Why do we find ourselves at times of disagreement expressing so little unconditional love for our fellow Jews? Is it because as Jews we confuse love with tacit support of a fellow Jews' interpretation of halachic observance? That is, if we disagree with Jews who express their Jewishness in a manner different than to what we are accustomed to; do we find it difficult - even impossible - to express unconditional love for them? Moreover, how many of us can honestly say that their love for their fellow Jews, is in fact, unconditional?
When one considers the worldwide movement in recent years to de-legitimize the State of Israel and Jews everywhere, not engaging or interacting but demonizing. Their opposition is not open to reason or good will. In short, their hatred is unconditional, yet Jews continue to ignore the clear and immediate danger of blatant anti-Semitism lurking out there. Rather than joining hands and remaining united, they use a legitimate halachic disagreement as a pretext to attack other Jews weakening our united community.
What better weapon to counter the forces working to delegitimize Israel and the Jewish nation than a force that unequivocally expresses unconditional love for fellow Jews? Of course, we Jews should never stop doing what we do best: argue, debate, challenge and “kvetch”. However, this must be conducted within a common consensus meaning that we refrain from delegitimizing dissenting or opposing views, as long as the tone is respectful and allows for disagreement that facilitates dialogue rather than closes the door to a dialogue.
This being said, I find it wholly inappropriate that a legitimate disagreement about the presence of a Catholic Priest as righteous as he may be, in a particular synagogue becomes an excuse and opportunity to accuse those that hold an opposing opinion by releasing a barrage of latent Jew hating rage and frustration against fellow Jews; "Jewish fundamentalism, immoderate treatment of our President, advocating a right-wing agenda, maximalist approach to settlements in the West Bank…… ostensibly favoring Jewish unity, and nameless rabbis, can profitably learn, for the benefit of our community, and the glory of G-d!" An additional comment worth pointing out typifies how a Jew, one of us can spew venomous anti-Semitism; " Hi, Asher. Hope you are well. Fellow Jews or not, their intolerance is the same as that of terrorists. Thank G-d they at least do not launch suicide bombers. Their positions and statements are the kinds of hate-filled incitements that probably led to an Orthodox Jewish murderer killing a true peace-maker, Prime Minister Rabin. Yasher K'oach on your continued efforts to shine a light on this ungodly hatred, hypocritically promoted by self-proclaimed religious authorities. (a proudly Reform Jew), Norwich, NY". What these self-appointed Jewish spewers of hate seem to ignore is that the issue is beyond the 5 Towns, and beyond Young Israel of Woodmere, presenting a challenge to Jews everywhere, especially in Israel where a public debate has been raging on for the past few years about relations with Christians from Evangelical churches as well as the Vatican itself..
Even today many sincere Jews of all backgrounds have mixed feelings about relations with Christians, you would expect of our fellow Jews to be sympathetic to those who still find it difficult to forgive and move on. Today out of the many differing Christian Churches, the US Protestant Evangelicals are the best friends of Israel within the Christian world. They show a widespread and enthusiastic support of the Jewish state, grounded in a deep attachment to the Bible. Most evangelicals have no problem with understanding the revival of the Jewish people in modern day Israel including Judea and Samaria, the Biblical heartland of Israel.So the issue of whether Israel should embrace these Christian groups despite what their notion of a Second Coming envisions for the Jews is yet to have unfolded. Yet, Christians belonging to America’s Evangelical Protestant churches are among the most outspoken opponents of a U.S.-backed peace plan that would uproot many Jews based on the false and biased Palestinian Arab narrative. They love Israel passionately and pray for her well-being, and they play a progressively more important role in the formulation of American foreign policy. For a country short on allies, Israel needs to think twice about rejecting Christians' help. Despite this, we must respect and love our fellow Jews who are still unable to particpate in this alliance of Jews and Christians.
I for one believe that it is time for the Jewish people to overcome their Pavlovian reflexes of fear and suspicion and distrust of any and every Christian. We must learn to distinguish between people whose concepts are medieval, and those who truly are for us. We should understand that hundreds of millions of Christians “are not out to get us”. Not every non-Jew is an anti-Semite.
This is the real issue challenging the Jewish world today, yet those very Jews who invoke their worldly view of pluralism continue to espouse blood-libels against their fellow Jews. The presence of a Righteous Catholic Pastor in the sanctuary of an orthodox shul may in fact create disagreement and debate but this discourse can and should be conducted quietly and respectfully, at no time was the Righteous Pastor aware of any dissent concerning his appearance. Smear campaigns with references to Obama and Rabin only encourages extremism leaving little incentive for dialogue. Under no circumstances should we encourage misguided fellow Jews to attack those that differ from their religious orientation. I for one would recommend that they be sent to a anger management seminar, I would be glad to lead the seminar.