|…Well, I guess, not following the story closely enough to care about the time table, Glenn Beck has now come and gone. He has done his thing, and that too is a story about the opposite of antiJew hostility to Israel, the new antisemitism of our generation.
I am not a big fan of Glenn Beck, never was. I saw him on TV like a professor with blackboard and chalk making points and writing words that I didn’t quite get what he was getting at or wanted to buy what he was selling.
And when he spoke of Israel, I was appreciative of the sentiment but I saw right away I had nothing to learn from him. On the contrary, his knowledge was sometimes embarrassingly off the mark.
I appreciate his support and thank him for it, but he does display certain attitudes toward Jews that I recoil from.
Glenn Beck is a convert to Mormonism and Mormons, I have discovered through personal experience, are compulsive missionaries. In itself there is nothing wrong with that, but in their intrusive dishonesty they are wrong and can rub people the wrong way.
I find them trespassing on my boundaries as a person and certainly as a Jew. As a religious community, Mormons see themselves as temple-builders and claim that their holy scripture came from Jerusalem, originally at the time of the first khurban, the destruction of the First Temple, which of course therefore in their own minds gives them a purchase on Jerusalem; they have, so to speak, in their own minds, shares in the corporation.
I once heard a Mormon sermonize, in my presence, to other Mormons that they are as a people spiritually engrafted into the Jewish people. I did not want to make a scene, he was my host, and I said nothing. To myself, though, I wished I could ask him what we Jews think about that. I mean, do we Jews have any say in the matter when he says that his people have been engrafted into ours?
That is what I felt more or less when Beck on more than one occasion has emotionally cited words from the Book of Ruth the Moabite: “Whither thou goest, I shall go, your G-d will be my god” And I thought, “Whoa. Slow down. You do not have the right to use those words in this way; to declare yourself a member of this people, which is what Beck seems to be doing with his emotional embrace of Israel. And I doubt he knows how the story of Ruth is central, halachically speaking, to the conversion process which takes work. One cannot just declare himself a Jew by choice.
The Mormon I was referring to before, speaking to this group of his Mormon guests, also proudly told them how he had gotten me to go to the local Mormon visitors’ center to see a film dramatization of the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, which he did by deceiving me. He did not give me a choice; he did not ask if I wanted to do that. It was a trick on his part.
He told me he wanted me to see something but would not say and what, and with a smile signaled I was going to like it – and the next thing I knew we entered a building where I was greeted by a half-life sized idol of the man from Nazareth. Later I told him we are not allowed to enter such places with idols and thus he made me violate my religion and I did not like that.
I told him I have no problem with his desire to spread his belief that makes him happy. But I do have a problem with subterfuge and dishonesty.
The Mormons, remember, were also caught, and that is the word for it, some years back converting Jews who had died. Protests were made and the Mormons were reported to have stopped, but who knows. The Mormons, I have heard, have extensive genealogical records and they were “converting” Jews who had died in the Holocaust and I guess others post mortem.
This too was an uninvited invasion of the Jewish people.
Moshe Feiglin was in the Post this week expressing his “deep problem” with Rabbi Riskin in Efrat attending a Christian prayer rally with Beck at the amphitheater in Caesaria/Caesarea on Sunday, and I agree with Feiglin. Other rabbis who I think would have liked to appear with Beck, which I think would have been a good idea, but only so long as there was no mention of Christianity, certainly not to participate in an ecumenical worship service. It says in the Ten Commandments that the G-d of Israel is a jealous G-d and that means Judaism is never to be mixed or mixed up with any other religious belief, and certainly not with a belief which rejects the unity of the One G-d which in Jewish eyes Christianity mostly does. Christianity focuses on the figure of the Messiah, which distracts from worshiping the One G-d.
Jews don’t worship the messiah. We worship HaShem….