Los Angeles Times

A faith of free thinkers


Re “This Hanukkah, revisiting a memory that may not exist,” Opinion, Nov. 27

Tod Goldberg uses the start of Hanukkah to write about his Jewish upbringing. He ponders whether his religion is something he actually believes in.

Jewish people are free thinkers. Albert Einstein considered himself a cultural Jew rather than a religious one. Religion has different meanings to each and every person. I am also Jewish, 81 years of age, and have seen a lot in my years.

The musical “Fiddler on the Roof ” speaks of tradition. This is what many Jewish people follow. There are Orthodox Jews, Conservati­ve Jews, Reform Jews and others. Each group caters to what adherents’ hearts wish them to follow.

What we have in common are pogroms common throughout history and glaringly brought to their horrific zenith in the slaughter of 6 million of our people during World War II. Religious or not, Jews are survivors, and lighting a candle on Hanukkah is a small price to pay for those whose lives were taken away because of their identity.

Barry Wasserman Huntington Beach

Goldberg’s op-ed article about his memories of learning about Judaism was very interestin­g.

As a child and a younger adult, I was certain that my metaphysic­al wonderings, of which I had quite a few, would all be answered by the time I reached the age of 85. I had no particular reason to pick 85, but likely it seemed safely distant at the time.

Then at some point along the way, I figured out those wonderings likely won’t be answered after all. This could be what Goldberg meant by reaching “the essence of any spiritual journey.”

I mainly wish to comment on Goldberg’s contentmen­t “in the unknowing and in rememberin­g a memory that may not exist; [but yes,] free, in any case, to believe.” I do believe that his memories exist, so there’s that, but at age 72 I’m still not content in the unknowing part.

So my journey hasn’t reached its essential phase, but I really admire Goldberg’s statement. It’s like learning to be comfortabl­e with being uncomforta­ble.

Linda Finn Marina del Rey

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