Unfortunately, many Jews in the USA and in Israel do not understand that their (our) fate is tied to the fate of Judeo-Christian civilization, and many Christians do not understand that the fate of Christianity depends on the strength of Judaism as its spiritual foundation.
Fortunately, the number of Jews and Christians who understand all that is growing.
Why is it vital nowadays to pay attention to the survival of Judeo-Christian civilization and the fundamental spiritual connections between Jews and Christians – now, in the 21th century after two millenniums of flourishing Judeo-Christian civilization (of course, with the trials of Inquisition, Pogroms and Holocaust)?
That is because the spiritually rival Islamic civilization has begun the deadly assault on our Judeo-Christian civilization following the Qur’anic obligation to make Islamic everything in the human world (ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, CAIR, etc.) while the spiritually disarmed Western Judeo-Christian civilization continue to naively search for a “spiritual formula” for peaceful coexistence with the Islamic world.
Europe is the most visible place where Islam is winning and Israel is losing.
Bret Stevens of WSJ underlines the losing mind-set of Europe
Europe is dying because it has become morally incompetent. It is not that Europe stands for nothing. It is that it stands for shallow things, shallowly. Europeans believe in human rights, tolerance, openness, peace, progress, the environment, pleasure. These beliefs are all very nice, but they are also secondary. What Europeans no longer believe in are the things from which their beliefs spring: Judaism and Christianity; liberalism and the Enlightenment; martial pride and capability; capitalism and wealth. Having ignored and undermined their own foundations, they wonder why their house is coming apart. That is what makes the diplomacy of Angela Merkel, undisputed regent of European foreign policy, so odd and disconcerting. She is offering a deal in which Europe would agree to visa-free travel for Turks in Europe starting next year, along with quicker movement on Turkish membership in the European Union, if only Ankara will do more to resettle Syrian and other refugees in their own country. Turkey is led by an elected Islamist with an autocratic streak, prone to anti-Semitic [and anti-Israel] outbursts, who openly supports Hamas, denies the Armenian genocide, jails journalists in record numbers, and orchestrates Soviet-style show trials against his political opponents. Turkey also has borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran. These would become Europe’s borders in the event of Turkish membership.
Regrettably, in the USA, the process of de-Judeo-Christianization has been underway for some time as well and under President Obama this process was accelerated. On April 6, 2009, speaking halfway across the world in Turkey, he proclaimed that the United States did not consider itself a Judeo-Christian nation. He said, although we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation.
Presidential candidate Ben Carson
We should not give up (our Judeo-Christian) beliefs for political correctness. We have to support America’s Judeo-Christian roots and take pride in that foundation of faith.
However, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) disagrees with Ben Carson
It is a leading Islamic organization in the USA, and it declares in its core principles the introduction of the active practice of Islam as a tool for strengthening the social and religious fabric of the USA. The active practice requires following the Quran guidance and that means working on replacing the Judeo-Christian governing principles by the Islamic ones.
In the Middle East, Israel is representing and defending the Judeo-Christian morality that makes Israel the chief enemy of the Islamic world. The Islamic world understood this role of Israel and Jews long ago, as Netanyahu reminds us.
Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu
Hitler did not want to exterminate the Jews at the time. He wanted to expel the Jews. And the spiritual leader of the Arab Muslims Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: ‘If you expel them, they will all come here,’ meaning Palestine. ‘So what should I do with them?’ Hitler asked. Haj Amin al-Husseini answered, ‘Burn them.’
The 2016 Presidential and Congressional elections are crucial for the survival of Judeo-Christian civilization, as we know it, and for the survival of USA and Israel as the two fundamental cornerstones of this civilization. Let us hope that those who understand all that will be elected.
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.
The Ten Commandments and the Social Justice are the two systems for redistribution of individually created wealth aimed at making a better world for everybody, or Tikkun Olam in Jewish spiritual terms.
If we have two wealth-redistribution systems suggested for creating a better world for everybody, we have to figure out which system is better. The great majority would agree that a better world for everybody should be a just world. If it is so, the most important is to define what is just and unjust in both systems.
In the Judeo-Christian universe (observant and non-observant), the Ten Commandments and the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments), which is tailoring the Ten Commandments to various life circumstances, define justice and injustice. Those definitions are coming from the Higher Authority above us called God. We may disagree on the image of this Authority (God, Adonai, Supreme Power, Nature, Big Band, etc.) but not with the need for and the importance of such authority. This Authority unites all of us since, as the Bible declares, this Authority creates all of us as equals – in His image and likeness. If we are created as equals, the definition of justice and injustice, which is coming from this Authority, have to be considered just for everybody.
The guidance of this Authority for creating a better world, which is just for everybody, is clear and simple:
- A better world, which is just for everybody, is the world where every individual has the opportunity to be an individual spiritual and material wealth creator in all areas of his/her life – family, community, religious institutions, employment, politics, social development, charity/mitzvah, etc. Moreover, to be personally responsible for the results of individual creative work.
- The purpose of government is to secure the individual opportunities, not to impose on the individuals the government’s own ideas on social justice. The government has to legislate along the lines of the Bible – to strengthen individual families, to provide safety for families and communities, to keep forceful confiscation of wealth to a minimal level just needed to support a minimal government.
- About 10% of the individually created wealth should be used for helping the less fortunate to enhance their individual opportunities through individual charity/mitzvah wealth transfer – not to enslave them in the welfare system forever.
In the secular universe, which might be even artificially observant, an elected or non-elected government defines what is just and what is unjust. Any human government, although necessary at some minimal level, disunites people. Why? Because any human government operates with one important goal in mind – to preserve its power at a next election cycle.
There is an established practice of how to preserve the power in this secular universe:
- A government convinces the society that not all people are created equal, and therefore the role of a government is to be a sort of equalizer. To perform this role, a government finds a small group of wealthy individuals with a lot of individually made wealth but with a negligible voting power, and forcefully confiscates a significant part of their wealth.
- Then, a government redistributes the confiscated wealth to a large group of less wealthy (most of them are not poor in a classical definition of this word) but with a decisive voting power. If the redistribution is correct, the government preserves its power.
- However, such redistribution is unjust for the entire society. The wealthy individuals are unhappy – they think the injustice was committed against them. They believe so not because the money was taken from them – but rather because the money was taken forcefully without their consent on how much to take and how to redistribute. The injustice is committed as well against those who are receiving the redistributed money. It is so since the government decides what is good and what is bad for them – they are deprived the opportunity to make their own choices.
That is true – many Jews are supporting various social movements, which are not only anti-Israel but anti-Jewish (in the true sense of Torah guidance) as well. Many Jews support same-sex marriage over children oriented family, supremacy of all-mighty human government over supremacy of the All Mighty, forced wealth redistribution over free-market forces, pro-Palestinian anti-Israeli “peace process” over security oriented Israel proposals, anti-religious basics of government legislative work over Bible-based fundamentals … That is mostly the result of insufficient spiritual Jewish leadership.
Indeed, the Jewish spiritual leadership does not provide the Jews with sufficient Torah-based guidance on how to create a better world for everybody here in this real world before being relocated to the Heavens, although most of the Jews are genetically (or Torah) driven to do this.
Building a better world, like building anything, requires the design of what is to be build. Various social movements are preparing their own designs and are trying to implement them through legislative authorities. Among the existing social movements, there are spiritually Jewish and spiritually anti-Jewish movements as could be seen from the analysis below.
The great majority would agree that any design of a better world for everybody should include provisions on taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves. The great majority would agree with the statement attributed among others to the Pope John Paul II and Mohandas Gandhi that proclaims, “The society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members”.
However, the great majority is split on defining what is the proper way of treating its weakest members and who is responsible for treating them.
Some in the society who are calling themselves the liberals (socialists, progressives, or even communists) believe
- the proper way of treating the weakest in the society is the so-called “social justice” and “human rights” way which is to take forcefully the wealth from the economically strongest (the rich, the wealthy) and transfer this wealth to the economically weakest (the poor, the unfortunate) with no responsibilities attached, and
- the official government authorities are responsible for treating the weakest since the government authorities have the legislative power to take forcefully the wealth of the wealthy people (who are making the wealth, the liberals believe, by indecent means).
The others in the society, who are called conservatives (capitalists, free marketers, or fundamentalists), believe in something opposite, namely that
- the proper way of treating the weakest in the society is the Torah/Bible-guided way which is to have the economically strongest in the society helping the economically weakest through the charity/mitzvah work, and
- the economically strongest individuals, who have become the economically strongest not by indecent means but rather by God-given talents, are responsible for helping the economically weakest individuals, and the help should be accompanied with the responsibilities to become economically independent and to leave the camp of the weakest.
Both the Jewish liberals and the Jewish conservatives are participating in creating the better world for everybody, promoting their own designs. The conservative design is a Torah-guided design and therefore the Jewish one. The liberal design is not a Torah-guided one and therefore is the anti-Jewish one.
The liberal design is anti-Jewish because the fundamental premise of this design is that the Jews and Gentiles are not capable or not willing to help the weakest through the mitzvah/charity as required by the Torah/Bible.
Why then the Jewish majority support the social movements that promote anti-Jewish designs of the better world?
The answer is simple. The Jews cannot build alone the better world for everybody without participation of everybody in this work – the Jews are in minority in all Western gentile countries. The Jews have to work together with the Gentile majority in the Western Gentile countries. The Gentile majority in the Western counties is not Christian anymore in the strict sense of the Bible guidance – as the Jews, they have stopped going to their mostly conservative religious institutions and have stopped consulting their mostly conservative pastors.
Thus, both the Jewish and formerly Christian majorities in Western Gentile countries are not advised any more on the design of the God’s better world. The spiritual vacuum on the design has been filled with the liberal non-Jewish (and non-Christian) designs. The Jewish majority do not have any other alternative to the design for the better world but the liberal anti-Jewish designs.
How to reverse it? There is only one way to do it – to get a new breed of rabbis (and Christian ministers as well) who would inject themselves into the social movements which create the designs for the better world and would make those designs the Torah/Bible-guided.
May be a relatively new International Rabbinic fellowship, which represents the so-called Open Orthodoxy with a leading rabbi Avi Weiss can do it since they are committed among other things, as they stated, to
- creating the “safe space” where every participant feels comfortable voicing his opinion
- bringing together Orthodox rabbis from the Golah and from Israel to put a wide range of opinions on the table in terms of Halakha, Hashkafa and public policy, and
- affirming the shared divine image (tzelem Elokim) of all people, and the responsibility to improve the world.
I am practicing my Jewish faith with my fellow-congregants at a small non-denominational Jewish congregation. I have joined this small non-denominational congregation instead of any one in the existing formal denominations – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist – because I found in many denominational synagogues that the fear of deviating from the established denominational practice suppresses the tradition of challenging the established practice.
On the Jewish religious Right, I found almost violent spiritual intolerance to any question that challenges the existing dogma and to spiritual beliefs of the non-Jews who are “goyim”. I could not figure out how the Jews of the religious Right are going to build a better God-guided world for everybody including the goyim if they hate those goyim. I could not accept the notion that One God, who created everybody as equals in His image and likeness, may hate the goyim.
On the Jewish religious Left, I found the inclination to support the social concepts, which are politically correct but are untruthful to the Torah, and to reject the mission of the Jews as the Chosen. Moreover, they are not spiritually connected to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem, as it ought to be. Without all that, I could not figure out how we the Jews are going to build a Torah-guided better world.
Furthermore, I could not comprehend the image of God that is prevailing in the religious Left and Right: on the Right as an All Mighty Father-like being, and on the Left as a non-existing fictitious thing.
To understand both the Left and the Right, I began looking for the essence of Judaism outside the “dogmas” of formal Jewish denominations – in the thoughts of many rabbis, Jewish thinkers of the past and present, and scientists. Below are some findings.
On religious and non-religious Jews
The people who believe they are Jewish have to be counted as religious since the only valid definition of being Jewish is the connection to the fundamental religious stories – Abraham and One God, Moses and Exodus, Mount Sinai and Torah, the Chosen and Promised Land, Jerusalem and the next year in Jerusalem. All those Torah’s narratives, even if they are just imaginary, created the Jewish Nation, as well as Judaism, Christianity and Judeo-Christian civilization.
Concerning the image of God
Since the Supreme Power called God does not have any physical image, any potential images could be in play. However, what the great majority of Jews and non-Jews may agree with is God, at any of His image, reveals Himself in His laws of nature, which govern the material and spiritual developments of human life. If it is so, the material and spiritual laws of nature are revealing the true image of God.
The scientists in various research arias (such as physics, chemistry, math, materials, engineering, etc.) are discovering the laws of nature governing the material aspects of a God’s better world. The better we know the material laws, the more successful we are in building the material foundation of a God’s better world. Here, many scientific schools are competing with each other, and the criteria for winning is the demonstration that everything in the material world follow a discovered law.
The theologians in various religious denominations are discovering the laws of nature governing the spiritual aspects of a God’s better world. The better we know the spiritual laws, the more successful we are in building a God’s better human community on the God’s better material foundation. Here, many spiritual schools (yeshivas, theological colleges, rabbis and sages) are competing with each other, and the criteria for success is the acceptance by the communal majorities the guidance of the discovered spiritual law. Since the spiritual laws are of probable nature, there is no way for any one group of theologians to demonstrate with 100% probability that their discovery is good for all communities. That is why we have many diversified religious communities.
Concerning the Torah
For the Jews, the fundamental spiritual laws were discovered and delivered from God through Moses on the Mount of Sinai over three millenniums ago, and were described in the Torah. From the very beginning, different Jewish groups were competing, and continue to compete nowadays, for the true interpretation of the Torah guidance, and that is a very positive thing – only through the spiritual competition, the true meaning of the Torah guidance can be discovered.
Concerning the Chosen mission of the Jews
This concept is the crucial for unique Jewish spirituality – without this concept the Jewish Nation would disappear in the diaspora as many other nations have done. There are two wrong interpretations of this concept, and we have to dispel them. One of them is that the Jews are the Chosen to serve God in their homes and synagogues in isolation from the entire world. The other one is that the Jews themselves – to rule the non-Jewish world – invented the mission of the Chosen. We have to dispel both misinterpretations – the true meaning of this concept is the hard work for building a God’s better world for everybody.
Concerning the Christianity
Like many diversified Jewish religious denominations inside Judaism, diversified religious streams in Christianity are searching for the true God’s guidance on building a better world for everybody – based on their interpretation of the Torah in the Christian Bible tailored to the traditions of the non-Jews. We should build our relations with the Christians as partners in building a God’s better world. We should overcome the uneasy feeling of historic persecutions of Jews by Christians. Even, if it pleases somebody, Christianity may be called a Judaism for non-Jews.
Concerning the Anti-Semitism
We are rightly spending a lot of energy in fighting the anti-Semitism. However, many of us are overlooking a positive meaning of anti-Semitism. It is a sign that we have been successful in fulfilling our mission of the Chosen – have been successful in converting the world for the last two millenniums from a heathen mind-set to a Torah/Bible mind-set. The spiritual conversion is a difficult process for everybody, and anti-Semitism is a sign of natural resistance. The lack of anti-Semitism might mean the failure of the Jews as the Chosen to fulfill their mission.
Concerning the state of Israel as the Promised Land
The Promised Land is a spiritual concept while the state of Israel is a political development. If it is so, the Jews are Torah-guided to reside everywhere in the Promised Land, even if a part of the Promised Land becomes an Arab state – to do whatever is possible, with a clear understanding that very little is possible, to create a better place for everybody in the entire Promised Land. The part of the Promised Land, where the state of Israel and Jerusalem are located, has to become an example for other peoples on how to build a God’s Torah-guided better world.