Sunday, June 29, 2008

First World Noahide Conference Begins


If you think being a religious Jew is hard, you have never known a Noahide! We have established holidays, ways to pray, ways to celebrate, ways to live--they do not.

They have Noahide law, and a lot of questions. Which holidays are for them? Which are not? How do they interact with the Jewish community? What is permissable, and what is not?

This is an important conference, and provides one of the first opportunities for Noahides to define and establish the contours and borders of their own religious tradition.

They are an ancient religion with no clearly defined responsa and few known leaders.

Most are left to try to figure out Noahide beliefs on their own, while dodging xtians on one side trying to appropriate the religion, and Jews on the other side misunderstanding their intentions. Meanwhile, very few people have even heard of them, and they end up, most of the time, trying to define and defend themselves to others.

I salute the Noahides as True keepers of the Torah and G-d's Law, and hope that this conference will be the first of many that lead to a more comprehensive and clear understanding of what it is to live life as a Noahide.

First World Noahide Conference Begins
by Hillel Fendel

( The 1st World Conference of the Noahide Nations is underway in Florida.

The conference is taking place at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport Hilton Hotel, and is designed to bring Jews and Noahides together. The organizers stated that for this purpose, the location was specifically chosen for its proximity to a large Jewish populace.

The conference speakers include IsraelNationalRadio (INR) director Yishai Fleisher, speaking on "INR Support for the Future of the Noahide Movement," and show host Rabbis Chaim Richman, and other rabbinic scholars.

The four-day event features workshops and symposiums led by Jewish and Noahide scholars in the fields of Torah study, science, history and government.

Conference organizer Ray Pettersen, of the Dallas-based Noahide Nations, said, “Our world is plagued with violence and diminishing human dignity. Yet, we are also blessed with an unprecedented outpouring of Torah knowledge that is both timeless and even technological. That knowledge, coupled with a heightened sense of the need for community is the underlying theme of this summer’s conference."

On display at the conference is what the conference organizers call the "Golden Crown of the High Priest of the Third Temple." The crown is actually a headplate known as the Tzitz, fashioned out of pure gold by the Temple Institute in the Old City of Jerusalem and completed last December. The Temple Institute stated at the time that the Tzitz "is ready to be worn by the High Priest in the rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem." The words "Holy for G-d" are engraved on the headplate, in accordance with Exodus 28:36.

Last month, Rabbi Yaakov Cohen, Sheikh Abdaal Salaam and Reverend Michael Kroop addressed a Hebrew University audience on the topic of how the Seven Noahide Laws can help bring world peace. Rabbi Cohen, of The Institute of Noahide Code, who organized the conference, said the goal was to "use the Noahide laws as a starting point for dialogue between representatives of different traditions."

The seven Noahide laws, by which Gentiles are bound according to Torah law and which are being accepted by increasing numbers of non-Jews, are the following:
1. Belief in one G-d; no idol worship
2. Respecting G-d: Do not blaspheme His Name
3. Respect for human life: Do not murder
4. Respect for family: Do not commit immoral sexual acts
5. Respect for others’ rights: Do not steal
6. Creation of a judicial system
7. Respect All Creatures: Do not eat live animals or be cruel to them

At the Florida conference, Pettersen presented Oscar-winning actor Jon Voight with the Zedekah Award for his charitable efforts and public support for the State of Israel, and Vendyl Jones received the Noah Award for his lifetime of work in spreading Torah and the Seven Laws of Noach. Other speakers include Rabbis Y. Hollander, Joel Bakst, and Michael Katz, as well as Dr. Andrew Goldfinger, Judge Rabbi Sander Goldberg, Jim Long, and more.

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