Jews know what they’re about

As a Roman Catholic, I’ve got to tell you that the Jews have got it going on. We should be so focused on what we’re supposed to be about.

Today we ran up to Greenville for a naming ceremony for my young niece at a local synagogue (I have a diverse family — Catholic, Jewish, evangelical protestant, mainline protestant — no Muslims yet, though). Anyway, during the two-hour Shabbat service, we heard a couple of times about the fact that this was a special weekend in which synagogues and churches across the country are focusing on children’s health care.

And when I say focus, I mean focus. No vague platitudes. The rabbi stepped aside so that a local pediatrician could give the homily. He addressed himself to the kids in the congregation, and explained to them why it was important to make sure all children had access to health care. But he and other speakers went beyond that — they explained why the S-CHIP bill veto should have been overridden, and made sure everyone know that their congressman (Bob Inglis) and both U.S. senators had voted with the president. He told the kids it was their responsibility to urge their parents to vote for officeholders who cared more than that about children’s health.

Why? He told them three reasons why: Because their own children might someday not be able to afford health care. Because they had friends in school who had no coverage. And finally, the best reason of all:

"Because you’re Jews." In other words, because you believe in doing the right thing by other people.

He explained to them that the Jews had been blessed by having been enslaved in Egypt. It taught them what it was like to be without the basic necessities of life, and served as a lasting lesson that they should always care about people who were deprived of such fundamental things.

So why should they care about the 10 million kids whose moms and dads can’t afford to take them to the doctor when they have a sore throat? "Because you’re Jews."

We Christians could definitely do with such straightforward, blunt reminders of what we’re supposed to believe in.