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November 1, 2014 / 8 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

Presbyterians Give $2.2 Million To Teach Judaism to Christians, But This Gift Horse May Have Teeth

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Published in Jewish Business News

The Herzl Institute, a Jerusalem entity, has been awarded $2.2 million to help Christians and Jews study Jewish texts, launching what’s being billed as a new kind of Jewish-Christian cooperation. So goes the press release, which also suggests this is the first ever multimillion-dollar grant in Jewish theology given out by the U.S.-based Templeton Foundation.

The foundation’s website describes their mission as follows:

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. We support research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. We encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.

Sounds like fun.

Sir John Marks Templeton, who passed away in 2008 a few months short of his 96th birthday, was a British stock investor born in Winchester, Tennessee.

Yes, I know, those biographies usually start in England and end, well, not in Tennessee, but on the opposite side of the pond.

Templeton became a billionaire by practically inventing the use of globally diversified mutual funds. His Templeton Growth Fund, Ltd., established in 1954, was among the first who invested in Japan in the middle of the 1960s.

On the lighter side, he also served as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood (NJ), was a trustee on the board of Princeton Theological Seminary, the largest Presbyterian seminary, for 42 years and served as its chair for 12 years.

JTF has focused much of its giving on science-related projects, and HI, in Jerusalem, is a research institute focusing on the development of Jewish ideas in philosophy and history.

The institute is named for Theodor Herzl, the relentless visionary of modern political Zionism.

Yoram Hazony is President of the Herzl Institute. He is founder and past President of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, now Shalem College. In the press release, Hazony says: “We’re not just talking about Christians wanting to help Jews out of solidarity or charity, we are talking about the dominant faith of Western civilization saying: ‘The Jews have something to give us, something that we need.’ This is not something that appears in the old playbook for Jewish-Christian dialogue.”

The King’s College in Manhattan and the Herzl Institute also announced a partnership to send Christian students to a “Hebraic Heritage” course where they will study and learn from Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem for a summer.

Hazony said professors at Assumption College in Massachusetts and Wesleyan College in Connecticut will also recruit students to study in Jerusalem.

I have to say, I love it, and it’s just the press release!

“What we’re seeing right now is not the old kind of interfaith dialogue where Christians talked about their Messiah and Jews talked about their Messiah and everybody agrees to disagree,” Hazony said. “This is completely new dialogue, where we look at Old Testament text and rabbinic texts and Christians are willing to look at Judaism and the Jewish text through Jewish eyes with Jewish lecturers.”

Courses will include studying Hebraic tradition, the impact of biblical ideas on modern-day Israel and the Middle East, and the relationship between Jews and contemporary Christianity and Islam.

“This new sense that there are many Christians who want to hear what Jews have to say fits very well with a dormant Jewish feeling that we have a mission to say something but for a long time people weren’t interested in hearing what we have to say,” Hazony said.

Police and Onlookers Discover ‘Lost Ark of the Covenant’ Only a Replica

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Jerusalem was in momentary shock on Sunday when a pilgrim from the Philippines placed a replica of the Lost Ark of the Covenant in the center of the city, causing commotion and confusion.

The replica was complete with the “cherubim” and was coated in the color of gold, JerusalemOnline reported.

Police, who are patrolling the Old City and tourist sites in Jerusalem during the heavy tourist traffic period of Sukkot, started asking questions.

The pilgrim explained she brought the model of the Lost Ark with her to Israel and will leave it in an Old City Church.

The Ark of the Covenant, as described in the Book of Exodus, contained the Ten Commandments.

Catholics, never at a loss to adapt a Jewish source for its own use, claim that Mary, the virgin who made history in the delivery room, gave birth to Jesus in similarity to the original tangible contents of the Ark

Biblical accounts relate that wherever the Philistines took the Ark after capturing it, people were besieged by calamities.

The Philistines finally connected the dots and returned the Ark to the Jews, who centuries later placed it in the First Temple.

The Babylonians are suspected of having stolen the Ark after they conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, although some Talmudic rabbis argued that the Ark remains somewhere under the Temple Mount.

Several theories have cropped up concerning the whereabouts of the Ark today, with most fingers pointing at the Catholic Church.

Five years ago, the patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, Abune Paulos, said he would announce to the world the next day the unveiling of the Ark of the Covenant, which he said had been kept safe and secure in a church in Ethiopia. He had second thoughts the following day and said he really was not sure.

France, Ireland, England Africa, Arabia and even Ireland have been suggested by other theorists as previous locations of the Ark.

Perhaps that explains why the world has suffered so many calamities.

 

Evangelical Leaders Plan Solidarity Trip To Israel

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Several prominent American evangelical Christian leaders will travel to Israel next week to demonstrate their support in a “Christians in Solidarity with Israel” tour organized by the National Religious Broadcasters..

Participants in the Aug. 17-22 trip include Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham and president of AnGeL Ministries; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; and Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews, N.C.

In an NRB news release, the group’s president and CEO, Jerry Johnson, said the tour will be “visiting the land, the people, and the leadership of Israel to stand in support of the nation’s right to defend itself from those who would deny their right to exist.”

“Countering rising anti-Semitism in the international press and on the streets, this friendship visit will communicate to Israel and to the Palestinians who stand in opposition to Hamas that we, leaders who represent the Christian community, stand with them,” he said. “It will also show the world that Christians in general support the Jewish people and their right to security.”

Historic Visit to Israel by Lebanon’s Courageous Maronite Patriarch

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

In honor of Pope Francis, the head of Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic Church defied threats to his life this week and came to Israel.

Cardinal Beshara Ra’i is the first Lebanese cleric to arrive in the Jewish State since 1948. Having arrived on Saturday to begin a week-long visit, he joined the pontiff Sunday for the first leg of his two-day tour of the Holy Land in Bethlehem. Much of the weekend, however, he spent traveling around Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem’s Old City and surrounds.

But on Monday he took what critics saw as an irrevocable political step by crossing into “pre-1967″ Israel — arriving at a Maronite community in the ancient port city of Jaffa (Yafo), next to Tel Aviv. There are numerous Lebanese Christians living in Israel, many of whom emigrated in order to stay alive after the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanese media called the cleric’s visit a “historic sin,” though he was greeted by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with a medal, the ‘Star of Jerusalem’ for his efforts.

“We came here for the goal of strengthening our belief,” he told journalists when asked why he had taken the risk.

Sources aligned to the Hezbollah terrorist organization warned last week the Cardinal’s visit “cannot not pass quietly,” the Times of Israel reported. Likewise the Lebanese As-Safir quoted unnamed sources who said, “The patriarch’s move puts the Christian existence in the east in danger at a time when their presence is being increasingly targeted in the entire region.”

Christians have long been tormented by various Islamist groups, not only in Lebanon but also in Egypt. They have also been harassed in Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem, where the city’s former Christian majority has now dwindled to a bare ten percent of its current Muslim majority population.

The pro-Hezbollah daily Al-Akhbar ran a fiery op-ed against the visit one week ago, warning, “When Beshara Ra’i travels to ‘Israel’ with the knowledge and consent of the occupation authorities, he creates a dangerous precedent . . . he humanizes the enemy, breaking the taboo and opening the door to all the believers eager to visit the holy sites. When will organized tours begin, guarded by Tzahal (the Israeli army) and hosted by Israeli companies eager to smuggle their products into Lebanon for years?”

The Cardinal responded with an interview in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, pointing out, “His Holiness the Pope will grace the patriarchate with his visit and it would be inappropriate for us not to welcome him in our lands Jordan and Palestine, which is Israel today. I know full well that Israel is an enemy state which occupies Lebanese land as well, and I respect Lebanese law [banning visits to Israel.] We have no meetings with Israeli officials and I am sorry that some Lebanese wish to create problems where there are none.”

Pope Francis, who began his visit to the region in Amman, pointed out before leaving Jordan that the freedom of worship is an essential human right, and expressed the hope of seeing that upheld throughout the Middle East.

It would appear that only in Israel are members of all three monotheistic faiths assured of their rights to worship.

Senior Maronite Archbishop Paul Sayah added the Cardinal’s visit was purely religious and not linked to the “regrettable situation that exists between Lebanon and Israel.”

Israel Tourism Ministry Prepares to Welcome Pope Francis

Monday, May 19th, 2014

The Israel Ministry of Tourism is investing approximately NIS 10 million ($2.9 million) in marketing initiatives and infrastructure projects before, during and after the visit of Pope Francis to Israel, on May 25-26 May.

The marketing investment is centered around the dedicated website for the Catholic Pilgrim (www.holyland-pilgrimage.org), including live streaming of the Pope’s visit and utilization of the most advanced online marketing tools, both on the web and on the various social media platforms. The marketing targets source countries for Catholic pilgrimage – USA, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany and France.

In addition, last month the Tourism Ministry ran an online Instagram promotion in advance of the Papal visit, where contestants from around the world were asked to upload a 15-second video on Instagram, sharing with the Tourism Ministry why they wanted to visit the Holy Land. The winning video was uploaded by Gustavo Aldolfo Franco Picaza from Venezuela and landed him a free trip to Israel.

The 22-year-old Venezuelan with the winning Instagram message will visit Israel later this week as a guest of the Israel Tourism Ministry.

Hundreds of journalists are expected to arrive from around the world to cover the event and the Ministry of Tourism will be offering support and hosting services to them.

Israeli Tourism Minister Dr. Uzi Landau stated that Israel will welcome the Pope with open arms. “We welcome the Pope as a visitor of the highest importance, the most important religious leader for Catholics around the world. We are greatly honored by his choice to visit Israel. We will continue to welcome the faithful with open arms, as they choose to visit Israel in the footsteps of the Pope.

The Tourism Ministry, which invests in the maintenance and conservation of Christian sites on an ongoing basis, has invested tens of millions of shekels in recent years in the development and infrastructure of Christian sites, including, among others, the Yardenit baptism site on the River Jordan, the Sea of Galilee trail and promenade, Mount of Olives, Via Dolorosa, Ein Karem and pilgrimage routes in Jerusalem, Nazareth and more. Improvements and upgrading in the area of Rachel’s Crossing and at the Room of the Last Supper that had been planned for later in the year have been carried out in advance of the Pope’s visit.

As a result of the visit to the Holy Land by Pope Francis, who is a popular and significant figure for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, the ministry estimates an increase of tens of thousands in the numbers of Christians visiting Israel. Christian tourism, which accounts for about 60% of all incoming tourism, is expected to increase by about 10% in 2014 as a result of the pope’s visit.

A Third Intifada to Begin at the Temple Mount?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Once again, on the eve of a major Jewish holiday, Israel Police have  closed access for Jews and Christians to the Temple Mount due to intelligence “there would be disturbances” if Jews were allowed to ascend to the site.

Hundreds of tourists who flocked to the site on Monday were turned away due to violence spawned by Muslim rioters the previous day.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press in a telephone interview Monday morning, “Police officials made the decision to close access to the site based on information there would be disturbances similar to those that occurred yesterday, and which caused injuries to two police officers. As a result, access to the site was restricted solely to Muslim men age 50 and above, and to Muslim women of all ages.”

Asked whether Muslim women had never caused any disturbances at the Temple Mount – which they have on numerous occasions — Rosenfeld responded: “Muslim women do not pose any problem for Israel Police. It is Muslim men under age 50 who are the most dangerous to the general population and to police officers during disturbances at the site.”

On Sunday police closed the Temple Mount to visitors — but not to Muslim worshipers — after Muslim rioters hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at police officers posted at the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall Plaza.

Two Israel Police officers were injured in the riot which started when the site was opened to visitors.

Rosenfeld claimed he had “no idea what [you] are talking about” when asked about a report posted on the Arutz Sheva website describing a virtual takeover of the Temple Mount by “dozens of Hamas men… waving Hamas flags and ‘not allowing Jews and tourists into the Mount.’

The site has always been a flash point of contention between Jews and Muslims. There is no holier site in the Jewish faith, and it ranks third in importance in Islam.

The Temple Mount encompasses the Western Wall – the last remnant of the Holy Temple, the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It is the wall that was the closest to the Holy of Holies when the Holy Temple once stood in Jerusalem.

In Judaism, the Temple Mount is also known as Mount Moriah, which according to Jewish tradition is the place where the creation of the world began from the Foundation Stone at the peak of the mountain, and is where Adam, the first human being, was created.

It is also the site where the Biblical patriarch Abraham was commanded to prepare his son Isaac for sacrifice, (by the way, the Muslims believe it is Ishmael who was nearly sacrificed) and where the binding of Isaac – the Foundation Stone – took place. The Holy of Holies, around which both the First and Second Holy Temples were built, is set around the Foundation Stone.

Known to the Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Temple Mount site is believed to be that from which Islam’s prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven to speak with God about the details of prayer rituals after a night-long journey to Jerusalem, “the farthest mosque,” on his steed Buraq. For this reason, Islamists fight with particular ferocity over the site and do what they can to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Israel’s willingness to allow the Islamic Waqf Authority to administer the site has backfired dozens of times as increasing violence by Islamist extremists on the eve of every Jewish holiday makes it clear it is impossible for the status quo to continue.

A similar scenario was deliberately used by Hamas to ignite the Second Intifada in the year 2000 when MK Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount just prior to the Jewish new year holidays, setting off violent Muslim riots and sparking a lethal police response. It seems likely that plans are afoot to recreate the same scenario again.

Masked Syrian Terrorist Killed Dutch Priest

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A masked terrorist shot killed a widely-known Dutch priest and another priest in the city of Homs Monday, another sign of what the awaits the Christian minority whenever the civil war ends.

Christians have tried to stay neutral in the war but have been victimized by all sides – Syrian President Bassar al-Assad, an Alawite, and Muslim rebels along with Al Qaeda Sunni Muslims.

No one has claimed responsibility for the murder of the priests, one of whom was 72-year-old Father Francis Van Der Lugt, who was killed in a monastery in an area controlled by rebels.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/masked-syrian-terrorist-killed-dutch-priest/2014/04/07/

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