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Jewish culture

Discussion in 'Judaism DIR' started by Me Myself, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    Besides the religion. What would you say makes jewish culture?
     
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  3. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    Well, you can't really separate the culture and the religion. The two are inextricably intertwined.

    But aside from the most direct aspects of the religion-- liturgy, theology and philosophy, law-- there are other aspects of Jewish culture: art, literature, music, and so forth.

    Jewish culture is also, like any other culture, the product of shared history, common ancestry (literal or adoptive), a set of common languages, a common homeland (even if most of us live in exile from it), and a common wellspring of values.
     
  4. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    In your experience, what makes non religious jews feel jewish?

    Say, there are jewish atheists, which are some of the ways in which ey define their jewish experience?

    Which are the parts of the culture that tend to stay there even if one does not practice the religion for religion's sake?
     
  5. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    We need to remember that being "Jewish" is a nationality, so one could "feel Jewish" if they relate to that nationality as part of their identity in at least some way.
     
  6. CMike

    CMike Well-Known Member

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    Me Myself you have asked a lot of excellent questions about judaism.

    I am curious, why such interest?
     
    #6 CMike, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  7. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    Could anyone please givee punctual examples? :eek:



    I have asked a lot of excellent books? :D

    Religious interest in general and interested because of some youtube videos I ve watched about it were really interesting.
     
  8. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    I honestly have no idea what makes Jewish atheists or secular "cultural" Jews tick. To me, those types of professions seem self-defeating at best, ludicrous at worst. But people do a lot of things that seem strange to me.

    I have heard secular "cultural" Jews say they still feel connected to Jewish art, music, and so forth. In Israel this makes some sense to me, because they speak Hebrew, and many secular Israelis are well-studied in traditional text, and in Jewish poetry and literature written in Hebrew, and have good knowledge of Jewish history and so forth. But I meet a lot of American Jews who call themselves "culturally" Jewish, and they don't speak any Hebrew (or Yiddish, or Ladino, or whatnot), they are ignorant of traditional text, classical Jewidh literature and art, and their knowledge of Jewish history is abysmal. I have no clue what their Jewish culture is, or why they feel at all inclined to claim an identity they have shown no interest in actually embracing.
     
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  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Some may well say the same thing of halachic Jews. In any ever, locating Kaplan (or even Wine) somewhere between ludicrous and self-defeating is unworthy of you.
     
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  10. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    How did we go from atheists or secular to professions ?

    You disagreed when I said I did not want to pay $60k per year for my kids to study ancient Greek, Latin or Yiddish. Now you are telling us you have no respect for those that are interested in Jewish culture ? Seems a bit illogical to me.
     
    #10 Avi1001, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  11. RabbiO

    RabbiO הרב יונה בן זכריה

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    Profession - an act of openly declaring or publicly claiming a belief, faith, or opinion.

    Peter
     
  12. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    Ok, thanks for the clarification.
     
  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Where did he say that he has "no respect for those that are interested in Jewish culture"? It seems to me that, quite the contrary, he is speaking about those who show zero interest in Jewish culture.
     
  14. Avi1001

    Avi1001 reform Jew humanist liberal feminist entrepreneur

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    In my view, "having no clue what someones culture is", should promote earnest discussion about it, rather than critical judgement of it. Anyone can consider themselves a cultural Jew, even if they just like latkes. Who is to judge ?
     
    #14 Avi1001, Dec 4, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  15. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Earnest discussion is good, particularly if it's coherent. So please substantiate …
    ... rather than sidestepping the question. Your 'critique' of Levite "Seems a bit illogical to me.".
     
  16. Levite

    Levite Higher and Higher

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    I get Kaplan's idea, and I at least respect the fact that his idea was for Reconstructionist Jews to observe, to practice, and to be knowledgeable about the tradition, even if their practice was limited to those mitzvot that they felt were morally and culturally uplifting or edifying, and even if his justification was merely that they were the folkways of Judaism. But ultimately, I think the idea of God as a concept in action rather than a being, an actual phenomenon, is meritless, and incompatible with traditional Jewish thought, or even fairly radically mystical Jewish thought. Green does better, though I still have a lot of problems with what he teaches-- but he also advocates thorough grounding in tradition and text for all.

    The majority of secular "cultural" Jews I have encountered are not Kaplan or Green, or those who thoroughly immerse themselves in study to follow them. They are uneducated, disinterested in tradition and text, and far more willing to embrace lox and bagels than learning Hebrew or studying Torah.

    My point is that most people who label themselves "cultural" Jews actually have little, if any, real interest in Jewish culture.

    When I have encountered secular "cultural" Jews who speak Hebrew, who learn Torah and Talmud, who are well-grounded in poetry, music, art, and literature of Jewish culture over the past couple of thousand years, who have a good grasp of Jewish history...that's different. I still don't get why they feel these things-- all of which were constructed around a core of Jewish observance and practice-- work without the theologies and practices of Jewish tradition. But I respect the engagement, the learning, the clear connection to Jewish culture.

    Anyone can do a lot of things. That doesn't mean all those things have merit.

    If I consider myself a Frenchman, and I don't speak any French (except perhaps to say "Oui, oui!" "La femme, ah la femme!" or "Sacre bleu!"), have read nearly no French literature or poetry, have little if any experience of French art, have rarely if ever been to France and never lived there, know next to nothing of French history, and think that French cuisine is exemplified by onion soup, baguettes, and French fries, my case for being authentically French is fairly weak.

    By the same token, I don't see why anyone should have a strong case for an authentic cultural Judaism unless they speak a Jewish language, are steeped in Jewish literature (including traditional text), art, and music, are thoroughly grounded in Jewish history, and have a nuanced and diverse sense of Jewish cultures, beyond mere American-Ashkenazi kitsch.
     
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  17. dantech

    dantech Well-Known Member

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    Hard to disagree with this...
     
  18. Akivah

    Akivah Well-Known Member

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    Speaking as a Jew that was non-religious for a while, I'd say those answers would differ from person to person.

    I felt Jewish because I was born that way. My Jewish experience was just that.

    Since I wasn't a practicing Jew, I didn't really have a Jewish experience.

    The language and beliefs that I learned as a child, stayed in my memory though I stopped practicing for a while.
     
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  19. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The problem with the above I have is simply this: being "Jewish" is simply not a religion-- being involved with "Judaism", is. Most Israelis are secular, does that mean they're not "Jewish" (I'm obviously excluding those who are of different nationalities who may live in Israel, such as the Palestinians)?

    Also, even when it comes to Judaism, just how well educated in Jewish theology does one have to be in order to follow "Judaism"? Certainly we both probably agree that it's better to know more than less, but is there some sort of litmus test as far as how much one must know to be considered observing "Judaism"?

    There's some other points I have some problems with as well, such as exactly what is "traditional Judaism", but I'll stop-- at least at this point.
     
  20. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    Judaism is one extension of a historical nation and civilization.
    Jews are an historical nation, a people. With independent kingdoms in antiquities, with kings, generals, and yes also priesthoods.

    My answer could span ten pages here, but please start from here. Would you ask a Spaniard what makes him Catholic or what makes him Spanish?
    Many self conscious Jews look and act according to their historical and contemporary national interests, not necessarily dependent on the faith of Judaism, but on pragmatic needs according to rising circumstances.
    Judaism is an ethos for the majority's of the world's Jews. But Jewish culture like any other nation, people or kingdom in history had to face the world outside the comfort of its tradition.
     
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