Judaism, unlike the Christian religion that later branched off from it, is a tribal religion made for one specific people, which is why to this day most Jews make no effort to proselytize and the Jewish religion and Jewish ethnicity (sometimes called Hebrew) are often considered one and the same. This blog entry is for those who have either embraced Judaism from a non-Jewish background or are considering doing so, as well as people raised as Jews seeking to live in a modern world with others.
- Consider that most of the Jewish Scriptures (which Christians have named the “Old Testament”), have a highly biased point of view, depicting other nations around Israel as evil and even ancient Hebrews who did not follow the dogmatic teachings of ancient Judaism as corrupt. These scriptures often claimed that the many tragedies that Israel suffered from was the result of disobedience to God. The truth is more complex; even when Israel was independent, it often warred against other nations and committed many atrocities against them. This was considered normal and it was only later that Jewish religious philosophers who wrote the Jewish Scriptures sought to reconcile their lofty ethical teachings with the war crimes their own ancestors had committed before.
- Being a religious Jew means you must follow certain rules and practice certain holidays. Most of those holidays refer to specific events in ancient Jewish history. And most of those rules, including Judaism’s dietary laws, were based on superstition, not science. Islam later borrowed some of those dietary laws, such as the ban on eating pork. Be sure to practice those rules in moderation, not blindly for their own sake.
- Christianity should not be considered an enemy religion. Indeed, the spread of Christianity around the world has brought knowledge of the Jewish people with it, making Jews. both ancient and modern, far more famous and respected than they would be otherwise. The antagonism between Jews and Christians that occurred resulted from a perversion of Christian teachings, not anything Jesus himself ever would have taught or allowed. He was himself Jewish!
- The modern republic of Israel has only a vague relation to the ancient nation that shared its name. It was created by Jews from Europe who wanted to establish a state of their own in Palestine, and in the process they displaced many thousands of Arabs that had previously been living in peace with Jews for many centuries. You can be a perfectly good Jew and not be a supporter of a nation that can only maintain itself through exclusion and persecution of non-Jews. Do not equate opposition to Israel’s policies with anti-Semitism and certainly not with the Holocaust that occurred in Europe during World War II; that is simply a lie. One of the things I was taught as a child was that if you do to others what was done to you before, then you are no better than your enemies. The past persecutions of Jews in Europe in no way justifies how Israel conducts itself now against Palestinians. Israel may have been fighting for its right to exist in 1948, but that has not been an issue since the 1980s. Instead, the Zionists of Israel are currently seeking TOTAL DOMINATION OVER ALL OF PALESTINE. So now Israel is its own worst enemy and it is making anti-Semitism around the world look respectable.
- Do not be fooled by American support for Israel; many Americans are brainwashed into believing that the establishment of modern Israel is a fulfillment of prophecies recorded in both the Jewish and the Christian Scriptures. They think that eventually Jesus will then come and overthrow the nations of the world and become the absolute ruler of the world instead. This is absurd; if that was going to happen, it would have occurred over 1900 years ago when the generation that knew Jesus still lived.
- If you want to join with a Jewish group that embraces freethinking rather than dogmatic bigotry, go here: http://uuja.org/ or here: http://www.shj.org/ Also read this:
Jewish Voices in Unitarian Universalism
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