No, no, not me. That, of course is from a song sung by Pat Suzuki in Flower Drum Song. She sings about being a teen-age girl and why she is so happy and so lucky. I love the song. I love her lust for life. It was first sung by her in 1958. Today it is on my iPod, and still one of my favorite songs.
I am Jewish and by me that’s only great! Being Jewish is odd because, as far as I can tell, it is the only religion that comes in two distinct versions – sort of like Quicken for Windows and Quicken for Mac. Yes, that’s it, Windows and Mac. That explains it.
Distinct version number 1 – the Mac version – is the secular Jew. So what does that mean? I would say it means that you say you are Jewish even though you don’t adhere to the 3000 year old belief system of the ancient Jews. That’s me. I still identify with the people that I descended from – a middle-eastern tribe that goes back at least 3000 years. My DNA shows that I am absolutely a part of them – and they are a part of me. From those people came a disproportionately large share of scientific discoveries, they value education, they have a disproportionate number of Nobel Laureates, lots of entertainers, song writers, strong desire to help their fellow human being, etc.
The legacy of the Jewish community in the US in advancing science and fighting for the rights of others is breathtaking.
Among my readers, if there are any anti-semites in the group, my first bit of advice for you would be to crawl back under the rock from whence you came. If you are not willing to do that, please allow me to give you a list of items that you might want to avoid because they were invented by Jews:
REALLY PRACTICAL: Jeans, Lipstick, the Ballpoint Pen, Contraceptives, Instant Coffee, Television Remote Control, Traffic Lights, Scotchguard, the Flexistraw.
REALLY BIG: The Atomic Bomb, the Thermonuclear Bomb, God, Genetic Engineering, the Nuclear Chain Reactor, Virtual Reality.
CULTURAL CONTRIBUTIONS: Hollywood, the Sit-Com, the Long Playing Record, Woodstock, Sound Movies, Videotape, Color Television, Instant Photography, Holography
GAME CHANGERS: Monotheism, Psychoanalysis, the Theory of Relativity, the Weekend (Shabbat)
INVENTIONS BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER “C’: Capitalism, Communism, Cheesecake, Cafeterias
FEELING BETTER: Prozac, Valium, The Polio Vaccine (both of them – Salk and Sabin), Radiation to treat Cancer, Chemotherapy, the Artificial Kidney Dialysis machine, the Defibrillator, the Cardiac Pacemaker, Vaccination against the deadly “Hepatitis B” virus, the Vaccinating Needle, Laser Technology
HIGH TECH: Google, the FAX machine, the Microphone, the Gramophone, the Microprocessing Chip, Optical Fiber Cable, Laser, Cellular Technology (the Cell Phone), the Videotape Recorder
HOW DID WE LIVE WITHOUT THESE?: Drip Irrigation, Scale Model Electric Trains, the Pager, the Walkie-talkie, Refrigerated Railroad Car, High-vacuum Electron Tubes, the Incandescent Lamp, Kodachrome Film, the Blimp, the Adding Machine, Stainless Steel, Tapered Roller Bearings.
A NOBEL PEOPLE: At least 178 Jews have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 23% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2008, and constituting 37% of all US recipients during the same period. In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Medicine and Physics, the corresponding world and US percentages are 27% and 40%, respectively. (Jews currently make up approximately 0.25% of the world’s population and 1% of the US population).
Without some of these inventions, MacGyver would be screwed!
(I found the above list in a blog. Unfortunately, the writer did not properly identify themselves so I can’t give proper credit. Suffice it to say that I did check out most of these and found them to be true.)
I identify with a group of people who value their families, but also value the fact that a Jew’s religious belief are between him and his God. I once read that the incidence of atheism and agnosticism among American Jews is as high as 50%. I am intensely proud of that. I pray(!) that it will go higher – much higher.
This leads me to distinct version number 2 – the Windows version – the religious Jew. I know religious Jews in my community as well as in my family. They know my beliefs (or lack thereof) but have never tried to cajole me into going to synagogue, never suggested that I was going to hell (hell is a Christian concept, anyway. It is not part of the Jewish faith). My religion was between me and God. It is not for any human being to intervene. My family and Jewish friends know my beliefs. I am still accepted as a fellow Jew. There are a number of people in my family who are equally accepted as “Jews by choice”. They chose to convert to Judaism.
There are a lot of Evangelicals who think that they are doing some sort of good deed by trying to make us “complete Jews” as Ann Coulter – the right wing bimbo and bigot put it. I think that those evangelicals would better themselves if they would stop for a moment and look in the mirror. Maybe they would notice the ugly creatures that they have become – on second thought they may be too stupid. I think that they are very sick.
Tomorrow, Wednesday evening marks the start of the Jewish New Year. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, “Head of the Year,” and as its name indicates, it is the beginning of the Jewish year. The anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, it is the birthday of mankind, highlighting the special relationship between God and humanity.
Today, I am sure that more Jews believe in the tooth fairy than in Adam and Eve, but, there still needs to be some mechanism for counting long spans of time, and the Jewish calendar seems to be as good as any.
If I had to suggest some improvements for the Jewish people I would go for sports and food. We are so deficient in sports that we might be able to qualify for disaster aid. As far as distinctly Jewish food: come on guys – there has got to be something beside the bagel!
To my Jewish friends and family of both the Windows or Mac variety, happy 5772. To my Christian friend and family of any variety, happy 5772. To my Muslim friends, happy 5772. To all of humanity, happy 5772.
May we all live in peace and mutual respect.