Ron Price Ron Price Moderator

Simon Schama's The Story of the Jews on SBSONE TV in Tasmania, on 22/3/'14

Over the last decade, 2005 to 2014, since my retirement from FT, PT and most volunteer work, after an employment-and-student life of half a century, 1954 to 2004, I have often written about the Jews and Judaism with comparisons and contrasts to a people and a religion I have now been associated with for more than 60 years, the Baha'is and the Baha'i Faith. The following 27 pages and 12,000 words provide a series of items containing, as they do, some of these comparisons and contrasts, among other aspects of both the Jewish world and the Baha'i world. I put the following compilation together after watching Simon Schama's The Story of the Jews on SBSONE TV in Tasmania, on 22/3/'14, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. His interest in the identity of the Jew, now and in history, stimulated my own interest in the identity of the Baha'i, now and in history.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 24/3/'14. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- OUR FRESHLY MINTED TEARS Part 1: The longer I have been a Baha’i the more and more I have seen parallels between the Baha’i experience and the Jewish experience, between what it means to be a Baha’i and what it means to be a Jew. While individual experiences, inevitably, vary greatly, certain overall themes are common between the two religions: a history of persecution; a body or writings and myths that separate the believer from non-believers and that give adherents a foundation of meaning and identity in their lives; a spiritual homeland of holy places and holy men and women who act as models and metaphors for living; the importance of written history and a transcendent Being as a source of order for man and society; the importance of Torah, or Law, written law, to bring daily life into conformity with the original teachings; a foundation in charismatic revelation and a transition to an institutional theocratic state; the place of vision and a sense of the future in history and; finally, the crucial interrelationship between the individual and the community. I have found my Baha’i experience has been helpful in understanding general social and moral issues. I felt deeply conscious of being a Baha’i, and active in spelling out what it meant. Part of the effect of this consciousness has been to make me feel out-of-place, and separate; part of the effect, too, has made me feel integrated with, at one with, the social setting wherever I went. Another effect has been to give me many definitions of homeland: house, land, word processor, place of birth, the planet and a range of serendipitous locations where chance and circumstance has brought me to be. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Five Epochs, 2014. Part 2: This Baha’i business plays a role at so many different levels, and in such varying intensities. We have our holocaust on a much smaller scale, and our freshly minted tears, from innocent, bewildered eyes; the world’s forgetfulness will not debase this coin of gold which enters through a portal from which no man returns. We have our prophets who came to this same grainy, parched, landscape and its unquenchable sun, and the crazed hot wind which mutters so very, very apocalyptically. They were placed in this oven where the heat consumes every thing but compassion.1 Our combustible souls, too, vanish in a puff, but not before those prophets, speaking redemptive words of glacial austerity and honey-dew from an unseen world viewing the entirety of complex human history. 1 Roger White, “A Desert Place”, Occasions of Grace, George Ronald, Oxford, p.97. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- UNSUSPECTED BENEFITS It is a stupendous paradox that a god does not only fail to protect his chosen people against its enemies but allows them to fail....yet is worshipped only the more ardently. This is unexampled in history and is only to be explained by the powerful prestige of a prophetic message..-Max Weber, Ancient Judaism, The Free Press, Glencoe, 1952, p. 364. The following quotation is from Anthony Andrewes, a classical scholar and historian in his book Greek Society:1 "It was the very instability and incoherence of Greek political institutions during the Mycenean and Dark Ages, 1600 to 800 BC, that led to a political evolution which was denied to other cultures." This quotation aroused my interest in Jewish political institutions. "The return of the Jewish people to full participation in history through the reestablished Jewish commonwealth of Israel," writes Daniel J. Elazar in the journal Jewish Political Thought, "made it imperative that Jews everywhere reconsider the political teachings of Judaism......The crises of the past few years have generated renewed interest on the part of committed Jews in the character of Israel as a Jewish state, the various diaspora Jewries as communities in the historical tradition of their antecedents, and in the Jewish people as a corporate entity. As a consequence, the modern Jewish search for roots and meaning has been intensified.2-Ron Price with thanks to 1 Anthony Andrewes, Greek Society, Penguin, Melbourne, 1987, p. xxiii; and 2 D.J. Elazar, "The Jewish Political Tradition as the Basis for Jewish Civic Education: Pirkei Avot as an Example", Jewish Centre for Public Affairs: Jewish Political Thought. "The process whereby its unsuspected benefits were to be manifested to the eyes of men was slow, painfully slow," writes Shoghi Effendi speaking of the life-long exile of the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, "and was characterized, as indeed the history of His Faith from its inception to the present day demonstrates, by a number of crises which at times threatened to arrest its unfoldment and blast all the hopes which its progress had engendered." -Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, USA, 1957, p.111. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- You came from the plains and the mountains with nearby river civilizations to fertilise your soil. Perhaps you went into Egypt back when horse and chariot were first used in warfare1 and lived for half a millennium there. Then your lands slipped out of Egyptian rule; you left for Canaan and fought as an armed group with the Philistines, Midianites, Moabites, Ammonites, Aramaeans. And you fought among yourselves in your tribal and family groups until the United Monarchy under Saul, David and Solomon(ca 1030-930 BC)....It had, and has, been a long journey that's for sure. Things fell apart again and tensions with the nomadic Bedouins continued a political and economic warfare. Extended kinship groups and warriors quibbled & quarrelled for land; land has always been a problem of criticality. Rural herdsmen and the settled, urban population had sharp clashes, as did stock-breeders and peasants in those long lasting historical antagonisms. Gradually......agriculture replaced peasantry, herdsmen and artisans. Town life took the place of country and with the towns the urban landlords and Kings replaced those old chieftans. It was not without a long struggle; it always seems to have been a struggle. Under Solomon(971-932) this ancient Jewish state began to take its part on the world political stage as a kind of oriental despotism like Egypt with a central administration and an all- powerful king: so it seems to me. For the next four hundred years(922-538) Israel took part in a series of long political and military catastrophes ending in the Babylonian captivity and a diaspora: you got used to them. During those long years oracles of a classical prophecy told of the terror of the Assyrians, the time honoured ‘law’ of the confederate tribes, and the voice of doom, righteousness and that distant utopian vision. They made the moral precepts of everyday life a duty and the direction of society intimately connected with a way of life in a spirit of constant expectation and the powerful prestige of a prophetic, a historical message. And so it was that prophets, psalmists, sages and priests inculcated the Torah for generations, mostly without success until the Judean theocratic state in the 5th century BC gave a definite direction to Jewish history through that Torah. A common, universal way of life emerged in this Hebrew Commonwealth as Greece emerged into its golden age after its long and formative age, for formative ages are long & tortuous: history seems to confirm. 11800 BC Ron Price 26/7/'96 to 23/3/'14. ----------------------------------------------------------
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Israel Has The World's Safest Airline — And It's About To Get Even Safer

"What's the safest airline in the world? There's no question. It's El Al, Israel's national airline." -- CBS So states the television news magazine 60 Minutes, in an unequivocal endorsement of Israel's national airline. There are many factors that make El Al the No. 1 airline to fly if you don't want to worry about terrorism -- stringent security measures for all passengers, sky marshals aboard every plane, steel doors securing the cockpit. All of these reduce the risk that terrorists will make mischief inside a plane. And now, Israel is taking the lead in adding a new level of security to eliminate the risk of having terrorists try to take a plane down from outside.
Richard Huang Richard Huang Moderator

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