You can reach me by email by using the Contact the Blog’s Author section of my old blog (first link below). Scroll down to just below my authorial profile. I have a few books for sale on Amazon, but no Patreon page as of yet. You can find looks to my books at the top of my old blog.

I haven’t written much on Judaism. Probably the most I’ve written on it was in a long piece on the world’s religions, which was meant to be the script for a YouTube documentary (but which would have entailed way too much effort). See the second link below. But no, I haven’t written anything specifically on Orthodox Judaism.

I’m a little unclear about your parting question since I’m not sure which of your efforts you’re talking about. Are you comparing the work involved to becoming an orthodox Jew (or Muslim) to your lesser effort in becoming a Catholic? Are you still Catholic?

I’d say a couple of things that make Judaism special. First, I take seriously Jack Miles’ point in God: An Autobiography, which is that the Hebrew Bible begins with naivety and ends with effective skepticism about God in books like Ecclesiastes and Job. There’s nothing like that in the New Testament or in the Quran. So Jews are famous for their sense of humour because they come from hardship and see the lighter side even of their myths and theology. (I should say I grew up in a Jewish family, albeit in a secular one.)

Granted, Orthodox Jews take their religion more seriously, but this brings me to the second point. Jews have a conflict of interest in prizing their religion because Judaism is a social club based on the appalling mistreatment of their ancestors. It’s well-known that people bond under pressure. You see this in action movies when the hero and the damsel in distress kiss directly after he saves her from terrible danger. The threat of death reduces us to our primal impulses.

In any case, Jews are bound to feel proud of their heritage if only to extract some meaning from the absurdity of their history. The social aspect of Judaism is crucial to Jewish theodicy in a way it’s not for a more dominant religion like Christianity. Thus, Orthodox Jews may take their religion seriously partly because they believe in Jewish wisdom and partly to honour the Jewish heritage or to fit into a Jewish community the preservation of which is needed to redeem the horrors of Jewish history.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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