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Author Topic: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)  (Read 2542 times)

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Offline ShoshanaTopic starter

Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« on: September 01, 2010, 10:33:59 AM »
For anyone who would like to ask questions or discuss the issues or give their opinions.  O:)

Offline Ramster

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 03:00:39 PM »
As an atheist Jew from a largely Orthodox  family, I'm reading your dialogue with great interest! Shana tova for next week, Shoshana.

Offline ShoshanaTopic starter

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 08:22:30 PM »
As an atheist Jew from a largely Orthodox  family, I'm reading your dialogue with great interest! Shana tova for next week, Shoshana.

Shana Tova!

I've never tried to be Orthodox, but I have tried to be atheist. I could only ever get as far as agnostic--and, for me that was pushing it.  ::)

And while there are lots of things about Judaism that drive me crazy, I do like the fact that you can be an observant atheist or agnostic, and nobody, including most of our rabbis, will bat an eye. You showed up to help make a minyan? Great! Who cares what you think about G-d?  ;D

There's a lot to be said for Judaism's habit of viewing deed as more important than creed!

Offline Jaybee

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 04:54:24 AM »
Hi Shoshana/Neroon, and a Shanah Tovah umetakah to both of you!!

I'm a Christian of a decade's standing, converted from that lazy atheism we often get into in our teens but don't rethink as adults.  According to us, as long as you have accepted Christ as your saviour, all is good, but nonetheless, I still try (and often fail) to lead something of a moral life in deed as well as belief. 

Despite huge opportunity to befriend other Christians and those of other religions, I tend to have a disproportionately large number of Jewish friends/acquaintances of varying degrees of orthodoxy due, I'll admit, to something of an intellectual snobbery.  I like being in the company of smart people and largely, that is what I've found in the community is (and yes, I've met a couple of exceptions).

I'll go so far as to say that if it weren't for the religion, I'd happily join the community for its sense of oneness.  That depth of intellect and goodwill, on THAT large a scale, I have never seen.  That said, many of its members have reported that it can feel - and I'm paraphrasing -  "cloying and controlling".

On an aside, I really, really feel that anyone with half an opinion about Jews or Judaism needs to ensure that he has actually MET a Jew.  The amount of anti-Semitism I've seen on the internet is quite shocking when I confront those who express anti-Jewish sentiment and haven't actually felt the human warmth that comes from them.

Offline ShoshanaTopic starter

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 01:35:44 PM »
Hi Shoshana/Neroon, and a Shanah Tovah umetakah to both of you!!

I'm a Christian of a decade's standing, converted from that lazy atheism we often get into in our teens but don't rethink as adults.  According to us, as long as you have accepted Christ as your saviour, all is good, but nonetheless, I still try (and often fail) to lead something of a moral life in deed as well as belief. 

Oh, I think most Christians do! I've just been trying to point out that Judaism is not a creed-based religion.

Neil Gillman wrote an excellent book about Judaism called Sacred Fragments, in which he points out that there are pretty-much three aspects to being religious: Doing, Belonging, and Believing.

In Judaism, the emphasis is on belonging and doing. How do you become a Jew? By being born to a Jewish mother, or does the patralineal line count too? How do you convert? With an Orthodox rabbi only, or a rabbi from any branch? How observant should you be? How do you help repair the world? What you believe is much less important. (Neil Gillman, as a Jewish theologian, kind of bemoans this lack of emphasis, by the way!)

Christianity, on the other hand, puts a tremendous emphasis on what you believe. You can make a respectable argument that if you don't believe in such-and-such, you can't be a Christian. Such arguments don't exist in Judaism, since your Jewishess isn't determined by your beliefs. A devout theist like Herman Wouk and a staunch atheist like Chris Hitchens are both equally Jewish.

Quote
Despite huge opportunity to befriend other Christians and those of other religions, I tend to have a disproportionately large number of Jewish friends/acquaintances of varying degrees of orthodoxy due, I'll admit, to something of an intellectual snobbery.  I like being in the company of smart people and largely, that is what I've found in the community is (and yes, I've met a couple of exceptions).

I'll go so far as to say that if it weren't for the religion, I'd happily join the community for its sense of oneness.  That depth of intellect and goodwill, on THAT large a scale, I have never seen.  That said, many of its members have reported that it can feel - and I'm paraphrasing -  "cloying and controlling".

On an aside, I really, really feel that anyone with half an opinion about Jews or Judaism needs to ensure that he has actually MET a Jew.  The amount of anti-Semitism I've seen on the internet is quite shocking when I confront those who express anti-Jewish sentiment and haven't actually felt the human warmth that comes from them.

Antisemitism in all its manifestations is ugly. Fortunately I haven't experienced much of it in my life. I've always had a diverse group of friends, numbering Jews, Christians, Muslims and Hindus among them. So far no issues! Interesting discussions, yes--but no issues. 

Shanah Tovah! O:)
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 01:38:59 PM by Shoshana »

Offline Jaybee

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2010, 03:14:19 PM »
Oh, I think most Christians do! I've just been trying to point out that Judaism is not a creed-based religion.


And you had succeeded.  :)

Quote
In Judaism, the emphasis is on belonging and doing. How do you become a Jew? By being born to a Jewish mother, or does the patralineal line count too? How do you convert? With an Orthodox rabbi only, or a rabbi from any branch? How observant should you be? How do you help repair the world? What you believe is much less important. (Neil Gillman, as a Jewish theologian, kind of bemoans this lack of emphasis, by the way!)

Well, with our faith, the question of 'Who is a Christian?' isn't quite as hotly disputed as "Who is a Jew?" in Judaism, this difference I attribute partly to its more restrictive membership requirements, and partly to the sheer enormity of the Christian population.  I can imagine an Ethiopian Jew being horrified at being rejected as a Jew by people in his new home in Israel,  but If a few fundy Bible-thumpers don't think I'm a Christian, well whoop-dee-doo, I'll lose no sleep over it.  There are Christians who do extraordinarily un-Christ-like deeds, they have openly accepted Christ, and for me, they are Christians, they may well get a seat at His table, but no way at mine.

Quote
Christianity, on the other hand, puts a tremendous emphasis on what you believe. You can make a respectable argument that if you don't believe in such-and-such, you can't be a Christian.

That's what I said above.


Offline Lilias

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 02:52:25 PM »
As I seem to be E's resident Eastern Orthodox, I'd like to offer a little light reading (may contain insights; consume at your own risk). I've been trying to get Neroon to read these bits since he first mentioned his interest in converting. Maybe now he will.

Quote
You Might Be an Orthodox Christian If...

- You're experienced at removing wax from clothing.
- In a blind taste test, you can identify different brands of tofu.
- You don't flinch when someone throws water at you.
- You kiss a man's hand more than three times every Sunday.
- You know how to address the wife of a priest in more than three languages.
- You know how to say "Christ is risen!" in more than four languages.
- You can immediately come up with the date 13 days ago.
- Your children think of monasteries as vacation destinations.
- You know which chocolate candies contain no milk products. (Go Junior Mints!)
- You are 20 and already have varicose veins.
- You are 80 and can still touch the floor.
- You don't mind going around with an oily forehead.
- You bow reflexively before hirsute men in black dresses.
- You have memorized the 50th Psalm, but it's from four different translations.
- You save toenail clippings in hopes of ... well ... you know ... glorification.
- Your spouse is concerned about whether the carbon stains on the ceiling are hurting the retail value of the house.
- You forget to set your clock forward in the spring and get to church an hour late, and it's still not halfway through.
- Fellow parishioners forget to set their clocks back in the fall and get up an hour early, yet they still arrive late.
- Your children think nothing of Sundays without breakfast.
- At the end of Holy Week, you have rug burns on your forehead.
- Before you pray, you say a prayer.

Once you stop chuckling, you can move to the main course: 12 Things I Wish I'd Known...

Offline Oniya

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Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 12:38:15 AM »
Out of curiosity, what is the significance of '13 days ago'?

Offline Lilias

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 02:08:03 AM »
A number of calculations are still made based on the Julian calendar. The Greek Orthodox church has adopted the Gregorian calendar for everything except setting the date for Easter, but the Russian Orthodox, as well as other Eastern European Orthodox churches, still go completely Julian, so all feast days are celebrated 13 days after their 'civil' date.

Offline ShoshanaTopic starter

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 04:43:17 PM »
Quote from: Jaybee
I can imagine an Ethiopian Jew being horrified at being rejected as a Jew by people in his new home in Israel . . .

Oh, don't get me started about Jewish identification in Israel. In fact, prepare for me to use the rest of this post to vent:

A kind of weird religious situation exists there. The Orthodox rabbinate pretty much control religious matters--which is odd, because Israeli Jews are overwhemingly not Orthodox. But because there are so many political parties (thank you, proportional representation) they all need to form coalition governments--and so tiny Orthodox parties end up with disproportionate power over religious issues.

One of the religious issues they have power over  is marriage for Jews. They have no power over Muslims or Christians or people of any other religion in that respect (nor, in fairness, do they want it); there's a limited form of Sharia law valid in Israel, so Sharia courts handle Muslim marriages and divorces, and there are some kind of arrangements for Christians and people of other religions. But there's no such thing as a secular marriage; if you want that, no matter what religion you are, you either make arrangements through lawyers or go to another country to get married. (The state of Israel recognizes marriages performed in another country.)

So here's the weird situation: the state of Israel acknowledges many, many more people as Jewish than the Orthodox rabbinate.  For example, say you convert to Reconstructionist, Reform or Conservative Judaism. The state of Israel will recognize you as a Jew. But the Orthodox rabbinate won't, unless you re-convert to Orthodox Judaism. So if you move to Israel and  try to get married to another Jew, you can't. (This is one of the reasons some immigrants whose Judaism is questioned by the Orthodox, whether they be Russian or Ethopian or converts to another branch, just buckle down and convert under an approved Orthodox rabbi. But that's problematic if you don't intend to live an Orthodox life.)

Recently, the Orthodox tried to grab even more power over defining who is and isn't a Jew through a new  Conversion Bill . Fortunately it caused such outrage in both Israel and diaspora that it's been shelved for now. (Thank G-d.)

Anyway, the whole situation is a mess, and it's causing more and more tension between  the secular Jewish majority in Israel and the Orthodox Jewish minority. Never mind what Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel think, because they scarcely exist. The Orthodox have such a stranglehold over Jewish religious issues that . . . oy, don't get me started. 

And now I sound completely prejudiced against Orthodox Jews--but I'm not, really! My issues aren't with Orthodox Jews--they're just with the Orthodox Jewish political parties in Israel.  And since I'm an American Jew, they don't affect me much.

And I know I've just vented and kvetched about Israel--but please, don't anyone use this thread to talk about Israeli-Palestinian issues. That needs its own thread! I keep praying for a two-state solution that will miraculously satisfy everyone, and that's as much as I want to talk about it here.  ::) (Sorry, but on other forums I've seen that topic hijack threads that remotely mention Israel . . .)

 
« Last Edit: October 01, 2010, 04:45:45 PM by Shoshana »

Offline Jaybee

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2010, 03:43:48 PM »
Oh, don't get me started about Jewish identification in Israel. In fact, prepare for me to use the rest of this post to vent:

A kind of weird religious situation exists there. The Orthodox rabbinate pretty much control religious matters--which is odd, because Israeli Jews are overwhemingly not Orthodox. But because there are so many political parties (thank you, proportional representation) they all need to form coalition governments--and so tiny Orthodox parties end up with disproportionate power over religious issues.

One of the religious issues they have power over  is marriage for Jews. They have no power over Muslims or Christians or people of any other religion in that respect (nor, in fairness, do they want it); there's a limited form of Sharia law valid in Israel, so Sharia courts handle Muslim marriages and divorces, and there are some kind of arrangements for Christians and people of other religions. But there's no such thing as a secular marriage; if you want that, no matter what religion you are, you either make arrangements through lawyers or go to another country to get married. (The state of Israel recognizes marriages performed in another country.)

So here's the weird situation: the state of Israel acknowledges many, many more people as Jewish than the Orthodox rabbinate.  For example, say you convert to Reconstructionist, Reform or Conservative Judaism. The state of Israel will recognize you as a Jew. But the Orthodox rabbinate won't, unless you re-convert to Orthodox Judaism. So if you move to Israel and  try to get married to another Jew, you can't. (This is one of the reasons some immigrants whose Judaism is questioned by the Orthodox, whether they be Russian or Ethopian or converts to another branch, just buckle down and convert under an approved Orthodox rabbi. But that's problematic if you don't intend to live an Orthodox life.)

Recently, the Orthodox tried to grab even more power over defining who is and isn't a Jew through a new  Conversion Bill . Fortunately it caused such outrage in both Israel and diaspora that it's been shelved for now. (Thank G-d.)

Anyway, the whole situation is a mess, and it's causing more and more tension between  the secular Jewish majority in Israel and the Orthodox Jewish minority. Never mind what Reconstructionist, Reform and Conservative Jews in Israel think, because they scarcely exist. The Orthodox have such a stranglehold over Jewish religious issues that . . . oy, don't get me started. 

And now I sound completely prejudiced against Orthodox Jews--but I'm not, really! My issues aren't with Orthodox Jews--they're just with the Orthodox Jewish political parties in Israel.  And since I'm an American Jew, they don't affect me much.

And I know I've just vented and kvetched about Israel--but please, don't anyone use this thread to talk about Israeli-Palestinian issues. That needs its own thread! I keep praying for a two-state solution that will miraculously satisfy everyone, and that's as much as I want to talk about it here.  ::) (Sorry, but on other forums I've seen that topic hijack threads that remotely mention Israel . . .)

Yes yes, you remind me of a very dear Jewish friend of mine, he is just as obsessed about Israel.  As you are. 

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2011, 04:29:58 PM »
I have been curious to visit a Temple.  Can you just show up and walk in?

Offline Ramster

Re: Discussion: A Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Shoshana & Neroon)
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2011, 04:26:35 PM »
If you want to be shown around one, you could probably call your local synagogue and ask if they would like to. I'd be surprised if they didn't happily humour you. If you want to attend a service, you could ask them about that too. While voyeurs generally aren't common, they aren't unheard of or unwelcome either.