Larry Kuperman's Articles In Religion
September 30, 2008 by Larry Kuperman
Last night I went to the Jewish Cultural Society (JCS) of Ann Arbor for Rosh Hoshanah celebration. We are a Jewish, Secularist, humanistic society, but as I have said many times in the past, our celebrations resemble religous ones to a greater degree than many might suppose. It was a wonderful celebration welcoming the New Year and, as you would also find at a religous observance we reflected on our short-comings and affirmed our committment to do better in the coming year.

One of my former s...
June 4, 2008 by Larry Kuperman
Some time ago I got into a discussion with a fellow blogger about Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Reformation and a notorious anti-Semite. I was amazed to find that anyone would defend Marin Luther, a man who urged his followers to kill without mercy, let alone that Luther would be regarded as a "good man." If Luther was so good, then he must have gone to Heaven, right? And if Luther gets in, why not his best known protege, Adolf Hitler?

In 1543, Luther wrote his infamous tract O...
June 3, 2008 by Larry Kuperman
One of our members has written an article that offers the thesis that banning prayer in schools somehow led to a rash of school shootings. In fact, the author quotes God as saying "I am not allowed in schools." This is the All-Powerful diety speaking, mind you. If there is any sense to this article, full of "reap the whirlwind" it is that the shootings could have been prevented had not the All-Merciful wanted to send a message.

Usually I do not respond to this kind of non-sequitur  (beca...
April 13, 2008 by Larry Kuperman
I just finished teaching my Adult Education class for the year. It was truly fun, truly exhausting. We had eight sessions covering pre-history from the time of Abraham and going through the modern Jewish-American experience. I wrote about 120 pages of notes. We covered about 4000 years.

We started off with definitions of what it has meant to be a Jew and what it means today. There was a lot of Bible discussion, a lot of contemporary archaeolgical works cited. My goal was for a re-examination ...
July 16, 2007 by Larry Kuperman
If your religion does not recognize the Pope as the supreme interpreter of religious doctrine on Earth....always correct and infallible...if you think that you somehow might have the capacity to think for yourself about what G-d might want, then your religion is "wounded." Thus sayeth the Pope Benedict XVI and since he can never be wrong (when speaking Ex Officio) your religion MUST be wounded.

As a disclaimer, I should comment that I am pretty much against the Catholic Church. I have a littl...
March 31, 2007 by Larry Kuperman
“This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt; let all those that are hungry enter and eat thereof; and all who are in distress, come and celebrate the Passover. At present, we celebrate it here, but next year we hope to celebrate in the land of Israel. This year we are servants here, but next year we hope to be free people in the land of Israel."[/B] - Passover Haggadah

At sunset on April 2nd, 2007, the holiday of Passover begins. Usually Passover is said to co...
December 11, 2006 by Larry Kuperman
Kayla Steinberg is one of the students in my JCS 7th Grade class. The following is her own composition and is posted with permission. Pretty remarkable to have been written by a 7th Grader!

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On the first night of Hanukah,
My true love sent to me
A menorah in a pretty blue box.

On the second night of Hanukah,
My true love sent to me
Two chocolate gelts,
And a menorah in a pretty blue box.

On the third night of Hanukah,
My tru...
December 3, 2006 by Larry Kuperman
Joel Hunter is the pastor of the Northland Church, a board member of many Christian organizations, a noteworthy author and scholar. For a brief period of time he was also the President of the Christian Coalition. But he left (or was asked to leave) because he wanted to expand the agenda beyond opposition to gay marriage and abortion, wanting to take on issues like poverty and disease.

"I look forward to … expanding our mission to concern itself with the care of creation, helping society's mar...
November 19, 2006 by Larry Kuperman
Last Saturday, the JCS 7th Grade, students and parents, saved the world. We didn't save the whole thing, but we started with a little piece of it.

I teach Sunday school at the Jewish Cultural School, a Jewish secular institution located in Ann Arbor, Michigan. As part of the curriculum, we cover each individual's obligation to serve the community, to perform acts of Tzedakah or charity, and good deeds, or Mitzvot. Each year our class raises money to contribute to worthy causes, such as Ronald...
September 10, 2006 by Larry Kuperman
My headline is a bit of hyperbole, but not too far off target.

In an outdoor Mass before 250,000 in Munich, Germany, His Holiness said that science and rational thought weakens our ability to accept the religious message. "Put simply, we are no longer able to hear God, ­ there are too many frequencies filling our ears. What is said about God strikes us as pre-scientific, no longer suited for our age.”

“People in Africa and Asia admire our scientific and technical prowess, but at the same t...
May 27, 2006 by Larry Kuperman
It is amazing to me the amount of debate that there has been regarding the Dan Brown book and movie, when the real conspiracy by the Catholic Church goes seemingly unnoticed. The Catholic Church should be grateful for the Da Vinci Code books and movie because the furor surrounding those fictional events serves as a distraction from the true pattern of sexual abuse and concealment.

In 2004, the Catholic Church in the United States received an internal report placing the substantiated allegat...
February 7, 2006 by Larry Kuperman
Anyone who reads my blog with regularity knows that I teach Sunday school at the Jewish Cultural School, a Jewish secular humanist school and congregation. I teach the 7th Grade, the last year of education before the kids have their B'not Mitzvahs.

As an important part of this education, we study how religion in general, and Judaism in particular, are practiced in other congregations. I take the class on trips to other congregations for first-hand experience. We always begin by observing Sabb...
March 19, 2005 by Larry Kuperman
Every religion has to deal with the issue of Sin (upper-case letter intentional) and Repentance, the recovery, if you will, from Sin to a State of Grace. How each religion deals with it effects how that religion will be received and the degree to which it will be accepted. To me, that is marketing.

Every religion has it's "Do's and Don't's." Do go to church on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Don't kill your neighbor (at least not if he happens to be of the same religion as you, anyway.) If you fail t...
February 23, 2005 by Larry Kuperman
In the Pope's latest book, he refers to gay marriage as part of "a new ideology of evil." In this time of ever-increasing revelations of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, I stand in wonder of just how misplaced priorities can be.

The book Memory and Identity is based on transcribed conversations between the Pontiff and his circle of friends. The conversations occurred in 1993, before the extent of the sexual abuse of children by priests was widely known or acknowledged. But I am ne...
September 1, 2004 by Larry Kuperman
"Mighty Rome is fallen...."

When last we left this history, the Roman Empire under Constantine had adopted Christianity as the state religion, the Gnostics had been driven underground and the Jews were suffering from intermittent persecutions within the Empire. We should perhaps look at the Roman Empire.

At the height of the Empire, Roman power spanned to the North and South, to the East and West of the Mediterranean Sea. A map of Rome at the height of it's glory can be found at http://www...