December 2014 – Minutes

Below are the December Minutes for your further edification and correction.

Also one of our members died.  James L. Kauzlarich.  Just copy the link below and see an interesting life.

CLJP Minutes –December 9, 2014
Monticello Room, WestminsterCanterbury

Present: Chip Sanders, Guy Hammond, Carroll Houle, Taylor Beard, David Warren, Ed Murray, Dianne Murray, John Peale, Jim Macdonald, Bob McAdams, Phil Best, Hal Horan, Peter Weatherly, David McFarlane, Carol Muntz, Jean Newsom, Bill Kerner, Elizabeth Kerner, Bill Gray

Ed Murray opened the meeting playing a recording of William and Annabeth Gray’s beautifully worded Advent Hymn Each Winter as the Years Grow Older, a copy of which is attached to the minutes.

The Minutes of November 11, prepared by Horan, were approved.

Old Business:

Peale shared continued concerns about the CLUPJ web site, with emphasis again on the  need to attract and keep more frequent visitors.  Suggestions that would lead to a much livelier format such as scheduling our monthly programs, placing papers shared on the programs, and referencing links to other articles, lectures and books were again discussed.  Peale encourage members to get in touch with him should they have any new ideas between meetings.


McAdams shared the following:


GRAND DEBATE: ARE PEACE, ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE POSSIBLE? To be held at EcoVillage, 480 E RIO ROAD, Charlottesville, with proponent Douglas Olson, and opponent Bob McAdams,  Following the debate the gathering will divide into small groups and discuss what can be done to achieve our shared values and goals.  For questions or offers to help, participants may register by email with either Olson or McAdams. For more information and offers to help, please call 434 996-9911.

McAdams also suggested the same debate format could be used for a future meeting of CLUPJ


Program: Rabbi Dan Alexander of Temple Beth Israel gave a critical review of David Zaslow’s Jesus—First Century Rabbi

Alexander began by stating that he doesn’t nor does he know many other Jews who spend much energy thinking about Jesus.  When asked by a Christian, “What do you think of Jesus?”  Alexander, in good Jewish fashion, answers with another question, “What do you think of Mohammed?”  He also said that the Hebrew Scripture (Old Testament) is quite sufficient in itself without using it as a foretelling and preparation for a messiah.

This was Alexander’s first criticism of Zaslow’s book which, he feels, gives a too symmetrical view of Jesus and Judaism, without acknowledging the asymmetry between Judaism and Christianity which Alexander feels is far more important for two reasons—one is the interpretation of scripture and theology.  Christians have seemed to require a prior theology against which they can replace with “new and improved” one.  The very naming of their scripture—the Old and New Testaments often played into this scheme.

The second asymmetrical factor is political and historical. Christianity being the dominant religion for the past 2000 years has led Christians to oppress Jews labeling them as “Christ Killers” and denying them many of the rights other citizens enjoyed.  Though Zaslow does treat both issues in the last section of his book—“Troubled Past and Hopeful Future,”  Alexander doesn’t feel that he fully appreciates those issues.

Two great and distinct religions emerged from the ashes of the second temple—one was Christianity and the other Rabbinic Judaism.  While Christians and Jews and Moslems do share in the blessings of the God of Abraham, the distinctiveness, uniqueness and integrity of each faith must be respected.

Alexander then answered prior questions put to him by Ed Murray:

  1. What are the key issues in Judaism and Christian understanding?

                            If Christians understood Jews in their own settings and faith,
it would even help them understand the Jewish contribution
to their own faith.  He then held up a book by Amy-Jill Levine and
Marc Z. Brettler, The Jewish Annotated New Testament,
as a very useful guide providing many a fresh insight into the
Christian’s own sacred text.

  1. How is Zaslow’s book being received in the Jewish community?

Quite frankly, the Jewishness of Jesus isn’t a burning question for
many, especially Orthodox Jews.  Many haven’t even heard of the
book.  Those for whom it is a question would be more familiar with
Kosher Jesus, by the more popular Shmuley Boteach.

  1. Does Zaslow make a contribution to the Christian-Jewish understanding?

This is not a new idea.  The dramatic change started 60 years ago with
Pope John XXIII and the Vatican Council, culminating in 1965 with
the Nostra Aetate, issued under Pope Paul IV.

Another book for the scholars among us would be Christianity in Jewish Terms, edited by Tikva Frymer-Kensky, David Novak, Peter Ochs, David Fox Sandmel and Michael A. Signer

 The next meeting will be January 13, 2015 and the beginning of our study of religion’s contribution to the violence in the middle east and solutions religion can offer for peaceful resolutions.  Horan has two books by Robin Wright, Dreams and Shadows the Future of the Middle East, Rock the Casbah Rage and Rebellion Across the IslamicWorld and one edited by her, The Islamists are Coming Who They Really Are—essays on the major state players written by experts on each state—which is currently checked out by Ed Murray.

The meeting adjourned at 2:00 pm.

Respectfully Submitted
Hal Horan

By William & Annabeth Gay

Each winter as the years grow older
We each grow older too.
The chill sets in a little colder:
The verities we knew

Seem shaken and untrue.
When race cries out for treason,
When sirens call for war,
They overshout the voice of reason
And scream till we ignore
All we held dear before.

Yet I believe beyond believing
That life can spring from death:
That growth can flower from our grieving;
That we can catch our breath
And turn transfixed by faith.

So even as the sun is turning
To journey to the north,
The living flame, in secret burning,
Can kindle on the earth
And bring God’s love to birth.