Tag: secular

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Jews Have Abandoned Judaism


Abandon is a pretty strong word; I could have worded my title differently, but I believe that most of modern Jewry have, for all intents and purposes, left the fold. Only a small number of Jews are observant Jews, and I am not one of them. I decided to explore this question, and hopefully clarify for myself not just what it means to be a Jew, but what it means for me to be Jew. As you look at the lives of Jews whom you know, you might want to explore some of these issues with them. I am including some of my personal experiences as a Jew, and I will leave you to determine the legitimacy of my claims.

First, I was raised in a nearly secular family. We rarely if ever discussed G-d. I don’t even know if my father believed in G-d. Although my mother occasionally mentioned G-d, her level of belief (if at all) was unclear. Both my parents were raised in broken homes, with some version of Judaism that might have included keeping kosher, but I honestly don’t know if they observed any of the holidays. I know that my father read Hebrew, but I just now realize that I don’t know if he was a bar mitzvah. And both my parents have died. When I asked my father why he grudgingly went to synagogue on the High Holidays, he said he didn’t need to go there to experience G-d. Whether he experienced G-d elsewhere I’ll never know.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post


In June, I posted on using music to “Retell[] a Poem – the Sacred in the Secular“. Then, I took you behind the scenes, into what the process of setting a poem to music looks like, in the middle of things, while the draft is still incomplete. Now that the draft is completed, in honor […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Retelling a Poem – the Sacred in the Secular


The long shadow Easter casts on our culture is light in darkness rather than darkness in light. The poem off to the right here is lit by that shadow. So much of the poem’s language reduces humanity to mere biology – our ghosts are merely the bioluminescence of the worms feeding off our corpses, rebirth is perhaps nothing more than dirty fertilization, whether of plants or of people – but all is framed to subvert that reduction. The poem shows a light beyond nature and nature’s endless cycling, light from a dawn that remains fixed for all time: the Easter dawn. Really, it’s impossible to put what the poem is saying into words any better than the words of the poem itself. Not all restatement is verbal, though.

Setting a poem for singers will literally restate the words, as they are sung. But the music written for the words is, even when the words are removed, its own retelling. Plenty of us are amateur poets, but not all of us write poems worth saying. Fortunately for amateur poets with some training in music, our own play-acting as poets can help us retell other, much better, poets’ poems in musical form. The following is one such half-finished retelling, which, being half-finished, with sketchiness and seams still evident, gives a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s done:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. In the Face of Evil


The word “evil” has become trivialized, particularly in this election season. Just like the words racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, it is casually thrown around like a ragdoll: who gets to play with it next? When one person doesn’t like other people, or dislikes their positions, he or she just calls them evil.

In researching the origins of evil, I found religious definitions and secular definitions. One religious definition is as follows: