A Jewish Perspective

"Is there only one religion?"

"The answer, historically, is probably no, but not on a philosophical level. Judaism, obviously, recognizes the reality of different religious systems and has gone so far as to say that while God makes certain demands of all beings ó certain ways in which all human beings ought to behave in response to the best within them, or within God ó those demands translate sometimes differently for Jews than for non-Jews. For example, Judaism does not believe that non-Jews have to keep kosher. Jews have to keep kosher. Judaism does not believe that non-Jews have to observe the Sabbath. Only Jews have to observe the Sabbath. Non-Jews donít have to have a Passover; only Jews do.

"But all people have to treat each other decently. Nobody has the right to steal. Nobody has the right to commit murder. Nobody has the right to be adulterous. So, there are certain universal demands on everyone, and then there are other demands for us who are Jews because we have a particular tradition."

"But those who are not Jewish," I asked, "do they have equal access and opportunity to be with the Lord in every way?"

"Absolutely," Rabbi Stern said powerfully. "Noah wasnít Jewish, although there are some people who make Noah Jewish according to their view. And certainly the Bible says that Noah walked with God. There is no problem."

As we parted, Rabbi Stern smiled, took my hand, and said, "Good luck to you. God bless you."

I left the Rabbiís synagogue feeling truly blessed, and very happy. I asked myself, "When will the whole world listen to such men and, free of bias, take to heart the love and great help which is so sincere and abundant?"

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