Protopresbyter Aleksandr (av aleksandr, Patriarchate of Jerusalem), daily prayer – here for the abducted Greek Orthodox nuns and orphan girls of Maloula (Syria). Prayer with chapter 17 of St. John’s Gospel in Aramaic and Hebrew. Pray for Ukraine and the Fertile Crescent. [Hebrew, Greek, Romanian, Arabic, Aramaic, English, Slavonic]
The Lord bless you and greetings in Him! I will try to answer your question here in this inblox. It would need “semi-long” more explanations! You are not the only one to ask and I am spending my days and often evenings (sometimes some nights) trying to clarify things that are not easy: it is easy in fact, but we are subject to cultural and historic estrangement between Judaism and “split Christianity denominations”. It is not typically American, except that this year (next time will be in 79000 years as I put it on), US Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day (not in Canada that had Thanksgiving before). So there is a sort “frentic” excitement about the collusion of the two dates that does not really make sense. In Israel itself, I face the problem each year with Pascha that always falls during our Great Lent. Your question is a bit different. I shall endeavor to summarize as follows: – Your husband is Jewish and will remain a Jew for the rest of his life, willingly or not , accepted by the others or not. If he was born a Jew, he left the Jewish Community (the word = Church = Congregation) but may return any time and would be welcome. Why do I say this? There is no “ethnic” Jew: I understand what you say – this is very “Orthodox” bec. we make differents among the “nations”. But, the Jews include all the Nations as Jews: just think it over: there are Jews from all parts, cultures, languages of the world. I see Russian, German, American, Spanish, Arab… Inuit whatsoever… Jews are not singled out as one Nation, they are diversified and gathered together into one Body = Judaism with multi-faceted tendencies. On the other hand, the Jewish faith is One God, One human nation etc. To be a Jew does not mean to belong to some national identity, it means to be given a spiritual if not even theological call. “Tons” of Jews got secularized, assimilated and in many places in the world, they got astray from Judaism, some converted to the many Christian denominations, often by region in which they met with believers. I hope you understand my explanation that is plane and definitely not judgmental. I daily have to explain at the Holy Sepulcher where Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead that Jesus did not meet any Christian hierarch, never even would think of any other “Congregation” than the Jewish Community, whatsoever groups existed at that time. He died as a Jew and not as a Christian! We make a difference bec. of the progressive estrangement due to faith: Jews and Christians do not have the same faith and way to get to faith to the One God, Our Father Who art in Heaven.
– Your husband thus remains a Jew by birth though he is not a Jew in the Church for a historic reason: the Church of Jesus Christ split in 135 A.D. and later separated ttoally from the Jews. The Eastern Orthodox Church retained a lot of ancient pratices that are quite similar or parallel to not Judaism but Biblical teaching and this is why the Orthodox are often both close and away from Judaism: close by the rites and prayers, away bec. of Faith. And then, there was and still is in force a mutual excommunication”, bot hin the Orthodox Churches and the Jewish communities. This has nothing to do with politics, the present Middle-Eastern situation. Definitely nothing to do with pro or con Arabs, Palestinians, Beduins, Zionists and so forth!!! It is a theological concern. The “Church of the Circumcision” disappeared between 135 A.D. and the 4th century and only remained the “Church of the Nations/Ecclesia ex Gentibus”. As such, the Jews are not present anymore in the “Body of Christ” as we define the Church. But the fulfillment of the Church would imply the whole of mankind in th Risen Christ to the One God, i.e. that the Church should feel the absence of the Jewish faithful. This DOES NOT EXIST AT ALL.
– Though often difficult to achieve, “obedience” does exist in the Church as in Judaism in the name of a community. It means something very important: no faithful is alone: we, as members of the Church – just the same way the Jews do (a Jew alone is not allowed to say “amen”) exist because of the flock of the believers, Christian faithful. If some of us want to do something, they have to be allowed to do so. It does not mean to get a blessing in a blind way as often thought: it means that “obedience” “mirrors” the reality of the Body of Christ – subsequently, we “listen, hearken together = ob-audire = ob-edience from Latin”. Why, because no one is alone in the Church and each of us expresses what the Body does (as St. Paul spoke of the limbs and the various calls to be a believers, but each has to act in accordance and with respect to the other faithful).
At the present, there is a general tendency to “confusion” and mixing up creeds, religions the way it pleases each fo us, not in onformity with what the Body lives together. I see priests who ban the Jews – converted Jews – to do this or that. It is not any better. Theological and spiritual meaning are much more important than systematic exclusion. In Israel, it can be “bizarre” not to approach, at least come close to the people from where the Church came, though we are not in the 1st century anymore and mutual excommunication is in force. It can hurt. We have very sensible people, wounds of history. People would hide and practice in secret a sort of unclear mixture. The Jews in Israel do not care bec. Judaism has a real existence, a free one and re-developing one and time works for the Jewish identity in Israel, which is not the case in the diaspora, and in Noirth america for example.
I take the time to explain all this because: – There is no reason for you to klindle the Hanukka candles. Why. ! (again I have to explain a bit further): a) You are not Jewish, you do not belong to a Jewish community; you d onot share the Jewish faith and this is also most important. It is not a “feast of the light” on the wake of Winter… It is to be Summertime in the South Hemisphere (South Africa, S. America, Australia). Hanukkah took place in a specific place, in a specific region. It track back to a miracle that relates and still concerns the Temple and resistance to invaders (then pagan Greeks, not the Christian ones, the heathens) and to the ones who fight the divine and spiritual/theological call of the Jews to be the light of the Nation not for their own sake but to show the reign of God. It seems very close to Christianity. it is still different the way time, space, calendar, resistance to idolatry is perceived. It is relating to the Temple of Jerusalem and miracle whilst the Christians are nurtured by the Light of the Risen Only begotten Son. THEN, YOU CANNOT GET ANY BLESSING to positively and theologically participate in a Hanukkah feast and its rites neither from the Orthodox Church NOR from the Jews. of course, there are people who would do it!!! But it is quite impossible to go beyond the line with full and real awareness and not to offence (cf. to the Roman, those who are weak in faith) the other members of our own Church.
Usually, I meet with people who would ask for an advice and then do whatsoever they want: either they reject the others (Jews or others) or they join just to show “empathy/sympathy”. But faith is far more than empathy.
I would suggest something else: to assist, jus be present in silence to a Hanukkah public lightning of the candles as the Chabad has it a bit everywhere in the world. It is public, Jews participate, non-Jews can be present and just “look and see” and be who they are.
I would add something: your daughter would then get the story from the Jews and not from you, i.e. from a community that is different and coherent as a “whole” and see how they do and why. In Israel, the Jews never distribute the doughnuts or candles to non-Jews that are present and would not even greet them. I am never greeted by those who do not know me, they would even not look at me. But I consider that it is important to know where and why we belong to this or that community. I know people who cannot stand such a position, especially in public. But we are divided in so many ways in all the mayers of our societies, also in faith and it is relaitistic to cope with this… in order to go ahead and further in true faith in oneness.
A bit long, my apologies. But I think it makes sense. it is very important to be good, show real and existing goodness. Feel free to respond and “discuss”. If you already did the klinding with your daughter, try to do what I suggest: find a Jewish group and join a bit keeping aside at first. If not possible then next year!
I WANT TO ADD SOMETHING: this that I explained here is not “my opinion”, but a long long reflection shared over centuries (from the 18th c. onward) and in particular in the 20th c. by a lot of theologians.
I also looked to your photos before answering to you; I saw your daughter, your husband and you. I wanted to be sure I could write all this stuff and to whom . Blessings to you and yours in the love of Christ, av aleksandr
PS. Feel also free, it is Advent and you can make a donation to sustain my ministry: – via OCMC “”JERUSALEM MINISTRY” or “WINOGRADSKY/JERUSALEM MINISTRY” ON CHECKS AND SEND TO OCMC, P.O. Box 4319, ST. AUGUSTINE, FL, 32085-4319. – or directly via my site: “https://sites.google.com/site/hebrewinchurch/“.
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