The Road Less Travelled

“[The] tension between the universal and the particular is unique to Judaism. The God of Israel is the God of all humanity, but the religion of Israel is not the religion of all humanity. It is conspicuous that while the other two Abrahamic monotheisms, Christianity and Islam, borrowed much from Judaism, they did not borrow this. They became universalist faiths, believing that everyone ought to embrace the one true religion, their own, and that those who do not are denied the blessings of eternity… Judaism disagrees. For this it was derided for many centuries, and to some degree still today. Why, if it represents religious truth, it is not to be shared with everyone? If there is only one God, why is there not only one way to salvation? There is no doubt that if Judaism had become an evangelising, conversion-driven religion – as it would have had to, had it believed in universalism – there would be many more Jews than there are today…. Judaism is the road less travelled, because it represents a complex truth that could not be expressed in any other way… by creating all humans in His image, God set us the challenge of seeing His image in one who is not in my image: whose colour, culture, class and creed are not mine. The ultimate spiritual challenge is to see the trace of God in the face of a stranger… we are commanded to be true to our faith, and a blessing to others, regardless of their faith.”

Ceremony & Celebration, pp. 156-157