Friday, March 26, 2010

A Daughter of Zion

Another book by the prolific Christian writer Bodie Thoene, this one from the Zion Chronicles Series, A Daughter of Zion was published by Bethany House in 1987. Many Jewish characters (mostly Israelis or immigrants to Israel) are featured in this book, including Rachel Lubetkin, a young Orthodox Jewish woman who is helping her fellow Jews bring about statehood for Israel in 1948; Moshe Sachar; and others. Another character is David Meyer, an American Christian of Jewish descent, but he doesn't make a big deal about his ancestry.

Sometimes Thoene can be patronizing. Listen to Ellie (an American gentile Christian) as she psychoanalyzes Rachel:

"She needs the kind of love that will help her forgive herself. Nobody can make her accept that love, or really even make her believe it exists until she is ready. She still thinks she can make it all up somehow, that she can personally atone for the guilt she feels for being alive when her parents and brothers died ... And only God's love can heal Rachel's heart." .... "Only the Lord can heal her heart. You can't make it all better for her. She and the Lord are going to have to work that out by themselves."

But we're not done with the obnoxious Ellie yet. After saying the blessing for the Shabbat lights, Ellie prays extemporaneously:

"Fill us with love for one another. I pray these things in the name of your son Jesus who died for my sins and the sins of the world. Amen." Ellie raised her eyes to the surprised faces of the old rabbi and Yacov. Luke and Moshe covered their grins with their hands, and David chuckled openly. "Not exactly an ecumenical prayer, Els," David remarked. "A good Shabbat prayer, young lady!" Grandfather exclaimed, silencing David. "So you think the mother of Jesus didn't light the Shabbat candles, David? For a Gentile Christian this is the very best kind of Shabbat prayer. So! I say to that, OMAINE!" [Later, Moshe says the Kiddush and silently ends it "in the name of Jesus the Messiah."] (p. 145).

Why does "Grandfather" seem like a bit of a stereotype to Wandering Jude? Is it just me? And why is he talking about "the great rabbi Jesus"? Listen in....

"Ah, you Christians," chided Grandfather, "You all have forgotten your Jewish heritage! True? Of course true! And so you miss much of what the great rabbi Jesus was speaking of, eh?" "You're right, Shlomo," Howard nodded vigorously. "But you're missing a thing or two as well, you know." (p. 237). The rabbi says, "Don't you know that the first Anglican bishop of Jerusalem was geshmat?" "Hummm," Howard mused thoughtfully. "Is it possibly a Jew who converts to Christianity? A Yiddish word, isn't it?" (p. 238).

More schmaltz:

After Moshe tells Rachel the New Testament story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery, she says: "How wonderful to have known such a man as this! If only I could have had Him with me at the synagogue last night!" [where she was accused of fornication and harlotry by the ultra orthodox rabbis]. [Moshe responds]: "He was there with you, my love. His eyes are a mirror of mercy and compassion even now. And He longs for every one of His children to see Him and know Him." (p. 327).

Wandering Jude doesn't have much more to say about this. So that's all for now.

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