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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Sat May 24, 2014 10:17 pm
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You don't have to be Jewish ... but what can you do?

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Thanks to cnorman18's excellent posts, I am reading some books and articles online about Judaism.

One of the things I really like is that, unlike Christianity, there's no "push" to convert - you don't have to believe, or convert, in order to benefit from all the wonderful things that Judaism has brought into this world.

But as I did speak rather lightly in another thread about how I'd be happy to just be a "righteous Gentile", perhaps cnorman18 and/or other Jewish people here could tell us what you think are the most important aspects in Judaism that they would like to see non-Jews emulate or put into practice within their own lives?

Thanks! Cool

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Sat May 24, 2014 10:46 pm
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Re: You don't have to be Jewish ... but what can you do?

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Heretic Gal wrote:

Thanks to cnorman18's excellent posts, I am reading some books and articles online about Judaism.

One of the things I really like is that, unlike Christianity, there's no "push" to convert - you don't have to believe, or convert, in order to benefit from all the wonderful things that Judaism has brought into this world.

But as I did speak rather lightly in another thread about how I'd be happy to just be a "righteous Gentile", perhaps cnorman18 and/or other Jewish people here could tell us what you think are the most important aspects in Judaism that they would like to see non-Jews emulate or put into practice within their own lives?

Thanks! Cool



First and foremost.. Give back to the community. That is one big emphasis that is quite a mind set among many Jewish people. That is what , I think drove a lot of the Jewish civil rights protesters in the 1960's (that, and a sense of Justice for all).

What giving back to the community means will vary from person to person. I view it as trying to make the world a better place from the time you came into it till the time you leave it.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Sun May 25, 2014 10:09 am
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Re: You don't have to be Jewish ... but what can you do?

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[Replying to Goat]

That sounds excellent! But is that specifically (and only) a Jewish tenet? IIRC there were lots of Catholic nuns and priests in those '60s marches.

OR perhaps it is that Judaism laid the foundation, and other religions have simply built on their template?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Sun May 25, 2014 10:41 am
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Re: You don't have to be Jewish ... but what can you do?

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Goat wrote:

Heretic Gal wrote:

Thanks to cnorman18's excellent posts, I am reading some books and articles online about Judaism.

One of the things I really like is that, unlike Christianity, there's no "push" to convert - you don't have to believe, or convert, in order to benefit from all the wonderful things that Judaism has brought into this world.

But as I did speak rather lightly in another thread about how I'd be happy to just be a "righteous Gentile", perhaps cnorman18 and/or other Jewish people here could tell us what you think are the most important aspects in Judaism that they would like to see non-Jews emulate or put into practice within their own lives?

Thanks! Cool



First and foremost.. Give back to the community. That is one big emphasis that is quite a mind set among many Jewish people. That is what , I think drove a lot of the Jewish civil rights protesters in the 1960's (that, and a sense of Justice for all).

What giving back to the community means will vary from person to person. I view it as trying to make the world a better place from the time you came into it till the time you leave it.


I like that last very much. In Jewish teachings, we have the following principles: The point of human existence is tikkun Olam -- the "repair of the world." God left the world uncompleted and imperfect, in order that we humans might participate in the act of Creation by completing and perfecting it. THIS world, in THIS life. Focusing on some hypothetical (or even real) "next life" is likely to weaken our commitment to improving this one. It's not forbidden to believe in or hope for Heaven -- but let's not worry about Heaven so much we forget about the world in which we've been placed. THAT world is where our job is.

Other basic principles: Some sage or other once said that the world rests upon three pillars -- Truth, Justice and Peace.

Truth means truth of ANY kind; that's why Jews have always revered learning of ANY kind, including (and perhaps especially) scientific learning. The Good is not served by falsehood, nor by ignorance -- willful or not.

Justice means justice of ANY kind, including economic justice. You will find literally hundreds of verses in the Hebrew Bible that speak to the plight of the poor and the responsibility of the rest of us to relieve it -- as opposed to merely leaving them on their own with prayers and admonitions to "get a job". (The famous quote "God helps those who help themselves" is NOT in the Bible.) There is no word for "Charity" in Hebrew. The applicable word is tzedakah, which means, literally, "justice." The poor have a RIGHT to a portion of your money and goods; it is THEIRS, and it is your OBLIGATION to share it. Even the very poor are themselves obligated to set aside a little "justice" for those who are poorer than they.

And Peace means ALL kinds of peace -- not only between nations (where peace is not to be achieved by sacrificing the other two principles; pacifism is NOT a Jewish value), but also in communities and families and between individuals as well. It is even permissible to tell harmless lies for shalom bayit -- "peace in the home" (the precedent being set by Abraham, who softened God's actual words about her when telling Sarah about them).

What about "Truth" in that regard? Well, here I'd note a remark in the New Testament -- "Speak the truth in love." It's easy to think of examples of people speaking "truth" -- but with the sole intent of hurting, and not helping, the hearer. In Jewish tradition, one does not speak evil of another, even if it be true, unless the hearer has a positive need to know it. What if a man in your town is a dishonest businessman? Say nothing -- except to someone who is about to do business with him. Don't gossip seems to be the thrust of this teaching, which is referred to as lashon hora, "evil tongue."

Someone once said that the ethic of Judaism could be summed up in the words, "BE GOOD -- and you DO TOO know what I mean." We are here to serve Truth, Justice, and Peace -- and perhaps Compassion is an aspect of all three.

Believe what you like; be Jewish or not; but BE GOOD. Treat others with justice, compassion, truth, and peace.

Specific rules? Nah. I don't care if you eat pork or wear mixed fabrics or marry someone of your own gender. But treat others with compassion (including the animals; the kosher laws are about humane slaughter as much as anything else). Maybe that's Number One.

Love God? Okay. But I think God can take care of Himself.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Sun May 25, 2014 12:12 pm
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Re: You don't have to be Jewish ... but what can you do?

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cnorman18 wrote:

Love God? Okay. But I think God can take care of Himself.


Hah - yeah, I've always thought so. One of the things that's always bothered me is this idea that our sins "hurt" God somehow (you know, "if you do xxx* the angels cry". Wink

As always, I appreciate your thoughtful and well-written posts, cnorman18! Thank you! Now I will go out and try to follow that good advice.


Cool

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Sun May 25, 2014 2:43 pm
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Re: You don't have to be Jewish ... but what can you do?

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Heretic Gal wrote:

[Replying to Goat]

That sounds excellent! But is that specifically (and only) a Jewish tenet? IIRC there were lots of Catholic nuns and priests in those '60s marches.

OR perhaps it is that Judaism laid the foundation, and other religions have simply built on their template?



Does that matter??? What matters is that the ideals get done. Judaism, first and foremost, is a religion where one's actions matter more than what one believes. I mean, the noahide laws are good and all, but what matters is how you treat your fellows.

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