Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks wrote:”non-Jews respect Jews who respect
Judaism. They are embarrassed by Jews who are embarrassed by Judaism.
Never be ambivalent about who and what you are.”
Why do so many Jews have so little self -respect when we, as a people, Am Yisrael have proven to be so resilient?
In his book Covenant and Conversation Exodus: The Book of Redemption, Rabbi Sacks writes that the Jewish people won the battle against Amalek “not because God fought the battle for them, but because God gave them the strength to fight the battle for themselves. God was not ‘among’ them but ‘within’ them.”
He goes on to say that one of the most remarkable features of Judaism is its call to human responsibility. “God wants us to fight our own battles.” No, we are not alone. “What it means is that God calls upon us to exercise those qualities-confidence, courage, choice, imagination, determination and will…”
We read Exodus 17:16 “The Lord will be at war against the Amelekites from generation to generation.”
But it is not God battling for us. Rabbi Sacks is saying that only when we develop inner strength to fight our own battles do we begin to acknowledge God. God who taught us about responsibility.
I write this because I fear we are giving away our agency as Am Yisrael. We are not relying on ourselves to fight our battles; as if we did not believe in God. We are turning to others, raising them on pedestals, bowing down to them, licking their boots, bending a knee in gratitude that a non-Jew speaks for Israel. That’s nice. But we have our own heroes. And it is time to elevate our heroes. We have Israelis who speak eloquently about Israel, who want the state to be a Jewish state that welcomes the other.
Israel is a living example of diversity. There are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Druze and Arabs who speak for her. There are Jews of every colour ready to speak. We are blessed with Jews in the diaspora who speak for the state, a Jewish state, without expecting anything in return. Let’s promote them!
Let’s wean ourselves off people who have another agenda; like Calev Myers, Dumisani Washington, the founder of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel, and Chloe Valdari. They speak for Israel because they do not want Israel to be another Muslim state. I used to cheer them, too. How wonderful; non-Jews defending our right to exist.
But Calev Myers, the founder of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, and prominent Messianic Jewish legal advocate, wants Israel to be a Christian state. How do I know? He told us. He works to change the Law of Return so that Messianic Jews;who are Christians, can come. The end result of changing the Law of Return would be the same as the Palestinian call for the Right of Return. A non-Jewish state.
Here are some of Myers’ views shared from the Legend article of 2008. Myers had returned home to speak.
“Calev Myers battles discrimination against a religious minority in Israel that most people in the United States don’t know exists. Myers belongs to a group of believers who are Jewish and proud of their heritage, but who consider Jesus the Messiah.”
Calev Myers of the Jerusalem Institute of Justice declared
“We believe the day is coming, friends, when Jesus once again will reveal himself to Israel, to the Jewish people.”
He is in the forefront of key legal battles for the rights of Messianic Jews.
“I was not intending to be the Messianic Jewish Robin Hood … but God had other plans,” he told about 340 students, their families and friends during the ceremony at Church Without Walls, in Lakeland.
Asked what he means by saying he is a Messianic Jew, the American-born Israeli lawyer said he is “saying that I am biologically from a Jewish background. I identify with the Jewish people. I celebrate the Jewish holidays. I see myself as an integral part of the Jewish culture, but I believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah based on Jewish Scriptures.”
Myers focused more on the need he sees for further action to spread knowledge of Jesus. Southeastern graduates can help Israeli believers in Jesus by educating their congregations, praying for Israel and aligning themselves with Messianic Jewish congregations.
Myers, 34, was in Lakeland as document bearer as well as speaker. He brought with him the lease Southeastern President Mark Rutland signed Friday for a building the university will use for study in Jerusalem.
Has anything changed? Has Myers walked away from promoting Messianic Jews;who are not Jews but Christians? Has he stopped fighting for their legal rights to come to Israel?
The big break between Judaism and Christianity is over Jesus. Yet, here we have people telling us that we must accept “Jews” who believe in Jesus. And then we elevate these people to stardom. Because they like us!
In March 2011 the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem wrote this about Calev Myers and Messianic Jews.
Messianic Jews in Israel are alarmed over a new wave of incitement against their community launched at a recent ultra-Orthodox rally in Ashdod at which the local chief rabbi compared them to Hitler and fliers called for their expulsion from Israel. Calev Myers, a prominent Messianic Jewish legal advocate, insisted this week that Ashdod police should open an official investigation against the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Ashdod.
That’s right. Attack Jews in Israel for defending Jews from those who believe in Jesus and then tell us THEY are Jews.
And then Dumisani Washington and Chloe Valdari. Rock stars to many. Forgive me for having my doubts.
They are Christian Zionists. Many have taken the Hebrew Bible changed a few names and added a layer of Jesus to it. In Dumisanis’ world there is someone named Rebbe Shaul, who is revered. I had to ask “who is this Rebbe?” I thought it was a perfectly good question. I had never heard of him. Well, what a mistake that was. I should have known that he is Paul, you know Paul, Paul who before he became Paul was a nebbish named Saul, the man who had his Jesus revelation on the road to Damascus. The same St. Paul who introduced antisemitism in his letters and writings. Dumisani and Chloe revere him as Rebbe Shaul. Now think about that. They have given cuvet to the man who initiated Jew hatred and supersessionism. Replacement theology. Whatever you want to call it.
And we genuflect to these people because they defend Israel? We are following false messiahs out of fear and weakness.
I mean, really, what would become of us without these”saviours”?
So much ink is spread on 14 million Jews and one Jewish country. What does that tell you? It should tell you that the Jewish people make others crazy. We refuse to die, disappear, bow down, kow tow, lick their boots or bend the knee.
We should have learned by now, and shame on us if we haven’t, that in every generation we are under attack. And we survive and thrive when we “exercise those qualities-confidence, courage, choice, imagination, determination and will…” “God wants us to fight our own battles.” And “No, we are not alone.”
I leave you with the words of Ariel Bem:
As a former combat officer in the IDF and as the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I know that the day of the trodden-upon Jew is over. We have our own state, a powerful military, a booming economy and cutting edge technologies that are implemented around the world.
We are a modern-day miracle that has shaken off the ashes of the Second World War and has risen to be a globally recognized powerhouse of industry. This sense of empowerment is ingrained in every Israeli from day one. We have to fight our battles by ourselves because nobody is going to fight them for us.
We, Am Yisrael, are the framers of our future.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”