The following is a snippet from a series of emotional emails that a reader sent to me. It has been reprinted with her permission. I share it not to create controversy, but to clarify. I think this is a very sensitive topic that many people are afraid to address.
“My name is Bethany and I have been subscribing to your blog since 2015. Since I’ve been reading for so long, I feel like I know you. I am intrigued by your ideas and it’s obvious you are genuine, but I worry so often that you are missing out on life’s greatest gift: Jesus Christ.
Christ unifies us. I pray that you will come to know Christ and accept him as your Lord and Savior. Jesus is the Messiah for all mankind, not just Christians. I wish that Jews could see what they’re missing. Jesus is here for you, for everyone. All you have to do is be born again and you will become whole through His love. Jesus is the only truth.”
Because Bethany and I have discussed this at length, in a respectful and honest way, I think she’s being sincere. (I receive enough hateful comments to know the difference.) When someone approaches me politely, I am willing to provide an equally polite answer.
Throughout my life, I have heard similar statements. When I was much younger, it would upset me. At this stage of my life, it doesn’t concern me one bit, because I don’t need other people’s approval. I am secure in myself and my faith. Their opinion, their faith, and their truth does not determine what I believe.
Jews and Christians have many things in common. We both acknowledge the same God, yet we interpret Him differently. Every human being has a soul and each soul will connect with God in their own way. There isn’t one road; there are many and each one is equally valid.
While I would never claim to know all the answers, I am positive that Judaism is right for me and other religions are not. What is right for another person, I would never dare to say, because it’s none of my business and quite frankly, I don’t care.
I do not need Jesus Christ. He is not my Messiah. He is not my truth. He is not, in any way, a part of my belief system. Why? Because I am Jewish and that is not part of the Jewish faith. I have never felt that I’m missing out or inferior because of it.
If someone wants to believe in Jesus, that’s perfectly fine, provided it’s their free will. There is no lack of literature regarding Christianity and any curious person can access it, for free, anywhere, at any time. I seriously doubt there is a member of the Jewish community that has not heard about Jesus at some point. I am not confused, or misinformed, or rejecting “the truth” as other people may see it. I believe my way and they can believe their way.
I understand that for many Christians, spreading the Gospel is huge. They knock on doors, send flyers in the mail, and dispatch missionaries all around the world. They feel “it” and they want others to feel the same.
Judaism is the complete opposite—we don’t advertise, we don’t encourage conversion and faith is always regarded as a private matter. It’s a “Live and Let Live” attitude, which is the best way to be—no force, no coercion, no judgment.
Open dialogue and constructive discussion is great. Anyone who is firm in their own faith should welcome it. Jews and Christians should be friends, not enemies. Interfaith activities are important, and if each side is there to listen, rather than instruct, we can learn so much. We should have an open door policy, in our houses of worship and our homes, and welcome others.
I am not offended by Bethany’s statements and I hope she isn’t offended by mine. But there is nothing she can say, nothing anyone can say, that will change my mind about Jesus Christ. If thousands of years of persecution, an Inquisition, Pogroms, and a Holocaust hasn’t dissuaded the Jewish People, nothing will. We’ve made our choice and we’re not budging. Please let us go; I promise we’ll be fine.