Tues, 12 NOV 2002 23:17:03
Thank you for responding to my letter. I’m sorry that I have now been so long in replying. I am without a home computer these days and have grown tired of having to go to the public library to read or write emails. (My computer died shortly before our son was hospitalized with acute appendicitis, the bills started rolling in and then homeschooling began in earnest, so buying a new one right away got pushed to the back burner.)
I must confess that I was a little perplexed and agitated that you (after having read your insightful articles on diSpENSATIONALism and Christian Zionism – particularly the section on Scofield) could so easily equate a person’s nationality (“those born within the state of Israel since 1948”) with their religion (“could be described as indigenous Jews”; but I suppose that’s what I’m setting out to prove). ;o) My father is constantly reminding me to be patient with people – that it is hard to think in new categories. He says that my problem is that I am too much of an IDEALIST…
So, I guess the place that I’ll start is with NATIONALITY and RELIGION. I am assuming that since you know the history of Christian Zionism that you are aware of how Zionism in general began(?) so I’ll start there.
• Chaim WEIZMANN, Jr. is considered one of the fathers of modern Zionism. Chaim was born in 1874 in Motol, Russia (that would make him a RUSSIAN by nationality) and became a British subject in 1910 before passing from this world in 1952. I believe that he died in the newly created State of Israel, but I would have to double-check to be certain. Chaim’s father was Ozer/Oser WEIZMANN and his mother was Rachel (Leah) CHEMERINSKI, both of RUSSIA. Now Chaim’s paternal grandfather was Chaim (Azriel) FIALKOV who died in RUSSIA if he was not born there. So how does a FIALKOV become a WIEZMANN? Simple The change their name. This will become important later. In fact, 5 of the 7 FIALKOV sons changed their names, probably as a means of escaping service in the Russian army. One became a SHAPIRO, another a GOLDWEITZ, another a ROSENWEIG, another a BERMAN, and our Chaim’s father became a WIEZMANN after he was “adopted” by a childless uncle. Notice that none of these names inspire thoughts of Biblical characters in the O.T. Not a one BEN SO-AND-SOs or BAR SUCH-AND-SUCH. These Jews had/have surnames indicative of their country of origin – and none of them are Middle Eastern!
Let me stop here and point out something very crucial.
1) the children of Abraham were REQUIRED to maintain their genealogy – for inheritance purposes, for marital purposes, and for service within the nation/temple.
2) after the destruction of A.D. 70 there were NO SURVIVING GENEALOGICAL RECORDS and the Jews that did survive became enslaved by the Romans. Before A.D. 70 many Roman women were becoming nominal Jews for political expediency (which is why the Jews today say that descent was switched from patrilineal to matrilineal).
3) SURNAMES did not come into vogue until around the 1st millennium (and after having traced my own ancestry back almost a 1,000 years – even in countries like Great Britain where record-keeping is a tremendous advantage for the genealogist over and against those countries that were not so concerned or Christianized – it is still putative/spurious at best. My own maiden name is [omitted] (Norman/English), but my father was thought to be and indeed is the bastard son of a [omitted] (Scottish). His birth certificate, however, reads [omitted] (French) – after a man too dead to know or protest!).
Which brings me to this question: “How many ethnic or religious Jews in one’s pedigree does it take to make a person a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – i.e. an ETHNIC Jew?”
• Before I go back to the founders of Zionism let me relate a modern American example. Over here we have an incredibly popular radio talk show personality named Dr. Laura SCHLESSINGER. She is a self-proclaimed Jew and doles out Pharisaical advice with a lot of appeal to the God of the O.T., and religion in general, mostly to people with what I call a middle-class morality whether they be pagans, nominal Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. Dr. Laura was born to a secular Jewish-American father (whatever a secular Jew is!?), Monty SCHLESSINGER and a secular Catholic-Italian mother (whatever a secular Catholic is!?) that he met while oversees in the War. By her own admission she grew up without any religious affiliation, was married for a short time and divorced. She remarried an apparently nominal Episcopalian and one night while watching a public broadcasting special on the horrors of Nazi Germany related to her son, who asked what a Jew was, that the Jews were “his people. You are a Jew!” This launched her on a quest of self-discovery. However, since her mother had never CONVERTED to Judaism nor had it been PRACTISED in their home, Dr. Laura was constrained to convert. If being a Jew were a matter of being part of an ethnic group, then why would one have to convert? [“Conversion” is the language of religion.] Nevertheless she did, as did her son and Episcopalian husband and now they are all happy Jews – descendants and fellow heirs with father Abraham. Nevermind the prohibition God had placed on His Old Covenant people not to marry certain outsiders. I guess if you don’t know your genealogical history, then you can plead ignorance of The Law before The Throne! What if her mother was a descendant of a Canaanite or a Perizite or a Jebusite!?! What if her husband was!?! Most people would readily admit that those distinctions are long since passé, yet we tanaciously cling to the idea that God still has around His Old Covenant people – the truths of the Gospel or the fallacy of Dispensationalism/Christian Zionism notwithstanding.
What shall I more say, for time would fail me to tell of Ehud BARAK who was born Ehud BROG of East European immigrants or Menachem BEGIN who was born in Brest-Litovsk, RUSSIA (now BELARUS) or David BEN-GURION who was born David GREEN (a real Jewish-sounding name) in Plonsk, RUSSIA (now POLAND) or Levi ESHKOL who was born Levi SHKOLNIK in the UKRAINE under RUSSIAN control or Golda MEIR (who said “there are no such thing as Palestinians”) who was born Golda MABOVITZ in Kiev, UKRAINE and moved with her family to Milwaukee, Wisconsin when she was 8 years old. She married Morris MEYERSON who changed his name to MEIR in 1956 after they have moved to PALESTINE years earlier. Of what of Benjamin NETANYAHU who, although was born in Tel Aviv in 1949 in the newly constructed country of Israel and raised in Philadelphia, was nevertheless the son of Benzion MILEIKOWSKY and Cela SEGAL of POLAND, the grandson of Nathan MILEIKOWSKY of LITHUANIA (again they changed their names). Shimon PERES was born Shimon PERSKI of Vishniva, POLAND (now BELARUS). Yitzhak SHAMIR was also born in eastern POLAND in the village of Ruzinoy. Moshe SHARETT was born Moshe SHERTOK in 1894 in RUSSIA. And last, but certainly not least, we have Ariel SHARON (a.k.a. the Butcher of Beirut) who was born Arik SCHEINERMAN the son of Samuil SCHEINERMAN and Vera SCHNEEROFF, Russian Jews. SCHEINERMAN/SHARON had the good sense to at least be born in “the ancestral homeland of the Jews” – too bad it was prior to the creation of the state in 1948 and was referred to as “PALESTINE” back then! I guess old Ariel could rightly be called a Palestinian-Jew (perish the thought!).
I have yet to see the genealogical tables of any of these birds (Rev 18:2). Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of A.D. 70 the religion of Judaism has duped the world into believing that they have been reborn (or resurrected?), the descendants of an ancient faith and revered patriarch.
Just saying this much is enough to brand me a heretic or anti-semetic (that is if we knew – or could know – just exactly who Shem’s descendants are/were) or a neo-Nazi/Aryan, Anglo/British-Israelite, etc! And that is the crux of my argument. As Christians, we argue against the British-Israelism/Armstrongian heresy on the very same grounds the would discount Jews as being the ETHNIC offspring of the patriarchs (see Michael O. Friedman’s book, The Origin of the British Israelites).
Our holding such erroneous views – whether perceived or unperceived – influences not only our theology (a la Rom 11 and a racial gospel), but our politics (esp. re: the Middle East) as well. Israel would have never been established as a homeland for persecuted Jews if the Church would have had her theological and idealogical ducks-in-a-row. The Arabs would have never been mad at the Axis-of-Evil (America, Great Britain & French imperialism) that spawned Israel and led directly to the attacks of Sept 11th in this country had we not lied to and duped them a century ago and continue to disinfranchise them based on our ignorance and the wealth and power of the Jewish/Israeli lobby in this country (e.g. StandForIsrael.org).
(Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in Divine Providence – but I also believe in means/temporal purposes…)
The very idea is absurd even to Jews. Try this: next time you see a fellow with a yamulke on his head exclaim to him excitedly that you’re “adopted” and your “elder brother” is from “the tribe of Judah!” and then ask him innnocently which tribe he is from – maybe they (him and your “elder brother”) are related (!?!) – and just see how he responds! >:o)
It gets worse when you consider that they couldn’t even speak their “native” language – i.e. Hebrew, for over 2,000 years – that it had to be “revived” (reinvented is more like it; see Eliezar BEN YEHUDA – aka Eliezar PEARLMAN). Or that IF they COULD trace their ancestry back over more than at least one millennia that they might come to the realization that they might actually be KHAZARS (Russian converts to Judaism in the Caucasus Mts. sometime around the 7th or 8th century; cf. Arthur KOESTLER’s book, The Thirteenth Tribe, a historical look at the Khazars and their powerful kingdom and influence). Or perhaps they’ll appeal to the Ashkenaz (the grandson of Japeth, not Shem!) and Sephardic traditions (Sephard was thought to be the Hebrew name for Spain and is taken from Obadiah 1:20). In either case, these distinctions didn’t arise until the 1st millennium – a thousand years after their dispersion from Palestine under the Romans. They also appeal to “family names” like COHEN, LEVI, etc. but as I have shown, Jews have a real penchant for changing their names, a few bucks and a piece of judicial paper and voilà you’re an Israelite! The big thing now is genetics and DNA, but tests have revealed that many Jews and Arabs possess some of the same genetic markers – of course they explain that away with a 4,000+ year old connection to a common patriarch. Out of all the peoples in the world vying for “lost tribe” identity these days (see Moshiach.com) it seems the only group that is emphatically denied “ethnic Jewish” status are “Messianic Jews” or “Jewish Christians”…
I’ve rambled too long and put most of my big cards on the table, so I’ll close and let you digest what I’ve said. Of course, I have sources if you’re interested or could expand on any of the points above. It’s a fascinating subject – especially if, unlike me, you can divorce yourself from the emotional indignation of righteous idealism. ;o)
Thanks for listening to me vent. God bless.
P.S. My father’s ancestors (c. 1,000 yrs ago) probably lived around the little town of Huntley in Gloucestershire and my husband’s ancestors were probably their neighbors on the Welsh border. (I tell my husband that God was working over 1,000 years ago to get us together at the precise point in time that He did, albeit with many detours along the way. ;o) Where is Virginia Water in relation to Gloucestershire?
P.P.S. I watched a program last night about Islam in America and they frequently made reference to this or that person although was “born a Christian” converted to Islam. I’m sure you would agree that no one can be “born” a Christian, but neither can one be BORN a Jew, because “Jew” today does not mean someone from Judah/Israel but rather someone who adheres to Judaism – the religion of the Talmud.