"I don't believe in God I do believe in God.I do believe in ethics,morals"-Edgar Bronfman,Sr
During this conversion process and living with Christians I notice a lot of Christians at times really make over-arching statements in a very matter-of-fact way regarding Judaism.I thought it would be fun to name a few for better self-awareness:
All Jews are kosher as the bible says-This statement which I hear a lot is not exactly fact.The Rabbis through time and custom expanded upon the biblical laws at times adding things based off the custom of the time.This form of Kosher or Kashrut is what you find commonplace within some grocery stores. a Alot of Conservative Jews I know will follow the biblical kashrut instead of the Rabbinical.Besides these two forms of Kashrut there is Eco-Kashrut that departs from the rabbinical in favor of choosing businesses that are known to treat animals and workers ethically.Than there are some jews that don't keep kashrut seeing it as an arcane practice.So the statement "All Jews are Kosher as the bible says" does not witness to the nuances that I have witnessed within the Jewish community on this.Right now I'm considering going biblical Kashrut but have not made a decision.
All Jews keep keep all the 613 commandments of the Torah-In many ways I think that this one is a given that it is wrong.Some of the mitzvot(Commandments) cannot even be observed without the temple such as not to extinguish the fire on the altar(Leviticus 6:6)There is no altar because there is no temple how can that even be observed?Maybe in metaphor by keeping holiness in one's heart but literally no.There are also many different ways the mitzvot are interpeted and even expanded upon.Such as with no temple how are the sacrifices done?Well they don't happen but what takes their place?The prayers.So to the "All Jews keep all the 613 commandments"Could not be farther from actual truth.
Jews are very legalistic-To this I must say no Jews are about doing that doesn't exactly make them legalistic. Halakhah or Jewish law is interperted differently across the movements and even some of the Orthodox don't exactly follow the exact letter of halakhah. Judaism does employ Beit Din or Rabbinical Courts to settle disputes between individuals .These to me are no different than the Canon Courts and discernment groups that many Christian denominations employ the only exception they work with rabbinic law not Canon or Christian texts.So are Jews legalistic?No more than some Christian groups.
We should treat Jews special because they are chosen-Most Jews I know rarely speak about being chosen and if I ask one of them the response usually chosen for what?It just doesn't at times seem like the biggest thing.There are even nuances to the belief of choseness and some Jews reject the idea totally.Most Jews I know just want to live normal lives.
We should support the State of Israel because the messiah will come back there-Not exactly a stereotype but more of a way I feel the Jewish community is exploited for the means of Conservative Christianity.I find using the Jewish community in such a way does not witness to genuine faith.Israel is also a multi-party state witnessing to the very many nuances and opinions held within Judaism itself.Would you support a party blindly in Israel just knowing it ruled Israel if it did not speak to your Christian values of compassion?
These are only a few stereotypes I have noticed I'm pretty sure there the important is we are called as human beings to take all people at face value and not to judge.
Questions to ponder:
Have you found yourself employing these stereotypes?
What do you think it means to take a person at face value?
May we all strive to be a light to all not forgetting the Jerusalem within all.
I dedicate this to all my Christian friends that have accepted me as I am especially Megan Hering who loves every human being equally.