My neighbour is away at the moment and I am collecting their mail. Today there was a lot of junk mail. However I received one brochure that my neighbour didn’t. Possibly this was because my door is marked with a mezuzah, and my neighbour’s, not being Jewish, is not.
The brochure is marked “The answer to anti-semitism” and is subtitled “The ex terrorist who now loves the Jewish people”. In typical style the brochure quotes a news item from Arutz Sheva, and recounts the story of a Lebanese child who was coaxed into a militia organisation and trained to hate Jews. He was taught to fight and kill. And kill he did. The brochure goes on to explain how the terrorist met a missionary, became Christian, and now loves the Jewish people. It then invites me to find salvation by accepting Jesus.
I am aghast that somebody attempting to convert me from my belief considers that I may be convinced by this particular marketing strategy. The brochure misses its mark. It simply tells me that on the one hand there are people who want to kill my Jewish identity by taking my life, and that on the other hand there are people who want to kill my Jewish identity by taking my faith. Either way, my Jewish identity has been killed.
The answer to anti-semitism is not to discard my semitic identity as the brochure would have me do. Rather, the answer to anti-semitism is to uphold the values that Judaism represents, and hopefully engender respect, understanding, toleraance and acceptance of who I am and what I believe from those around me.
It is the “silly season” in the corporate world. In the past three days I’ve attended three corporate events. I’ve been targetted by three evangelical Christians on each occasion who think that the fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas is a great segway into a conversation about why Jesus fulfilled messianic prophesy and can absolve me of sin. Frankly, I find the tone of this conversation very stale, and lacking in intellectual maturity.
I have no objection to the Christmas cheer of my peers, or any reason to refrain from participating in seasonal frivolity. I am quite comfortable in the knowledge that the majority religion of the nation in which I live has a relgious holiday that delights so many people and allows them to reflect on their social, religious and family values. I sense that the few people who engage me in a sympathy discussion about not having Christmas have not an inkling about the great festivities I have within my own religious culture, weekly and monthly, personally and nationally.
If I was not comfortable or confident upholding my Jewish identity in an environment that is distinctly not Jewish, then I would not be here. I am not confronted or compromised by receiving Christmas cards, listening to carols playing at shopping centres, or watching Santa’s perving on the beachfront.
In other words, in my view it is fine for Christian people to be Christian, or people of any other faith to display and uphold their traditional practices. Obviously that compliment is not returned in all cases. There are those who think that I have to be the same as them – to hold their belief set and to submit to their ideology.
To the terrorist and to the missionary; I’m not sorry to have to say that I will not be giving up my soul, or my religious freedom, as a result of your press statements, media manipulation or evangelical activities. You continue to persist to smother me with either hatred or love. Whichever the scenario, my Jewish way of life is insulted by your intensive marketing. I’m sure you mean well, but I do not wish to consume your product.