As an orthodox Rabbi who studied in the ultra-Orthodox Gateshead Yeshiva in England for many years and who has read all of Spinoza’s works, I am of the opinion that Spinoza sometimes deliberately misrepresents Judaism. I am also aware that Spinoza wrote remarkable, noble observations about human beings, nature and society which have helped all of us. I strongly object to deeming anyone who studies, researches and teaches Spinoza a “persona non grata.”
Is belief in an afterlife a fundamental tenet of Jewish faith? I personally believe that a human being’s life does not come to an end with death, but I do not believe that this is a fundamental tenet of our faith. In fact, I believe that to consider this as such harms the integrity of Judaism.