Are There Judeo-Christian Values?

Whether or not there are Judeo-Christian values depends on whether or not the concept of “Judeo-Christian values” is good for the Jews.

I think that’s the point of Steve Sailer’s blog post here which consists entirely of an excerpt from an essay by an Orthodox Jew:

From the Jewish Press:


There’s No Such Thing as Judeo-Christian Values

The label “Judeo-Christian” tends to assume, at the expense of Judaism, that Christians and Jews believe essentially the same things.

By: Yori Yanover

Published: December 26th, 2013

… The paragraph reminded me of the old Jewish joke, which is better spoken, but since I don’t know most of you personally, you’ll have to do the voices in your head:

A gentile professor of Judaic Studies in Iowa finds out that to really learn the Talmud he must go to the Boro Park section of Brooklyn and find himself a teacher. The professor flies over and knocks on a basement door and this little Jew comes out. Upon seeing him, the professor asks to be taught the Talmud, but the little Jews says, “I can’t teach you Tal-mud, you got a goyeshe kop, you just don’t think Jewish.”

The professor insists. The little Jew says, “OK, solve this problem, and I’ll teach you:

“Two people go down a chimney. One stays clean, the other gets completely schmutzig, filthy. Which one washes up?”

The professor eagerly answers, “The dirty one, naturally.”

The little Jew wails: “Goyeshe kop, goyeshe kop! I told you I can’t teach you anything. Listen, the schmutzig guy sees the clean guy. Schmutzig doesn’t see any problem. But the clean guy sees the schmutzig guy and figures he must be just as dirty, so he goes and washes. I told you, you got a goyeshe kop. I can’t help you.”

The professor begs for another chance, and the little Jew gives in, suggesting a new problem to solve:

“Two people go down a chimney. One stays clean, the other gets completely schmutzig. Which one of them would wash up?”

The professor says, “Sure, I know this one, it’s the clean fellow.”

At this, the little Jew wails, “Goyeshe kop, the clean one takes a look at the dirty one and says, Moishe, you’re all schmutzig, go wash already! Enough. I really can’t help you, mister, you got a goyeshe kop.”

The professor begs for one last chance, and the little Jews says, “Fine, one last chance, I’ll give you a completely new problem, then you’ll leave me alone:

“Two people go down a chimney. One stays clean, the other gets completely schmutzig. Which one of them washes up?”

At this point, if you’re telling this joke, it’s all physical stuff, as the poor professor from Iowa freezes, unable to decide which of the two conflicting solutions to choose. The little Jew can’t stand it anymore and interjects, “Goyeshe kop, who ever heard of two people going down a chimney and only one of them gets schmutzig?”

For me, this joke illustrates the essence of Rabbinic Judaism. Hardly interested in developing uniform answers or dogmas, Rabbinic Jews love dispute, which enshrines all opinions.

I asked some Jewish friends to explain to me why Steve Sailer chose that excerpt. What point was he making?

One friend said:

It’s almost the same thing I explained to you the other day in regards to Apartheid. The goy is dumbstruck at the Jew’s ability to explain the theory behind his answer, not understanding that the theory is irrelevant to his choice of answers. The answer is whichever is good for the Jews.

The rabbi in the story does not want to teach the goy Talmud. Teaching the goy Talmud is not good for the Jews. Therefore, whatever answer the goy gives is wrong.

The goy seeks a universal moral compass he can be loyal to and serve, but for the tribal Jew, the answer depends on what is good for the Jews. The primary question is what is good for the Jews.

There is therefore no Judeo-Christian morality.

Another Jewish friend explained:

I think he is saying that Levi Ford is an oxymoron.

Seriously, the anecdote shows how Jews do not have Christian values when it comes to consistency and honorable debate in arguments. Thus the Christian accepts the Jews logic and uses it in answering the next question and the Jew changes the standards previously enunciated in the earlier question and answer.

Judeo values are not Christian values. This is clear since the Christian God is love and the Jewish God is a jealous angry one. The Christian God is accessible to everyone. The Jewish God may be omniscient and omnipotent and omnipresent, but selected a chosen people to give his message to and requires a strict embrace of rules if you want to convert.

Steve Sailer’s blog gets some sharp comments including this from Syon:

RE: Judeo-Christian,

1.Well, one can speak in terms of a broad commonality (e.g., certain shared texts, mythologies, etc). Of course, this commonality only really comes into focus when the two faiths are matched against something that is wholly other: Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shinto, etc. And when you are doing that, it is probably best to speak in terms of the Abrahamic faiths ( Judaism, Christianity, Islam) on one side and everything else on the other.

2. Judaism and Christianity or Judaism and Islam or Christianity and Islam. As for how these faiths relate when compared to each other, that’s tough. On the one hand, Judaism and Islam are more orthopraxic in orientation, while Christianity tends to emphasize Orthodoxy more. So, from that perspective, Judaism and Islam are on one side, while Christianity is on the other.

On the other hand, Islam and Christianity are both universal, proselytizing faiths, which sharply distinguishes them from Judaism, with its tribalistic focus.

3. Shared Lineage: Of course, one thing that does unite Judaism and Christianity is the fact that both religions grow out of Second Temple Judaism. Hence, there is a strangely intimate nature to their quarrel, rather like two sisters arguing over which one should inherit Dad’s estate…

4. Lastly, one has to also bear in mind the very strong impact that Protestant Christianity has had on Judaism in the last 150 years, particularly in the USA. Conservative and Reform Judaism are, to a considerable degree, Protestantized forms of Judaism…

* Here’s Rabbi Martin Siegel quoted in New York Magazine in 1972: “I am devoting my lecture in this seminar to a discussion of the possibility that we are now entering a Jewish century, a time when the spirit of the community, the non-ideological blend of the emotional and rational and the resistance to categories and forms will emerge through the forces of anti-nationalism to provide us with a new kind of society. I call this process the Judaization of Christianity because Christianity will be the vehicle through which this society becomes Jewish.”

* Israeli Jews tend to be warmer to the evangelicals than are politically left wing American Jews. They realize that it is unwise to turn away a potential friend. They also remember the crucial assistance given to the Jewish community in Palestine by Orde Wingate, a British evangelical from a family that belonged to the Plymouth Brethren.

* The term “Judeo-Christian” was hardly used prior to WWII, or more especially prior to the 1960s/70s.

I can remember a time in the 1970s when Jews as such were still barely perceived to exist in the larger Christian culture; sure if you understood the code Jews were everywhere but the typical gentile was clueless. This changed when the whole Holocaust/Jewish victimology campaign was launched to make Christians feel guilty for merely existing.

Christians used the term “Judeo-Christian” to seem more inclusive and not seem “anti-Semitic” whereas as late as the 1950s/60s you could still refer to our common Christian civilization, or Christendom, without irony and without qualifications or caveats or weasel word terms like “Judeo-Christian”.

So this statement is in fact the opposite of the truth: “The label “Judeo-Christian” tends to assume, at the expense of Judaism, that Christians and Jews believe essentially the same things.”

No, it tends to assume that Christians and Jews believe essentially the same things so as to disarm, disadvantage, and delude the Christian masses, who fear being called anti-semitic. It assumes that the two things are alike at the expense of Christendom. When Christians still had a culture of their own they did not feel the need to be “inclusive” by tacking on other terms our qualifiers to their own name.

* Steve, I’m surprised you fell for this hogwash, and even more surprised that Razib Khan is ignorant of how the Founding Fathers (in public at least) meticulously compared American Independence to that of the founding of Israel. Indeed for Protestants who read the Bible A LOT, far more than Catholics, identification with Jews was (and is) commonplace. Lincoln’s speeches are filled with allegories comparing Americans to Jews, and the Puritans appropriated this language, citing Boston as a New Jerusualem.

Feminist #1, that most Christian of Poets, William Blake, even wrote an Epic Poem called Jerusalem wherein he compared the English to Jews.

So, history did not start last Thursday. And historically, Americans from Cotton Mather to Ronald Reagan have invoked Jewish history and seen themselves as “New Jews” in a continuity.

Secondly, the “removed,” Amish-like Rabbinical attitudes expressed in the column are not representative of most Jews. Most Jews today are secular, profoundly integrationist, and reflect what Steve you noted Revealed Preference in their mating habits.

To take one prominent Jew: Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg married his Asian girlfriend. Or Mr. Amy Chua, one Jeb Rosenfeld, would be another example.

I would argue, and there is considerable weight in actual, real-life Jewish behavior on this front, that Jews have largely (and lamentably I might add) adopted many Christian Doctrines at least on the broader fronts:

**Original Sin.
**Worship of Non-Whites as Racial Redeemers.
**Original Sin as Racial Original Sin.

When the Bombay / Mumbai Massacres a number of years ago happened, with LeT running amok in fire-teams killing all sorts of people, one of their targets was a Jewish family running some charity, Chabad I think, in Bombay. When I read this my though was, why on earth were Jews from Israel there in the first place? The reason was the typical NGO-type feel-good charity, the same stuff producing Medicin sans Frontiers, Greenpeace, and the other universalist, utopian, pacifist, “White people are the original sin” and “non-Whites the redeemers.”

It has taken literally the threat of Israel being overwhelmed by Africans in a matter of months if not weeks and constant rocket attacks from Hamas to convince Israelis otherwise on the matters of fences, borders and deportations, and it is an open question if the Israeli Courts will acquiesce in non-suicide or insist on Open Borders because Jews were not allowed in Sweden or Switzerland in 1942 or something.

The problem with Christianity is that it is too successful: Europe, America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, are among the nicest places to live and Jews are no different from other peoples in wanting to adopt success including many fundamental moral assumptions. Assumptions that I find an utter disaster. Secular Jews are no less religious than say, Jerry Falwell or Oral Roberts, they just don’t got to church when they pray (or Synagoge). Instead their daily rituals are green recyclable bags at the grocery store, Global Warming, and Universalism Utopian Open Borders, beliefs they share with most of the secular and religious Christians.

Both Mark Zuckerberg and say, the Lutheran World Council (and the Catholic Church if it comes to that) are in favor of Open Borders and anyone who wants to come to America to be allowed to do so.

I’d say that’s shared Judeo-Christian values. Just bad ones.

* In 1700, a Jew speaking like this to a Christian would be caned. Someone of that era hearing this joke would not understand why the professor would tolerate such impudence from a Jew of all things, let alone return for more, therefore the joke wouldn’t work. It only makes sense in a modern Western society where the verbal aggressiveness of Jews is well-known and tolerated.

* Wasn’t “Judeo-Christian” a term specifically coined to allow people to refer to the moral basis of Western Civ without making Jews feel excluded?

* I always thought “Judeo-Christian” values/civilisation/culture etc was a silly and somwhat obnoxious phrase. The Christianity of America derived from three strands: ancient Judaism, Greek or Greco-Roman philosophy, and pre-Christian northern European pagan culture. The Judaism of America derived primarily from Rabbinical Judaism plus some influence from northern-European Christian culture. There is no ‘Judeo-Christianity’.

My impression is that the phrase is used to mean that American culture is not specifically Christian. Originally this was a Liberal-Progressive Jewish idea, that Jews were as American as Christians. Then as Christianity weakened, it became a Conservative or Neoconservative idea, that America had a specifically Judeo-Christian culture,as opposed to being a Multicultural void.

So when I saw The Daily Show comedians sneering at the term, they were sneering at it for being a conservative/right-wing concept. An earlier generation of Liberal Jewish comedians would have championed the concept, while derogating Christians who claimed America was specifically Christian.

* The Jewish view of Creation seems to be that’s still in a state of churn and chaos while the Christian view is that it’s is something of apparently infinite complexity but also something essentially ordered. For Christendom, Creation – ie this world and universe in which we find ourselves – is something we can use our mortal minds to at least partly make sense of because it’s something that obeys laws; laws that are good because Creation is good. Jews, on the other hand, seem to see this world as one fundamentally broken, chaotic and wrong and something they’ve been given the task of repairing:

Gentlemen, let us wrap our minds around that concept: that Jews believe they are a people with the cosmically important right, duty and ability to eventually re-order the universe because God didn’t finish the job. No wonder they feel like they could “create their own reality” in something as piddly as the Middle East or the US Federal Reserve.

Until that cosmic healing and order is established though, Jews apparently see themselves living in a world of false idols, false nations and false kings:

What about Christendom? Well, as Charles de Gaulle said about France “we are, after all and above everything, a European people of the white race, of Greek and Latin culture and of the Christian religion”. The Greek and Latin part of this mix is crucial; so crucial that both secular and religious scholars have said it was in at the foundation of Christianity, let alone the West.

Over the centuries Christianity developed into a religion and world-view for people who had to run things, figure things out and make sense of the world. Out of that we got Scholasticism and the modern university. In the meantime we had rabbinical scholars engaging in minor trade and “creating their own reality”.

* Chabad isn’t a universalist organization on par with Catholic Charities or something. They are by Lubavitch Hasidim for other Jews, especially religiously inactive ones. Lubavitch philosophy says that increasing the number of Jews performing commandments will hasten the coming of the Messiah, so they want secular Jews to take up praying and keeping kosher and so on. The Holtzbergs weren’t in Mumbai to help the Indians, they were there to provide kosher food and religious services to Jews in the area, mostly business travelers and secular Israelis doing a gap year backpacking.

* Nowhere in the joke do the two parties discuss anything. Instead, the Rabbi ridicules the professor. The whole point of the joke is that there is no rhyme or reason to the Rabbi’s arguments, other than the following – the Rabbi is always right. Whatever the Rabbi says – even if it contradicts what he said five minutes ago – is correct. That’s the moral of the story. The “dispute” “enshrines all opinions” only if all of these opinions belong to the Rabbi.

* The joke is similar to that scene in “The Life of Brian” where the shopkeeper tries to get Brian to haggle the price of the gourd. Brian keeps accepting whatever price the shopkeeper offers, much to the shopkeeper’s frustration.

It’s really a joke about the difference between the two cultures: one where people use argument to search for solutions in an orderly fashion, and one where people value the argument itself as the highest virtue.

* The Jews really are the intellectual descendants of the Sophists in their willingness and eagerness to be prepared to take any side of any issue with any kind of clever reasoning, and disinterest in and devaluation of objective truth.

* According to the Pew survey (linked below) asking various people to rate how warm they felt to various religious, the group that felt the most personal warmth towards Jews was white Evangelicals. In addition white Evangelicals felt more warmth towards Jews than they did to any other religious group, including their fellow Christian Catholics.

If the pro-semitism of American Christians was merely a response to modern political correctness, we’d find them to give lower Jewish warmth scores than atheists or agnostics, who tend to be much more cosmopolitan and liberal. America is a deeply pro-semitic country. And unlike American pro-black or emerging pro-gay attitudes, it wasn’t manufactured by the political correctness machine. Middle-class, Republican, church-attending middle America represents the core of America’s pro-Jewish sentiments. (The little religious anti-semitism that exists in the West comes from either fringe Catholic groups, a la Mel Gibson, or Russian Orthodox churches).

The Obama coalition is an amalgamation of America’s peripheral groups against middle America. They’re bound together by ridiculous fear-mongering: telling single women that Mitt Romney wants to ban birth control, telling blacks that Republicans want to put them back in chains, etc. No group in this coalition is more misinformed than middle-class Jews. The liberal media has brainwashed them, reinforced by the cultural memory of living next to barbaric slavic peasants, that middle-American white Republicans would run Fiddler on the Roof style pogroms if give full power. And some of the Kevin MacDonald parroting clowns around these comments, seem to have the same notion that all it takes to break “Jewish power” is a revival of white middle-class political awareness.

In reality nothing could be further from the truth. The devout white Evangelicals that make up the core of the Republican right are probably the most pro-semitic group of gentiles in history. If you ever actually bothered talking to Evangelicals, you’d realize that the vast majority feel a deep spiritual kinship with Jews. Most consider Jews to be God’s chosen people, consider them to be saved simply by virtue of being Jewish, and feel a religious obligation to defend them around the globe. They see parallels between historical Jewish oppression and what they consider modern-day oppression of believers by Godless secularists. They largely consider their to be a global atheist-Muslim alliance that forms a war on Christians, and consider the groups that attack Israel, and their international sympathizers, to be the front lines of this group.


I think it’s funny. It made me laugh.

If I understand Australia-born Rav David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shilo in Israel correctly, a lot of the hair-splitting of Talmud Bavli is due to the
Golus (Exile) practices it (incorrectly) seeks to uphold and defend.
Quoting [with emphases added by me] from

Rabbi Bar Chaim is a talmid of Rav Yoseph Kapach zatzal, the Yemenite Maimonidean scholar. Although Australian by birth, Rabbi Bar Chaim has adopted the full gamut of Yemenite pronounciations – th for saf Jimel for Gimel and the full guttural Ayin or Gayin. He also studied in Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, although he is not too fond of the manner in which Yeshivos teach Torah. Even Merkaz HaRav did not escape his criticism.

As a preface, Rabbi Bar Chaim is of the opinion that Eretz Yisroel has a unique Torah heritage called Torath Eretz Yisroel. He distinguishes between this Torah and what he terms “Torat HaGaluth.” How far he takes this notion is where the controversy lies.

He has issued rulings and opinions that are quite startling. He ruled that the Birchas HaChama should not be recited on Erev Pesach this past cycle. He advises people to recite a blessing when they take off their Tefillin. He disagrees with the identification of oats and rye as two of the five grains of the Mishna, and the list goes on and on.

The questioning began. How do you openly disregard the positions and decisions of the Talmud Bavli?

He calmly responded that even the Rambam writes that Torah thought is not monolithic and comprises a multiplicity of voices that include the Sifra, Sifri, Mechilta, Yerushalmi and Bavli. He noted that many times the Rambam himself rules like the Yerushalmi instead of the Bavli.
When it was pointed out that the Meforshim will constantly cite other passages in the Bavli as supporting the Yerushalmi position Rabbi Bar Chaim dismissed these views as apologetics.

Another question. How do you openly disregard the views and conclusions of the Shulchan Aruch? He responded that numerous meforshim will disagree with the Shulchan Aruch and Ramah, and it is a misnomer to state that Klal Yisroel took it upon themselves to follow the Shulchan Aruch completely. He claims it never happened and that the often dissenting views of the Shach demonstrate this point.

Regarding the blessing on Tefillin (a custom in Maarava according to the Bavli), he quoted Rav Hai Gaon and the Ramban who ruled that it is permissible to follow this view.

When asked about the oats and rye he cited a Yerushalmi describing it. “Shiboles Shual” is supposed to grow upward and straight – oats are very spread out. He cited other indications too including the archaeological record. When it was pointed out to him that the Egyptians did in fact cultivate and sell oats according to Col[u]mbia University professors and that Rav Moshe and the Chazon Ish had previously dismissed this assertion, he was unfazed.

What about that HaMavdil Bain Kodesh Lechol sentence on Motzei Shabbos? From his writings it is clear that he does not hold of it. Only a Havdallah in Shmoneh Esreh or on a Kos is valid in his eyes. Even though the Talmud Bavli (Shabbos 150a) states it explicitly, it does not seem to matter to the Rabbi. Clearly, the Rabbi is not afraid of extremely controversial views.

Another aspect of Rav Bar Chaim is his vision of developing and spreading a renaissance of religious nationalism in Eretz Yisroel. Although this message would appeal to certain masses of the religiously observant, there is one aspect of his views that will most decidedly not appeal to them. As interesting a person as Rav Bar Chaim is, he does characterize the Talmud Bavli itself as Torath HaGaluth. In the country of Israel this is like attacking motherhood and apple pie.

Does he have Rabbinic backing? Aside from a Rabbi Bock who has joined him in Machon Shilo the Rabbinic establishment has not seemed to have made any comments one way or the other. In the interview he did quote a well known Mashgiach of a Yeshiva who consulted with him on Birchas HaChama. He seemed to indicate that this Mashgiach did trust his Psak.

About Luke Ford

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