The Orthodox believe in Jewish literacy, and most of the rest of us couldn't care less. Rabbis and other creatures have a monopoly on Judaism. This is a turnoff in a world that is increasingly secular and that has turned away from religion. Jews are simply turning away from Judaism.
Once we perceive that it is Judaism which is the root cause of antisemitism, otherwise irrational or inexplicable aspects of antisemitism become rationally explicable...Only something representing a threat to the core values, allegiances and beliefs of others could cause such universal, deep and lasting hatred. This Judaism has done...
Judaism, for example, presents itself as monotheistic and retrofits that claim on its history by revising its lore. But in ancient times, Judaism was much more accurately Henotheism, wherein people (particularly common folk) worshipped a principal god while accepting the existence of other deities, or Monolatrism, where many gods were acknowledged, but only one worshipped.
Thomas Daniel Nehrer
I believe that Judaism was an improvement on polytheism; Christianity was an improvement on Judaism (to some degree and in some departments only); that Protestantism is an improvement on Catholicism; that Mormonism is an improvement on Protestantism. So I give Joseph Smith credit as an innovator and as a smart fellow.
Germany is the enemy of Judaism and must be pursued with deadly hatred. The goal of Judaism of today is: a merciless campaign against all German peoples and the complete destruction of the nation. We demand a complete blockade of trade, the importation of raw materials stopped, and retaliation towards every German, woman and child.
Eugene M. Kulischer
It is necessary for us to explain the involuntary repugnance we possess for the nature and personality of the Jews ... The Jews have never produced a true poet. Heinrich Heine reached the point where he duped himself into a poet, and was rewarded by his versified lies being set to music by our own composers. He was the conscience of Judaism, just as Judaism is the evil conscience of our modern civilization.
I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain""especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.
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.
Judaism calls for us to honor the rhythm of human life, the demands of the human community around us, the call of the divine order as the filter and scale for the decisions that drive our own small lives. We do not rule the universe, Judaism reminds us. God does. We are not its standard or its norms. We are only its keepers, its agents, its stewards. To do right by the universe at large is the measure of a happiness framed with the entire cosmos in mind but lived in microcosms across time.
Joan D. Chittister
To you, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism look very different, but to me they look the same. Many of you would say that something like Buddhism doesn't even belong on the list, since it doesn't link salvation to divine worship, but to me this is just a quibble. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism all perceive human beings as flawed, wounded creatures in need of salvation, and all rely fundamentally on revelations that spell out how salvation is to be attained, either by departing from this life or rising above it.