November 19, 2017


Judaism Is The Star At A Bible Museum Built By Evangelicals (Ron Kampeas, November 19, 2017, The Forward)

The museum celebrates Jews and Judaism as the noble, beloved and even feared antecedents to Christianity, and argues that its best modern expression is in the State of Israel. And it makes the case that the Bible is not merely to be studied but to be believed.

Speaking at the dedication Friday, Steven Green, the president of Hobby Lobby and the museum's chairman of the board, said museumgoers should come away realizing that the Bible "has had a positive impact on their lives in so many different ways and when they leave they will be inspired to open it."

It especially celebrates the Bible's Jewish origins, notably those made manifest in modern Israel. The dedication included a rabbi, Israel's ambassador to the United States, the Israeli minister of tourism and the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

At times, the event seemed like a pro-Israel gala. Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador, celebrated the museum as a signifier of the Jewish claim to Jerusalem. The Bible nurtured Jews through 2,000 years of exile until they were able to "rebuild the original DC -- David's Capital," he said.

Yariv Levin, the tourism minister, read a letter from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who sent "warm greetings from Jerusalem, the eternal and undivided capital of Israel."

The deference to Judaism is evident in the museum logo, a B flat on its face resembling the tablets of the Ten Commandments, and the museum store, where Star of David pendants glitter next to crucifixes. If you have $80 to spare, you can choose a crucifix or Hanukkah menorah made from Jerusalem stone facing each other on the same shelf.

The museum also makes the Bible as unmistakably American as someone named, well, Charlton Heston. One permanent exhibit is dedicated to the biblical underpinnings of the abolition of slavery and of the civil rights movement.

An American seder is indistinguishable from the 4th of July except for the quality of the eats. Of course, that's why Israel hates American Jews.

Posted by at November 19, 2017 10:30 AM