Welcome to Universal Judaism Blog and Forum
Universal Judaism teaches a new way, thoroughly contemporary, without the superstitions and religious prejudices of the past. It is for all people, Jewish or not, theist, agnostic or atheist, who are interested in core teachings of the Hebrew People that were bequeathed to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and today’s global secular culture.
Are you observant?
Universal Judaism is for all those who are observant, but in the more original sense of the word.(1)
Universal Judaism is scientific:
The observation of our world and the search for a “Unified Truth” is the foundation of all scientific thinking and theorizing. Obviously, this is inseparable from any knowledge of any “One God” (Dt. 6:4) Who is “Abundant in Truth”(Ex. 34:7)
Universal Judaism is for all those who consider a clear-minded, unbiased, objective, observation of our world to be an impartial foundation to human knowledge. This is the Truth-foundation upon which all true teachings, tradition, customs, religious-beliefs, ethnic identities or even scripture and its interpretations are based. After all, everything we know comes from the human observation through our experience of Life. Indeed, the scientific word “experiment” comes from the same root as the word “experience”. All our knowledge could be said to be an experiment with, or an experience of, Life.
That’s why Universal Judaism has no conflict between objective science and so-called “religion”. It has no conflict between “tradition” and “modern”. It is Truth-based.(2)
Universal Judaism is spiritual:
Objective spiritual knowledge is also a science. The word “science” comes from the Latin root, meaning “knowing”. Universal Judaism could be said to be a “spiritual science”.
The observation of our Life experience is what produces spiritual insights and knowledge. Those who are spiritually observant can witness objective principles, rules, “laws” that are “built into” Life, and are necessary for the human spiritual experience of GOOD. Let us not forget that the word “God” is just a contraction of the word “Good”.
Universal Judaism teaches a simple methodology– for those as young as 5 years old, and as old as humanly possible– that allow anyone to observe the spiritual “facts” about “How Life Works”. The true “torah”, from the Hebrew word meaning “teaching”, is truly, built into Life; any scripture is essentially a recording of this knowledge framed for a different time and place; this is why it is not “absolute”, and must always be re-interpreted.
Universal Judaism is secular:
Today’s world is predominantly secular. This is not a mistake. This is an advance. Yet, it is also a curious “Return to Genesis” so to speak; after all, the first chapter of Genesis is, essentially, “secular” and “scientific” in its viewpoint, “non-religious” and “de-mythologized”.(3) This is the naked foundation to Life, as any observant person can see.
Whether you are so-called “religious” or not, a daily life that is lived according to the best, the noblest, the healthiest, with the most lovingly-kind and just values is the essence of what it means to be “human”. This is also the essence of what the Hebrew People have always been about, and what they bequeathed to Judaism, Christianity, Islam and today’s global secular world culture.
It can be easily observed that “God” is not more present in “religious” life, than “secular” life. This distinction is, today, spiritually meaningless. A “Good” religious life, and a “Good” secular, are no less “Godly”, though they may differ in modes of expression.
So, if you have no desire to be “religious”, no guilt is needed here. Religious guilt is a psychological poison that actually prevents an individual from experiencing Good or God. It is hurtful. It is wrongful to the human spirit.
Universal Judaism is individualistic:
While there are, truly, Universal Teachings critical to all humankind, every single culture, every single religion, every single person, people or indeed, creature, is unique.
Universal Judaism does not believe that “universal” means “ubiquitous”, that every single individual must be the exact same way. This does not accord with a clear-minded observation of our world, and it is religious insanity.
Nor, does Universal Judaism, put all beliefs, nationalities, religions and philosophical systems in a “cuisinart”, blend them up and serve them as “universal”. Such syncretism is dangerous to the integrity and identity of each of us. While holding to the living experience of One Universal Truth– The very Principle of Unity(4)– we celebrate, unabashedly, diversity within our ranks and within the world. Any “God” Who is “One” is not a God of “uniformity”.
Today, often without realizing it, many people are re-discovering the universal truths of the Hebrew people. We are discovering the critical importance of rest (the sabbath?) of healthy eating (kosher?) of ecological integrity (the sacredness of Our Land?), and the correct place for human-invented institutions and economic systems (Righteousness?)
Today, we are discovering the value of education, of contribution to the world, of a Unified World View, which are hallmarks of Hebrew thought and Life.
We are truly re-discovering these new/ancient insights through our “scientific method”. We are re-discovering these through our particular “religious method”, Jewish or not. We are discovering this through spiritual practices and disciplines– like meditation and yoga– that have never been so popularized. And, we are discovering this through critical thought, leading to a more purified philosophical insight, because it is based on objective scientific observation, not mere “belief” or “faith”.
That is why, in this era of Freedom, The Association for Universal Judaism, believes it is time to step out from the shadow of the past and teach openly, without fear, to all good people who are willing to hear, regardless of age, educational background or religious affiliation, circumcised or not.
It is time to, once again, for the Hebrew People to be, openly, a Light unto all the nations of the world! (Isaiah 49:6) All the nations of the world, including the Modern State of Israel, and any eventual Palestine, need these teachings.(See history)
To do the Good and the Beautiful (5), together, yet, each in their our uniquely-inspired way. To continue the original unique mission of history that began with the Hebrew People:
This is the spiritual essence of Universal Judaism. (6)
And check out our website: www.universaljudaism.org
(1) With thanks to my dear friend and colleague, David Stoller, for his brilliant Spinozist insight.
(2) With the deepest love for Rabbi Jack Bemporad, and also for Rabbi Robert Widom and the late Rabbi Barry Friedman. Thank you all for your gift to me.
(3) With a debt to the great Hans Jonas for this profound insight.
(4) With the deepest love and devotion to the late Professor Ellis Rivkin, for his friendship, his counsel, and his “Unity Principle”. See The Shaping of Jewish History, by Ellis Rivkin. Behrman House, 1971. www.rivkinsociety.org
(5) With great admiration for the late Rabbi Joseph Gelberman, a true visionary.
(6) For David Waterman, Nelson Rose, Henkka Kiviniemi and many others around the world, who have encourage me in this project.