Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld at Jewish Journal in “Invite a Muslim for Shabbat”:
It will be a very long time before I forget the news I heard this week of a 5-year-old Muslim child handcuffed at Dulles Airport on Saturday because he was deemed a security threat. … This past Monday night my wife came home and told me that a Muslim acquaintance of hers who she knows through work told her that his child is very scared and is crying non-stop since Saturday. We started talking about what we could do to help this child.
Every Friday night we host lively Shabbat dinners in which we usually entertain members of our congregation. But after hearing that story, my wife and I decided that we should invite this Muslim family for Shabbat dinner. A Shabbat dinner is a powerful opportunity to connect while breaking bread together.
I have reprinted this story not to discuss the police’s action – I assume the police may have their own legal reasons to do this. I have reprinted this story to discuss the decision of this rabbi – to invite this Muslim family to a Shabbat dinner.
Should we invite the non-Jews and possibly anti-Semitic non-Jews to our Jewish Shabbats? I believe it depends on the reason for invitation and the way of celebrating Shabbat.
If we celebrate Shabbat as a commemoration of God’s creation of the humans as equals in His likeness and image and therefore we invite the non-Jews to validate our belief in it before the invitees, such invitation is a spiritually noble one and a way of dispelling the anti-Semitic feelings toward the Jews.
If we celebrate Shabbat as a commemoration of our freedom from slavery in Egypt and as our spiritual duty as the Chosen to help everybody else to obtain the freedom from any oppressive force such as dictatorship, racism, slavery, anti-Semitism, etc., such invitation is a spiritually noble one and a way of dispelling the anti-Semitic feelings toward the Jews.
However, if we celebrate Shabbat just with an expensive family dinner and traditional Shabbat rituals (when we equate the commemorative discussions in the above to the work prohibited on Shabbat), the invitation of non-Jews to this Shabbat may enhance their anti-Semitic feelings about the Jews having luxury lives at the expense of the others.
From the news media:
The Kushners hosted Shabbat dinner for Trump Cabinet members. The gathering is the first indication of how the Kushner-Trump power couple will combine their White House roles with the demands of Shabbat.
The Trump Cabinet members are mostly Christians, and this Kushners’ Shabbat with Christian invitees I believe should be imitated by other Jewish families who celebrate Shabbat. “Invite a Christian for Shabbat” may be much better to fight anti-Semitism than to “Invite a Muslim for Shabbat”.
There is no spiritual way to change the principle Islamic division of the world in two parts – the already Islamic one and the “to become Islamic” one. Of course, there are good Muslims who do not believe in this division of the world but they are a small minority unable to change the fundamental traditional spirituality of the entire Muslim world. There is no equal Jewish and Christian citizens in the perfect Islamic world. Therefore, “Invite a Muslim for Shabbat” may be a “good-feeling” initiative unable to find the common spiritual roots in Judaism and Islam and to dispel anti-Semitic beliefs in the Islamic world.
The majority in the Christian world has no spiritual objections against other religions and it acknowledges the Jewish fundamental roots in Christianity. Therefore, “Invite a Christian for Shabbat” may be a truly spiritual move able to strengthen Judeo-Christian foundation of the US and of the Western countries in general and dispel the anti-Semitic beliefs.
Yes, mass immigration from Islamic countries brings mass anti-Semitism. However, it brings not just mass anti-Semitism but it brings anti-Semitism together with anti-Christianism and anti-Americanism. This statement is not an anti-immigration one. The immigrants have made America, as we know it now. However, America has been made not by immigrants of all religious (or non-religious) beliefs. Only the immigrants with acceptance of Judeo-Christian beliefs have made this country – they were religious Christian and Jews, atheistic Christians and Jews with strong Judeo-Christian morality, and non-Christians who accepted Judeo-Christian societal fabric (such as Chinese or Japanese).
The Muslim immigrants are not among those who have made this country, and there is a good reason for this. The Muslim spiritual beliefs are adversary to the Judeo-Christian spiritual beliefs in one crucial aspect – the Muslims cherish the compulsory uniformed behavior of everybody above the individual freedoms that are at the core of Judeo-Christian beliefs in their American adaptation.
The adversarial relations between the people of Islamic and Judeo-Christian worlds are not due to some theological differences, although they are important – the adversarial relations between them and us are due to opposite visions of the better world for everybody both worlds are trying to promote and create.
The Islamic world is trying to promote and create a “better world”, which is based on a voiceless population ruled by a dictator with his own interpretation of Quranic rules for his population who is fighting the other Islamic rulers who are building a “better world” with their own interpretations of Quranic rules.
We in the Western Judeo-Christian world are trying to promote and create a better world, which is based on Judeo-Christian democratic principles, where individual freedoms and ability of everybody to promote peacefully his/her vision of a better world is cherished.
That is why the mass immigration to America from Islamic countries would inevitably create an adversary destructive social force. Individual Islamic immigration may be accepted if an Islamic immigrant pledges an allegiance to our Judeo-Christian social fabric.
Recently the leader of Germany Angela Merkel has sent a sort of warning to America.
Merkel warns of growing anti-Semitism in wake influx from the Arab World. © AP Photo/ Markus SchreiberShe urged citizens to remain vigilant and to beware of anti-Semitism especially when directed by young people coming from countries where hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is widespread. Currently, millions of people are claiming to seek refuge throughout Europe as they flee war-battered nations including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. 1.5 million refugees including several from throughout the Arab world entered Germany in 2015 alone. Merkel says anti-Semitism is more widespread than we imagined. That is why we must act intensively against it. Moreover, Angela Merkel is thinking about sending the Islamic refugees back to own countries after the civil wars there end.
In the USA, Donald Trump who is fighting for Republican Party Presidential nomination has suggested a strategy against the mass Islamic immigration.
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on: according to Pew Research, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. A poll from the Center for Security Policy shows 25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad. In this poll, 51% of those polled, agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Sharia (Sharia authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women). Unfortunately for America, President Barak Obama likes the mass Islamic immigration.
Indeed, between 2010 and 2013, the Obama administration imported almost 300,000 new immigrants from Muslim nations — more immigrants than the U.S. let in from Central America and Mexico combined over that period. Many of the recent Muslim immigrants are from terrorist hot spots like Iraq, where the Islamic State operates. From 2010-2013, Obama ushered in 41,094 Iraqi nationals from there. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul called the new policy “a federally sanctioned welcome party to potential terrorists.”
These days Obama is visiting a mosque in America, which is spiritually allied with Muslim Brotherhood, to promote pro-Muslim feelings in our country. Wikipedia describes the goals of Muslim Brotherhood in the following way.
The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for … ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state.” Its mottos include “Believers are but Brothers”, “Islam is the Solution”, and “Allah is our objective; the Qur’an is the Constitution; the Prophet is our leader; jihad is our way; death for the sake of Allah is our wish. It is financed by members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement, and was for many years financed by Saudi Arabia, with whom it shared some enemies and some points of doctrine.
Let us hope we elect the next American President who understands the dangers of mass Islamic immigration to America, and stops it.
The only way to win the war against Islamists in Paris and elsewhere is to strengthen our Judeo-Christian spirituality
People who do not like or even hate the words ‘Judeo-Christian spirituality’ have to realize if they want to preserve their universe of democracy and freedom, they have to understand that democracy and freedom themselves without any inner spirituality are doomed to be defeated by a true antagonistic spirituality which nowadays is Islam. Of course, the good Muslims can change Islam from inside to make it friendly to Judeo-Christian spirituality but unfortunately, there is no evidence that is at work now.
In essence, spirituality is an inner search for the very reason for human existence in general and the existence of any individual life in particular. When we are at war with somebody, we are defending our spirituality that is our way of moral life, although it looks like we are defending our physical bodies from being murdered. If we do not have the spirituality to defend, those with a strong adversary spirituality are most probably going to defeat us.
That is what is going on in Paris these days, what is at the core of Israeli-Palestinian confrontation and of current Islamic immigrants’ assault on Europe, and what is in the making for the USA. In a war, although it looks like we are defending our physical bodies, we are defending our spirituality. There is no reason to defend the physical bodies – everybody knows they will soon decease anyway.
Islamist incomers in France are not terrorizing Paris to obtain “equal rights” or eliminate “discrimination” – they are fighting to eliminate the Judeo-Christian spirituality around them and have all France spiritually Islamic. They murdered near 127 people and injured much more under the battle cry “Allah Akbar” the true meaning of which is “Islam everywhere”.
Palestinians are not fighting for an extra piece of land for their own state or for their human rights – they are fighting to eliminate the Jewish (Judeo-Christian) spirituality near them and to have all Middle East spiritually Islamic. The Palestinians have the same battle cry “Allah Akbar”.
The November 2015 mass murdering of Jews and Christians in Paris by a well-organized Islamic group is forcing us once again to define the enemy and find a winning strategy.
If we define the enemy as violent extremists with no clear spiritual mission, as President Obama wants us to believe, we will be defeated – in some not too distant future, the spiritual Islamic flag will be flying over the dispirited White House and the dispirited Elyseе Palace.
We have to define the enemy as it is – as a powerful adversary spiritual Islamic universe bent on destroying our Judeo-Christian universe, as the enemy defines itself. If we define the enemy as it is, we may realize that to win the war we have to begin restoring and strengthening our Judeo-Christian spiritual foundation, and we have to create a strategy for spiritually containing the Muslim world until the good Muslims reform this world.
The French Jews have already realized the need for such actions. France’s umbrella group of French Jewish communities, CRIF, called for “merciless war” against radical Islam. CRIF’s unusually harsh-worded statement immediately followed the news that at least 127 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris and its northern suburb of Saint-Denis, which French President Francois Hollande said were an “act of war” committed by the Islamic State. “The global war against the monstrosity of jihadist fanaticism must become an absolute priority of democratic nations,” CRIF wrote in a series of messages on Twitter. “We must fight it without mercy, without relenting, in order to vanquish it.”
The majority of Israeli Jews know that Israel is not fighting “violent extremist groups” – they know Israel is fighting violent Islam bent of destruction of Israel as a leading representative of Judeo-Christian spirituality.
Unfortunately, not all American Jews understand the spiritual war the violent Islam is conducting against our Judeo-Christian civilization as was evident at the recent gathering of the Reform Jews in Florida – they should pay less attention to Obama’s thoughts and more to the true Islamic intentions.
It is without doubt for those who have studied the Torah/Bible intellectually:
God created the human individuals with the code of GOOD human behavior – in the Bible and most probably genetically;
God did not create the government, which is allowed to impose on the human individuals its own anti-Bible code of behavior;
the human individuals themselves created the government to defend and protect their God’s given right to live their lives as individuals under the Bible’s code of GOOD human behavior.
Something else is obvious for those who have studied the Torah/Bible intellectually:
the Bible reminds us God created the human individuals in His Creator’s image and likeness to continue His creative work in any area of human endeavor – in family and children rearing, in business and arts, in … everywhere;
the creative work requires financial support, and the Bible guides the more fortunate human individuals to provide the financial support to the less fortunate human individuals as Mitzvah/Charity.
The Bible does not guide the human individuals to expand the role of the government – from defending and protecting the God’s given right to live their lives as individuals under the Bible guidance to the confiscating the wealth of the more fortunate and redistributing it to the less fortunate.
However, that is what the multiple governments have done. Why? Because the government’s forced wealth redistribution allows the government redistributing the other’s wealth to itself in much greater quantities than to the others. In order to justify such redistribution, the government has to dethrone God with His Judeo-Christian code of GOOD behavior and substitute it with its own code, and the government has done it so far successfully using its legislative powers.
However, when the Bible-guided human individuals decide to compete with the government they win and the two narratives below prove it. These narratives are about an Israeli private company HIPPY, which enable the parents find out what unique educational program is best for their own kids, and the Big Government, which imposes its own unified educational program on all kids.
A private company HIPPY that gets their money from Mitzvah/Charity and private sales that are affordable for the less fortunate families
HIPPY helps parents empower themselves as their children’s first teacher by giving them the tools, skills and confidence they need to work with their children in the home. The program was designed to bring families, organizations and communities together and remove any barriers to participation that may include limited financial resources or lack of education.
HIPPY is an international program that started in Israel in 1969 as a research and demonstration project. It has since spread to other countries. Germany, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Canada along with Israel and the United States now comprise HIPPY International. The HIPPY program came to the United States in 1984.
HIPPY USA was established as an independent non-profit organization in 1988 to promote and guide the development of the HIPPY program in the United States. Currently, there are 139 HIPPY program sites in 23 states and the District of Columbia.
The Big Government with the big forcefully redistributed money
In 2002, with bipartisan support, Congress reauthorized ESEA and President George W. Bush signed the law, giving it a new name: No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
NCLB gave the government the leading role in children education and the government has done, what it is doing in all areas of government involvement – dividing society further, this time creating the groups of traditionally underserved and vulnerable students and providing them with more redistributed money – with no or little success.
HIPPYUSA – much better education results, see at http://www.hippyusa.org/memanage/pdf/2014%20Annual%20Report.pdf
The Big Government – much greater expenses and much greater appetite for redistribution funds, see at http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/statement-us-secretary-education-arne-duncan%E2%80%94fy-2014-budget-request
When I say something positive about Christianity in my posts, many readers assume I have to be a Christian. When speaking positively about Christianity I mention I am a Jew, many Jews suspect I should be a member of a sect ‘Jews for Christ’. When I respond by saying, I am a proud Jew who likes the true Christians and believes the ‘Jews for Jesus’ have lost their Jewish identity by converting to Christianity, I feel a complete mistrust.
I have decided to clarify all that.
Here is my Torah-based understanding of Jewish-Christian relations. This understanding is based on an intellectual study of the very essence of what we called One God, based on His actions described in the Torah. My understanding is not based on an opinion of any one of the truly revered religious authorities – too many contradictory interpretations.
God revealed Himself to the entire humanity through the Jewish people beginning with Abraham and delivered His guidance in the Torah (the Old Testament) at Mount Sinai through Moses.
Then the Jews formed two spiritual movements, which were shaping the future Jewish-Christian relations.
One of the movements worked to tailor the Torah-based God’s guidance into a sort of mandatory rules for the Jewish communities themselves, and this movement produced the Talmud and many follow-up rabbinical rulings. Some known to us groups in this movement were Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots. This movement created the religion of Judaism with many different internal opinions on the essence of Judaism – from ultra-Orthodox to ultra-Secular.
The other movement, led by Rabbi Joshua who after his death had become Jesus Christ, worked to transfer the Torah-based God’s guidance to the non-Jews, and this movement produced the New Testament and religion of Christianity with many follow-up diversified spiritual streams.
Then, Judaism and Christianity – each of them – split into two fundamental spiritual groups.
Some Jewish and Christian religious leaders followed the Torah’s revelation that God the Creator created all humans in His image and likeness as equal individuals to continue His creative work along the lines of His guidance – with the same fundamental spiritual rules for Jews and Christians. Those Jewish and Christian leaders were reinforcing and strengthening Judeo-Christian spiritual unity and encouraging the ability of diversified religious streams to work with each other, and compete with each other, for a better creative design for the God’s world (God’s Free Will). This group is searching for the true meaning of the image and likeness of God – the true image that reinforces the common Jewish-Christian spiritual ground, based on which the Jews and Christians are creating the God’s better world without interfering into each other faiths (for example, Evangelical Christians led by Pastor John Hagee).
However, many Jewish and Christian religious leaders were fighting for their own authoritative power over the humans, trying to convince everybody that God revealed only to them the ultimate God’s guidance, and everybody who does not follow them is a sinner and God will punish him. The spiritual leaders of this group were reinforcing their own power over their community.
As the readers may see from my writings, I am with the first group, which is searching for the true meaning of the image and likeness of God, and I am a proud Jew who is searching for the inspiration mostly directly from God – in my spiritual world the rabbis are teachers, not a substitution for God.
As to the question of who are the Jews for Jesus, they are not spiritually Jewish at all – they were born to the Jewish families and they decided to change their mission – from being the Chosen to being the Christians – they have stopped being Jewish.
I do not accuse them of betrayal; that is their choice. It is difficult to be the Chosen and feel being responsible for the God’s world; it is much easier to be led and obey (I say this without any negativity). The Jews for Jesus are a tiny minority among the Jews who decided not to follow the rituals of their faith although they were born to Jewish families. The Jewish-Christian intermarriage and secularism takes from the organized Jewish communities much more “human souls”.
We the Jews are 10-20 million strong throughout most of our history. If we have followed our birthrate progression for the last two millenniums, our numbers now might be close to a billion. However, we are not here. Why? A guess: God is satisfied with this number of the Chosen – it is enough to move the world in the right God’s direction. Of course, we the Jews prefer another explanation – we are just in small millions since in the history we were massacred and pogromed. However, many non-Jewish peoples were massacred and pogromed as well – Christians was killing Christians and Muslims, Muslims were killing Muslims and Christians, Indians were killing Indians, Syrians are killing Syrians, and so on.
The Jews and the Christians should be spiritual friends competing with each other for a better God’s design for the better world for everybody. We the Jews have to be proud of our God’s mission of the Chosen – we are doing our best in searching for this God’s design. As concerned to the Jews for Jesus, they are not Jewish.