DAYTON CHRISTIAN JEWISH DIALOGUE
Minutes of Meeting
Location: Alumni Hall RM 101
Topic: The earthly and heavenly Jerusalem
Speaker: Rabbi Bernard Barsky, Beth Abraham Synagogue
Host: : Eileen Moorman
Dayton Christian Jewish Dialogue reflections from meeting of Jan 9, 2005:
Rabbi Bernard Barsky spoke on the topic of The Earthly and Heavenly Jerusalem. More than forty people attended the meeting which showed the interest and tribute to Rabbi Barsky's presentation. Jerry Kotler gave the evening invocation prayer. It was a prayer for the people affected by the Tsunami.
Before I give ideas I gleaned from the Rabbi's talk, I want you to know two things; first, I am NOT the secretary of the group. However, I have missed the "notice" each month concerning the meeting and so I have offered to send to the Dayton participants a reflection on what I heard. Please, do not consider this a completely objective discourse! These are ideas which struck and challenged me to rethink the evening--a tribute to Rabbi Barsky.
Rabbi's talk: I found the Rabbi's talk enlightening, colorful, confounding, and "mind-blowing." I cannot capture completely his message, yet I shall pass on ideas I found important.
1) The site where Jacob had his experience of being called by God and named Israel is believed to be the same spot where Abraham and Isaac with G-d as well as the same site where the temple was built in Jerusalem. This holy site opposite the heavenly Jerusalem is believed to be the foundation stone Evan Shetiyah-- axis of the world--for all Israelites and their descendants. This axis site is where G-d's sacred place occurs and is the center of creation.
2) In each instance this site was an awesome place, a holy site on earth aligned opposite the heavenly Jerusalem. This site connects Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to all the Jews through the ages. (I use the term Jews yet recognize the Israelites as their ancestors).
3)There is a teaching that says, "G-d formed the Israelites and their descendants in the Jewish faith as a child is formed in its mother's womb." As a Christian, I understand this to mean that Judaism like Christianity is constantly revealing truths of G-d.
4) These next four ideas were "mind-blowing" for me:
a. In the beginning before the earth was formed, G-d created Seven Elements--Torah, Gehenna, Garden of Eden, Throne of Glory, Redeeming Messiah, Repentance, and the Temple.
b) G-d prayed to G-d's self before creating the earth.
c) The temple is a place of atonement and repentance
d) without repentance the world could not exist
5) It is believed that if the axis is broken--chaos/the void--returns as it existed before creation.
6) Yet,rabbis through the centuries have shown through their teaching that the connection between heaven and earth can never be destroyed (see 4d above). They teach that people are likely to break this cosmic pole found at the site of the temple and for that reason G-d created the element of repentance in order for this cosmic pole to be rebuilt.
7) This cosmic pole--this sacred place--this earthly Jerusalem can be called "the navel of the world."
I do hope these ideas have given you a taste of the wonderful spiritual heritage that has been given to the world through Judaism. I am only sorry I am limited in my ability to recount everything of Rabbi Barsky's uplifting messagae.
Our next meeting is on Feb. 13th, at 7:30 PM in room 101 of U.D.'s Alumni Hall: Bert Saidel will speak on sacramental objects he has created for both the Jewish and Christian communities.
News Item: On Jan. 25th from 5:30-7:30 P.M. at Cafe Boulevard Restaurant all are cordially invited to a photo gallery and cocktail reception to benefit the work of the Marianists in the Play Schools of Bangalore, India. The restaurant is located at 329 E. Fifth St. in the Oregon District. The proceeds will sustain the Play Schools in their work with pre-school children most at risk in Bangalore. Complimentary hors-d'oeuvres, cash bar. RSVP to Brother Alex Tuss at 229-3409. The photos and images can be purchased and the monies given will be used to help these very vulnerable children the Marianists are helping. Brother Tuss said a website will be set up with more photos and images. Perhaps, our group would be willing to make a donation to this necessary project.
Submitted by Eileen Moorman
If anyone else would like to add to what I have said, please, feel free to do so. This holds for our next meeting.