web analytics
March 5, 2015 / 14 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Jewish Ingratitude To Evangelicals

Every year Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews raises about $100 million, mostly from evangelical Christians in the United States, for distribution to social-welfare projects in Israel and the former Soviet Union. This is a staggering sum, making the fellowship arguably the largest foundation for Jews in need in the world.
 
One would think that we in the Jewish community would show immense gratitude for such love. I therefore found it extraordinary, not to mention embarrassing, to hear that there is a growing campaign among elements in the Israeli rabbinate to discredit the organization and forbid Jewish organizations from benefiting from its funds.
 
The worst of all character traits in Judaism is to be an ingrate. Denying the goodness that others perform on your behalf leads to a closing of the human heart. No one wants to be taken for granted.
 
So great is the emphasis on appreciation in our religion that our greatest prophet, Moses, is commanded by God not to strike the Nile River and turn it into blood in the first plague against the Egyptians because that same river had saved his life when he was a baby.
 
Later, in plague number three, God will again warn Moses against smiting the dust of Egypt and turning it into lice because the dust had saved his life when he had to bury the body of a murderous Egyptian taskmaster.
 
Imagine that. A man who speaks to God face to face is told he must show thanks to water and dust. But such is the extent to which Jewish values demand gratitude.
 
Over the past two decades evangelical Christians have emerged as Israel’s most staunch and reliable friends. Pastors like John Hagee, my friend Pat Robertson and countless others have galvanized colossal Christian support for Israel.
 
Even in the peak period of suicide bombings during the Second Intifada, when tourism to Israel fell off a cliff, evangelical Christians still came in their millions. The same is true of stalwart Christian political support for Israel. While President Obama continues to bully Israel over apartments in Israel’s undivided and eternal capital, Jerusalem, evangelical Christians have a litmus test for their elected leaders: Don’t support Israel? You’re out.
 
As I write these lines, former president George W. Bush is enjoying something of a renaissance with the publication of his new book, Decision Points. Bush, by almost any standard the best friend Israel ever had in the White House, writes at the beginning of his book how he turned his life over to Jesus, and there can be no question that there is a direct link between his deep Christian faith and his love and unyielding support for Israel against those who seek its annihilation.
 
I am well aware of our immense differences with the Christian evangelical community. I would venture to say that I have conducted more debates over the past decade against leading Christian scholars and missionaries than any other American rabbi (most of which are available on YouTube).
 
Jesus was an observant Jew who ate kosher, honored the Sabbath, donned tefillin, insisted on the indivisible unity of God, and fought for the independence of the Jewish nation against the brutal oppression of Rome, beliefs for which he was ultimately crucified.
 
   It would behoove Christians to realize they have much more to gain from learning about the authentic historical Jesus from Jews than from any misguided attempts at converting them. Indeed, not only must these attempts be emphatically resisted by the Jewish community with overwhelming scholarship, but Christians should learn from Jews to reject any deification of Jesus, which he, as a Pharisee, would have seen as the ultimate sacrilege (and which is the subject of my upcoming book on the Jewish Jesus). They should follow Jesus as teacher rather than a god.
 
But whatever our theological differences with evangelicals, none of this negates the unparalleled kindness and friendship they show Jews and the Jewish community. To say they do this merely to convert us, or because gathering Jews to Israel will usher in the apocalypse, is to perpetrate a sacrilegious act of character assassination. Bible-believing Christians support Israel out of feelings of deep love and brotherhood.
 
The man more responsible than anyone else for building this bridge between Christians and Jews is the aforementioned Rabbi Eckstein, a man whose efforts, with Christian support, feeds thousands of hungry Jewish children and Jewish elderly every day in Israel and abroad.
 

Israel is a nation that dwells alone, with few friends and many prejudiced enemies. Rather than rabbis and lay leaders attacking Christians as having nefarious motives for their charity, we should offer thanks and gratitude to hard-working Americans of faith who believe, as the Bible says, that through Israel all the earth is blessed.

 

 

 

   Rabbi Shmuley Boteach heads This World: The Values Network, which seeks to heal America through universal Jewish values. A best-selling author of 24 books, his most recent work is “Renewal: A Guide to the Values-Filled Life.”

About the Author: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi” whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous Rabbi in America,” is the international best-selling author of 29 books, including The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Jewish Ingratitude To Evangelicals”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
US Secretary of State John Kerry with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier before P5+1 talks. (Nov. 22, 2014.)
Fears Over US Iran Deal Trigger Mideast Nuclear Race, Saudi-South Korea Deal
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin, Nov. 20, 2013.

On the one hand, Putin has been a friend to Chabad and to Israel. On the other hand, Putin is a brutal dictator.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the American Jewish public.

Rabbi Schochet wrote the Johannesburg Beis Din: It is totally prohibited and unacceptable to hear someone like Boteach.

If you’re feeling down, stop reading right now. You’re only going to be more depressed.

The world and the United State continue to give Rouhani a pass.

American Jews – especially those working on campus – don’t accept that we have a battle on our hands.

But the most painful part of an otherwise illuminating and extraordinary Forum was Iranian President Rouhani’s speech.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/jewish-ingratitude-to-evangelicals/2010/11/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: