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Archive for December, 2019

infaith-headDear Readers, Rabbi Barry Silver sent this essay to me and I thought it was so powerful I needed to share it with my readers and friends.  If you have any words of support for Barry I will be happy to share them with him.  Peace and Love for 2020! Shokai

Celebrating the Power of Love over the Love of Power

On Hanukah and Christmas 2020

As Hanukkah and Christmas coincide temporally in 2019, Jews experience the pleasure of celebrating Hanukkah, and the ambiguities surrounding Christmas. Due to horrors committed against Jews by misguided Christians, from the Crusades, the Inquisition, pogroms and other atrocities, culminating in the holocaust, some Jews understandably don’t feel the “Christmas spirit”.  While I share these concerns, I suggest a new paradigm for relating to our Christian neighbors.  As Santayana observed, “If we do not learn from the past, we are doomed to repeat it”, and the last thing we want to do is to repeat the last 2000 years of Christian/Jewish relations.

Perhaps as we enter a new year, the Jewish community can adopt a more nuanced approach to Christianity, which neither condemns nor commends all Christian doctrine, and makes common ground on issues where we agree and engages in constructive dialogue in areas where we diverge.

Today, Mel Gibson’s outrageously anti-Semitic “Passion of the Christ” is being shown to millions of Christian youth in churches throughout the nation, raising a new generation to believe that their version of God, as reflected in Jesus, told “the Jews” that they are of their father the devil. This is precisely what Jews who perished in the holocaust heard before they were slaughtered, and is what the deranged killer shouted before he murdered innocent worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Can we forget political correctness and at last denounce fabrications, blood libels and anti-Semitic lies embedded in Christian Scripture with no basis in reality, that have resulted in millions of Jewish deaths, no matter where they are found, so that the words “Never again” will not be a meaningless slogan?

On the other hand, instead of rejecting all of Christianity, perhaps Jews can rejoice in the legend of the birth of a nice Jewish boy, who became a Rabbi, and is considered by many Christians to be divine. Shorn of pagan influence, and focusing on the life, rather than the death of Jesus, Jews can join Christians in celebrating the legend of one of many Jewish martyrs, who defied tyranny, and gave his life for Jewish ideals such as love, compassion, justice and peace.

Hanukkah and Christmas share a common theme.  The Seleucid Greeks sought to destroy Judaism for the same reason that the Romans martyred Jesus, both empires believed in the love of power. Jews and Christians reject the “love of power” and at their best, embrace the “power of love”.  The empires of the Seleucid Greeks and the Romans boasted the most powerful military forces of their time, but have disappeared off the face of the earth, because when their power ran out, so did they. The survival of the Jewish people is based not on military, but on spiritual power, which is eternal, as is our mission to serve as a Hanukkah candle in a world plagued by darkness. Centuries after the Romans destroyed the Temple and murdered Jesus, the Roman Emperor Constantine, adopted Christianity, and used his might to spread Jewish ideals throughout the world, albeit in an altered form.  Both holidays demonstrate the truth of Victor Hugo’s assertion that “More powerful than all the armies on earth is an idea whose time has come”, and the time has come for Jews and Christians to help lead the way towards a world of harmony not conflict, environmental sanity not greed, and love, not hate, in order to save us from ourselves.  Lost in all the pageantry, gift-giving and commercialization of Christmas is the fact that Christians worship a Jewish rabbi as part of their Godhead and thus should feel deeply indebted to Judaism as the source of their religion and should join in celebrating Hanukah, which commemorates the heroism of the Jewish people that kept the religion of Jesus alive over a century before his birth, and thus, made Christianity possible.

Christmas carols, such as “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas”, reflect the influence of its Jewish composer Irving Berlin.  While the dream of a white Christmas may be a forlorn hope in Florida, the dream of Jews and Christians celebrating together in a spirit of love and unity as our holidays coincide, and working together to protect our planet and all its inhabitants in the year 2020 and beyond, should be the goal of all Christians and Jews.  All are welcome to join the celebration of Hanukah at L’Dor Va-Dor at 9804 South Military Trail in Boynton Beach on Friday night, December 27 at 7:30 with joyous Hanukah music and a rational, ecumenical approach to our rich Jewish heritage.

 

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I deciworld-peace-2ded to resurrect a previous blog post that I created in December of 2012 the year I started writing my blog posts.  I’ve up dated it a little for 2020 but the message is still the same. What did I discover?  Nothing has really changed in my life or in the world.  I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing or just a thing….

I hope you’ll take the time to read it and let me know what you think and if it resonates with your life as well.  Namaste!  Best wishes for a loving and peaceful 2020 and beyond!

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Yikes, another year is coming to an end and I haven’t even completed all the goals and to-do lists for 2019! The older I get the faster time goes and the more fun I’m having the faster time goes! When I am feeling sad, mad, bad, or bored the time seems to be endless dragging like my car with a flat tire screeching and thumping along. Sometimes I feel as though—soon there will be no time left at all.

Some people think the world will end in a few days as they follow the Mayan Calendar. When I’m feeling down some days I hope that the Mayan’s were right, but when I’m feeling great I’m sure hoping they were not!

So how do I plan for the next minute, hour, day, week, or year? Do I just let it come as it comes or do I set new goals? Do I plan, organize, collate, separate, and loudly pronounce “the New Year is coming!” But who made up time anyway? I’ve always figured that we had time just so we didn’t have to do everything all at once. It was a great idea to be able to stretch things out, take one thing at a time or simply rest and relax and say the heck with it all and pull the covers up over my head!

Several years ago someone thought of a great idea and they began publishing a magazine entitled “Simple Life.” I’ve looked at it several times and even found some wonderful things in it. I even decided to take up the mantle. And so, over the years I have moved from a 4 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom home and I even lived in a one-room efficiency apartment in Tennessee. I especially loved that (so little to clean!) until the squirrels moved into the attic and kept me up all night dancing and prancing like a family of sugar plum fairies dancing in the night.

But without my goals I feel like I would be a rudderless boat just floating around the ocean. I can’t imagine a life without goals. Even the Buddha had goals he searched and searched for enlightenment for many years, through many pathways, until he discovered it. Then he continued to teach and spread the word to anyone who wanted to listen.

In the Metta Sutra of Shakyamuni Buddha he says, “May all beings be happy. May they be joyous and live in safety. All living beings, whether weak or strong, in high or middle, or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far, born or to be born, may they all be happy.” Is this yet another goal?

Jesus had goals. He set down the Beatitudes didn’t he? He taught, shared, prayed, and lived a life for others to emulate. It is written in Matthew 5:18-19 just after the listing of the Beatitudes these words:

“For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

To me it sounds like a very powerful set of goals that he was laying out for each of His followers to accomplish.  You may want to set goals for your life, live those goals freely and fully, and then watch your life move in the direction of those things that you have envisioned.

If you don’t set goals you may be letting the winds of fate, and time, and circumstance rock you like that small boat on the Atlantic trying to cross the sea to a new land. Life is a magical experiment that needs to be played with, tested, viewed, reviewed and begun each moment of each day of each year. And who cares if my goals from last year have not been finished or fulfilled I can try to get them done in 2020. I can throw them out like that old worn out pair of sneakers I let go of last week or I can just wish and hope and dream that my life gets better rather than worse.

But regardless of which way I chose, the path is mine to create and live.

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