Jewish Journal


November 7, 2008

Joel Stein, ‘Mein Kampf’ and the Bible


I like Joel Stein. We tried out for “The Apprentice” together and neither made it past Trump’s hairpiece. Each week Joel writes a clever column for my increasingly uninspiring local newspaper. (Seriously, these days I subscribe to the Los Angeles Times out of personal guilt.)

This time last year I asked, “Why is Joel Stein Going to Hell?” and he offered this answer. In today’s Jewish Journal, Joel says that he stopped going to temple because it bores him to tears and makes an awkward “Mein Kampf” reference in the process:

JJ: What’s Jewish about you?
JS: My name, my face…. I’ve gotten so much Jewier since moving to L.A. This is the Jewiest place compared to New York.

JJ: Do you ever go to temple?
JS: No, I never go to temple. My life is short. I don’t want to spend it being bored so I can feel like a better person for something I don’t believe in. I’m a strong atheist. I don’t go to temple ‘cause they talk about the Bible, and I just don’t get anything out of that.

JJ: So you’re not a fan of the Bible?
JS: I just think it’s really kind of violent and mean and selfish and tribal.

JJ: Maybe you’re not reading it with the right lenses.
JS: Dude, I could read ‘Mein Kampf’ with the right lenses on and find something nice about it. You shouldn’t have to bend over backwards to find something nice about a text. I understand the context: You turn around and pity a people being killed, and, like, you turn to salt; God kills your first-born baby; God asks you to kill your child? I know you could come up with counter examples, but there’s enough slavery and murder in that thing ... I’d rather read ‘Finnegan’s Wake.’

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