Thursday, December 08, 2005

World Cultures Essay- Interviews

World Cultures Essay- Interviews

When one sees Judaism. Or almost any religion for that matter, it gives the impression of a very pointed path to follow, the system is laid out in front of you. But when you take a much closer look, these trails have infinite branches and the seemingly narrow path suddenly becomes convoluted and mystifying. To see a Jew and think that he simply is Jewish, and therefore conforms to the exact scriptures written in the past is an immense miscalculation. This erroneous method of thinking does not encompass the full veracity of Judaism, and any faith in that case. Judaism has an amazingly diverse assembly of followers, and the faith and even the concept of god varies from believer to believer. In these interviews, we tried to glimpse into the ever-shifting heart of the faith. Although the two interviewers were exceptionally unique from one another when it came to their personal experiences, they share the traditional Jewish morals, especially those of nonviolence.

Rae Draezel is the president of Athenian Jew Crew, and she has been a Jew all her life. She goes to Midrasha, a Jewish Teen Hebrew school. She follows most conventional principles of Judaism, but doesn’t keep kosher. She believes in the traditional Jewish ideal, the concept of the messiah coming, but has some speculation about it, “I’m not sure if I necessarily believe in a lot of stuff that Judaism preaches, but it is a big part of it that like the Messiah is coming.” She is uncertain about creation, and wants to look into it more. When Alex asked “Do you have any particular thoughts on why the earth and humans were created and the meaning of life?, Rae replied with, “Not really… I’m not sure I know the meaning of life right now but if I do find out I will get back to you”

Rabbi Bruce is a rabbi and an astrophysicist. He has an amazing and unique take on the Jewish faith that encompasses Christian and Scientologistic principles. He believes that the messiah, Jesus, has already come. He also has an extensive knowledge on the many paths that Judaism is following, as he states in the following quote; “ Now that being given, most Jewish people would classify themselves not so much on the basis of belief as practice. If there’re Jews that are atheists, Jews that are Buddhists, they would classify themselves according to the practice they follow.”

Rabbi Bruce and Rae share many characteristics. They are both strongly opposed to violence of almost any form, Rabbi Bruce and Rae meet a consensus at this question, Rabbi Bruce says, “It is never just to harm another person because you want to.” Rae agrees, saying, “I am an anti-violence kind of person. I don’t know; I don’t yeah. I don’t think violence is ever the answer.” Another similarity is that they both are very tolerant of other religions. Rabbi Bruce is tolerant, and even says that they have a lot of truth in them, as well. So I think there’s certainly truth in a lot of other religions, but a lot of the time that truth is incomplete or at some point goes off in the wrong direction.” Rae thinks that other religions are great, but hasn’t has enough time to personally admire them.

There are many differences between the two in terms of their personal experiences as Jews. Rabbi Bruce has had to deal with anti-Semitism, but never to a violent extent. Rae has never directly encountered anti-Semitism, but has heard some offensive comments, “I guess people have said jokes to me that I don’t really think are appropriate just saying like “ ‘Oh God, your such a Jew’ ”. Also, Rae was born Jewish, while Bruce had a different experience: “Well, it’s interesting because as I was growing up, in the suburbs, religion was never mentioned, identity was never mentioned, and we had basically no idea what it was about, and didn’t really care. Having looked back through my family lines, there is evidence that my family was Jewish, but we don’t have any documentation.”

In conclusion, the textual evidence shows that my thesis accurately represents the two interviewees in terms of their similarities and differences. The word Israel literally means “one who wrestles with god”, and personally, I find that this means that to truly be a Jew, you must “wrestle’ with the ideas perented to you in the Torah and in modern life, and form your own personal interpretation of it. These two interviewees are examples of one religion, but with completely different views on some matters, while the religion itself forms a base for morals, like anti- violence. I believe that these differences in these people are based on their unique past experiences, so in a way what makes them different also makes them alike. These people can challenge their faith and instead of losing it, gain more than they ever could expect.

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