Yom Kippur Phoniness

Sunday night begins Yom Kippur. For 24 hours, until Monday night, Jews fast. After not eating, we feast.

More importantly, we atone for our sins. We apologize for those we have wronged to the people we have wronged. This can lead to many heartfelt words. Some of those words may be expressed in a blog offering sincere contrition.

That will not be this blog. Not today. The holiday is not today.

Today I am going to recommend that many liberal Jews skip Yom Kippur entirely.

Stay home from Synagogue. Ignore the holiday. Apologize for nothing.

Is it because they are perfect just the way they are?

No, even though many of them think they are.

It is because their prayers will be insincere. They will be engaging in Yom Kippur phoniness.

Now I know at this point liberal Jews will get indignant, because they took sanctimoniusness 101 in college along with smugness 102 and self-righteousness 103.

Yom Kippur is about sincere attempts to be a better human being. It is about sincerely looking deep inside oneself and finding out how we can give in to our angel selves and overcome our internal demons.

Liberal Jews have zero interest in doing this.

Here is the test. When liberal Jews are apologizing in the abstract, they should try making a specific apology.

“I apologize for every bad word and every bad thought I have ever had about George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, and any other conservative or Republican. I also apologize for harshly judging random conservatives and Republicans I have met without bothering to get to know them or give them a chance. I will make a sincere effort to stop engaging in Ideological Bigotry.”

Does any serious person think that liberals are going to do this?

Of course not. Why apologize when one is convinced that their bad behavior is justified?

Judaism is about self reflection. It allows much self criticism, sometimes to the point of groveling. Yet while Jews apologize for things that are not their fault, they cannot bring themselves to apologize for their treatment of evangelical Christians.

Was there a time in history when Christians were the major source of bigotry toward Jews?

Yes, hundreds of years ago.

I’m over it.

The Christians of today are good people, and they deserve to be treated like human beings.

This does not mean Jews should become conservatives, although it would be nice if they would.

It does mean that the irrational hostility toward conservatives based on centuries old grievances must cease.

I am constantly questioning my own behavior. I do not discuss it on my blog, because my blog is about issues, not me. Yet I look in the mirror, and I worry that the man I am and the man I want to be are separated by an ever widening gulf. I remind myself that I do not have to always be right, but I do have to be fair. I question whether I cross the line form hard hitting to mean.

Most of the time, I believe I fall on the side of decency, although there are some close calls.

I will not give phony apologies. There are people whose death would make my life better. Some of them are relatives that grow exponentially useless by the day. I have no intention of apologizing for how I feel about them. However, I will absolutely question whether there are things I could have done so that the anger I feel toward them will eventually dissipate. If they reach out to me, again in a very sincere manner, of course I will listen. I have to do that.

Yet atoning for sins does not mean becoming a patsy and being a pushover. I have no patience for losers.

I have no patience for a lot of things. I definitely need to work on that. When I do the atoning ritual of Tashlich, I will try my best.

Yet I know bigotry is wrong. I know that when I wake up in the morning I am every bit as flesh and blood as any liberal. I also don’t hate them for existing and breathing.

Some of these liberals actually through clenched teeth will apologize for their anti-conservative hatred. They don’t get it. Sincere apologies do not come through clenched teeth.

Unless liberal Jews can truly apologize for the hate they feel for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Sarah Palin, which in reality masks a hatred for an entire group…conservatives, mainly evangelicals…they should just stay home.

I know that would make my Synagogue experience more enjoyable.

I will do some apologizing on Yom Kippur. Yet at least it won’t be phony.

Hineni. Here I am. Jewish, Conservative, proud, and determined to stop ideological bigotry.


6 Responses to “Yom Kippur Phoniness”

  1. Dav Lev says:

    The only requirement here ( one of the 613 laws of Moses, given on
    Mt Sinai), is not to steal.

    The vast majority of US Jews, consciously or not, obey those laws that
    are salient today.

    Laws about ritual slaughter for example, are irrelevant.

    I do not break the (US) laws. I don’t steal and I don’t murder ( sometimes
    stealing is similar to kidnapping). I don’t envy my neighbor, but admit
    to admiring a newer car (just today I looked at a 2010 Ford Focus with

    I have always respected my parents, but do not always keep the Sabbath, shame, shame on me. I am not always kosher, but really try to avoid
    eating any pork products or shrimp, lobster or crab.

    I certainly don’t commit adultery. I don’t lie (Id rather say nothing).

    Since most of the 613 mitsvahs ( commandments) are not applicable
    to my life..I haven’t memorized them.

    I am aware that most California Jews voted yes on same sex marriages (voted No on the proposition). Now that is a violation w/o question.

    The intermarriage rate with other religions ( not Islam ), is at 50% in
    some US areas. The bible prohibits having sex with or marrying non-Jews.
    It’s in the Torah, for those not familar.

    Soooo..the rabbis have a lot of work on their plate to do and much
    to accomplish.

    I am frankly more concerned about the sins of non-Jews than Jews.

    When I hear Obama giving a speech at the UN to dozens of countries which are dictatorships, and cannot hold a candle to little Israel’s democracy, I question his religious faith.

    Did anyone but me notice the amount of applause when he
    told the world that we (US) do not consider the settlements legitimate? Or when he said Israel cannot occupy Palestinian land?

    Hmmm, I wonder how come he didn’t reveal why the settlements are there to begin with or why Israel occupies disputed territory? Maybe he should have read from Michael Oren’s The 67 War, a history of
    that war and how King Hussein attacked W. Jerusalem, killing many and
    destroying thousands of buildings.,.while Syria and Egypt sought the
    complete Jihad against the Jewish state.

    But then again, would anyone have cared, at the UN?

    For the bloggers recall, for 2,000 years, the “Jews” have been
    at various times and at various places, dispised, hated, killed
    and discriminated against., whether by Christians or Muslims.

    It just so happens that the 21st century has witnessed the open
    Muslim contempt, but let’s not forget what happene just 63 years ago
    throughout Christian Europe.

    Yes indeed, this time around the Evangelical Christians are on our side.
    We should not dismiss this, but let’s not get carried away.

    The West (mainly Christian) is doing nothing concrete to stop
    Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.

    That is what bothers me, not some minor sins committed by
    a small percentage of Jews.

    When the sins are great (B. Madoff, or Jack Abramoff) they do the
    time. And that is appropriate.

    Disliking or having strong opinions (negative) about Conservatives is
    not a crime or a sin..it’s just an attitude, sometimes just, sometimes
    unjust. Having a 100% positive attitude about liberals..is equally

    These are very complex issues and cannot be relegated to
    simplistic criticism, fortunately.

    I mean, even though I am a moderate conservative, I sometimes
    agree with my liberal friends, family and acquaintences.

  2. Wait a minute… You say liberal Jews should skip Yom Kippur because you assert that they are insincere and sanctimonious. Do you see the irony there? The hypocrisy? Who are you to tell people, people of your faith, that they should skip their holiday because they happen to not agree with you politically? That’s not insincere? That’s not sanctimonious?

    I have a Jewish man, older guy, working for me. He needs to take Monday off for his holiday. I told him that would be just fine. I’ll work around it. I respect his tradition. No skin off me. He’s a good guy, he seems to be pretty liberal (he doesn’t talk politics, but he does comment on sociological/religious topics and he seems to lean to Left, but I really can’t tell for sure). He is well-versed in his traditions and often schools me on that tradition, which I really enjoy and from it I learn. One thing I’ve learned over the years, reinforced by my recent conversations with this fine gentleman, is that there is NOTHING contrarian about being a “liberal” Jew. Heck, there’s not even anything contrarian with being an atheist Jew!

    Judaism has survived all these millenia because it is a faith that embraces questioning, curiousity, diversity of opinion, argument, debate, evolution of tradition and faith. Judaism is adaptable, interpretable, maliable. Many a faith has come and gone since the birth of Judaism, but Judaism remains. The oldest faith in the world. Why? Because it is not arbitrarily dogmatic.

    To suggest that being a liberal is incomapatble with Judaism shows a level of ignorance of your own faith that is extremely disappointing. You should know better than that. But then you go off the truly deep end…

    “Was there a time in history when Christians were the major source of bigotry toward Jews?

    Yes, hundreds of years ago.”

    I CAN NOT BELIEVE that the son of HOLOCAUST SURVIBORS would say such a TREMENDOUSLY STUPID thing.

    Eric, That’s one really big thing for which you’d better atone. It is the most ignorant thing I’ve read in years, and it is extremely disappointing. You should be better than this.


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