Letters | Atheism and Animals

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An Atheist Jew

I was pleased with Steve Mendelsohn’s commentary (“Me, A Secular Jew?” April 4). I am also an atheist Jew, as are many of my friends (and even rabbis, but they will never admit that to you).

When I go to non-theist conventions, quite a few attendees are Jewish. I sat at a banquet table once, and nine out of the 10 present were either Jews or former Jews. Sadly, some hated Judaism.

People often ask me to explain this. Orthodox Jews are all about God, but for the rest of us, Judaism is more about culture, history, tradition, teaching to question everything and make a better world, and a civilization. In the Bible and in Israel, Jews are a race. Belief in a god is not necessary. I don’t even say “under God” when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

My wife is strongly Jewish, trying every week to get me to go to services with her. I never knew how she felt about God (after half a century) until a good friend, David Silverman, then president of American Atheists, stopped by our house to say hello. I wanted to donate $100 to the cause.

My wife spoke up and insisted on a hundred dollars a month, so we could be life members. And this was in the face of Dave telling us how Judaism should be abolished, basically. We get a kick out of chuckling at the Bible’s nonsense fables, but the tiny percent of world’s population, the Jews, have constantly provided extraordinary contributions in every avenue of endeavor.

It is something that should continue.

Alan M. Gold | Doylestown

Assertions About Animals, Democrats

Assertions by two letter-writers this week call for a response.

If killing animals for the purpose of providing food to human beings is not moral (“Harming Animals Is Not Moral,” Dara Lovitz, April 4) why did G-d not direct evolution to make us vegetarians? It is emotional and inaccurate to refer to food animals as sentient creatures. Sentient is defined as: “One with the faculty of sensation and the power to perceive, reason and think.” Hardly descriptive of beef cattle or poultry.

Why do we not also opine about fish? Removing a fish from its natural environment — water — is the piscatorial equivalent of drowning; a prolonged and extremely painful way to die.

As for Jerome Cantor’s letter “Democrats Make Excuses,” I am a Democrat. I do not spew “anti-Semitic garbage” (whatever that is) continuously or at all. I discount opinions of those who make blanket statements about an entire class of people doing something or being a certain way. The writer’s assertion is obviously impossible, unacceptably presumptuous and the height of chutzpah.

Stanley Lieberman | West Chester

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