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Exploring Jewish Roots?


des
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I have known for some time that my mother's side was Jewish and that since Judaism is passed matriarchicly, I am Jewish (well according to Jewish tradition anyway). My mother was, of course, a Christian Scientist and all her life until recently. Her mother was a CS, converted at some point. (I never heard her talk it though, and she had Jewish friends which CSists don't seem to do. They more or less have mostly CS friends. Most CS talk CS incessantly.) For years I have thought about this, and then I read Spong's book "Resurrection: Myth or Reality". Not sure how well I like the book, but I really enjoyed the Jewish roots aspects. In fact, liked that the best.

 

Anybody else in this situation? I don't want to convert or anything, but I want to explore it. What are the connections with Christianity? And also practice some of the more approachable Jewish holidays like Hannacka, which I can't spell :-), and Passover. (Actually Tabernacles sounds interesting as well. Never heard of it before I read Spong's book.)

 

BTW, once I had a Jewish boy friend. I went to temple with him once for some reason and played dreidels with him and so on. Funny thing, I played Mah Jonng (the Jewish version). I found out my sister has played it as well (quit due to someone taking it way way too seriously). My mother did not play but my grandmother was a very avid player which I didn't know. It skipped a generation.

 

Anyway, I wondered if anyone has ever done this? I mean gotten into their Jewish background, presupposing anyone has one to get into!

 

 

 

 

--des

Edited by des
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To my knowledge I do not have any Jewish roots ... nope, just grey ones. :lol:

 

OK, bad joke.

 

I would highly recommend Rabbi Harold Kushner's "To Life!". It discusses Jewish tradition (with a mild smattering of doctrine) in a very engageing and readable way. This book helped me appreciate that (at least originally), Jewish law is not the "Do these things to gain brownie points with God", "works based", legalistic, "point out your sins" document that much of Christianity thinks it is.

 

It's nice to know that many Christian groups are coming to appreciate this. NT Wright would be one writer and theologian who has researched Jewish law and has tried to offer a "new perspective" on what Paul may have actually meant when he talked about faith versus works.

 

Anyway ... good book. I walked away with a deep appreciation of Jewish tradition and it removed many many "predjudices" I was given as a JW. :) Rabbi Kushner is Jewish (obviously) and so doesn't much care for the belittling of Judaism that Christianity has engaged in for 1500+ years, so he gets a little defensive at times and over-generalizes, but I took this with a grain of salt because I find it completely understandable. ;)

 

To Life! reviews at Amazon.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have no Jewish roots other than theologically, but I still find it important to study Judaism, as Christianity came from Judaism, and you cannot truly understand the latter, without at least a basic understanding of the former. I have not yet read any noncanonnical Jewish literature, but I just purchased a copy of the Jewish Publication Society translation of the Tanakh, which is the Jewish Bible, and I plan on reading it alongside my copy of the NRSV when reading the Old Testament for comparison.

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  • 7 months later...

I am what Jews call a Gentile with a Jewish heart. I found refuge in Judaism when I could find no common ground with the Christianity I knew. I still find Judaism to be a place of solace.

 

I like Kushner's To Life! I've also read several other great books about God and Judaism which have shaped my theology.

 

One of things I like in Judaism (Conservative which really isn't conservative and Reform) is that they understand worship in a different way than Christianity. For example, studying is considered worship. Using the gifts God has given us is worship. Taking care of others (like elderly or severely disabled or other people who are vulnerable) is also worship.

 

Judaism also has a much higher view of humanity than does traditional Christianity. There is a lot less talk about sin and falleness and more about accepting our humanity and embracing it.

 

I really got to know Jesus better when I went to Israel and then started attending synagogue about 6 months later. I see Jesus as a Jewish man, not a Christian or founder of Christianity. I really don't believe he ever intended to start a new religion. Like many of us here I think his real intent was to take the powerful people of his time back to what God wanted for us. To love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul and to love our neighbor as ourself.

Edited by October's Autumn
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... studying is considered worship. Using the gifts God has given us is worship. Taking care of others (like elderly or severely disabled or other people who are vulnerable) is also worship.

 

Judaism also has a much higher view of humanity than does traditional Christianity. There is a lot less talk about sin and falleness and more about accepting our humanity and embracing it.

 

I don't know if you've read the entire thread about "Renunciation and Discipline" but I said this on the first page:

 

I gained deep respect for the Jewish law and what it means from reading the book "To Life!" by Rabbi Kushner. Rather than seeing the law as a curse and a burden, designed to point out imperfection and sin, Jews view the law as a blessing and as a way to make every action sacred. Food is sacred. Days are sacred. Washing is sacred. Everything becomes ritual and filled with holy meaning.

 

I'm hoping the thread can switch back to discussing this basic idea, as it is one that moves me deeply, as it seems to do to you.

Edited by AletheiaRivers
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... studying is considered worship. Using the gifts God has given us is worship. Taking care of others (like elderly or severely disabled or other people who are vulnerable) is also worship.

 

Judaism also has a much higher view of humanity than does traditional Christianity. There is a lot less talk about sin and falleness and more about accepting our humanity and embracing it.

 

I don't know if you've read the entire thread about "Renunciation and Discipline" but I said this on the first page:

 

I gained deep respect for the Jewish law and what it means from reading the book "To Life!" by Rabbi Kushner. Rather than seeing the law as a curse and a burden, designed to point out imperfection and sin, Jews view the law as a blessing and as a way to make every action sacred. Food is sacred. Days are sacred. Washing is sacred. Everything becomes ritual and filled with holy meaning.

 

I'm hoping the thread can switch back to discussing this basic idea, as it is one that moves me deeply, as it seems to do to you.

 

I hadn't read the whole thread. I have problem reading long posts on a screen, not sure why. Thanks for highlighting for me!

 

Yes, it again goes back to bringing up issues that come from the kind of Christianity I was raised in, mixed with my own personality. I think that is why I find so much comfort in Judaism. It is so different from my upbringing it brought validation to my experience as a child, teenager, and young adult. I found myself feeling much more comfortable with God because God is described so differently in Judaism. I took a huge emotional sigh of relief when I discovered God through Judaism.

 

Some of my favorite Jewish books: To Life!; Basic Judaism, and Becoming a Jew. There is one more but I can't find it on my shelf. I seriously considered converting to Judaism and probably would have had I not found the UCC. Who knows, I still might if I were to find the right Synagogue -- I've visited two. I guess the synagogues aren't too great around here. (That is coming from a teacher friend who is Jewish, another teacher friend who is Jewish travels some distance to go to synagogue).

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