Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Jewish Atheist in the Press!

Clifford Singer wrote to inform me that he mentioned my blog in an article in Jewish Socialist magazine from the UK. The article is primarily a response to the infamous Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards:

Despite promising to 'showcase and increase awareness of the community's vast spectrum of bloggers', dissenting, left-wing or even moderately liberal sites were scarce among the nominees.


Later, he quotes Daniel Sieradski of Orthodox Anarchist and Jew School:

I get riled up because I have a hard time accepting that the Jewish community - which is primarily liberal and progressive - should appear to be so overrepresented by the religious right... The domination of the blogosphere by the Jewish right is a stain on our community and reflects poorly on us internally and externally.


Well said. Although there are certainly well-known liberal J-bloggers out there, we are seriously underrepresented. In 2004, Jewish Americans voted overwhelmingly for Kerry (77%-22%), but you certainly wouldn't guess that from the J-blogs.

Anyway, who cares about all that stuff? Here's the part about me:

If any talk of religious observance sends you into a cold sweat, head over to Jewish Atheist, whose 'About Me' description puts his stance succinctly: '1) I used to be a Modern Orthodox Jew. 2) I am now an atheist. 3) I believe that Judaism has a lot of beauty and wisdom, but that it also causes harm.' Jewish Atheist covers topics from creationism and 'Intelligent Design' to the ethics of giving to faith-based charities. His writing is forceful but never sanctimonious, and he avoids the overbearing style of one of his influences, Richard Dawkins. This has encouraged lively but respectful debates on his 'comments' pages - in contrast to other contentious blogs which degenerate into slanging matches.

Jewish Atheist also talks of his own break with orthodoxy and the pressures he faced. He mourns the loss of a community 'which I have not yet been able to replicate outside of Orthodox Judaism' but celebrates his personal and intellectual freedom. He writes too of overcoming guilt: 'Eventually, I came to the realisation that even though my parents were clearly embarrassed by me, it was not my fault. I was being true to myself and I had gone out of my way not to hurt anyone unnecessarily. If my parents couldn't learn to accept me as I was, it was their failing, not mine. It still hurt, but it didn't make me feel guilty any more.' [Links added --JA]


(Disclaimer: I'm a liberal/progressive but not a socialist. Also, like a good American, I spell "realization" with a "z." ;) So don't write angry emails.)

16 comments:

Sadie Lou said...

Good job, JA. It feels good when people are proud of your work/writing and they feel inclined to spread the word about you, doesn't it?
I was included in a list of "local, popular bloggers" for a newspaper article in our local publication.
Apparently, some lady in the pressroom was addicted to reading my posts and then the article was built around me. That felt really satisfying.
I can't imagine what I did before blogging.
*wink*

Kyaroko said...

Go you!

Laura said...

You're famous!!!

dbackdad said...

A celebrity in our midst. Please don't forget us little people when you go big time. :-)

Congrats and well-deserved.

CyberKitten said...

Cool! Not only a star but a trans-atlantic star....

"We're not worthy, we're not worthy"..

[chuckle]

Stephen (aka Q) said...

This has encouraged lively but respectful debates on his 'comments' pages - in contrast to other contentious blogs which degenerate into slanging matches.

There's a little praise in there for all of us, I think. But mostly to you, JA, for setting the right tone.

The Jewish Freak said...

Congrats!

Jewish Atheist said...

Thanks everybody, and journeyman is right -- this blog wouldn't be anything without you little people. ;-)

JDHURF said...

That was exciting! They had some really great things to say about you and your blog, that was awesome!

R10B said...

His writing is forceful but never sanctimonious, and he avoids the overbearing style of one of his influences, Richard Dawkins. This has encouraged lively but respectful debates on his 'comments' pages - in contrast to other contentious blogs which degenerate into slanging matches.

I second that!

JA, you manage to keep things on a high plane despite the devisive and emotionally charged topics you tend to write about. Visiting this site as a non-atheist I don't worry that I will be pelted with foul epithets or dismissed as incapable of rational thought. I worry I may be out-argued or that I may talk myself into a corner, but again that's why I return.

I hope you know how much your work is appreciated.

Is Dawkins really one of your influences? You stupid moron ;-)

Jewish Atheist said...

Is Dawkins really one of your influences? You stupid moron ;-)

:)

His book (The Blind Watchmaker) was influential for me, but I find his antitheism a little over the top. I think he's probably doing more harm than good for atheists' reputations.

Still, religious people have all sorts of crazy, out-there prominent figures. I think we atheists deserve one. :)

Foilwoman said...

Congratulations, and the praise on the tone you maintain here (despite the best efforts of many of us) is deserved.

JDHURF said...

I also agree Dawkins certainly is capable of being "overbearing" but he is pale in comparison to the likes of Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Bill Donahue, etc. There seems to be an endless slew of fundamental religionists bordering on extremism and religious fascism.
It was Robertson himself that claimed: “After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil and the state will not permit anybody to practice it.” If that is not fascism then nothing is.
Pluralism is one of the greatest characteristics of the United States, one of the main reasons I am proud to be an American. In this country, thanks to pluralism, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, humanists, etc. are all seen as equal citizens that are, first and foremost, human beings. We should all be thankful and grateful towards pluralism and when such pluralism is castigated and denigrated we should all object respectively.

Aside from the tangent Dawkins is a little over the top but nothing in comparison to the religious extremists spanning the globe.

Juggling Mother said...

congrats! My dad reads JS - I hope he doesn't find my blog from yours:-)

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Congrats. I guess you can't change the name of your blog now. This clinches your decision.

Unless you want to do the Prince thing and call yourself The Blogger formerly known as the Jewish Atheist.

Shlomo said...

The real Socialists aren't even noticed by other socialists. It's my own fault for not having a provactive blog name to piss people off.

Congrats on the recognition! You deserve it.