#blogelul — believe


Espe­cial­ly since Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, we’ve heard a great deal about the com­mon bonds among the Abra­ham­ic reli­gions. It is a love­ly idea, and some­thing worth work­ing towards. How­ev­er, even a sim­ple glance at one of the most icon­ic sto­ries of Abra­ham illus­trates how dif­fer­ent the three major “Abra­ham­ic” reli­gions are (the fourth is the Bahá’í faith).

The Nation­al Con­fer­ence of Chris­tians and Jews was found­ed in 1927. The sum­mer I returned from my “gap year” on the Young Judaea Year Course in Israel (1965, imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the Watts Riots) I par­tic­i­pat­ed in the NCCJ’s youth camp Any­town USA. Teenagers from all over Los Ange­les were tak­en up to the moun­tains in order to “get to know each oth­er”. I know that I felt good about the expe­ri­ence. I don’t know how the kids from the racial minori­ties felt. In the 1990s, the NCCJ changed its name to the Nation­al Con­fer­ence for Com­mu­ni­ty and Jus­tice in order to broad­en its scope.

When I grew up I knew that the third week of Feb­ru­ary was “Nation­al Broth­er­hood Week”, spon­sored by the NCCJ. But, my time at Any­town was a real “broth­er­hood week” …even though “it only last[ed] one week”.

Once again, one of my favorite com­men­ta­tors, Tom Lehrer:

Here’s a Britishized ver­sion:

i believe

i believe

Date: 1990s
Size: 5.6
Pin Form: clasp
Print Method: cel­lu­loid

NCCJ — San Diego

academically speaking

Two recent books have exam­ined the con­cept of “Abra­ham­ic reli­gion”. They are worth exam­in­ing as we eval­u­ate our beliefs now that the new year begins. Here are reviews of each:

  • Jon D. Lev­en­son. Inher­it­ing Abra­ham: The Lega­cy of the Patri­arch in Judaism, Chris­tian­i­ty, and Islam. Prince­ton: Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2012. 288 pp. $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978−0−691−15569−2.
    Reviewed by David Sand­mel
  • Aaron W. Hugh­es. Abra­ham­ic Reli­gions: On the Uses and Abus­es of His­to­ry. New York: Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2012. 208 pp. $55.00 (cloth), ISBN 978−0−19−993464−5.
    Reviewed by Davis Han­k­ins

Check your local library.

your lapel buttons

Many peo­ple have lapel but­tons. They may be attached to a favorite hat or jack­et you no longer wear, or poked into a cork-board on your wall. If you have any lay­ing around that you do not feel emo­tion­al­ly attached to, please let me know. I pre­serve these for the Jew­ish peo­ple. At some point they will all go to an appro­pri­ate muse­um. You can see all the but­tons shared to date.

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