Tuesday, January 18, 2005

LDS Jews

I happened to run across this web site in the newspaper the other day. It is from an an organization called B'nai Shalom.

This is a group of LDS Church members who are of Jewish heritage. A good number of them are 1st generation members of the church. They have members all around the world.. Some of whom live in Israel. Here is their official mission statement:

"B'nai Shalom (Children of Peace) is an organization of members of TheChurch of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, who share a common Jewish heritage or have an interest and love for the Jewish People and their culture. Within theframework of existing LDS programs, B'nai Shalom promotes greater understandingof Jewish culture, heritage and traditions, and encourages, assists and promotesJewish genealogy."
When I was on my mission in Vancouver, BC, I met several Jewish families. One of my areas had a rather large Jewish population. We had a set of discussions specifically designed for teaching Jews. One of the more striking departures from the regular discussions was the way in which prayers were taught. Instead of closing the prayer in the mane of the Savior, prayers were ended by saying "In the name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." We understand that these are just two different names for the same Deity, but for them it was easier to accept in the beginning -- at least until they understood the full mission of Jehovah.

I can't say that I had any Jewish converts. But it was an interesting experience. I had the opportunity to attend Some Synagogue services, and learn more about the Jewish people, and their traditions.

After returning home from my mission, I read several novels by Chaim Potok, who also was a Rabbi. Rabbi Potok came to BYU to give a lecture in the early 1980's, which I attended and found to be quite fascinating. This further interested me in Jewish culture and traditions. In the early to mid 1980's attended several of the B'nai Shalom meetings, and found it quite interesting. I have always had a great respect for our Jewish Brothers and Sisters.

I thought of Barb L. (Dawn Ann's Sister-in-Law) when I saw the article in the newspaper. I was especially interested to see that one of the purposes of the group is to promote Jewish family history research, which may be of help to Barb.

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