Category Archives: English-language posts
Let us first define Judaism as rabbinical profession and Judaism as Jewish way of life.
Judaism as rabbinical profession has, like any other profession, its higher education institutions the yeshivas with their curriculums, accreditations, alumni-type associations, publications, and of course the spiritual competition among them.
Like in any other profession, there are sages and authorities (rabbinical authorities) such as for example Rambam, Hillel or Lubavicher Rabbi Schneerson – they are the greatest in the profession who earned the trust of their pupils the Jewish majority.
At the core of this profession is the Jewish understanding of God’s guidance in the Torah on the human morality and the rituals in support of this morality.
The professionals in this profession, the Rabbis, have been teaching all that to their pupils in the synagogues and other places of Jewish education.
Judaism as Jewish way of life is the application of the rabbis’ teachings to the day-by-day life of Jewish families – at home, at work, in politics, etc. in the variety of places where Jews may live – how to do the Jewish rituals and how to live morally Jewish.
In the historic Jewish past, there was no misapprehension between Judaism as rabbinical profession and Judaism as Jewish way of life. Judaism as rabbinical profession provided complete guidance on Jewish way of life. That was so since the Jewish communities were separated from the “natives” in countries of Jewish residence and the haredim orthodox rabbis were the ultimate legal authorities on the rituals and the morality in segregated Jewish communities from the birth to the death. The rabbis’ teachings and instructions had no competing forces – it was a sort of spiritual guiding dictatorship.
In the contemporary Jewish life, everything is different – now most of the Jews are exposed to numerous competing spiritual guiding ideas. Only about 20% of Jews are under the old-style haredim orthodox rabbinical guidance. The rest of the Jews are under competing influences of non-haredim Jewish spiritual streams (Modern Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist) and various non-Jewish spiritual streams.
Pew Survey of U.S. Jews shows that less than one-third of American Jews belong to a synagogue. Among them, only twenty-three percent attend synagogue on a regular basis. It looks like only about 20% of the Jews in America have a rabbi as a personal spiritual adviser on the Jewish way of life. The great Jewish majority in America is “under influence” of many non-rabbinical authoritative forces which are shaping their morality – the government, the employment, the neighborhood, the Gentile news media, the Christian and Atheistic realms, the Gentile social circles, etc.
However, and that is very important, in the Jewish families, as Pew Survey of U.S. Jews shows, 96 percent are trying to raise their children as Jews. It means the Jewish majority is eager to preserve their Jewish way of life through their own understanding of Judaism for contemporary diversified life conditions.
That means that nowadays the Judaism as rabbinical profession is separated from the Judaism as Jewish way of life for about 80% of American Jews.
Nowadays no traditional rabbinical authority is directly guiding the Jewish majority in many morality decisions. Here are just a few examples.
Orthodox Judaism maintains the historical understanding of Jewish identity. A Jew is someone who was born to a Jewish mother, or who converts to Judaism in accordance with Jewish law and tradition. However, that is not the case anymore. Many Jews are marrying Christians not to abandon Judaism as way if life but rather to include the newcomers to the Jewish family in the Jewish way of life. They would like to get traditional rabbinical guidance on that but they do not get it. For the traditional rabbinical community the adherence to professional doctrines is more important than helping the intermarried Jewish families preserve their Jewishness in a sort of renovated form. This pushes many Jewish families to the non-traditional rabbinical authorities (Reform, Conservative) and then out of the rabbinical guidance at all.
The politically correct directives of US government on what is Good and what is Bad for the society are changing and challenging the Judeo-Christian definitions on what is Good and Bad. However, there is no traditional rabbinical guidance on all that and the Jews are making their moral decisions here being influenced not by traditional rabbinical authorities but rather by anti-Judeo-Christian forces.
What to do? The answer is obvious: for all Jewish spiritual authorities – traditional and non-traditional, religious and non-religious, pro-Judeo-Christian and anti-Judeo-Christian, political and non-political – get together and propose a set of Jewish morality guidance for the Jews living happily in Judeo-Christian civilization. Could it be done?
From the news media:
The Canadian House of Commons has passed motion M103, which singles out the criticism of Islam as a form of “Islamophobia”. Iqra Khalid, a Muslim member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party, tabled motion M103. It states the government must “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination”.
So what is religion of Islam in the contemporary Judeo-Christian civilization – religion of peace we should joyfully coexist with, or religion of violence that should be feared and restricted in our own “Judeo-Christian home”?
Any religion has two critical components.
One of them is the belief in the existence of Almighty Super Power called God who created us the humans (and of course, everything else), guides us in our lives, rewards us if we obey and discipline us if we misbehave. Our religious institutions (synagogues and churches) are the deliverers of God’s guidance.
This critical religious component – the belief in the existence of Almighty Super Power called God – does not require any test for Muslim immigration into the Judeo-Christian America since our nation was created as a nation blessed by God. Indeed, the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”. Our Constitution had been written with necessary provisions for forcing our political institutions to secure those God-given unalienable Rights.
However, the other critical component of any religion affects, and affects intensely, the functioning of a nation, and this is a religious ideology. Like a secular ideology, this ideology defines what is Good and what is Bad in human behavior, and how to support Good and suppress Bad through the government legislative work. Although the religious leaders declare what is Good and what id Bad in the name of God, their declarations are not the word of God – their declarations are their human interpretation of what may or may not be the true God’s guidance.
That is why in the area of religious ideology various religions are differing significantly. Some of them are comparable with our founding Judeo-Christian religious ideology while some are adversarial.
If the founding national ideology is infected by an adversarial ideology, a nation is on the way to very destructive disturbances. That is why the religious immigration test for this religious component is not just necessary but is the matter of national destiny.
The ideological religious test should be based on the Judeo-Christian founding ideological ideas something like the following.
· Do you believe the government should provide you with comfortable level of living, or you believe you have to provide a comfortable level of living for yourself and your family through your own work?
· Do you believe you have to resolve your disputes with the others in the nation’s legal institutions, or you believe your traditional courts (sharia courts for example) are the way for you?
· Do you believe all religions are equally important, or you believe in the superiority of your religion?
· Are you familiar with the ideological Judeo-Christian foundation of our country and do believe you can follow it, or you believe you should preserve your old traditions in the new country?
· If the reality proves, you cannot do all in the above, would you agree to return to your native country?
We have to apply the religious ideological test to all immigrants to prevent our ideological adversaries from becoming citizens of our country – to prevent people with dangerous ideologies to come to our country and harm our way of life
From the news media:
A former Labour Party foreign minister has implied the government of Tony Blair was wrong to ignore the religious roots of Islamist terror, urging authorities to ‘take on’ the ideology to defeat terror. Kim Howells, who oversaw the work of MI5 and MI6 during the Blair and Brown years, said Islamist violence is distinct from other forms of terror and Western values such as democracy must be defended.
Yes, it is true. The Islamic religious ideology is indeed looks as incompatible with the American and Western religious Judeo-Christian ideology and therefore has to be subjected to an immigration-related “religious test”.
The Bible tells us a people has the right to choose the individual-freedom life or a sort of bondage-based life. In our domestic and international politics, we frequently ignore this Bible guidance, trying to impose on the others what is contrary to their own tradition and to force ourselves to accept what is foreign to our own tradition.
That is true – the Torah proclaims the right of the people to decide for themselves to be free or to be unfree. If you decide to be free, you are taking upon yourself the responsibility for the wellbeing of yourself, your family, your community, and your nation. If you decide to be unfree, you entrust the wellbeing of yourself, your family and your community, and your nation to somebody who becomes your life authoritative ruler. Without understanding of this Torah/Bible crucial concept, it is almost impossible to build a prosperous nation or a tolerant union of nations.
In the Torah – Exodus 21:2-6:
If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything . . . But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.
In the course of their establishment, some nations, such as Americans and Israelis for example, had chosen the individual-freedom-based life – to be masters of their own lives. Other nations, such as for example Russians, Arabs or Chinese, had chosen to delegate the role of the master to various authoritative human leaders such as Tsars, Kings, Shahs, Presidents, etc. In both cases, the democratic principles are not violated. In the first case, the nation’s majority elects a government that secures the role of masters for their citizens; in the second case, the nation’s majority elects or accepts a government-master with the hope this government would provide everything needed for a “happy life”.
The nations that prefer government-masters (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, …) do not accept mass immigration – they clearly understand the immigrants, because the immigrants are most probably of different traditions, would endanger their own tradition.
Unfortunately, some nations where the people are masters of their own lives do not understand it, and the pre-Trump America has been among them.
From the news media:
Immigrants and the children of immigrants comprise 93 percent of the student population Miami’s Northeast Dade County, 91 percent in Jackson Heights plus North Corona near New York City, 85 percent in Westpark Tollway, in Houston, Texas 78 percent in Annandale and West Falls Church, in northern Virginia. The districts are dubbed “Public Use Micro Areas.” and average roughly 20,600 students.
Nearly one-in-four students enrolled in taxpayer-funded schools in 2015 were from “an immigrant household.” In 1980, that share stood at only one-in-thirteen.
Over 59 million migrants the U.S. in the past five decades. The foreign-born population stood at roughly 42.4 million, or 13.3 percent of the U.S. population, in 2014, to a 2015 CIS estimate. The Census bureau predicts that the foreign-born population is set to increase . The U.S. is the in the world for immigrants and of all the world’s migrants.
The pre-Trump American governing “progressive” politicians invented the “political correctness” to get away from the Bible guidance on the God-blessed diversity of human nations. They have done it to justify the goal of transforming a “barbarian and bigoted” society to one that pretends to be civilized, where all are equal – equal not in the opportunities as Bible prescribes but equal in the results as the Communist Manifesto advocates. They have invented code words that let them divide a society into many rival groups and use this rivalry to secure electoral victories.
The code words like white supremacy, racism, nationalism, globalism, populism, xenophobia, inclusiveness, diversity, human rights and social justice, hate crimes, minority protection, affirmative action were used to destroy the Torah/Bible-based spiritual foundation of the nation. This foundation is rooted in the belief that the American Torah/Bible interpretation of the essence of human existence is what this nation had selected for building itself.
The American domestic and international actions those code words initiated led to a cold civil war in the USA and to worsening our international standing with many countries.
Instead of trying to remake Russia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestinians, Egyptians, and Serbians in our own “image”, we should have negotiate (of course, with the help of our superior military forces) the peaceful coexistence agreements with those countries. These coexistence agreements would obligate them not to work against our international interests while letting them preserve their own traditions/”images” along the lines of Bible guidance.
It looks like President Donald Trump understands all that and is working to “Make America Great Again” that is to restore our Bible-based spiritual foundation – however, the resistance is great!