The Door to Real Jewish Life


#1

Interesting video from a Jewish perspective:


#2

I watched the video. He looks fairly old so I doubt that he will be depriving any children of their Jewish heritage. I think sometimes people need to become involved in investigating a knew teaching in order to grow spiritually.


As far as him being more passionate after becoming a Christian a lot would hinge on what organization he became involved with in engaging Jewish life. A few are more Jewish oriented. Most of the mainstream Christian establishment would attempt to break the individual from his Jewish roots.


Pentecost is the Feast of Shavuot. The Christian version of Pentecost commemorates the giving of the Holy Spirit while the Jewish feast of Shavuot commemorates the giving of the law. A Jewish person could very easily observe both, however, mainstream Christianity has chosen not to celebrate Pentecost. If you attend an Easter service you will usually hear very little about Passover. Christianity chose to celebrate Christmas several months away from Yom Kipper. While these pairs of holidays have some aspects in common in order for the individual to have a real Jewish life he would need to become involved with people who broke from Christian tradition.


#3

I myself am Jewish.

What is often misunderstood by some Christians is that being Jewish is not the same as being part of a religion. Judaism is actually far more than that. It the civilization of the Jews, our culture, our art, our food, our dance, our dress, our music, our way of life, the languages we speak, our traditions, the different races that make up our tribe, etc.

Remember, we are an ancient nation. When we were established, religion was to nations the same as what patriotism is to a country today. A nation’s god or gods was the same to a nation or tribe the same as a country’s flag is viewed nowadays. Judaism is a very ancient civilization that has survived 3,000-4,000 years plus.

Our civilization just happens to come with the facet of its ancient religion still connected to it. If you disconnect it from it or try to change it by changing its rituals and traditions, its like changing a country’s flag or patriotic customs or anthem. It’s not like changing the theology. Why? Because Jewish religion is not one based on any articles of faith or creeds. It is a religion of practices, rituals, actions, cultural traditions. You change that, you change the identity of the people and the nation.

There are atheist or non-theist Jews who regularly pray and go to synagogue and observe holy days. To the Western/Christian mind this sounds impossible or conflicting, but in authentic Jewish life it happens all the time–more often than Christians realize. The reason is that the concept of “God” is Judaism has not remained as static as it has in Christianity. It has evolved over the thousands of years that the Jewish people have existed. The monotheism of Jews today is far different from the monotheism of today’s Christianity. This allows for the atheist Jew to be Torah-observant and pray, bridging the so-called secular Jewish life to allow for the “non-religious” Jew to still remain spiritual and connected with those who see themselves as religious.

Real Jewish life, however, is not about the actual Jewish religion itself anymore than it would exist if all the Jews died off from the planet suddenly. It only exists if the Jewish people and their culture exists.You destroy us, our way of life, our traditions, which includes our unique religion–then you wipe out the real Jewish life.

It would be the same with Catholicism. One cannot expect to change the doctrines, rituals, customs, theology, and mix them with some other and expect it to be the “real” Catholicism in the end. It doesn’t work out that way. That’s the way you make something authentic disappear.


#4

As for Judaism as a religion, It is interesting to point out that Catholicism is a more ancient religion than today’s Judaism. The ancient “Old Testament” Judaism that existed in the time of Christ does not exist; being that there is no temple, no priests, and no animal sacrifices, which were the essence of the pre-Christian Judaic religion.


#5

Judaism is actually a civilization, not a religion.

It is comprised of the Jewish people and their customs, the history, their tribes, music, art, food, the races that make up their people, their languages such as Hebrew, Ladino, Yiddish, etc., their various rituals, ethics, Zionism, and yes, a religion. But not all in Judaism are religious. Some are secular.

Judaism started with Abraham. There was no temple, priests, etc. So your argument doesn’t work.

Judaism isn’t reliant on the Temple. We don’t need animal sacrifices to atone for our sins. We don’t believe in original sin. God doesn’t need blood to forgive sins. The prophets taught us that thousands of years ago.

Judaism existed when we were in the concentration camps. We kept our faith while Christians who should have known better sent us into gas chambers and burned our bodies in ovens by the millions. And then their countries were destroyed and we were sent back to our Promised Land after 2000 years.

Abraham’s worship was accepted because God loved him and his children to come, not because Abraham or his children would build a Temple or have a priesthood. That is ridiculous. God doesn’t need a Temple or even a chosen people. God is the God of all people. No one religion is the true religion. In all nations, all people who do what is just are God’s people.

Go ahead, believe your Catholicism is more acceptable to God. I cannot stop you, nor care to. I know God’s love reaches far beyond denominational lines, beyond temples and blood sacrifices and races and religions. God sees the heart. You don’t have to be Christian or Jew to be loved and accepted by God. Unfortunately you haven’t learned to be as accepting as God is yet. I hope one day you will.


#6

Who do the atheist and non atheist pray to I wonder. But not so much. I love Catholicism and it’s rich beautiful history. It’s an abyss of treasure.


#7

That’s a really beautiful post xx


#8

In Reconstructing Judaism, for example, God is not viewed as a person who hears prayer. So no one, atheist or theist among these Jews expect that their prayers are heard.

Confusing, huh?

Part of the reason for that might be because in Christianity God is prayed to not just to praise and worship and thank God, but to request things of God. This isn’t the norm in any form of Judaism, however. Jews don’t tend to ask God for much, if at all.

There’s a little hint of this even in the New Testament where Jesus says that God already knows what we need before we ask God for it in prayer. (Matthew 6.9) In fact, in the Lord’s Prayer, which is very Jewish, there is only 1 line which ask for personal needs, and it goes into NO details. It also doesn’t ask for God to watch over our loved ones or anything else of that nature. Again this is very Jewish.

If you ever look into a Jewish prayer book, a Siddur, you will note that almost all Jewish prayers begin the same way: Baruch atah adonay eloheyn melech ha’olam. Blessed are you, Eternal One, our God, sovereign of all worlds…

Jewish prayer blesses God for what God has done. They are prayers to God. Atheist Jews may not believe in deities or God as a deity, but this can also be true of any Jew too. For instance, I accept the reality of God, but I don’t technically _believe_or_have faith_in God the way a Christian does. Why?

Because the Jewish approach I take to God is that God is part of reality. I don’t exercise the facet of faith or belief in anything I know is real. Anything I have to have faith in I can also have doubts in too. Can you imagine me having doubts in the reality of my arms? That would be silly. My arms are real. They are always there. I don’t give them a second thought. Unlike many Christians, I don’t approach the concept of God in the same way with the use of faith and belief. God is a part of reality for me.

One more thing: Jewish prayer is ancient. Most prayers are not spontaneous. The prayers in the Siddur are a collection of prayers we have been saying for generations. Many of them come from Scripture and the Psalms, others from great poets and sages of the past. When we say them we are connecting with our people and the wisdom of our ancestors and the culture of our past. We are also hearing and thus communicating with God through them. It is less us speaking to God and more us having God speak to us when we pray.

Along the same lines, an atheist Jew can approach and think of God and engage in prayer. It is a chance to be connected to community, to ancestry, to tradition, to ancient wisdom, to the Power that we have called “God” for millennia. Listening to these words and saying the same words that our people have said since ancient times is powerful and can move us to do powerful things in the world for good. It’s not about talking to a deity and asking for stuff. For Jews it’s a lot more than that.


#9

It’s sort of what I imagined. Thank you for your explanation. Hearing that gives me a new appreciation for Catholicism.


#10

Catholicism is simply the flowering of Judaism; thus the “Old Testament” was God preparing the world for the coming of Christ; thus the “Chosen People” were chosen for that purpose. The word “Catholic” simply means universal, thus the Church is for all people, from all walks of life, and it is not limited to a race or ethnicity, or exclusive club. Thus the Old Testament makes no sense without the New Testament,which is the fulfillment of it all.

Read the Torah, how God instructed the Israelites about the priesthood, priestly vestments, the temple, sacrifices etc.

Blame Hitler and the Nazi Third Reich for their reign of terror. Plenty of Christians and Catholic priests died in the same concentration camps. Read the history of all the help the Jewish people got from Christians and the pope himself during the Nazi persecution.

As for blame for not doing anything, you can direct it to the leaders of the allied armies, who had knowledge of the concentration camps and train routes that led people to the camps, but for political reasons did nothing to bomb the rails.

But this thread is not about bashing Catholics or Jews, Catholicism or Judaism, it is about Jews who found Christ, the promised messiah.


#12

Again this is based upon even in the New Testament:

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat


#17

Until I get wiser, I tend to project Catholicism back into Judaism. Personally I delve deeply into Jewish commentaries for help to understand how God revealed himself and what he revealed.

I’m reading Isaiah and I can hardly understand it, except for the verses that are routinely the most familiar to Christians. I stumble on the Jewish commentaries that presume too much knowledge of Hebrew in the reader. Overall, i view the Tanakh as do some Jews, as a love letter from God – in spite of all the nit picky things that people stumble on.

I appreciate all the help that Jews give us Catholics to understand the Hebrew texts. What is better than the JPS commentaries on the Torah ( for example)?


#19

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/abraham


#23

Catholicism is a religion, whereas Judaism is a civilization. You can be born a member of Judaism and never practice the religion, even grow up an non-religious or atheist Jew, but you can never be born a member of the Catholic Church or be a genuine Catholic who doesn’t believe in the existence of God and rejects Christ.

We Jews are not the “Chosen People.” There is no such thing. All ancient people thought they were chosen by their gods. The ancient civilization of Judaism was not different. So nothing that could spring from Judaism could be any more special or vital for the salvation of humankind than that springing up from any other ancient civilization–not even our promised Messiah. So the even if Jesus is the Messiah, the God of all the world wouldn’t force everyone to leave their religion behind and join his Church to be saved. That is silly. Jesus didn’t spring from a chosen nation because we the Jews aren’t any more special than any other nation. All nations are God’s children. There is no salvation is any human, and in Jewish teaching God is not and would never be a person or human, ever. God is not even a deity. God is greater than that.

And there is no such thing as an Old Testament. The Jewish Scriptures is the first in a set of Jewish texts that begins with the Torah, then the Writings, followed by the Prophets, then the Gemara, the Mishnah, and then the Talmud. Christians just took some of our books and ignored the rest that didn’t fit in with their ideas, and then called our books “Old.” It’s like robbing Buddhists of some of their holy books, ignoring others, and then calling their religion false and adding other books of your own to what you stole from them.

As for the Torah’s discussion about priestly garments, etc., that’s not about the Temple. That’s about the Sanctuary. There’s no Torah command to build a Temple, not anywhere in the Law.

And the Nazis came from a Christian country, Germany, the birthplace of Protestantism. Sure some Christians died in concentration camps, but it was other Christians who killed them, Christians called Nazis who were out to kill Jews mostly…6 million of them.


#29

Some of what you write, I agree with, other points not so much. You are looking through the eyes of Reconstructionist, or Reconstructing, Judaism. There are other streams which have their own views and definitions of Judaism. But why do we need to choose? Judaism is a religion AND a civilization, a culture, a nation, a community, a way of thinking and feeling about Gd, life, self, the world, responsibility toward others. It is a way of life, encompassing pre-birth and death. It is a legal partnership with Gd; it is the Law; it is everyday rituals, practices, customs; it is discussion, debate, heated argument, disagreement, as well as commonality, sharing, identity. It is past, present, and future; it is ancient and modern; it evolves yet remains the same.


#31

I feel like it’s this way for many Christians. We call it faith because it isn’t visibly seen, but we still KNOW that God exists, it is an absolute reality.

And I know that maybe many modern Jews don’t consider themselves “the chosen people” and maybe it is more cultural, but I think without the religious aspect the Jews wouldn’t be any more known than the other hundreds of other ancient civilizations that existed around the same time. So in a sense I think that the Jewish people can literally thank God that they are known as Jews today. :slight_smile:


#33

My reply was not intended toward Jews in general, as if to divide Jews on their own person definitions of what they themselves view as Judaism.

My answers were geared toward Catholics on this forum in the context of this conversation. Christians tend to see Judaism as they see their own religions, something that one can choose and join, almost like a club or gym or class at a school. By comparison, Judaism is exactly as you describe it–and was exactly as I put it as well: a civilization that just so happens to have a religion as a facet. There is little difference.

Not all Jews take advantage of the religion however. Sigmund Freud, for instance, was atheist, and is the first Jewish person described in Simon Schama’s wonderful BBC series The Story of the Jews. Simon refers to him as “a God-less Jew.” But what history of the Jews can be complete without mentioning Freud? There are many secular, humanistic, atheist Jews who have contributed to Jewish history and are a part of Judaism just as much as religious Jews are that make it impossible to leave the definition of Judaism and being a Jew static as merely a religion as Catholics and other Christians consider it.

Thus this is why I was speaking of it this way.

So why speak up and say that I am even disagreeing with what you agree or believe in? Or that I am only speaking as a Reconstructionist? I am trying to help people see that the door to real Jewish life, as the thread is speaking of, is more than about religion, more than “choosing Jesus” as messiah. Real Jewish life cannot be reduced to religion or theology. Your own words agree with mine, and mine have been agreeing with yours. You may not have been reading mine as closely perhaps. I have never said it was one or the other. You are very. very, very much mistaken if this is what you think I have written. Even as a Reconstructionist I do not hold it is one or the other.


#34

I’m a Torah-observant Jew. I am not atheist.

I’m Israeli-American, on the autistic spectrum, and an expert in languages. God is very real to me.


#36

I don’t know how you got that from any of my posts. I mentioned over and over again that I was Jewish.

I will say this, and leave this thread afterwards. As a person on the autism spectrum, I am always amazed how neurotypicals (people who are not autistic) operate with preconceptions that will not be broken, wiped away, or that they will even stubbornly refuse to give up even when you offer empirical evidence to the contrary of their strongly held biases or beliefs. Neurotypicals will read or listen to me projecting their beliefs and preconceptions onto what I say without realizing it all the time.

As a person with autism spectrum disorder, communication is difficult to begin with. There are many challenges I have to overcome that stem from myself. I have to deal with those and conquer those, and I can cause many a problem to a conversation with my limitations due to my autism on my own and due to my limits. I don’t need anything else added on to these.

What puzzles me and disappoints me is that people who do not have an intellectual disability and claim to be logical will not use logic, especially in a situation such as this where people feel that have to be right at any costs. People will not truly listen to one another or really read what another person is writing. Some people want to be right at any costs. That is so illogical to someone on the autism spectrum like me. That is emotion driven thinking, not logic. I don’t see how neurotypicals don’t see how this can handicap them and cause them to make mistakes like it has done you, Psalms62.

I often get bullied at this point for pointing this out, but I thought I should let people know. It’s very disappointing. Again I’m the one with the intellectual handicap, not you. You should be reading everything I write, and reading it clearly, not skimming things. If I can do it, so can you. Apparently some of you are driven by more than charity and a desire for truth here.


#39

One has to understand that Judaism is the root of Catholicism, and it was Catholicism that built Western Civilization.

Do realize that there are plenty of cradle Catholics who don’t practice the Catholicism yet are Catholic by virtue of their baptism.

Again, one has to read the Torah to understand what the term “Chosen People” is all about.

According to you. In reality, of all the religious figures in the history of mankind only Christ was preannounced, only Christ fulfilled the prophecies, performed miracles witnessed by thousands and resurrected from the dead.

God is the Creator of all that is. As for salvation, Jesus is the savior of all, whether one realizes it or not, it is through Christ that one is saved. Thus if a Hindu or a Buddhist or a Jew is saved, it is because of Christ.

Salvation is from God, not from man. Man is finite whereas God is infinite; thus for man to know God, God had to reveal Himself to man. It is the Jewish Bibke that describes God being the only Savior and King of His People. Thus It is God Who enters time and history as to teach the way of salvation and to save us from our sins. Jesus Christ is God becoming Man.

The problem with Jewish theology is that it is is truncated and rudimentary when devoid of to Christian theology that builds on Divine Revelation given through Christ; thus an analogy would be that Jewish theology is like the understanding of the concept of numbers and counting, whereas with Christ our understanding of God is like understanding algebra, trigonometry and calculus.


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