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For those of you who are atheists and were from a Jewish background like me. How do you deal with the High Holidays? Do you still have a tings of Jewish guilt?

ADKSparky 7 Aug 31

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I never did have anything like jewish guilt. i love the high holidays. it is hard to say the god parts in the service unless i just think of those parts as fiction -- i mean, i love doctor who, too, so that's not so hard! -- and the messages, about repentance (not to be confused with jewish guilt, but rather to be taken as a call to reassess one's behavior annually), about forgiveness, about caring for the world around us, all of those are good messages. my experience of the sermons in the services is that they're surprisingly devoid of religion and instead full of philosophy. i always liked the humanism of judaism. i feel a bit sad that it all gets attributed to an imaginary entity, but at least in judaism the imaginary entity has no gender nor any corporeality, so there is no possibility of, say, its having a son who then dies for anyone's sins (very different from the jewish concept of sin, anyway). if i had been raised christian i would find it much less pleasant, i think, to revisit christian ritual, or celebrate the holidays. i am not sure that this feeling is logical but it is how i feel.



I don't have any guilt but I do look at things differently. Instead of from such a legalistic view rather I look for a more humanistic view. How can I be a better person this year? Did I hurt someone and not make amends? How can I make the world a better place?

Certainly a time of reflection and making the world a better place for all creatures big and small.


My father was a rabbi so for him the holidays were very high stress. That made the season very unpleasant in our home so I grew up avoiding the holidays whenever possible


No guilt, but then my somewhat nutty family never got into the high holidays. My mother was a closet Jew who feared that if she came out, the goyim (non-Jews) would eventually put her in a concentration camp. My father hated his own Jewish father for abandoning him to his crazy Italian mother when he was a boy. I personally classify myself as an ethnic Jewish atheist. As to the holidays, I love the food (except matzoh, which tastes like crispy cardboard, although it makes good dumplings), but not the ritual and mythologizing.


Pray for a Palestine free from Zionist religious fundamentalism and apartheid, slavery and hubris. Donate to a Palestinian charity. Support the Muslims in your community. Easy!

While at it, we might as well pray for a Palestine without any Islamic influence, too. Religion - any kind of religion - is the real enemy here. Easy!




Guilt? Not so much as a minute amount. Shofar, so good.


I'm not Jewish myself, but I work at a private Jewish high school. I look at the High Holidays as my "Autumn Vacation".


No guilt. Usually I forget when it occurs. I am thinking of taking Katz’s Deli up on their special Rosh Hashanah package this year.


Not really, don’t celebrate although I miss all the good food.

I do think that in addition to Charedi, Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Liberal, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Mizrahi and all the rest there ought to be "Culinary Jews" - ie, no religious leanings nor specific cultural practices, but still keen on decent Jewish nosh 🙂


Not a problem for me - I've been an atheist my entire life and my parents and grandparents were all agnostic, but we celebrated the High Holidays (and all the rest) anyway just as an acknowledgment of Jewish culture and history, and I continue to do so.

Jnei Level 8 Aug 31, 2018

Not really. The holidays were always a nice time to get together with family and it was usually more about the food than anything else. I do miss that, especially as my family is more spread out. But the religious stuff, no, don't miss it or feel bad about it. I could barely tolerate it when I was growing up.


I am not Jewish and I am agnostic A-theist. I do not celebrate any holidays of any stripe. I do acknowledge them and spend time with family as necessary, but most conventional holidays are just another wash day at my house.


You look just like my father who is a Jewish atheist lol. Life is all about adjusting to a constantly changing world. With who I am today, I am in the perfect place spiritually and have no feelings of guilt whatsoever. I don’t celebrate any holidays except for my loved one’s birthdays and Thanksgiving because of how much I appreciate everything that is good. As long as you’re always doing your best, no matter what the results, there should never be feelings of guilt ???

Keeps getting more difficult for me because my wife still celebrates. However, I never go to services.

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