If you want to define it, it’s the national awareness/culture of the Jews

The concept of secular Jews irks many Christians, more so than Muslims. And then, more than 90% of ‘secular’ Israeli Jews fast in some fashion on Yom Kippur and celebrate Pesach Eve in some traditional way. Many also have a special festive meal with family and/or friends almost every Friday night, Shabbat Eve. Now, we have even secular Jews who learn Talmud as that is part of their Inheritance too. We could call them traditional instead of secular, but that solves little of the outsiders’ enigma.

In the center of Amsterdam is a pedestrian shopping street, and midway, surprisingly, it has a church. The door is always open. Next to it, there is a sign: Ten minutes for God. Jews could never do this. First of all, the center of Jewish life is the home, not the Synagogue. And, husbands need to make their wives happy and support their leadership of the home. And then, to smile at a stranger is a sacred act. To be honest in business shows what it means to be a Jew. To drop everything and stay home because your partner feels lonely is holy too. Prayer is but a part of Judaism. And, Orthodox Jewish women only need to pray a few quick words a day.

In the Jewish vision, a Gentile should be a good person. But, a good Jew is not ‘it.’ A Jew needs to be good and holy. But this holiness we express in every relationship: with time, with ourselves, with our fellow humans, with all of creation, and with G^d. In fact, how could we hope to please the King while we ignore His children? Even, people come first; G^d can wait. Judaism is a very demanding lifestyle. However, when done well, it’s not a burden but a joy. Look at Simchat Torah. Yet, we don’t try to turn everyone (anyone) into Jews. Compare: Physicians try to save lives. What is more important? That still doesn’t mean that everyone should go to med school.

I grew up with two secular-Jewish parents. I never heard from them the word mundane. At the Gentile school I attended, I learned it’s the reverse of religious. But, G^d is everywhere and always, so mundane doesn’t describe something that really exists. Everything is holy. (Though, true, some things are more holy than others.) Every religion I know about has this secular/holy dichotomy. Judaism not. For a Jew, everything we do has meaning because it’s done in the presence of G^d. And for a secular Jew, everything we do is an expression of our humanity and our Jewishness. Being Jewish is living around the clock in an awareness with long roots. Jews don’t long for or are hyper-focused on the World to Come. This is our world and life. Live it. Make it better for everyone now. Don’t worry.

NB: A Jew who’s angry with G^d is not an Atheist. This is an angry rapport but still a connection. Assimilation to Christianity sometimes makes Jews worried if they ‘don’t believe.’ However, Christianity is a Belief system, but Judaism is not. For us, a good Deed needs to take precedence over its Intention and Feelings. Only during and after the good Deed, do Intention and Feelings become the essence. And after a bad Deed, its Feelings become the essence too. Do we regret it, or do we justify or defend it?

The Judeo-Christian tradition may be a concept of value for Christians, a way to acknowledge their Jewish roots. But for Jews, it’s a contradiction in terms. The more we water down our Judaism, the lesser Jewish we are. For Jews, there is nothing redeeming (pardon the pun) in assimilation.

There is also something insulting in speaking about the three Abrahamic or Monotheistic Traditions. It claims that Jewish wisdom and awareness are equal to those Gentile assets. And, equality always sounds liberating, democratic, and respectful. Yet, it is good if your parents are your friends too, but they’re never just your friends. There needs to be extra respect for the sacrifices they brought for you, for everything they gave you for free. Jews are the parents of all Monotheists I’m aware of. That is one reason why the Holocaust cannot be equalized to any other genocide, nor Antisemitism be just one other racist supremacy. It is patricide and dishonoring parents by the leading cultures of Christianity and Islam.

Christians and Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus, Sikhs, and other Monotheists are religious groups. If you don’t like the word religion, you can say groups with a joint worldview. But Jews are a Nation. A People with their own culture, teachings, traditions, and especially written sources and own languages and dialects. They may be members of every other biological race and national culture in the world. Then, there are many Nations. But, they are all circumstantial: a joint history, geography, language, food, culture, etc. If two people from two different Nations intermarry, that’s an enrichment. If they don’t, it could be from racism.

But the Jewish People is founded on a Divine Mission, to be a light to the other Nations. To teach. Jewish racism is not when we refuse to marry Gentiles. That would hamper our Heavenly Task in life. Jewish racism is when we refuse to marry a Jew from another nation than ours that bigots look down on. As teachers, we need to be humble, but that’s hard to maintain under fire. And, Gentiles need to respect and reverence Jews. Not for our sake but for their own well-being. Ungratefulness is a terrible and ugly thing to carry. We gave humanity the basis of Science, equality, democracy, Monotheism, etc. Do yourself a favor and ask knowledgeable Jews to evaluate your worldview, religion, and life’s priorities. And fight against anyone and any groups that threaten Jewish survival. Endangered rainforest trees might hold cures for terrible illnesses. There is wide sympathy for attempts to save them. Judaism holds wisdom all people may need. We could do with more enthusiasm to protect and secure Jews.

QOSHE - Judaism is not a religion - Moshe-Mordechai Van Zuiden
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Judaism is not a religion

16 1 8
30.10.2022

If you want to define it, it’s the national awareness/culture of the Jews

The concept of secular Jews irks many Christians, more so than Muslims. And then, more than 90% of ‘secular’ Israeli Jews fast in some fashion on Yom Kippur and celebrate Pesach Eve in some traditional way. Many also have a special festive meal with family and/or friends almost every Friday night, Shabbat Eve. Now, we have even secular Jews who learn Talmud as that is part of their Inheritance too. We could call them traditional instead of secular, but that solves little of the outsiders’ enigma.

In the center of Amsterdam is a pedestrian shopping street, and midway, surprisingly, it has a church. The door is always open. Next to it, there is a sign: Ten minutes for God. Jews could never do this. First of all, the center of Jewish life is the home, not the Synagogue. And, husbands need to make their wives happy and support their leadership of the home. And then, to smile at a stranger is a sacred act. To be honest in business shows what it means to be a Jew. To drop everything and stay home because your partner feels lonely is holy too. Prayer is but a part of Judaism. And, Orthodox Jewish women only need to pray a few quick words a day.

In the Jewish vision, a Gentile should be a good person. But, a good Jew is not ‘it.’ A Jew needs to be good and holy. But this holiness we express in every relationship: with time, with ourselves, with our fellow........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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