Friends, Foes, and Charvona

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10 Responses

  1. Shmuel Burstein says:

    Thank you, Rabbi.

    Indeed. After centuries of forced conversions, pogroms, and murders religiously motivated (at least in part) by malicious libels, it is hard for many of us to appreciate the genuine reality of very large numbers of sincere Christians who wish the Jewish People well; who work and who pray for our safety and security.

    One small story (of several) that illustrated this for me.

    On my first visit to the USHMM, in the 1990’s, I met with a fairly young man who was the head of cartography for the museum. He explained that after learning the history of the Holocaust, horrors inflicted by many whose religion was Christianity, he vowed to dedicate years of his life to Holocaust Memory.

    He left his flourishing business for at least two years, passing up the extra income he would have otherwise handsomely enjoyed, to work as a salaried employee. He asked in sincerity that when I expressed professional courtesy for the maps he provided (for free) I not mention his name. Out of hakaras hatov I did not honor his request. Dewey, I am still grateful to you today.

  2. Aaron says:

    “We could use some friends, you would think” and that is exactly why PM Netanyahu speech was so misguided. A speech will not stop Iranian centrifuges from spinning – especially when the speech essentially rehashes claims that are all already well known – but a speech in the US congress that very publicly undermines the policy of a siting US president and his administration will help ruin a relationship that Israel desperately needs and has worked so hard to nurture. Portraying the President as naive and worse is an act of brazen chutzpah and unparalleled audacity. It is hardly “moving, and inspiring,” and should not “resonate with American hearts” or “Jewish ones”.

  3. Raymond says:

    I feel ambivalent about this subject, because of the way that even philosemitic Christians have turned Jewish theology upside-down. It annoys me how they seem to see JESUS everywhere, even though he is really nowhere.

    Nevertheless, when it comes to social policy, I see very little difference between the positions taken by conservative Christians and Orthodox Jews. Think, for example, of such hot button issues as abortion and gay marriage. And whether any of us would like to admit it or not, the fact is that there already is another World War going on, this time with conservative Christians and traditional Jews on one side, and the islamoNazis and their Leftist enablers on the other side.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    1. It appears that more American Christians are capable of disengaging from their toxic tradition of antisemitism than are Muslims around the world from theirs. This, of course, excludes some major “mainline” Christian denominations that are set on evicting the Jews from Israel. Christians, or at least nominal Christians, outside the US seem to have made less progress overall.

    2. Aaron’s comment above is as if he never heard or read Netanyahu’s actual speech. The truth needs frequent, emphatic restatement as an antidote to Obama’s happy lies.

  5. DF says:

    Interesting. I thought your article was heading towards a denunciation of the verbal attacks on Christians coming from Reform clergymen, and instead, it ends up denouncing a shameful spitting attack from Charedi extremists Which, once again, shows that reform and charedi extremists – though still our brothers – are mirror images of one another, each of them a distorted picture, in their own way, of the complete picture of Judaism and tradition working hand-in-hand.

    In any event, you are, of course, correct. Any of us who work side by side with Christians know full well how genuine their love of Israel and the Jewish people is. The majority I have met see orthodox Jews, in particular, as brothers in arms with them against a society slouching towards Godlessness. Some – though by no means all, as you wrote – may arrive at that love via a theological route different than ours, but so what – it makes no practical difference, whatsoever. And why can’t the dictum of מתוך שלר לשמה, בא לשמה apply to non-Jews also?

    In this regard, as in everything else, it is essential to bear in mind a sense of proportion. A minority is just a minority. How much did we read of how the speech would “poison” Israel’s relationship with America, and yet the House was packed to the gills with upwards of 90% of the entire US Congress, cheering wildly. The legacy press no longer, if it ever did, reports the truth. In the same vein, attacks from certain Jews or even segments of Jewry, loud or visible though they might be, are not representative of the majority. Some of the older generation probably find it impossible to see past the paradigms of their youth, but for most of us 50 and under, the Christian boogeyman of the past is gone.

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    I saw American Sniper-if you want to understand the tactics employed by the common enemy of American troops in Iraq and the IDF in Gaza -see this powerful movie-which has realistic war violence and language , as well as scenes of how SEALs train.

  7. dr. bill says:

    excellent article. regardless of whether or not you thought Netanyahu should have spoken, he did an admirable job making it harder for the administration to go for a “bad” deal. personally, i wish he adopted more of henry kissinger’s brilliant testimony before congress, but perhaps it would have been too harsh. unfortunately, kissinger was spot-on.

  8. One Christian's Perspective says:

    I was extremely pleased that PM Netanyahu chose to come to our nation and to speak before Congress. He was eloquent, passionate with grace, discerning in wisdom, compassionate in his view of Israel’s need to survive and the world as well. He spoke from the heart and with wisdom and his words flowed out of his mouth with perfect clarity imparting knowledge. I was especially pleased with the turn-out of members of Congress who listened and gave him standing ovations – mostly all. I was embarrassed at the scowls of some who seemed to want to protect one person rather than an entire nation. I am glad he spoke with such clarity and conviction to the American people who are not always best informed by our leaders.
    The security of Israel is vital because they are and have been an ally of our nation. Their people are also our people. The spate of evil seen and felt during WWII was the epitome of the banality of evil and we are seeing that in the world today. It is comforting that Israel and many in our nation recognize this and understand what it can mean to a society that is dim. I have been inside of Congress and never noticed Moses. I guess I was not looking up but am so glad Netanyahu pointed that out……………but, I hope this national treasure, like the bust of Churchill, is not sent back to Israel. Afterall, many in this nation – Jews and Christians alike, appreciate that Moses was chosen by G-d for a Divine plan and purpose.

  9. E. Lebowicz says:

    It was heartening to read your post, Rabbi Adlerstein, and the above post by the non-Jewish person as well. Just as we resent lumping all Jews as an aggregate of greedy people with big noses (and using Christain blood to bake matzos), it does not serve our purposes to lump all non-Jews with the Nazis, who believed in no G-d. We do have reason to proceed with caution in knowing who we can potentially trust, but there is no mitzvah to blindly proclaim anti-feelings to those who want to help us. We need to find ways to join all our internal warring factions, and not resort to the ultimate glue, which thrusts us together whether we like it or not, anti-Semitism. I for one am grateful to the righteous Gentiles of all generations, our own included, and we need to show our hakoras hatov.

  10. Aaron says:

    “Aaron’s comment above is as if he never heard or read Netanyahu’s actual speech”

    Instead or arguing on substance you just cheaply allege that I never heard Newtanyahu’s speech. Today we find out that not only does former Mossad head Meir Dagan, Former Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin and Former Ambassador Michael Oren feel that Netanyahu was wrong to go to Washington but that Netanyahu himself had to intervene to cancel a Mossad meeting with US Senators because he feared that the Mossad position was more inline with the position of the US administration than his own.

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