Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Second Class

So far so good.

We did our homework. Showed up on time. I even made some banana bread.

There were a few new people in class on Monday; some people from last class didn't return. So it evened out. All told, about the same amount of people showed up.

We talked a lot about basic differences between Judaism and Christianity. Some people struggled with talking about those differences in a positive way. Obviously, a lot of people convert to Judaism because they were turned off by some aspect of their "inherited" religion.

The main difference we talked about was Judaism's lack of focus on G_d.

I've mentioned this before. It's a weird concept to wrap your head around. In Christiaity we talk about G_d (and Jesus) A LOT. What ELSE is there to talk about, right? You're raised to follow G_d's will and get out of G_d's way, so to speak.

The rabbi explained that Jews consider G_d more of an experience and not something that needs to be talked about. In fact, talking about G_d takes away his or her otherworldiness.

So instead of reciting a creed every week, Jews profess their belief in G_d by acting in a godly way.

Jews don't think of themselves as sinners, which is unlike the Christian view of Original Sin. Jews believe humans weren't born bad, and there is no quest to save ourselves from damnation.

In fact, the rabbi said, Jews believe you can use your bad qualities to do good. If you're greedy, for example, you'll work hard at your business and perhaps provide a needed item at a good price.

The rabbi gave the example of the rabbi featured in the TLC show, "Shalom in the Home." Rabbi Jacob said he had met Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and it was clear that he loved to be the center of attention. Some may see that as a negative, but he has been able to turn it into a positive by reaching people through a television show and becoming a "rabbi to the stars."

Well, that's about it. More next week.

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