This would be harsh criticism if it were a comment relating to an isolated situation. But it is not. It is reflective of an unhealthy trend within our community.
The Jewish Centre, under the banner of Jewish Care and AUJS, will host an evening in a few weeks time featuring Luke McPharlin, a Fremantle Docker. The topic “Faith, Football and Fame – the Baha’i Israel Comnnection. The subtopic – Baha’i and Israel – why their Temple is based in Haifa.
Many visitors to Israel, including myself, have visited the Baha’i temple. It is an amazing place with perfectly refined gardens and an aura of real peace surrounding it. I have a lot of respect for the Baha’i faith and its adherents. Baha’i represents religious universalism.
In Israel, a special situation applies. It is by their own decree that the Baha’i in Israel do not attempt to convert Jews. There is no need because the return of the Jews to Israel already represents the beginning of the fulfillment of world redemption.
However no such policy exists outside of Israel, and it is a mission of this faith to convert all to its path and way. Conversely, Judaism remains a religion that does not favour or encourage proselysation.
It is not a bad thing for Jews to understand the tenets of other faiths or to have dialogue with other faiths. Maybe the speakers on this evening have a good understanding regarding the sensitivity of Jews to approaches for conversion and will be respectful of that. This is not my point.
Unfortunately the Jewish centre hosts far too many talks, lectures and guests that are focussed on theology and agendas that do not sit as being compatible with Judaism. The Jewish centre does not host enough talks and lectures about Judaism itself.
It is time that our community focussed on Judaism for Jews, and started learning about our own faith and culture. Lets turn the Jewish centre back into a JEWISH centre.