A couple of weeks ago I wrote this short post on my facebook page.
‘If you aren’t a Jew but you live your faith life through the Jewish lens and within it’s boundaries..you believe in the Tanakh and your sole salvation is the God of Abraham.
…then you are still practicing Judaism.
That’s your faith.’
It caused something of a stir. Regardless of my previous umpteen posts on how I’m ‘NOT’ a Jew some people thought I was expressing that anyone can ‘be’ Jewish by choice just by assuming the title. That wasn’t at all my point, rather that anyone who pursues a life path in their faith that is centered around a ‘noahide’, ‘sojourner’ or ‘ger’ title then they are walking within the boundaries of Judaism and it’s teaching and therefore ‘practicing’ (look up what that word actually means) Judaism, even if they aren’t partaking in all of the Mitzvot (which no one person can do).
It’s just a title. The bible is actually ‘full’ of things that are not really there so we shouldn’t get hung up on words. Usually they simply allow us to convey a thought or concept as a label meaning we can pack things, people or ideas into neat boxes. The term Noahide exists for such a reason.
I started this post with the message that even us Noahides practice Judaism but now I’m going to flip it around. Even Jews are Noahides.
Sometimes we can feel like we are invited to the party but told to stay in the kitchen (which in my opinion is the best place to be at any party). We can feel excluded and literally ‘set apart’ but not in a good way AND to be honest sometimes this feeling is legitimate. Many Jewish people and communities and even Rabbi’s simply don’t understand or know what to do with us. They can’t ‘get’ who we are or why we think what we think. In those occasions sometimes it feels easier to not bother and return to our online communities. It can breed frustration and hurt. It’s not good for anyone although no one is really to blame.
It’s worth remembering that the core concepts that make up the basic foundation of a non-Jewish faith walk, the branches of the ‘Noahide’ laws..
Being to establish courts of justice
To not commit blasphemy, idolatry, adultery, bloodshed or robbery
To not ever eat flesh cut from a living animal.
..are shared by Jews and are part of the make up of the Torah. In fact, if you take all the text of the Torah before the birth of the Nation of Israel at Sinai and distill the ‘good’, list the ‘positive’ actions and merit of the human race you will end up with a list like this. It’s a code of ethics that many of us simply ‘know’. It’s hard wired. It’s human nature for the majority of people. It is also the binding tie between any Noahide OR Jew and Abraham, Noah and Adam. Before the Jew there was the Ger – and like a glimmering cord woven into the golden braid of Judaism are the precepts of our lives as Torah believing Non-Jews.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard when we feel ostracized by Jewish community, it’s getting better but it can be hurtful and challenging. Maybe one way to open a dialogue and gently introduce yourself is to share the links you have with their faith. The Jewish faith may be a fine wine, full of deep flavor and character but the feet that started to press those grapes belonged to a world that was ‘pre’ Judaism.
We share a common faith. Try a little patience.
Any relationship takes time and understanding.