Secular Jews and Humanists

The concept of humanistic judaism, or religious humanism in general, has always highlighted to me of what is good about religion: culture, history, tradition.

What does it mean to be a secular Jew? It’s when you keep the tradition and practices of your Jewish upbringing, but ditch the belief in a supernatural being.

I believe that a lessening of emphasis on a supernatural authority is a positive change, especially for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where rational compromise appears to be the only path to peace.

Here are some statistics on religiosity of Jews in Israel:

  • 44% are secular
  • 27% are “traditional”
  • 12% are “traditionally observant”
  • 9% are “orthodox”
  • 8% are “ultra-orthodox”

All the quotes around these labels are there to remind of the subjectivity of such labels. A less promising statistic is that only 18% of Arabs in Israel are not religious.

This is a sensitive subject for a lot of people, so I won’t say much more, except that I wish more people emphasized the positive aspects of culture and tradition of a religion as opposed to using its holy text to justify questionable acts.

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