The Pew Study


Snatching victory from the jaws of media negativity is always a good idea. In this case, the good idea was entirely my colleague’s, Rabbi Abraham Cooper. When people pointed to the recent Pew study that showed one billion people who claim no religious affiliation and snickered about the future of religion, he figured we could turn it around a bit, and score a few points for the Prophets of the Hebrew Scripture – and for the Jewish people. The Washington Post apparently agreed. Our piece is an op-ed today.

One of my sons became proficient at generating sentences that usually appear on the back of wine bottles, e.g. replete with faint overtones of mahogany,cherry blossoms, and car deodorizer. (Personally, I like wine that tastes like wine.) Some of you connoisseurs may detect overtones of the Besht, the Sfas Emes and others in this piece, although well disguised. (Conveying the emes of Torah to the general world community is still a work in progress.) Without prejudice as to the intentions of wine label creators, in this case you would be correct.

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2 years 10 months ago

Wonderful article! A couple thoughts:

If human dignity and basic deeds are the priority in G-d’s eyes, then why aren’t Torah Jews on the forefront on efforts to address the biggest affronts to human dignity in the world — such as the millions of people around the world who are literally slaves, the many governments in the developing world that fail to provide functional and fair court systems (which is after all a Noahide commandment), and the millions of people who die each year from preventable diseases? Maybe some already are on the forefront. But shouldn’t this be a priority?

The… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

Great article by Rabbi Cooper, and one that every Jew and every other civilized human being should read and ingrain into their minds for as long as they live. I do want to qualify it just a bit, though.

One of the ways that G-d’s Commandments have been categorized, are those involving our direct relationship to G-d Himself, and those involving how we treat our fellow human beings. That is how the Ten Commandments themselves are said to be divided up. Complete focus on either extreme, can result in disastrous consequences. Focusing exclusively on one’s relationship to… Read more »

2 years 10 months ago

I read the Washington Post OP-ED piece. I was troubled by the fact the pronouns that referred to the Almighty were not capitalized. Reason? Halachic? WP Style?

[YA – Indeed, to my chagrin as well, this has become the new style – not just at the WP. The pronoun is no longer routinely capitalized. What is really surprising here is that they did retain our use of “G-d” with a hyphen. While there is halachic support for this dating back to R Chaim Ozer making the recommendation for similar treatment of the French word for goodbye, which also references the Deity,… Read more »

Mike S.
2 years 10 months ago

Emphasis on the need for religious observance to foster proper treatment of other people and respect for the Tzelem Elokim in everyone if it is not to be empty hypocrisy is perhaps needed as much for addressing ourselves as for “Conveying the emes of Torah to the general world community.” I wish more rabbinic leaders would talk in this way more often.

2 years 10 months ago

Nice piece, but wow, look at the talkbacks! I didn’t know so many wackos read the Washington Post ☺.