Some thoughts on Christmas from a non religious Jew
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in MV with No Comments
Little kids want to believe. Teenagers don’t want to believe. We are Jewish but we are not religious. I am glad we aren’t, especially for the upbringing of my 5 children.
If we had been religious Jews I could not have dressed as Santa and brought gifts to my kids at a young age. I would have missed their faces of delight, and their smiles when they knew it was me, but pretended not to know. I can understand Jews refusal to celebrate Christmas because of Jesus who said he was God and we did not believe him. I can side with anyone who refuses to believe that a certain person is God. The whole story of Jesus is very alien to Jews and to many Europeans who have abandoned religion in the last decades, especially in Spain and Italy. But most religious Jews fail to realize that in many countries Jesus has lost its prominence to Santa a much simpler and easier to like character. Yes I know Santa is also about consumerism and I do feel sorry for the parents who can’t buy toys for their kids (my kids know this and we donate toys for them). And the world sucks in many ways. But you have to agree with me that there is something beautifully simple for young kids about a man who comes from the North Pole with lots of gifts. Especially if they have been good kids ;).
And later on, with my older kids, not being religious spared me of trying to convince them of the literal interpretation of the Bible. A struggle that many still go through, especially in USA the only developed country in which most people are still religious. This would have been painful for me, as the Bible has so many absurdities in it that I would have been unable to defend it as true. I am so glad I did not have to tell my kids that we believe in all the absurdities of the Bible “because we have faith”. Starting with the universe being but a few thousand years old most of what I read in the Bible is of no scientific value and what is even worse, frequently of dubious ethical value.
During the Jewish holidays I have manage to explain to my kids that we celebrate because we are part of the Jewish people who share a common heritage as a people not only as a religion. We celebrate as many of my non religious Christian friends celebrate, as a tradition not as a literal belief. I also explain that most of the founders of the State of Israel were not religious and that most of the achievements of the Jewish people are way outside the realm of religion, mostly in literature, entrepreneurship and science. I frequently like to tell the story of Golda Meir, one of the founders of Israel who was an atheist and when asked if she believed in God she answered wisely “I believe in the Jewish people and the Jewish people believe in God”. In our home there are only two kinds of answers to any question a child may pose: the most likely to be true answer and as frequently, the I don’t know answer. I don’t know feels better than religion to me.
So today, right here in St Barts in our sailboat, I will dress as Santa again, this time for our baby and 5 year old. I can’t wait to see how happy they will be. And yes, they are also getting their Chanukah gifts. We celebrate all that there is to celebrate. And we are happy this way.
Playing with eBook readers
Published by MartinVarsavsky.net in Internet & Technology with No Comments
This afternoon I was trying different file formats with different ebook readers. This is what I conclude and please help me if I am wrong.
For Kindle you need to get book files in .mobi format, for iPad and Kobo in .epub
first download books in .epub format
then import them to the iTunes library in your PC
then sync the iPad and books will be in the app called iBooks, they work like music
download books in .mobi format
connect kindle to PC
copy books in the folder called documents, if its not in documents it does not show in the kindle library
in the kindle you may also add some music by putting mp3 files in the folder called music (so you can read and listen to music at the same time)
Kindle takes a while to show the books that you put in the documents folder as processor is slow but eventually they show up
download books in .epub format I could not get .mobi format to work well worked poorly PDF is bad for size and pages
connect Kobo to PC
transfer files to anywhere in the Kobo directory.
and yes thank you Calibre is fantastic I am using it now!
then you will also have to wait a while until the books show up and from what I see you have to go more slowly and add book files in small groups or the processing content wheel turns forever and nothing happens.
If you have epub files and want to have the same book in a mobi file go here.