Quotes About Judaism

Quotes tagged as "judaism" (showing 1-30 of 152)
Mahatma Gandhi
“Yes I am, I am also a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Jew.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Anne Frank
“If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example.”
Anne Frank

Anne Lamott
“There's a lovely Hasidic story of a rabbi who always told his people that if they studied the Torah, it would put Scripture on their hearts. One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?" The rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading sacred text can put it on your heart, and then when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside.”
Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Thomas Jefferson
“If we could believe that he [Jesus] really countenanced the follies, the falsehoods, and the charlatanism which his biographers [Gospels] father on him, and admit the misconstructions, interpolations, and theorizations of the fathers of the early, and the fanatics of the latter ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind that he was an impostor... We find in the writings of his biographers matter of two distinct descriptions. First, a groundwork of vulgar ignorance, of things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms and fabrications... That sect [Jews] had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust... Jesus had to walk on the perilous confines of reason and religion: and a step to right or left might place him within the gripe of the priests of the superstition, a blood thirsty race, as cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel. They were constantly laying snares, too, to entangle him in the web of the law... That Jesus did not mean to impose himself on mankind as the son of God, physically speaking, I have been convinced by the writings of men more learned than myself in that lore.

[Letter to William Short, 4 August, 1820]”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Joel C. Rosenberg
“The question shouldn't be "Why are you, a Christian, here in a death camp, condemned for trying to save Jews?' The real question is "Why aren't all the Christians here?”
Joel C. Rosenberg, The Auschwitz Escape

Chaim Potok
“It's not a pretty world, Papa.'
'I've noticed,' my father said softly.”
Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev

John  Adams
“...The Presidential election has given me less anxiety than I myself could have imagined. The next administration will be a troublesome one, to whomsoever it falls, and our John has been too much worn to contend much longer with conflicting factions. I call him our John, because, when you were at the Cul de sac at Paris, he appeared to me to be almost as much your boy as mine.

...As to the decision of your author, though I wish to see the book {Flourens’s Experiments on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated animals}, I look upon it as a mere game at push-pin. Incision-knives will never discover the distinction between matter and spirit, or whether there is any or not. That there is an active principle of power in the universe, is apparent; but in what substance that active principle resides, is past our investigation. The faculties of our understanding are not adequate to penetrate the universe. Let us do our duty, which is to do as we would be done by; and that, one would think, could not be difficult, if we honestly aim at it.

Your university is a noble employment in your old age, and your ardor for its success does you honor; but I do not approve of your sending to Europe for tutors and professors. I do believe there are sufficient scholars in America, to fill your professorships and tutorships with more active ingenuity and independent minds than you can bring from Europe. The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschel’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.

I salute your fireside with best wishes and best affections for their health, wealth and prosperity.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January, 1825}”
John Adams, Adams-Jefferson Letters

Swami Satchidananda
“The five points of yama, together with the five points of niyama, remind us of the Ten Commandments of the Christtian and Jewish faiths, as well as of the ten virtues of Buddhism. In fact, there is no religion without these moral or ethical codes. All spiritual life should be based on these things. They are the foundation stones without which we can never build anything lasting. (127)”
Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras

Iain Pears
“Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don't think that shouting strengthens their argument.”
Iain Pears, The Dream of Scipio

Chaim Potok
“For all the pain you suffered, my mama. For all the torment of your past and future years, my mama. For all the anguish this picture of pain will cause you. For the unspeakable mystery that brings good fathers and sons into the world and lets a mother watch them tear at each other’s throats. For the Master of the Universe, whose suffering world I do not comprehend. For dreams of horror, for nights of waiting, for memories of death, for the love I have for you, for all the things I remember, and for all the things I should remember but have forgotten, for all these I created this painting—an observant Jew working on a crucifixion because there was no aesthetic mold in his own religious tradition into which he could pour a painting of ultimate anguish and torment.”
Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev

Christopher Hitchens
“When Maimonides says that the Messiah will come but that 'he may tarry,' we see the origin of every Jewish shrug from Spinoza to Woody Allen.”
Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Christopher Hitchens
“As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam. Much of the time, I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical. There is, after all, a specifically Jewish version of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, with a specifically Jewish name—the Haskalah—for itself. The term derives from the word for 'mind' or 'intellect,' and it is naturally associated with ethics rather than rituals, life rather than prohibitions, and assimilation over 'exile' or 'return.' It's everlastingly linked to the name of the great German teacher Moses Mendelssohn, one of those conspicuous Jewish hunchbacks who so upset and embarrassed Isaiah Berlin. (The other way to upset or embarrass Berlin, I found, was to mention that he himself was a cousin of Menachem Schneerson, the 'messianic' Lubavitcher rebbe.) However, even pre-enlightenment Judaism forces its adherents to study and think, it reluctantly teaches them what others think, and it may even teach them how to think also.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Courtney Love
“[Kurt Cobain] had a lot of German in him. Some Irish. But no Jew. I think that if he had had a little Jew he would have [expletive] stuck it out.”
Courtney Love

John  Adams
“But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed? How has it happened that all the fine arts, architecture, painting, sculpture, statuary, music, poetry, and oratory, have been prostituted, from the creation of the world, to the sordid and detestable purposes of superstition and fraud?

[Letter to judge F.A. Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816.]”
John Adams, Familiar Letters Of John Adams And His Wife Abigail Adams During The Revolution: With A Memoir Of Mrs. Adams

Laura Weakley
“Torah is not just a book, not just a bunch of laws, and not just a history, but so much more. The Torah is a way ofd life to learn and live, and when studied, a spiritual way to understand life as well as providing instructions on getting closer to Adonai (God). When we treat others kindly, fairly, and lovingly, both in our home, social, and business lives, we are living Torah. The "truth" is the Torah is many things simultaneously.”
Laura Weakley

Chaim Potok
“I went away and cried to the Master of the Universe, "What have you done to me? A mind like this I need for a son? A heart I need for a son, a soul I need for a son, compassion I want from my son, righteousness, mercy, strength to suffer and carry pain, that I want from my son, not a mind without a soul!”
Chaim Potok, The Chosen

James A. Michener
“A Roman came to Rabbi Gimzo the Water Carrier, and asked, "What is this study of the law that you Jews engage in?" and Gimzo replied, "I shall explain. There were two men on a roof, and they climbed down the chimney. One's face became sooty. The other's not. Which one washed his face?" The Roman said, "That's easy, the sooty one, of course." Gimzo said, "No. The man without the soot looked at his friend, saw that the man's face was dirty, assumed that his was too, and washed it." Cried the Roman, "Ah ha! So that's the study of law. Sound reasoning." But Gimzo said, "You foolish man, you don't understand. Let me explain again. Two men on a roof. They climb down a chimney. One's face is sooty, the other's not. Which one washes?" The Roman said, "As you just explained, the man without the soot." Gimzo cried,"No, you foolish one! There was a mirror on the wall and the man with the dirty face saw how sooty it was and washed it." The Roman said, "Ah ha! So that's the study of law! Conforming to the logical." But Rabbi Gimzo said, "No, you foolish one. Two men climbed down the chimney. One's face became sooty? The other's not? That's impossible. You're wasting my time with such a proposition." And the Roman said, "So that's the law! Common sense." And Gimzo said, "You foolish man! Of course it was possible. When the first man climbed down the chimney he brushed the soot away. So the man who followed found none to mar him." And the Roman cried, "That's brilliant, Rabbi Gimzo. Law is getting at the basic facts." And for the last time Gimzo said, "No, you foolish man. Who could brush all the soot from a chimney? Who could ever understand all the facts?" Humbly the Roman asked, "Then what is the law?" And Gimzo said quietly, "It's doing the best we can to ascertain God's intention, for there were indeed two men on a roof, and they did climb down the same chimney. The first man emerged completely clean while it was the second who was covered with soot, and neither man washed his face, because you forgot to ask me whether there was any water in the basin. There was none.”
James A. Michener, The Source

James A. Michener
“We seek God so earnestly, Eliav reflected, not to find Him but to discover ourselves.”
James A. Michener, The Source

Gore Vidal
“I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam -- good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system.”
Gore Vidal, At Home: Essays 1982-1988

Christopher Hitchens
“One notorious apikoros named Hiwa al-Balkhi, writing in ninth-century Persia, offered two hundred awkward questions to the faithful. He drew upon himself the usual thunderous curses—'may his name be forgotten, may his bones be worn to nothing'—along with detailed refutations and denunciations by Abraham ibn Ezra and others. These exciting anathemas, of course, ensured that his worrying 'questions' would remain current for as long as the Orthodox commentaries would be read. In this way, rather as when Maimonides says that the Messiah will come but that 'he may tarry,' Jewishness contrives irony at its own expense. If there is one characteristic of Jews that I admire, it is that irony is seldom if ever wasted on them.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“One of the questions asked by al-Balkhi, and often repeated to this day, is this: Why do the children of Israel continue to suffer? My grandmother Dodo thought it was because the goyim were jealous. The seder for Passover (which is a shame-faced simulacrum of a Hellenic question-and-answer session, even including the wine) tells the children that it's one of those things that happens to every Jewish generation. After the Shoah or Endlösung or Holocaust, many rabbis tried to tell the survivors that the immolation had been a punishment for 'exile,' or for insufficient attention to the Covenant. This explanation was something of a flop with those whose parents or children had been the raw material for the 'proof,' so for a time the professional interpreters of god's will went decently quiet. This interval of ambivalence lasted until the war of 1967, when it was announced that the divine purpose could be discerned after all. How wrong, how foolish, to have announced its discovery prematurely! The exile and the Shoah could now both be understood, as part of a heavenly if somewhat roundabout scheme to recover the Western Wall in Jerusalem and other pieces of biblically mandated real estate.

I regard it as a matter of self-respect to spit in public on rationalizations of this kind. (They are almost as repellent, in their combination of arrogance, masochism, and affected false modesty, as Edith Stein's 'offer' of her life to expiate the regrettable unbelief in Jesus of her former fellow Jews.) The sage Jews are those who have put religion behind them and become in so many societies the leaven of the secular and the atheist.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch-22: A Memoir

Friedrich Nietzsche
“Was it not part of the secret black art of truly grand politics of revenge, of a farseeing, subterranean, slowly advancing, and premeditated revenge, that Israel must itself deny the real instrument of its revenge before all the world as a mortal enemy and nail it to the cross, so that 'all the world,' namely all the opponents of Israel, could unhesitatingly swallow just this bait? And could spiritual subtlety imagine any more dangerous bait than this? Anything to equal the enticing, intoxicating, overwhelming, and undermining power of that symbol of the 'holy cross,' that ghastly paradox of a 'God on the cross,' that mystery of an unimaginable ultimate cruelty and self-crucifixion of God for the salvation of man?”
Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals/Ecce Homo

Kay Goodstadt
“Fidelity is a living, breathing entity. On wobbly footing, it can wander, becoming something different entirely.”
Kay Goodstadt, Love and Death Over Tea

“To Judaism Christians ascribe the glory of having been the first religion to teach a pure monotheism. But monotheism existed long before the Jews attained to it. Zoroaster and his earliest followers were monotheists, dualism being a later development of the Persian theology. The adoption of monotheism by the Jews, which occurred only at a very late period in their history, was not, however, the result of a divine revelation, or even of an intellectual superiority, for the Jews were immeasurably inferior intellectually to the Greeks and Romans, to the Hindus and Egyptians, and to the Assyrians and Babylonians, who are supposed to have retained a belief in polytheism. This monotheism of the Jews has chiefly the result of a religious intolerance never before equaled and never since surpassed, except in the history of Christianity and Mohammedanism, the daughters of Judaism. Jehovistic priests and kings tolerated no rivals of their god and made death the penalty for disloyalty to him. The Jewish nation became monotheistic for the same reason that Spain, in the clutches of the Inquisition, became entirely Christian.”
John E. Remsburg, The Christ

Amy Fellner Dominy
“I don't care if you care, I retorted. But in my religion, we're taught to admit our mistakes and to apologize for them...Oh, and there's one other thing I'm sorry about, I added. I should've spit in your eye and called you a szhlob weeks ago.”
Amy Fellner Dominy, OyMG

Richard Zimler
“Bruheem kol dumuyay eloha! Blessed are all God's self-portraits.”
Richard Zimler, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon

Tim Kreider
“Biblical, Talmudic, or Koranic literalists remind me of children wrinkling their noses at Belon oysters and asking for more Chef Boy-E-Dee. They want the world to be as simple as they are.”
Tim Kreider, Twilight of the Assholes

Walter M. Miller Jr.
“Perhaps in his loneliness he had acquired the silent conviction that he was 'the last', the one, the only. And, being the last, he ceased to be Benjamin, becoming Israel. And upon his heart had settled the history of five thousand years, no longer remote, but become as the history of his own lifetime. His "I" was the converse of the imperial "We.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

Leonard Nimoy
“I have found my way, step by step, proceeding from touch points that have emerged, some through conscious choice and some through dream state discovery.”
Leonard Nimoy, Shekhina

Walter M. Miller Jr.
“But you've always used words so wordily in crafty defense of your Trinity, although He never needed such defense before you got Him from me as a Unity.”
Walter M. Miller Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz

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