Answers from an Orthodox Jew


#236

Right, I didn’t mean to say their objective was to spread atheism; rather, that it was a movement founded by atheists. Much like Karl Marx’s was Jewish, but was an atheist and his philosophy was built on atheism. From what I gather, most non-Jews see Judaism as a religion, identified by what is written in the Torah and the New Testament, identifying Jews as a group of people holding fast to the same beliefs described in the Old Testament, all awaiting the Messiah. In reality Judaism is completely fractured, and the only thing that unites Jews is a kind of ethnic identity and heritage. Thus even Jewish people that attend synagogue are often atheists themselves. It would be interesting to know what percent of Jews around the world actually believe in God; from what I understand, atheism is entrenched in American Judaism, while the majority of Jews in the State of Israel are secular, non believers. As for Zionism using religion as a facade in order to justify the takeover of lands by claiming Biblical authority over the region, there’s an interesting book by Israeli author Mike Peled titled The General’s Son that gives an interesting insight about Zionism it’s leaders and the establishment of the State of Israel, which was strictly a Zionist endeavor; there are some interesting talks by him on YouTube worth watching.


#237

Karl Marx was Lutheran. He was ethnically Jewish but his father had converted and how much he knew about the Jewish faith is open to question, he certainly didn’t care much for any religious faith as he grew older. Little bit of amusing trivia about Karl, all his daughters were called Jenny.


#238

According to Wikipedia, “a year before Marx was born, his father had converted to the Prussian state religion of Lutheranism in order to continue working as a lawyer.”

“Marx was ethnically Jewish. His maternal grandfather was a Dutch rabbi, while his paternal line had supplied Trier’s rabbis since 1723, a role taken by his grandfather Meier Halevi Marx.[19] His father, as a child known as Herschel, was the first in the line to receive a secular education and he became a lawyer and lived a relatively wealthy and middle-class existence, with his family owning a number of Moselle vineyards. Prior to his son’s birth, and after the abrogation of Jewish emancipation in the Rhineland,[20] Herschel converted from Judaism to join the state Evangelical Church of Prussia, taking on the German forename of Heinrich over the Yiddish Herschel.[21] Marx was a third cousin once removed of German Romantic poet Heinrich Heine, also born to a German Jewish family in the Rhineland, with whom he became a frequent correspondent in later life.[22][page needed]

Marx’s birthplace, now Bruckenstrasse 10, in Trier. The family occupied two rooms on the ground floor and three on the first floor.[23] Purchased by the Social Democratic Party of Germany in 1928, it now houses a museum devoted to him[24]
Largely non-religious, Heinrich was a man of the Enlightenment, interested in the ideas of the philosophers Immanuel Kant and Voltaire. A classical liberal, he took part in agitation for a constitution and reforms in Prussia, then governed by an absolute monarchy.[25] In 1815, Heinrich Marx began work as an attorney and in 1819 moved his family to a ten-room property near the Porta Nigra.[26] His wife, Henriette Pressburg, was a Dutch Jewish woman from a prosperous business family that later founded the company Philips Electronics. Her sister Sophie Pressburg (1797–1854) married Lion Philips (1794–1866) and was the grandmother of both Gerard and Anton Philips and great-grandmother to Frits Philips. Lion Philips was a wealthy Dutch tobacco manufacturer and industrialist, upon whom Karl and Jenny Marx would later often come to rely for loans while they were exiled in London.


#239

Bernard Levy said in one of his books (interviews with Michel Houellebeque) that Zionism represents the secular political interests of the Jewish people. Some of them are religious, others are atheists since it’s a secular movement involving political issues it can fit both. Is this correct?
I also get the impression that some Zionists are international involved with the general political interests of Jews around the world (the diaspora) while others are strictly Israeli Zionists, nationalists of Israel in another word. Some of them may not even be of Jewish faith, they are citizens of Israel who support Israel’s interests. Is this correct too?
Also I found on Israeli sites many times the term “Christian Zionism” and I am very confused by what that means. Does it mean Christian self-determination or does it mean with Christians support the Zionists?


#240

Christian Zionists are the product of the Christian Evangelical movement that mistakenly and obsessively believe in ”the rapture”, an believe that Christ’s return can only happen after the “Third Temple” is built in Jerusalem, and anything they can do to support the Sate of Israel “speed’s up” Christ’s return, and according to their gross misinterpretation of Sacred Scripture, their support of the State of ISrael showers Christian Evangelicals with blessings. Thus there is a huge pro-Israel lobby coming from conservative Evangelicals in Washington, who blindly support Israel and its political ambitions, thus any political enemy of Israel must be defeated (i.e. Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran). It’s pretty nutty; one of its loudest proponents is tele-evangelist John Hagee; obviously the Zionist organization AIPAC (The American-Israel Public Affairs Commitee”, which empowers pro-Israel activists, welcomes them with open arms, especially as these Zionist Evangelical Christians have a great influence with members of Congress. Israel receives billions and billions of U.S. taxpayer money every year, effectively subsidizing the prosperity of Israeli citizens. But even worse, the U.S. fights their wars with our own men and women. Here’s a taste of Christian Zionism:


#241

Christian Zionism is a bit of an odd one. Ultimately it is not as friendly to Judaism as it may look as it’s presupposed on the notion of Jews converting eventually to Christianity. Oliver Cromwell allowed the Jews back into England based on notions not dissimilar to some of the strains of thought you find amongst modern Christian Zionists.


#242

I’m fairly sure that the typical Jewish Israeli citizen does not believe that most Christian Zionist Evangelicals are acting ONLY or even primarily in the interest of Jews. But, as they say, war sometimes makes for strange bedfellows.


#243

By the way for posters here there is an excelled BBC series about the history of the Jewish people by Simon Schama on at the moment. Well worth a watch. Especially as she deals nicely with some simplistic assumptions about the faith and shows how like any other faith there are odd contradictions, paradoxes and all sorts of movements within it away from the ‘mainstream’. My wife who tolerates my interests in all faiths watched it with one eye whilst grumbling that she really wanted to watch the concluding episodes of ‘Westworld’ which she had been watching and which she was impressed with as a show. She only started watching that because I gave it a try and rolled her eyes at more superhero/sci-fi stuff. But she stayed with it when she saw Anthony Hopkin’s performance and saw it was distinctly different from the popcorn blockbuster stuff with superheroes.


#244

Thanks, JC. I think I’ve seen parts of that interesting series.


#245

According to, “The Jewish Book of Why” kneeling used to be part of Jewish services, but was only banned by rabbis because Christians were doing it. What is your take on this practice and the reasoning given for stopping it?

“Jewish Book of Why” 1981 Alfred J Kolatch. Jonathan David Publishers Inc. Page 153. (Purchased recently from a synagogue library.)


#246

Very interesting, especially one part so far where there was a colony of Jews on one island with their own temple where they permitted sacrifice. They inevitably butted up against the authorities running THE temple and when theirs was destroyed the authorities of that promised help rebuilding their place of worship but with the caveat that no animal sacrifices would be allowed. I’d also recommend Schama’s written work as well and his TV series charting English history.


#247

I’m very interested, but we don’t get BBC. Any idea if it’s on Netflix? What’s the title of the series?


#248

I never knew that kneeling existed in Jewish prayer services. Perhaps it did in ancient times. I do know that Jews stand up to worship G-d, as opposed to Christians and Muslims, but whether the practice was changed or banned in reaction to Christian practice, I have no idea. Maybe Moses613 can fill us in.


#249

The Story of the Jews. It is available on PBS in the US I believe. It is been reshown on BBC iplayer.


#250

Yes, I saw some of the series on PBS. We get a lot of imports from BBC, although NOT ENOUGH.


#251

Christians also stand to worship God, many of them also use prostration. The latter is not so common in the west and when family members have seen my extended family do it they have been bemused as the only time anyone did that in Ireland was during very intense spiritual retreats or things like a priest about to be ordained.


#252

I believe prostration was a form of worship by Jews in ancient times as well. Muslims have also retained the practice.


#253

Hopefully this falls under “fair use.” I always hesitate with things like this.


#254

It is slightly odd to watch someone do it who is a family member or loved one at first, especially when you were just getting to know them. Just as it was odd to watch my wife cover her hair for Church and wear a skirt, especially as she loathes wearing the latter normally.


#255

I wonder whether this is the general consensus regarding why kneeling and prostration are rarely part of modern Jewish services. I would not be surprised that Jews were influenced by Christians in both directions, just are they were influenced by Greek customs.


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