Jews and Dialogue
AbstractJudaism, except for around 100 BCE to 100 CE, has almost never sought the conversion of adherents of other faiths, which has, I suggest, meant, in particular, a somewhat more open acceptance of the validity of the other two main monotheistic faiths, and in recent times, an acceptance of the validity of Eastern religions, though this is less accepted in many of the more traditional forms of Judaism and is also more nuanced for all religious Jews, depending on the definition of idolatry and/or pantheism that is adopted and how it applies to them. This acceptance by Jews of the ‘other’ has not been uniform amongst different groups of Jews nor in all times or locations, and the desire of other religions to, shall we euphemistically say, ‘encourage’ the conversion of Jews to their faiths has left a difficult legacy. These themes are explored in the essay. It would seem to me that building understanding between people of religion is vital for a more peaceful world where, if we can acknowledge that we are all made in the Divine image, we will then be able to fight our common problems together.