In my previous post I mentioned a book that I am reading called “A History of Judaism” and some of you may be curious as to why I am reading such a book? There are in fact two major reasons for me reading this book and both are to do with simple research.
Firstly I wanted to get to grips in understanding Judaism from its core because of a couple of specific themes I want to write and I don’t like to be ignorant when I am writing about culture.
Secondly, I want to find out why my ancestors left Judaism at the turn of the twentieth century just a decade before the Second World War. Why some of the very oldest members of my family admit they were originally Jewish, but get rather aggressive about it and somewhat evasive. I am also interested in finding any new books regarding this subject but set in Italy and Italian Jewish history in particular.
My son Henry absolutely loves learning anything at all about his family history and he has become less afraid of R.E at school since we have been learning the differences between what we know to be Evangelism, J-Witness and Judaism. My family became Catholic and Evangelists when they left Judaism and part of that branch that left Judaism, also became J-Witnesses.
Part of my problems growing up was the cultural confusion my extended family had on supposed opposing ideas and therefore my understanding of religion was warped over the years; as literally my family would rage war on each other over their beliefs. According to my grandmother, my great grandmother’s sister reacted so violently against her leaving Judaism for a Catholic man that she threw her into the fireplace and she escaped barely scarred. Another incidence was that I was reminding an anti-Semitic evangelical relative of mine about how Jesus was a Jew and their response was to slap me across the face!
It astounds me how so many religions are at odds with each other when they all share the same core, corrupt the word of the core and kill each other in the name of the God that is the mainstay of the core.
However, as I am teaching my son, I am reminding him that you cannot hate anyone regarding this, because you cannot blame them for their ignorance. Most people simply do not have the time on their hands to research as much as we do and therefore, you must always react to their violence with kindness if at all those people could make it possible for us to remain passive and kind that is. Self-preservation kicks in for us all eventually.
The crucial thing to understand about all religions and cultures is that most people do not have time, they are too busy, they have other priorities and over the years many people have surrendered their personal research to trusted authoritive individuals who may or may not be corrupt within themselves, with the aims of controlling their particular congregations etc. To be fair, everybody wants to try and honour their ancestors by keeping to what their parents believe and it wasn’t until the last century or so, that humanity in general were largely uneducated due to class differentiation and lack of opportunities.
There will be many updates in the future of my reading lists and there will be many different types of cultures and religions I will be study over the course of my life, because I have an insatiable yearning to understand humanity. In fact in 2009 I signed up to the OU to do a Social Science degree, but I couldn’t cope with the demands of a new-born baby and running a house so went on extended leave, which is still ongoing! The OU is lovely in that they have still left it opened for me to return whenever I want to, and I may eventually, as I miss it.
I feel I must apologise to some readers who may have found the tone of this post offensive, because no doubt, there are some who do. But it is by no means an attack on religion, simply a passive eye opening, hoping that, with the tools of the modern age, that you will find time to research the roots of your beliefs to the very core and not just what your local parish tells you.
Thank you for reading.