Well, I went to a Bulgarian Orthodox church today. It was only a matter of time, right?

Basically, I was dragged into it by a Spiritually Seeking Friend (TM). She says she’s using her “emotions” to “guide” her to the right denomination, which is completely foreign to me, but OK to each their own.

The first thing that struck me when walking into the little one-room church was the utter solemnity. Like, I didn’t even want to rustle (hello Reform temple). I tried to decide whether that was just because it was my first time, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t, and let me tell you why.

Everyone was standing, ladies on the left and men on the right, all the ladies had their hair covered and were wearing long skirts and bad shoes. There aren’t any “pews” in Eastern Orthodox, I learned. Every once in a while they would start singing “Lord have mercy” etc. and I must admit they had a nicer communal singing voice than I ever heard in shul or anything. It was like they were the freakin hired choir or something. Sometimes people would come in (slowly and tentatively, of course), and take candles out of this “candle bin” attached to the wall, and cross themselves like a hundred times and one lady kissed three icons (on the feet, naturally). I couldn’t really see the men, but the women were standing with their hands politely folded in front or behind them, and obviously I was standing there in the very back with my friend with my arms folded looking like a nervous wreck in that place but whatever.

The priest looked like he motorcycled in his spare time, and I think one of his assistants (beacon? deacon? wtf) went to my high school. Notwithstanding that, they read a lot of stuff. And when they did it was in this annoying churchy monotone. It only ceased when the priest gave his sermon, which was totally weird and seemed out of place given the supposed ethereal ideal that place was supposed to have (there was incense).

There were icons literally covering all the walls…and of course I was standing right in front of the scariest Jesus in the whole church…freakin no-chin Jesus staring me down with his beady eyes in that scary picture.

So yeah, we’re standing in the foyer/hallway facing the main room, and I look up and suddenly see this looking back at me:

"I'm here to save you."

“I’m here to save you.”

I’m not sleeping tonight.

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is this: I don’t get this about Christianity, culturally speaking. The whole “be serious in church,” “church is somber” thing. My friend said she liked it (it gave her a “good feeling”), but I thought it didn’t make any sense because it seems like that just serves to keep religion contained inside the church. Like, I get trying to make it like the altar or whatever with the incense and stuff, but once you get outside, what do you do? Go to Country Cookin’?

I mean, I know for Eastern Orthodox those ladies were wearing their long skirts and stuff, and I guess that stays with them, and I’m guessing they, like, say their Christian version of daily tehillim or whatever, but still. It’s kind of like saying “God is mostly in here, and in everyday life just minimally.”

I like that in Judaism for better or worse, it’s not like it’s “everyday life” outside and then “SUPER SERIOUS GOD TIME” inside. Like, I hated it at the time that no one was paying attention, but when I was at that shul in Flatbush ladies would be setting up tables like right next to me and people would be in and out and kids would be walking around and you stand when you want and you sit when you want and so on and so forth. And it doesn’t end as soon as you walk outside, indeed it improves when you leave because you get to go to someone’s house and eat free cholent, which if you don’t know already is basically the food of the heavens as far as I’m concerned. And, here’s my favorite part, that’s just as important as shul.

A letter I wrote to the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast people

Hey guys,

I’ve been listening to Catholic Stuff You Should Know for a couple weeks now, because I’m interested in different religions and the way people think. I usually try to be pretty objective about things, but the [Four Approaches to] Politics podcast made me mad.

I’m sure you get emails like this every day, but bear with me.

Help me understand how someone can believe in Separation of Church and State, and Religious Liberty, and still feel that their own religion should set the rules for an entire country not explicitly governed by that religion. It seems contradictory. I know that you believe there are universal truths, and so do I. Still, the idea that one religion’s rules can dictate an entire country is foreign to me. I’m Jewish, and in Judaism there is a pretty extensive set of rules. No Jew would expect a non-Jew to follow all these rules…even the seemingly innocuous “moral” ones! That doesn’t make the rules any less universal or true. After all, how could Jews expect someone to, say, keep the sabbath, if they don’t understand why or how? That doesn’t make keeping the sabbath any less important. It’s not the Jew’s job to impose either his ideas or religious rules on anyone else.

That being said, I know you believe in universal truths. So do I. But you’re Catholic, and I’m Jewish, and these don’t exactly look the same.

For instance, you mentioned abortion. For Catholics, abortion is never an option, am I correct? In Judaism, abortion is an option if the mother’s life is in danger. This is our law. I completely understand prohibiting abortion for Catholics, or even in Christian hospitals…but on the other hand, trying to prohibit abortion throughout the entire country would violate my religion.

You also mentioned same-sex marriage. (I would be interested to know the Catholic view on homosexuality, by the way.) Same-sex marriage is also antithetical to Jewish law. But I don’t find it contradictory to say that it’s prohibited for Jews under Jewish law, but to have secular marriages legal. A gay couple could be married civilly, and still not be recognized under Jewish law. Judaism has basically the same conception of marriage as does Catholicism, but we also know that it makes no sense to try to govern non-Jews under Jewish law! Why can’t it be the same in Catholicism? To use one example, the fact that divorce is legal in the US doesn’t make divorce any less “wrong” in Catholicism. (And outlawing divorce in the US would violate my religion, because divorce isn’t prohibited in Judaism!)

Isn’t it our job to help people see why we disagree with abortion or divorce, rather than imposing our will on them with hardly an explanation?

There’s a saying in Judaism: “Worry about your friend’s physical well-being, and your own spirituality.”

Thanks for your time,
Laura

++++++

Dec. 24, 2012: Response!

Hi Laura

Thanks for your email and my apologies on the delay.  I appreciate that you listen to the podcast and are from a Jewish perspective.
Let’s set “faith” aside for a second.  There are a set of philosophical principles that unlay any just society, that help human beings flourish according to the common good.  These principles can be known by the light of human reason.  My arguments for the podcast are that to hold that a respect for life, freedom for religious liberty, and the preservation of marriage as it actually is (one man, one woman) need not have anything to do with faith.  To lose these principles would be destructive to society.
Maybe another example would be helpful.  Let’s say politicians want to legalize rape – that men can rape women whenever they want.  But because rape is against my faith, I can’t impose my belief on the society I live in and say that is wrong?  According to your logic, I cannot speak up against this without “imposing my faith on others.”
Just because God reinforces by Revelation the truths we can know by nature to form a just society (cf. Aristotle, Politics), does not justify the absolute lose of credibility and objective content to my natural moral claims as a man of faith.
Thanks again for listening.
fj

A Politically Incorrect Guide to Christians

I’ve learned to become wary of Christians. I was pretty positive regarding them at first, and I thought that “well, although their religion seems pretty off, I suppose they are quite kind anyway and I guess if it’s done good for them, they’ve done some good charity work and stuff so Christianity can’t be that bad, consequentially speaking.” But that was then, and this is now (see above links). I used to think you could be pro-Christian and pro-Jewish, but you can’t. (Because you can’t be pro-Jewish and want to convert all the Jews.) You can “tolerate,” but that’s about it.

So, I found this picture, which is really representative of two things I basically suspect about Christianity. I know, I know, you have nice Christian friends who aren’t like that etc. but this isn’t about your friends, get it? I only know what I’ve experienced. That goes without saying.

Obviously, this picture is for gay rights, but it came from a website advocating the timely idea that “misunderstanding religion leads to homophobic attitudes.” That can be true more often than not, but I noticed that one popular way of showing that Christianity isn’t so homophobic after all is to show that just like shellfish and mixed materials are impertinent and outdated, so too is Leviticus 18:22. I’ve seen this many times. That’s annoying, but I get that they don’t get it. It’s not their job to know that that’s still an actual religion.

The thing that I don’t like is that Christians still want to take what they like out of Judaism and call them their own. My friend recently said “There’s a difference between Torah scholars and Old Testament scholars,” but the problem is when Old Testament scholars try to present themselves as knowledgeable Torah scholars, as if the Torah is theirs for the taking. They learn a couple words in Hebrew and call themselves experts (I recall a professor wishing us a “tova shana”). They try to separate the “cult” from the “ethics,” Judaism is “tribalistic,” it’s “unenlightened” etc. They don’t especially like the Torah the way it is. But they want it the way they want it.

Same for other things: the Catholic group on campus wants to co-host our seder. I have a Jewish friend whose group consists entirely of Christians, and she told me they “jokingly” say anti-semitic things to her like “Oh, do you have a lot of money?” And she is picking up their ideas of how “unethical” Judaism is, by exclaiming how unfair it was to kill the Egyptians etc. We shouldn’t fight in defense. Turn the other cheek! Where’d you hear that, again?

And the Christian groups love setting up debates and panels. They want to discuss our “shared heritage”…but, once we’re all sitting down…hey, have you heard that there is neither Jew nor Greek? Come be one of us! And Christians want to wear the Star of David. Christians want to compare Joseph and David (and basically everyone else) to Jesus. They like having license plates with things like 6 7DEUT on them. They like the idea of Jesus being a “rabbi.” They like the idea of Judaism. They just want it their way, without the Jews.

Out of this comes another similar thing I’ve noticed. There’s a sentiment underlying the text of this picture. It’s like when Christians (or anyone trying to use the Old v. New Testament to argue their point) say things like “the jealous, vengeful god of the Old Testament” or “the god of punishment of the Old Testament versus the god of love of the New Testament.” They are positive about the delineation between the Old and New Testaments, but what is the irony? These statements imply that there are two gods, the one of the Old Testament and the one of the New Testament. If God doesn’t change, how could it be any other way?

Christians have no problem looking at the “god of the Old Testament” with an objective eye, judging, and criticizing, and being glad they’ve got a new one now. They’re not going to say this or anything, but being in that Biblical criticism class with thirty freshmen and a professor who says things like “tova shana” made me realize how nonchalant they all were about it. They talked about stuff the ancient Israelites “used to do,” weird stupid things like tzitzit and tefillin. They tried to pronounce the Name of God with reckless abandon. (Encouraged, of course, by the fact the professor said it approximately twice per class, despite my cringing. Actually, maybe because of my cringing. He was jerky like that.)

And so I started getting the sense that it was all just as well to them, because all that existed in the past, “that god” existed in the past, “that covenant” existed in the past, “those Israelites” don’t exist anymore, and now they have Jesus etc. I don’t think they’d be talking about Jesus with such flagrant apathy and even scorn at times. Even if such a class started out jovial, they’d probably notice eventually what they were doing. But with the Old Testament, it’s OK. Never when I heard a Christian say “Yahweh” did I suppose they were thinking “This is my God I’m talking about.” This insistence on the demarcation between the “old god/old styles/old tricks” and the “new one” seems very dualistic, if not idolatrous. So does praying directly to Jesus or reading the Bible “in Jesus’ name” or doing things “in Jesus’ name.”

So there you have it. And that’s why I don’t do interfaith relations anymore.

Get Back

When I first came to this school, I was a little disheveled for a while. I was upset by the fact that I suddenly had no posek (for all our domestic problems, at least my Conservative ex-rabbi gave basic advice). I realized I lived in a town with 13,000 people in it. I realized our Jewish students literally didn’t want anything but a superficial Jewish community at school. I learned that I could no longer, in good conscience, go to our Reconstructionist synagogue.

And my friends really brought me down. “You’re too strict!” they said. Even the rabbi. “No one else around here worries about halacha, why must you have a stick up your bits?” From every angle, the message was the same. “It’s not about the law. You gotta do what’s right.” So I decided to get spiritual. And I decided to listen to what the Reconstructionists had to say. And I went to the Interfaith Club meetings. I read Nachman. I even checked out The Journey Home by some Reform rabbi. “I’m Reform; I might as well know about it,” I told my friend as I spotted the book.

And it wasn’t working. In fact, it backfired. I hated my roommates for being too Christian. I hated my assimilated Jewish friends for not using the gift of Judaism that they’ve been handed so effortlessly. I started arguing back, this time on Orthodoxy’s side. I focused on Orthodoxy, but really I was arguing for law, and particularism, and not assimilating and not conceding.

And then the Orthodox rabbi came to campus. I remember the day he came. We sat on the couches on campus, four of us, and talked about Israel. That’s it. He was pretty slick since as soon as I mentioned Pardes he pulled the old “What if I said you could go to Israel for free” etc., but I realized later he apparently had a life-changing experience in Israel and now the whole thing’s his life goal.

I have to admit that it was nice to talk about such things after a month or so of pretending I was into universalism and sharing interfaith experiences and so on.

I was angry—I’d been told that it was good that I ended up here; that I could really learn from new perspectives; be a religion major; don’t be a Jewish Studies major; maybe the Jewish community here’s not so bad; maybe I’m the one who’s all wrong.

But I also felt like something new and exciting had just happened. A guy just walks in and says we ought to be different; we can learn from ourselves; it’s OK to want your own state and identity. I’d never heard that before.

Even in elementary school, people would always tell me that it’s a good character-building activity to hang around people who are different from me—of course when you go to public school that means hanging out with girls who enjoy makeup and boys when you like music and vandalizing the bathroom—but I always thought something was amiss. I’m always friends with people who are entirely different from me. My friends and I rarely share the same interests. I guess I have pretty esoteric interests, but I took it as a given that I’d always be around people who were “different from me.” That’s no great thing.

Did I learn from their perspectives? I don’t think so. Maybe. But I don’t think it built my character. Someone could argue that I had no one to reinforce my own self-selective bubble of ideas, because they could be destructive or wrong, but what about when I had the right ideas?

Was it worth it to be as alone and isolated as I was, to build my character and “learn new viewpoints”? No. You need to be grounded in something. I had friends whom I liked and who listened to me and whom I cared about etc., but I never had friends who I could really share things with, because they weren’t interested. I always conceded to them because they had normal interests; they seldom to me. And so I spent so much time “building character” and listening to what my friends liked that I never got to grow in my own interests and values and things important to me.

My friend Max once said “Jews shouldn’t act like Americans; they should act like Jews.” Why do we concede to what others want us to be? Is that what we tell our children when they’re the different one at school? Then which kids grow up to really be someone? What are we doing to ourselves?

Backfiring: when Judaism collides with isolation

So, this whole “Go to a school in the swamps and get pluralistic because you have no choice” thing is backfiring. Everyone around me seems to be totally on-board with Interfaith Dealings. I know a good many very religious Christians (i.e. Bible quote Facebook status updates), and apparently I know by a variety of degrees some Jews For Jesus as well. Indeed, almost everyone I know is either a Christian who is interested in Judaism, an otherwise serious Christian, a Jew For Jesus, or is converting to Judaism (or otherwise on the fringe of Judaism).

This isn’t good.

Not because dealing with people with beliefs different from yours isn’t good; on the contrary, I applaud the efforts of everyone around me to coalesce and learn from each other. I mean, look at me now. I’m in our school’s interfaith campus club; I’m writing our school paper’s interfaith religion column; I even have a book from the library with the title The Journey Home. I’m trying to get spiritual and accepting. I’m trying to be some person I’ve never been, and I’m wondering if this is an impossible thing.

I’ve found myself pulling away from the Interfaith Cause just because something-I-know-not-what has been watering down my commitment to Judaism, you know? At the end of the day, I don’t think “all religions lead to the same place.” I’ve got to feel good about Judaism. It’s the one I’ve pledged loyalty to. I’m therefore imagining that if I had ended up going to Brandeis or JTS like I’d wanted, I wouldn’t be confronted with the barrage of self-doubt day after day, and I’d have more strength and resolve to approach the trials when they came.

But alas, my leap into the abyss is simply making me rather angry instead. I didn’t want to have to ask myself exactly why I dislike Jews for Jesus. I didn’t want to find out the girl from the synagogue whom I just invited to minyan is actually a Christian but didn’t tell me. I didn’t want to be coined as That Jew who, as a Religion major, must be planted firm in deed and creed. Because on the contrary, I am truly a mess. I can’t handle the barrage.

I thought this would be a good thing, but somehow it’s rather been tearing at my very core. I thought that I’d knock down the pillars of my legalistic mindset, and the fruits of unprecedented kindness and mercy underneath the shell would naturally bloom. But now that I can almost palpably feel the pillars come crashing down—as I skip Shabbat after Shabbat and bracha after bracha—the question whether this will work is becoming ever more immediate. And I’m getting increasingly worried that there’s not going to be any fruits blooming from the rubble.

My practice and my ideologies and my theology are separating. Before, I defined Judaism by its liturgy, and my presence at the synagogue, and my interest in Jewish texts, and the like. But now—whether because it’s become just another part of my life or because it’s become something that my life is trying to actively eject—I’m really not interested anymore. (Worrisome, since I’m a Religion major focusing on Judaism.) I’d rather listen to “Who feels and knows the Lord / Who feels and knows the Lord” by The Wailers than read the Ma’ariv service yet again, with its platitudes set in stone that are so vague that they have no meaning to me unless I invest them with my own, which is entirely difficult unless I’ve just read a good book or something, which itself is rare. And I’d rather listen to it on Shabbat than to sit alone in my silent room on Shabbat. And I’ve come to really dread going to the synagogue, whether at the Reconstructionist one, with its slow singing, guided meditations, and its weird communal tallit blessings; or the Conservative one back home, with its country club donors buying their aliyot, its responsive readings, and its stage directions (“stand, sit, stand, sit”).

Less simple to rationalize, I’m becoming—and I’m embarrassed to admit—bored with some of the mitzvot. I’m finding it less meaningful to do things like light candles and pray in the morning (I’ve been doing it by memory while making breakfast). I like to think it’s because no one in my family ever did such mitzvot, and absolutely no one around me does it, so it only seems appropriate that I too would gradually stop as well. But who do I have to blame? Sometimes I wonder whether I will look back on this time ten years from now and think how hard I tried, but alas how naive I was.

(And it’s even more awkward because it’s not like I’m just going off the derech, rebelling after having been raised observant; I’m going off the derech after having been observant for LESS THAN TWO YEARS.)

But I don’t really know what I want instead. I don’t know what I ought to want. I’m no longer interested in reading books about Judaism—be it history, halacha, Talmud, holidays—nor do I want to read any of the plentiful overtly Jewish graphic novels, most of which seem to be about the Holocaust. I want to do and I don’t have the chance to. Sure, I have the chance to go to the Simhat Torah here at the Recon place, but I don’t want to. Should I? I don’t consider them my community. Should I? I’d rather just stay home. But should I want that? I want Judaism to be compatible with my punk rock and my comics and my rather aggressive “Fight all things” theology—but is it so or am I imposing my own desires upon it?

I’m more interested in now. I want to experiment with my minyan, I want to make Biblical videos, I want to make tallitot, I want to read graphic novels—and not about some family in the Holocaust or some immigrants in tenements; I want to read about someone my age, in my situation. It’s like when you rent movies, and you rent two; one you want to watch, and one education historical documentary you suppose you should watch. I want to live in an observant Jewish community. But it feels as if I ought to be learning from this interfaith, pluralistic “no one here is even remotely like me” experience here at this tiny school filled only with Christians and “cultural Jews.” It feels as if I shouldn’t be resentful about it.

Since I’ve never lived in an observant community, I don’t have much of a baseline—so thusly when I start to drift, like now for instance, I always figure “What would happen if I just…quit?” What would happen? I’m not sure where I’d go. I’ve never had another religion. I could be an atheist again. I find myself teetering on that fence, especially lately (it seems that when you start doubting whether God listens or cares, He’s not exactly quick to reassure you). Ever since my weird little vow on Rosh Hashana to “stop worrying so much about halacha,” it seems that I’ve somehow taken that quite far and I find myself “not worrying about” almost everything. I find myself seriously considering my friend’s advice that birkat hamazon is only meant for special meals, and I find myself using the tired “mincha’s not essential, I guess” argument, and the “eh, this cake is probably kosher;” and meanwhile my textual criticism teacher is finally wearing me down with his “deuteronomists this” and “redactors that.” It’s coming at me from all angles; how can I even stand it?

I’m wondering what it might have been like at Brandeis, with their three different Jewish clubs for three different denominations, complete with their own minyans. I’m wondering what I’ll be like when I get out of this school.

If.

Well, this is the day I’ve been waiting for I guess

Mmm…my last post was perfectly timed. Guess what I found out today? The lady who sits behind me in Hebrew class, the lady from Poland, is a Jew for Jesus. Her Jewish ancestry got lost during the wars, she told us, and now she goes to a Messianic synagogue.

I couldn’t believe it! My friend and I were walking back from class to our cars with her, and she told us the whole story.

“So why Messianic and not just Christian?” I had to ask.

“They’re not the same. I still do all the commandments,” she said, not forgetting to mention, of course, that there are some you can’t do without the Temple etc.

“Wait, tell me one thing,” I said while we were walking through the parking garage. “What did he do?” She said he was resurrected, stumbling a bit and mentioning that other people were resurrected in the Torah. It didn’t really answer the question, so I recalled that Christians generally say that Jesus’ whole purpose was to retroactively discard of the 613 shackles of the Torah.

“No, Paul said that,” she told me. “The only thing that separates me and other Jews is that I believe in Yeshua.” I believe my face fell upon hearing that word, as I was reminded of all the junk I’d come across on the internet, where a bunch of random English words are replaced with Hebrew words. I remembered what a lie the whole scheme was.

Naturally, I had to ask if I could interview her for our school’s paper, and she admitted that she was still new at this and had just started learning! “I have some material I could bring,” she told me! Naturally, my freak neo-hasidic Reconstructionist friend kept telling her, “Yeah, yeah, no, I understand, I have a messianic friend too, yeah you’re right…” but I was filled with a need to knock down her lies, no matter the pragmatic consequences. Messianism makes me upset, proselytizing or otherwise.

My first real encounter. I couldn’t help but wonder, Where are those non-Pauline Christians supposed to turn? I suppose one could become Unitarian Universalist. I suppose one could also call themselves a non-Pauline Christian. But otherwise, I might as well think of this lady as a Noahide—she suddenly exclaimed how grateful she was that “God showed her the Torah”—but…but…

What should I do? Should I talk her out of it? Should I confound what they’ve been teaching her with truths? Should I tell her that she’s not Jewish? How could I, given that I also have lineage that doesn’t make me REALLY JEWISH, but I still enjoy the Torah as well? The only thing that separates us, as she said, is belief. A belief I think is totally dumb and wrong, but should I argue? Should I stay away? Should I bring it up again?

Should I?

No seriously, what’s with Jews for Jesus?

I think I talked about this before, and I remember because some guy commented saying “Messianic is perfectly legitimate” etc. so let’s just open that can of worms again.

This post is inspired by the fact that on iTunes, there are approximately three Messianic talk radio stations, and one Jewish one. The Jewish one is French, though, and it’s some sort of rock station. We also have a Messianic ‘synagogue’ here on the peninsula, and a couple more in Richmond.

I have to tell you, it’s a little distressing to me. We are discerning people, who know that anyone can use any text to predict the messianic qualities of anyone else. In Rambam’s time, apparently, that person was Mohammed. But the question really is how they wrangle people up with their tactics, and what do they do with them afterwards? Messianic ‘synagogues,’ I should think, aren’t long-term solutions. But when I think of different pragmatic problems associated with this, I hit a roadblock.

I could suggest that they probably become uncomfortable when they realize that most synagogues aren’t messianic, but then I suppose I could say the same for those messianic hasidic sects. And we don’t bother them.

I could suggest that their ideologies bar them from any synagogues other than their own, but then I just think of how the denominational divides are doing the very same.

Speaking of hasidic sects, I’m not really sure how that works, either. I don’t suppose they go around trying to find prooftexts for their rebbe’s resurrection, but something’s going on that might not be so different.

And if you want to talk about beliefs, what about all the atheist Jews out there? I feel like that’s, like, the majority, a statistic I don’t love but I always knew this. I’m just saying I wonder why Jews for Jesus “absolutely aren’t Jewish” wherein Jews with other unusual beliefs absolutely are (save for conversion differences, obviously Jews for Jesus converts aren’t Jewish converts—however we also know that all the controversy isn’t just about conversion validity).

Could be the proselytizing. I am more against proselytizing a Jew towards idolatry than you could ever know. But even beyond that, I certainly have qualms with Jews for Jesus. I just don’t know what they are, exactly. It’s similar to my qualms against non-Jews co-opting Jewish symbols like Kabbalah and the Shema (we saw a car today with a Jesus fish and 6 7DEUT on their license plate; that was just odd). I just don’t know what to say. But I still want to throw up. You know the feeling, I’m sure.

The next question is how people actually get into that sort of thing. If you love Judaism so much, just be a Noahide. If you love Jesus so much, just be a Christian. You’ll find a large and accepting community as a Christian. It’s not hard to find a Christian community, you know. Just come to the South if you can’t find one.

And really, if you’re looking for a rebbe, how boring is Jesus? You can do way better, if that’s what you’re after. Then you can be Hasidic and that’s way more interesting than spending your life scavenging for a Messianic ‘synagogue,’ always on the fringes. Maybe you enjoy that sort of thing. And I hope you’re also aware that spending your life with other Christians who just really like Judaism isn’t really an authentic Jewish cultural experience, if that’s what you want.

Christians who are too interested in Judaism just weird me out in general a little, just because I know that there’s always underlying stuff under their interest. Interested in Israel? Maybe because you want to do missionary work (i.e. “Convert all the Jews”), or maybe because you want the second coming, which will only happen if all the Jews are in Israel?

Still like Catholics though.

I like other Christians, too, so long as they stay on their side of the fence.