Paul Elisha: Judeo-Christian Ambiguities, Beliefs and Choices
As the various disparate observances approach, which, by some series of absurdities has become a misnomer, now known as Judeo-Christian kinship, this commentator’s memory harks back to his childhood and the question he yearned to ask his biblically astute Grandfather but never dared: “Why is it that at the end of the Passover Seder, at the final ‘Amen,’ does everyone fervently respond: “Next year in Jerusalem!”?
Speaking the simple truth, for my own part, I not only didn’t understand the statement but also firmly disagreed with it. I not only hadn’t the slightest wish to go to Jerusalem but would oppose – with all of my juvenile determination – any effort to convey me there. In my youthful heart-of-hearts, I considered myself a one-hundred-percent American, with every intention of spending the rest of my days within my beloved nation’s familiar confines.
Flash forward three quarters of a century to the year 2013 and I find myself motivated by a similar point of view… even though there is now (for the most part) an internationally recognized Nation of Israel and many Jews, from many foreign quarters have emigrated there and although this American supports their right to such self-determination, he still has no wish to be considered anything but a solid and proudly outspoken citizen of the United States of America.
How they consider their connection to the current State of Israel is a question with which many American Jews are struggling, as a new American administration tries to bring Israelies and Palestinians to a just and lasting agreement, by which they can proceed and prosper as adjoining neighbor-states. This end is conflicted and bedeviled by more recent émigrés from many places and driven by many prior experiences and difficulties. Many Americans of varied Jewish beliefs and sects must still decide for themselves, vis-à-vis a solution for a just and peaceful Israeli/Palestinian future.
That said, Christian-Americans of various disparate and often antagonistic sects also are faced with differences that have made a mockery of their beliefs and prayerful texts. They, too have fateful decisions to make, which affect our nation’s future. This American still considers himself lucky to be able to wish that Israelies and Palestinians might find peaceful co-existence in a democratic republic, in which religious freedom is open to all, without exception and without dominance by any sect over others.
He also wishes a similarly tolerant outcome for Christian-Americans. Having said this, he now finds himself in agreement with the eminent, Pulitzer Prize winning historian, Michael Kammen, who questioned whether or not we have fully accepted the legitimacy of our own pluralism? He also noted that our ambiguity about the implications of our own system needs much more thought than we’ve given it. We need to try harder.
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