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Friday, July 24, 2009

How Jews Are Saved

by Nadene Goldfoot

Why do people populate the earth? What is the meaning of our lives? Our religion, Judaism, tells us that we are here to appreciate G-d. What does that mean to me? I don’t just eat, sleep and play and call that a life. I appreciate the world I live in, the majesty of mountains and the wonder of space. I think about how everthing came to be and try to figure out who created G-d or how this great he, she,or a blend of both forces came to be. Our bible starts with such wonderment with Genesis, telling how the world was created. Granted, it is in a short and simple description, but probably pretty awesome for people to read in its time of writing. First of all, it’s a wonder that people created writing in the first place.

As many Christians have found out, Jews do not believe that Jesus is G-d’s son. I see that most of the time Christians even pray to Jesus and do not use the term G-d, so that it seems like Jesus is G-d to them. Jesus saves Christians and does not save anyone that does not believe in him. To Jews, he was a teacher and exceptional, but not G-d or G-d’s son anymore than we all are. Some of us doubt that he even existed, but was just a myth like the other Roman myths.

Jesus was born, so the story goes, to a Jewish woman. This was in the days of the Roman Empire, and Romans believed in many gods and even gods who were born to a human woman and a man-god. They were half gods. Their religion follows this line in that this is how Jesus came to be.

As we all face that horrid bit of knowledge that we will die, we have great fears. Jesus’s role is to save Christians and give eternal life. Jews took on this responsibility for themselves to do. We are to live a good life and do good deeds for each other. The more good deeds, the higher a level we reach. Whatever happens to the dead is a part of G-d’s plan of creation, and we trust that He knows best in what to do with us. We do not dwell on afterlife but on the here and now when we have a chance to live the exemplary life.

Each year we have time at a holiday called Yom Kippur to confess our faults and ask G-d directly for forgiveness with the goal of not repeating our actions. This act reminds us of who we are and why we are here. It relieves our minds in that we are planning a better course of action for our future and gets rid of that gnawing guilt we may have. We have bothered to go to the synagogue with our peers and pray together for forgiveness, a great feat, whatever the year may be. This group dynamic is profound and memorable with the ram’s horn playing as part of the

We believe that after we die at some time we will again be revived and exist. I’m beginning to wonder if our dna will be used by G-d to recreate us like in the movies. Then I think of time, and how according to certain physicists time has a different meaning to them than to us, and that things have already happened in time.

The book "The Bible Code" is a good example. Some mathemetician in Israel found out that by skipping every five words and taking the next word consecutively, a message appears and is most profound, most often dealing with a part of the bible’s message that is obvious in its original
message. Usually it is prophesizing something. It’s pretty amazing. Many intelligent people were of course scoffers and tried out the same method using Moby Dick. It worked. That contained codes, also.

No one bothered to realize that this in itself is absolutely amazing. I wondered about this fact and concluded that this is a part of the plan of G-d. It’s already decided in that realm of time what’s to be written, using words in an order that will reveal things like this. No one pondered that what was found in the bible was far more important as far as the future or prophecy than what was found in Moby Dick. That the method works for other books is just as amazing! Here, mathematics is pertinent in understanding life.

To me, if I am to find favor in G-d eyes, I am to honor him by my actions and even thoughts. It’s not easy to live without stepping on anyone’s toes, but being very human, I have tried.. Jews took on this task and made a covenant with G-d long ago. It’s mindblowing to realize that we have lasted as long as we have with all the pressures of others to give up our religion. Enough of us have managed to survive each generation to keep us going to the present when other religions and cultures have died on the wayside. That is a miracle, too.

It’s not in the scope of things that we should depend on someone to save us. We alone can save ourselves. We’re intelligent beings on the highest level of life and know right from wrong. It’s already in G-d's plans that we stick with our contract. It's up to us to save ourselves.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jew and Arab: Why We Think So Differently

Jew and Arab: Why We May Think So Differently

by Nadene Goldfoot

From the beginning in the land of Ur Kasdim, which lies in the new country called Iraq, Abraham, whose name originally was Abram, , father of Judaism and of Arabs, made some decisions that formed the essence of his family’s future. He had taken his wife’s Egyptian maid Hagar and had a child that he named Ishmael with her because his wife, whose name was Sarai at the time, had been barren. That was the start of trouble. Ishmael turned out to be a "wild-ass of a man with his hands against everyone and everyone’s hand was against him and it was said that he would rule over all his brothers". Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.

Abram was 99 years old when he circumcised himself, and had Ishmael, who then was 13 years old, circumcised also.

When Abram was 100 years old his 90 year old wife Sarai finally conceived and bore Isaac, much to both people’s astonishment. Their names were now changed to Abraham and Sarah.

There came the day when Isaac was of the age to marry. Abraham didn’t want him to marry a Canaanite woman, but wanted him to marry someone from his own family who were residing in Aram Naharaim in the city of Nahor. They were called Arameans. Abraham’s servant came across Rebecca, whose line was from Nahor, brother of Abraham, and was very impressed with her. He selected her to be 40 year old Isaac’s wife and took her back to him.

By the age of 60 Rebecca also had been having trouble conceiving and finally was expecting twins, again as different in personality as Ishmael and Isaac were. Esau was born first. He was all red with lots of hair. Jacob was born with his hand holding onto the heel of Esau and was smooth-skinned. Esau became a hunter while Jacob stayed in the tents. The father favored the hunter while the mother favored his brother. Jacob did cooking and was very intelligent. He managed to get a very important birthright given to himself instead of his brother, for one thing. Essau finally married two Hittite women at the age of 40. They weren’t monogomous in those days. They were Judith and Basemath. The threesome with their children didn’t have the same reverence of spirituality that Rebecca and Jacob had. When Isaac was dying, Jacob managed to trick his father into giving him the very important blessing which was better than today’s inheritance left in wills instead of giving it to the first-born Esau. When a blessing was given, it was something that could not be changed. It was legally binding to the people involved. Esau was furious! He knew that it was important to Isaac to not marry the women of Canaan as he considered them to be evil, so what did he do to get even? He went over to Ishmael, now one of them, and married Mahalath, his daughter!

The two brothers never could make up. Esau refused to accept Jacob’s try at becoming friends. After all, he had been tricked twice by this younger brother. Jacob had brought Esau gifts at a meeting , but it was of no use. The die was cast that caused the chasm between the two peoples.

In 1947, Abba Eban along with a few other leaders held a secret meeting with Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha, an Egyptian. They held a very revealing conversation. A Jewish fellow by the name of Horowitz had a plan for a joint political development of the Middle East.

Pasha said, "The Arab world is not in a compromising mood." He felt that though Horowitz’s plan was rational and logical, the fate of nations was not decided by rational logic. He said that nations never concede; they fight. He continued saying that Israel wouldn’t get anything by peaceful means or compromise. Only by force of arms will you get something. The Arabs will try to defeat the Jews. He didn’t know if they would win, but they would try. They had been successful in driving out the Crusaders but knew they lost Spain and Persia (now called Iran). He related that Arabs may lose Palestine also, but it was too late to talk about peaceful solutions.

He would only concede that an agreement had to be on their terms to be acceptable. They regarded the Jews as invaders and were ready to fight. Fighting is in the nature of peoples, he continued. They aspire to expansion and fight for what they think is important.
He didn’t think he was a representative of this new spirit. His son was one ready amd wanting to fight.

All this time, Azzam had no hatred in his voice and referred to the Jews many times as "cousins". Abba Eban and the group shivered at the thought that blind fatalism and not logic ruled the Arab mind. We do have a different mentality. Perhaps it's all due to something that happened thousands of years ago.

Reference: Book: Genesis 1948 by Dan Kurzman
Book: Tanach, the Stone Edition: Torah, Prophets/Writings.