16 February 2010

Teaching the Bible in Public School

I was watching the news this morning and heard something that made me very thankful I homeschool. It seems a school in Tennessee will be using the Bible as literature in a public high school. While I agree that the Bible could be used as such, and I agree that knowledge of the Bible can be useful in many areas of ones life (including literature, law and even popular culture); I do not agree that it should be taught at this level or that it should be required.

I do not believe teachers can teach the Bible without bias; after all they have not been able to teach politics without bias. Religion is something very close to most people. If you are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Wiccan or even Atheist, your religion (or lack thereof) helps to define who you are. It is a part of you. If you sit down in a class to teach the Bible as literature, and you happen to be Wiccan, how can this not have an affect on your class? If you happen to be Christian, what happens when a non-Christian student challenges YOUR Bible? We already have color lines and socio-economic lines drawn in the class room (black kids hang out with black kids; rich kids with rich kids), why are we looking for something else to divide us?

Then you have to ask, whose Bible are they going to teach? Jews don’t consider the New Testament part of the Bible (I know because I am one) and there are many translations of the Bible and many are inaccurate. In fact, you may argue that because Hebrew can not be easily translated, word for word, to English, any Bible they choose other than one written in Hebrew would be inaccurate. Also, what happens to the kids who don’t hold any stock in the Jewish or Christian Bible at all? Because of the emotion involved this is much more consequential than when someone just doesn’t like “Of Mice and Men” or “Romeo and Juliet.”

Rather than teaching the Bible itself, it may be best for the school to pull out examples from the Bible. For example, when talking about our legal system it is certainly appropriate to point out the laws that connect to biblical laws (our founding fathers were men of faith after all). When reading a piece of literature which references the Bible, I see nothing wrong with referring to that part of the Bible for an in depth analysis; however, making the Bible required reading is just too dangerous.

11 February 2010

Messianic Judaism?

There is a new (to me) phenomenon that I find very disturbing and feel a need to talk about it a little bit. It is this growing movement in Christianity called Messianic Judaism or Jews for Jesus. As a Jew, I find the whole business to be very unsettling. Jews don’t believe Jesus was the messiah and that is all there is to it. If you believe he was, than you are not Jewish. I’m not sure if the movement is filled with Jews who were scammed by Christian missionaries, Christians fooling themselves or Jews hedging their bets. All I know is that I am getting very tired of doing searches for Judaism and Jewish resources just to be led to a Christian website.

Don’t read me wrong, I have nothing against Christians nor do I have anything against Jews who convert to Christianity or any other religion for that matter. I do have a problem with scam artists and that is exactly how I view Messianic Jews.

Why don’t Jews believe in Jesus as the Messiah? If you do a search you are sure to find many websites with this information. I won’t go into too much detail here but I’ll give you a quick list that I got from Aish and if you want to learn more please go to http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48892792.html where it is explained in more detail. You may also want to look and ask many questions at www.askmoses.com.

1) Jesus did not fulfill the messianic prophecies.

2) Jesus did not embody the personal qualifications of the Messiah.

3) Biblical verses "referring" to Jesus are mistranslations.

4) Jewish belief is based on national revelation.

I am getting very tired of searching for Jewish websites, homeschooling resources and books just to find that they are these types of groups. I’ve been to many sites claiming to be Jewish and selling Jewish materials only to find that are actually Christian. These sites and people are acting fraudulently and should be taken to task, at least.

I know my children will not be fooled by these people as we discus these groups but I worry some may. This is why it is so important to arm our children with knowledge about what Judaism is and is not. It is also important for Christians to understand that just because these groups are in existence does not mean they are in any way main stream or legitimate. I know many of my Christian friends think these “Jews” are enlightened or righteous but it is just the opposite.

06 February 2010

Fort Discovery

Yesterday, we went on a field trip to Fort Discovery in Augusta GA with the homeschool group. It was a bit of a drive and the weather was horrible, sheets of rain and lots of wind, but we had a great day. MooGoo was able to take the day off and I packed us all lunches. We left at 8:30 in the morning, which is early for me, but I got to sleep a little in the car. I don't know what it is about a moving car that always seems to rock me to sleep. There were lots of fun exhibits at the museum. There was an echo tube, working phones from the 1800s to present, electricity demos, optical illusions...the list goes on and on. The kids LOVED it. Everything was very kid friendly; they were able to put their hands on everything and I didn't have to be on top of them the whole time. It was fun for the adults too. We enjoyed the hands on exhibits as much as the kids did. This is the reason we homeschool!

We also made it back in enough time to easily get ready for Shabbat. MooGoo made the bread and I set the table Thursday night so we didn't have to worry about it Friday. When we got home I started cooking and we had a nice (grated not as fancy or elaborate as other nights) Shabbat meal.

All in all, a great day and we all slept well last night.

02 February 2010

New look

We did it! We moved the homeschool room out of the sunroom and into the baby’s room. It wasn't a fun task; packing up the baby items was a bitter task for MooGoo. I was sick so the poor guy had to do it all himself. We are giving all the diapers (some were given to us by my sister in law) and wipes and cans of Similac to the local Dept of Children and Family Services. Everything else went into the attic; I’m not giving up just yet on our dream to expand our family.

The new homeschool room, when it was first painted over 4 years ago, was named Lavender Fields. It was a guest bedroom that we painted Lavender and Green. I have a poster (someplace) of a field of lavender that went above the bed and the wicker furniture (now in Turtle’s room) was girly and sweet. Simple and homey, the finishing touch was the rocker that was too big to fit through the door so we had to bring it in through the window (it is still in there). All in all it was a beautiful room meant to be relaxing and inviting to our guests. Now it is our homeschool room so I’ve decided to change the blog colors to mimic the room (I still can’t get that green right though). I’ve also been playing with naming our homeschool Lavender Fields…something…academy, school, school or girls…I don’t know if there is any reason to name our school. I know many people do it but I don’t know if it really matters for us. I have thought that it may be nice just to have something to be proud of. I don’t know…if you are a homeschooler and have a name for your homeschool, I’d love to know your reason behind it and how it works for you.

01 February 2010

Under construction

I am working on the set up but I am also suffering from some sort of cold. Stuffy nose, soar throat, etc...I think I need to lay down so I am going to leave it under construction and hope I get back to it tonight with an explanation for my madness ;)