Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bless you

In one of the classic episodes of Seinfeld, George Costanza's father tells Kramer how his family celebrates neither Christmas, nor Hanukkah, nor Kwanza. Instead, in a nod to secularism, he proclaims his affinity for Festivus, the festival for the rest of us.

I'm sure Mr. Costanza would be equally inspired by this updated rendition of the Last Supper.

It celebrates the men and women who, unlike some of their religious counterparts, have made real contributions to Western civilization and the advancement of mankind. There's Galileo, Madame Curie, some dude, Newton, some other dude, Steve Hawkins, Einstein, Carl Sagan, Darwin and a bunch of others whose names I didn't bother to secure.

I love this picture. And I know that somewhere in Cupertino, California there's a photoshop artist who has been commissioned to include Steve Jobs.

My little ode to atheism comes two months before my family and I will be going to our synagogue and celebrating the ritual of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Hypocrisy? Perhaps, but that's what I like about being a member of the tribe. Doubt, anger, disbelief, even outright heresy, are welcome in Judaism. And not just welcomed, but encouraged. In fact, one could argue that these forces of discontent and dissatisfaction with the status quo are the very things that give Judaism it's strength and lasting power. It's certainly the mark of maturity.

I bring all this up because last week I read an amazing piece on written by a sitting Cantor. There, in front of three million readers who are actively ignoring my column, she openly declared her agnosticism. She said she might find God in the future, but right now didn't believe he existed.

And yet each week she shows up for shabbat services and her congregants gather to listen to her beautiful voice.

Pretty incredible.
Good thing she didn't draw any cartoons.

1 comment:

Ellen November said...

Mazel tov! Let my people go, um, I think we've gone and went.