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Why Don't Famous Jews Thank God Like Tim Tebow?
Highland Park Patch ^
| By Jacob Nelson
Posted on 01/15/2012 10:18:08 AM PST by SeekAndFind
I learned how to "Tebow" long before I learned who Tim Tebow was.
This is partially because I'm clueless when it comes to professional sports, but mostly because, at this point, the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback is as famous for his Christian faith as he is for his football skills.
Don't get me wrong Tebow's game is fascinating on its own. A big portion of the Tim Tebow myth comes from the exciting, often bizarre way the quarterback manages to stage comebacks and lead his team to last-minute wins, as he did last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many Bears fans are still smarting from a similarly dramatic overtime loss to the Broncos earlier this season.
But what increasingly makes Tebow such a phenomenon is his intense, outspoken Christianity, specifically his habit of thanking Jesus constantly. He points up to the sky when he or his team make a great play, thanks Jesus Christ in post-game interviews and kneels to pray or "Tebows" so often during games that actors, athletes, even other NFL players have begun imitating him. Saturday Night Live recently lampooned Tebow in a skit that featured Jesus visiting the Bronco locker room.
Tebow joins an ever-growing group of pop culture icons who feel compelled to credit Jesus for their fame-inducing gifts that includes Miley Cyrus, Chuck Norris and Justin Bieber.
My question isn't why these people think God or Jesus has anything to do with their success, or why a higher power would feel compelled to intervene in sporting games or the music industry. As someone who was raised Jewish, my question is much more self-centered: Why don't famous Jews thank God the way famous Christians do?
I spoke with four rabbis, one local priest and a religion professor at Lake Forest College to find out.
Here's what they had to say.
An evangelical outspokenness
Rabbi Michael Sommer at Congregation B'Nai Torah in Highland Park suggests that, since Christianity encourages proselytizing, famous Christians like Tebow feel obligated to observe their faith publicly so they can spread it to others.
"We don't proselytize," Sommer said about Jews. "We don't believe that you have to believe as we believe or else."
Reverend David Perkins, from Highland Park Presbyterian Church, acknowledges an evangelical outspokenness in Christianity, but he also points out that Jesus preached humility as well. He cites a verse in Matthew that encourages Christians to pray behind closed doors.
"We have this proclamation tradition," Perkins explained, "but we also have this humility tradition, and I think there's a tension between the two."
Because Judaism lacks an evangelical streak, according to Sommer, most Jews keep their practices to themselves.
Unless they're making fun of them.
"Jewish movie stars will go to high holidays, but they won't advertise it on TV," Sommer said. "Unless you're Larry David and you're poking fun at it."
What complicates this comparison is that famous Jews like Larry David maintain a culturally Jewish identity while disregarding any religious elements something that doesn't happen in Christianity, according to Rabbi Michael Schwab at North Shore Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park.
"You can identify yourself as a Jew and be proud of it
without being overtly connected to the religious side of things," Schwab said. "That's a little tougher to do with a Christian identity."
Rabbi Evan Moffic at Congregation Solel in Highland Park, however, thinks the difference between how Tebow addresses his religion and how people like Larry David or Woody Allen address theirs comes down to intent.
"I think Tim Tebow is doing it as a source of pride," Moffic said, "Woody Allen and others do it as a way of making jokes."
Herbert Braunstein, a senior religion professor at Lake Forest College, agrees that Jewish celebrities, like Woody Allen, are more likely to make fun of their roots publicly than give thanks for them. These celebrities, he suggests, offer negative reflections on Jewish life that "comes from a lack of positive orientation of Jews other than bagels and lox."
Liberal Jews just don't know how
Even if Jewish celebrities wanted to thank God as theatrically as Tebow does, Rabbi Schwab argues that most wouldn't know how.
"Many of the Jews who are in the spotlight are simply not as religious," Schwab said. "Therefore, you can have a Jew who is famously identified as being Jewish who wouldn't speak in religious terms."
Orthodox Jews, on the other hand, give thanks to God all the time, according to New York-based rabbi Geoff Mitelman, a friend of Rabbi Sommer's. If you ask an orthodox Jew how they are, and they're doing well, they'll respond "Baruch Hashem," which is Hebrew for "Thank God." Aside from reggae singer Matisyahu and Kosher Sex author Shmuley Boteach, however, there aren't many orthodox Jewish celebrities.
"Liberal Jews," Mitelman said, "don't have the language to talk about God in the way that works for them."
Human agency or God's will?
Mitelman also argues that Judaism emphasizes human agency, meaning that, if Tim Tebow was Jewish, he wouldn't feel compelled to thank God after a successful play because he would assume he had done it himself.
"We are partners with God," Mitelman said, "but we have to be the ones to do it."
Yet Christianity maintains a similar ideology, according to Rev. Perkins. He argues that you can credit God for giving you a gift, but that ultimately you choose to use it to the best of your ability.
"I don't think God takes sides in athletic disputes," Perkins said. He added, jokingly, that he refuses to say "Go Bears" from the pulpit on Sundays, despite protests from some in his congregation.
"If you lose the game, does that mean God wanted you to lose? It brings up all types of questions of the intentions of God."
TOPICS: Current Events; Evangelical Christian; Judaism; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: jews; timtebow
Larry David expresses his religion by peeing on a picture of Jesus.
posted on 01/15/2012 10:25:18 AM PST
Comment #3 Removed by Moderator
A nebbish was driving down a street under the scorching sun. He had an important meeting and when he reached the building where the meeting was going to be held, he discovered that there was no vacant space to park his car.
Desperate and confused, he looked up and said, “God, take pity on me and find me a parking place. If you do so, I will visit the synagog daily, donate half of my this month’s salary and give up alcohol for the rest of my life.”
Miraculously, an empty parking place appeared out of nowhere in front of the him. The nebbish pleased by the discovery, looked up and said, “Nevermind, I found one myself!”
posted on 01/15/2012 10:28:39 AM PST
by null and void
(Day 1089 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
A couple of famous Jewish athletes have been outspoken in their own way....they have refused to compete either on the Jewish Sabbath or on important Jewish holidays.
RE: A couple of famous Jewish athletes have been outspoken in their own way....they have refused to compete either on the Jewish Sabbath or on important Jewish holidays.
Wow, I’d like to know their names.
The Jewish gold medal sprinter Harold Abrahams had NO HESITATION running on a Sabbath (He eventually converted to Christianity though). Ironically, it was a SCOTISH, Eric Lidell, who would not run on a Sunday.
These self-hating Jewish leftists are ashamed to be Jewish, that’s why. Half my family is Jewish and unfortunately pretty liberal. They despise religious, observant Jews.
Deep down, they are ashamed at their Jewishness and when they see a Jew openly being observant or doing a Tebow type act they feel ashamed and think it will make ‘the goyim’ mad and they won’t be allowed in the country club anymore.
It has nothing to do with prostelytizing. It has everything to do with the leftist Jewish neuroticism. There’s a big schism in Israel between leftist seculars and religious Jews now. The seculars hate the religious Jews more than the arabs.
posted on 01/15/2012 10:35:27 AM PST
Apparently, Sandy Koufax didn’t pitch the opening World Series game on Yom Kippur, but that’s all I’m aware of.
Didn’t realize Koufax was still alive.
>Half my family is Jewish and unfortunately pretty liberal. They despise religious, observant Jews.<
Here in L.A., I have yet to meet a Jew who is NOT a lib moron. They keep praising Israel yet a loony member of the same political party which wants to cut it into even smaller pieces.
Why do you call that Rabbi a pig?
posted on 01/15/2012 10:46:56 AM PST
I can’t recall Sandy Koufax, when asked by reporters a routine baseball question after a baseball game, automatically answering by rote “I’d like to thank Adonai, for ...””
RE: Shawn Green
I know that like Sandy Koufax, he refused to play games on Yom Kippur, but the same question applies as to Sandy Koufax — I cant recall them, when asked by reporters a routine baseball question after a baseball game, automatically answering by rote Id like to thank Adonai, for ...
Jesus cured 10 lepers, but only one gave thanks. Maybe, Tim Tebow is trying to teach us something. We should be thanking Him (Jesus) every day for His love and mercy.
I once told a Jewish friend that he may not believe in Jesus, but we both have the same Father. I pray that one day they will understand that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Without their persecution of Him, scriptures would not be fulfilled. But God is making a way for those that believe and trust.
posted on 01/15/2012 11:15:59 AM PST
(If God isn't on your side, who is?)
RE: Jesus cured 10 lepers, but only one gave thanks.
Yes, and if I recall correctly he was a SAMARITAN.
I’m praying for Larry David, whether he likes it or not. ;-)
Luke Chapter 17 states that Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. I don’t know if the ten were Samaritans or not. It mattered only that they believed in His healing power.
I am not rejecting Judaism. As I said before, I consider Jews as my brothers and sisters. God is our Father.
But, please read the Book of Acts. There, you will find one man that served God to his last dying breath.
His name was Saul, who was a learned member of the Sanhedrin. Saul persecuted Christians until the Spirit of Christ confronted him on his way to Damascus.
From that moment on, he spent the rest of his life as a believer in Christ. He was still serving as God had chosen him to do. Many did not trust him, neither his Jewish brethren, nor some Christians, because of his prior mission for the Sanhedrin. Still, his entire trust was in God.
I am not trying to argue, nor persuade. I am only opening my heart and sharing my feelings.
Thank you for this post.
posted on 01/15/2012 12:21:27 PM PST
(If God isn't on your side, who is?)
Next time Jewish people are being harassed and demeaned in public by Christian ministers, football fans and reporters;), I am sure the author of this will run to Christian church leaders to have them explain what is wrong with Jews. NOT.
Why do American Jews permit themselves to be dragged into such divide and conquer rudeness staged against Christians? They would have a fit if the shoe was on the other foot. I would toss a fit if they were doing all this hate at “out of the closet” Jews.
To be fair, Jews are not in the closet about Judism. They should and do advocate for and stick up for the Jewish State of Israel. So the Rabbis who critize Christians should dismount their intolerant high horses and stop playing the part of the never ending Jesus hater for the media circus.
Religious Jews know that man has sinned, and will continue as long as they breathe. They also ask for forgiveness from those they have wronged, repentance and a way to right the wrong. Other than that, a great many do not believe in erasure of sins through anothers, or an animals sacrifice. This is the crux of the difference between Jews and Christians. We tell them that Christ died for our sins, and they say WHY? They are much more tied into living a “clean” life, than accepting what is by nature sinful, and asking forgiveness from God, or IAM. This makes them natural liberals. They will EARN salvation, through helping others.
posted on 01/15/2012 12:25:12 PM PST
(Republicans = 99 lb weaklings of politics. ProgressiveRepublicansInConservativeCostume)
posted on 01/15/2012 12:32:49 PM PST
Because, almost by definition, “famous” Jews are secular Jews. They don’t believe in God.
posted on 01/15/2012 12:45:11 PM PST
Randy Grossman of the Pittsburgh Steelers was one who refused to play on the High Holy Days. And there were Sandy Koufax, Shawn Green, Hank Greenberg, Al Rosen, Jake Pitler, Jose Bautista, and many others.
First answer how many tens of thousands of famous Christians didn’t thank God “like Tim Tebow”?
Come to think of it, how many “famous Jews” are there that wear religion on their sleeve like Tim Tebow?
posted on 01/15/2012 2:13:14 PM PST
("Ya could look it up!")
My Yarmulka, which I wear at all times, except in the shower or swimming, is my very public expression of awareness and thanks to G-d.
posted on 01/15/2012 2:39:21 PM PST
(Anybody but Hussein)
Larry David is the worst possible example. His religion is liberalism, not Judaism.
posted on 01/15/2012 2:40:41 PM PST
(Anybody but Hussein)
posted on 01/15/2012 2:58:10 PM PST
Why don't famous Jews thank God the way famous Christians do?
A simple question, but not a simple answer. Not all Christians, famous or otherwise, acknowledge God as readily as some. Many have been lulled into silence because they do not want to offend. But the Bible tells us that the Gospel will offend, so we need to get over it and should unapologetically share the Gospel with a world that is literally going to Hell. It if hated Jesus Christ, it will hate us--the servant is not better that his master.
But I believe that most Jews do not really believe God. (It's a social/political association for most. The same could be said for many so-called Christians.) Jesus said that if they had in fact believed Moses and prophets, they would have believed Him.
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:46)
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh to me. (John 6:45)
But there is hope:
(1) Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth...(12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:1-4, 12-13)
Jesus is the exclusive path to God. (John 14:6)
...At the dawn of human history, G-d gave man seven rules to follow in order that His world be sustained. So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of Noah will be prepared to return to this path. That will be the beginning of a new world, a world of wisdom and peace...
...THE 7 LAWS
Acknowledge that there is only one G-d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of G-d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G-d rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.
Respect G-d’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted - but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.
Maintain justice. Justice is G-d’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation...
posted on 01/16/2012 4:06:49 PM PST
("Ya could look it up!")
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