Monday, July 15, 2013

Jewish Cantor on Tisha B'Av and welcoming all Jews (even Messianics)

Today Tablet magazine published a remarkable meditation by Cantor David Frommer in which Messianic Jews became the subjects of a Jewish chaplain's personal realization about Jewish unity. Writes Cantor Frommer of Tisha B'Av: "The holiday never resonated for me, until I understood its message about connecting with other Jews—even Messianic ones."

From another article about Cantor Frommer, via
This excerpt is certainly one of my favorite accounts of Jewish encounters with Messianic Jews:
Early in my deployment, I was sitting around the chaplain’s office on a Saturday evening when one of the Jewish civilian contractors arrived with a personal box of Havdalah supplies, prepared to conduct the service on his own in the room across the hall. He was one of my favorite congregants and had enthusiastically participated in all the services and classes I had offered. “I’m so glad you’re here—let me join you!” I exclaimed, barging in. “It’s so great that you have these … ” I said, as I removed a beautiful braided candle and some spices from the box he’d brought. 
“Well, that’s because of this,” he sheepishly interrupted, as he turned over a sheet of paper that had been in the box as well. It read: MESSIANIC JEWISH SERVICE. 
It was sort of like the climactic moment in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when Harry finds himself alone in the bowels of Hogwarts with Professor Quirrell, who has supposedly been responsible for his safety, only to discover that Lord Voldemort has been inhabiting the professor’s body the whole time. I’d like to think my face remained unbothered, but it felt as though my eyeballs were spinning like a slot machine as I tried to figure out what to do. Having invited myself to this guy’s private Havdalah service, was I really about to withdraw my support because—though my Jewish activities had been open to Christians, Muslims, atheists, and even the descendant of a Nazi train conductor—a Messianic Jew’s beliefs marked him for special discrimination?
Meeting and interacting with real Messianic Jews softened Cantor Frommer's feelings towards them, but it was Tisha B'Av, with its lessons about Jewish unity, that made him realize the importance of welcoming them.

Read the full article here: Tisha B’Av on a Kuwait Military Base Gives a Chaplain a Lesson in Jewish Unity

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