An introduction and a question

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Sepharad
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An introduction and a question

Post by Sepharad » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:25 pm

Shalom,

I found this website and message forum while doing a websearch on something relative to Jewish-Catholic ecumenical relations (something I have been deeply involved in for years.) I am curious as to what the focus is of this site, ultimately. But first, a little background, so you understand why I have this interest.

I come from a Jewish background in which my father was a Russian Jew and my mother was an Italian Jew who had converted to Orthodox Judaism from Catholicism before she met my father (my mother was raised an Italian Catholic but later I learned she actually had Sephardic Jewish ancestry..more about that later.)

When I was a teenager, I became fascinated with genealogy, and in the course of researching my mother's background, I also became curious about the Catholic faith she gave up. To make a very long story short, I investigated Catholicism and eventually became a baptized Catholic in 1978.

However, my Jewishness continued to call to me, and although my conversion brought me closer to my mother's family (they had become estranged due to her conversion to Judaism), I ended up leaving the church. I discovered Messianic Judaism, but soon saw that as just an evangelical Protestant "front" to convert Jews. While I was with the Messianic Jews, I met my future husband, who was a Gentile Protestant from a Baptist background. But he, like me, was also a searcher, as I was soon to find out!

I eventually found myself delving into the Judaism I left as a teenager but had never really been given a good educational foundation in (in our insular Orthodox community, girls were not regarded as "needing" a thorough Jewish education!), and returned to Judaism...this time as a truly knowledgeable Orthodox Jew. My husband also because fascinated by Orthodox Judaism, and he eventualy ended up converting to it (he had always been drawn to anything Jewish, which was how I met him with the Messianic Jews!)

However, I am grateful for the time I spent as a Catholic, because if not for that, I might never have felt a strong desire to become a better Jew than I'd been as a child!

Anyway, as a result of my experiences in both Judaism and Catholicism, I feel my unique background gives me a desire to work for better Jewish-Catholic relations.

I have one question about this site: do you work to proselytize or evangelize Jews into becoming Christians? Because I would have a serious problem with that; to me, the goal of ecumenical dialogue is better understanding, not to work for the conversion of one side or the other.

Thanks to anyone who can answer this for me!
Last edited by Sepharad on Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Sepharad
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:10 pm
Please enter the fourth number in the list (eight): 0
Location: USA

PS

Post by Sepharad » Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:25 pm

Almost forgot:

I am also very active in the study of the Jewish origins of many Italian-Americans, due to my genealogical interests (for more info see: http://www.rabbibarbara.com/italian_jew ... akers.html

(Note: I am not involved with the above site, that's just to give you some background on the work being done)

Ariel
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Jews, proselytism and evangelization

Post by Ariel » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:47 am

shalom Sepharad and welcome to our forum!

Thanks for sharing your story here. You certainly have a unique one and you are welcome to share more if you like. Jewish-Catholic dialog is precisely what this forum is about. Being relatively new it is still a bit dormant, but you are welcome to liven it up!

As for your question regarding proselytism - I already answered you via email, but now I have also posted a more polished reply in our FAQ section. You are welcome to have a look: http://www.israelcatholic.com/content/v ... 5/lang,en/

God bless!
Ariel
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” C.S. Lewis

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