Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Combining Judaism and Non-belief

It seems like ages ago that I posted about my conflict over the Sunday School we had tried. I wanted Princess to know that we aren't the only Jewish family. I wanted to bring more Jewish culture into her life. I wanted to do this without the religious side of it. I thought I had found all this at Kol Shalom, a humanistic synagogue here in Portland, but after going three times and experiencing the class I didn't feel that I found what I was looking for.

This is such a long complicated path and I feel like I should share a little about how I got here as well as how it's possible to be a Jew and not believe in God. I didn't even know that there were others like me, but it turns out that others have believed as I do for a long time. Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine started the Humanistic Judaism movement way back in 1963.

Years ago I started to question things about my beliefs. A lot didn't make sense. I had issue with the fact that every prayer was, in essence, telling God how great he is. I even went so far as to talk with a rabbi asking why God was so insecure that he needed all this praise. He gave me answers, but I left feeling very unsatisfied.

My beliefs have changed over the years and I do still have beliefs. I believe that everything is energy and all energy if effected by all energy. I believe in the Law of Attraction. I believe that what you put out comes back to you.

I love the traditions of Judaism. After dropping the religious part of Judaism I really enjoyed the rest. It took me a while to realize that I didn't believe in a higher power, but once I realized that I was able to embrace the traditions of Judaism that I love so much. I just need to incorporate some changes into the way we celebrate, specifically the prayers.

Rather than go on and on I will post our celebrations as they happen and how they happen. I will try to include the changes that we make and how our celebration is different than the religious part. There are some holidays that we celebrate and some that, at the moment, we don't. I want to learn more about the ones we don't and decide if I'd like to incorporate them into our life.

I'm still at the beginning of this journey. I am looking forward to learning more and am happy to have you all read along.


Kelly said...

We celebrate all of the Christian holidays, but we are atheists. The traditions of Christmas and Easter are about family and being together. Oh, and they are too much fun to be ignored. It's taken us a long time, but we are totally comfortable with this arrangement. It will get more complicated when Violet starts asking why everyone keeps talking about some guy named Jesus, but by then I'm sure we'll have a good answer for her.

I am glad that we are not the only family who finds value in religious tradition, despite a lack of faith in God. I look forward to reading about your celebrations.

Lisa said...

I am on a finding path as well. We celebrate the seasons more than the christian holidays (we do Christmas though)...very strong Mother Earth focus. I am right there with you on the energies....I think everything has an energy that effects others.

It's beautiful that you are celebrating customs and making traditions for your family. I really think people need these in their lives.

Beautiful post! -Lisa

Shady Lady said...

Thank you ladies for your response! Yes, it's pretty easy to celebrate a holiday without it being religious.

We have never really had a discussion about God in our house. We were at Village Home one day and for some reason Freckle's son (yes, Freckle the atheist) said something about God being a cloud. Princess came up to me confused and asked who Glod was.

t.t. millers said...

Although our family is christian and we celebrate christian holidays, I would not say we are those "obnoxious" religious types. I don't push my religion on others and I respect all other types of beliefs. I am always interested in what and how other people believe (or not) in. I am like a persistant three year old and always ask "WHY?". I think the most important thing is people raising their children with good values and morals.

Shady Lady said...

Hey Tami! Thanks for commenting. I am always happy to answer the "why" question. :) I do have several friends who are religious and we are all very respectful of each other. It's wonderful when we can have such wonderful relationships with people of various beliefs.

I agree that raising children with good values and morals is essential. That is something that I think comes naturally for us. It kind of goes with the 'what you put out comes back'. There are more things I want to begin with Princess now that she is getting older...things like volunteering. We are also going to check out the Rational Sunday School that Such Lovely Freckles facilitates.

It is an exciting life!

Momma Bear said...

Thanks for sharing. It is interesting to find out what others beliefs are. I too, like the other commenter, am a christian but want to hear more. Glad you are moved in btw!