After millennia of trying to please and serve the Gentiles, it’s time to teach.
Once, this was impossible for realistic fears that they’d either kill you, or, by their sheer number, entice or enforce their religions onto you, or both.
Reb Shlomo Carlebach says: “You must be so Jewish that nothing and nobody can unjew you.” He was right, but how many can do that? If you learned that Gentiles are monsters, you meet them, and fall in love, how can you not want to marry them? But, if you were raised with the idea that Jews and Gentiles are fully equals, how can you help them to respect you in your role as their teacher? How can you conquer any trace of arrogance if you are supposedly totally similar? The best teachers must be humble.
However, now, we can teach virtually and one-way. This should compel us.
The dangers are largely the same, but we can do it now safely. How?
- Anonymously; who live in Israel can show their faces and names.
- On TV, in podcasts, YouTube clips, articles, and books.
“Most people refuse to read.” True, but, there are so many audiovisual roads now open to anyone with (or without) an idea, and largely free.
“They won’t be interested.” Reb Shlomo says: “When the restaurant is good, people will come to eat.” When people are not interested, we’re doing something not right. We need to become pro sellers on the free marketplace of ideas while staying completely honest.
“We should first reach unaffiliated Jews.” There is no contradiction. The more Gentiles learn from Judaism, the more many Jews will get interested. As Reb Shlomo said, tongue in cheek: “They made me look kosher.”
“No one is on the level.” Perfectionism as a rationalization not to work hard or feel our fears? The world is imperfect for us to perfect it, together with our Maker. No one can do valuable work without making mistakes.
“Perfect the world, start with yourself.” True and false. True, we need to begin with ourselves. But we can’t let others wait until we’re “ready.” We might never be. We can work on the two simultaneously. And, we need to perfect ourselves into being ready to help the world to perfect itself. For many, that means: Giving up on timidity, and Studying Judaism deeply enough so that we can teach it to others.
“It won’t work.” The Sages teach us: “It might not be given to you to complete the job, but that doesn’t absolve you from the responsibility to begin it.” As Jews, we are but a link in the chain of generations. Together we’ll do it. G^d loves us. That means that He doesn’t give us an impossible job. He expects us to be a Light unto the Nations, so we’d better be.
“We don’t need more converts.” Probably true. But, if we teach well enough, Gentiles will appreciate being Gentiles, including taking pride in actively shielding all Jews against Antisemitism. And then, they will also see clearly that living as Jews is not for everyone. Just like not everybody needs to be a physician, but it would be good if everyone learns the basic discoveries of medical science.
“They will get too high expectations of us and when they get disappointed enough, they’ll mass murder us.” That’s why the first point to teach is the great value of every human; and soon after, that we’re expected to be only human, make mistakes, say sorry, get disappointed, cry, start anew.
Proposal for a Curriculum
Thou Shan’t Murder (Protect Life, corner dangerous people; Teach it to each generation; the unfathomed value of every human; Welcome Differences between people; Be optimistic about people; Save the Planet)
Choose Life (Free Will; Good vs Evil; G^d & Satan; Freedom from Addiction and Coercion; Responsibility over Rights; Be Generous, not Greedy; G^d doesn’t force, nor should we; Choose your life’s goal(s) beyond needing to work and being entertained; Play a part in Raising the next generation)
Israel (G^d’s messenger means to rise up against wrong; See the Unity in Humanity and different ideas/beliefs/assumptions/needs; We’re each Holy; Holiness in Time, Place, People, Enjoyment, Goodness, Obedience)
Be for People (To love G^d is to see, hear, and love all His kids; Choose Peace; Be Honest; Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do to you; Work against Generalizations and Prejudices; Most Atheists are idealists too; Prayer as Holy Therapy; Redemption and G^d trusting in us)
Perfecting the World (This World is Real and Worthy; Why a Perfect G^d made an Unfinished World; the Future World could be Here and Now; First (in)action, Then intention; Fight for Physical Immortality)
Democracy (Fight for Democracy everywhere, for everyone; Empower the Underprivileged to get to real Equality; People not ready to undersign the equality of all people are excluded from democratic privileges)
Character (Good Character Traits make being virtuous easier and last)
Tradition (Worthy Tradition and Culture, and the need to clean them up)
Repentance (No one is inherently evil, no need to cancel people; If you’d think well for a moment, you wouldn’t sin; There is no collective guilt)
However, earlier I wrote the following cynical piece.
Christianity is in Trouble. Can the Jews Hope to Help it?
Surely, one of its main problems is that it doesn’t want to listen. And certainly not respectfully to the Old People that it tried to exterminate and now only wants to abandon its roots and turn Christian.
But, there is a more fundamental problem. Two thousand years (and counting) of persecution and assimilation have made Jews less and less Jewish. Rabbis talking like Christian preachers are useless here.
I’m afraid that simple Jews like me are all they have. I can’t wait for their respect. I need to talk to their youths who are abandoning ship.
1. If you’re turned off from Christianity, you are right. It needs a reset.
2. I will not tell you to become a Jew. No need. But, listen to how to save Christianity for you, as a source of richness, pride, hope, and morality.
3. Christianity needs to commit to reality. To science, to how people feel. Facts and findings cannot and need not be overruled by principles. Not to go extinct, we need to fight greed and bring down global temperatures.
4. G^d did not create us robots or slaves. He wants us to improve from our free will. He doesn’t need approval; He’s awaiting us to argue against Him.
5. It is a pity to throw away your roots. Better is to clean it up, express regret over and determination against past mistakes. Roots give pride.
6. Christianity needs to inspire, not cheat, lie, coerce, or hate.
7. Sex is not subhuman. On the contrary. It is so holy that it should not be squandered as a trivial pastime activity. Recreational sex, more than being a sin, is like junk food for the mind. Relational sex needs to be built on an emotionally close relationship.
8. Christians should cooperate with all ethical people including Atheists. They should stop fighting Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, and Scientists.
9. Jews learn that good deeds done in our name, after we died, are added to our credit, and, mutatis mutandis, not so good deeds are subtracted. That simply must mean that Jesus sits in Hell for all the blood that is shed in his name, even if he never supported this. Then, the only way to liberate him is lots of Christians making sure that Jews can live in perpetual safety. (Unless you hold that he needs no reward as he was beyond human.)
Jews Must Stop Spreading the Christian Gospels
While Jewish news outlets may be against Christian missionaries targeting innocent Jews, some of them seem unaware that they are dangerously spreading Christian outlooks to life to a largely Jewish audience knowing far too little Judaism to resist. Jews who know the name of the mother of Jesus but not of the mother of Moses—Judaism in general. Several falsehoods contribute to this. Many of them consist of false equivalences.
1. The “Judeo-Christian tradition.” There is no such thing. We do not have the same basics. Christians borrowed a lot of Judaism but also mixed it with things that are diametrically opposed to it. Jews don’t need the confusion. Only Christians need to acknowledge that they can’t have integrity and only learn from dead Jews. Classically, Christianity has a problem with secular things like Science, enjoyment, and money, and religious items like Shabbat, abortion, Redemption sans violence, strict Monotheism, etc. To add more confusion to the list, some Jewish thinkers, because of assimilation from persecutions, have lined up with Christian ministers to fight Science, etc. This is a double corruption of Judaism.
2. Jewish-Cristian dialogue groups for mutual understanding. The affront lies in the word mutual. It is like saying that women and men should sit together so that they can undo sexism. No, men should listen to feminists and shut up and be the uncomfortable ones for a change. Christians have hardly learned anything from Jews for thousands of years. They need the humility and honesty to admit that and ask knowledgeable Jews to teach them for refresher training. We Jews don’t need to know about Eastern, but boy, do Christians—and more Jews—need to know about Passover.
3. Jews and Christians telling each other about their religions to improve mutual trust and the feeling of comradery. The millennia-long hostility is not mutual. When A hates B and slaps them, B may begin to dislike A, but the situation is not one of “mutual dislike.” This is denial of the Holocaust and 2000+ years of Antisemitism. Trying to keep it nice and constructive at the expense of the Jews. No way. Christian comfort does not go before Jewish comfort. It’s time the roles are inverted a bit. The way to leave Jew-hatred behind us is for Christians to fight it, in deed and word, not just to cozy up to the Jews to alleviate their guilty feelings. It won’t work anyway.
4. Denial of the missionary aspects of Christianity. We Jews don’t try to trick Christians into Judaism. The other way around is still going on, attempting to finish Hitler’s work, claiming to care about Jews. Even if Jews and Christians would innocently exchange information, this plays into the hands of Christians converting Jews, and not the other way around!
Not Everything from Israel is Holy!
Above, I mostly warned Jews. We tend to flip between being paranoid and being naïve. And, we don’t blame the victim!
But, Jews don’t have the copyright on being naïve. Christians may be tempted to assume that writings from the Holy Land automatically must have some special holiness attached to them. Not so, unfortunately.
The Jerusalem Post writers, on average, have little knowledge of Orthodox Judaism. On Conservative Judaism they have, but that’s a different animal.
Haaretz editors sit in Zion but are angry fundamentalist-anti-Zionists.
The dictators of the Palestinian Authority are allergic to stating any truth.
In the Second Intifada (2000), most Christians in the PA occupied territories had to flee to liberated Israel. Nevertheless, a generation later, we still hear church leaders in Israel falsely accuse the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality, probably as an attempt to appease the PA, but no doubt also informed by the old tradition to attack the Jews.
Being trusted is no one’s right. Trust must be won. I do my best to earn it.