SALVATION IS FROM THE JEWS
by Roy Schoeman (San Francisco: Ignatius Press)
Written by a former Jewish Harvard Business
professor with a spectacular conversion story to the Catholic faith, Salvation
is from the Jews, explores God's Providence for the Jewish people in ways
that enlighten, inspire and thrill the soul of the Hebrew-Catholic.
Sceptical? Have you read more than enough and can't absorb anything
more? That's the way I, a Hebrew-Catholic for more than 40 years and editor
of conversion story books(The Ingrafting and Bread from Heaven), felt when
Roy Schoeman's manuscript arrived for an endorsement.
30 pages into it, I stopped reading in a desultory manner, and, at the
edge of my seat, started praying while turning the pages faster and faster.
I liked the popular but thorough and solid style of the book.
To wet your appetite here are some ideas in the book new to me:
wanted the Jews of Old Testament times to be totally separate from the Gentiles
because the pagan gods (idols) were not superstitions, but were demonic
Many Jews claim that events after the time of Christ do not
fit the Jewish Scripture's prophecies of what would happen when the
Messiah came, thus thinking they can prove Jesus was not the
Messiah. Schoeman shows, as other apologists do that this can be
explained by taking into account that some of the prophecies refer to
Christ's Second Coming rather than his first, while others refer to
spiritual events not visible in the physical world. What was new to me was
the application of this principle to the immediate and radical release of
the dead from limbo.
As for Jews claiming that Christian views of
the afterlife are alien to Judaism, Maimonides, the great Jewish
philosopher ofthe Middle Ages labeled as atheists and unbelievers unworthy
to belong tothe Jewish community anyone who failed to believe "with
perfect faith" in the resurrection of the dead.
masterfully summarizes the evidence of Hitler's involvement withSatanism
and how closely allied the mentors of men like Saddam and Arafat were to
Hitler. The quote that shocked me the most was from a letter AnwarSadat
wrote to Hitler after the war, when Sadat mistakenly thought Hitler was
"I congratulate you from the bottom of
my heart. Even if you appear to have been defeated, in reality you are the
victor. You succeeded in creating dissensions between Churchill, the old
man, and his allies, the Sons of Satan."
1953 Sadat wrote that Hitler had been falsely demeaned. On the contrary, he
had been great in trying "to save the world from this malignant evil (the Jews)."
carefully distinguishing between defined teachings of the Church and
speculation, asks the reader to consider the possibility that Satan, knowing
that the Second Coming must be preceded by the conversion of the Jewish
people, inspired the Holocaust with the intent to either eliminate the
Jews entirely or, failing that, to ensure that the survivors would associate
Christianity with Nazism. Might today's attempts by contemporary Arab
leaders to eliminate the Jewish state be the next phase in his campaign to
avert the Second Coming?
Orthodox Jews who went to their deaths
during the Nazi holocaust retained hope to the end far more often than
less religious Jews.One such orthodox Jew proclaimed in the face of
despair: "The Jewish way is to bless and to hope and to bless and to
hope, until hope and blessing surmount the pain and even the bitterness,
and the living learn how to go on."
The train that carried St.
Edith Stein to the concentration camp was composed entirely of baptized
A key to the meaning of Judaism post the Resurrection of
Jesus is the intriguing passage from St. Paul (in Romans 11:16-24)
concerning theingrafting of the Gentiles onto the tree with Jewish roots.
After a fascinating analysis of the use of the word "seed" in
Scripture, Schoeman concludes that the Jews retain the "blessing by
nature" because they are the seed, while the Gentiles receive the
"blessing by choice." "Therefore, when they (the Jews) do
come to the faith (as St. Paul prophecies they certainly will) and thus
are grafted back onto 'their own' olive tree, how blessed they will be,
since they will then receive the blessing by choice originally intended
for them which is perfectly matched to their blessing by nature (as seed)
from which they were never separated."
Since Jews have a horror
of assimilation, some contemporary Catholics think that it is right for
them to stay separate. Schoeman suggests that those Jews who choose to
"disappear" into the Church might be seen as like yeast that is
kept separate from the dough until its right time comes when it disappears
into the bread. "Just as the yeast does not lose its importance in
disappearing into the dough but rather achieves it, so might the Jewish charism
realize its unique importance in "disappearing" into the Church. And God
in His providence, and in His timing in providing the grace of conversion,
knows that the separate supply of yeast - the unconverted Jews - will last
until the right time."
Schoeman relates the Holocaust to
the Second Coming in this way: "Grace is always "purchased"
by suffering. Suffering and sacrifice is the coin that we here on earth
have to offer up to God and receive grace in return... The first coming of
the Messiah was purchased by the prayers and the sufferings of twenty
centuries of Jews, climaxing in the particularly odious and offensive
"slaughter of the innocents" under Herod. Is it possible, as
St. Paul intimates in Romans, that they also have a central role to play
in the Second Coming? ...could the extreme suffering in the Holocaust be
part of that role?... The Jewish people were called on to bear a
disproportionate share in the suffering which preceded the first coming;
perhaps they are also called upon to bear a disproportionate share of the
pains of giving birth to the Second Coming." A
beautiful chapter about famous Jewish converts provides inspiration from the
writings of Alphonse Ratisbonne, Rabbi Zolli, Cardinal Lustiger, and Charles
Rich. The book also includes the miraculous story of Schoeman's own finding
of Christ and His Church already excerpted in the H-C Newsletter pre-publication.
When you are witnessing to your own conversion to other Jews, you will find
that there are many questions they have you are not sure how to answer. Salvation
is from the Jews provides a vision that is so appreciative of the Jewish
role in religious history, that your relatives and friends may be more
open to it than your own direct confrontation of them.
you run up against false theories among Catholics such as "The Jews have
the Father, so they don't need to convert," you may not have as much background
information as Roy Schoeman to answer them.
about your own doubts and perplexities about just where to place yourself
in the on-going outreach to see our people find Jesus in the Church?
Salvation is from the Jews leads you down paths that will help you discern.
-- Ronda Chervin, Ph.D., professor of philosophy, and writer of numerous books on Catholic living.