By Tabitha Korol
The Adult Catholic Education program, held recently at a local Catholic parish hall, was entitled, “Under Abraham’s Tent: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the World Today.” The evening, designed to “foster peaceful relationships” of three religions through their shared patriarch, Abraham, attracted about 200 guests.
The first speaker, Rabbi “J,” related the story of Abram, who smashed all but one of his father’s idols, leaving a hammer in the hand of the largest. When his father, Terach the idol carver, returned to the store and saw the damage, Abram alibied that a war had ensued among the gods, and the largest idol won. Terach scoffed, saying, “The idols have no life or power,” to which Abram responded, “Then why do you worship them?”
Thus did Abram show the folly of idol worship and introduce the belief of monotheism into civilization. “J” further explained that the Jews, through Moses, were also the first to bring laws of morality and humanity to humankind, the rules by which civilizations have prospered since. Regrettably, she did not offer a definition of Judaism, the role of Jews in world history, or the significance of Israel to the Jewish people.
Although Jews had resided in Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and Mesopotamia, and despite their persecution through the centuries, they nevertheless did not declare these lands as theirs. She might have dismantled the accusation that Jews are colonialists, had she noted the Jewish claim to the land has very specific boundaries set forth in the ancient Torah – the same boundaries established by the League of Nations in 1920, and again by the United Nations in 1948.