Judaism without the God of the Bible? We say yes.
Apparently, Rabbi Warren Goldstein (“Judaism without God? God forbid,” Aug. 26, 2022) has never heard of the concept of Judaism being a big tent. His view that real/authentic Jews have to believe in the biblical version of God and a literal interpretation of Torah leaves out millions of American Jews.
According to the PEW Research Center, only 26% of American Jews believe in the “God of the Bible” while half believe in a “higher power or spiritual force.” The remaining 22% of Jews don’t believe in either. According to Rabbi Goldstein, almost three-quarters of the American Jewish population aren’t real Jews.
Rabbi Goldstein is correct that his version of Judaism was uncontested until around 150 years ago. But since that time Jews have created several other options. Since the second half of the twentieth century the majority have chosen non-Orthodox denominations and many have chosen none at all. The rabbi implies that we have made these decisions from a place of ignorance, whereas we assume that most Jews are aware of each denomination’s beliefs and have made an informed, often soul-searching choice.
Goldstein mentions the Passover seder, Yom Kippur and Shabbat as cornerstones of Judaism. Every denomination, including ours — secular humanistic Judaism — observes all three.
Come on, Rabbi. Today’s Judaism is pluralistic, not fundamentalist. Remember the big tent.
Bob Jacobson and Fred L. Pincus
Praise for Beth Rheingold
Responses to “Supporting small businesses with Beth Rheingold” (Aug. 26, 2022) on Facebook:
Beth Snyder Rheingold is such an asset to the community!
Lisa Belcastro, Baltimore
Beth is a FORCE! So happy to have her for the community!
Kristin Zeminski, Baltimore
Pikesville is lucky to have her!
Ruth Goldtein, Pikesville
Very proud of my wife. Thank you, Baltimore Jewish Times for a great article.
Hugh Rheingold, Baltimore