TEACHINGS OF THE ECOKOSHER REBBE
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INTERFAITH

הנה מה טוב ומה נעים  שבת אחים גם יחד "Hin'ney mah-tob u'mah-na'eem, shebet acheem gam yachad! (WOW! How great and pleasant concept it is that brethern can come together in unity!)" PSALM 133: 1

 קדשים תהיו בי קדוש אני י-ה-ו-ה אלהיכם לא תקלל חרש ולפני עור לא תתן מכשל לא תעשו עול במשפט לא תשא פני דל ןלא תהדר פני גדול בצדק תשפט עמיתך לא   תעמד על דם רעך לא תשנא את אחיך בלבבך ואהבת לרעך כמוך אני י-ה-ו-ה אלהיכם "You shall be holy for I, the LORD (YHVH), your God am holy. You shall not insult the deaf, or put a stumbling block before the blind. You shall not render an unjust decision; do not be partial to the poor or show deference to the rich; judge your neighbor fairly. Do not stand by doing nothing while your neighbor is being injured. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. Love your neighbor so you can love yourself; I AM the LORD (YHVH)!"

הריני מקבל (מקבלת) עלי מצות הבורא: ואהבת לרעך כמוך "Hareini mikabel(et) alai et mitzvat HaBorei: Ve-ahavtah le-reiakha kamokha (I am taking upon myself the command of the Creator to "Love your neighbor as you love yourself)." - Leviticus 19, passim, from the prayerbook, Siddur Sim Shalom, Daily Morning Service.

THERE IS NO ONE TRUE RELIGIOUS PATH

THE "ONE RELIGION" IS LIKE GOD'S PUZZLE OF THE RAINBOW. IT IS A ONENESS MADE UP OF ALL RELIGIOUS PATH TRADITIONS. IF EVEN ONE IS MISSING, THE PUZZLE IS NOT COMPLETE. EVERY RELIGION IS NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE.

The Walking Stick Rebbe, the Holy Teacher of the Ecokosher Rebbe,  Rabbi Gershon Winkler שליט"ה states: "Judaism does not believe that Judaism is the only legitimate path to God. In fact, the Torah's concluding statement is that never again arose among the Israelites a prophet as great as Moses (Deuteronomy 34: 10), to which the ancient teachers add: "Among the ISRAELITES there never arose one like Moses, but among the nations of the world it is possible that such a one could arise" (Bamidbar Rabbah 14: 19). Judaism also does not see itself as the sole embodiment of wisdom (Eichah Rabbah 2: 13) or the only avenue to Paradise in the Hereafter. Rather, everyone - Jewish or not - can earn a portion of the World to Come (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 105a and Tosefta Sanhedrin 13: 1), because we are judged not by our religious affiliation, but by our actions in the world: "I call heaven and earth as witnesses that anyone, Jew or gentile, man or woman, slave or maidservant, can bring the Divine Presence upon oneself, all in accordance with one's deeds" (Tana D'Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 10: 1). Some sages even went so far as to extend the name YEHUDI (JEW) to ANYONE who denied belief in idolatrous worship (Babylonian Talmud, Megilah 13a). The fourth-century Rabbi Yirmiyahu held that a non-Jew who endeavored in the study and practice of Torah was equivalent to a KOHEIN GADOL, the Jewish High Priest (Sifra Acharei Mot 13: 12)".

INTERFAITH RELATIONSHIPS ACCEPTED IN TORAH

In traditional Judaism and it's halachah, interfaith marriage is not recognized. Thus, a marriage between a Jewish person and a non-Jewish person does not require a 'Get' (a Jewish divorce document) in traditional Judaism.

However, it was not always so, the Hebrew Bible refers to interfaith marriages between Hebrews and non-Hebrews; Israelites and other nations; Jews and non-Jews.

Exodus, chapter 2, verse 21, records the marriage of Moses, the Hebrew savior and messiah figure, to a daughter of a Midianite PRIEST of BA'AL(see chapter 3:1), Jethro (Yitro), who is later-on given credit as Moses' advisor (Exodus chapter 18). The parasha of the famous "Ten Commandments" (literally = the Ten Sayings; Exodus chapters 18: 1 - 20: 23 ) are located is titled: Parashat Yithro, after Moses' father-in-law, a non-Jew.

Even earlier, the first Hebrew, Father Abraham, took his wife Sarah's Egyptian handmaiden, Hagar, as a second wife (Genesis 16: 3). He later, after Sarah's death, remarries her. She comes to him with a new name, Keturah (Sweet smelling) and bears him six sons. The Torah records that Abraham gave his six sons gifts and sent them towards the East where tradition states that they became the Brahman cast of Hindus.

We do not know whether the two concubines (pelagsheem - common-law wives) of Jacob; Bilhah and Zilpah, were kin of Abraham's family or not. Therefore, there is a possibility that even Father Jacob married non-Hebrew women.

The Torah records that Father Judah, the progenator of the Tribe of Judah, from whence comes the name of the people known as Jews, married a Canaanite woman (Genesis 38: 2). He also marries his widowed daughter-in-law, Tamar, possibly also a Canaanite woman, through whose son, Peretz, came the linage of the Messianic King, King David.

Also, the Torah records that Joseph, when he lived in Egypt, took both an Egyptian name and an Egyptian wife, Asenath, daughter of Pot-phera, priest of On (Genesis 41: 45 & 50).

THE MESSIAH PROTOTYPE, KING DAVID,  IS A DESCENDANT OF AN INTERFAITH MARRIAGE. WHY THE BOOK OF RUTH IS READ ON SHABUOT (PENTECOST)

From it's very first stories, the Hebrew Bible presents us with the ability to recognize that there are TWO VOICES OF GOD IN THE TORAH.

The closest reading of the Hebrew account of the Garden of Eden story gives us a totally different rendition than that generally understood from the translations and from the traditional understandings of the text.

In this closest rendering of the Hebrew account, there is NO FALL OF FATHER ADAM, NO SIN OF MOTHER EVE, NO DEVIL TEMPTOR, AND NO CURSE OF HUMANKIND BY GOD.

Instead, what one sees is the instructions of a God parent to human children who, when these instructions are circumvented, realizes that the children are already in possession of the "knowledge of goodandbad" (without having broken the promise not to eat of the forbidden tree) and thus ready to go out into the physical world with a method of IMMORTALITY gained through the woman's intuitive misdirection of the Snake-Messiah figure; that method of immortality being through childbirth, the continuation of the species.

In amost every case of "you shall not do ex and ex," there seems to exist an exception to the rule. The two sides of the same coin (Isaiah 45: 7); the two Voices of God.

In the Torah, God is reported to have said to Moses that "... no Moabite shall be admitted to the congregation of Adonai until the tenth generation" (Deuteronomy 23: 4 - 8). The conversion of a Moabite was prohibitted by Torah Law (halakhah). The Book of Ruth comes along to teach "how greatly God rewards those who do kindness" (Ruth Rabbah 2) even if they are of the so-called prohibitted people. So much so, that the King-Messiah, King David is recorded as being born of not just one prohibitted union, that of Ruth and Boaz, but of two prohibitted unions, for to the union of Ruth and Boaz, we must add that of Judah and Tamar, the Canaanitess.

The Torah states that "The staff [of royalty] will not depart from Judah, nor the law-giver [crown of kingship] from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs comes..."(Genesis 49: 10). The royal line would descend father to son within the Tribe of Judah, and the Clan of Perez, throughout all ages of time.

In order that the Jewish people not become a people who would look at their blood linage as more pure than that of other nations and peoples, the writers of our most sacred texts record that we descend from other nations, including nations once considered impure and untouchable by the bonds of marriage. This is shown most agressively by the account of the Book of Ruth, which shows the ancestry of the King-Messiah, King David.

The Book of Ruth is read on the Festival of Shabuot to teach us the legitimacy of converts and children of intermarriages. When a person joins his or her life to that of a Jewish person with the intention of being a part of that person's tribal heritage and future, as did Ruth, and as does any non-Jew who determines to raise their children to be a part of the Jewish peoplehood, for good or for bad, that person receives the merit of Ruth, who merited to have King Solomon as her descendant.

Just as Rabbi Akiba, Rabbis Shamayah and Abtalyon, were descendants of non-Jews, yet rose to be great teachers of loving-kindness in the world, so the children of intermarried families in our midst may well bring forth great teachers for the coming generations.

The story of Boaz, the Jew, and Ruth, the Moabitess, teaches us that righteous Jews and righteous non-Jews are equal in the eyes of God. The righteous of ALL peoples receive the same rewards. No group is favored over another because of their ancestry or progenity. Simchat Torah celebrates when God gave the Torah to the Israelite nation, all twelve tribes. Shabuot celebrates when God gave the Torah to all humankind.

A Website support group for the children of Interfaith marriages THE HALF-JEWS NETWORK  Welcoming the Adult Children of Intermarriage and Other Descendants of Jews Intermarried to People of Other Faiths and Cultures

DIALOGUE AS A WAY OF UNDERSTANDING THE ONE RAINBOW RELIGION OF THE UNIVERSE THAT IS MADE UP OF ALL RELIGIONS.

RABBI GERSHON CAUDILL'S JEWISH FLEXIDOX PHILOSOPHY SUBSCRIBES TO THE BELIEF OF A SACRED GLOBAL CONSCIOUS COMMUNITY WHEREIN FOLLOWERS OF ALL RELIGIONS AND SPIRITUAL PATHS ARE ACTUALLY A PART OF THE ONE-RAINBOW RELIGION (See Micah 4: 5), AND WHO ARE DESTINED TO ONE DAY UNDERSTAND THAT, AND BRING ABOUT WORLD PEACE.

Rabbi Gershon believes in the concept of learning about other religious beliefs and practices, and, from that place of knowing, teaching understanding, tolerance, and acceptance of others through interfaith dialogue as taught by the traditional Hebrew prophets and sages for 3500 years.

Dialogue does not mean agreement. It also does not mean argument. It does mean a willingness to try to understand where the other person is coming from, and RESPECTING that point of view.

Remember that in the Torah (in the Book of Numbers, chapter 20), the Moabite Prophet of YHVH, Balaam, is just as much a Prophet as is Moses.

CONVERSION TO JUDAISM IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR BEING ACCEPTED BY GOD AS A RIGHTEOUS PERSON WHO WILL GAIN THE SAME REWARD AS A RIGHTEOUS JEW.

According to MANY passages in the Torah, being a Jew is NOT a requirement for being considered a RIGHTEOUS person, or of the CORRECT religion.

However, how you treat your neighbor is considered a requirement for being considered a righteous person.

We Jews do NOT seek converts! We do not view Judaism as the ONLY correct way of worshipping God.

We do view Judaism as the TRIBAL PATH that is the ancestral religion of the Jewish people, but the Tribal Path of other peoples is the correct way for them to worship God, as much correct as our Path is for us.

Judaism does ACCEPT converts, after informing the prospective inquirer of all the Tribal rules and regulations that the Tribe expects that its members will observe. It informs the prospect of the negative forces of anti-Semitism that the prospect will encounter as a Jew. It also informs the prospect of the fact that, although the Torah asks the Jewish people to love converts and accept them into full status as Jews, often converts are not fully accepted as Jews, especially by the various branches of Jewish thinking and practice.

The Jews are not a perfect people! They have all the faults and problems of any other group of people. They have as much infighting and turmoil as any group of Irish Catholics.

Yet, for all that, BEING A JEW HAS ITS POSITIVE SIDE.

A Jew is part of an ancient people who have an unbroken history and tradition of worship that winds its way back through the pages of time to the Exodus from Egypt.

For 2100 years of that time period, the Jewish people existed as a people and nation apart from all other peoples and nations even though the Jewish people dwelt within the other nations, yet it did not have its own country in physical space.

Eretz Israel and Jerusalem were always focal points for Jewish compass directions for prayer and national yearning.

The Jewish people have survived forced Hellenization, Roman occupation, mass genocidal war, exile, extermination, ghettoization, segregation, forced conversions, etc.

Thus, when a person comes for conversion, we are careful to let them know what they could be getting themselves in for.

The Torah speaks of those who convert to Judaism thusly:


"When a proselyte comes to be converted, one receives him with an open hand so as to bring him under the wings of the Divine Presence."
(Leviticus Rabbah 2:9)


"Dearer to God than all of the Israelites who stood at Mount Sinai is the convert. Had the Israelites not witnessed the lightning, thunder, and quaking mountain, and had they not heard the sounds of the shofar, they would not have accepted the Torah. But the convert, who did not see or hear any of these things, surrendered to God and accepted the yoke of heaven. Can anyone be dearer to God than such a person?"
Tanhuma (ed. Buber),
Lekh Lekha 6:32


"Beloved are proselytes by God, for the Bible everywhere uses the same epithet of them as of Israel"
(Talmud, Gerim 4:3)


"Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried"
Ruth, a Moabite and the
great-grandmother of King David,
who chose to convert to Judaism.
(Ruth 1:16-17)


"You shall love the convert"
(Deuteronomy 10:19)


"You must understand the feelings of the convert."
(Exodus 23:9)

GOD IS NOT "FOR JEWS ONLY". GOD IS UNIVERSAL.


Rabbi Gershon Winkler puts it this way: "For me, personally, the bottom line works something like this: God is not Jewish. Judaism is but one of many paths, of many varieties of ways of doing life, of doing spirituality, of God-Shuttling. It's not the only one. And not the best one for everyone. So since God isn't Jewish, and does not discriminate between peoples and traditions, who am I to turn down someone who requests of me a ceremonial that would enhance their life situation just because that ceremonial will include also stuff from other traditions? Were I to turn them away with the explanation that I'm a rabbi and I only do Jewish stuff, then it would mean that my primary focus of worship and obeissance is not to the Universal Creator but to this thing called Judaism. To me, that would be a lot more like idolatry than doing a Hindu chant at a Bar-Mitzvah."

WHAT ABOUT THOSE JEWS WHO CONVERT TO ANOTHER RELIGIOUS PATH?

For most of the past 2000 years of Jewish history, conversion TO Judaism was forbidden by Church Law, on penalty of death to both the convert and the person performing the conversion, while conversion FROM Judaism was greatly desired and promoted.

Yet, even when vast numbers of Jews did convert to Christianity, either due to force by the secular arm of the State, or due to the missionizing efforts of the various Church orders, as in Spain during the period from 1391 to 1492, when 200,000 Jews converted to Catholicism, these conversions were not accepted as completely nor totally valid by the very Church who instigated them in the first place.

The Church's Office of the Inquisition suspected these first "Jews for Jesus" as being secretly still Jewish in their hearts, practicing the ancient rituals of their heritage in secret, and often the Church was correct about this.

Therefore, the Church imposed the penalties of the INQUISITION upon these suspected secret Jews and persecuted them ruthlessly for 400 years, often subjecting them to terrible tortures and the auto-de-fe (being burnt at the stake publicly).

During the Age of Reason, the power of the Church was stripped from it, this in the mid-18th to late 19th century. The Church could no longer conduct itself towards those it considered as "HERITICS" in this shameful manner. With the rise of Protestantism, and its world-wide missionary programs towards those IT considered as not being Christian, thus pagan, and fair game for the Protestant Churches, many more Jews began to again find reason to convert out of Judaism.

For a long time these outward bound converts were viewed as traitors to the Jewish Tribe and its practices of religion. The Jews who remained faithful to their various Tribal practices of their particular "Clan" of Judaism drew themselves into a more closer knit group.

Some Rabbis of these groups even instigated death rites, such as sitting shiva, to any person who converted out of Judaism, linking the apostacy of the Jew to the death of his or her linage within Judaism.

However, more recently, some of the Rabbis of Judaism saw that this conversion out of Judaism in the early period was a method that God used to fulfill the promise made to Abraham, that "all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves through your offspring" Genesis 22: 17-18).

The fact remains that a Jew is a person born of a Jewish mother or a person who has made conversion to Judaism. No if, ands, or buts. You CANNOT opt out of being a Jew even if you opt out of the religion of the Tribe.

If a person converts to another religion, they do not cease to be Jewish, instead they become HYPHENATED Jews; i. e., Christian-Jews, Buddhist-Jews, Mormon-Jews, Hindu-Jews, etc., but still they are Jews.

Even the very religions that they convert to do not let them forget their ancient Jewish Tribal heritage. They are set apart as "our Jewish convert brother or sister."

Often, a grandchild will learn of the Jewish ancestral tradition in the family past history, and will then seek to return to that ancient Tribal connection. Then, the circle of the ancestral Tribal Hoop is repaired and that family is returned to its rightful place in the flock.

According to the Hope of the Israelite Prophet Micah, in his book, chapter 4, and I paraphrase; "In the Day of the Messianic Age, every person will call upon God by their own understanding of the God Name acceptable to that person, and the Israelite peoples will call upon God by the Tribal God Name, YHVH" (verse 5).

Each and every person has to find the Path to God that gives to that person solice, direction, stability, and hope. If that means that a non-Jew will seek to become a Jew, fine. If that means that a Jew will become of another religion, also fine.

However, it is VERY OFFENSIVE for ANY religion to single out another religious Path for conversion. It shows the intolerence and bigotry of the missionizing religion. It shows that they are still going through their own adolescent, questioning who they are, phase.

IT IS TIME FOR AN HONEST INTERFAITH DIALOGUE

THE "CHOSEN PEOPLE" CONCEPT

Judaism REJECTS all caste and race ideologies. Being a JEW is NOT being a member of a particular race as ALL races are represented among the Jewish peoplehood and Tribe. Hierarchy of ethnicity is not a "Jewish" concept. Judaism denies all notions of racial superiority or ethnicity that is better than all others. The Prophet Amos made it unmistakenly clear when he wrote, in the 8th century BCE; "Are you not just like the Ethiopians to Me, O people of Israel (God is not just speaking to the Jews)? says YHVH. It was I who brought the people of Israel up out of Egypt, also, it was I who brought the Philistines from Caftor and the Syrians from Kir" (Amos 9: 7).

One must realize that both the peoples, the Philistinians and the Syrians, were traditional enemies of Israel, and Ethiopians were thought of as only a slave people. But the Hebrew Prophet tells Israel that his Yahweh-God is also the God of those people, and that this God guides the destinies of those peoples as well, and most important, that they are all alike in the sight of the Hebrew God.

In the Messianic Age, the Age of Shekhinah Consciousness, the Aquarian Age, so the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah (7th century BCE) tells us; "Israel will be in a three part partnership with Egypt and Assyria as a blessing in the midst of the earth, with the blessing of YHVH Tzvaot that 'Blessed be Egypt MY PEOPLE, and Assyria THE WORK OF MY HANDS, and Israel MY HERITAGE"' (Isaiah 19: 24-25).

The ancient Sages tell us that the Torah begins with the story of Adam and Eve to remind us (Israel) that all people descend from the same two parents. The tradition also says that God took earth from the four corners of the earth to make the first Adam. Red from the North, Yellow from the East, Black from the West, and White from the South, so that the first Adam was of all races.

Just as with all other people's stories of CHOSENNESS, the chosenness of Israel was dependent upon Israel serving its God as a HOLY people, a LIGHT UNTO THE NATIONS, as an EXAMPLE, not as a missionary religion. "And you shall be holy unto Me" (Exodus 22: 30). The first century rabbi, Rabbi Ishmael said: "IF you are holy then you are Mine."

Holiness is not a self-glorification but a hard discipline of self-purification. It was never assumed that Israel would be perfect, beyond sin or transgression. God does not ask the Israelite people to be PERFECT. THERE ARE NO PERFECT PEOPLE OR NATIONS!

Israel was only "chosen" to show that all people can progress to a better understanding of God and the relationship between God and humankind, and the requirement of STEWARDSHIP towards the environment. If God can cause Israel to become a better, more compassionate, caring people , then all people can do it. That is the goal! It is up to us who have accepted the mission to rise to the challenge! IF YOU CHOOSE TO RISE TO THE CHALLENGE - THEN YOU ARE CALLED - ISRAEL!

TIKUPAT DELI (The Age of Aquarius)

With the dawning of the Modern Age, the Age of Aquarius, as it is often called, the religious superiority complex has been called into question.

Those religions who have traditionally been the source of the most missionary actions have had to re-evaluate they way they connect to the indigenous peoples of the world.

And, the indigenous peoples of the world are rethinking how they view their ancestral religious heritage. Often they can find more in their own tribal heritage and history that is meaningful to them than they can find in the religions that were imposed upon them, especially those imposed by the threat of the sword.

IT IS TIME THAT ALL RELIGIONS ABANDON THE MISSIONARY SELLING OF THEIR RELIGIOUS VIEWS.

It is TIME for honest, and honorable, dialogue, WITHOUT THREAT OF COERSION, between peoples of differing religious views.

We can learn much from seeing religious, ethical, moral, and traditional perspectives from the place around the table of TRUTH where the other person views these things from.

However, we must be open to a completely honest and open forum of dialogue wherein all religions respect the other religions as also being Paths to that which each religion holds as the Supreme Power.

No ONE RELIGION holds God captive! God is the Giver of all religious traditions to the peoples of the World (see the Tanakh, Book of Amos, chapter 9, verse 7). IT IS ALL ONE GOD!

THE JEWISH CONCEPT OF THE MESSIANIC AGE

The Jewish concept of the Age of Messiah( Tikupat Deli), which is part of the Aquarian Age, is based upon the scenario of Isaiah 2: 2-5; Isaiah 11 and Micah 4: 1-5, wherein ALL religions, of ALL peoples, are able to live together in interrelationship, respect, harmony and peace, without fear or prejudice or coercion, in a DEMOCRATIC One World government of peoples, races, religions and ethnicities, when the FEMININE MESSIAH SHEKHINA PRESENCE of God covers the world as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11: 9).

However, one can understand the missionary religions if one desires to do so. The "missionary" faiths are still in a state of religious adolescence and uncertainity. As they grow up and become more sure of their own position in the world of religions, they will become less convinced that it is ONLY THEY that have the sole ownership of THE TRUTH. Then they will have seen the LIGHT!

Missionary religions are like purvayors of soap or used cars, but they serve a purpose in the Divine Plan too, as they also help to gathering people together that relate to the unique message of that particular missionary religion, which in turn, puts them in a place where EVENTUALLY they can be taught to be more accepting and tolerent of others who differ from them.

In this way, God is sorting out from all of the mixed peoples of the earth those who carry an Israelite soul. This, in order to fulfill a promise made between God and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their seed, as an EVERLASTING Covenant, a Covenant of Tradition, Torah and Land.

But, this does not mean that only the Israelite seed is CHOSEN by God. ALL PEOPLES ARE CHOSEN BY GOD.

Each people's Sacred Writings or Stories teach that it is THEY who their concept of God has called to a special mission in the world. It is like a father who has several children, each of whom he tells that he loves that child the best (see Amos 9: 7).

Some of the many Hebrew bible scriptures that can be viewed as references to the Days of the Messiah (or messianic-age) are:

Psalms 72: 1-4; 17-20; Isaiah 11: 1-10; Isaiah 49: 6; 52: 13-15; 53: 1-6; Jeremiah 23: 1`-4; 30: 3-11; Ezekiel 34: 23-31; 37: 21-28.

תורת יהוה תמימה משיבת נפש
The Torah of ADONAI (the LORD) is PERFECT, reviving the spirit.
עדות יהוה נאמנה מחכימת פתי
The eternal testimonies of ADONAI are SURE, enlightening the foolish simpletons.
פקודי יהוה ישרים משמחי לב 
The precepts of ADONAI are JUST, gladdening the heart.
מצות יהוה ברה מאירת עינים
The directions of ADONAI are CLEAR, opening the eyes.
יראת יהוה טהורה עומדת לעד
The awe of ADONAI is PURE, enduring forever.
משפטי יהוה אמת צדקו יחדו
The laws of ADONAI are TRUE, and altogether just.

- PSALM 19 - תהילים

BEYT TIKKUN SYNAGOGUE (Rabbi Michael Lerner) click here

CHOCHMAT HALEV INTERFAITH JEWISH BASED COMMUNITY (link) click here

TRUTH (אמת EMET)

When we become aware of this truth that God recognizes ALL religions equally through the GOOD that they do for each other and for strangers, the hungry, and the homeless, we can no longer view just one religion as being superior to another, but only as part of the God-Paths that make up and intermix in being the Paths of God (Micah 4: 1-5).

WHAT IS TRUTH?

The word TRUTH in Hebrew is EMET, which is spelled Alef, Mem, Tav; the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, the middle letter, and the last letter, thus, to the Hebrew mind, TRUTH symbolizes the whole of everything as it really is, not as we perceive it, but as it REALLY is.

However, the TRUTH is distorted and made relative by the place from where we view it as we sit at the table of humanity, and by the way we are taught to look at TRUTH through the lenses colored by our ancestral traditions, our pre-conceived religious perspectives, our cultural upbringing and concepts, and by our psychological personalities.

We need to be willing to understand that the other person's perspective is just as valuable to him or to her and is just as filled with TRUTH as is our own understanding of the TRUTH to us. The reality is that ALL TRUTH is being viewed through the prisms of our own human limitations. When we are willing to listen to other concepts of the TRUTH, we can receive new perspectives that allow us to understand TRUTH more fully.

Rabbi Gershon believes in the TRUTH of the teachings of the traditions of the Judaism that he was taught by his teachers, and as is interpreted and expounded TODAY in the philosophy of the Aquarian Age Rebbe, his honored teacher and spiritual guide, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, (read his wonderful book "PARADIGM SHIFT") and in the philosophy of his Walking Stick Rebbe, his honored teacher, Rabbi Gershon Winkler, and by a rational, logical, common-sense, PERSONAL, EDUCATED perspective.

Rabbi Gershon holds to the basic teachings of the Jewish Flexidox and Jewish Renewal schools of thought and to the teachings and principles espoused through the Walking Stick Foundation, which is a nonprofit tax-exempt Jewish and Native American partnership dedicated to the recovery and preservation of indigenous spirituality.

The purpose of the Walking Stick Foundation is to:

* 1. Provide experiential and educational programs that enrich and empower the individual;

* 2. Restore Jewish and other aboriginal teachings and practices that further our sensitivity to and respect for the physical and spiritual gifts of our natural environment, and that offer a quality of connectedness with life that is both nourishing and transformative;

* 3. Make accessible these teachings and practices to a wider public through retreats, workshops, and publications; and

* 4. Offer support to select groups and individuals whose ideals parallel those of the Walking Stick Foundation regardless of religious affiliation so long as there exists an honoring of the validity of other traditions.

THE FIVE PILLARS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE (Symbolized by the HAMSA-The FINGERS on the HAND of GOD)

There are five items that have preserved the Jewish people throughout history.

1. A BELIEF IN A POWER HIGHER THAN ANY HUMAN AUTHORITY FIGURE. This belief in a Higher Power that guides and directs the universe towards a more perfect historical future is the major principle of Jewish belief. It is expressed in the statement of Deuteronomy 6: 4 "Hear O Israel! YHVH your Power, YHVH is ONE!".

a. The God you do not, or cannot, believe in does not exist! God IS the FORCE that brings ALL creation into existance!

2. SCRIPTURE. The Written Torah, Prophets and Writings of the TANAKH and the Oral Torah (the understanding of what the Torah is saying) in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds, the Hagaddot, the Responsa and Commentaries, etc.

a. The Hebrew Torah is the CONSTITUTION and BILL OF RIGHTS of the Jewish people, the Talmuds are her rulings of the Supreme Court . The ability to debate scripture and question authority, even God, is intrinsic to the nature of being a Jew. The final authority rests in the PEOPLE, not in God.

3. TRIBAL LANGUAGE. The Hebrew language was preserved by the requirement for each adult male's being able to read the Torah parashah (the chapters) of his birth week readings and the Haftarah (Prophets) readings as a rite of passage showing his capability of entering into full adult responsibility; it was his time of Bar Mitzvah.

a.As befitting a constantly renewing and vibrant peoplehood, today, this benefit and privilage is also required of the women. If you want to destroy a people, destroy their tie to their ancestors through their ancient stories and language. Knowing Hebrew allowed Jews from every culture of Judaism; Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Yemenite, Oriental, Mizrachi, etc., to communicate with each other in the ancient Tribal tongue. The Hebrew tongue was once the only shared language for many Jews to conduct business or trade with each other in with any degree of understanding.

4. COMMON PRAYER RITUALS. The Siddurim (Prayer Books) for Shabbat, Festivals and Weekdays, the Makhzorim Prayer Books for the High Holidays, and the Fast of Tisha B'Ab and Festival of Purim Megillot (scrolls).

a. The knowledge of reading the Hebrew prayers and the prayers in the common tongue created a people who were literate through history. A Jew could go to any Jewish community in the world and be able to be accepted as part of the Tribe through the medium of shared rituals of prayer.

5. SACRED TIME. The Hebrew Calendar with its marking of the Sabbath, Festivals, Fasts and Memorial days, created sacred ceremonial gatherings both on the communal Tribal level and on the individual personal level.

a. The worshipping together on the weekly Sabbath, Festivals and Fast days in their seasons, created a living Jewish community. Rituals around birth, b'nai mitzvot, marriage, divorce, and death created a solid and cohesive community, even if seperated by distance.

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