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Thanksgiving and the Blog

If you are like me, you stand amazed at the even-more-increasing commercialization of Christmas.  How could it get *more*?!?  But it is.  Remember the good old days when commercials hit the day after Thanksgiving?  Instead of, well, before Halloween?  Sigh….

I’m impressed and thankful, though, that Thanksgiving hasn’t gotten that crazy yet.  It’s a bit strange that it hasn’t, almost as if there’s a sacred aura about it that keeps it from being capitalized.  Unlike one of the holiest days in the Christian calendar???  Go figure.

For me, for a long time, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday.  A simple and crystal clear message with deep resonances.  Many of us have so much to be thankful for.  And we devote a day to it.  If we are lucky, we can spend it with family and friends, cooking, eating, talking, and doing other things we like.  How good can it get?

Like all holidays, it’s very hard on other people.   Obviously the homeless and hungry.   The disenfranchised.  Those driven out of their homes or countries.  The sick.  The lonely.  Those desperate to find enough to survive on, let alone to be content or even thrive.  Those of us who have a lot – and I’ve come to realize that I had a lot even when I thought I had nothing, and was as poor as a church mouse – can take this opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are, and how we can help those less fortunate, from the lonely neighbor to those in the homeless shelter across town, to those in war-torn nations, to those being starved to death because of insane national agendas.

Even as our hearts break with the misery and suffering in the world, though, we are thankful for all the good things we have.  At least I am.  I love this holiday.

You too no doubt have lots of things you’re thankful for.  A minor point of thankfulness for some of you, I hope, is this blog, a place where you can escape the daily grind for a few minutes and read about issues that you’re interested in, and have your questions answered about the great religion that stands both at the foundation of our civilization and in the background for many of our lives.  I hope the blog does some good in the world.  And that you find it helpful for your life.

If you do, would you consider making a special donation to its work?  The blog is a conduit of resources.   Every donation goes directly to help those in need.  There is no overhead.  Every dime goes straight to important charities.   Last year on the blog we raised $137,000.   For me, this is amazing.  When I started the blog, I had the idea that maybe it would raise $20,000 a year.  Wrong.  And I’m glad I was wrong.  If that was the level we were working at, I would have given up the venture years ago, as too hard and time consuming.  But at the level we’re working at now, I am driven to keep on, and plan on keeping on.  My goal for this year is $150,000.  It’s possible, but it will require donations.  Would you be willing to make one?

It’s easy to donate.  Just click the Donate tab on the landing page, when you first arrive to the site.   Think about it.   It’s a way to express your own thankfulness (one of a thousand ways, and a minor way, but still a way); it helps keep the blog health and thriving and growing; and most important it provides desperately needed funds for those in desperate need.

Many thanks to everyone for your ongoing support of our work.  If there is any way I can make the blog better, do let me know.   In the meantime, may we all be increasingly thankful as we head deeper into the Thanksgiving season.

A Very Perplexing Question
Old and Ongoing Criticisms!



  1. Avatar
    Judith  November 9, 2018

    Love being a blog member and the privilege of getting to be a part of what you are doing! Will donate now.

  2. Avatar
    RonaldTaska  November 9, 2018

    Will donate, In answer to your “critics,” you are a good man.

  3. Robert
    Robert  November 9, 2018

    $137,000 in 1 year. It is truly remarkable that popularized scholarship can be put to such a good and practical purpose. Great job on educating the masses and feeding the hungry!

  4. Avatar
    fishician  November 9, 2018

    1. Yes, Thanksgiving is nice, kind of like Christmas but without the pressure of gift giving!
    2. Donation submitted. Hope you reach your goal.

  5. Avatar
    JohnKesler  November 9, 2018

    I am thankful for this blog and the time and effort that you devote to it. It is especially commendable that the proceeds go to charity. Does anyone know of a scholar of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament who runs a blog like this in which (s)he answers readers’ questions?

  6. Avatar
    darren  November 9, 2018

    I know it’s not your favourite topic, but regarding the debate about whether Jesus received any sort of individual burial. The Joseph of Arimathea story obviously sets up Jesus to be in a tomb, so he can resurrect. I wonder if it’s possible whether it also explains to ancient audiences why Jesus was allowed off the cross. You’ve made it clear that a big part of the punishment was to leave the bodies on the cross. But knowing that a main motivation for Roman governors was personal enrichment, could the Arimathea story also imply that someone bribed the Romans to release the body, something I would guess seemed plausible to ancient people familiar with how Roman officials operated — and explaining to early believers why Jesus didn’t rot on the cross?

    • Bart
      Bart  November 11, 2018

      Yes, could be (though the text doesn’t say anything about a bribe)

  7. Avatar
    zipzom  November 9, 2018

    The blog is fantastic! Keep up the good work and together we can support the homeless, the hungry and those in need. Much appreciation and thanks for your efforts, Bart.

  8. Avatar
    rivercrowman  November 10, 2018

    This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful Bart has a new book in the pipeline. After having read many of his books, I like to go back to them and selectively highlight in the Index! They’re re-readable in other words. Happy Turkey Day.

  9. Avatar
    Lopaka  November 10, 2018

    Thanks for the blog, Bart. In high school I was religious and grew up around some apologists. What I mainly remember from all that is several times being actively discouraged from asking questions, or made to feel bad for having questions. I was literally told, “It’s better not to ask those questions…”

    Well, I’m thankful for questions…

  10. JulieGraff
    JulieGraff  November 10, 2018

    Mr. Erhman, can you imagine living thanksgiving every week in a way that everybody would stop doing… and would be happy to spend time together… and be greatfull for all they are receiving… I can imagine it, as it’s called Shabbat.

    I haven’t lived Shabbat yet… and I haven’t lived thanksgiving properly either as you do it in the U.S. as I live in Quebec (but I know about it as my father was american) … but I’m greatfull for your blog where we can talk about it, share our thoughts about it, and Imagine it all! 🙂

    And I am also greatfull that your blog is helping people in this world right now. As they say, a Torah that doesn’t act in the here and now is nonsense!

    Happy thanksgiving to you, to your family, and the blog! 🙂

  11. Pattycake1974
    Pattycake1974  November 11, 2018

    One suggestion I have for the blog is that you would close out comments for past posts—30 days seems to be the norm. It’s not because I think comments should be limited, but that I *do* want to see their comments. Sometimes members pose a question that I want to see a reply for, but when they comment on older posts, I lose track of your replies. You said you don’t mind anyone asking questions not related to the posts, so if we could see them on the more recent ones, then we can see all of your replies. Others have said that they only read comments you reply to—that’s their main interest—so it’s kind of a shame to miss it because the reply is on a post from three years back.

  12. Avatar
    pmwslc  November 11, 2018

    Just made a donation. Your generosity in providing a timely and interesting product (your blog) for raising funds for charities is wonderful. Although I am rather a neophyte in Christian studies (my field is geology and geophysics) I have benefited greatly from reading your books and the blog. Thanks so much!

  13. Avatar
    Apocryphile  November 12, 2018

    Great blog and for an even greater cause. The only thing I’d like to see is maybe a little of the money going to help the many, many animals in the world who are abused and mistreated. This is probably an even larger task than helping the many humans who need our assistance, but there are many worthwhile, and worldwide, organizations engaged in this (also) important work. Animals are like us in every way except for our power to reason, and therefore cannot even take comfort in religious beliefs or philosophical musings on why they suffer. Just a thought.

  14. Avatar
    MSMacho  November 14, 2018

    I get so much value from your posts, and books. I, also, applaud your focus on supporting charities. I am proud to contribute. Thank you!

  15. Avatar
    madmargie  November 28, 2018

    I love this blog! I learn so much valuable information here and I love that it is a non profit and you donate all the money from it to those in terrible need. Some generous soul has paid my dues here for a couple of years. I so appreciate that.

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