The response to yesterday’s post was both surprising and gratifying. The comments by our readers are so insightful, so profoundly moving that Seraphic Secret is using today’s post to answer all the lovely comments.
We have reached a unique moment in history. And by we, I mean Torah Jews — Jews who observe the rules of kashrut, keep the Sabbath and endeavor to fulfill the 613 Mitzvahs contained in the Torah.
In the past, Christianity was overwhelmingly hostile to Judaism. This hostility expressed itself in myriad social and religious forms. Europe, for Jews, was frequently a slaughterhouse. Sometimes, it was convert or die. At other times, it was just plain die.
My parents and grandparents came to America with all the fears and prejudices one would expect from those who had grown up with living memories of pogroms, and the greatest pogrom of all, the Holocaust.
I grew up fearing and hating Christians. They were, as far as I was concerned, Jew-haters who worshiped a dead Jew.
It has taken time, but I now see that American Christians are not European Christians. We Jews have nothing to fear from American Evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, etc. The Jew-hatred that characterized—and still does in post-Christian Europe—European society is absent in America.
The unique moment is this: I have more in common with my pious Christian friends than I do with liberal-progressive Jews.
I differ with my numerous Christian friends on points of theology. But I have learned to appreciate and respect Christianity. And our theological differences are minor when set against our common values.
This past week, my friend Michael Medved, in Los Angeles for Shabbat, spoke to a group of us about Jewish-Christian relations in America.
He asked: “What do I have in common with Woody Allen?”
Answer: Very little.
They were both born of Jewish mothers, so according to halacha — Jewish law — both are Jewish. But that’s it. Woody Allen’s values have almost nothing in common with traditional Jewish values. Michael reminded us that Woody Allen penned an editorial in which he accused the Israeli Defense Forces of being “modern stormtroopers.” The state of Israel, declared child-molester Allen, is an “international embarrassment.”
Compare Allen with Pastor John Hagee and other committed Christian Zionists who actively support and donate millions to Israel.
Liberal-progressive Jews darkly whisper that these Christians only seek to convert Jews.
This is a libel.
Not one of my Christian friends has ever hinted at seeking conversion.
In fact, it seems to me that pious Christians only want Jews to be more observant.
Perhaps liberal-progressive Jews fear conversion because they recognize that their own faith and observance is such a leaky vessel that their children are low-hanging fruit for other faiths.
America is unique. American Christians are unique. This is a unique moment in history.
Baruch HaShem, Thank G-d.