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7 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2007 - 9:44AM #1
Faith0903
Posts: 14
I posted on the Judaism site a couple days ago and got some not so pleasent response. Then I started looking into Noahide and have a couple questions. If someone becomes a Noahide can they at least identify themselves as someone of the Jewish faith, not the people but as someone who's heart identifies with the Jewish belief system. I know they practice the prayers and holidays, but would it be wrong for a Noahide to display the symbols of the faith such as a Star of David or a Chai? Also, where did this come from? Did it branch off from a particular movement within Judaism? You see what is stopping me from conversion is my fiance, he's Catholic, and although he would never stop me from converting he himself isn't quite sure is he wants to. He has expressed a small interest a couple years ago. I know Reform Judaism is a bit more excepting of interfaith marriages but our Reform synagogue is almost non existant in my area. It will be a few more years til I can actually convert because I'm currently in college and working constantly so hopefully afterwards I can settle down and also will be moving out of my area. Any anwers would be great
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2007 - 9:52AM #2
gavrie
Posts: 807
Noachide (weird word) simply came from a Jewish legal category to identify non-idolatrous Gentiles (this was way back in the dusty past). At that time, it was important to know who fell into what category for the sake of commerce, etc. Non-idolatrous Gentiles (which would be most everyone today) are de facto Noachides.

I don't know if it's so much a religion in itself - and no, it does not make you a member of the Jewish faith or the Jewish people, nor does it allow you to participate in Jewish worship in a meaningful way, or to keep many mitzvot. I'd consider it more the 'default' option for anyone who isn't Jewish. E.g., if you are a Gentile and not sacrificing kittens in the back garden, you're probably already a Noachide. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, atheists, what have you, are all Noachides.

There are some links to Orthodox Judaism, especially Chabad, with some small Noachide communities, but it's really not a religion in and of itself - it's always struck me as a kind of no-mans-land.

In other words, whatever you are, you're probably already a Noachide.

Edited to add: I personally feel we should bring back the concept of gerim toshav, or basically 'righteous strangers/resident aliens with full rights'. It existed in the bible, and did allow people to live and fully participate in Jewish communities and worship. But sadly, it has fallen out of use.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2007 - 6:27PM #3
clyde5001
Posts: 3,501
Gavrie,

I was just going to say that and you beat me to it. Weren't they also call G-D fearers?

There should be some category of a friend of the Jewish people who has attached themselves to us in  a formal way. We've met people like that on these forums.
Shema Y'Israel Adnai Eloheinu, Adonei Echad.

Am Y'Israel Chai!

23,298 posts as of 2/27/2009

3,208 after the transition.

A 20,090 difference.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 06, 2007 - 7:29PM #4
gavrie
Posts: 807
The early Christians (Book of James variety - the ones who were still definitely Jewish and did not seem to be proclaiming Jesus as a god) called them Godfearers.

There's also a lot in the Tanakh about them - my mind is hitting a blank today where it is but I know you know the passage - about how there shall be one law for all of you both Jew and Ger? IIRC, the only prohibition was an uncircumcised man could not attend the Pesach seder. So, maybe go to a footie game that night? Or whatever sport they play during that time of year. Other than that everything - including worship and marriage within the tribe - was just dandy.

Can we start a movement to reclaim the saner parts of our past?
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2007 - 4:41AM #5
Deepforestman
Posts: 13
Some light might be drawn from Ezekiel 34 in which it is said that (here I paraphrase) since the leaders of the flock are wanting, then G-d Himself will draw out those whom He has chosen anbnd lead them Himself, Jew or Gentile alike.

So relax, if He has grabbed you then grabbed you most certainly are.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2007 - 9:29AM #6
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
First to Faith:

I'm sorry that you didn't think our responses to you on the other board were pleasant. I certainly didn't mean to offend you -- I just being honest and telling you like it is.

To Gavrie et al:

One of the things that bugs me about this Noachide business is that it's taken something that historically was quite mundane and transformed it into this big spiritual whoop-de-doo.

Part of that, I'm certain, has to do with the historical experience of the Jewish people. Beginning with the fall of the First Commonwealth and certainly with the destruction of the Second, the connection between Jewish identity and the land of Israel -- the same kind of natural national connection that bonds the Irish to Ireland and the Japanese to Japan -- began to weaken as the hold on the land weakened. Originally, one was a "Jew" or "Yehudi" because one lived in Judah and was subject to the Judean monarchy and religious establishment. When the Monarchy fell in 586 BCE, only the religious establishment remained and that took up the slack of underlaying national identity. With the decisive destruction of any Jewish national aspirations after the Bar Kochba revolt and the onset of the Second Exile, commitment to the Jewish religion became the primary and indeed only basis of national identity -- it was the only thing that could bind all Jews together whether they might be living.

So, flash back to ancient Israel. You had a definite political and religious structure, a confederation of tribes and kinship groups. Tribal identity, national idenity, and religion were all of one piece -- the notion of the separation of church and state did not exist. Further, because Israel was originally a tribal society kinship was a fundamental element of identity. One was either born into the kinship group or not. There was no concept of "conversion" and there was no concept of "naturalization."

Yet, there were people who lived in the land of Israel who were not Israelites -- foreign settlers, non-Israelite natives, slaves, etc. They needed to fit within the political and religious framework somehow. Since they were not part of the kinship group, part of the tribal lineage, they were not subject to the bulk of religious legislation incumbent on other members of the nation. Yet, they were required to abide by other basic laws. The notion of there being "one law for the resident alien and the native-born" applies in civil law and basic ritual law. It did not mean that Israelites and non-Israelites were equally subject to the entirety of the ritual law.

Ger toshav means "resident alien" and that was exactly the sense it carried in ancient Israel. Just as a foreign national who resides in the US must obey our laws and is granted protection of our laws but does not get to vote and is not required to register for selective service, the same essentially applied to the ger toshav.

Of course, bear in mind that most of what we identify with Judaism today -- Shabbat in all its particulars, kashrut, the synagogue, etc. -- simply did not exist or if they did existed in a form unrecognizable today. The ritual distinctions between an Israelite and a ger toshav would not have been so radically pronounced as they are today. This is a major reason why an Israelte (of either gender) could marry a ger toshav (except for priests).

Fast forward 500 years to the Second Temple era, when the experience of exile in Babylon and foreign domination had started the process of shifting Jewish identity from nation-land to religion. In this time, the Written Torah had been created and introduced after the exile and the class of scholars who would become "rabbis" were in the process of studying it and harmonizing it with tradition to create what would become "halakhah." It was in this time, also, with the Hellenization of the Middle East in the wake of Alexander that more and more immigrants and traders were coming through and settling in the land of Israel and needed to be accommodates somehow into the social framework.

As religion gradually became the primary basis of identity, the doctirne of conversion evolved and so too did the preoccupation with idolatry and the laws regularing interaction with idolaters. From  this, the ger toshav evolved in the "ben Noach." It meant the same thing -- although the nation no longer had the sovereignty it once did and so the political affiliation was weaker. Only now the religious and ritual distinctions between a "Jew" and a "non-Jew" were gradually becoming more and more pronounced. After the Exile, endogamy became the required norm and there needed to be some way of accommodating non-Jews into the social-religious system. Thus, conversion was invented so that non-Jews could enter the Jewish religious system (and thereby the nation). The status of "benei Noach" was invented to categorize those non-Jews who were not considered idolaters and with whom Jews could do business but could not now marry.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2007 - 9:54AM #7
Faith0903
Posts: 14
Why must there be politics in everything? All I want is a relationship with the Lord and to be in the company of those with similiar beliefs as I do. In my previous post I think some may have misunderstood me. I do not believe in the divinity of jesus, yes I feel he did exist. But he did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies( yes a read them) so I can not believe it. I am wondering one thing and perhaps someone can help me : where do christians get the idea for the second coming, is it from the OT or the NT?
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2007 - 10:26AM #8
nieciedo
Posts: 5,617
[QUOTE=Faith0903;50858]Why must there be politics in everything? All I want is a relationship with the Lord and to be in the company of those with similiar beliefs as I do. In my previous post I think some may have misunderstood me. I do not believe in the divinity of jesus, yes I feel he did exist. But he did not fulfill the Messianic prophecies( yes a read them) so I can not believe it. I am wondering one thing and perhaps someone can help me : where do christians get the idea for the second coming, is it from the OT or the NT?[/QUOTE]

"Politics" in this sense gets muddled because Jews are peculiar. Our religious identity is inextricably tied to our national identity. When one converts to the Jewish religion, one is also joining the Jewish people -- becoming a member of  the nation.

It's not as simple as simply having a relationship with God -- that's available to everyone anywhere and anytime. Converting to Judaism means a relationship with God and the Jewish people.

Of course, we welcome everyone who is willing to join the historic destiny of the Jewish people -- but we want to make sure they know what they're getting into. Being Jewish, historically speaking, has not traditionally been good for one's health!

The notion of the Second Coming is entirely the product of Christianity, a way to explain why Jesus didn't actually fulfill any of the Messianic prophecies yet is still the Messiah. The prophecies that couldn't be reinterpreted spiritually were deferred to when he comes back for a second go.

I understand how hard it must be in your situation. I grew up Catholic. When I could no longer tolerate the bigotry and hypocrisy coming out of Rome I sojourned briefly in the Episcopal Church. However, it was the Jewish civilization and culture that attracted me -- the sense of belonging the Jewish people -- and so I converted. My partner, however, remains a non-practicing cultural Catholic and so there has been tremendous friction in our household. To be honest, if we did not share dogs and a mortgage we would have gone our separate ways a long time ago. Now, we have to wait for the dogs to die and for the housing market to improve.

We're two men, however, so there's not the issue of children. You, as  woman, would also be responsible for raising Jewish children and creating a Jewish home and upbringing for them -- and it's incredibly, incredibly hard to do that in a mixed marriage.

The difficulty of living a Jewish life for yourself married to a non-Jew and the extra difficulty of raising Jewish children in an interfaith household are two of the primary reasons why rabbis of all denominations are unwilling to convert people and create an intermarriage. It can be done in Conservative and Reform, but it's not desirable from the outset.

Many people who intermarried and then returned to Jewish observance have struggled mightily to create a Jewish life and home and there are several people on these boards who have shared their experiences and success in this regard -- but it is far from easy.

The presence and support of a Jewish community is also essential for a truly rewarding Jewish life. Most of our most important prayers and rituals can only be done in the presence of a minyan of 10 Jews. Living remote from a Jewish community makes that very difficult.

I would just encourage you to give what you know a second look. The Episcopal Church is a very broad tent, theologically speaking. Episcopal theologians like John Shelby Spong have expressed the same kind of beliefs (or lack thereof) in Jesus and are still members of the Church.

Religion, regardless of which one you choose, is really just a system of symbols, myths, and rituals that help up ground our lives in spiritual communion with God as we understand God. The trick is to find a system of rituals, myths, and symbols that work for you. The Christian myth system is very powerful and can be interpreted in a variety ways that do not require literal belief in the divinity of Jesus.

Plus, Episcopalians have beautiful churches, services, and music!
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2007 - 5:28PM #9
James613
Posts: 614
My advice is this.

You are already a Noahide, and have been one since you know birth. So start to move into a relationship with HaShem through prayer and Torah study. Whether you do this alone, as a group, with a rabbi, with a partner w/e doesn't matter as long as your learning.

One core principal is "Healing the World". The "Noahide way of life" is very action oriented and not so much on faith. Give to charity, volunteer in your community, etc. Anything you do to help any one person is like you helped save the world (paraphrased from Talmud Sanhedrin 37a).

NOTE: Noahidism isn't a religion. It is a classification for non-idol worshipping gentiles. As a Noahide, as all gentiles are Noahides, you can choose to study Torah to offer a spiritual side to your life, IF the Torah is IYO something special, and worth studying.  Otherwise just live your life by the Seven Universal Laws (1: Do not worship idols, 2: Do not commit blasphemy, 3: Do not steal, 4: Do not murder, 5: Do not have illicit sexual relations [adultery, incest, bestiality], 6: Do not eat the limb of a living animal, 7: Set up courts that uphold these laws), and find spiritual gratification in any non-idolatrous paths you wish.

-James
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2007 - 9:41AM #10
riviya
Posts: 125
nieciedo,
((hugs)) for your personal situation.  Hope that works out for you.  You seem like such an interesting man, you wouldn't be single for long :)   

I'm assuming this won't create too many sparks on this thread, but isn't Christ an "idol" - an image of G!d?   He is a man who is worshiped as god. 

Doesn't Noahide come from Noah - a rightious gentile?  Maybe that was said and I missed it.

Riviya
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