25 Kislev 5777
First Candle of Hanukah
To the CJCUC, regarding your recent mailing...
"Anti-Christian Ruling by Israeli Campus Rabbi is Destructive and Wrong" say CJCUC Staff
The staff at the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Jerusalem are appalled by the recent ruling of Rabbi Elad Dukov, the Technion’s synagogue rabbi, forbidding Jewish students to enter the student hall where a decorated Christmas tree is present and calling it paganism as well as an anti-Jewish symbol.
I am "appalled" every time a purported Jew or 'Jewish' organization (like yours) attacks a fellow Jew for daring to uphold the Torah and the integrity of Yahadut.
According to the overwhelming majority of Jewish law (halakhic) decisors, (including eminent figures such as Rabbi Jacob Emden and Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch) Christianity is not idolatry and Christmas trees are neither worshiped by Christians nor used in their worship services. Furthermore, the Technion Student Center is not a place of worship and placing a tree within it in no way designates the student center as a Christian house of worship.
With all due respect to the named "decisors", ask any real convert from Christianity and they will tell you that Christians do indeed worship J---- as God. Better yet, ask some professing Christians outright and they will tell you, "yes, J---- is himself God". They do, in fact worship him as such and the New Testament that they hold as authoritative and "inerrant" states as much - over and over again.
It is tragic that when extremist Islam is targeting Christianity as the infidel who must be destroyed, Rabbi Dukov would add fuel to the flames.
Please, don't make this an either Yishmael or Eisav matter, since we, as Jews, belong to neither camp. According to Judaism, both Muslims and Christians are themselves "infidels" because they departed from the Noahide Code of Law and created new religions for themselves to follow and added their own books of lies to the Holy Torah. Furthermore, historically both upstart religions have represented themselves as the Only Truth which supplanted the actual truth of Torah Judaism, up until this day.
It rather behooves us Jews to welcome the Christians in our midst as being our brothers and sisters, gerei toshav, who share our belief in ethical monotheism and live in accordance with the seven universal laws of morality.
On the contrary, we have a Torah obligation to separate from the Christians. In no manner, shape or form are we related to them. They are not our "brothers and sisters" (at least they are not mine, but perhaps they are yours?). As to them being "gerei toshav" and the rest of what you claim here, it is simply wrong and if you can't see that, I would not know how to begin to explain it to you. Wishing it doesn't make it so.
We must respect their religious symbols; imagine if the Christian majority in America would forbid Christians from eating in a room with a Hanukkah menorah?
The Hebrew prophets chastised the People of Israel for not demolishing and removing the religious symbols of false religions and condemned us for imitating their ways. In fact, Yeshayahu 27.9 says: "Therefore, through this shall Jacob's iniquity be atoned for, and this shall be the fruit of his sin's removal: When he makes all the altar stones like ground chalk stones, and Asherah-trees and sun-idols arise no more."
Moreover, there is no comparison between our religions and theirs, since ours is true and theirs is a lie, but, in any case, a Hanukah menorah has no business in a gentile setting. It belongs in a Jew's window or by his door and not someplace where it is seen to be in competition with the gentile's holiday.
As to what follows below, there is only one word that can describe this perversion of the prophet's words and the blatant misrepresentation of Hashem Himself as revealed in His Holy Torah and that is - evil.
The God of Israel and the world believes in absolute morality and cultural pluralism, as is powerfully stated by our prophet Micah, "Let all the nations walk each one in the name of his god and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever."
[For all peoples shall go, each one in the name of his god - Rashi: "Shall go to destruction because they worshipped idols. So did Jonathan render it."]
Let us respect and work together with those nations who accept the morality of God's covenant with Noah and let us use our energies to fight the terrorism running rampant in a world in which a large segment no longer sees peace as the highest ideal.
Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Riskin, Founder
David Nekrutman, Executive Director
Rabbi Pesach Wolicki, Associate Director
Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, Academic Director
Rabbi Abe Reichman, Community Relations
Rabbi Alan Yuter, CJCUC Lecturer
Limor Riskin, Director of Operations
Sara Kremer, Marketing Director
Roy Doliner, CJCUC Lecturer
[If anyone out there would like to give Rabbi Elad Dukov a big yasher koach and some chizuk, you can call him at (04) 832-4723. (I am told he understands English.)]