Jewish Thought Paper

Jewish Thought Paper - On God in Judaism: A Personal...

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On God in Judaism: A Personal Exploration By: Elizabeth R. Katzki Dr. Sandel Senior Seminar in Jewish Thought Honors May 9 th , 2007 1
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God. This is something, someone, some entity that I believe (d) in whole- heartedly, and began to question a little more than two years ago. Like many people, I only began to question God and God’s existence when my situation became less than ideal. Through this questioning, I have learned a lot about my religion and myself. Through tedious research long hours thinking, and debating and discussing with friends, I have come to realize that this questioning is the true heart of the religion I used to base solely on God. This confusion has led me to a series of questions, such as: Is Judaism a functional religion if God does not exist? What is a functional religion? Does the answer to the previous question differ among the different denominations of Judaism? Can a certain kind of Judaism be functional for one group and not for another? Does functionality depend on faith, practice, or both? If so, with which of these denominations do I belong? If I do not believe in God, am I still Jewish, and God who will and will not consider me a Jewish person? Is there a safe space to question, and where is the line drawn between questioning and blasphemy? I came to some conclusions, but realize that these conclusions may not hold true for everyone; in fact, they should not, because if they did, where would my questions find their answers? These conclusions may not even hold true for me forever, and I hope that they do fluctuate and change, because that is what growth is about. After all, Judaism is an evolving religion, and evolution only occurs through diversity and change in environment. Judaism can be valid without God because religion is a set of personal practices and beliefs; this is why Jewish philosophers are constantly reinterpreting different aspects 2
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of Judaism. This directly opposes the idea of Am Israel (the people/nation of Israel) because, having the same ideas as everyone in a nation is impossible, as is having the same religion, if religion is a set of personal practices and beliefs. Nobody can be the same as the person next to them, no matter how closely related their ideas are; they will never be the same. Some people view Judaism as a nation as well as a religion, and this is the idea of Am Israel . If everyone has the same ideas, and follows the exact rules, there is no room for interpretation, and therefore no room for the evolution of “Jewish society.” There are many different opinions on God, which is one of many reasons that there are different denominations of Judaism. I have searched for meaning in God, and searched to find that there is no meaning in religion or in God, and have made conclusions that I am satisfied with right now. This search for meaning has compelled me to explore and delve more deeply into the many denominations of Judaism. I have chosen four of these denominations because they influence the largest number of people
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2008 for the course ENGLISH 101 taught by Professor Frandina during the Spring '08 term at Johns Hopkins.

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Jewish Thought Paper - On God in Judaism: A Personal...

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