We have ruminated together about what a difference each of can make in today’s world. Focusing on this fact helps us to fight feelings of powerlessness as we catch up on the daily news. It seems like so much energy, and coverage, is spent on discussing our differences which most often leads to negative events or at the least, inaction. How can we come together to make a difference when our society seems to be at an impasse for progress?
Perhaps it is all the more important that we recognize and act at the ground level, where we walk, and pray that such changes will percolate up to the gatekeepers and to our leaders. Would you sit in a room and not speak up if a racial slur were uttered in your presence? I would hope not. Would you stand by or protect another in danger, like Lori Gilbert Kaye who took the bullet for her rabbi and others at the Poway Synagogue last Shabbat? On this Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, how far have we progressed from anti-Semitism, from racism, from crimes against humanity?
You don’t have to sacrifice your life, but I am suggesting a plan to move us in the right direction that does take courage.
Each of us probably knows a Jewish person who has enough knowledge of Messianic Judaism that he or she is beyond the stereotypical understanding. And if you don’t, your challenge is to cultivate those relationships. By our being with our Jewish brothers and sisters in community we help them to understand who we are, i.e., fellow Jews who believe that Yeshua was the greatest Jew who ever lived and that He is the Messiah.
Our fellow Jews who “get us” have a platform that we do not have. When Dr. Amy Jill-Levine, an Orthodox Jew, teaches about Yeshua to her class of mainstream Jews and Christians, the Jewish students do not feel threatened. They don’t feel there is a hidden agenda to “convert” them as they feel when we discuss the same topic. Your Jewish friends can discuss Messianic Judaism with fellow Jews in a way that allows stereotypes to be dispelled and helps to break down emotional barriers to understanding. Love of our fellow man and woman can grow. As love grows, there is less room for hate.
As we build relationships with others in our Jewish family, as we learn more about them and they about us, our Abba works in and through those relationships to build love and trust. You have probably been in relationships with those you love who have different beliefs than you. This situation is often not easy, but what helps heal and grow us is conversation which leads to understanding. As we learn more about our differences, and our similarities, we become able to hear each other, and love each other.
My challenge to you is to formulate such relationships and if you already have them, cultivate them. We have had a door shut that was previously open with a neighboring synagogue about working together on a tikkun olam project. The person we were in relationship with had no problem with us, but his new rabbi did. I plan to reach out to him, again, and talk to him about doing what is right. I am going to urge him to speak with his rabbi again about working with us, as fellow Jewish travelers on this walk, and allow us to partner with them on the community project.
When we do this, our agenda must be to help Project Hunger. It would be disingenuous to do otherwise. Yet what happens is that as we love each other, HaShem does the rest. It really is a mystery. People work together to do good for others and in the process they learn more about each other and love each other. Barriers come down, trust builds, and amazing things happen.
There are Jews out there who get us, who are not threatened, and if provoked to think about it, just might do the right thing. As more and more Jewish people have stereotypes dispelled, as hearts are softened, we prepare the way for our Abba to take it from there, for some day for our Jewish family to know the truth of Messiah. Perhaps they see Him in how we interact, perhaps they see Him for themselves. No matter what happens, more love, and understanding, is shared in a world sorely in need of it.
I challenge you this week to build those bridges bringing all of us closer to His Kingdom, starting right here, right now.