I have done a great deal of soul-searching on this subject and expect to do quite a bit more. Nevertheless, I would love to hear your opinions on it. Could I be a convinced Friend and a new convert to Judaism? I see them both as paths that lead to the Almighty and "choosing" one over the other is not an option for me. I'm sure we as a community have talking about this before but I would like some weighty advice.

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Algis,

I'm another reader on this post (was also wondering back in March and again now where she's at on the topic).  Your story is very moving!   I wonder if you should even share this comment as a separate post so that people can discuss and be inspired on their own journey by what you are doing.  There's the story in the Torah (right?) of Hosea.  I'm of the Christian persuasion, but this book is in the Torah too, right?  You remind me of that a little bit -- the goodness of that.  Thanks for sharing!


Olivia,

thanks a lot for your kind word! Yes, while reading Torah a lot of inspiration comes up from a range of prophetic stories, psalms or other lines – not only Hosea, but also Jonah and Hiob, and much, much more. For me, Yeshua (Jesus), clearly was and is a good jew in the first place. So to practice at least some form of judaism that is accessible to one (and it's a process of learning) is to honour Yeshua's teaching as well. I will consider of putting some separate entry on all this as you friendly suggest :)

Thanks for replying! :) A. 

Actually, my meeting would accept someone as a member of the Religious Society of Friends and another denomination.  We have formal members of our meeting who are also members of other denominations.  Our view of formal membership is that it is a personal vehicle one may choose to aid them on their spiritual journey, and is not a requirement to be a full participant in our meeting.  As such, our clearness committee process for membership is entirely used to aid the Friend in THEIR clarity on becoming a formal member of our meeting.  Therefore, the Clearness committee (nor the meeting) does not pass any judgement on the appropriateness of someone's membership in our meeting.  When the matter is brought to Meeting for Business for approval, the meeting does not judge the worthiness of the Friend's membership; rather, it judges if the process for membership was used appropriately.  If it was (as I described above), the membership is approved and recorded.
 
Thomas Taylor said:

Writing as a Quaker with a Jewish wife and children, I have to say that I think there are some fundamental questions that you need to consider. While it is certainly possible to create a spiritual practice that incorporates elements of Quakerism and Judaism, there are practical and theological barriers to being a full, converted practitioner of both at the same time.

 

One basic issue is that most, if not all, Quaker Meetings won't find you clear for membership while you retain or seek membership in another religious organization. At the same time, I doubt very seriously that you could find a rabbi willing to take you on as a student for conversion while you professed a conviction that you are, and would remain, a Quaker.

 

Beyond that, while there are many ways in which Quakerism and Judaism intersect nicely, such as valuing individual learning and study and a commitment to bettering our whole world as an article of faith, there are some core values of the two religions that are diametrically opposed, so that I'm not clear how one could profess to be a full member of both at once. I'm thinking here of the place and value of religious ritual, pacifism, and gambling, among others. 

I think you are asking the wrong question.  The question is which is the best path to follow at this time in your life.  You can certainly find a Quaker meeting that would welcome you but whether they would be of much help in your journey is another question.  There are messianic jewish churches that find their relationship with Jesus is enriched by their Jewish traditions and of course their familiarity with the Old Testament.  However, as a new convert to Judaism that wouldn't apply to you.  Have you checked out the Kabala teachings?  Maybe they would speak to you and what you are being called to.  I think if you were raised in one or the other it would be a different story but you should focus on your goal and not get caught up in learning two new spiritual traditions simultaneously.  Master one before looking for further enrichment in the other.

The Quaker way has one essential feature: to rely on God to show you the best way forward, specifically by waiting quietly for God to get a word in, rather than following any tradition unquestioningly.

"The Lord is good to those who wait for him,

to the soul that seeks Him.

It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the Lord...

For the Lord will not cast off forever;
but though He cause grief, He will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;

for He does not willingley afflict

or grieve the children of men."

[from Lamentations 3:25 -- which I discovered one day when I found myself obliged to sit through an Episcopal church service for my brother-in-law's funeral, when that turned out to be one of the readings in the ceremony.]

I have also found this man's writings often enlightening:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zalman_Schachter-Shalomi

"He eventually left the Lubavitch movement altogether, and founded his own organization known as B'nai Or, meaning the "Children of Light," a title he took from the Dead Sea Scrolls writings."

This was, by the way, one of the primary ways that early Friends referred to their own movement....

Great Discussion!

I'd like to add a couple stories.

First- I was raised in Seattle's University Friends Meeting and I'm deeply appreciative of all my Quaker influences. I joined University Friends as a member in 1981 and I transferred my membership to Agate Passage Friends Meeting soon after it became an official Meeting in the late 90's. I've been very involved in Agate Passage Meeting first in the process of transitioning from a worship group to a meeting on many committees then as clerk. Early in my development as a Quaker I decided to carry on a family tradition of defending the rights of non-violent conscientious objectors in the federal courts. Both my son and I have sued the US Selective Service System for not allowing US citizens to register for the draft as conscientious objectors. I am a devoted pacifist as are many of my elders/role models - both Quaker and Jewish.

I also married my wife Zann who is not only Jewish but follows her calling through teaching Hebrew, Jewish Sunday School, Bar and Bat Mitzvah prep while performing weddings, memorials, and Bnei' Mitsvah ceremonies. I'm lucky because as a young Quaker I learned all the Israeli folk music and dances from the "Friendly Dancers' at various Quaker gatherings. Currently  I am periodically employed as the singer and dance caller for many of the Jewish ceremonies that Zann is facilitating so as I participate I assist and I am infused with the Jewish culture through research, teaching and the practice of participatory involvement with the community. It is a mutual benefit most would agree (both Quaker and Jewish) that my participation offers myself and others a deeper sense of the spirit. Most of my friends affirm my own belief I am 100% Jewish and 100% Quaker.

Second- This morning at Meeting (Agate Passage Friends) one of our attenders gave a presentation about the Western Friend Magazine which she represents as a board member and supporter. She was excited to share "There is a fascinating movement occurring in the World of Quakers all over the globe which is very strong in the western Meetings we call "Radical Inclusivity"

Radical Inclusivity is a spiritual practice that is being used by people of many faiths (Including the recently deceased Rabbi Zalman Schecter)  and by definition the diversity of a group of individuals strengthens their practice. Key to the practice is to be able to cultivate allies within multiple traditions which requires knowing a lot and feeling close to spiritual traditions and practices that you were raised with as well as others that you care about.

I do not feel insecure claiming to be Jewish, Christian and Quaker (as these are three traditions and communities to which I feel intimately devoted). I also love to participate in the spiritual practices of other traditions (Tich Nat Han, another radical inclusivist, comes to mind)

I believe Jesus as well as Hillel, one of his contemporary rabbis, was a great Radical Inclusivist... and I am a humble student of these teachers and many others with whom I feel included. The Spirit Speaks clearly through these teachers.

I was not speaking for Jess when, earlier, I said Thank you Thank you

When you take it to a deep enough level -- as Schachter-Shalomi clearly did -- people turn out to be talking about the same Stuff.

But having different angles on it likewise proves helpful, as in Alan Lew's take on what really happened at Babel -- that God did us a favor by not letting us grab the controls of this harmonious world under one centralized command, but rather giving us many different eyes with which to love it... http://www.sneezingflower.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-self-disclosure-...

Greetings Craig, good to hear from you!  (Craig and I go back).

As a student of Python the computer language, I can attest that when we go:

class Me (Quaker, Jewish):

     def __init__(self): # a self is born!
         pass # details skipped

to create a blueprint of a Me, it's certainly valid to have multiple influences. such that now:

>>> craig = Me()  # make a new me
>>> isinstance(craig, Quaker)
True
>>> isinstance(craig, Jewish)
True

Instead of "influences" we might say "ancestors".  One inherits. 

Python enjoys Dutch influence (its designer is from Holland), with the Dutch being liberal / cosmopolitan and therefore more accepting of multiple inheritance (many languages don't allow it). 

Any brand of multiculturalism is an anathema to those without the skills.  They label us "xenophiles" as a term of opprobrium.  Radical inclusivism?  Some would lose their (too fragile?) identities in such a practice.

I'll be adding more to QuakerQuaker after Halloween but didn't want to miss this opportunity to wave and say hello.

More autobio:  http://mybizmo.blogspot.com/2015/10/more-memories.html

Kirby

Kirby,

There's poetry in your mathematical proof.  Neat.

Craig,

Thank you for sharing each piece of that last post.   It's interesting to me to read it after we've had this question laid out and various suggestions about logistical feasability and will-they or won't-they permit mutual membership.  It feels like one very true testament to how the Spirit works and may call an individual:  as you've shared it so far, my impression is that your actual membership approval is not necessary for you to be fulfilling your divine calling to be 100% both/all.    For all I know, technical objections may still apply in both congregations, but just not apply to YOU on a spiritual level, and not hinder your leading.   That tale feels like a warm campfire, somehow....

One can be what whatever one desires. No one needs permission or unnecessary expectations from others. If your heart tells you that you "are" something, just be the best "something" that you can be. Blessings

I'd like to add that I like everything I hear about Seattle University Friends Meeting, including some really challenging topics in recent years that they handled very seriously and with grace too. 

And I like everything I hear about Howard's meeting.  Howard, it always seems to be the realization of our ideals, no matter what angle we're talking about.  It's great to know that's out there!  Thank you for sharing it with us.

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