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February 01, 1980 - Image 8

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-02-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT EOM NEWS

I Friday, Feknory 1, 111111

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By DR. MILTON J.
STEINHARDT

RESIDENTIAL-COMMERCIAL

"Jews and Jewish Chris-
tianity" by David Berger
and Michael Wyschogrod
(Ktav Publishing Co.) is a
volume of 70 pages written
under the auspices of the
Jewish Community Rela-
tions Council of New York
"to persuade Jews who have
been attracted by 'Jewish
Christianity' to take an-
other look at these issues."
To this reviewer's dis-
may, the efforts of the two
authors — an historian and
a philosopher — were fo-
cused entirely on theologi-
cal interpretations, replete
with sophistry as to what
was meant by this or that
phrase of prophecy by
Isaiah.
Undoubtedly, the authors
assumed the issue to be
theologic interpretation,
and that the reader accepts
the Old Testament to be di-
vinely inspired. Therefore,
the thrust of their effort was
to refute the claims of the
"Christian Jews" that the
coming of Messiah, the Re-
surrection, the Trinity, and
even the Immaculate Con-
ception were all prophesied
in the Old Testament de-
cades before Jesus.
To anyone familiar
with the original Hebrew
the so-called Christian
Doctrine Interpretation
is so flimsy that it borders
on the irrational and
hardly deserves an
elaborate review.
However, one example
will be illustrative: The
famous and hallowed verse
that many Jews uttered be-
fore they took their last
breath during the time of
the Inquisition, of the
auto-da-fe, and the
Holocaust, was the Shema
Yisrael, which translated
accurately reads "Oh Israel,
the Lord is our God, the
Lord is One."
The meaning and context
are clear — that there is
only one God. But "Jewish

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Christianity" by obvious
mis-translation twisted this
to mean that "The Lord, our
God, the Lord" refers to the
threefold God, thus "pro-
ving" the idea of the Trinity.
It is difficult to believe that
those Jews who were so
readily persuaded by such
superficial and unproven
assertions will now be
swayed by logical historical
data.
It seems evident that the
approach to this complex
problem is multi-
disciplinary; that is, it
should include a task force
of a psychiatrist, sociologist,
and representatives of the
rabbinate and the youth. It
is also clear that the basic
factors in this "Jewish
Christianity" are not reli-
gious but basically
psychological.
One may venture some
tentative ideas that the
alienation starts in the
home. Perhaps a father
whose sole aim in life is
financial success, and a
mother to whom a career
is paramount, or perhaps
parents who are sepa-
rated or divorced. The
adolescent, with his de-
sire for independence
and resistance to
authority, feels lost, un-
wanted, out of touch, his
ideas and goals confused
by the gap of the profes-
sed liberal ideas of his
parents and the actual
practice, by the social
counter claims and con-
tradictions, by new sex
mores and its demands.
All of the above puts a
strain on the psyche of the
intelligent youngster and
he becomes easy prey to
those who promise an end of
"vain" ambition, frustra-
tion, doubt and guilt and
therefore he succumbs to
one of the cults that offers a
feeling of belonging.
What is needed, there-
fore, is not as the authors
claim "another look at
Jewish Christianity," but a
comprehensive reassess-
ment in our Jewish educa-
tion and identity, and the

need to emphasize a warm
emotional climate and
awareness of our rich his-
torical heritage. This may
accomplish more for Jewish
identity than even strict
adherence to Halakha.

In summary, the real mo-
tive for those young people
embracing "Jewish Chris-
tianity" is that they have an
emotional need to be em-
braced themselves. They
are hardly intellectual
seekers of the "Ultimate
Truth" but are looking for a
haven, a refuge from con-
tradictions, frustration and
alienation.
They are craving for
warmth and acceptance and
not for theological niceties.

New Director

NEW YORK — Shimon
Samuels, an international
affairs specialist, has been
appointed director of the
European office of the
Anti Defamation League of
Bnai Brith.

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Contests Part
of ORT Birthday

NEW YORK

Youngsters age 9-16 attend-
ing Jewish schools or be-
longing to Jewish youth
groups have been invited to
compete in nationwide
poster and essay contests on
the theme: "ORT: A Bridge
— 100 Years Long."
The contest will have two
divisions, one for children
9-12 and the other for boys
and girls 13-16. Two prizes
are to be awarded in each
division — a $100 U.S. Sav-
ings Bond and a $50 Bond,
for a total of eight prizes.
Suggested themes for
contest entries and com-
plete rules are available
from the national commit-
tee for the ORT centennial.
All entries are to be submit-
ted by March 1 to the Na-
tional Committee for the
ORT Centennial, 817
Broadway, New York, N.Y.
10003, Attention: Dr.
Edwin Simon, ORT Cen-
tennial Coordinator.

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D...1st

Jim

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