American Jewish Committee
New York City
Sirs: Your article in "Look" magazine, What Is A Jew?, interested me very much. This was quite natural, being a graduate from the Jewry of the present age to Judaism full-blossomed into Christianity.
I found your "What Is A Jew?" to be the only one of the 18 "Look" articles on religion in which the author stressed what his denomination did not, rather than did believe. Of course, that did not surprise me, being the expression of a Reform Rabbi, whose Judaism is a 19th A.D. century German invention of Rabbis Samuel Hoidham and Abraham Geiger, instead of real, Old Testament Judaism; the Judaism God gave to the world through Moses and Aaron in the 16th B. C. century. Too bad the editors of "Look" did not select an Orthodox Rabbi "to tell the public What is Judaism? instead of a writer whose religious concepts are as far from Old Testament teachings as Unitarianism is from the religion in the New Testament.
"The Jew is one who accepts the faith of Judaism," as you said; hence the question is "What is That Faith?" Surely it is not whether "Jews try to convert Gentiles"! whether "Jews are opposed to intermarriage"! whether they are "forbidden to read the New Testament"; whether or not "Jews wear hats when they pray"; whether the "home is more important than the synagogue," but what are the basic principles of Judaism? the Judaism that God gave to the world through Moses.
The Judaism of Moses, the only genuine Judaism, is based upon eternal unchangeable, God-given principles; hence they cannot rightly be "added thereto, nor diminished" (Deut. 13:1) to fit the Judaism that you, and your fellow Reform Rabbis, propagate. Those principles are set forth in the Torah (Pentateuch) in particular which Torah is "honored," as you say, by being kept "in the ark of the synagogue," being the "most sacred object of Jewish worship."
The Torah makes plain the fact that the Judaism of God is of an authoritative, priestly, sacrificial character. The Book of Leviticus therein deals with the God-instituted priesthood of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi. Seven chapters of this third Book in the Torah deal with the various kinds of sacrifices; followed by three chapters that deal with the solemn consecration of Aaron by his God-selected brother, Moses; Aaron being the Peter of the Jewish hierarchy.
The Book of Leviticus in the Torah is a liturgical book, which may be compared to the Catholic Church ritual. It tells in detail of the duties of the Aaronic priests; the sacrifices they were to offer to God for the people of Israel, as you no doubt know. The Jews of old, who were God's chosen people, keepers of God's laws, and determiners of their application, believed, as do Catholics, that "atonement comes through blood," which is "the life of the flesh" (Levit. 7:11); for, as St. Paul, the famous convert from Judaism to Catholicity said, "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22).
The difference is that in the Mosaic Law "forgiveness" comes primarily through the shedding of the blood of animals; whereas in the New Law, that superseded the Mosaic Levitical Law, "forgiveness comes primarily through the Blood of the Lamb of God, the Messiah, that was shed on Calvary's Crucifixion Altar, and continued, as Malachias (1:11) predicted, to be offered to God in an unbloody manner, in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Aaronic priesthood, and its Torah called-for sacrifices, are no more, as you well know. Do you imagine, my dear Rabbi, that this ending of the Aaronic priesthood and sacrifices over 19 centuries ago, called by the Jewish Encyclopedia "the critical period of Judaism" (Vol. 2. p. 13), was merely accidental? Its ending meant the finality of the most vital things in Torah Judaism; just as the ending of the Messiah-instituted priesthood, and the Sacrifice of the Mass, would mean the ending of first century inaugurated Christianity, the Christianity of the Catholic Church.
No one speaks with Torah authority today in either the Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or Reconstructionist divisions of present-day Jewry. The "Jews" of today have Rabbis, not priests. "The Rabbi is in no sense an intermediary between man and God," as you rightly said in "Look." Joseph Leftwich, formerly editor of the Jewish Telegraph Agency, said in his "What Will Happen To The Jews?" without being questioned by any Jewish book reviewer, that "the Rabbi is not a priest. The priesthood ended with the Temple. Even the rabbinical diploma, unlike the Christian ordination, confers no sacred power and is not a license. It is simply a testimonial of ability of the holder to act as a Rabbi if he wishes to be elected to a position."
Your "What is a Jew?" being minus even the mentioning of the Messiah, is like Hamlet minus the Prince of Denmark. Surely you know that the coming of the Messiah was the primary hope of Israel at the time when Judaism was the one, and the only religion of Almighty God. The Orthodox division of present-day Jewry ardently prays for His coming. They fail to realize that the birth of the Messianic Son of David during the present age, or in any future age, is an impossibility, as there is no House of David, or tribe of Judah, in which a Messiah, or any other person could possibly be born. This is providential, as the Messiah arrived in Bethlehem, the City of David, as predicted in Micheas 5:2; in the time predicted by Daniel (9); and in the manner foretold by Isaiah (7:14).
This letter, which I will publish in The Pilot, the Boston Archdiocesan weekly, was written to let the Jewish readers of my column, as well as you, know that the Judaism of the Old Testament no longer exists. It fulfilled its glorious mission over nineteen centuries ago, when Israel brought forth the Blessed Virgin Mary; her Divine Messianic Son, Jesus; the Twelve Apostles; and the thousands of converts who formed the membership of the infant Catholic Church. This is written to proclaim the indisputable fact that the conversion of Jews to Catholicity is based upon love of, and not denial of, the religious faith of their fathers of old in Israel. That faith no longer exists, or rather it has blossomed forth into the "new covenant made with the house of Judah," as predicted by Jeremiah (13:31).
May you be blest, as have I, with the gift of Catholic faith. Prayerfully, David Goldstein.