Rabbi engages community

A special gathering held at the All
Nations United Pentecostal Church on Thursday featured members of the Jewish
community, along with church parishioners having the opportunity to meet with
Rabbi Richard Kirschen to learn about Judaism and its relationship to the
Christian faith.

The evening was also attended by
the church’s Pastor, Bishop Dolbert Clarke, who started the evening with a
solemn rendition of the Christian Hymn Sacred Hour of Prayer and a reading of
Psalms before introducing the Rabbi.

Hailing from Jerusalem, Rabbi
Kirschen said in his visits to Cayman, he always found that the Islands had
great spiritual power and was a great place to come for energizing one’s
thought life.

He explained that Judaism is not
just a religion or faith, but a people, whose heritage dates back to the time
of Moses when the Torah was written. To be considered Jewish, one either has to
be born to a Jewish mother or an individual can convert to the tradition.

Some unique facts about Judaism
shared by the Rabbi included the revelation for some non-Jewish listeners that
the New Year in Judaism was just 10 days away, at which time Jews the world
over would be subject to days of repentance. As part of these 10 days, the
Rabbi said it was important for those in the faith to accept what they could
not control and make an concerted effort to control that which they could.

“It is an intense, thoughtful time
of year,” the Rabbi remarked.

The Bible and the period of time
over which it was written was also looked at during the evening, as well as the
origin of the word Judaism, which is not found in any of the scriptural texts.

The role of the Rabbi in the Jewish
tradition is one of a teacher who interprets the ancient writings and instructs
the followers of Judaism on how to best follow the teachings. The faith does
not acknowledge the New Testament as part of its heritage.

During the question and answer
phase of the session, the Rabbi fielded questions relating to the Zionist
movement or the Israelites returning to Jerusalem after being scattered for
hundreds of years at the hands of a Roman invasion that resulted in the holy
temple being destroyed. The movement climaxed in the 1940s with the Jewish
people who were displaced all over the world returning home to what we know
today as Israel.

The Rabbi explained to the audience
that the tension that exists in that part of the world was largely due to this
movement and that he hoped to see true peace one day.

“Both leaders there have an agenda
and I think Iran has an influence, because as the old saying goes: The friend
of my enemy is my friend, but I am hopeful and I think we all would like to see
an end to the unrest.”   

This was not the first time the
Jews were driven out of their land, as a prior invasion by the Babylonians or
present day Iran, also led to the Jewish people being scattered and returning
home before the Roman invasion.

One thing the Rabbi said kept the
Jewish people and their tradition together during times of “wandering outside
their country” was the Law, which he added was the single most important part
of the tradition.

The evening was organised by
businessman Mr. Steve Cummins who explained that he is “one the defacto leaders
or organisers in the Jewish community.” He added that during the holidays, they
try do at least one programme as outreach with the community.

LOCALrabbiSTORY

Rabbi Richard Kirschen speaks about Judaism at the All Nations United Pentecostal Church.
Photo: STUART WILSON
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