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Why Don’t Jews Believe In Jesus | The difference between …

Jewish Beliefs About Jesus And Jews For JesusFor 2,000 years, Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah.Why?

It is important to understand why Jews dont believein Jesus. The purpose is not to disparage other religions, but rather toclarify the Jewish position. The more data thats available, thebetter-informed choices people can make about their spiritual path.

Intro:(What exactly is the Messiah?)

MORE RESOURCES+ JUDAISM & OTHER RELIGIONS (AT BOTTOM)

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The word Messiah is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means Anointed. It usually refers to a person initiated into Gods service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, I Kings 1:39, II Kings 9:3)

Since every King and High Priest was anointed with oil, each may be referred to as an anointed one (a Mashiach or a Messiah). For example: God forbid that I [David] should stretch out my hand against the Lords Messiah [Saul]… (I Samuel 26:11. Cf. II Samuel 23:1, Isaiah 45:1, Psalms 20:6)

Where does the Jewish concept of Messiah come from? One of the central themes of Biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)

Many of these prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5)

Since every King is a Messiah, by convention, we refer to this future anointed king as The Messiah. The above is the only description in the Bible of a Davidic descendant who is to come in the future. We will recognize the Messiah by seeing who the King of Israel is at the time of complete universal perfection.

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What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Biblesays that he will:

A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).

B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah43:5-6).

C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end allhatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall notlift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah2:4)

D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel,which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all theworldon that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah14:9).

The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none ofthese messianic prophecies.

Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these intheSecond Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill theprophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists.

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Jesus was not a prophet. Prophecy can only exist inIsrael when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During thetime of Ezra (circa 300 BCE), when the majority of Jews refused to move fromBabylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophetsHaggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 yearsafter prophecy had ended.

According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god,(1) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.

The Messiah must be descended on his fathers sidefrom King David (see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1). According to theChristian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had nofatherand thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianicrequirement of being descended on his fathers side from King David!(2)SEE THE CATHOLIC CHURCHS RESPONSE TO THIS QUESTION

The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torahobservance. The Torah states that all mitzvot (commandments) remain binding forever, andanyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a falseprophet. (Deut. 13:1-4)

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts theTorah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. (see John1:45 and 9:16, Acts 3:22 and 7:37)For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation ofShabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observeShabbat!”

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Biblical verses can only be understood by studyingthe original Hebrew textwhich reveals many discrepancies in theChristian translation.

The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived fromthe verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word”alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians camecenturies later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus birthwith the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods.

The verse in Psalms 22:17 reads: “Like a lion, theyare at my hands and feet.” The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) isgrammatically similar to the word “gouged.” Thus Christianity reads theverse as a reference to crucifixion: “They pierced my hands and feet.”

Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers toJesus, as the “suffering servant.”

In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme ofchapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. Theprophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) areregarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nationreferred to with a singular pronoun.

Ironically, Isaiahs prophecies of persecution referin part to the 11th century when Jews weretortured and killed by Crusaderswho acted in the name of Jesus.

From where did these mistranslations stem? St.Gregory, 4th century Bishop of Nazianzus, wrote: “A little jargon is allthat is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, themore they admire.”For further reading on the “suffering servant”: jewsforjudaism.org/ss

Of the 15,000 religions in human history, onlyJudaism bases its belief on national revelationi.e. God speaking to theentire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense Helltell everyone, not just one person.

Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is Gods true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, there is still no verification that he is a genuine prophet. Miracles do not prove anything. All they showassuming they are genuineis that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy.

Judaism, unique among all of the worlds majorreligions, does not rely on “claims of miracles” as the basis for itsreligion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of”miracles” to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah(Deut. 13:4).

Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8):

The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracleshe performed. Whenever anyones belief is based on seeing miracles, he haslingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performedthrough magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in thedesert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy.

What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? TheRevelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard withour own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others as it says,”Face to face, God spoke with you” The Torah also states: “God did notmake this covenant with our fathers, but with uswho are all here alivetoday.” (Deut. 5:3)

Judaism is not miracles. It is the personaleyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai3,300 years ago.

See “Did God Speak at Mount Sinai” for further reading.

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The following theological points apply primarily tothe Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination.

The Catholic idea of Trinity breaks God into threeseparate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19).

Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewishbelief: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deut. 6:4). Jewsdeclare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), andbinding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of Gods One-nessis the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last wordsuttered before a Jew dies.

In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god isconsidered idolatryone of the three cardinal sins that a Jew shouldrather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during theInquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather thanconvert.

Roman Catholics believe that God came down to earthin human form, as Jesus said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Maimonides devotes most of the “Guide for thePerplexed” to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that Heassumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyondspace. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human formmakes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torahsays: “God is not a mortal” (Numbers 23:19).

Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of humanparents, and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He willnot be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, anindividual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into therole of the Messiah. (see Maimonides – Laws of Kings 11:3)

The Catholic belief is that prayer must be directedthrough an intermediaryi.e. confessing ones sins to a priest. Jesushimself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: “No man cometh unto the Fatherbut by me.”

In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter,between each individual and God. As the Bible says: “God is near to all whocall unto Him” (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: “Youshall have no other gods BEFORE ME,” meaning that it is forbidden to set upa mediator between God and man. (see Maimonides – Laws of Idolatry ch. 1)

Catholic doctrine often treats the physical world asan evil to be avoided. Mary, the holiest woman, is portrayed as a virgin.Priests and nuns are celibate. And monasteries are in remote, secludedlocations.

By contrast, Judaism believes that God created thephysical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewishspirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way thatuplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest actswe can perform.

The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity totaste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that inthe World to Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst thebustle of commercial activity. Jews dont retreat from life, we elevate it.

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Judaism does not demand that everyone convert to thereligion. The Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish ornot. King Solomon asked God to heed the prayers of non-Jews who come to theHoly Temple (Kings I 8:41-43). The prophet Isaiah refers to the Temple as a”House for all nations.”

The Temple service during Sukkot featured 70 bullofferings, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. The Talmud saysthat if the Romans would have realized how much benefit they were gettingfrom the Temple, theyd never have destroyed it.

Jews have never actively sought converts to Judaismbecause the Torah prescribes a righteous path for gentiles to follow, knownas the “Seven Laws of Noah.” Maimonides explains that any human being whofaithfully observes these basic moral laws earns a proper place in heaven.

For further study of the Seven Laws of Noah:The Seven Laws of Noah

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Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity(and Islam) is part of Gods plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughoutthe world. This moves society closer to a perfected state of morality andtoward a greater understanding of God. All this is in preparation for theMessianic age.

Indeed, the world is in desperate need of Messianicredemption. War and pollution threaten our planet; ego and confusion erodefamily life. To the extent we are aware of the problems of society, is theextent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the firstquestions a Jew is asked on Judgment Day is: “Did you yearn for the arrivalof the Messiah?”

How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The bestway is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (asbest we can), and to encourage others to do so as well.

Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed towardredemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to theLand of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement isafoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition.

The Messiah can come at any moment, and it alldepends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says:”Redemption will come todayif you hearken to His voice.”

by Rabbi Shraga SimmonsLargely adapted fromAish.com

Moses Nachmanides and TheDebate in Barcelona, Spain, 1263

Themost famous of all Jewish-Christian disputations was between the apostateJew Pablo Christiani and Moses Nachmanides (the Ramban).

Nachmanidesargued that the central issue separating Christianity and Judaism wasnot the issue of Jesus messiahship, but whether or not Jesuswas divine. There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, forbelieving in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man.To Nachmanides, it seemed most strange “that the Creator of heavenand earth resorted to the womb of a certain Jewess and grew there fornine months and was born as an infant, and afterwards grew up and wasbetrayed into the hands of his enemies who sentenced him to death andexecuted him, and that afterwards he came to life and returned tohis original place. The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannottolerate this.” Nachmanides told the Spanish monarch, “Youhave listened all your life to priests who have filled your brain andthe marrow of your bones with this doctrine, and it has settled withyou because of that accustomed habit.” Had King James heardthese ideas propounded for the first time when he was already an adult,Nachmanides implied, he never would have accepted them.

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Bernie Sanders: Cut U.S. Military Aid to Israel

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In a rare foreign policy interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed the United States is “complicit” in so-called Israeli occupation” and should rethink its military aid to the Jewish state.

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As ‘Hamilton’ debuts in LA, historian asks: Was he Jewish? – Jewish Journal

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was many things: statesman, lawyer, banker and Secretary of the Treasury, to name a few. With the Tony Award-winning success of the hip-hop musical Hamilton now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles hes also a modern pop culture icon.

But according to historian Andrew Porwancher, assistant professor of constitutional history at the University of Oklahoma, Hamilton may have been something else: Jewish.

Porwancher, who holds degrees from Northwestern, Brown and Cambridge universities, has uncovered multiple sources of evidence that the man on the $10 bill was a member of the tribe. Hes compiling the information for a book titled The Jewish Founding Father: Alexander Hamiltons Hidden Life, scheduled to be published by Harvard University Press in 2019.

While examining Hamiltons Caribbean-island childhood as he prepared for his lectures, Porwancher learned that Hamilton attended a Jewish school on Nevis, a British colony. Further research suggested that Hamiltons mother, Rachel, may have converted to Judaism when she married Danish merchant Johann Michael Lavien. She was still married to Lavien when she and James Hamilton conceived their son and gave birth to him in the mid-1750s (the exact year is disputed).

Andrew Porwancher. Photo courtesy of Andrew Porwancher

No Hamilton biographer before me has taken seriously the idea that Alexander Hamilton might be Jewish according to Jewish law, said Porwancher, an Ashkenazi Jew who grew up Conservative in a kosher home and is affiliated with the University of Oklahomas Judaic Studies Department.

Ive dedicated years of my life to studying Jewish history and Im definitely very connected to Judaism, he said.

Porwanchers first step in researching Hamiltons connections to Judaism was to determine the likelihood that Johann Michael Lavien was indeed Jewish.

For generations, scholars have erroneously assumed that because [Lavien] was not identified in Danish land or census records as a Jew, he must not be Jewish, Porwancher said via phone from London, where he was continuing his research.

Records in the National Archives of Denmark, which had colonized the Caribbean island of St. Croix, indicated that other known Jews living on the island also were not identified as Jewish. So the assumption Lavien was not Jewish based on the records is erroneous, he said.

Porwancher said the name Lavien is a specifically Jewish name, and Danish Christian surnames at the time, by contrast, were patronymic (derived from the name of a father or ancestor) and typically ended in sen. Other clues included that Lavien was a merchant, a popular trade for Jews, and that Alexander Hamiltons grandson referred to Lavien as a rich Danish Jew.

Other evidence indicates Lavien wasnt Christian, Porwancher said. Before Hamilton was born, Lavien and Rachel had a son, Peter, who was not baptized, even though baptism was standard practice for Christians on St. Croix.

Thats evidence that not only was Lavien Jewish, but Rachel converted to Judaism to marry him, Porwancher said. I studied 18th-century Danish marriage law and discovered that Jews and Christians were not legally permitted to marry absent of conversion. So if Lavien was Jewish, the law would have required Rachel to convert to Judaism, explaining why their child wasnt baptized.

No baptismal records exist for Alexander Hamilton or his brother, James Hamilton Jr., either, but Porwancher believes it had nothing to do with their illegitimacy.

We can find records around the Caribbean of children born out of wedlock who were baptized and could have attended a church school, Porwancher said. The fact that Alexander Hamilton went to a Jewish school rather than a Christian one is compelling evidence that he was seen as a Jew by the Jewish community in Nevis, where he lived from age 10 to 17.

It strains credibility that this Jewish school would have taken in a child that they believed to be Christian, Porwancher said. His teacher would stand him on a table to recite the Ten Commandments in the original Hebrew. Bear in mind that theres a talmudic prohibition against Jews teaching non-Jews the Torah.

Porwancher further noted that the listing of Rachel Laviens 1768 death in a church register doesnt mean she was Christian or had returned to Christianity.

Churches would record the births and deaths of nonmembers, even Jews, particularly in a place without a synagogue like St. Croix, he said. Rachel isnt buried in a church cemetery, but on the estate where her sister lived.

Another phase of Porwanchers research has focused on Alexander Hamiltons relationships with Jews in his adult life. Although the adult Hamilton has never been found to explicitly identify as Jewish, he was remarkably outspoken in his defense of Jews, he said.

Among the Founding Fathers, Hamilton was singular in his advocacy for American Jewry, Porwancher said. He represented a variety of Jewish legal clients. He teamed with Jewish merchants to help create the American financial system. He fought anti-Semitism in court. And thanks to Hamilton, his alma mater, Columbia University, had Jewish representation on its board for the first time: Gershom Seixas, the head of Shearith Israel, the oldest continuous Jewish community in the United States.

Porwancher first thought about writing a book about Hamilton in 2013, but other commitments prevented him from delving further into the topic until January 2015. A month later, Hamilton opened at the Public Theater in New York City, and by the time it moved to Broadway that summer he was shopping around a book proposal and a sample chapter.

Porwancher saw a preview of Hamilton before it opened off-Broadway and said the musical does a better job than most historical scholars of understanding the centrality of Hamiltons Caribbean origins to who he was in his adult life.

While the show doesnt make any reference to the potential Jewish aspects of Hamiltons life, I cant hold that against Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical, Porwancher said. But I do think the story of Hamiltons Jewish origins dovetails with the spirit of the musical. Theyre both attuned to the ways his Caribbean origins informed his adulthood.

Porwancher continued: A lot of the academic scholarship on Hamilton sees him as this wannabe aristocrat. But the musical, with this multiethnic cast, portrays his history as much more democratic. He believed in an aristocracy of merit, and that in this new American republic, a Jew and a gentile should stand equal before the law; and no matter ones faith, one should have the opportunity to fulfill the full measure of ones potential.

Currently in London to research source material from Nevis at the British National Archives, Porwancher said he has a lot more investigating to do to complete his book.

Writing the history of someones childhood in the Caribbean in the 18th century is a difficult enterprise because youre required to use primary sources in multiple languages that are scattered across islands and European capitals of the countries that colonized those islands, he said. So its not a surprise that key elements of Hamiltons childhood remain obscure today. The task of re-creating his earliest days is in many ways more difficult than understanding the origins of any other Founding Father.

Porwancher will be on sabbatical this year to continue his research while doing a fellowship at Yeshiva University this fall and another at Princeton University in the spring.

He hopes people will approach his book with an open mind, and will be amenable to the idea that there could be something significant about a well-known historical figure that we dont yet know.

Noting that scholars didnt believe that Thomas Jefferson had fathered children with the slave Sally Hemings until DNA tests and historical evidence proved it to be true, Porwancher thinks that Hamiltons history can be rewritten too.

He also hopes that people see in the story of Hamilton not only the history of the Jewish experience in America, but the history of the immigrant experience writ large the story of wanderers who come to a new homeland in search of a better life.

Its not just the heart of Hamiltons story that Lin-Manuel Miranda captured so well, or the Jewish American story, he said. Its the American story, period.

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How Rabbi Shai Held Is Shaping the Conversation Around Love and Politics – Haaretz

Held, the cofounder of Mechon Hadar yeshiva in New York, called the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville an attack on God

After this month’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, voices abounded calling the demonstration an affront to American values. Rabbi Shai Held called it an attack on God.

One of the most fundamental claims Judaism makes about the world is that every human being on the face of the earth black and white, male and female is created in the image of God and is therefore infinitely valuable, Held wrote last week in anessay on CNN.com. An attack on other peoples humanity is by definition an assault on God.

Persuading more people to talk about God has been at the core of Helds message as his profile has risen this year. One of the founders of Mechon Hadar, a traditional but egalitarian yeshiva in New York City, Held has emerged as a public voice on everything from President Donald Trump to race relations to masculinity. Along with regular CNN columns, hisessays on the weekly Torah portionreach 7,000 people. They are now being published as a two-volume book, The Heart of Torah (Jewish Publication Society), due out in September.

Through all of it, Held wants you to know that God is compassionate and wants you to be compassionate. That compassion, he says, also extends to politics.

Im not primarily interested in is there a God or not? but what kind of a God is there, Held, 46, said earlier this month, surrounded by shelves upon shelves of religious books in his suburban New York home with more still in boxes. Im trying to make the case for a God who is about love and who asks human beings to live lives of love.

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On its face, the idea that Judaism should focus on God is anything but radical. Although Judaism pioneered the concept of monotheism, observant Jews tend to focus much of their energy on dissecting and analyzing Jewish law poring over the legalistic Talmud in school and often defining their piety in terms of study and observance rather than faith.

Held, the son of a renowned Jewish Bible scholar, grew up with similar Talmudic inclinations. Though his home was secular, his parents sent him to Orthodox day school, where he learned to study complex rabbinic texts at an early age. He became observant on his own, studying in yeshivas in Israel before attending Harvard and gaining rabbinic ordination at the Conservative movements Jewish Theological Seminary. He co-founded Mechon Hadar in 2007, an outgrowth of the pioneering Kehilat Hadar independent congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

If you say to a Jew who prays three times a day, Do you talk to God? many of them will be like, Im not sure, Held said. Thats kind of fascinating. Im trying to be alive to the question What does the Lord your God ask of you? Im inviting people into that conversation.

The Jewish emphasis on observance, Held says, has led religious Jews to surrender theological language to Christians. In his book, Held tries to reclaim it, writing about Gods grace and election of the Jews terms historically central to Protestant Christianity. He also displays his affection for Christian biblical commentary. Held cites Christian scholars in the book and Walter Moberly, a Christian theologian, has a blurb on the back cover.

Jews in America have often ceded some of the basic terms of Jewish theology and spirituality to Christianity, Held said, joking that some readers ask if hes a little Christian. (The answer is no.) So Christianity owns love, Christianity owns grace. The problem with that is that love and grace are really fundamental Jewish theology, and we abandon those terms at a tremendous spiritual loss to ourselves.

Helds personal life has also steered him toward emphasizing Gods grace. His father, Moshe Held, a professor of Semitic languages and cultures at Columbia University, died when Held was a teenager, which led to difficult years with his mother. And he lives with a chronic illness that causes pain in his back, spine and legs, and subjects him to what he calls debilitating fatigue, sometimes forcing him to stop work for hours or days at a time. At times, Held says, the illness makes him focus on himself at the expense of others. But at its best, it allows him to understand the pain of others.

I dont mean youre ill and you become kinder I think often the opposite is the case but certain kinds of capacities are born within you or expand within you, he said. The question of seeing people who are not seen became incredibly important to me in part through the experience of invisible illness.

Rabbi Irving Yitz Greenberg, a leading modern Orthodox theologian, notes this quality in his introduction to Helds weekly Torah commentaries.

[W]hat lifts this book from being an outstanding Torah commentary to a great work of religious thought and human moral development is Helds profound theology that the heart of Judaisms religious life lies in our relationship to God and fellow human beings, he said.

Helds theology of love courses through his essays on even the most legalistic of Torah portions. In his essay on Tzav Torah portion (Leviticus 6:1-8:36), which details how to give several sacrifices, Held notes that the thanksgiving sacrifice must be eaten on the day it is offered whether by the sacrificer, his relatives or nearby poor people. From that verse, he draws out that giving thanks also means sharing your good fortune with others.

We are not meant to rest content with being recipients of Gods gifts but are asked to become givers ourselves, Held writes. Gods gifts are meant to flow through us and not merely to us.

But Held doesnt restrict himself to platitudes about the importance of gratitude and charity. Across his writing, his message is explicitly political. His book, a collection of essays written before the 2016 presidential campaign, is rife with exhortations to love the stranger and take responsibility for poor people.

And his Facebook feed, updated almost daily, is rife with posts lambasting the president and his defenders that often invoke religion. Commenting last week on Jerry Falwell Jr.s praise of Trump after the Charlottesville rally, Heldwrote, Amazing how a religious leader can declare his own moral, political, and theological bankruptcy in a mere 140 characters. Heed not the word of false prophets.

The society we live in will be judged by how it treats those who are weakest and most vulnerable, Held told JTA. I want to overcome secular Jews are political activists and religious Jews do mitzvahs. Ive never heard of a more false dichotomy.

And while Held wants his book to appeal to Jews across the spectrum, his commitment to traditional, egalitarian Jewish observance is clear in everything from his philosophy to his word choice. He makes a point of keeping God gender neutral, never using He or She. Held also devotes attention to historically marginalized groups like immigrants and people with disabilities. Thats partly because, although he talks constantly about God, Held says Torah is really about caring for people.

We built the Hadar beit midrash as a place where no human experience was ruled as outside the bounds, he said, using the Hebrew term for house of study. If theres a human experience, Torah has to engage with it.

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The True Story of a Jew Who Escaped Hitler, Met Watchman Nee, and Found Jesus in Shanghai – CBN News

An amazing new story is being revealed about a survivor from a dark part of history and the remarkable path that brought him to Jesus.

Recently, one Austrian woman took a short journey to Shanghai, not for sightseeing, but instead, to complete the unfulfilled dream of her father.

During the reign of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Jews lived under daily terror. Their synagogues were burned, and millions were sent to concentration camps 6 million perished.

Some nations opened their doors to fleeing Jews. China was one of them. Many Jewish families applied for visas to come to China. All of a sudden, cities like Shanghai became home to Jewish refugees.

Many were relieved that China was a safe place, a country that changed their lives.

Elisabeth Linton was born in Austria. She and her husband recently visited Shanghai, China, in memory of her deceased father, Michael Weiss, who came to Shanghai after fleeing the Holocaust.

Weiss was born in Vienna, Austria. After Hitler overran the country, he realized as a Jew that he couldn’t safely remain in the country.

“After he came to Shanghai, he has worked as an engineer. He had graduated from the University of Vienna. He was about 25 years old at the time,” Linton said.

Elisabeth’s husband Bill praised China and the Christians there for helping the Jewish refugees.

“Many of the nations, including America, turned away Jewish people seeking refuge, it really is heartbreaking when you think about it. But look what the Chinese people did. They opened their arms to a persecuted people. Some came without visas, and some came without passports, without proper documentation,” he said.

According to Linton, Weiss soon met the influential Chinese Christian leader Watchman Nee.

“He met American missionaries, the Sterns’ family, Theodore and Carol Sterns, they had four children, and also another missionary from Switzerland. And they introduced him to Watchman Nee and the church in Shanghai.”

Watchman Nee was a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China at the time.

Exposed to many Chinese Christians, Weiss was deeply touched by their help and love for him. He learned about the Bible from the Chinese Christians.

On Nov. 15th, 1939, Michael Weiss was baptized by Watchman Nee. And he was given a Christian name Johannes Michael Weiss.

Just when Weiss thought things would get better, the Japanese military invaded Shanghai and he was taken prisoner and sent to a concentration camp.

During the imprisonment, he was threatened numerous times with death. However, Weiss found strength in two things he read the Bible and prayed.

Weiss could not return to Vienna until the end of the WWII. But when it was over, he immediately started a new life.

“And he prayed I have many prayers that he wrote down for his children that we would come to know God early in life and embrace the faith and God with all our hearts. And that was his main concern,” said Elisabeth.

Today, as she walked around the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum, she was drawn to all the memories here.

“You know, it made it real that he was here, especially the name of John that was given to him as his Christian name. And my father told me that the word of God kept him alive. And that was the reason for him to live,” she said.

John Michael Weiss passed away in 1983. He had earned a degree in theology, and he never stopped giving praises to Jesus and offering thanks for the Chinese who led him to Jesus.

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‘Raised up by God’: Televangelist Paula White compares Trump to Queen Esther – Washington Post

During last years presidential campaign, some Christian leaders compared Donald Trumpto various biblical kings, most often as a modern-day David, an imperfect man chosen by Godto lead Israel.

On Tuesday, televangelist Paula White, a prosperity gospel pastor and spiritual adviser to Trump, madeanother scriptural comparison this timebetween the president and aJewish woman in the bible.

Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show, White said Trumps victory in November was akin to Esther becoming queen in the Hebrew Bible because both were unconventionalchoices for the roles they received.

Esther, as the story goes in Jewish and Christian scripture, was an orphan hand-pickedby the Persian king to be hisnew queen at atime when Jews were persecuted. In her position she was able to stop a plan tokill all the Jewish people in Persia. The Bible says Esther was placed there by God for this purpose.

Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority it is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down, White said on the show.

Esther did not have theimage or the background to be queen, yet God chose her, White said. The same is true for Trumps ascent to the presidency, she believes.

God is raising up Esthers, she said.

Stephen Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine, a Pentecostal news site, said Christians often look for spiritual parallels in modern-day life, so it is natural for them to make these comparisons between Trump and biblical figures, though he could not remember previous presidents, Democrat or Republican,similarly being associated this way.

Paula White will be among the invited religious leaders leading a prayer during President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Here’s why she is a considered to be controversial choice. (Claritza Jimenez/Photo: AP, Video: The Post)

White has known Trump since the early 2000s, and he chose her as one of the clergy members to pray at his inauguration. The choice was controversial, as my colleague Julie Zauzmer wrote then, because prosperity gospelsays true believers of God will receive both eternal salvation and material wealth on Earth. Other Christians says this is heretical, and warn that preachers like White profit off their gospel by asking followers for money.

[Why electing Donald Trump was a triumph for the prosperity gospel]

Two years ago, comedian John Oliver did a segment dissecting the practices of prosperity gospel.In 2007, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) launched an investigationinto spending by televangelists, including White. But its reportthree years later did not reach any conclusions.

During her appearance this week, White went on to encourage viewers to be obedient and loyal to Trump because it is what God wants. If God hadnt intervened in the U.S. elections, she said, religious liberties would have eroded to such an extentthat people would have had to pray in an underground church within five years.

Whites perspective is similar albeit perhaps more dramatic to many conservative Christian leaders who have increasingly said in recent years that growingtolerance for liberal mores and secularism comes at a cost to traditional faith. Many GOP candidates, including Trump, said during the campaign that protecting the religious liberty of traditional believers was among their top priorities.

Lance Wallnau, a Christian author, claimed God spoke to him and showed himthat Trump was like King Cyrus, who followed Gods will despite being a pagan.

I really believe that the mercy of God intervened in this last election cycle and gave us an individual who has the willpower and the tenacity to be able to do a reset, Wallnau told CBN News in March. I heard the Lord, Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.

Strang shares Wallnaus belief that Cyrus is the more apt comparison, showing that God can raise up a leader to rescue his people even if that leader comes from an untraditional background. He doesnt quite see the Esther one, however.

Whites analogy was equally puzzling to Dennis Olson,a professor of Old Testament theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Though he understands the point about Esther and Trump both being outsiders, he sees more reasons why they are opposites.

Esthers story is one about protecting persecuted ethnic minorities, said Olson, while the president haswonsupport from white supremacist groups and seeks to crack down onimmigration.

But evangelical Christians in America see themselves as persecuted by an increasingly secular nation and see Trump as the one chosento fight for them. On that subject, Strang has written a book to be released in November called, God and Donald Trump, which examinesTrumps divine win.

I believe that bible-bleeding Christians have been praying for a turn in our country and we feel our religious liberties have been eroded and our country is less and less Godly, Strang said. And somehow, someway, his election was a partial answer to our prayer.

Read more:

Megachurch pastor resigns from Trumps evangelical council

As a white evangelical leader, I have said too little on racism. I ask forgiveness.

Citing Trump, World Relief to lay off 140 staffers and close five locations

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Lion’s Den: Being a part of the prophecy – The Jerusalem Post

Henri Dunant.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

Apart from the Jewish people, there is no other people group in the world that supports Israel more passionately than Bible-believing Christians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that without the support of Christian Zionists the Jewish state may never have been established. When Theodore Herzl was rejected by the influential Jewish leaders at his time, it was Christian friends, such as Rev. William Hechler, who introduced him to world leaders who could support his cause.

The list of prominent Christian leaders who have played a key role in the birthing of the Jewish state is long but still many of them are forgotten. The Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1901, Henri Dunant, was not only an exceptional humanitarian and the founder of the International Red Cross.

He was also a passionate friend of Israel who dreamed of a Jewish homeland in Palestine even before Herzl had written Der Judenstaat. He later befriended the latter and was part of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. In Britain, influential men of cloth as well as government ministers, such as Lord Palmerston and Lord Balfour, believed in restoring the Jewish people back to the land of their ancestors, and they did everything in their power to make it happen.

What unites these heroes of faith is the fact that they loved Israel and the Jewish people, not only in words but also in deeds. For Hechler and Dunant it was not enough to have discovered biblical truth and celebrate Gods promises, they were also willing to become part of their fulfillment.

Modern Christians could learn a lot from these men. Loving Israel can become a subculture where we preach to the choir and celebrate Israel within the four walls of our church while support for Israel in society at large and among the younger generations in particular is eroding. Hechler and Dunant did not keep their passions for themselves but were actively influencing mainstream culture and decision-makers for the Zionist cause.

Also in modern times we have many examples of Christians who have turned their love for Israel in to practical action. Many Christian Jerusalem-based ministries help out whenever there is a need. When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989 Christians from around the world were ready to help those Jews who wanted to make aliya.

For Swiss businessman Gustav Scheller it was simply not enough to watch prophecy unfold, he wanted to be part of it and so he gave up his successful travel business to help bring Jews out from Russia to Israel by ship. Over the years tens of thousands have been assisted in making aliya thanks to Scheller and his Christians friends.

In 2001, as new forms of antisemitism resurged in Europe and around the world, a few of us discovered that Christians who loved Israel did not have a voice in the international political arena. They were helping out in many wonderful ways by visiting the land and giving generously to social projects. But whenever Israel was attacked at the European Union or the United Nations, Israel and the Jewish organizations were alone.

A few years later I helped start a new organization to help give Christians a voice at a governmental level in the international capitals of the world. The challenges facing Israel today are not only from conventional wars but just as often diplomatic. Still to this day, Christians can help defend Israel and the Jewish people with prayer and advocacy. The trenches of the battle for Jerusalem will take place in the corridors of power in Brussels and New York just as much as around the borders of Israel. This is where Christians are again called to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and to love Israel in the spirit of Dunant, Hechler and Scheller.

The writer is the founding director of European Coalition for Israel. For more info please visit www.ec4i.org. The writer can be reached at [emailprotected]sign up to our newsletter

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Standing Firm in the Face of Moral Depravity at the Top – The Good Men Project (blog)

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This post is the opinion of the the author and does not necessarily represent The Good Men Project.

One day, when I was very young child in New York City, I sat upon my maternal grandfather Simon (Szymon) Mahlers knee. Looking down urgently but with deep affection, he said to me through his distinctive Polish accent, Varn, you are named after my father, your great-grandfather, Wolf Mahler. I lived in Krosno, Poland with my father, Wolf, and my mother, Bascha Trencher Mahler, and 13 brothers and sisters, and aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Simon talked about our mishpocheh (family) with pride, but as he told me this, he revealed an obvious sadness on his face. I asked him if our family still lived in Poland, and he responded that his father and most of the remainder of his family were no longer alive. When I asked him how they had died, he told me that they had all been killed by people called Nazis except his mother, Bascha, who died of a heart attack in 1934. I questioned him why the Nazis killed our family, and he responded, Because they were Jews.

Those words have reverberated in my mind, haunting me ever since.

We later learned that Nazi troops forced 2100 Jewish residents of Krosno into the woods, shot them, and tossed their lifeless bodies into a mass unmarked grave. The Nazis eventually loaded the remaining Jews of Krosno onto cattle cars and transported them to Auschwitz and Belzec death camps. The handful of Krosno Jews who survived liberation of the camps attempted to return to their homes that had been confiscated by the non-Jewish residents, but the Polish residents refused to return their property. Today, no Jews reside in the area.

More recently, on a snowy February morning in 2002, while in my university office organizing materials for that days classes, I received an email message that would forever poignantly and profoundly change my life. A man named Charles Mahler had been looking for descendents of the Mahler family of Krosno, Poland, and he had come across an essay I had written focusing on Wolf and Bascha Mahler.

Charles informed me that he had survived the German Holocaust along with his sister, parents, and maternal grandparents and uncle, but the Nazis murdered his fathers parents (Jacques and Anja Mahler), sister, and her two children, and other relatives following Hitlers invasion and occupation of Belgium, their adopted home country.

My cousin Charles related their story in hiding from August 1942 until the final armistice in Europe. His father, Georg, altered the familys identity papers from Jewish to Christian, and they abandoned Antwerp for what they considered the relative safety of the Belgium countryside. During their plight, members of the Belgium resistance movement and other righteous Christians shepherded them throughout the remainder of the war to three separate locations as the German Gestapo followed closely at their heels. On a number of occasions, they successfully passed as Christian directly under the watchful gaze of unsuspecting Nazis.

Though most of the Jewish inhabitants of Antwerp ultimately perished, many survived. However, at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel) one will observe Krosno chiseled into the glass and the stone walls listing towns and villages where Nazis and their sympathizers decimated entire Jewish communities.

Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene.

I have learned many lessons in my studies of genocides perpetrated throughout the ages. Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene. Everyone, not only the direct perpetrators of oppression, plays a key role in the genocide dramas.

On a micro level, this is also apparent, for example, in episodes of schoolyard, community-based, as well as electronic forms of bullying. According to the American Medical Association definition: Bullying is a specific type of aggression in which the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one.

Dan Olweus, international researcher and bullying prevention specialist, enumerates the distinctive and often overlapping roles enacted in these episodes: the person or persons who perpetrate bullying; the active followers; those who passively support, condone, or collude in the aggression; the onlookers (sometimes referred to as bystanders); the possible defenders; those who actually defend the targets of aggression; and those who are exposed and attacked.

One piece of my family puzzle met a tragic end, another partial segment survived. In both instances, the bystanders determined the balance of power: in Krosno, they conspired with the oppressors, while in Antwerp, they dug deeply within themselves transitioning from bystanders into courageous, compassionate, and empathetic upstanders in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Each day we all are called on to make small and larger choices and to take actions.

Donald J. Trump made his choice by either losing or refusing to refer to his moral compass when racist and anti-Semitic white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended in Charlottesville, Virginia for their so-called Unite the Right march and rally. His utter failure to take decisive action in words and deeds further energized the far right.

The committed and courageous anti-fascist activists, however, who came out to counter the pure and undisguised hatred of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Boston, Los Angeles, and throughout the nation will ultimately overcome the hatred. They as we the people will ensure that our nation and world will not repeat the evil of the past from genocide of First Nations peoples on this continent to slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching; from the rise of white supremacy and the theocratic right, to McCarthyism and Trumpism.

Which side are we on? This question brings to mind civil rights activist Eldridge Cleavers call to action: If youre not part of the solution, youre part of the problem.

Today as in the past, no truer words were ever uttered, for in the spectrum from occasional microaggressions to full-blown genocide, there is no such thing as an innocent bystander.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many reasons to accept immigrants – Stillwater News Press

Randi Eldevik

Stillwater

To the editor:

In response to Allan Walls letter he seems to think that alleviation of poverty is the only humanitarian reason why immigrants were ever allowed to enter the U.S. In fact, it is one of many reasons.

Providing a home for people who have been forced out of their old homes by war or by cruel foreign regimes is another reason. Walls suggestion that charity dollars should be used abroad to alleviate poverty in other countries might be a good suggestion so long as poverty is the only problem; but it is a suggestion that doesnt apply to people who are fleeing from war or tyranny. Those people need a safe haven elsewhere, without delay; once that is achieved you can consider pouring American dollars into a foreign war or non-military attempts at bringing about regime change, but you may find this financially prohibitive.

I suggest we be guided by Emma Lazaruss words engraved at the base of the State of Liberty: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Notice that poverty is mentioned (your poor), but the need to escape tyranny in order to breathe free gets a bigger emphasis.

To me, the refusal of many states in the U.S. to take in Syrian refugees is shameful. The excuses given the idea that the Syrian refugees may be terrorists in disguise are similar to the reasons why German Jews, desperate to escape from Hitler, were turned away from the U.S. in the late 1930s and the early 1940s: just because they spoke German, they were suspected of being Nazi agents in disguise! A whole shipload of Jewish refugees was turned back from American shores and eventually returned to Germany, where the passengers were killed.

This cruelty on the part of the U.S. government shouldnt have occurred then and should not be occurring now. I say this not only because I, as a Christian, abhor cruelty, but also because I know that the writer Emma Lazarus was Jewish and practiced Jewish ethics that are similar to Christian ethics.

Indeed, among all my friends who include other Christians, and Jews, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and agnostics and atheists there exists great similarity in our practice of ethics toward our fellow man. In order to persuade the greatest number of readers, I prefer not to appeal exclusively to my fellow Christians, but rather to put up a big tent that acknowledges the ethical overlap among all compassionate people.

I hope this big tent will attract more people than does the heartlessness of the RAISE proposal.

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Why Don’t Jews Believe In Jesus | The difference between …

Jewish Beliefs About Jesus And Jews For JesusFor 2,000 years, Jews have rejected the Christian idea of Jesus as messiah.Why? It is important to understand why Jews dont believein Jesus. The purpose is not to disparage other religions, but rather toclarify the Jewish position. The more data thats available, thebetter-informed choices people can make about their spiritual path. Intro:(What exactly is the Messiah?) MORE RESOURCES+ JUDAISM & OTHER RELIGIONS (AT BOTTOM) (back) The word Messiah is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means Anointed. It usually refers to a person initiated into Gods service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, I Kings 1:39, II Kings 9:3) Since every King and High Priest was anointed with oil, each may be referred to as an anointed one (a Mashiach or a Messiah). For example: God forbid that I [David] should stretch out my hand against the Lords Messiah [Saul]… (I Samuel 26:11. Cf. II Samuel 23:1, Isaiah 45:1, Psalms 20:6) Where does the Jewish concept of Messiah come from? One of the central themes of Biblical prophecy is the promise of a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of God. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Isaiah 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34) Many of these prophetic passages speak of a descendant of King David who will rule Israel during the age of perfection. (Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5-6, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; Ezekiel 34:11-31, 37:21-28; Hosea 3:4-5) Since every King is a Messiah, by convention, we refer to this future anointed king as The Messiah. The above is the only description in the Bible of a Davidic descendant who is to come in the future. We will recognize the Messiah by seeing who the King of Israel is at the time of complete universal perfection. (back) What is the Messiah supposed to accomplish? The Biblesays that he will: A. Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28). B. Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah43:5-6). C. Usher in an era of world peace, and end allhatred, oppression, suffering and disease. As it says: “Nation shall notlift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore.” (Isaiah2:4) D. Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel,which will unite humanity as one. As it says: “God will be King over all theworldon that day, God will be One and His Name will be One” (Zechariah14:9). The historical fact is that Jesus fulfilled none ofthese messianic prophecies. Christians counter that Jesus will fulfill these intheSecond Coming, but Jewish sources show that the Messiah will fulfill theprophecies outright, and no concept of a second coming exists. (back) Jesus was not a prophet. Prophecy can only exist inIsrael when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During thetime of Ezra (circa 300 BCE), when the majority of Jews refused to move fromBabylon to Israel, prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophetsHaggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 yearsafter prophecy had ended. According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god,(1) nor will he possess supernatural qualities. The Messiah must be descended on his fathers sidefrom King David (see Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1). According to theChristian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had nofatherand thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianicrequirement of being descended on his fathers side from King David!(2)SEE THE CATHOLIC CHURCHS RESPONSE TO THIS QUESTION The Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torahobservance. The Torah states that all mitzvot (commandments) remain binding forever, andanyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a falseprophet. (Deut. 13:1-4) Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts theTorah and states that its commandments are no longer applicable. (see John1:45 and 9:16, Acts 3:22 and 7:37)For example, John 9:14 records that Jesus made a paste in violation ofShabbat, which caused the Pharisees to say (verse 16), “He does not observeShabbat!” (back) Biblical verses can only be understood by studyingthe original Hebrew textwhich reveals many discrepancies in theChristian translation. The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived fromthe verse in Isaiah 7:14 describing an “alma” as giving birth. The word”alma” has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians camecenturies later and translated it as “virgin.” This accords Jesus birthwith the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by gods. The verse in Psalms 22:17 reads: “Like a lion, theyare at my hands and feet.” The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) isgrammatically similar to the word “gouged.” Thus Christianity reads theverse as a reference to crucifixion: “They pierced my hands and feet.” Christianity claims that Isaiah chapter 53 refers toJesus, as the “suffering servant.” In actuality, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme ofchapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. Theprophecies are written in the singular form because the Jews (“Israel”) areregarded as one unit. The Torah is filled with examples of the Jewish nationreferred to with a singular pronoun. Ironically, Isaiahs prophecies of persecution referin part to the 11th century when Jews weretortured and killed by Crusaderswho acted in the name of Jesus. From where did these mistranslations stem? St.Gregory, 4th century Bishop of Nazianzus, wrote: “A little jargon is allthat is necessary to impose on the people. The less they comprehend, themore they admire.”For further reading on the “suffering servant”: jewsforjudaism.org/ss Of the 15,000 religions in human history, onlyJudaism bases its belief on national revelationi.e. God speaking to theentire nation. If God is going to start a religion, it makes sense Helltell everyone, not just one person. Throughout history, thousands of religions have been started by individuals, attempting to convince people that he or she is Gods true prophet. But personal revelation is an extremely weak basis for a religion because one can never know if it is indeed true. Since others did not hear God speak to this person, they have to take his word for it. Even if the individual claiming personal revelation performs miracles, there is still no verification that he is a genuine prophet. Miracles do not prove anything. All they showassuming they are genuineis that he has certain powers. It has nothing to do with his claim of prophecy. Judaism, unique among all of the worlds majorreligions, does not rely on “claims of miracles” as the basis for itsreligion. In fact, the Bible says that God sometimes grants the power of”miracles” to charlatans, in order to test Jewish loyalty to the Torah(Deut. 13:4). Maimonides states (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8): The Jews did not believe in Moses, our teacher, because of the miracleshe performed. Whenever anyones belief is based on seeing miracles, he haslingering doubts, because it is possible the miracles were performedthrough magic or sorcery. All of the miracles performed by Moses in thedesert were because they were necessary, and not as proof of his prophecy. What then was the basis of [Jewish] belief? TheRevelation at Mount Sinai, which we saw with our own eyes and heard withour own ears, not dependent on the testimony of others as it says,”Face to face, God spoke with you” The Torah also states: “God did notmake this covenant with our fathers, but with uswho are all here alivetoday.” (Deut. 5:3) Judaism is not miracles. It is the personaleyewitness experience of every man, woman and child, standing at Mount Sinai3,300 years ago. See “Did God Speak at Mount Sinai” for further reading. (back) The following theological points apply primarily tothe Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian denomination. The Catholic idea of Trinity breaks God into threeseparate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19). Contrast this to the Shema, the basis of Jewishbelief: “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE” (Deut. 6:4). Jewsdeclare the Shema every day, while writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), andbinding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of Gods One-nessis the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last wordsuttered before a Jew dies. In Jewish law, worship of a three-part god isconsidered idolatryone of the three cardinal sins that a Jew shouldrather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during theInquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather thanconvert. Roman Catholics believe that God came down to earthin human form, as Jesus said: “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Maimonides devotes most of the “Guide for thePerplexed” to the fundamental idea that God is incorporeal, meaning that Heassumes no physical form. God is Eternal, above time. He is Infinite, beyondspace. He cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that God assumes human formmakes God small, diminishing both His unity and His divinity. As the Torahsays: “God is not a mortal” (Numbers 23:19). Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of humanparents, and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He willnot be a demi-god, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, anindividual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into therole of the Messiah. (see Maimonides – Laws of Kings 11:3) The Catholic belief is that prayer must be directedthrough an intermediaryi.e. confessing ones sins to a priest. Jesushimself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: “No man cometh unto the Fatherbut by me.” In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter,between each individual and God. As the Bible says: “God is near to all whocall unto Him” (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: “Youshall have no other gods BEFORE ME,” meaning that it is forbidden to set upa mediator between God and man. (see Maimonides – Laws of Idolatry ch. 1) Catholic doctrine often treats the physical world asan evil to be avoided. Mary, the holiest woman, is portrayed as a virgin.Priests and nuns are celibate. And monasteries are in remote, secludedlocations. By contrast, Judaism believes that God created thephysical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewishspirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way thatuplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest actswe can perform. The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity totaste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that inthe World to Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst thebustle of commercial activity. Jews dont retreat from life, we elevate it. (back) Judaism does not demand that everyone convert to thereligion. The Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish ornot. King Solomon asked God to heed the prayers of non-Jews who come to theHoly Temple (Kings I 8:41-43). The prophet Isaiah refers to the Temple as a”House for all nations.” The Temple service during Sukkot featured 70 bullofferings, corresponding to the 70 nations of the world. The Talmud saysthat if the Romans would have realized how much benefit they were gettingfrom the Temple, theyd never have destroyed it. Jews have never actively sought converts to Judaismbecause the Torah prescribes a righteous path for gentiles to follow, knownas the “Seven Laws of Noah.” Maimonides explains that any human being whofaithfully observes these basic moral laws earns a proper place in heaven. For further study of the Seven Laws of Noah:The Seven Laws of Noah (back) Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity(and Islam) is part of Gods plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughoutthe world. This moves society closer to a perfected state of morality andtoward a greater understanding of God. All this is in preparation for theMessianic age. Indeed, the world is in desperate need of Messianicredemption. War and pollution threaten our planet; ego and confusion erodefamily life. To the extent we are aware of the problems of society, is theextent we will yearn for redemption. As the Talmud says, one of the firstquestions a Jew is asked on Judgment Day is: “Did you yearn for the arrivalof the Messiah?” How can we hasten the coming of the Messiah? The bestway is to love all humanity generously, to keep the mitzvot of the Torah (asbest we can), and to encourage others to do so as well. Despite the gloom, the world does seem headed towardredemption. One apparent sign is that the Jewish people have returned to theLand of Israel and made it bloom again. Additionally, a major movement isafoot of young Jews returning to Torah tradition. The Messiah can come at any moment, and it alldepends on our actions. God is ready when we are. For as King David says:”Redemption will come todayif you hearken to His voice.” by Rabbi Shraga SimmonsLargely adapted fromAish.com Moses Nachmanides and TheDebate in Barcelona, Spain, 1263 Themost famous of all Jewish-Christian disputations was between the apostateJew Pablo Christiani and Moses Nachmanides (the Ramban). Nachmanidesargued that the central issue separating Christianity and Judaism wasnot the issue of Jesus messiahship, but whether or not Jesuswas divine. There was no basis in Judaism, Nachmanides said, forbelieving in the divinity of the Messiah or, indeed, of any man.To Nachmanides, it seemed most strange “that the Creator of heavenand earth resorted to the womb of a certain Jewess and grew there fornine months and was born as an infant, and afterwards grew up and wasbetrayed into the hands of his enemies who sentenced him to death andexecuted him, and that afterwards he came to life and returned tohis original place. The mind of a Jew, or any other person, cannottolerate this.” Nachmanides told the Spanish monarch, “Youhave listened all your life to priests who have filled your brain andthe marrow of your bones with this doctrine, and it has settled withyou because of that accustomed habit.” Had King James heardthese ideas propounded for the first time when he was already an adult,Nachmanides implied, he never would have accepted them. [BACK TO TOP] TheReal Story of X-Mas(dl)by Lawrence Kelemen Anti-Missionarymp3s (Best Counter Missionary series) How to Answer a Christian Missionary(download)byR. Michael Skobac The Flaws ofChristianity(download) by R. Moshe Ben-Chaim Christian IdeologybyR. Moty Berger from AishAudio.com The Passion of Christ- a Jewish Perspective(download)byRabbi Berel Wein Ordained Pastor Converts To Judaism(download) why dont Jews believe in jesus?

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Bernie Sanders: Cut U.S. Military Aid to Israel

In a rare foreign policy interview, Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed the United States is “complicit” in so-called Israeli occupation” and should rethink its military aid to the Jewish state.

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September 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

As ‘Hamilton’ debuts in LA, historian asks: Was he Jewish? – Jewish Journal

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was many things: statesman, lawyer, banker and Secretary of the Treasury, to name a few. With the Tony Award-winning success of the hip-hop musical Hamilton now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles hes also a modern pop culture icon. But according to historian Andrew Porwancher, assistant professor of constitutional history at the University of Oklahoma, Hamilton may have been something else: Jewish. Porwancher, who holds degrees from Northwestern, Brown and Cambridge universities, has uncovered multiple sources of evidence that the man on the $10 bill was a member of the tribe. Hes compiling the information for a book titled The Jewish Founding Father: Alexander Hamiltons Hidden Life, scheduled to be published by Harvard University Press in 2019. While examining Hamiltons Caribbean-island childhood as he prepared for his lectures, Porwancher learned that Hamilton attended a Jewish school on Nevis, a British colony. Further research suggested that Hamiltons mother, Rachel, may have converted to Judaism when she married Danish merchant Johann Michael Lavien. She was still married to Lavien when she and James Hamilton conceived their son and gave birth to him in the mid-1750s (the exact year is disputed). Andrew Porwancher. Photo courtesy of Andrew Porwancher No Hamilton biographer before me has taken seriously the idea that Alexander Hamilton might be Jewish according to Jewish law, said Porwancher, an Ashkenazi Jew who grew up Conservative in a kosher home and is affiliated with the University of Oklahomas Judaic Studies Department. Ive dedicated years of my life to studying Jewish history and Im definitely very connected to Judaism, he said. Porwanchers first step in researching Hamiltons connections to Judaism was to determine the likelihood that Johann Michael Lavien was indeed Jewish. For generations, scholars have erroneously assumed that because [Lavien] was not identified in Danish land or census records as a Jew, he must not be Jewish, Porwancher said via phone from London, where he was continuing his research. Records in the National Archives of Denmark, which had colonized the Caribbean island of St. Croix, indicated that other known Jews living on the island also were not identified as Jewish. So the assumption Lavien was not Jewish based on the records is erroneous, he said. Porwancher said the name Lavien is a specifically Jewish name, and Danish Christian surnames at the time, by contrast, were patronymic (derived from the name of a father or ancestor) and typically ended in sen. Other clues included that Lavien was a merchant, a popular trade for Jews, and that Alexander Hamiltons grandson referred to Lavien as a rich Danish Jew. Other evidence indicates Lavien wasnt Christian, Porwancher said. Before Hamilton was born, Lavien and Rachel had a son, Peter, who was not baptized, even though baptism was standard practice for Christians on St. Croix. Thats evidence that not only was Lavien Jewish, but Rachel converted to Judaism to marry him, Porwancher said. I studied 18th-century Danish marriage law and discovered that Jews and Christians were not legally permitted to marry absent of conversion. So if Lavien was Jewish, the law would have required Rachel to convert to Judaism, explaining why their child wasnt baptized. No baptismal records exist for Alexander Hamilton or his brother, James Hamilton Jr., either, but Porwancher believes it had nothing to do with their illegitimacy. We can find records around the Caribbean of children born out of wedlock who were baptized and could have attended a church school, Porwancher said. The fact that Alexander Hamilton went to a Jewish school rather than a Christian one is compelling evidence that he was seen as a Jew by the Jewish community in Nevis, where he lived from age 10 to 17. It strains credibility that this Jewish school would have taken in a child that they believed to be Christian, Porwancher said. His teacher would stand him on a table to recite the Ten Commandments in the original Hebrew. Bear in mind that theres a talmudic prohibition against Jews teaching non-Jews the Torah. Porwancher further noted that the listing of Rachel Laviens 1768 death in a church register doesnt mean she was Christian or had returned to Christianity. Churches would record the births and deaths of nonmembers, even Jews, particularly in a place without a synagogue like St. Croix, he said. Rachel isnt buried in a church cemetery, but on the estate where her sister lived. Another phase of Porwanchers research has focused on Alexander Hamiltons relationships with Jews in his adult life. Although the adult Hamilton has never been found to explicitly identify as Jewish, he was remarkably outspoken in his defense of Jews, he said. Among the Founding Fathers, Hamilton was singular in his advocacy for American Jewry, Porwancher said. He represented a variety of Jewish legal clients. He teamed with Jewish merchants to help create the American financial system. He fought anti-Semitism in court. And thanks to Hamilton, his alma mater, Columbia University, had Jewish representation on its board for the first time: Gershom Seixas, the head of Shearith Israel, the oldest continuous Jewish community in the United States. Porwancher first thought about writing a book about Hamilton in 2013, but other commitments prevented him from delving further into the topic until January 2015. A month later, Hamilton opened at the Public Theater in New York City, and by the time it moved to Broadway that summer he was shopping around a book proposal and a sample chapter. Porwancher saw a preview of Hamilton before it opened off-Broadway and said the musical does a better job than most historical scholars of understanding the centrality of Hamiltons Caribbean origins to who he was in his adult life. While the show doesnt make any reference to the potential Jewish aspects of Hamiltons life, I cant hold that against Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote the musical, Porwancher said. But I do think the story of Hamiltons Jewish origins dovetails with the spirit of the musical. Theyre both attuned to the ways his Caribbean origins informed his adulthood. Porwancher continued: A lot of the academic scholarship on Hamilton sees him as this wannabe aristocrat. But the musical, with this multiethnic cast, portrays his history as much more democratic. He believed in an aristocracy of merit, and that in this new American republic, a Jew and a gentile should stand equal before the law; and no matter ones faith, one should have the opportunity to fulfill the full measure of ones potential. Currently in London to research source material from Nevis at the British National Archives, Porwancher said he has a lot more investigating to do to complete his book. Writing the history of someones childhood in the Caribbean in the 18th century is a difficult enterprise because youre required to use primary sources in multiple languages that are scattered across islands and European capitals of the countries that colonized those islands, he said. So its not a surprise that key elements of Hamiltons childhood remain obscure today. The task of re-creating his earliest days is in many ways more difficult than understanding the origins of any other Founding Father. Porwancher will be on sabbatical this year to continue his research while doing a fellowship at Yeshiva University this fall and another at Princeton University in the spring. He hopes people will approach his book with an open mind, and will be amenable to the idea that there could be something significant about a well-known historical figure that we dont yet know. Noting that scholars didnt believe that Thomas Jefferson had fathered children with the slave Sally Hemings until DNA tests and historical evidence proved it to be true, Porwancher thinks that Hamiltons history can be rewritten too. He also hopes that people see in the story of Hamilton not only the history of the Jewish experience in America, but the history of the immigrant experience writ large the story of wanderers who come to a new homeland in search of a better life. Its not just the heart of Hamiltons story that Lin-Manuel Miranda captured so well, or the Jewish American story, he said. Its the American story, period.

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

How Rabbi Shai Held Is Shaping the Conversation Around Love and Politics – Haaretz

Held, the cofounder of Mechon Hadar yeshiva in New York, called the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville an attack on God After this month’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, voices abounded calling the demonstration an affront to American values. Rabbi Shai Held called it an attack on God. One of the most fundamental claims Judaism makes about the world is that every human being on the face of the earth black and white, male and female is created in the image of God and is therefore infinitely valuable, Held wrote last week in anessay on CNN.com. An attack on other peoples humanity is by definition an assault on God. Persuading more people to talk about God has been at the core of Helds message as his profile has risen this year. One of the founders of Mechon Hadar, a traditional but egalitarian yeshiva in New York City, Held has emerged as a public voice on everything from President Donald Trump to race relations to masculinity. Along with regular CNN columns, hisessays on the weekly Torah portionreach 7,000 people. They are now being published as a two-volume book, The Heart of Torah (Jewish Publication Society), due out in September. Through all of it, Held wants you to know that God is compassionate and wants you to be compassionate. That compassion, he says, also extends to politics. Im not primarily interested in is there a God or not? but what kind of a God is there, Held, 46, said earlier this month, surrounded by shelves upon shelves of religious books in his suburban New York home with more still in boxes. Im trying to make the case for a God who is about love and who asks human beings to live lives of love. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. On its face, the idea that Judaism should focus on God is anything but radical. Although Judaism pioneered the concept of monotheism, observant Jews tend to focus much of their energy on dissecting and analyzing Jewish law poring over the legalistic Talmud in school and often defining their piety in terms of study and observance rather than faith. Held, the son of a renowned Jewish Bible scholar, grew up with similar Talmudic inclinations. Though his home was secular, his parents sent him to Orthodox day school, where he learned to study complex rabbinic texts at an early age. He became observant on his own, studying in yeshivas in Israel before attending Harvard and gaining rabbinic ordination at the Conservative movements Jewish Theological Seminary. He co-founded Mechon Hadar in 2007, an outgrowth of the pioneering Kehilat Hadar independent congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. If you say to a Jew who prays three times a day, Do you talk to God? many of them will be like, Im not sure, Held said. Thats kind of fascinating. Im trying to be alive to the question What does the Lord your God ask of you? Im inviting people into that conversation. The Jewish emphasis on observance, Held says, has led religious Jews to surrender theological language to Christians. In his book, Held tries to reclaim it, writing about Gods grace and election of the Jews terms historically central to Protestant Christianity. He also displays his affection for Christian biblical commentary. Held cites Christian scholars in the book and Walter Moberly, a Christian theologian, has a blurb on the back cover. Jews in America have often ceded some of the basic terms of Jewish theology and spirituality to Christianity, Held said, joking that some readers ask if hes a little Christian. (The answer is no.) So Christianity owns love, Christianity owns grace. The problem with that is that love and grace are really fundamental Jewish theology, and we abandon those terms at a tremendous spiritual loss to ourselves. Helds personal life has also steered him toward emphasizing Gods grace. His father, Moshe Held, a professor of Semitic languages and cultures at Columbia University, died when Held was a teenager, which led to difficult years with his mother. And he lives with a chronic illness that causes pain in his back, spine and legs, and subjects him to what he calls debilitating fatigue, sometimes forcing him to stop work for hours or days at a time. At times, Held says, the illness makes him focus on himself at the expense of others. But at its best, it allows him to understand the pain of others. I dont mean youre ill and you become kinder I think often the opposite is the case but certain kinds of capacities are born within you or expand within you, he said. The question of seeing people who are not seen became incredibly important to me in part through the experience of invisible illness. Rabbi Irving Yitz Greenberg, a leading modern Orthodox theologian, notes this quality in his introduction to Helds weekly Torah commentaries. [W]hat lifts this book from being an outstanding Torah commentary to a great work of religious thought and human moral development is Helds profound theology that the heart of Judaisms religious life lies in our relationship to God and fellow human beings, he said. Helds theology of love courses through his essays on even the most legalistic of Torah portions. In his essay on Tzav Torah portion (Leviticus 6:1-8:36), which details how to give several sacrifices, Held notes that the thanksgiving sacrifice must be eaten on the day it is offered whether by the sacrificer, his relatives or nearby poor people. From that verse, he draws out that giving thanks also means sharing your good fortune with others. We are not meant to rest content with being recipients of Gods gifts but are asked to become givers ourselves, Held writes. Gods gifts are meant to flow through us and not merely to us. But Held doesnt restrict himself to platitudes about the importance of gratitude and charity. Across his writing, his message is explicitly political. His book, a collection of essays written before the 2016 presidential campaign, is rife with exhortations to love the stranger and take responsibility for poor people. And his Facebook feed, updated almost daily, is rife with posts lambasting the president and his defenders that often invoke religion. Commenting last week on Jerry Falwell Jr.s praise of Trump after the Charlottesville rally, Heldwrote, Amazing how a religious leader can declare his own moral, political, and theological bankruptcy in a mere 140 characters. Heed not the word of false prophets. The society we live in will be judged by how it treats those who are weakest and most vulnerable, Held told JTA. I want to overcome secular Jews are political activists and religious Jews do mitzvahs. Ive never heard of a more false dichotomy. And while Held wants his book to appeal to Jews across the spectrum, his commitment to traditional, egalitarian Jewish observance is clear in everything from his philosophy to his word choice. He makes a point of keeping God gender neutral, never using He or She. Held also devotes attention to historically marginalized groups like immigrants and people with disabilities. Thats partly because, although he talks constantly about God, Held says Torah is really about caring for people. We built the Hadar beit midrash as a place where no human experience was ruled as outside the bounds, he said, using the Hebrew term for house of study. If theres a human experience, Torah has to engage with it. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

The True Story of a Jew Who Escaped Hitler, Met Watchman Nee, and Found Jesus in Shanghai – CBN News

An amazing new story is being revealed about a survivor from a dark part of history and the remarkable path that brought him to Jesus. Recently, one Austrian woman took a short journey to Shanghai, not for sightseeing, but instead, to complete the unfulfilled dream of her father. During the reign of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Jews lived under daily terror. Their synagogues were burned, and millions were sent to concentration camps 6 million perished. Some nations opened their doors to fleeing Jews. China was one of them. Many Jewish families applied for visas to come to China. All of a sudden, cities like Shanghai became home to Jewish refugees. Many were relieved that China was a safe place, a country that changed their lives. Elisabeth Linton was born in Austria. She and her husband recently visited Shanghai, China, in memory of her deceased father, Michael Weiss, who came to Shanghai after fleeing the Holocaust. Weiss was born in Vienna, Austria. After Hitler overran the country, he realized as a Jew that he couldn’t safely remain in the country. “After he came to Shanghai, he has worked as an engineer. He had graduated from the University of Vienna. He was about 25 years old at the time,” Linton said. Elisabeth’s husband Bill praised China and the Christians there for helping the Jewish refugees. “Many of the nations, including America, turned away Jewish people seeking refuge, it really is heartbreaking when you think about it. But look what the Chinese people did. They opened their arms to a persecuted people. Some came without visas, and some came without passports, without proper documentation,” he said. According to Linton, Weiss soon met the influential Chinese Christian leader Watchman Nee. “He met American missionaries, the Sterns’ family, Theodore and Carol Sterns, they had four children, and also another missionary from Switzerland. And they introduced him to Watchman Nee and the church in Shanghai.” Watchman Nee was a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China at the time. Exposed to many Chinese Christians, Weiss was deeply touched by their help and love for him. He learned about the Bible from the Chinese Christians. On Nov. 15th, 1939, Michael Weiss was baptized by Watchman Nee. And he was given a Christian name Johannes Michael Weiss. Just when Weiss thought things would get better, the Japanese military invaded Shanghai and he was taken prisoner and sent to a concentration camp. During the imprisonment, he was threatened numerous times with death. However, Weiss found strength in two things he read the Bible and prayed. Weiss could not return to Vienna until the end of the WWII. But when it was over, he immediately started a new life. “And he prayed I have many prayers that he wrote down for his children that we would come to know God early in life and embrace the faith and God with all our hearts. And that was his main concern,” said Elisabeth. Today, as she walked around the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum, she was drawn to all the memories here. “You know, it made it real that he was here, especially the name of John that was given to him as his Christian name. And my father told me that the word of God kept him alive. And that was the reason for him to live,” she said. John Michael Weiss passed away in 1983. He had earned a degree in theology, and he never stopped giving praises to Jesus and offering thanks for the Chinese who led him to Jesus.

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

‘Raised up by God’: Televangelist Paula White compares Trump to Queen Esther – Washington Post

During last years presidential campaign, some Christian leaders compared Donald Trumpto various biblical kings, most often as a modern-day David, an imperfect man chosen by Godto lead Israel. On Tuesday, televangelist Paula White, a prosperity gospel pastor and spiritual adviser to Trump, madeanother scriptural comparison this timebetween the president and aJewish woman in the bible. Appearing on The Jim Bakker Show, White said Trumps victory in November was akin to Esther becoming queen in the Hebrew Bible because both were unconventionalchoices for the roles they received. Esther, as the story goes in Jewish and Christian scripture, was an orphan hand-pickedby the Persian king to be hisnew queen at atime when Jews were persecuted. In her position she was able to stop a plan tokill all the Jewish people in Persia. The Bible says Esther was placed there by God for this purpose. Because God says that he raises up and places all people in places of authority it is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down, White said on the show. Esther did not have theimage or the background to be queen, yet God chose her, White said. The same is true for Trumps ascent to the presidency, she believes. God is raising up Esthers, she said. Stephen Strang, the founder of Charisma Magazine, a Pentecostal news site, said Christians often look for spiritual parallels in modern-day life, so it is natural for them to make these comparisons between Trump and biblical figures, though he could not remember previous presidents, Democrat or Republican,similarly being associated this way. Paula White will be among the invited religious leaders leading a prayer during President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20. Here’s why she is a considered to be controversial choice. (Claritza Jimenez/Photo: AP, Video: The Post) White has known Trump since the early 2000s, and he chose her as one of the clergy members to pray at his inauguration. The choice was controversial, as my colleague Julie Zauzmer wrote then, because prosperity gospelsays true believers of God will receive both eternal salvation and material wealth on Earth. Other Christians says this is heretical, and warn that preachers like White profit off their gospel by asking followers for money. [Why electing Donald Trump was a triumph for the prosperity gospel] Two years ago, comedian John Oliver did a segment dissecting the practices of prosperity gospel.In 2007, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) launched an investigationinto spending by televangelists, including White. But its reportthree years later did not reach any conclusions. During her appearance this week, White went on to encourage viewers to be obedient and loyal to Trump because it is what God wants. If God hadnt intervened in the U.S. elections, she said, religious liberties would have eroded to such an extentthat people would have had to pray in an underground church within five years. Whites perspective is similar albeit perhaps more dramatic to many conservative Christian leaders who have increasingly said in recent years that growingtolerance for liberal mores and secularism comes at a cost to traditional faith. Many GOP candidates, including Trump, said during the campaign that protecting the religious liberty of traditional believers was among their top priorities. Lance Wallnau, a Christian author, claimed God spoke to him and showed himthat Trump was like King Cyrus, who followed Gods will despite being a pagan. I really believe that the mercy of God intervened in this last election cycle and gave us an individual who has the willpower and the tenacity to be able to do a reset, Wallnau told CBN News in March. I heard the Lord, Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness. Strang shares Wallnaus belief that Cyrus is the more apt comparison, showing that God can raise up a leader to rescue his people even if that leader comes from an untraditional background. He doesnt quite see the Esther one, however. Whites analogy was equally puzzling to Dennis Olson,a professor of Old Testament theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Though he understands the point about Esther and Trump both being outsiders, he sees more reasons why they are opposites. Esthers story is one about protecting persecuted ethnic minorities, said Olson, while the president haswonsupport from white supremacist groups and seeks to crack down onimmigration. But evangelical Christians in America see themselves as persecuted by an increasingly secular nation and see Trump as the one chosento fight for them. On that subject, Strang has written a book to be released in November called, God and Donald Trump, which examinesTrumps divine win. I believe that bible-bleeding Christians have been praying for a turn in our country and we feel our religious liberties have been eroded and our country is less and less Godly, Strang said. And somehow, someway, his election was a partial answer to our prayer. Read more: Megachurch pastor resigns from Trumps evangelical council As a white evangelical leader, I have said too little on racism. I ask forgiveness. Citing Trump, World Relief to lay off 140 staffers and close five locations

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Lion’s Den: Being a part of the prophecy – The Jerusalem Post

Henri Dunant.. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons) Apart from the Jewish people, there is no other people group in the world that supports Israel more passionately than Bible-believing Christians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pointed out that without the support of Christian Zionists the Jewish state may never have been established. When Theodore Herzl was rejected by the influential Jewish leaders at his time, it was Christian friends, such as Rev. William Hechler, who introduced him to world leaders who could support his cause. The list of prominent Christian leaders who have played a key role in the birthing of the Jewish state is long but still many of them are forgotten. The Nobel Peace Prize winner of 1901, Henri Dunant, was not only an exceptional humanitarian and the founder of the International Red Cross. He was also a passionate friend of Israel who dreamed of a Jewish homeland in Palestine even before Herzl had written Der Judenstaat. He later befriended the latter and was part of the first Zionist Congress in 1897. In Britain, influential men of cloth as well as government ministers, such as Lord Palmerston and Lord Balfour, believed in restoring the Jewish people back to the land of their ancestors, and they did everything in their power to make it happen. What unites these heroes of faith is the fact that they loved Israel and the Jewish people, not only in words but also in deeds. For Hechler and Dunant it was not enough to have discovered biblical truth and celebrate Gods promises, they were also willing to become part of their fulfillment. Modern Christians could learn a lot from these men. Loving Israel can become a subculture where we preach to the choir and celebrate Israel within the four walls of our church while support for Israel in society at large and among the younger generations in particular is eroding. Hechler and Dunant did not keep their passions for themselves but were actively influencing mainstream culture and decision-makers for the Zionist cause. Also in modern times we have many examples of Christians who have turned their love for Israel in to practical action. Many Christian Jerusalem-based ministries help out whenever there is a need. When the Iron Curtain came down in 1989 Christians from around the world were ready to help those Jews who wanted to make aliya. For Swiss businessman Gustav Scheller it was simply not enough to watch prophecy unfold, he wanted to be part of it and so he gave up his successful travel business to help bring Jews out from Russia to Israel by ship. Over the years tens of thousands have been assisted in making aliya thanks to Scheller and his Christians friends. In 2001, as new forms of antisemitism resurged in Europe and around the world, a few of us discovered that Christians who loved Israel did not have a voice in the international political arena. They were helping out in many wonderful ways by visiting the land and giving generously to social projects. But whenever Israel was attacked at the European Union or the United Nations, Israel and the Jewish organizations were alone. A few years later I helped start a new organization to help give Christians a voice at a governmental level in the international capitals of the world. The challenges facing Israel today are not only from conventional wars but just as often diplomatic. Still to this day, Christians can help defend Israel and the Jewish people with prayer and advocacy. The trenches of the battle for Jerusalem will take place in the corridors of power in Brussels and New York just as much as around the borders of Israel. This is where Christians are again called to be watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem and to love Israel in the spirit of Dunant, Hechler and Scheller. The writer is the founding director of European Coalition for Israel. For more info please visit www.ec4i.org. The writer can be reached at [emailprotected]sign up to our newsletter Share on facebook

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

Standing Firm in the Face of Moral Depravity at the Top – The Good Men Project (blog)

Embed from Getty Images This post is the opinion of the the author and does not necessarily represent The Good Men Project. One day, when I was very young child in New York City, I sat upon my maternal grandfather Simon (Szymon) Mahlers knee. Looking down urgently but with deep affection, he said to me through his distinctive Polish accent, Varn, you are named after my father, your great-grandfather, Wolf Mahler. I lived in Krosno, Poland with my father, Wolf, and my mother, Bascha Trencher Mahler, and 13 brothers and sisters, and aunts, uncles, and cousins. Simon talked about our mishpocheh (family) with pride, but as he told me this, he revealed an obvious sadness on his face. I asked him if our family still lived in Poland, and he responded that his father and most of the remainder of his family were no longer alive. When I asked him how they had died, he told me that they had all been killed by people called Nazis except his mother, Bascha, who died of a heart attack in 1934. I questioned him why the Nazis killed our family, and he responded, Because they were Jews. Those words have reverberated in my mind, haunting me ever since. We later learned that Nazi troops forced 2100 Jewish residents of Krosno into the woods, shot them, and tossed their lifeless bodies into a mass unmarked grave. The Nazis eventually loaded the remaining Jews of Krosno onto cattle cars and transported them to Auschwitz and Belzec death camps. The handful of Krosno Jews who survived liberation of the camps attempted to return to their homes that had been confiscated by the non-Jewish residents, but the Polish residents refused to return their property. Today, no Jews reside in the area. More recently, on a snowy February morning in 2002, while in my university office organizing materials for that days classes, I received an email message that would forever poignantly and profoundly change my life. A man named Charles Mahler had been looking for descendents of the Mahler family of Krosno, Poland, and he had come across an essay I had written focusing on Wolf and Bascha Mahler. Charles informed me that he had survived the German Holocaust along with his sister, parents, and maternal grandparents and uncle, but the Nazis murdered his fathers parents (Jacques and Anja Mahler), sister, and her two children, and other relatives following Hitlers invasion and occupation of Belgium, their adopted home country. My cousin Charles related their story in hiding from August 1942 until the final armistice in Europe. His father, Georg, altered the familys identity papers from Jewish to Christian, and they abandoned Antwerp for what they considered the relative safety of the Belgium countryside. During their plight, members of the Belgium resistance movement and other righteous Christians shepherded them throughout the remainder of the war to three separate locations as the German Gestapo followed closely at their heels. On a number of occasions, they successfully passed as Christian directly under the watchful gaze of unsuspecting Nazis. Though most of the Jewish inhabitants of Antwerp ultimately perished, many survived. However, at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel) one will observe Krosno chiseled into the glass and the stone walls listing towns and villages where Nazis and their sympathizers decimated entire Jewish communities. Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene. I have learned many lessons in my studies of genocides perpetrated throughout the ages. Strong leaders whip up sentiments by employing dehumanizing stereotyping and scapegoating entire groups, while other citizens or entire nations often refuse to intervene. Everyone, not only the direct perpetrators of oppression, plays a key role in the genocide dramas. On a micro level, this is also apparent, for example, in episodes of schoolyard, community-based, as well as electronic forms of bullying. According to the American Medical Association definition: Bullying is a specific type of aggression in which the behavior is intended to harm or disturb, the behavior occurs repeatedly over time, and there is an imbalance of power, with a more powerful person or group attacking a less powerful one. Dan Olweus, international researcher and bullying prevention specialist, enumerates the distinctive and often overlapping roles enacted in these episodes: the person or persons who perpetrate bullying; the active followers; those who passively support, condone, or collude in the aggression; the onlookers (sometimes referred to as bystanders); the possible defenders; those who actually defend the targets of aggression; and those who are exposed and attacked. One piece of my family puzzle met a tragic end, another partial segment survived. In both instances, the bystanders determined the balance of power: in Krosno, they conspired with the oppressors, while in Antwerp, they dug deeply within themselves transitioning from bystanders into courageous, compassionate, and empathetic upstanders in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Each day we all are called on to make small and larger choices and to take actions. Donald J. Trump made his choice by either losing or refusing to refer to his moral compass when racist and anti-Semitic white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended in Charlottesville, Virginia for their so-called Unite the Right march and rally. His utter failure to take decisive action in words and deeds further energized the far right. The committed and courageous anti-fascist activists, however, who came out to counter the pure and undisguised hatred of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Boston, Los Angeles, and throughout the nation will ultimately overcome the hatred. They as we the people will ensure that our nation and world will not repeat the evil of the past from genocide of First Nations peoples on this continent to slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching; from the rise of white supremacy and the theocratic right, to McCarthyism and Trumpism. Which side are we on? This question brings to mind civil rights activist Eldridge Cleavers call to action: If youre not part of the solution, youre part of the problem. Today as in the past, no truer words were ever uttered, for in the spectrum from occasional microaggressions to full-blown genocide, there is no such thing as an innocent bystander. __ Photo credit: Getty Images

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Many reasons to accept immigrants – Stillwater News Press

Randi Eldevik Stillwater To the editor: In response to Allan Walls letter he seems to think that alleviation of poverty is the only humanitarian reason why immigrants were ever allowed to enter the U.S. In fact, it is one of many reasons. Providing a home for people who have been forced out of their old homes by war or by cruel foreign regimes is another reason. Walls suggestion that charity dollars should be used abroad to alleviate poverty in other countries might be a good suggestion so long as poverty is the only problem; but it is a suggestion that doesnt apply to people who are fleeing from war or tyranny. Those people need a safe haven elsewhere, without delay; once that is achieved you can consider pouring American dollars into a foreign war or non-military attempts at bringing about regime change, but you may find this financially prohibitive. I suggest we be guided by Emma Lazaruss words engraved at the base of the State of Liberty: Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Notice that poverty is mentioned (your poor), but the need to escape tyranny in order to breathe free gets a bigger emphasis. To me, the refusal of many states in the U.S. to take in Syrian refugees is shameful. The excuses given the idea that the Syrian refugees may be terrorists in disguise are similar to the reasons why German Jews, desperate to escape from Hitler, were turned away from the U.S. in the late 1930s and the early 1940s: just because they spoke German, they were suspected of being Nazi agents in disguise! A whole shipload of Jewish refugees was turned back from American shores and eventually returned to Germany, where the passengers were killed. This cruelty on the part of the U.S. government shouldnt have occurred then and should not be occurring now. I say this not only because I, as a Christian, abhor cruelty, but also because I know that the writer Emma Lazarus was Jewish and practiced Jewish ethics that are similar to Christian ethics. Indeed, among all my friends who include other Christians, and Jews, and Muslims, and Buddhists, and agnostics and atheists there exists great similarity in our practice of ethics toward our fellow man. In order to persuade the greatest number of readers, I prefer not to appeal exclusively to my fellow Christians, but rather to put up a big tent that acknowledges the ethical overlap among all compassionate people. I hope this big tent will attract more people than does the heartlessness of the RAISE proposal.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Christian  Comments Closed


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