Jews have long been called the People of the Book, but the fact is that we elevate words and even letters to the realm of the sacred.
How do you talk about Judaism in a way that’s not too “Jewish”? How do you convey Jewish ideas to Jews who might get turned off by religious ideas? Is it possible, in other words, to talk about the Jewish religion in a nonreligious way?
Christopher Hitchens, the atheist and iconoclast who discovered in adulthood that he was of Jewish descent, has died.
It belongs to the terrified childhood of our species, before we knew about germs or could account for earthquakes. It belongs to our childhood, too, in the less charming sense of demanding a tyrannical authority: a protective parent who demands compulsory love even as he exacts a tithe of fear.
"Religion is not primarily about faith in God; it is about community, identity, heritage and being of service to others," he said. "We Humanists must also do more to meet these needs, rather than complain about what others believe.
"What I am saying is if you are religious at all, you are an extremist," Maher said in a phone interview last week.
As we get older, we no longer ask so many questions aloud. Our questions become more private: Why? Why are we on this earth? Events occur, and we ask: Why me? Or, why not me?
"I am not Menachem." So says Israeli heartthrob Aki Avni, referring to his character in "Time of Favor," the Israeli psychological thriller opening in Los Angeles movie theaters Feb 1. The film, winner of six Israeli Oscars last year, including picture of the year, tells the story of a religious settler army unit in which one student, Pini, takes to heart his rabbi's ideological rantings about the Temple Mount, and crazily decides to blow it up.