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February 17, 1989 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-02-17

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


Christian, Jewish Ties

Continued from Page 5

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for it "shows our common
origin and our joint spiritual
The second speaker was Dr.
Michael Signer, professor of
Jewish history at the Hebrew
Union College-Jewish In-
stitute of Religion in Los
Angeles. Signer's topic was
"Witness to the Word:
Passover and
Shavuot/Pentecost as Cove-
nant Festivals."
Signer quickly dismissed a
familiar starting point for
Jewish-Christian dialogue —
namely, that adherants of
both religions worship the
same God.
"That is an unfair and inac-
curate picture . . . and
apologetics in the worst sense
of the word," he said. Judaism
is much more than the Bible:
"Judaism as we know it is
rabbinic Judaism. We are rab-
binic Jews whether we are
Orthodox, Conservative or
Reform Jews. We still all ac-
cept to varying degrees the
authority of this vast
Instead, Signer said, Jews
and Christians share the corn-
mon bond of studying God's
words and trying to integrate
them into their lives.
One way in which this is
done is through holidays,
Signer said. He believes this
is because, in the words of
Professor Jacob Neusner, in-
dividuals transcend
themselves through lifecycle
events, which allow them to
feel both rooted in the past
and building for the future.
The most celebrated Jewish
holiday is Pesach, Signer
said. While surveys would
prove the same, he said,
Signer illustrated his remark
with an example from his own
life: "You can't get my family
to sit still for five minutes to
read a story — except at one
time — Pesach."
Closely linked to Pesach,
Signer said, is the holiday of
Shavuot. For many years he
wondered about the tie bet-
ween the Exodus from Egypt
and the giving of the Torah.
At the same time, the most
celebrated Christian holidays
are probably Christmas and
Easter. Easter is closely
associated with another
Christian holiday — the Pen-
tacost, Signer said. Pentacost,
observed the seventh Sunday
after Easter, commemorates
the descent of the holy spirit
upon the Apostles.
The Pesach-Shavuot and
Easter-Pentacost observances
are similar for several
reasons, Signer said. One of
the similarities is the univer-
sality expressed by both.
The rabbis believed that the
gift of the Torah was for
everyone; and, according to

Luke, the Apostles believed
the revelation of the holy
spirit at Pentacost was
Shavuot and Pentacost also
mark a time when Judaism
and Christianity should be
empowered, Signer said. Jews
must consider how to
rededicate themselves to
rIbrah as Christians reflect on
how to rededicate themselves
to the spirit.
Signer suggested that
perhaps this challenge is
what makes Passover and

'That is the secret
of scripture. As
you turn it and
turn it, it reveals
new insights:

Easter more popular than the
two holidays which follow
closely behind them: It's
easier to sit around the table
and tell the story of Pesach or
to sit in church on Easter
than to embrace the message
that one must act on the word
of God.
Yet being a witness to the
word of God means much
more than telling the story of
the Exodus, Signer said. It
means to act on that word,
and to bring it to the

ADL Applauds
Jail Sentence

New York (JTA) — Common
criminality, not his political
extremism, was the undoing
of Lyndon LaRouche Jr., the
Anti-Defamation League of
B'nai B'rith said last Friday,
following LaRouche's senten-
cing to 15 years in prison for
tax evasion and fraud.
The 66-year-old politician,
who ran three times for presi-
dent, was sentenced by Judge
Albert Bryan of federal
district court in Alexandria,
Va., along with six co-defen-
They were found guilty of
scheming to defraud the In-
ternal Revenue Service and
deliberately defaulting on
more than $30 million in
loans from LaRouche sup-
porters, many of them elderly.
"The sentencing sends a
strong message that this anti-
Semitic extremist cult leader
cannot use his 'political' ac-
tivities as a shield for
criminal wrongdoing on a na-
tionwide scale," said 4•0
Abraham Foxman, national
director of the ADL.
"This case was not about
politics; it was about crime. It
was about defrauding the

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