The Rabbi--Rabbi Goldberg--got up and made an obsequious, fawning, assimilating fool of himself. He said Temple Judea was "tolerant of atheism." Silly me. I had this insane idea that the purpose of a synagogue was to advance the cause of Judaism, which is generally considered to be a religion.
He quoted some French Jew who died in the nineteenth century. The gist of the quote was that Judaism was great because it didn't require adherents to shut off their brains and abandon reason. Rabbi Goldberg thought it was a good idea to bring in people hostile to God and Judaism and let them speak, because it "challenged" believers. Again, I guess I'm crazy. I thought the secular world challenged believers day in and day out, and the purpose of a synagogue was to provide a sanctuary and an authoritative response.
Hitchens went on to insult Judaism just about has hard as he could. He insulted Abraham for offering to sacrifice his son, describing Abraham's faith--Judaism--as "base and servile." He made fun of circumcision. He used crude language. He did his best to get thrown out of the place, but as of the time I left, Rabbi Goldberg seemed thrilled to have him.
May 21, 2007
Christopher Hitchens walks into a synagogue
Not a joke, although it could be.