Judaism and YOU

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Judaism and YOU

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Jun 25, 2007, 9:06 am

So since we're new around here, I'm curious:

For the Jewish members: what place does Judaism have in your life? Do you strive for observance, or is Judaism more of a cultural thing for you, a group of people and customs you were raised with?

For non-Jewish members: what faith, if any, are you, and what about Judaism or Jewish literature interests you?

I'll answer once I've had a chance to wake up a bit more. :P

Jun 25, 2007, 11:46 am

I'm non-Jewish, evangelical (nondenominational), am most interested in TANAKH (all of it), Holocaust remembrance, Jewish national history in general (ancient thru present), Zionism/Israel and the Arab/Islamic-Israeli Conflict.

I'm not as much interested in rabbinic Judaism, Jewish cooking, or Jewish fiction. I've been to Israel and it's my favorite place on Earth. I pretty much owe my life to Jewish people, actually.

Jun 25, 2007, 8:41 pm

I was raised in an Orthodox household which was full of emotional conflict, depression, anxiety, materialism, hypocrisy, etc. I left it at 18 and went off into agnosticism, and unitarianism. I consider myself a secular jew, but with strong attachments to the history, the culture, the literature, and the languages. I love hebrew and yiddish poetry, sephardic songs, and the great jewish writers like Babel, Grossman, Roth, malamud, Bellow, Amichai, Peretz, Sutzkever, Mocher Sforim, Bergelson, Mandelstam, Bassani, Fink, Guinzberg, Sachs, levi, Amichai, Agnon, Yehoshua, etc.

Jun 25, 2007, 10:12 pm

I was raised in Reformed Judaism, and I'm still that way and very proud of my Jewishness... except that I'm essentially atheist. I'm not agnostic, but there are many ways to define God some of those ways probably fit within things I could agree to. For me Judaism is a cultural reference and it's my heritage and I couldn't separate my identity from it.

almigwin: that is great list of authors, although I haven't heard of over half of them. Just curious, is Singer in the etc?

smileandnod: I lover your user name :)

Jun 25, 2007, 11:01 pm

I'm an atheist, and the Shabbas goy for some of my neighbors. :-) I enjoy learning about other cultures. I surprise some of my Jewish friends by knowing more than they do about some aspects of Judaism --- all thanks to Rabbi David Small. :-) (Harry Kemelman's books.)

I do genealogy, and have found that some scholars think that one of my ancestors may have been a "converso" who fled to the Netherlands from Spain or Portugal to escape the Inquisition. I want to read up some history to learn more about that possibility.

So, I'm just dipping my toe in here to see what books are recommended and discussed.

Edited: Jun 26, 2007, 1:21 am

dchaikin: there are two Singers that I love, both in the etc.: The Brothers Ashkenazy by israel Joshua Singer (the big brother) and by isaac Bashevis singer: The Slave, The Manor, Gimpel the Fool, The Magician of Lublin, Shadows on the Hudson, the Family Moskat, etc. If you would like to know about the writers in my list i will tell you a little about them:
Babel wrote stories, in russian, when he was in the soviet army. Some of these stories are in a book called "The red cavalry". He also wrote a famous short story about his dovecote, and an attempt to buy some fancy doves during a pogrom. His parents escaped but his grandfather was murdered. Babel himself was a dedicated communist, but was murdered by the soviet regime under stalin, in his early forties. He is considered a very great writer of Russian.
Grossman wrote a big war and peace type book called Life and Fate which I think is a masterpiece. These are the only Russian fiction writers in my list; Mandelstam was a poet, also killed by the Soviets.
Peretz and Mendele Mocher Sforim were yiddish short story writers. You can find their work in various anthologies of yiddish stories. Bergelson was a Russian writer who wrote novels in yiddish. Abraham Sutkever is a yiddish poet. There is a big collection of his poetry in translation in one volume. Bassani is Georgio Bassani who wrote the Garden of the Finzi continis which was made into a film with Dominique Sanda about an aristocratic Jewish family that was caught and transported by the fascists because they did not leave Italy in time. Fink is Ida Fink, a polish jewess who lives in Israel, and wrote two volumes of short stories, and a novel 'The Journey' about a girl masquerading as a gentile and going to Germany as a laborer to escape the transports. She takes her weaker, younger sister with her and their escapades are hair raising. Her short story collections are 'Traces' and 'a scrap of time'. Natalia Guinzberg is an Italian novelist whose husband was killed by the fascists. Sachs is Nelly Sachs who won a Nobel prize. She is a german poet, and her book in english is 'o the chimmneys'. It's a dual language book. Levi is Primo Levi who wrote 'the periodic table', 'survival at auschwitz' and many other books. he wrote very compellingly about life in a concentration camp. He was liberated, and returned to Italy, but committed suicide. Amichai is Yehuda Amichai, an Israeli poet, and Agnon and Yehoshua are Israeli novelists. Agnon won the Nobel prize also. I left out Paul Celan, a roumanian poet who wrote in german, and lived in france. His mother was killed by the Nazis, and he committed suicide also. His famous poem is Death Fugue. I hope you will look for some of these books, and read them. They are masterpieces. Truly.

Jun 26, 2007, 9:16 am

almigwin: Thanks, great info! I'll keep this list in mind (and your library). I've only read I.B. Singer, whom I really enjoy. From your first list I've read a Philip Roth (American Pastoral, mixed feelings) and I have a ton a Bellow novels at home waiting, but I haven't opened them up yet. I'm a bit intimidated. I would like to get to some of these, and I will probably actually begin to read Bellow sometime next year.

Edited: Jun 26, 2007, 10:49 pm

I'm a Jew who likes to straddle all aspects of Judaism. I like to experience all that my heritage has to offer. I'm as comfortable within the whole range of observance from modern Orthdox of American Jewry to the secularism of HaShomer Hatzair (a very leftist kibbutz movement in Israel). In my own life, I prefer the culture of Judaism to the religious aspects although I am a a member of a Conservative synagogue. I refused to be "classified" as a Conservative Jew. All Jews are one in my mind.

I lived in Israel for a year, speak Hebrew, and identify with EncompassedRunner who says Israel's "my favorite place on Earth". I can picture one exact spot in Israel that is indeed my favorite place on earth.

My favorite Israeli-themed books are those by contemporary authors such as Amoz Oz, A.B. Yehoshua, Yehoshua Kenaz, Sayed Kashua (an Israeli-Arab), Edeet Ravel (a Canadian), Meir Shalev, Savyon Liebrecht, and Haim Sabato.

Having lived in Israel has made me eagerly read other books about the middle east, including such fine books as Snow by Orhan Pamuk, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz.

Jun 27, 2007, 6:27 am

I'm Jewish by birth - both my parents are children of Ashkenazi Jews who themselves were first generation immigrants from Eastern Europe who settled in the East End of London about 100 years ago. I'm not particularly religious - I don't keep kosher and I light the candles on Friday nights when I remember! - but I see the world through Jewish eyes, and I couldn't imagine being anything else. I've never been to Israel though and don't imagine I will... the politics make it far more complicated for me to feel OK about visiting, but that's another discussion!

I live in the suburbs of London but work in the city and am fascinated with my grandparents' history and the vanishing culture of the Jewish East End so love reading books and memoirs on the subject, such as Silvertown, Rothschild Buildings and any fiction set in the East End - I recently got into Jennifer Donnelly's The Tea Rose which was good fun to read!

I haven't read nearly enough books by Jewish authors and am trying to rectify this! Have recently started Man's Search for Meaning which is incredible so far, and will follow that up with some Primo Levi. Great to look through the lists here for inspiration - especially SqueakyChu's and almigwin's - thanks!

Jun 27, 2007, 11:46 pm

SqueakyChu - any chance you reveal that spot's identity? I wonder if it's the same as mine...

Edited: Jun 28, 2007, 7:06 am

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...and yours is?

Well, the country might be the same, but the spot is probably not. It was the porch in front of my aunt's flat on Kibbutz Shaar Haamakim. Although sadly my aunt is no longer alive and the porch belongs to another family and is no longer well cared for, I guess now the kibbutz itself would be my favorite place. My aunt's porch was a plant-covered and -filled haven where I'd always find a cool and confortable corner in which to read and wait for her to return from work.

Then my second favorite place would be Kiryat Shemona, a small town in the north of Israel. There I studied Hebrew, learned the Israeli way of life, enjoyed morning views of the majestic and sunlit Mount Naftali, learned firsthand about Morroccan Jews, enjoyed viewing goats in the garden, cooled off by walking in the rain while eating Elite chocolate bars, and made lifelong friends.

I guess it's like a favorite cup of coffee (on another "coffee" thread). It's not so much about the place or the coffee as about the feelings they evoke.

Edited: Jun 28, 2007, 9:12 am

Just to show how neurotic I am about Judaism: I have a love/hate relationship with it. Being kicked out of the children's services where I was the cantor, because I had reached puberty, was infuriating and traumatic. Giving boys lessons in how to chant their haftorahs for their bar mitzvahs, and not being allowed to have a bat mitzvah by my orthodox grandmother seemed very unfair, since the boys got so much money but I was the best Hebrew scholar in the hebrew school. Then the newsreel films came out about the concentration camps, and I said to the ceiling-If you are up there and we are the chosen people, I reject you forever, if this is what we were chosen for.
When I was 16 I went to see a Unitarian minister and he told me to go back and be a reformed jew. I didn't think religion is something to be born with, but something to choose. I stayed away from all religious observance and synagogues and churches except to sing in until my children wanted to go to
Sunday School like other children. We were considered jewish by everyone because we had a jewish sounding name and semitic looks, and we "saw the world through jewish eyes" even tho we were agnotics. We also gave recitals of folk music including a lot of Hebrew and Yiddish songs. We told the children they could go to synagogue and we would help then celebrate holidays if they wished, but we couldn't join them in observing Judaism. They chose not to go alone, so we compromised and joined a Unitarian Fellowship (This was Purdue in the fifties).
Then we continued at the Unitarian church in Hartford until the oldest child was in college. After that, nothing. The minister in Hartford called us the Jewish Unitarians. I feel like a sore thumb among the Unitarians, and uncomfortable with the separateness of the jews. So there you have my problem. My current husband was born protestant but left all religious observance in adolescence. We don't go to church or synagogue so we miss out on the social networking and joint social welfare work that we could participate in. I hope to get up the energy to go back to the Unitarians, and I will try to be comfortable as a "Jewish Unitarian" because I am and always will be a secular jew.

Jun 28, 2007, 9:36 am

My mom was born Jewish, but she was never really a practicing Jew. She thought there was more out there and so she converted to Protestantism and took me with her.
When my father died, I became an atheist because I just couldn't understand how G-d could take away my best friend.
After a few years, I started to get an empty feeling I couldn't quite get rid of, so I thought maybe Judaism would help that. I consider myself Jewish and get very offended when people make Jewish jokes. I try to keep up with the holidays more often now.

Jun 28, 2007, 10:06 am

Re #12: My father once told me "never forget you're a jew ... because you can be sure no one else will."

Edited: Jun 28, 2007, 4:03 pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jun 28, 2007, 4:02 pm

I was brought up in a Conservative household, my mother lit the shabbos candles and we kept a kosher home. I went to Hebrew school in the afternoons after public school and my maternal grandfather moved to Israel later in lifeas a widower remarrying an Egyptian jewess and living out his life in eretz yisrael. All my grandparents were ashkenazi but as of late having visited Argentina I am developing an interest in the Sephardic branch of our ancestors.

having sited this shortened history today in my life I consider myself a secular jew who is strongly identified with the culture , history and myths of the religion. It is still quite canny how whenever and wherever I meet another jewish person there is an immediate sense of connectiveness and bonding- this is really inexplicable.

i have an affinity for several jewish authors amongst them: philip roth, isaac b singer, joseph heller, harold bloom, cynthia ozick, jonathan safan foer and his wife nicole krauss, paul auster, arthur a cohen, henry roth, martin buber, etc.

Jun 29, 2007, 10:49 am

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I grew up in Jerusalem, and of course there are lots of meaningful places for me in Jerusalem and other places in the country (Kiryat Shemona reminds me of the hours of hitchhiking when I was in the army and my boyfriend served there).

Sometime during high school I discovered my own personal most beautiful spot on earth... it's a specific point of view, looking east, on a small bridge over a road in the Gey-Ben-Hinnom valley. Preferably in late afternoon.
Standing there, in the middle of a big city, cars passing under the bridge, the heavy presence of the old city walls on your left side - you're never able to tell at what exact point all this dissolves into a desert.

In fact, that spot lost its charm a few years ago. Now you can clearly see the other wall in the distance, cutting through the landscape.

But there's much value even to spots that remain only in our memory, isn't there?

Edited: Jun 29, 2007, 11:16 am

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I lived in Katamon Tet in Jerusalem in 1973 and worked as a visiting nurse doing home visits both in the old and new city. I traveled by bus to see homebound patients of Hadassah Hospital. I was doing this as volunteer work for Sherut La'am and getting paid a grand total of $75 a MONTH. I loved it!!! In fact, my experience doing this in Israel is what led me to become a home health care nurse when I returned to the U.S.

I have so many scenes in my mind of Jerusalem which I also dearly love. The main one, though, is me in a bus with other volunteers singing Hebrew songs and approaching the city for the very first time. The sun was setting and literally turning Jerusalem into gold.

I think I love the spots in our memory best. They'll never change. They'll remain ever perfect.

Jul 10, 2007, 6:26 pm

I have no faith. Long before I read Sartre, or anybody else, I decided that all faith is bad faith. Not even faith in science.

Some of the Jewish literature I like isn't probably considered Jewish for its global scope, e.g., Primo Levi's poems, Einstein's philosophical writing, David Kessel's poems. There's more but it's 23:26 GMT and I'm sleepy. :-)

Jul 12, 2007, 10:17 pm

I feel my Judaism deeply, yet I am not very spiritual or religious. I am more rooted in the history of it. I enjoy sitting at service and realizing that the same songs have probably been sung almost the same way for thousands of years, lighting candles, that sort of thing. Yet I am pretty agnostic. So for me, it is more a sense of history and belonging to something larger than the here and now. I have 2 whole bookcases filled with books on Jewish history, especially Sephardi history, which is where I descend from. So okay, it is a pretty corny way of feeling about Judaism, not very intellectual nor religious, but that is what it means to me.

Jul 15, 2007, 9:18 pm

MissTrudy, you reminded me of my friend Sue who thinks very much like you.

Jul 16, 2007, 4:41 pm

MissTrudy- i have a treat for you- a wonderful Harold Bloom review "the Lost Jewish Culture" about Peter Coles: The Dream of the Poem:Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain,950-1492...sure to spark your Sephardic spirit!


Jul 16, 2007, 10:57 pm

Thanks for the link!

Jul 18, 2007, 2:04 am

Thank you for the recommendation! I do have the Coles book on a stack of book by my bed, ready to get read ... at some point! So I appreciate the review and will go ahead and read it now. I cannot say that I am a fan of Bloom's veneration of the canon, but I do think he's a great writer and scholar.

Jul 22, 2007, 3:11 pm


a very interesting link, I know just a bit about Muslim Spain, and nothing about poetry of that time. Thanks. The book mentioned seems worth buying.

Jul 24, 2007, 4:29 pm

I'm Modern Orthodox, raised mostly secular and did teshuvah at around age 15-16, been observant ever since. (In fact it occurred to me to check out the Jewish groups on LT that I'm a member of if there is any discussion about Tisha B'Av and what to read on Tisha B'Av if you've had enough of studying Iyuv. Though since browsing LT is a highly pleasurable activity for me, I held off on it until the fast was actually over in my time zone. And then came the pleasures: eating and LT. At least eating still comes before LT, LOL.)

What does Judaism mean to me? It's a way of life... just like any other, I suppose, though I would prefer if Jews would lead Torah observant lives ;) But I don't think of it as something overly glamorous. It's pretty cool, but I don't like it when it's overly romanticized. (In Hungary there are very few Orthodox Jews and lots and lots of Secular Jews, so I bump into the romantic shtetl image a lot. My favorite question of all time... yes, this really happened:
Q: "Do you cry a lot in the synagogue?"
A: "...what?"
Q: "Do you people cry a lot? You know, while praying? Lots of tears?"
A: ".......?!?!?!? Why should we? I don't think we cry more than, say, Christians. We are quite upbeat, in fact. Where did you get the idea?"
Q: "I read those books by Chaim Potok.")

Well, sometimes mitzvot can be quite exasperating, like sometime in the last few minutes of Tisha B'Av ;) but for me consistency is very important, so I make a point of not going cherry picking and observing only those mitzvot that I personally like. Overall I like Judaism a lot. And I just have to survive it when I don't; Hashem will probably appreciate it.

What I like to read... I don't really like reading Jewish fiction, I prefer Jewish nonfiction, halachic stuff, that sort of thing. With a dash of Kabbalah. (I read a lot of fiction, but it's not specifically Jewish most of the time.) Unfortunately, I haven't gotten around to adding those books on LT yet, it's also complicated because I add books I've read but don't own, too (I use 'read' and 'own' tags), and most of this kind of stuff I don't own since they are not too available where I live... so I read them in shul libraries, borrow them from friends etc. and have to exercise my memory to remember which I've read and which I haven't.

As for favorites... well I think one of the best Jewish books ever is R. Aryeh Kaplan ZTz"L's commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah, this was a completely impenetrable text to me before I read what he had to say on the matter. It's a huge accomplishment.

Aug 1, 2007, 11:59 am

I work in a Reform synagogue library yet in my personal life my Judaism is more a sense of identity and culture than a spiritual thing. I grew up very secular, and since coming to work at my library I've spent more time in a synagogue setting than every before! It has been a great education for me, because before this I tended to feel ignorant about my background. Now I am better informed and can appreciate the beauties of the tradition even if I never got into the habit of many of the practices.

Because Judaic literature (especially for children, which is my area of focus) is such a small niche, I've actually become something of a maven on the subject. I even host a podcast about Jewish books, music, etc., to promote the kinds of materials that can be found in my library: The Book of Life at www.jewishbooks.blogspot.com. I got into LibraryThing in order to catalog all the books that had been included on the podcast!

Aug 2, 2007, 1:34 am

In the 1920s two friends of the Marx Brothers were walking along 5th Avenue. The first was Otto Kahn, a patron of the Metropolitan Opera. The second was Marshall B. Wilder, a hunch–backed script writer. As they walked past a synagogue Kahn turned to Wilder and said, “You know I used to be a Jew”. And Wilder said, “Yeah and I used to be a hunchback”.

29BentleyJunkie First Message
Nov 29, 2007, 2:33 am

Looks like I'm a little late to the conversation, but i guess I'll add my two cents.

Born in the former Soviet Union, which would explain how my family was so disconnected from judaism (having lived in an atheist culture). Moved to the States in 1990. When to conservative day school for a bit, some sunday school, bar mitzvah. Then very little until I went to college. I've always believed in G-d, but never been much on observance. I began meeting weekly with an orthodox rabbi where I'd learn, ask question, converse, etc.

I see myself at one point in my life becoming a baal teshuva. I've done my research and contemplated G-d, Torah, Judaism enough to believe. But its hard to make such a drastic change in one's life, so I've been stagnant for the past couple years.

I dont really read many jewish books, though I'm a proud Zionist and looooooove Israel, so I read a lot on those subject (news, essays, articles...not so much books).

Edited: Dec 6, 2007, 8:50 am

I was born and raised in Liberal Judaism in the UK. I don't keep strict Kosher, but don't eat pork or shellfish.

I'm still a member of the shul where I grew up, as I conventionally head back into the bosom of my family for yom tov. As for the rest of the year, I'm a regular attender of services and events organised by tent, which is part of the Liberal Judaism organisation aimed at young adults - I still qualify, just!

I suppose my Judaism is a habit as much as anything, its part of me and denying it would be like denying I'm left handed.

I read a smattering of Jewish books, and a favourite read in 2007 was Shalom Auslander's "Beware of G-d". I also like Etgar Keret and what I've read by Phillip Roth and Richard Zimler. London has a Jewish Book Week every February which is a good source of ideas for Jewish reading.

Dec 21, 2007, 6:35 pm

I'm a Catholic working in a Hebrew school library in a Reform congregation near Boston. I have always had a great deal of affection for all things Jewish and I've considered conversion at many points in my life. I think Judaism is a very beautiful religion with a lot that I can embrace and I feel very blessed to be a part of the community/congregation I work in. I enjoy Jewish fiction, nonfiction and cookbooks; I read a lot of I.B. Singer and also modern Israeli fiction, as well as Jewish-themed graphic novels and books about Judaism-the-religion.

Dec 21, 2007, 6:51 pm

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Jewish-themed graphic novels

Have you ever read The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar? It's my all-time favorite graphic novel.

Dec 23, 2007, 9:55 am

Yes, thanks :-) I have a pretty good collection. AJL (Association of Jewish Libraries) has a list of recommended Jewish-themed graphic novels & I work from that. :-) Check it out if you're interested. www.jewishlibraries.org.

Jan 25, 2008, 8:58 pm

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Your story brought back the memory for me of my freshman year at a small town college in western Pennsylvania, with a bunch of girls sitting around in my room asking questions like:

"Do Jews REALLY bury their dead STANDING UP in the ground?"

They also wanted to know if I had any insight on why the handful of black students occasionally SAT OUT IN THE SUN.

I sometimes wonder if things have changed at all in the many small towns around the country with no "cosmopolitan" exposure...

May 30, 2008, 11:19 am

I was born to a Jewish mother who converted to Christianity and a "Christian" father who was a heathen. I've been raised as a Christian but have always felt more connected to my mother's family. I live in the South, where all Jews are considered to be wealthy (HAHAHAHA!!!) and have found it necessary to educate in-laws about common phrases that are anti-semetic. As I've grown older & become a parent, I feel a pull toward Judaism that grows stronger with each passing year. I'm just starting to try to figure it all out so I can properly express it to my children. Wish me luck!

May 30, 2008, 11:42 pm

valleymoon- trust your instincts- i do believe there is some kind of genetic trace that influences a jewish person's being- call me a mystic.

Edited: May 31, 2008, 2:26 am

One of the most beautiful short stories ever is I.B. Singer's "Short Friday." I say that as a devout atheist, and ex-Christian.

May 31, 2008, 9:57 pm

berthirsch, a mystic? Perhaps so. Just "knowing" something - without proof - tends to be a bit of a mystery to me when it happens.

May 31, 2008, 11:07 pm

valleymom, I'm not used to hearing someone who isn't Jewish say they feel a pull toward Judaism. Although having a Jewish mother does technically make you Jewish (from the Jewish perspective). Anyway, I second berthirsch, trust your instincts.... and Good Luck!

Jun 1, 2008, 12:01 am

Valleymom, you might enjoy the book Miriam's Kitchen. It's about a woman who feels the pull toward Judaism, and takes you along on her journey as she figures out this "pull" in the course of learning Jewish cooking from her mother-in-law. As an added bonus, the book includes the recipes she learns as she learns about herself and whether or not she wants to move closer to Judaism.

Jun 1, 2008, 3:47 pm

>39 dchaikin:, Ironic that you say that dchaikin, since it's precisely from the Jewish perspective that such limitations/restrictions on who is a Jew is made. Cetrtainly faith, agnosticism, or atheism wouldn't have affected the nazis decision on whether such a person was a Jew. And unlike many Jewish people who say a person with a Jewish mother (or even with both parents Jews) cannot be Jewish if they've chosen to be Christian, for us Christians nothing could be more Jewish than trusting in the Messiah. My first pastor, as well as many, many in my church, are both Jewish and Christian (I'm pretty sure the pastor's webpage describes him as a "Jewish Christian", not denying his Jewishness at all), and their individual journeys to integrating Jewishness with their place in the Church vary -- some tried Messianic Judaism, some not understanding how the feasts and so on fit made a break from them (until they understood better), and others celebrate and share their Jewish traditions with us in the Church.

Jun 8, 2008, 10:29 am

valleymom, best wishes on your journey. I, like you, was raised Christian but have always felt a strong pull towards Judaism. Only at this point in my life have I chosen to pursue it. As dchaikin mentioned, you are already Jewish according to Jewish law, but I know that there is a lot more to a person's Jewishness than genetics.

It makes me cringe to see Christian prosyletizing in here (not really what I envisioned when I created this group, which was probably naive); there is no place for Jesus in Judaism. The man never even vaguely met the requirements for the Jewish messiah, and Christian theology, in all its varieties, is diametrically opposed to that of Judaism.

Jun 20, 2008, 4:34 am

Saul Bellow is a writer I haven't yet got around to. Does anyone have suggestions for which of his novels one should begin with?

Jun 24, 2008, 1:32 pm

My favorites are HUMBOLDT'S GIFT and RAVELSTEIN. Both about academics who happen to have character flaws. His memoir on his trip to Israel was also well done but I do not know if it is now dated. I will be curious to see whatothers think. There is also a BELLOW Group on the site

Jun 28, 2008, 6:47 pm

Thanks, Bert. I'll have to go look up the Bellow Group.

Sep 7, 2015, 9:35 pm

Although I can’t say I am new to Judaism per se; I am just now going through the formal conversion process; however, books by Jewish authors and biographies on Jewish personalities have always been on my list.

Sep 13, 2015, 9:42 am

Shana Tova to everybody

Sep 13, 2015, 2:17 pm

Thanks! Shana Tova to you too!

Sep 13, 2015, 5:10 pm

shana tova to all!

Sep 13, 2015, 9:52 pm

L'shana Tova to all

Aug 15, 2016, 5:43 pm

Hi everyone...doesn't look like a very talkative group, at least not recently, but I wanted to say hi to my fellow MOTs :)
I'm Orthodox by birth and choice, and very proud to be so. If you have any questions for me, I'd be happy to try and help or pinpoint you toward learning resources. Let me know :)

Aug 15, 2016, 5:57 pm

Thank you and welcome to LT!

Dec 19, 2016, 12:59 pm

Hello, and thank you!