This article was written with Roger Froikin.
Let us start by prefacing that this article is our own personal opinion, as blogs generally are. If any of the readers feel that we are expressing their view, then so be it. That, however, is not our intention.
More importantly, this article is NOT an apology. It is merely another endeavor by us to try and explain why so many Jews are skeptical of and are unwelcoming to Christians; especially those who insist that we Jews, should let them into our teachings and that we should be forever grateful for their support of our People and our Jewish state.
Firstly, we believe that we, Jews, are indeed appreciative and grateful to anyone who supports us as we are certain that many non- Jews are, likewise, grateful to the modern day Jewish state of Israel and Am Yisrael for their gifts and contributions. It is a two way street.
Secondly, we feel that Jews are doing pretty well in letting Christians "into our Jewish teachings," mainly because we have no way of preventing or stopping it. That, however, Is not the issue that we intend to address here. What we wish to request of those that recite and mention our Holy Tanach is that in the process of adopting that which is solely ours they respect us and remember a few important principles.
At the cost of repeating ourselves, we feel a nagging need to remind Christians and others yet again that the Torah and the whole Tanach were gifts to the Jewish people first and foremost and that as such Jewish interpretations passed down as traditions are primary ones to be appreciated and respected. Yes, we are instructed to share their message, their moral code with the world, which in fact we do and willingly so.
It is not our intention to enter into a theological debate with Christians and others. Such an attempt would be merely another exercise in futility. As far as we are concerned, they can continue to believe whatever they wish and whatever suits their faith.
We will, though, say it and say it unwaveringly, that what others believe about our Jewish writing is irrelevant to us. Christianity needs its Jewish roots to provide it with its moral basis. Judaism, however, does not need Christianity and members of the Jewish faith can and should ignore it ideologically. Christianity has nothing to contribute to Judaism. Unlike the support which is a two way street, ideologically, Christianity cannot add anything to Judaism. It merely dilutes it.
Naturally, Christians have been raised to believe that their creeds are as important to Jews as the Jewish ones are to them. This, unfortunately, leads many of them to the conviction and the practice of trying to explain to us, Jews, what our writings mean to us.
This is akin to a Chinese man who loves Shakespeare and reads every one of his plays and sonnets in Chinese translation. Seeing them through the lens of Chinese culture and experience, he then tries to dictate to the English that his Chinese interpretation of Shakespeare was the most authentic and accurate --- the English scholars would laugh. By the same token, when a Christian, through the lens of his Christian experience reads the Bible and the Prophets in translation and then tries to tell Jews what it all really means, we should and must ignore it
We will ignore it yet continue to respect those Christians who choose to believe it. At the same time, we should also continue to reiterate that no interpretation by another people or another faith based on their cultural and historic view can ever be as valid as our own Jewish one.
If our Christian friends wish us to continue to show them mutual respect, they should just leave us alone and let us continue to believe what we have for several millennia. Mutual respect is a key to making this world a better place. And who does not want to make the world a better place?