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Religion

Religion has always confused me. Many people who consider themselves religious are dismissive of other religions and of people in their own religion who may worship differently.

I often heard the term "Self-hating Jew." To me it's a dismissive term that charasterizes someone who you don't completely agree with.

My Dad died last week. He wasn't religious. He was however, a wonderful person and a great father. My mother's orthodox cousin performed the service.
This man "get's it." He knew that our believes were different than his. Never for one moment did he preach. He spoke of my father with love and respect. I wrote him a letter of thanks. Here is part of his response.

"What we all share is the knowledge that even other people following the trails that we did may well reach other conclusions and behave differently. Prejudice against fellow Jews or even non Jews is not a part of our outlook. As I stated at the funeral, Psalm 119 contains a verse that answers the somewhat rehtorical question asked in the book known in English as the Ethics of the Fathers: "Who is the wiseman? (Ans) One who learns from everyone, for it is stated in Psalm 119 verse 99, "from all my teachers I grew wise..." One of the outstanding characteristics of your parents is another verse from the Ethics of the Fathers, "receive each person with joy" and it is repeated in a slightly different wording, "receive each person with a pleasant demeanor."

Out of this sad moment, I got to know and respect a cousin that I barely knew.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
wibblywobbly
Aug. 11th, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear about your father.
id_vs
Aug. 12th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
I would describe men like your father and your mother's cousin as "post-religious". They're willing to see through specific brands of affiliation with the divine to the root of all faith, by which I mean one's affiliation with other men.

There are so many Psalms and verses to pick from when remembering the dead during memorial services. At the end of his life, your father was remembered for his role as a father. That you, his son, chose to reiterate this to the public only strengthens the inherent meaning in that.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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