In the Jerusalem Post on Dec 17, Stewart Weiss wrote in an article called “Hanukka and the limits of pluralism”:
What is the difference between communism and capitalism? Under communism, man exploits man; in capitalism, it’s just the opposite.
The article is about the distinctiveness of Judaism. He writes that Judaism, unlike many other “isms” such as commumism, “is the exception to the rule” that lines which were once diametrically opposed are becoming blurred. Over thousands of years, Judaism has mainted its distinct character. In fact, I believe that a case could be made for the enduring distinctiveness of a number religious of “isms”, inlcuding those not usually called “isms”, such as Islam and Christianity. There appears to be something enduring about the distinctiveness of religious movements that cannot be equalled by political and ideological “isms”. He concludes his article by saying:
JUDAISM TODAY – not for the first time in our history – is locked in a struggle to define our character and evaluate our essence. While a certain amount of “dilution” may be acceptable, at some point the purity level must be safeguarded if we are to maintain our unique identity. As a faith system, we can accept those who, for various reasons, choose not to follow certain aspects of ritual law; there have always been varying levels of observance among Jews, who often branch out like the menora itself.
But we cannot tolerate those who would change the basic rules of the game.
Thus observing the Sabbath on Sunday, believing in Jesus or redefining “Who is a Jew” evoke a call to arms by those who sincerely care about the future of Judaism. And it is in this context that we have to address issues like same-sex marriage or gay and lesbian “rabbis.” While Jewish law has always been willing to bend, it is not prepared to break.
If we go too far, we run the risk of becoming just another “ism.”
Perhaps “there is something in that for all of us”, as the preacher sayeth, including Christiantiy.