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The articles in this issue have been divided upinto the following categories







Controversial book by the Chief Rabbi

The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations
By Jonathan Sacks

Published by Continuum

The Jewish community in Britain has been divided in recent months over very controversial words, written by the Chief Rabbi. In mid 2002, Chief Rabbi of Britain, Dr. Jonathan Sacks, revealed new ideas in his book, ‘The Dignity of Difference: How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations’, which started a row among Jewish religious leaders in Britain and overseas. Overwhelmed by the waves of harsh orthodox criticism, with many regarding the statements as heresy, Rabbi Sacks was said to have decided to alter, and in some cases withdraw, his words and publish a slightly different second edition.

Rabbi Sacks wrote: “In the course of history, God has spoken to mankind in many languages: through Judaism to Jews, Christianity to Christians and Islam to Moslems.” Further statements received angry reactions in England and Israel such as: “No one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth,” and that God “is only partially comprehended by any faith.”

Dr. Sacks has no business equating other faiths with Judaism. The correct view of a Chief Rabbi should be that Jehovah belongs exclusively to Judaism, that Christianity is a corruption of Judaism and that Islam is an over-simplification of the Jewish faith.

Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophy. That and other cults, which have no contact with Jehovah, are man-made fairy tales.

Thus Judaism remains the unique religion of Jehovah. As for reform movements, the view of an Orthodox Chief Rabbi should be that faith goes further and deeper than reason, but that faith must not contradict our God given reason.

Rabbi Sacks’ attempt, to reach understandings with leaders of other faiths, is desirable, but it is not the job of a chief rabbi. He simply does not have the mandate to do so.

We should also note, that the Pope, John Paul II, has not long ago publicly expressed the legitimate right of Judaism and Islam to co-exist with Christianity. It is only logical to assume that Rabbi Sacks was trying to follow the popes footsteps. The problem is that the Pope went about it in a completely different way. He said:“there are many ways to Heaven”, A rather laconic phrase, but of some depth and not of the same meaning. The Pope reaches out to other religions without assuming God’s authority or involvement, like Sacks has done. The Pope refers to people and their point of view regarding the service of the Lord. Dr. Sacks uses God for his theory. He may have been thinking of the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel, (Gen 11:7) when God decided to confuse mankind by making them converse in different languages.

One of his first responses to his critics was an offer to write a letter explaining what he meant, then it was reported he would make changes in a second edition. But obviously he had already said what he meant and meant what he said. It seems rather pointless to change these notions that have already been published. What point would there be to it now, after the Rabbi had made his opinion public? As the old saying goes: “A man convinced against his will-is of the same opinion still.”

Note 1: According to the Oxford Dictionary “EQUATE” means :regard as equal or equivalent.

Note 2: Dr Sacks's second edition has now appeared with considerable changes in the text. It is not acceptable that an author can re-write his book, tailor-made to the wishes of the general reader.

On the 11th of June Naim Dangoor wrote the following letter to the Chief Rabbi.

Dear Chief Rabbi

1. Israel is suffering because its creation has not brought the Messianic Age nearer.

2. Judaism is not a proselytising religion. Its main aim is to make all mankind acknowledge the ONE TRUE GOD.

3. In your book, "The Dignity of Difference: How to avoid the Clash of
Civilizations", you speak of our differences. I enclose copy of the
review of your book which appeared in my journal, The Scribe.

4. It is better to forget our differences and think of what unites us.

5. We should acknowledge that Jews, Christians and Moslems worship
the same God.

6. Likewise Jews, Christians and Moslems should admit that they worship
the God of Israel - THE ONE TRUE GOD!

7. Israel should treat Christians and Moslems as equals to Jews in every

8. Israel and the Palestinian territories could then become one state.

9. All three religions should then proselytise, not in competition, but in co--

10. On the day when all mankind acknowledge the One True God, the
Messianic Age would have come.

With my respects and best regards.
Yours sincerely

Naim Dangoor

Naim Dangoor Writes:
The future for Israel & the Palestinians can be based on autonomy for 2 peoples similar to the "millet system" which can be a springboard for the subjugation of the whole region. Let us pay Nebuchadnezzar a return visit.
A few days after receiving the above letter the Chief Rabbi called me on the telephone. I started by saying, "I hope that you had not taken offence at what I have written!" He replied, "Heaven forbid that I should take offence at what you have written. All what you wrote is true". He then suggested that we should meet.

It is possible that my communication to the Chief Rabbi may have influenced him in deciding to attend the funeral of the wife or a reform Rabbi, which is most wise and welcome development.

If you would like to make any comments or contribute to The Scribe please contact us.