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Exploring Elizabeth Taylor's Jewish conversion
Elizabeth Taylor in Beverly Hills, California, in 2007.
March 24th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

Exploring Elizabeth Taylor's Jewish conversion

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

In early April 1959, Time magazine reported that “the most famous and perhaps the most beautiful baby born last week was a Jewish girl named Elisheba Rachel Taylor.”

Explaining that a convert to Judaism is considered "a newborn child," the article recounted the conversion of 27-year-old actress Elizabeth Taylor to the faith. Her newly acquired Hebrew name, used in ceremonies accompanying life cycle events, combined the Hebrew version of Elizabeth with her biblical heroine, Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.

Raised a Christian Scientist, Taylor’s decision wasn’t sudden. She first thought about converting when she married movie producer Mike Todd, her third husband, who’d been born Avrom Goldbogen and was the grandson of a Polish rabbi, Time reported.

But the theory that Todd - or that her soon-to-be next Jewish husband Eddie Fisher - provided the impetus for her conversion was one she disputed. Taylor's conversion came a year after Todd’s death in a plane crash, Benjamin Ivry wrote Wednesday in The Forward, a Jewish newspaper.

Judaism is not a proselytizing faith. In fact, an ancient practice that some rabbis still follow is to turn away would-be conversion candidates three times before agreeing to work with them as a way to test their commitment.

Taylor reportedly studied for about six months with the late Rabbi Max Nussbaum, a Holocaust survivor affiliated with Judaism's Reform movement and with Hollywood’s Temple Israel. She was assigned books to read and engaged in conversations about traditions and the struggles weighing on Israel, Time reported.

Nussbaum, Ivry of the Forward wrote, “was no star-struck pushover,” even though he’d long been linked to celebrities, performing funerals for people including Al Jolson, Fanny Brice and Sam Goldwyn. Not long after Taylor's conversion, he also would perform the controversial wedding of Taylor to Fisher.

Some gave Taylor a hard time about her decision to convert, but she stood by the choice, Ivry wrote, adding, “Biographer Kitty Kelley quotes Taylor as saying: ‘I felt terribly sorry for the suffering of the Jews during the war. I was attracted to their heritage. I guess I identified with them as underdogs.’”

Last August, The Jewish Journal in southern California published a blog post by Danielle Berrin about Taylor and her Jewish identity. The piece was written soon after the publication of “Furious Love,” which chronicled the actress’s volatile relationship with Richard Burton.

The blog post recounted a scene in the book in which the couple went at it over “who was more ‘Jewish,’” Berrin wrote.

Burton had referred to the Welsh as “the Jews of Britain”, a comment on their self-identity as the outsiders of the United Kingdom. [Note: Burton was Welsh]

“You’re not Jewish at all,” he told Elizabeth in one of their very public fights, “If there’s any Jew in this family, it’s me!”

“I am Jewish,” she answered, “and you can f–k off!”

The JTA, a global Jewish news service, posted Wednesday a blog listing archived stories about Taylor. Among them was a piece about how her 1959 purchase of $100,000 in Israel bonds prompted a ban of her films by authorities of the United Arab Republic.

Another story recounted how Taylor sang in 1961 a Hebrew duet with Fisher in Moscow, while surprising United States servicemen who were stationed in the Soviet capital. And in 1987, she was among those who signed an appeal launched by a Jewish feminist magazine, Lilith, to free Soviet refusenik Ida Nudel.

Taylor, and her films, were barred in 1962 from entering Egypt because she was Jewish and had financially assisted Israel - another hiccup in the already oft-interrupted and financially strapped production of "Cleopatra," which almost bankrupted 20th Century Fox, according to the JTA

But her name was later removed from Egypt’s blacklist, after “officials decided the film was good publicity for Egypt which is mentioned 122 times in the movie,” JTA reported in 1964.

The JTA archives also reveal that Taylor “offered herself as a hostage for the more than 100 Air France hijack victims held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport in Uganda during the tense days before the Israeli rescue raid” on July 4, 1976.

That revelation was reportedly disclosed when Taylor and then-husband John Warner were honored at a June 1977 gala for the Jewish National Fund, an environmental organization best known for its tree plantings in Israel.

Elizabeth Taylor and husband John Warner plant a tree in a forest named for them outside Jerusalem.

Israel’s then-ambassador to the United States, Simcha Dinitz, gave the couple a certificate for a forest planted in their names near Jerusalem. “Taylor’s offer was ‘appreciated’ and ‘the Jewish people will always remember it,’” Dinitiz said, according to the JTA.

In response, Taylor shared these words, the JTA reported: "'The trees we planted with our own hands in Israel symbolize a new hope that the whole world, Christian, Jew and Arab, will live as one in harmony under God.'"

A couple years later, she signed on to narrate "Genocide," a documentary about the Holocaust that went on to win a 1981 Academy Award. Taylor's participation in the project, which was the first film produced by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and her connection to center founder Rabbi Marvin Hier were recounted in a Jewish Journal piece published Thursday.

How much Judaism played into Taylor's life in recent years is unclear. But the Jewish Journal reported in its obituary that Taylor had been a supporter of the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles. And Ivry of the Forward suggested that Taylor's relentless campaigning on behalf of AIDS research and treatment reflected a deep understanding of the Jewish commitment to tzedakah, or charity.

In the Jewish tradition, a person is laid to rest as soon as possible after death. A small funeral service for Taylor was scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Rabbi Jerry Cutler of Creative Arts Temple conducted the service. He describes his community as "unorthodox," and the temple website says it is one that seeks "the joy of Judaism through the creative arts."

Out of respect for Taylor's family, Cutler would not comment Friday morning on the late actress.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Celebrity • Culture & Science • Judaism • Movies • Uncategorized

soundoff (443 Responses)
  1. Love all mankind

    Jesus says, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

    May she rest in peace.

    For the sake of his sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  2. Linda

    I am Jewish, yet I am offended at the suggestion that the practice of charity is associated with Taylor's Judaism. All of the major religions support charitable giving, and recent studies have found that religious Americans of all faiths give more than their secular counterparts.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Jesus

      Funny, she didn't look Jewish.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • ObamaBlackJesus

      THAT offends you? You need to give your head a shake, lady.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • GodIsMan

      So, if her charity work IS associated with her Judaism, it would therefore be associated with her religion. It's correct. How could that possibly offend you? Do you LOOK for things to get offended by? You sound like a busybody to me.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Sara N.

      No where does it imply that charity is only associated with Judaism. Someone in the story inferred that her charity was a way of observing her religion. What is offensive about that?

      March 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Jesus: "she didn't look Jewish."

      I'm afraid that Jesus (the REAL one) "doesn't look Jewish" to you as well.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Aaron

      ..........

      March 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • AARON

      I guess you get offended because you have a low self esteem as a Jewess. Yes,we Jews are very charitable more than other groups I don't have to appologize for that.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
  3. purnellmeagrejr

    As a matter of fact Jesus was a black Jew – kind of like Sammy Davis, Jr. but with two functioning eyes.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  4. Vera

    As someone who was brought up Christian I am always amazed at how revisionist some Christians are to certain facts. Jesus was a liberal, a rebel and he also died a JEW. Yes he wanted to change certain aspects of Jewish behavior, money lenders in the synogogue etc. The last supper was Passover dinner. We Christians repackaged that event. Christianiy and Jewdaism are so intertwined that for someone such as Leigh to feel sorry for Elizbeth Taylor, who led a generous and cheritable life because she died a nonchristian is a very sad statement on Leigh and her belief system.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Michelle

      As a Jew, I say – you are a true Christian – thank you Vera.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Sam I Am

      Jews reject the central dogma of Christianity, the deity of Christ. There's no "intertwining."

      The NT is clearly supersessionist. Jews don't get a free pass to heaven.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • mench

      Thank you Vera for a truly sane and intelligent response.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Vera, Jesus was a 'Judean', not a Jew. John 18:13 .. that forced Pontius Pilate's hand into crucifying Jesus Christ in A.D. 29. Pontius Pilot questioned Jesus if He was King of the Jews. Jesus never answered.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • CatholicMom

      HeavenSent,

      Jesus was a Jew. His genealogy is taken from His mother, a Jewish girl, Mary. home.inreach.com/bstanley/geneal.htm

      Jesus answered Pontius Pilot,……‘You say that I am’.

      John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  5. lct

    who cares

    March 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  6. PRISM 1234

    I am sorry for her passing.... I do hope that she had someone at her side to show her how much she needed Lord Jesus Christ. He is no respecter of persons. He can save to the uttermost, and all those who come to Him H will not cast out...
    But it is sad to see all those great men and ladies of Hollywood's golden age to leave this world. They are reminders of the time when that place was not polluted as it is now. I love those old movies, k with stories that leave you thinking good and noble thoughts after you go home from movie theater. Most if not all today only leave ones soul with troubling "hangover -like feeling...

    Good bye, beautiful Liz Taylor!

    March 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  7. IHC

    Leigh, True Christians are accepting of all as is God. He does not deny Heaven to anyone deserving...Jew, Christian, Arab, Buddhist,...
    Do not proselytize your false beliefs. It may astonish you to know that it was the Jews that invented our idea of heaven. They did not invent the idea of an afterlife, or the idea of heaven as the home of God—those ideas had been around for thousands of years, long before Jews ever existed as a people. But the idea of heaven as we understand it—a place in the sky where the righteous go after death to live forever with God—that is a concept born to Jews sometime during the second century BEFORE THE BIRTH OF JESUS. It was, if you will, a theological miracle. Heaven, at its root, is a Jewish idea.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • Emma

      What garbage! This is what the very first verse in the bible says. Genesis is believed to be written sometime between 1445 B.C. and 1405 B.C. B.C. stands for 'Before Christ' by the way.

      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

      March 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      IHC, you need to learn how to read the Bible and cross reference the books. Genesis-Revelation refers to this 2nd earth age and is the story of how Jesus was born into the world, who was in His family lineage, what Life is and the hereafter.

      You can read about the beginning or foundation of the world in the below scriptures. There are 3 earth ages and 3 heavens. The first earth age God destroyed because of 1/3 of His angels rebelling against Him because they followed Lucifer, who wanted to be bigger and better than God. God then created the world again, erasing all our memories of Him (we've been here since the beginning. Some souls only get blotted out in the 3rd earth age, after Jesus comes back, the Day of the Lord (3rd Heaven), if the person refuses to accept Jesus) allowed us to be born of woman (born of water, born from above, or born again) as a second chance to love and follow Jesus (truth) and our souls live while in this earthly body, on earth as it is in Heaven, to reside with Jesus through eternity. 2nd choice is to love and follow satan (lies) and your spirit dies while living in the flesh, on earth, as it is in Heaven. Then after the Day of the Lord, if you still reject Jesus, He obliges you to go to the eternal flames, blotted out. No eternity for you.

      2 Peter 3:5-6
      Jeremiah 4:23-27
      Job 40:15-19
      Matthew 13:28
      2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
      Romans 11:4
      Ezekiel 28:18-19
      Revelation 2:9
      Revelation 12:4
      Revelation 20:10

      In the middle of verse two, untold eons of time transpired.

      Genesis 1:1-3

      1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [First Earth Age formed]

      1st of 2 And the earth was [became] without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. [end of First Earth Age]

      2nd of 2 And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. [Second Earth Age begun)]
      3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. [...]

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  8. JohnJohn

    THAT's funny .... she doesn't LOOK Drewish ...

    March 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Michelle

      You are a disgrace to any and all; get a life.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  9. ken

    Not a proselytizing faith? Huh? Jesus was famous for repeating the saying of Moses "ye shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven lest ye come by THE WAY" ("the way" was Judaism)

    March 24, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Emma

      The way was not Judaism. Jesus said: I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father except through me.

      Judaism was and is the law. If you live by the law you will be judged by the law, but no man can keep it. Jesus came to fulfill the law. those who give up their life (give up their dream and live for Jesus) will keep it, but those who want to keep their life (live for themselves) will lose it.

      In order to get to go to heaven, we must give our lives to Christ. He is the narrow gate.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • HI

      hmm thats funny. Jews believe that as long as you follow the 7 Laws of the Sons of Noah then you will go to heaven, jewish or not

      March 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Michelle

      If Judaism had been a proselytizing faith, then the majority of the world would have been Jewish – fool!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Visionary

      If there was any such person name moses. Matter of fact, much of the old test. has never been confirmed archeologically, etc. Including the exodus – it more and more appears wasn't an event involving jews.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • mench

      Really, I thought according to most of you Christians he was a Chirstian! How conveniently he changes his religious affiliation depending of which of your arguments it conveniently best fits.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  10. The Resolute Voice

    All I can say is that God must be weeping to hear such bigotry. Whether one is religious or not is not the point – it's the way that you treat others and are tolerant of others that is important. There are many religions, and they all lead to some form of God. Even those who are agnostics and atheists will progress to some higher spiritual place after passing – surprise!

    I often think about all the death and destruction and hatred that could have been prevented and still prevented if people just accepted others more easily and let them live their beliefs in peace and understanding and learn from them. Elizabeth Taylor was a star and a great actress, but a greater citizen of the world. Shalom, rest in peace, go to God and Allah. You will be welcomed with joy.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Michelle

      A M E N ! !

      March 24, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • mench

      The Resolute Voice – how beautiful and true! Too bad most people are not kind enough, spiritual enough and intelligent enough to think the way you do.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Jeremy

    WOAH! I know she was elderly... but my god...what the hell?!

    March 24, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  12. BL

    Dear Dan: Screw you and your FAIRY TALE idiotic, fake religion!

    March 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      BL, your choice to go to the eternal flames and be blotted out. No eternity for you. Jesus obliges everyone for what they wish for. No excuses anymore blaming Him for your decisions.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  13. Benjh

    The debate raging on in this comment section is the saddest thing I've read in a long time. Is an obit really the best place to promote your believes, and insult that of others?

    March 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Michelle

      Finally, a response of reason; thank you Benjh.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Chaim

      Considering the article heading, this is not an actual "obit", but a deliberately inflammatory article written with just such a result in mind.
      Why do you think they put it in the Belief Blog? They've had religious news that never got included here many times.

      All the times I've visited CNN, the articles in the Belief Blog have been very mild ones where Judaism is concerned, so perhaps we are seeing a symptom of repressed emotions where Judaism, Israel, and Jews are concerned.

      To deliberately put an obit in a blog where people fight like piranhas would be irresponsible at best.
      This article is almost like an obit, but the lady's personal religious beliefs should not be subject to public ridicule the day after she passes away regardless of what the editors were thinking.
      They were wrong to put this article here. But they are the "master trolls" who toss these articles to the hungry opinionated piranhas in the first place.
      Take up your complaint with them. I hear they ignore such things on a regular basis.

      March 25, 2011 at 4:08 am |
  14. AmericanPiex

    Atheist are funny. They think religion is the source of all world problems and wars. What about the nature of men to acquire, spread their seed and expand their empires? And if there is no God, then how do you explain humans in this world?? we are the only species that kills one another for political and monetary gains, we destroy the same eco system we live in rather than compliment it. We are the one major destructive force in this world.

    Even if you play mathematical statistics you would know its better to believe in a God and be wrong if there is non than to not believe in a God and there be one. – Pascal.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • fairalways

      It is untrue to say that all atheists believe that religion is the source of "all world problems and wars". I am Jewish. I know many Jews who are atheists, agnostic atheists, agnostic theists, apathetic or pragmatic agnostics, ignostics, strong agnostics, weak agnostics.

      March 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Visionary

      Fairways – jews that are atheist,etc. How can that be? We're taught to think that Judaism is a religion not ethnicity/race. Now what is it? Or does it depend on this or that. So funny.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      fairalways, All Jews were told to abide in the NT. Now, tell me why that hasn't happened until just recently.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      HeavenSent,

      The NT was not used by Jesus or anyone until the Catholic Church gathered the inspired Scriptures and placed them in the Bible…forming the OT and the NT. This didn’t happen until almost 400 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  15. cathyaconley@gmail.com

    She was married 8 times. If she was Jane Nobody , nextdoor to you....you would have called her a crazy lady!!

    March 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Evanfan

      But she WAS married to the men, not shacking up, or having children out-of-wedlock or screwing around with every Tom, Dick and Harry like so many are doing today. RIP, Elizabeth....

      March 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, so you are blaming her for men's bad behavior????

      March 24, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  16. John

    @ Leigh: I feel bad for you believing that because someone is not Christian they won't go to "heaven". You are in for quite a surprise on the day you pass over. Trust me. WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE CHRISTIANS WHO SPEAD THE OPPOSITE OF THAT THEIR RELIGION TEACHES THEM?? SAD RELIGION INDEED.

    Sincerely,

    A spiritual person who knows that despite having no affiliation with Christianity they will also get their "heaven"

    March 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • kica

      Well said John.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • Carm316

      This is the answer to Heaven ... "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son and those that believe will not perish but have everlasting life" (John:3:16). One of the most important scriptures in the Bible. Very simple.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      John, Christians know everyone goes back to God, who created ALL. It's just what side of the divide in Heaven you will be on when you get there is why we tell people about Jesus.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • mench

      AMEN!!!

      March 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
  17. Jen

    There is more than one path in this life. take ur christian bs elsewhere.

    March 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.

      John 8: 32

      March 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
  18. CatholicMom

    She was a great actress and sooo beautiful.
    Her help in trying to eradicate HIV/AIDs from the face of the world was out of love for humanity.
    I hope she enjoyed her life as she brought much joy to many.
    God bless her soul!

    March 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Miranda

      And what you just wrote is EXACTLY

      March 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • sami

      Dear Dan,
      Oy Vey! Jesus said that? Jesus was Jewish you know. He is most likely chatting with Liz right now!

      March 24, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Dan, Thank you for standing for the TRUTH.
      I don't think Catholics understand truth quite well!

      March 24, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • lorne

      Dan,
      Your Bible tells you that, no problemo, but when you spew your faith as the one and only truth I have a big problem with you.
      You need to expand your horizons.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Dan,
      All people are God’s children.
      I pray that God blesses her soul…that is my hope out of love for her as a ‘neighbor’ of the world. We each will be judged by our God…it is not for us to judge another’s soul.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Samantha

      Good grief, Dan! Does anyone really believe that Jesus, who was a Jew, would actually say that? You need to study your religion and its historical basis. This quote was attributed to Jesus two centuries after his death.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Samantha,

      Yes, Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
      When we die we will be judged …. Jesus Christ will either say, ‘Yes, you may come to the Father’ or ‘No, you may not come to the Father’. Only He shall judge Liz Taylor’s soul…though most everyone here seems to want to usurp Jesus Christ’s Authority.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      sami, Jesus was a 'Judean', not a Jew.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  19. Varangian

    I don't understand why some many anti-religious people come here just so that they can complain. Away with you!

    March 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Carm316

      Amen!! Well said.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Because they're big egoed BRATs that can't think past what they want, when they want it, any time they want it. Anti-socials all of them. I bet each of their parents threw them out of the house as soon as they could. Either that or they are still holed up in their rooms driving their poor parents crazy.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • True

      We are not anti-religion. We just love Jewish dialogue. It brings out the best in everyone...

      March 25, 2011 at 1:24 am |
  20. openskynow

    There is no sense in religion you could have saved your self the trouble.
    If all religious would focus their brain power on real world issues it would be a better place in no time!

    March 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • openskynow

      religious people*

      March 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Thinker23

      The base of any religion is an unprovable theory about the creation of the world around us based on faith. Traditional religions are based on faith that the world was created by one or more individuals having the power and technology to create a Universe. Atheism is based on faith that the universe came into existence all by itself from nothing. It's up to each and every one of us to decide which possibility is more plausible.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh yes, just another WET BEHIND THE EARS wanting society to go there way (chaos ruling supreme because they don't think everything out, just myopically looking at their way) instead of joining society, you end up being anti-socials in society.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • james richardson

      Making sense of her religion? That's easy. She had the religous gene, as many people do. She was compelled to "believe" in something–if not this particular religion, then it would have been another one. If somehow she would have been born and raised in China, for instance, she probably would have been a Buddhist. In India, probably a Hindu or whatever it is they "believe" over there.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • fairalways

      Thinker23, untrue. I am Jewish, I am I guess what others might call a Spinozaist. As was Einstein. "Faith" as I understand it, is an evolved brain activity, separate from logic, derived from the early need to heighten our sense of awareness individually and as tribes from all the many very dangerous and ever-present unknowns. Prayer is the activity of a healthy. well-functioning person. The body responds to prayer in a healthy, stress-relieving manner. Like the harmonic motion of a tuning fork. I know many Jewish atheists. Some atheists, being purely logical, deny or reject the culturally and/or genetically bonding aspects of religion. Einstein, who was very much Jewish, but as example of a Spinozaoist, understood that there was a unity to the universe, which described as god. Not an anthropomorphic god. Had Abraham had the scientific knowledge we have today, he'd probably have said "there is one god" with the same sense as I just have. Meanwhile, prayer rocks. Literally. Like a rock concert, our modern version of chanting, of prayer.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Visionary

      Now Fairway, do you really think any such person Abraham existed? It's a story, a myth, a fable.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Visionary

      Openskynow – I wholly agree with your comment. Unfortunately, there are antagonists which try to instigate other groups for either material gain or for their amusement.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      openskynow, if only non-believers used the brains God gave them and stop being brats, looking down at everyone as they complain, complain,complain instead of putting actions were their mouths are ... all of community would welcome you when you ALL grow up and stop acting like the anti-socials derelicts that you are going to beat down all of society.

      Not asking too much. But, you'll just complain. How your brains are broken, because I can't say they work. You've all got the ego thing going to the point, you won't turn it off.

      Amen.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.