The Torah’s View Of Non-Jews

In a 1996 lecture on Exodus 17, Dennis Prager says: The Torah’s view of non-Jews is absolutely positive. Would that later Jewish life have as positive a view of non-Jews.

I just read… a certain university in the U.S. will have a department of Jewish Studies headed by a non-Jew. I think that is the greatest possible news. I revel in the thought that non-Jews would be so interested in Jewish history, Jewish thought, Jewish religion, that they would want to take Jewish studies and teach it and become the head of Jewish Studies.

I am mystified at the provincialism that exists in this instance among Jewish academics… Do you only want your own group to be interested in your own group? Even on selfish grounds it’s preposterous, forget on moral grounds.

Jews were the first nation in the world you could convert to and remain among the only. You can convert to any religion but it is difficult to convert to full membership in a people. America is the other.

America and the Jews are the unique peoples in history. It didn’t matter what you were born.

The notion that all the goyim are out to get us is contrary to the Torah. Some are and some are not. Some are Amalekites and some are Midianites.

Aug. 16, 1996:

NEW YORK (JTA) — A non-Jewish professor’s charges that bigotry forced him to resign as director of the Queens College Jewish studies program have triggered a national firestorm about the proper qualifications for heading an ethnic studies program.

Queens College Russian and Yiddish literature Professor Thomas Bird, 58, who is Catholic, resigned last month amid a nationwide furor over his appointment.

The controversy erupted when a Queens College colleague, Samuel Heilman, chairman of the sociology department, said in a New York Jewish Week column that Bird was unqualified for the job.

Bird, a Yiddish scholar and longtime activist on behalf of Soviet Jews, has been with the Jewish studies program staff since it started nearly 25 years ago. It now serves about 500 students a semester.

Heilman said that because Bird was not Jewish, did not know Hebrew and had not published articles in mainstream Jewish studies, he was not qualified to direct the Jewish studies program, one of the largest in the nation.

In response, Bird charged that Heilman’s criticism was gratuitous and a personal attack on his record. He charged Heilman with “an orchestrated campaign to render it impossible for me to carry out the director’s duties.”

Bird accused his detractors of “primitive religious bigotry” in causing him to resign just two weeks after his appointment was announced.

“It is impossible not to conclude that the attempt to trash my academic record and standing in the community through insinuation and omission is anything other than a fig leaf for objections to my being a gentile,” Bird said.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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