An officially secular Jew

by Sofia

I just read this article from Tablet Magazine about an elderly novelist becoming the first man in Israel to be acknowledged as “without religion” by the state. It’s really exciting.

Israel lists all of its citizens as being from one religion or other. According to it, all its Jews are religious Jews, which would be laughable if it weren’t so depressing. The Orthodox rabbinate, who decides who is a Jew and thus how thousands of citizens live, is driving the nation crazy, not letting Jews marry non-Jews, wanting to do stuff like disable online banking on Saturdays, and discouraging Israelis who live in the States from staying or marrying American Jews.

Because there are so many secular Jews in Israel, and even religious Jews pissed off at the rabbinate, if this opens a way for Jews to identify as non-religious, perhaps this will have been the first step towards separating religion from state and undoing the monopoly of Orthodox rule.

It’s funny. I used to think that I had been living in a time when things were just normal and calm, like the world had reached the suburbanization of history. Now I realize I just wasn’t paying enough attention.