Judaism

Same stories with Moslems, Jews came to America to find a better life; escaped the ugly economic situations and ran away from religious prosecutions. Just like many immigrants, there were many of them who fell in poverty, but more Jews are successful, using their faculties (which many people believed that they were born with such brains and skills) and hard works, Jews have been known by people from all around the world in many areas. In American-Jewish Museum, Philadelphia, I found famous names who are, apparently, Jews- Albert Einstein, Barbra Streisand, Estee Lauder, Steven Spielberg, and many more.

Judaism is a religion that is passed through mother, though some people believed that raised by Jewish family also makes you a Jew. Others too, can be converted to Judaism. Although Jen, who experienced the conversion, said that the process was pretty complicated. She had to ask the Rabbi three times that she wanted to embrace Judaism, and she had to memorize many things about the culture of Judaism. Rabbi Seth said that Judaism itself is basically comfortable with the presence of other believers. The covenant between Abraham and God basically only bind him and his descendants. According to Judaism, other men and women also promised things to God for seven things, instead of ten things like what Abraham made, after God saved them from the big flood through Noah’s arch. But these seven commandments are basically telling “general good deeds”, like don’t steal and don’t kill, and we can do that without being Jewish. In fact, people are often seen in suspicious way if they decided to convert in Judaism, and this is because the historical background of Judaism. I guess prosecution has always been part of religions; Christians and Moslems in Darfur, Hindu and Moslems in India, Moslems in Serbia, Ahmadiyah in Indonesia, Amish in Europe, and so on. But Jewish’ temple was destructed by Titus and his Roman army long time ago. Many of them moved to Europe, but then they got prosecuted, again. This time was even worse, millions Jewish were killed from the Holocaust, traumatized almost all of Jewish alive. I asked Rabbi Seth and Pak Llyod Steffen why such massacre existed? It is basically, or probably, hatred. From Christian’s perspectives, they’ve been having sentiments toward Jewish since the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. They accused Jewish as the people behind the death of Jesus, and in the bible they mention something like, “Let their blood flow to my children” or something like that. Pak Llyod told interesting story about how Martin Luther was even known as one of Jewish haters. Long time ago, when he struggled for the Christian reformation, he said “No wonder that Jews refused to convert to Christianity, because our religion is that bad.” After the reformation, as we know he translated Bible into German and preached it to the Jewish community, told them that Christianity was now changing so they could converted. Of course, the Jews did not. Martin Luther became angry, and so he and many other people blamed Jews when the black plague was infecting Europe, assumed it as God’s punishment for Jew’s attitude. Not only in Christianity, I think Islam also mentioned something about Jews that sounds unpleasant; how they are considered as a nation who betrayed and never listened, and so forth. My religion knowledge is way too little to interpret this information, but I’m sure that both Bible and Al-Qur’an don’t say things about exterminating Jews. From Rabbi Seth’s perspective, as a Jew, he said, “When there is a group hating another group, it says more about the hater more than about the other one.” And that really got into me. I wasn’t only reflecting as a group, but also as an individual. I dislike many people in my whole life, you see how does that say things about me?

The more I heard about Judaism, the more I realized that it has more similarities with Islam; the concept of God- Moslems and Jews see God as an unseen higher power, unexplainable, unlike Christianity, according to Pak Llyod, who own this complicated concept of Trinity, and can have this huge conference to discuss the right words on how to present God, Moslems and Jews don’t argue about it. Both Jews and Moslems have food restrictions, kosher and halal, they both forbid pig and alcohol. Both require male circumcision. Both holy scriptures were written in their native alphabetic; Hebrew and Arabic. Both religions teach the way of life, not only how to worships, but also how to solve a conflict. As I found more similarities, it broke my heart that we’re now fighting over a land. To tell you the truth, it is still hard for me to be completely neutral about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The attachment toward Moslem community does strongly affect many Moslem and I hope you understand. But the thing is, I do wish for two state solutions, and for all the killing and suffering to be over.

 

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