Free books — 10 million of them — help keep Jewish kids Jewish

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Robyn Freiden reads one of the books the family received from the PJ Library program, to her children Dylan, 4 and Kara, 2 at their home in Leawood, Kan. on Monday (Feb. 24). RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Robyn Freiden reads one of the books the family received from the PJ Library program, to her children Dylan, 4 and Kara, 2 at their home in Leawood, Kan. on Monday (Feb. 24). RNS photo by Sally Morrow

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(RNS) Dolly Parton gives out free books to boost literacy. Harold Grinspoon figured: Why not give out free Jewish books to boost Jewish literacy?

  • Atheist Max

    10 MILLION BOOKS to push Judaism on people! What a disgrace.
    And they call Atheists strident?

  • Families can choose to subscribe–no pushing involved.

  • Atheist Max

    Whatever you read to a child….is a push.

  • Lauren Markoe

    Would setting up a website so that atheist parents could get a free atheist-themed book a month to read to their children also be a disgraceful?

  • Atheist Max

    @Lauren,

    Thank you for the story….but no, “Atheist Themed” books would not be disgraceful because you are talking about MOST of the Literature of the world.

    ‘Atheist-themed’ books (if such a thing could be defined)
    would not claim “There is No God”.
    The Atheist does not claim that God does not exist, only that we see no reason to believe in a God.

    “Atheist books” would discuss God
    as comparative religion or mythology.

    All of these might thus be “Atheist-themed” books:

    Star Trek – Gene Roddenberry
    Romeo and Juliet – Shakespeare
    Life and Death in the Coral Sea – Jacques Yves Cousteau
    Animal Farm – George Orwell
    The Cat in the Hat (everything by Dr. Seuss)
    Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
    Voyage of the Kon Tiki – Thor Hyerdahl
    The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins

    You see what I mean?

    These would be also be examples of good books (atheist themed) which discuss religion and mythology comparatively:

    The Scarlet Letter
    Paradise Lost
    A Tale of Two Cities

    Almost all of literature is ‘Atheist-themed’

    Holy Books were the first Literature – so they do matter!
    But only as comparative mythology – otherwise they are marketing pamphlets.

    Pushing God on children as “true” and “absolute” is just brainwashing.

    It would be like reading a book about dwarves and telling children they must never question whether dwarves exist!

    Religion stifles a child’s mind, stifles thought and punishes critical thinking with threats of Hell. And there is no evidence that any of it is true.

  • Atheist Max

    In short
    Bring on those “Atheist – themed” books,
    open ended as they would be to mythological questions.

    All good Literature encourages liberation of the mind.
    Bibles and other religious tracts DON’T. Bibles DENY the mind any liberation whatsoever. They are demands of servility to an unknowable, unaccountable supernatural dictator.

  • Garson Abuita

    My family has been a PJ Library subscriber since birth. I invite you to find a single PJ Library book that threatens children with hell — a concept foreign to Judaism — or pushes God as true or absolute. Somehow I think that someone who finds Dr. Seuss to be “atheist-themed” — in fact that somehow almost all literature is atheist-themed — will be unable to match my invitation much less understand this post.

  • Atheist Max

    @Garson,

    Promotion of Judaism to children is not benign.
    I can’t share your flippancy about Jewish stories which include placing little Isaac’s throat under his Dad’s sword, to ‘prove love of Yahweh’.
    Terrorizing children with such stories is abusive and primitive and it past the time to call it so.

    Yes, “The Cat in the Hat” is completely Atheist. As in, no God is needed to tell the story or preach the lessons within it.

  • Garson Abuita

    Your continuing polemics do nothing to address my challenge: show me ONE PJ Library book that portrays the Akeidah (your latest straw man). And your definition of atheist is so broad as to make the term meaningless.

  • Atheist Max

    The PJ books are simply damaging. How many should I mention?

    “Bagels from Benny” – claims that God is the only one who deserves our thanks, not the people around us. It is all servility, authority and obedience. A terrible lesson for children.

    “Noah’s Swim-a-thon” – After reading this little book about being good to the needy a reader might be interested in searching for the Jewish story of Noah and the Ark: a wicked story that God (who we are to thank constantly) is the mass murderer of humanity who drowned all of creation in a petulant tantrum.

    The objective of all of these books is to co-opt the children, with a charming story and then sell them the invisible dictator who knows their thoughts and will punish them for not obeying Him.

    That is not a straw man. These stories are clever indoctrination into Bible stories and all their horrors.

    Yes. Atheism is broad. Non-theism and Atheism are virtually the same thing.
    If a story doesn’t preach a god – it is Atheism.

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  • ALFRED BENJAMIN BAIDEN

    I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU COULD KINDLY SEND ME SOME JEWISH BOOKS. MY POSTAL ADDRESS IS AS FOLLOWS:

    ALFRED BENJAMIN BAIDEN
    P. O. BOX LG 1271
    LEGON – ACCRA
    GHANA

    THANK YOU.