Thank you Mr. Ehrlich for a concise, true, and reasoned response - or rather comment - to Mr. Syed's unfortunate (all too common I'm afraid) ignorance (with maybe a touch of snideness- you notice he failed continuously to capitalize Jew). Hope your exposition will have some success.
And Happy Hannukah! as well as a Merry Christmas and Ramadan (belatedly) to all as appropriate.
Ephraim G. Hirsch, SE (CA)
In a message dated 12/23/2003 2:27:16 PM Pacific Standard Time, GEhrlich(--nospam--at)mcecorp.com writes:
Usually I'm content just to lurk and learn and don't even think about responding to the off-topic stuff, but I saw a couple of things in Syed's post I couldn't let pass.
First, Hanukkah celebrates the victory of a group of Jewish rebels (the Macabees) against the ancient Greeks who at the time were occupying what is now Israel. The Greeks were trying to ban the practice of Judaism and force Jews to worship the Greek gods. Tradition says that when we went to rededicate the temple in Jerusalem we found only a small amount of oil but by a miracle it lasted for eight days to light the temple lamps. This is why we light the menorah (candelabra) for eight nights.
Second, I haven't read the Koran, so I can't comment on the accuracy of Muslim belief--however, the Judaism I know does NOT believe in any "son of God" (prophet or otherwise). I've also never heard of a "prophet Uzair". Each Jew is free to establish his own relationship with God; we don't rely on prophets or rabbis or any other individual to cleanse us of sin and provide our salvation--it's our own prayer and our own actions that determine our fate. We do believe in a Messiah, but we don't believe he's come yet and according to us he will simply be a descendant of the ancient King David who will be called when the time comes. (It is, of course, these beliefs that have traditionally gotten us in trouble with Christians...). We also believe that there is a place in the "World to Come" (that's our idea of heaven) for the good of ALL religions.
Third, while it's true the US doesn't ban headscarves or yarmulkes from public schools, we do have an annoying tendancy to ban books for various reasons...for example, Harry Potter because supposedly the Bible teaches that witchcraft and wizardry are evil. (BTW, it doesn't under Jewish interpretations...but that's another topic).
Gary J. Ehrlich, P.E.
Meyer Consulting Engineers Corp.
451 Hungerford Drive, Suite 113
Rockville, MD 20850
(301) 738-5695 fax