Religion & Beliefs

Survey #2: “I feel no connection to Zionism”

Our second responder to the Faithhacker survey is Joel Schwartzberg.  He's a father, webbie, producer, writer, comic, and editor, and he does all these cool things!  What do you think, folks?  Does Joel represent a brand of Judaism that sound … Read More

By / November 22, 2006

Our second responder to the Faithhacker survey is Joel Schwartzberg.  He's a father, webbie, producer, writer, comic, and editor, and he does all these cool things

What do you think, folks?  Does Joel represent a brand of Judaism that sound like your own?

**

Do you believe in "G-d?"  If so, what does that word mean?

I interpret and define God as "goodness". That is, that which leads us to have a positive influence on our own lives and that of other people. It's the opposite of evil. Something inclines most of us toward Good and against Evil. It's this idea of "Good" that I define as "God", not as an actual supernatural individual being. I recognize this as a version of "cafeteria Judiasm", but I still identify myself as a cultural Jew, even if not so much as a religious one.

The bible is full of stories about people that demonstrate and inspire goodness. These are the parts I most admire and feel I can learn from. Mitzvahs, more so than miracles.

Does this question make you feel uncomfortable at all, and if so, can you explain those feelings a bit?

It makes me self-conscious to the extent that people and family members I love and respect might not consider me not Jewish anymore as a result, or not a respectful Jew, as I was raised. That they might judge me poorly as a result. Do you believe in an afterlife of any kind?   If so, can you tell us something about it?

I'd like to, but I do not. Do you pray?  If so… How?  When? Why?  Try to be as specific as you can… bearing in mind that prayer means many things to many people.

No. But if my family was in trouble, I'd whisper a prayer that would just ask that our fate be pointed in the healthiest direciton, and that I'd recognize the best decisions. Can you tell us something about how prayer makes you feel?  Is there an effect on you?

Probably not applicable. I prayed as a kid at Temple, and it made me feel part of a community, but not much else. Have you ever had an experience you'd call "spiritual" or "mystical"?

Not really, though I once had a dream that could be interpreted as an out-of-body experience. And moments of deja vu or random irony stymie me Do you think that belief in G-d and prayer are important parts of being Jewish?

Religiously Jewish, yes. Culturally Jewish, no. Are these questions important to you?  Do they bug you?

They are important to the extent I recognize that I'm not a religious hypocrite, that I've defined my own version of Judiasm, one that I'm comfrotable with. The more I think about it, the clearer it becomes in my mind, so the more at peace I am with my self-identification as a Jew and connection to Jewish heritage.

Not asked, but FYI: I feel no connection to Zionism. I feel little connection to Israel. I have no desire whatsoever to travel to Israel any more than anywhere else interesting. And I detest fundementalist religion whether it be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or whatever.