Happy New Year

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

I’d like to wish a happy new year to all my Jewish friends and colleagues and readers.

I don’t personally identify as any particular religion.

I was brought up Catholic, married into and raised our children Jewish, and I appreciate both of these religions.

I also feel great connectivity to Buddhism and have many wonderful Muslim friends.

There are bits of all of these belief systems that I connect to and appreciate.

But mostly I am a fan of spirituality and belief systems.

Being human is a strange, wonderful, and, at times, unnerving experience.

Spirituality and belief systems help us with our humanity and make our time on earth a bit easier.

If we could have that without all of the other stuff religion brings, that would be a wonderful thing.

Today is a day for my Judaism. I will attend services with my family, hear the shofar, wish everyone Shanah Tovah, and celebrate with a big meal with friends and family.

Rosh Hashanah is my favorite Jewish holiday and I plan to enjoy it. Shanah Tovah.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. OurielOhayon

    Shana tova to you and your family Fred

  2. rnottingham

    Enjoy. I wish we all could appreciate what is good in organized religion and leave what is bad behind. I was raised a judgemental Baptist and have converted to a tolerant Christian with Buddhist sensibilities. I hope you you have a blessed new year, and how bad can it be when you begin surrounded by those you love.

    1. fredwilson

      yuppp. that’s the thing.thank you for your wishes

  3. Vendita Auto

    Health & Wisdom to you and yours.What will CERN discover in the new year.

    1. jason wright

      that there is another level of granular complexity to the fabric of the universe.i went there a few years ago to do the public tour. fascinating. i would recommend to anyone to skip yet another holiday at the beach and try to get there if they’re within reach of Geneva. the bus is to ‘Meyrin’.

  4. awaldstein

    Shana Tova Fred to you and the family.We did our meal last night.I wish everyone a bit more sweetness in life. We could certainly use it.

    1. jason wright

      what does it mean?

      1. awaldstein

        A good year or a good and sweet year.

        1. pointsnfigures

          apples and honey

          1. awaldstein

            Yes–I enjoy that ritual.I most enjoy when Lianna’s mom lights the candle, sings in Hebrew and the group lets the shine of the newly lit candle signal and waft into our heads the possibilities for a good and better year.

          2. JamesHRH

            The rituals are the sweet centre of most religions.

    2. laurie kalmanson

      happy new year

    3. Twain Twain

      Happy New Year to you and all our Jewish friends in AVC community!

  5. jason wright

    a nicely written expression of your views. the sentiment comes across very well.i make the distinction between the personal and the organised. the former is innate to us all, but the latter is a technocratic form that becomes almost an inversion of its original intention as it becomes institutional in nature. that’s Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, and the rest. when they become instruments of political and economic and social control they are no longer religions.blockchain as the new ‘religious’ institutional form?

  6. Lou Pugliese

    Nice post Fred. This gives us a glimpse of the more human face of Fred Wilson

  7. Eric Satz

    Shana Tovah. May it be a really, really sweet one for this community.

  8. William Mougayar

    Agreed. The wonderful magic about religion is when people from different ones mix with each other and enjoy knowing one another.The worst part about religions is when they become instruments of hate, violence, reclusion or oppression.

    1. JamesHRH

      Religion has too often been used as a tool for other agendas.

      1. William Mougayar

        Unfortunately true. Those times are gone.

        1. JamesHRH

          Ummm. I’ll pass on the obvious inaccuracy of that comment in order to stick with the Year of Sweetness theme.

          1. William Mougayar

            that was a wishful statement on my part.

          2. JamesHRH

            I wondered……need to add ‘ wistful ‘ to my Font Wish List, beside ‘ sarcasm ‘ & ‘ kidding ‘.

      2. DJL

        Hence the need for religion itself. (A great paradox?) Left up to his own devices, man will corrupt every institution. Even the most holy. Without the moral clarify of Western religion – things go down hill quickly.

    2. Salt Shaker

      Not enough mixin IMO. Should be more like a bag of M&M’s. Exposure begets understanding, which begets tolerance. Too much misunderstanding and confusion, often brought on by those with bad intent.I coincidentally was bar mitzvahed on this day (9/21) many, many moons ago. Received many U.S. savings bonds. Remember those? Prob first exposure to fin maturity dates. Was never particularly pious, for a variety of reasons, but I certainly respect those we are.Happy New Year to those celebratin!

  9. Tom Labus

    With all the storms and political disasters going on, we could all use some peace and a day of rest.

  10. cavepainting

    Shana Tovah!There is only one truth behind reality. Religion, meditation, or for that matter any spiritual pursuit that diminishes the human ego and reduces the chatter of the monkey mind is a gateway to truth.No religion is better or worse than the other when all it offers is a doorway to perceiving the beyond. But every doorway is different and adds to the diversity of life.

  11. mikenolan99

    I wonder if the tribe forming aspect of religion will wane in light of global connectivity. Yuval Harari touched on it in his book Sapiens: “A German vegetarian might well prefer to marry a French vegetarian than a German carnivore.”I was brought up in Skokie, IL and was lucky to have a religious mom who nonetheless exposed us kids to many religions – with no piety or judgment. And, my friends bar mitzvahs were a heck of a lot of fun!

    1. JamesHRH

      My guess is that the tribes will become smaller and incredibly more numerous.

  12. pointsnfigures

    Happy New Year. I am a Presbyterian that doesn’t really go to church much anymore for reasons to long for a blog comment. Agree with Fred on pulling good stuff from all religions. If I had to pick a fave Jewish holiday it might be Passover.

    1. Donna Brewington White

      My two oldest children were born adjacent to Passover and my OB/GYN was orthodox Jewish. He planned my C-sections around the holiday observance (with my agreement) to assure his availability.For this reason and others, Passover is meaningful to me, and I like that it falls in conjunction with my favorite Christian holiday.

  13. danbachiochi

    Shanah Tovah Fred!Cathloic Bishop Robert Barron spoke at Facebook this week on a method for religious discussion that is enlightening. He is an amazing communicator. Thought you and the other readers here might find it interesting.https://m.facebook.com/stor…Dan

  14. Kent Karlsen

    Wish you a nice celebration. When travelling in Asia, Europe and America my experience is that young people think different about religion. History is history. I have been drinking and partying with muslims. Friends. Life and religion is not black or white and wrong or right. People seem to be more tolerant to each other. I am optimistic for the future.

  15. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Enjoy 🙂 There’s a good justification for spirituality. It’s the question, what does the universe exist *inside* of? Gets me every time.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      We’re working on it!One guess: There’s a bright, slightly naughty boy with a computer, more powerful than most computers. He types in some candidate laws of physics and then clicks on the button “Big Bang” and sees what happens.Usually all he gets is just a big “poof”. But occasionally he gets something interesting, and we’re one of those.

  16. DJL

    Happy New Year. In my humble opinion, most organized religion does way more good than bad. All you have to do is watch the churches take action during any disaster – like Harvey here in Texas. I have also noticed that most churches (synagogues, etc.) are essentially color and race-blind. All are welcome. To me that is a great thing to celebrate.

  17. creative group

    CONTRIBUTORS:We concur in whole with Fred’s sentiments. We diverge from a particular part.It necessarily isn’t the major religions that cause the problems, issues or disagreements. It is solely the men who attempt to interpret the religion to mankind.The belief system within a person rests is in their thoughts and actions. It is called Faith! The belief in the hope of what is unseen.There are posters at times who have previously identified with a main religion but views are totally in opposition ☍ of what the foundation of what they openly professed. Having no humanity. That is the indoctrination of men verses the faith system.When someone promotes religious exclusivitism slowly back away.The main great qualities of anyone practicing a faith you will see:1. The way they act reflects in their actions and shows their belief in their heart.2. They are good listeners.3. They are good example.4. They don’t take rejection of their ideas or faith personally.

  18. laurie kalmanson

    Happy new year. Being decent humans, the only commandment.

  19. Pranay Srinivasan

    L’Shana Tova – Peace and Prosperity!the funniest thing I’ve heard about Rosh Hashanah is “ Isnt it the Jewish holiday to go dipping for apples?”

  20. Mitch Kline

    Shana Tovah Fred.

  21. JLM

    .Religion was the first community and network effect embraced by man after family. From religion came our first sense of an orderly approach to spelling out right v wrong–witness the Ten Commandments.I have been profoundly impacted by religion (my mother was one of eight Irish Catholic sisters) and it has been a comfort and a bulwark in my life.It is difficult to embrace the notion that religion has had a favorable impact on a person’s life unless and until they actually “practice” it. One cannot sniff around the edges of religion and receive the full benefit. That is not to suggest one should not study a number of reigions. I have read the Koran four times and am reading it again now.I remember the many lessons I learned while assisting Catholic priests in preparing for Sunday Mass. It was a guiding force on my life even though we had to pray for Notre Dame to win. The Mother Superior would make us pray for Notre Dame right before we were dismissed on Fridays.I love a good sermon and I look forward to every Sunday. I go to a church I have selected based on the quality of the rector’s sermons. He is an excellent speaker and I walk out with things to improve my life which are actionable.It takes courage to be a believer — that is the essence of faith, the belief in something that one cannot prove.In religion, we learn about ourselves. Can we live our religion? Visit the imprisoned? Care for the sick? Live our faith? Serve our fellow man?In difficult times, I have taken refuge in prayer. Not prayer to “get” stuff, but prayers to do God’s will and to find His path. I remember Father Horan calling a time out during a critical basketball game to tell a foul shooter who had made the Sign of the Cross, “God does not care if you make these foul shots. He is involved in weightier things.” The foul shooter made both shots.I laugh at people who decry the sense of “organized” religion as if there were some disorganized alternative which could provide the same benefits. That’s silly.I find a lot of men who are simply afraid to explore the notion of faith and to give themselves over to a higher power. I can tell you unequivocally that it is an empowering act which makes you more in the long run. Yes, it is a matter of courage as fundamental as taking that first step out of a perfectly good airplane. It takes balls to be a person of faith. You will be ridiculed.I recall being in dangerous times when a quick prayer cleared my mind and allowed me to get on with my business with the clarity that His will would be done and I was His instrument and that it was already written.It is a cliche to say, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” That is true. The Chaplain never got so much business as when things get difficult. And, he never provided so much service to the troops when shepherding them through those difficult times.God bless you. God bless America. God bless the world. I pray that you will find the opening to let religion into your life and that you will awaken your faith and feel the confidence that embracing and practicing your religion can awaken.I will say a prayer for you and me. [Moreso for me as I need it more.]JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Rob Larson

      Many religions/churches also have a significant service component of their culture and customs. This does wonders for a person. Giving up a few hours each week to serve someone else going through a hard time is the best recipe I know of to create a sense of humility and gratitude for the blessings in your life which we humans otherwise take for granted. And it adds clarity to your vision – helps you zoom out to remember what really matters in your life and what matters much less. Some people are able to achieve similar results absent such a community, through a strong sense of duty and willpower, but I find it helps immensely to be part of a community where service is a dominant part of the culture. Otherwise it’s too easy to put it off for another week.

    2. Pete Griffiths

      “It is a cliche to say, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” That is true.”Interesting. I have not found that to be the case. Perhaps the ones you encountered weren’t atheists with strong commitment to their position. 🙂 I am a life long atheist, perfectly comfortable with that, but when I faced death I can honestly say it had no impact on my lack of religious faith. No conversion in my foxhole I’m afraid. 🙂

      1. JLM

        .I don’t know that I ever met anyone who is a “committed” atheist. I was talking from personal experience in the Army dealing with soldiers.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    3. sigmaalgebra

      > eight Irish Catholic sistersWOW! If I’d been in their age range and in their neighborhood, I would have thought long and carefully just how to have a bicycle accident right in front of their house, with a skinned knee, some blood, when all eight were home! Then all “eight Irish Catholic sisters” might rush out and with lots of TLC help me with my wounds, each one more concerned about my injury than all the others! Irish girls can be darned pretty, e.g., auburn hair! As a lot of soldiers know, and in plenty of military recruiting posters, the girls are much of what they are fighting for!

      1. JLM

        .They were all good looking and filled with fun and life.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    4. JaredMermey

      I think the questions become,”What is religion?” and “Can it be practiced by some definition of degree?”A person close to me is not a believer in God. She does not believe the Torah is the word of God.She loves going to temple (and I am sure she is there today) for the community it provides, the organized service (to @mlbar:disqus’s point), and the direction it provides to being a good person.Prayer gives her a sense of relief (and perhaps meaning) for it is a structured way of collecting thought and a method to weigh what is important in life. She believes the bigger force that hears it is not some almighty being, but rather a karmic force that comes from sharing that moment with other people doing the same thing (and each who has the right to believe that a bigger force — a more traditional definition of God — hears it). She prays for others more out of respect and consideration and less because she believes it will have a direct, discernible effect on their lives beyond knowing someone else cares about them.She does all of this honestly, with compassion and with care. It gives her a sense of meaning and belonging. I believe this is religion. (Please do not take this as me implying you would not.)At the macro level, we speak a lot about religious tolerance but too often it is at the extremes:Atheists v. Believers. Christians v. Jews v. Muslims v. other religions.We do not speak enough of all the shades of gray that we should all tolerate. A less rigid definition of religion would be a good thing. And this definition would and should include all people who are more by-the-book believers.

      1. JLM

        .To whom does your friend pray if she doesn’t believe in God? It is not my province to judge how anyone comes to their faith. She sounds like a lovely person. She is, apparently, part of a community.Finding God in our lives is a journey of discovery. At times, we are not ready to find Him. At other times, He intrudes into our lives and presents Himself. Some may never complete the journey. Some may never take the first step. We all have free will.You set up some “versus” which I do not think exist. I don’t see any friction between those who believe and those who do not. The comparison is not believers v atheists, it is those who believe and those who have not yet discovered.Faith is the bridge over skepticism. Skepticism and intellectual curiosity are good for us because it forces us to reason to a conclusion. When I look at a sunset or a sunrise, I know there is a God — based on my own reasoning.At times, faith is strong and at other times it is broken. When a horrific string of bad things happen, one questions how a good God could allow such tragedy. I have been there.There is much more the same than different amongst religions. I have read the Koran four times and am in the midst of reading a new translation. I admit to having some grave reservations about the notion of the infidel and the true believer.Life is lived in the area between the light and the dark. There are only shades of gray.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JaredMermey

          – I do not believe my friend prays to an Almighty. Prayer is a structured protocol for self-reflection and participation within a group. I do not believe there is a strong belief that there is a S/He that is listening.- The “vs.” I set-up are not to say I believe there is real friction across the many religions at their cores. It is to say (i) they are too often juxtaposed against one another as we discuss them (probably as a function of the visible, practical fighting by people who both use and identify with them…I would argue people are confusing use of religion v. religion itself and it appears you would agree) (ii) perhaps bc of that juxtaposition each religion is too often given a rigid definition as opposed to allowing different shades of gray or degrees of practice — they are defined as if there is no variance within each across multiple dimensions.- “I know there is a God — based on my own reasoning” appears to imply that we can have personal definitions of what God is. I am not saying this is what your saying. I am saying that is how I read it, perhaps imparting my personal beliefs on that statement. I think varied, personal definitions and relationships with what one considers God is a good thing. And all of them should be accepted. And that this can be extended to Atheism. Grays are good.- “The comparison is not believers v atheists, it is those who believe and those who have not yet discovered.” Is it wrong to read this as believing is binary to believing in a traditional definition of an Almighty or not (not to be confused with one correct religion) … and that those who don’t are incorrect until they do? Would my friend be considered a believer in this paradigm?

          1. JLM

            .To whom does she pray?In many religions, there is an admission that we cannot understand the Holy Trinity that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. I, personally, have always dug God the Holy Ghost but I was educated by Sisters of Charity and Christian Brothers.Because of this, there is no single definition of who God is or how He operates, but I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that He exists, He calls us, He blesses us, He provides the grace we need when we need it, He will one day judge us.I do not see the religions of the world facing each other. I see them facing God. However they want to do that, is fine by me. I can practice my religion without having to even remotely assess someone else’s religion. I have enough failings in my life to keep me busy.We all have our own dynamic and changing relationship with God. There have been times I have felt like God had told me exactly what to do and there are other times I have felt like He put me on waivers with a potential trade to another team. I had more than a little to do with that.I am not the right person to discuss atheism as I have no intellectual basis to do that. There is no binary choice. At times, we believe and at times we may not. Our belief and our action on that belief ebb and flow. Not only ebb and flow, it is concentrated and diluted.We are all believers. The question is what do we believe in? It is not my place to define what is or is not a believer. I know what works for me. Having said that, your friend sounds like someone who has their belief system sorted out.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

          2. Donna Brewington White

            We are all believers. The question is what do we believe in?This is the question that determines who we are.

    5. Amar

      I love a good sermon and I look forward to every Sunday. I go to a church I have selected based on the quality of the rector’s sermons. He is an excellent speaker and I walk out with things to improve my life which are actionable.Where do you go? If you don’t want to post it publicly here – do email me if you are okay sharing. amar.rama _at_ gmail

      1. JLM

        .Lake Hills Church, Mac Richard, Rector. I used to go to Good Shepherd, but I couldn’t get a good sermon. I need a good ass chewing every Sunday.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. Amar

          I got to Grace Covenant – do stop by if ever want a change in scenery. Let me know if you decide to 🙂

    6. JamesHRH

      I was raised in the shadow of one of organized religion’s greatest contradictions: the Anglican Church of Canada’s dealing with native peoples of Canada.My Mother has a strong and steadfast faith – her Mother did as well and went so far as to marry a strapping Anglican minister right after WW1. He then had an illustrious career and spent the last 20 years of his service as Bishop of Saskatchewan, where his main billet was to ‘ convert the heathen Cree and Dene to Christianity ‘. The Anglican Church subsequently became embroiled in the residential schools controversy (abuse, in spite of the intention of rescuing children from poverty).That’s two generations ago, where a family member was actively continuing in the multi-century run of European religions converting native people that their culture had subsumed – or were attempting to subsume – to European culture & beliefs.Obviously, that particular part of European culture is not a shining part.While my lack of faith is easily one of my greatest shortcomings, my ability to separate people from systems of belief, their emotions and / or their agendas is not. They are directly connected in my view and likely have root, in some part, to the odd elongation of my personal span of time – I was clearly connected to the 19th century ( my Mom’s Mom lived to age 104 and I absorbed her life from her as a teen) & 21st centuries ( my working life looking around the corner of society’s path ), which , if you listen to someone like Brad Feld enough, might actually get you into the 22nd century ( ‘ kidding ‘ font required ).I don’t believe in giving yourself over to a higher power.I do believe taking to church the way Joe Biden does ( as a community of support and a source of solace – https://www.bustle.com/arti… ); – and I also believe in attending church to hear a great sermon that is connected to the real world problems of congregants with a foundation in the principles of the faith, although sources of that form of religion are indeed rare (and have many imposters / charlatans acting in that vein);- and that I agree even more strongly with Kevin Smith’s perfectly stated approach to faith, in Dogma ( ‘ its not which faith, its to have faith ‘ ).Market share is the crucible in which all organized religions eventually burn.I do not see evangelicals as religious – if you need to convert someone, that means your beliefs require others to change their behaviour. That’s a political movement.I have absolutely no time for the ‘ direct connection, God’s will that I achieve, Prosperity / Osteen’ crowd ( your foul shoots example, Tim Tebow) – that’s just a psychological tool at best and, at worst, an excuse to be incredibly selfish.That being said, I have deep respect for some people who have beliefs that I find unfathomable ( we are all flawed and Jesus died to for us, for example ), when it drives behaviours of service, fairness and kindness.And, of course, I despise those who are superficial in their faith, and do not, as you say, even pretend to have the courage of living the principles of their religions, but just use it as social cover for reptilian behaviour.In the end, its the behaviours that count, more than the intentions or the beliefs. And, on that score, religion is basically on a par with any other organizational theme that mankind has developed.

      1. JLM

        .Taking up where you left off, “it’s the behaviors that count,” and your statement, “I don’t believe in giving yourself over to a higher power,” I would say that is nonsense. Nonsense of the purest kind as it is indicted by your very behavior.We live our lives within a hierarchy on every front. You pay your taxes to the IRS who will jail you if you don’t. They don’t ask, “James, do you believe in us?” They just exert their hierarchical power to compel you to do things.The entire core of Obamacare was a mandate as to behavior imposed upon the citizens of the US — you will buy this insurance or there will be consequences.In matters of faith, we are driven by the same reality. One may say it comes from some font, some wellspring, outside of religion, that they have embraced a coda of good v evil which does not require the mention of God’s name or an acknowledgement that He may or may not exist.You yourself acknowledge you behave that way while saying you have not given yourself over to a higher power. You act exactly as if you have given yourself over to the power of good v evil, the transcendancy of good v evil, but you want to protest that you have not “given yourself over.” In this case, you actions make the words superfluous. How would your behavior differ?But, this is a country which is based upon the universal notion that our rights as individuals flow from God and not the state. The state only exists to protect those rights, those unalienable rights.This reminds me of a guy who sat on the bank of a river saying, “I hate to fish,” while he had a line in the water.There is a food chain and we are all in our rightful place on it.This is a two margarita discussion, Jimmie.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. JamesHRH

          Words are important:I agree with you in having faith – in God, in Nature, in Human Nature, in the possibilities & probabilities of mankind.I agree with you regarding the protection of individual rights from the government, I just don’t need to have those rights bestowed upon me from an arbitrary third party. If I exist, they exist for me to claim. That being said, the Founding Fathers of the Republic were quite the gang however. A margarita or two with that crew would be an experience.And I fundamentally live my life (or try to) on a foundation of Judeo Christian principles, but don’t need the Church ( or a Church ) to hold me to account with an imaginary, unknowable punishment or reward.To be clear, you have me: I have given myself over to the higher power of the principles I believe in. I am also deeply pro faith (but weak in its practise). I am anti- organization & mandated behaviours (dress, conduct, etc.).A 2 Pitchers conversation.

    7. David Semeria

      Well played, JLM. Rather like Father Horan, I believe the Big Guy has more pressing things to deal with than my first world trifles. An excuse? Perhaps. But I’m also led to believe that He helps those who help themselves. So taking one’s own lead would seem in any case to be some sort of prerequisite….

    8. Lawrence Brass

      I have come to believe deeply in Mother Nature. I feel part of its immense greatness and because of this I am also aware of my own insignificance. I believe in birth and death and in the time in between, our life, which is the greatest gift of all. I am so grateful that Nature gave this gift to me. It was passed through as a lively torch, through thousands of bodies and souls, through success, through misery by all of those who were before. I believe our only purpose is to carry it to the end of the road alight, and tell the story of the ones that helped carry it forward, with all the grace and love we may have. And, if we can bear the load, help others to do the same.Yes, Mother Nature is my Goddess.. and she loves you.

      1. Adam Sher

        One of my favorite movies explores this beautifully (Princess Mononoke). I’m in awe of nature.When I ski in the trees or in the back country, out of sight and earshot of anyone, I am lost in nature.

    9. cavepainting

      Great comment.Underlying all religion, science, and spirituality is a deeper question.Is there another basis to life that we do not know? Is there a set of underlying hidden laws that might actually be driving the workings of the universe? If so, how do we fit in and what does the notion of “I” actually represent? Could there be a deeper reason why I am here?Organized religion provides an established set of guidelines to explore these questions. It is based on acceptance of a power that is bigger than us.Science is way to explore physicality and nature. The more one looks into anything in nature – be it the human body or the universe – the more obvious it is that it is a work of intricate art with extraordinary levels of precision. The knowledge of something so vast and grand can bring feelings of awe and put us in a state of wonder.Spirituality is a pursuit of experiential realization of something bigger than us by seeking to quiet the mind and the ego. It is a quest for awareness, exercising choice, and building presence.The end-state possibility of the human mind through acceptance (religion), awe (science), and no-mind (spirituality or meditation) is the same: Less ego, more awareness, more conscious ways of thinking and living, and a deeper connection to the world around us. All of which are capable of increasing compassion, reducing violence, and improving the human condition and happiness.But if we do not see these tools as a means of exploring ourselves, but more as a way to establish a stronger identity for the individual or collective ego – i.e. my thing is better than yours, I am a holier person than thou, etc. – it will only lead to more chaos and suffering.

      1. JLM

        .The more I know, the less I become in the grander scheme of things.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  22. Pete Griffiths

    Sapere aude.Immanuel Kant”I would rather have questions I can’t answer than answers I can’t question.” Freeman Dyson

  23. sigmaalgebra

    Ah, I guess my first objection to religion is the stuff about food!(1) BBQ. Since I grew up in Memphis, I REALLY like sauced, chopped, picnic pork shoulder BBQ on a soft, white bread bun with some simple coleslaw on top. So, some religions don’t like that! That’s where I like the food better than the religions!(2) Scallops. I worked out a scallop recipe that passes, way over the tops, the KFC test, definitely FLG! At one dinner my wife and I gave, Mom, usually socially very proper, ran the KFC test and confirmed that my scallop dish passed! Scallops are shellfish, and some religions don’t like that. Again, that’s where I like the food better than the religions!(3) Wine. Sure, in part the scallop recipe cooks with some wine, e.g., French dry white wine from Macon from the Chardonnay grape. Also have been known to have some Chambertin with roast prime rib of beef, some Chianti with some pizza, and some beer with Chinese food. When can get it, some good Kirschwasser can help make some fantastic desserts. Again, that’s where some religions and I differ!(4) Fish. I never understood the Roman Catholic thing about fish on Friday. I don’t discriminate and like good food on any days, BBQ on Friday, fish on Monday, scallops on Sunday, etc.(5) Pie. Dad’s Mom made a pie a day for decades. She had a special cabinet in her kitchen just for making pies. Sure, she’d make apple, sour, red cherry, raspberry, etc. pies. So, Dad taught me to make pie crust — there are some secrets to it! Hint: It’s an American, quick, expedient replacement, with essentially the same principle, for high end French puff pastry. So, right, the best pie crust starts with lard, and some religions won’t like that!For Jewish food, there was something about ground up chick peas; they were okay but somewhere on the bottom half of the list! You’d think that in a religion that old they’d have thought of something better than those chickpeas!Ah, IIRC there are some more “do this” and “don’t do that” in religion; but since I never paid much attention I don’t much know!Some of the worst things from religion were horrible, e.g., religious wars. Currently there’s some being really nasty to young women — big bummer.Some of the good things from religion are terrific, some of the best of civilization. So, there is music, art, architecture, wide ranging contributions to humanism, etc. A lot of the architecture must have really cost; have to think about how a lot of peasants had to suffer for those monuments; but some of the architecture is nice now. Long, often in Western Civilization, Christmas has been a wonderful holiday.There are also other amazing things (1) how the heck the big bang led to stars, matter, chemistry, biology, and human life. Then what will be next that amazing, all just from the big bang? (2) Some of the results in pure math; I especially like some of the high end convergence results. (3) Trying to compare Bell’s inequality with the EPR (Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen) “spooky action at a distance”. So, religion doesn’t have all the good stuff!

  24. Jeremy Robinson

    Love the post, Happy New Year Fred to you and your family. Also strongly agree with your distinction separating organized religion from spirituality. Raised as a secular Jew by my mother and on alternate weekends, I survived attempts at conversion to Catholicism by my Father, who was a zealous convert to Catholicism, I don’t place much trust in organized religion. I have seen too much wreckage created under the guise of religion- particularly psychological damage suffered by kids who were being shamed as a way of controlling them. Yet spirituality itself, the emotionality of the connection to a larger purpose in life, a sense of unity at being able to help others, is what moves me to tears and something I can never have enough of. As a person, it creates an important sense of wonder for me to believe in a higher power like the life force of nature, especially if that higher power does not have a religious brand name. Organizing communities and helping others as part of that spirituality is what I understand your post to be about. How can I be a small part to make each day a bit better for those I both touch and am out of touch with?

  25. JaredMermey

    Biblically the new year was the beginning of the month in which Passover is celebrated.Somehow over time it changed. That fluidity is a nice thing.

  26. Donna Brewington White

    I am not Jewish but if you are giving away a “Happy New Year” I will take one!Happy New Year to you and yours and to all reading this who observe!

  27. Jews_are_a_people

    We Jews are a people, not merely a religion. According to halacha (Jewish law) you are apparently not Jewish, but your children apparently are.

  28. Jeremy Shatan

    Shanah Tovah to you and thanks for this beautiful post. My wife (who is not Jewish) appreciated the opportunity to take a breath and celebrate renewal – and it didn’t take much convincing for her to get me (a “Jew-ish” atheist) to bake some challah and take stock for a moment.