European Jewish Association

COVID Diary- Reflections from Our Advisory Board Member Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs

Every Day during the Corona crisis our Advisory Board Member Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs (NL) writes a diary, on request of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in Amsterdam, which is published on the website of the NIW, the only Jewish Dutch Magazine. Rabbi Jacobs is the head of Inter Governmental Relationships at the Rabbinical Centre of Europe. We will be regularly publishing a selection of his informative, sometimes light hearted, but always wise pieces.

For our Dutch readers you can follow the diary every day at NIW home page: https://niw.nl

Diary 7 Feb. 2021

“The attention for Israel is increasing in many Dutch Churches. Yet it can do a bit more. The Hersteld Reformed Church (HHK) has now once again put its vision on paper. The Church is called to expose anti-Semitism as hatred against the G-d of Israel, ”I read in the Reformed Daily.

At the end of the article, different Christian denominations reported their attitude towards Jews. What interested me, of course, was their attitude towards converting Jews and their views on replacement theology.

Just a brief explanation for my Jewish and less Christian-savvy Gentile diary readers:

Replacement theology proclaims that wherever in the Tanakh the Jewish people are mentioned, they should be replaced by “Christians.”

This theology has been the source of a great deal of anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews over the centuries. To briefly summarize an interesting article: the various denominations have different opinions about how to look at Jews and how they should or should not be converted. And that urge or desire to convert made me think on Sunday (the Christian day of rest!).

It is a fact that the urge to convert has led to millions of victims over the centuries. That replacement theology is therefore experienced as an extremely reprehensible act to me.

But how do I view a Christian who wants to convert me? Can I accept that? Obviously I will not be converted and will actively fight attempts to convert, but… Do I think the other should have the desire to convert me?

We Jews have it easy because we believe that Jews should serve the Eternal in a Jewish way, but Gentiles don’t.

The so-called Seven Noahide Laws apply to them. If the non-Jew lives according to these laws, but still a whole package, then that is fine. Then, I asked myself, will I try to convince secular Gentiles to abide by these laws? And shall I point so-called Messiah professing Jews to their error? And my answer is a clear “yes”.

But, I then asked myself, then I also do a mission! Look at Hanukkah when we publicly light the Menorah? That is not just any fun party. It has a clear message: bringing light to spiritual darkness! And why am I nagging when Christians want to convert us?

It was an interesting and fierce discussion with myself, but in the end I think I was right. I believe, I am even convinced, that every believing Christian would like to see me transition to Christianity.

I will never do that because 1: I will have lost my job as Chief Rabbi and 2: As a Jew I am rock solid in my faith and (unfortunately for the missionary) I will really not be able to get rid of it. But: how do I view that missionary, the urge to convert or, even if no conversion attempt is made, the phenomenon that, although I must now be left alone, there is the firm conviction that I will eventually see the “light”?

I came to the conclusion that I have no problem with this. Every person is allowed to think and believe as he likes. Every person may think of me that his way of life is the right one and the other is wrong. But the moment his faith gives or calls to kill the dissenters, to bribe them with money or to blackmail them spiritually, then it becomes unacceptable to me.

Incidentally, the conversion was completely snowed in by the media report that two drugs have been discovered in Israel that appear to cure corona patients. So, no vaccines, but medicines. The FD speaks of a “game changer”. I sincerely hope that it will become apparent very soon that it does indeed work and will thus create a gigantic global breakthrough. It is also great that Israel will provide that breakthrough. Makes me feel great and proud. But of course, it will also be a wonderful opportunity to confirm the conspiracy theories. Jews are guilty of corona and see the evidence: they are now going to make money on the drug again. Will the International Court of Justice in The Hague also interfere with this and will our pharmacies be raided immediately that do not mention “made in Israel” in their package insert? Because there will probably be a complaint or a UN resolution because perhaps one of the doctors who made the discovery is living in the “occupied territories”.

And if not, probably one of the patients who has been cured with one of these drugs. Or am I thinking too negative? Because also mobile phones, computers and many other medicines of global value and “made in Israel” have never been boycotted.