Monday, May 18, 2009

When a Rabbi meets the Pope

Go over here to read an interesting article about Jewish-Catholic relations, written from a Jewish perspective.

"Was I wrong at that moment to believe it's at last possible to cast off centuries of mistrust, misunderstanding and religious intolerance?

What went through my mind?

I heard the past speaking to me. I don't know how it was possible for time to become so compressed that in those few moments, I could clearly make out so many conversations in my mind, all of them vying for my attention, all of them claiming my conviction. Some were filled with anger. Some were disbelieving. Some advised caution. Some were overcome with joyous emotion. All were battling for my agreement. It was simply too difficult for me to decide, too momentous a moment for me to come to any conclusion.

But with all the voices fighting to be heard within me one seemed most recognizable. I could swear that in the Vatican itself I heard my father, of blessed memory, whisper in my ear," Perhaps. Perhaps."

As someone who grew up in a country with a Jewish majority, and didn't personally know anyone of a different faith until I went to university, I find such writings very informative. Even as a secular Jew, I always lived in a Jewish country and that was normal for me, but for my ancestors, their scattered Jewish communities were like unstable little boats in a vast ocean of a non-Jewish world. Everyone around them had different beliefs, celebrated different holidays and lived by a different calendar.

On a larger scale, though, modern Israel is still like a tiny boat in a sea of non-Jewish and many times hostile countries. We will always be a minority, and that's the way it's supposed to be. We will never be liked or supported by all or even most nations of the world. But it doesn't mean peaceful dialogue, aimed at better understanding, should cease to exist.


Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

"modern Israel is still like a tiny boat in a sea of non-Jewish and many times hostile countries."True, but I like this part that you ended with:

But it doesn't mean peaceful dialogue, aimed at better understanding, should cease to exist.This was a good post. I have an acknowledgement for you over at my blog.

Brooke H. said...

So true.

Bethany Hudson said...

As a Catholic, I have felt supremely blessed that the two pontiffs (popes) who have reigned during my lifetime have been John Paul II and Benedict XVI. I am the last person who would say that Christianity (and Catholicism) do not have their dark hours, as all religions, all nations, all peoples have. The Holocaust was one such dark hour for all people--those who suffered, and those who turned their backs on the suffering. It was an evil time. I find it remarkable that, after this, the papacy which has traditionally belonged to men of Southern European decent has seen the reign of a Pole and a German--both of whom lived during the Nazi occupation of much of Western Europe. God knows what His children need. We needed humanity and humility, and I am deeply encouraged that this is what our two most recent popes have sought to live and to bring in greater measure to the Church they lead and serve.

Anonymous said...

Oh Anna,
Your post made me so sad. I wish I could reach into my computer and give you a hug. So here's my virtual one (((HUGS))). I am originally from an Asian country now an American where christianity is not the majority religion. But even there we prayed for the 'peace of Israel'. Many atrocities have been committed in the name of the Almighty God during the course of history, especially against your people. But God is good and please know that even in the non-christian countries and the non-west countries Israel has support. Maybe not overtly country to country, but certainly among christians and in our prayers. Jews are in our prayers for you are God's people. And you Anna, are a very good representative of a Jewish woman. I just wanted you to know. I hope I represent my culture and my religion the way you do.
God Bless you Anna.

Maria said...

What a beautiful and honest article. I have great hope and desire for deeper friendships and mutual respect between Jews and Catholics (of which I am one). I had the great honor to visit Auschwitz, where so many martyrs died for their faith. It was a very moving experience and I still cry when I think about it. It is not an experience that can be easily forgotten.

Persuaded said...

i really appreciate this post so very much, anna. i often wonder what those of Jewish faith think of us Christians, who it must seem, have rather audaciously appropriated your heritage and called it our own. it must seem like rather a presumption at times, i think;)

Zora said...

Yes, a beautiful and honest article. May the LORD bring peace to all of us, to the entire world.

Analytical Adam said...

Dear Mrs. Anna;

Most Religious men (IE Rabbi's) don't think much of the rank and file men and have many times smeared us. Aish Hatorah is the WORST example of this. They trust every one else but trust Jewish men who have no connection the least. AISH SUPPORTS FEMINISM MRS. ANNA and openly does so and claims it is consistant with Judaism so if you support them Mrs. Anna you really dilute your message and one of the reason's Aish has done some terrible things to men (and some women) is because they know more Jewish women support feminism then not and many women don't care as most Jewish women couldn't care less as many Jewish women do hate and enjoy harming and punishing Jewish men and neglecting them for some PAST SIN they think men committed to them although picking on the most defenseless of men is very immoral.

The reason for this is because sadly most Rabbi's themselves don't like what the torah really says. So of course they attack Jewish men because of this.

The founder Rabbi Weinberg and his wife were living completley seperate lives and living in seperate apartments yet pretended to be happily married.

Aish has written many articles with one sided attacks towards men. Many complain yet Aish doesn't care. They realize nobody cares. Once they wrote saying men don't understand women but the reverse is a problem as well. They wrote to me telling me DIVORCE IS ALL THE MAN'S FAULT BECAUSE THEY HAVE LESS BINAH.

You have no idea how mean and vicious Rabbi's have been to me and I suspect other men as well Mrs. Anna but Aish takes it to one of the worse levels I have ever seen. It is EASY TO ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE OUTSIDE BUT AISH HAS DONE TO THEIR OWN IS ITSELF DISGRACEFUL.

Most of my life IT IS ORTHODOXY that seems to be the most bigoted to Jewish men for the slightest of reason even if their accent is slightly different then their own. It is sick,sick,sick.

You are very lucky Mrs. Anna but please don't think it is because Orthodoxy is so caring or because of you. It is only because your situation fits certain agenda's (no father.) But if it didn't you would be misreable like many other women (and men) who don't have a situation that fits an agenda that the Rabbi's like to promote that has nothing to do with the torah. Our own hatred is a far bigger issue then focusing on blaming outsiders although some have been antisemitic although the rank and file of many religons don't agree with the leaders just as many Jews don't agree with their leaders on many issues and the Rabbi's are rarely in the trenches and have SHOWN NO CONCERN OVERALL FOR JEWISH MEN and then being victimized whether by women or others.

Maribella said...

I'm a young American Catholic and I want to express my love for you and your faith! I feel that believers of the Judeo-Christian tradition have so much in common. We learn Jewish history as part of Catholic education, we read from your Scriptures during our liturgy, and we pray for peace in the middle east very often!

Especially as I read about your views on homemaking, marriage, and keeping Tradition in the home, I am strongly reminded of what I hope for in my own marriage! Thank you for all that you stand for!

If you ever want to read a wonderful book, pick up a copy of "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom. It's the autobiography of how her family hid many of their Jewish neighbors in Nazi-occupied Holland, and I think it's a beautiful portrait of inter-faith respect and love!

I will continue to follow avidly... :)