Hope and the Jews

Someone posted a recent comment on an article of mine about hope that said the following:

“…If you dont believe in the Lord JESUS CHRIST even if youre a Jew you have no HOPE!”

I want to start off by saying that I’m not here to denigrate Christianity or Islam or any other belief system. I believe all people have got the right to their views – and as long as they don’t hurt anyone or force their views on me or any others, then I’m okay with it. Judaism, in fact, doesn’t encourage conversion, as we believe all people, whether you are Jewish or not can have a relationship with God and go to Heaven.

But when someone quite arrogantly presumes to tell me I have no hope unless I believe in their system, then let me tell you a thing or two about hope and the Jewish people.

Because I am part of a people who were born into hope. I breathe hope. I feast on it. I drink from its fountain and eat from its table. It radiates from me through every pore in my body. It pulsates through me like a thousand drums in a rock concert. It emanates from me like a lightning bolt in a thunderstorm.

I am a Jew from the nation of Israel who came to this time on the promise of a God that no one else believed in. I have not changed my ways in 4000 years. I have not changed my beliefs. I have not repudiated my history. I have not denounced my nation. I have not given up my mission.

I am the same Jew who stood at the base of Mount Sinai to receive the word of God – and share it with the world. I am the same Jew, persecuted through the centuries by others who told me my ways were wrong. I am the same Jew, who so many others tried to wipe from the face of this earth – and failed.

I am the same Jew who stood alone throughout history. Alone in death camps. Alone in ghettos. Alone among the nations. Alone among the world.

I am the same Jew who survived pogrom after pogrom after pogrom. I am the same Jew segregated by others, exploited, ridiculed, made to pay exorbitant taxes, made to wear silly hats or badges to show how ‘different’ I am. I have fought for every last breath of air to say alive a little longer.

Every last breath.

Because we are a people who don’t give up. And we never will.

I am the product of my parents who are the products of their parents who were the products of theirs before them all the way back to Abraham himself.

In fact, I am Abraham. I am Moses. I am King David. I am Albert bloody Einstein!

I am descended from some of the greatest minds the world has ever known. I am from a nation of poets, and thinkers and philosophers. I am from a nation of musicians, a nation of writers, a nation of experts in every field. I am from a nation of holy men and warrior women.

I am part of a proud people with a rich history that goes back 4000 years in time. I predate Christianity by 2000 years. I predate Islam by 2600 years.

I am the same Jew as I was yesterday. I am the same Jew as I was a year ago, ten years ago, a thousand years ago, four thousand years ago! And I will be the same Jew tomorrow.

I will continue to be the Jew that makes you cringe. The Jew that frustrates you. The Jew that drives you nuts. I will be the Jew that is stubborn and the Jew that will not change. I will be all of that and so much more.

And no matter what you do, no matter what you say, no matter how you try to hurt me, to burn me, to make me bleed, to damn me to hell itself – I will never change.

I bow before no one on this earth and I fear no one for my beliefs.

So you can talk to me about hope and about salvation, but my people are already a people of hope. We are the essence of hope itself. And despite all attempts to destroy it, it lives on in us. Just as it did when we fought the Greeks and the Romans. Just as it did when we fought the Edomites and the Philistines. Just as it did when one small vial of oil that was supposed to burn for one night, lasted seven. Just as it did when we were expelled from our country and yet returned thousands of years later. Just as it did when we were victorious in battles that were impossible to win. Just as it did when we survived and outlived all the powerful kingdoms of the past. Just as it did when my little country of Israel, outnumbered and outgunned, survived the wrath of the entire Arab world.

Hope is in my blood and in my soul and in every fibre of my being. It’s engraved in my DNA and sung as my national anthem.

Throughout my history, no matter how dark it’s been, it’s never wavered and it’s never faltered. Hope has always driven us forward, when it was so much easier to stay behind.

It’s part of the Jewish people and has been from the dawn of time itself and will be there until its end.

About the Author
Justin Amler is a South African born, Melbourne based writer who has lived in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.