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  • Halacha
  • Idols and Idolatry

Is Neopaganism Avoda Zara?

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Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

19 Kislev 5765
Question
Is it the considered opinion that Avoda Zarah, i.e. true Paganism, still exists as it did during the time of Chazal? If so, what is the Jewish response to the Neopagan movement so burgeoning in America and Europe? Are Jews who embrace Neopaganism (and believe me, they are over-represented) to be viewed any differently than frei Yidden who do not accept a Torah lifestyle? More specifically, are such Jews defacto Apicorsim?
Answer
I am not familiar with the neopaganism movement, yet is doesn't smell good. If they believe in a different godly entity – they are idol worshipers, probably Apicorsim as well, and should be treated as such. On a practical note there are not too many ramifications (and no – we don’t try to end their lives before their time...), we should just know not to let them in our circles. Non religious Jews are a different story all together, they don't come with a negative alternative and are not idol worshipers or anything close to that.
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