mainly because she wouldn't stop arguing with the teachers. Which, you know, two Jews, three opinions: I tried to make the case it was CULTURAL. No soap. She's going to high school, tho. Ai.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:34 PM
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OK, this seems to be a reasonable place to seek atheist Christmas inspiration. 2 years ago I got my dad (proselytizing atheist*) a couple of these Heroes of Science Xmas decorations


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 4:59 PM
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By not having the Curie one glow in the dark, they missed a real opportunity.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:02 PM
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and then forgot how to use html tags.

Er ... I chose Darwin and Newton.

Last year I sewed two Euler-themed festive felt baubles (pi squared over six formula, the bridges of Konigsberg). (He loves Euler.)

So, what shall I make or buy this year to add to his stash of secular ornaments?

* - e.g. gave out loads of business cards around central London with a picture of Kid D and "There's probably no god" on them. I have a couple as fridge magnets.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:06 PM
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George W. Bush painting Xmas ornament. He certainly is a better painter than he was a President.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:10 PM
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(He loves Euler.)

Who doesn't?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:17 PM
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220, 221 just made me think than D/an Den/nett really needs some kind of athiest Santa drag that he dresses in every [ late December ].


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:19 PM
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Groundhog day ornaments.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:20 PM
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Did you remember that he also loves Groundhog Day? I fucking love you if you did.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:28 PM
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225 - he should. Definitely.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:29 PM
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I'm a better painter than he was a president. And I'm a really crappy painter.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 5:39 PM
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227: Of course I did. He came over here for it, and I did the "Waiting for the Van" song about catching the bus at 4AM in the Walmart parking lot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:04 PM
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225: Every Newtonmas, when we celebrate the birth of Isaac Newton on December 25.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:20 PM
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||

Damn that was a really unfortunate coding error to notice at 8:30 on a Saturday night. Time to settle in, I guess.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:28 PM
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229: I'm a double crappy painter. I'm sitting my office looking at the wavy line between the ceiling and the wall, plus the spots where I tried to do a touch-up and make a big mark that shows up whenever the light is right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:36 PM
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Are there any Australian unfoggeteers? I know we've got folks in New Zealand.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 6:59 PM
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My grandfather the ethnically Jewish communist-atheist engineer would build a "holiday object" every winter out of metal, each year dedicated to a different major scientist or socialist political hero, under which gifts were given on December 25.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:05 PM
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I'm confused bc I swear I bumped the Pittsburgh post up yesterday. Jroth emailed me and I certainly wrote back "done".

On my phone right now, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:08 PM
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I once had roommates who cut down a cedar tree from somebody's pasture. Then we leaned it in a corner in a pot, decorated it with beer cans, cooked a turkey, and took the pot back for an hour to make mashed potatoes, and had a Christmas dinner before we each went home for Christmas.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:08 PM
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237: Sounds like a Charlie Brown Christmas. Heartworming.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:16 PM
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235: I don't suppose you by any chance saved the Enver Hoxha one?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:40 PM
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Halford's grandfather the ethnically Jewish communist-atheist engineer sounds awesome.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:43 PM
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Heartworming

I think you're thinking of Euthanize Snoopy, Charlie Brown.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 7:46 PM
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Speaking of awkward and people who stand near footballs, today I was at the nearby school playing football with my son. It was just the two of us. I threw the ball on the roof of the school. I blame a sudden slackening of the wind. In order to get the ball and see exactly how low the bar is for "suspicious behavior" in my neighborhood, I went home and got a ladder and a long stick to get the ball down. Nobody called the cops on me and I got the ball safely despite standing on the step that says I should only stand on the steps below it. On the way home, for no reason at all, I walked off the edge of the sidewalk and fall to the ground, hitting my knee hard enough to ruin a pair of pants and draw blood.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 8:12 PM
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Nobody called the cops on me and I got the ball safely despite standing on the step that says I should only stand on the steps below it.

I'll bet you worry about the cops when you tear those tags off of mattresses.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 8:26 PM
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I was afraid somebody would think I was breaking into houses or taking down the eruv rope.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 8:43 PM
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Actual John Cornyn tweet: "Amazing what WH will do to distract attention from O-care."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 8:49 PM
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245: he thinks they bribed Moby to overthrow the football? Fucked up, man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 8:51 PM
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I tell people I found the five dollars.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 9:02 PM
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245: That's outrageous! Or so the mullahs would have you believe.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 11-23-13 9:10 PM
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Haven't read the thread yet because of annoying internet problems this weekend. Eva Illouz has a good article here (subscribers only, I can email the text if anyone's interested) on Jewishness and Israel.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 1:58 AM
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Tag closing fail. Oops.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 1:59 AM
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234: I'm not from here, but I'm here now. What'cha need?


Posted by: antipodestrian | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 2:35 AM
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237. I think of cedar trees as being about a hundred feet high. Was this a sapling?

Many years ago I sent cards with a picture of a very pregnant Mary sitting on a donkey led by Joseph, and the message, "Support women's right to choose!" I bottled out of sending it to elderly relatives, though.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 2:41 AM
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||

I'm disproportionately amused that the Iranian deputy foreign minister, who is presumably a Shi'a Muslim, chooses to announce an interim agreement on nuclear fuel by tweeting, "Day five, 3am, it's white smoke,"

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 3:14 AM
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249: I'd like to read it. My email's linked below.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 4:23 AM
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230 - I do love you.

Halford's grandfather the ethnically Jewish communist-atheist engineer sounds awesome.

Yup.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 4:26 AM
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I just overheard a conversation in a coffee shop to the effect of "omg it's so terrible that these cute pre-med guys are Jewish and they date Jewish girls it's like soooo unfair because their Jewish girlfriends are so ugly!!"


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 10:17 AM
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47 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 1:21 PM
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Here you go, Heebz!


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 5:27 PM
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That's either one faint decimal point or one expensive book.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 6:33 PM
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Totally off topic, but I've gone running twice each day on every day of november. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it isn't related to some dread of my upcoming birthday. Especially since it isn't a numerically interesting one.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 6:47 PM
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OT: Joan Jett doesn't look like she's aged as much since 1980 as I have.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 6:57 PM
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261: me neither, but i was a toddler in 1980 so it isn't surprising.. Also, both the rock and roll lifestyle and the rocky road lifestyle will age a body.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-24-13 7:01 PM
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