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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 8, 2005 / 7 Kislev, 5766

Finding Uncommon Ground

By Adam Dickter



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Jews and Evangelicals explore the boundaries of their relationship at New York conference


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | At the end of his presentation last week in a panel titled "Christian America?" Rev. Richard Cizik, an Evangelical lobbyist in Washington, was confronted with an unexpected question: Does he believe Jews go to heaven?


Caught off guard, Cizik, who is vice president for governmental affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals, said his practice was to "do my best to avoid answering that question because it leads us to a place where we don't necessarily need to go."


The question — prompted by the 2002 declaration of James Sibley, head of the Southern Baptists' Mission to the Jews, implying that Jews can only reach heaven through Jesus — may have seemed awkward and the answer evasive, but both were in the spirit of the two-day conference on Jews and Evangelicals that took place last week at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Participants said it was important to outline issues on which they could not agree in an effort to define the boundaries of their relationship.


Set against the backdrop of recent negative pronouncements by national Jewish leaders about what they term the dangers of Evangelical groups who support Israel while seeking to convert Jews, the forum, titled "Uneasy Allies," analyzed the growing ties between the two groups and took aim at mutually held stereotypes.


"The goal was not advocacy of deepened relations between Evangelicals and Jews, but to provide for studying the relationship the way it is," said Alan Mittleman, director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS, which was one of the program co-sponsors. "We tried to be very balanced between people who do want to enhance the relationship and people who are very skeptical and wary of it."


Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, Judaic scholar at the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, who participated in a forum on Evangelicals and Israel, said afterward that he believed interfaith dialogue "is not about accepting that we have irreconcilable differences, but it begins with mutual sacred rejection. That rejection should be done respectfully and warmly but each party rejects the core elements of the faith of the other. That is the beauty of America, that we disagree and our streets don't turn into Bosnia."


The program included sessions on whether the United States is a Christian country, on Christian support for Israel and on Jews and Evangelicals in public life. But some of the most provocative discussion took place in between the lectures.


One Evangelical leader declared that "There are millions of Evangelicals who are quite embarrassed by Pat Robertson." And another participant noted the irony of concern by Jews about proselytizing at a time when their largest denomination, Reform, recently endorsed a greater embrace of converting Christians. Several Evangelical Christians struggled to accept Rabbi Poupko's pronouncement that the teaching of biblical prophets as understood by Jews applied only to the circumstances at the time and do not necessarily tell us anything about contemporary life.


In the initial session, two demographers presented survey data that illustrated how wide a gulf exists between the two communities, although perceptions of each other have improved. The University of Akron political scientist John Green compared statistics from 1996 to the present and found that a better mutual understanding of both groups had emerged as a result of growing exposure of Evangelicals to mainstream American society and better education.


Barry Kosmin of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., found in his survey that 97 percent of Evangelicals agreed with the statement "G-d helps me," as opposed to just 34 percent of Jews and 71 percent of adults in general. Economically, the two groups were not found to be dissimilar; 73 percent of Jews and 75 percent of Evangelicals said they owned their own homes and 58 percent of Jews and 49 percent of Evangelicals were college graduates.


A majority of Jews, 56 percent, said they were Democrats while a majority of Evangelicals, 58 percent, identified as Republicans. "Clearly, Jews are literally and figuratively blue-state Americans while Evangelicals are red-state," said Kosmin. "The source of the gap lies in political and social reasons more than economics." Geographically, 47 percent of Evangelicals and 60 percent of Jews said they lived in suburbs.


In his comments, Jack Wertheimer, provost of JTS, noted that "the great asymmetry of these two different communities is at the heart of what this conference is all about. The Evangelical population is surging while the Jewish community is in decline. The Jewish community does not define itself as necessarily religious. As a result of those differences in self-definition, these two communities approach points of public policy that are defining issues and concerns in very different ways." For example, he said, while Evangelicals see opposition to same-sex marriage as a religious imperative, Jews, as a minority, are more likely to see the prohibition of such unions as undermining minority rights.


But speaking to what he called the "commonality" of both groups, Wertheimer said, "Some of the agenda of both of these groups is motivated by fear and anxiety about where the country is going. On the Evangelical side the fear is over the extent of moral decay in society and the radicalization of public opinion. On the Jewish side, there is a fear of a drift that will prove inimical to Jews."


Addressing the recent assertions by Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman and Reform movement leader Eric Yoffie that the Christian right was out to destroy the wall between church and state, Lawrence Grossman of the American Jewish Committee noted that concern about Evangelical Christians is a relatively new item on the Jewish agenda.


"Fifty years ago it didn't exist," he said. "All of this changed in 1967, a watershed year for American Jews." Israel's victory in the Six-Day War sparked a new level of support among Protestant Christians, he said.


In subsequent years, pronouncements of faith from prominent Christians in public life like Jimmy Carter and controversial statements from preachers like Bailey Smith, who proclaimed in 1980 that doesn't hear the prayer of a Jew, have made Jews defensive and uneasy, Grossman said, while worried about their own continuity.


There was also discussion of the growing sense of connection between Evangelicals and Israel. George W. Mamo, executive director of Stand for Israel, an advocacy institute of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said he sees Christians keeping older cars or smaller apartments in order to have money to donate to pro-Israel causes, like resettling Soviet Jews. "I've raised over $3 million, $75 at a time," said Mamo. "They see Israel's opponents as thugs and dictators and self-appointed kings." But he said he still confronts the stereotype among Jews that "we only have one motivation — to steal your children. That we have to get a certain number of Jews to Israel and then, boom, Jesus will come back."


Mamo, who has twice spoken at national meetings of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said he wanted Jews to know that "some of your suspicions are well founded. The sages rightly say suspect the stranger in your midst. But the non-strangers among us want you to know we are not all Elmer Gantrys, and most of us have never owned a white suit."

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Adam Dickter is a Staff Writer for the New York Jewish Week. Comment by clicking here.




© 2005, NY Jewish Week