A Catholic Jew Pontificates

I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Monday, May 01, 2017

St Joseph the Worker: the Hidden Works of Divine Will

Today is an important feast day for our little community of monacelli (Little Monks) who live at St Joseph's Hidden Place in St Joseph's Hidden Valley in the Huon Valley Parish in the far south of Tasmania. It is the feast of St Joseph the Worker. All of us take the name Joseph as part of our consecrated name. However one of our brothers-Brother Stephen Joseph of the Immaculate Heart- had Joseph as his birth name and he is our handyman-builder-carpenter in our community. He and Brother John-Joseph of the Immaculate Womb (who is very artistic and creative) recently began the restoration of a large outdoor statue of St Joseph which a teenager had taken an axe to it and seriously damaged it. 

We pray daily to St Joseph for all our needs and the needs and intentions of all our benefactors as well as for those of all who ask us and for those of our parish. We perceive him as our protector and Master of Prayer. We hide in the mystical cloud that is Joseph's heart which is the Shadow of the Father. The servant of God Luisa Piccarreta wrote in the "Book of Heaven" Volume 29 states:

...After this I continued my acts in the Divine Fiat, and my poor mind stopped in the little house of Nazareth, where the Queen of Heaven, the celestial King Jesus and Saint Joseph were in possession of and lived in the Kingdom of the  Divine Will. So that this kingdom is not estranged to the earth: the house of Nazareth, the family that lived in it belonged to this kingdom and they held it in full vigor... (May 31, 1931)

Joseph lived in this Kingdom of the Divine Will on earth in a very deep way that he was totally eclipsed (has become nothing like Our Lady) and totally inundated or filled with God's attributes or reflections. The 25th day meditation of the "Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will" of the servant of God Luisa Piccarreta about St Joseph being eclipsed and inundated by the seas of the attributes of Jesus and Mary states:

...Now, you must know that for your Mama, for dear and sweet Jesus, and for Saint Joseph, the little house of Nazareth was a Paradise. Being the Eternal Word, my dear Son possessed the Divine Will within Himself, of His own virtue; immense seas of light, of sanctity, of joys and of infinite beauty resided in that little Humanity. I possessed the Divine Will by grace; and even though I could not embrace immensity, as did beloved Jesus – because He was God and Man, and I was always His finite creature – yet, in spite of this, the Divine Fiat filled Me so much, having formed Its seas of light, of sanctity, of love, of beauties and of happinesses; and the light, the love and everything that a Divine Will can possess, which came out of Us, were so great that Saint Joseph remained eclipsed, inundated, and lived of our reflections.

Dear child, in this house of Nazareth, the Kingdom of the Divine Will was in full force. Every little act of ours – that is, working, starting the fire, preparing the food – were all animated by the Supreme Volition, and were formed on the solidity of the sanctity of pure love. Therefore, from the littlest to the greatest of our acts, immense joys, happinesses and beatitudes were unleashed. And we remained so inundated as to feel ourselves as though under a pouring rain of new joys and indescribable contentments...
St Joseph was living and dwelling in the heart of the House of Nazareth, which is the heart of the Kingdom of the Divine Will. St Joseph was totally eclipsed or darkened and inundated by these seas so that he can become a pure mirror or reflector of these seas of the Divine Will in a hidden manner to Luisa and others. In the same manner in which Our Lady is the Dark Lady (Black Madonna) and the Night (Lilah) in order to perfectly reflect the Divine Light so does the darkened or eclipsed Joseph. Our Lady was always dark and inundated or full of grace whereas Joseph had to be darkened (as he was not immaculately conceived) in order to be inundated or filled.

The mystery of the hidden and eclipsed state of  St Joseph is connected to the mystery of the ''darkness over the face of the deep'' in Genesis 1. Jesus is that "face of /over the deep" and his infinite seas are the deep (the mystery of the Incarnation of the God-man). The darkness who is Joseph in Eternity is the protecting dark cloud hiding the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception and Incarnation from Satan and his angels. St Joseph as the Shadow of the Father also hides in his darkness the "synergy" of the Spirit of God and Our Lady who is the "face over the waters" (the created seas of the attributes (love, mercy etc) which is the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception). 

No one, including Luisa Piccarreta, can receive a grace that gives them access to a greater sanctity than Jesus, Mary or Joseph. Luisa can only attain such a sanctity as the grace of living in Divine Will on earth through her union with, in and through Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Kingdom of the Divine Will is the Holy House of Nazareth in which Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in Divine Will on earth (this was heaven or paradise on earth restored). Luisa and all those who follow her in receiving the grace of living in Divine Will can only enter the Kingdom of the Divine Will through entering in a spiritual and mystical manner the Holy House of Nazareth. Luisa also confirms the role of Joseph in her childhood Memories notebook. Jesus told her:

“My daughter, your life must be hidden with Us in the House of Nazareth. If you work, if you pray, if you eat, if you walk, you must give one hand to Me, the other to our Mother; and look at St Joseph to see if your acts are like Ours. 
Then you will be able to say, ‘I make a model of what Jesus, my heavenly Mother and St Joseph do. Then, I copy it.’ I want to repeat My hidden Life in you according to the model you have made. In you I want to find the works of my Mother and St Joseph, as well as My own works...
...My daughter, take heart, don’t be discouraged. If you don’t know how to do something, ask Me to teach you and I’ll do it right away. I’ll speak to you of Our actions, Our intentions, and Our constant Love. I’ll show you how I, like sea, and they, like two rivers, overflowed into each other; that We didn’t have much time to talk, since Love absorbed us so much. See how far behind Us you are? You must work hard to catch up to Us. I don’t want you behind, but with Us; so be silent and pay attention for I do not want you to be behind Us but in Our midst.”
 St Jospeh is the Hidden Tzaddik (Righteous or Just One) that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov often refers to cryptically in his writings. Rebbe Nachman (1772-1810) is one of the greatest mystics and teachers of Hasidism in Jewish history:

 "And all this is an aspect of "The Concealment", when the beauty and splendour of the whole world becomes concealed. However there is a Tzaddik who is beauty, splendour and grace of the entire world, and who is symbolised by Joseph, who was "beautiful in form and handsome" (Genesis 39:6), "a beautiful sight, the joy of the entire land" (Psalm 48:3). When the beauty and splendour of this genuine Tzaddik, who is symbolised by Joseph, is revealed in the world by becoming renowned and esteemed, then the eyes of mankind will be opened. And whoever is included in the genuine grace of this Tzaddik, the world's grace and beauty, by following him and surrending his self to become part of this Tzaddik's soul, will have his eyes opened, and he will be able to see." (Likutey Moharan I: 67)

St Isadore of Seville stated that the full glories of St Joseph will not be revealed unto the latter days. It is also interesting that Rebbe Nachman of Breslov alludes to St Joseph in regards to the four temperaments or character traits of melancolic, choleric, sanguine and phlegmatic. 

"...since this Tzaddik represents the source of the four basic character straits, and as such stands above them, the eyes of whoever becomes close to him and becomes part of his genuine grace will become opened, to be able objectively look into himself and to see how he is faring in each of them. That person becomes part of the beauty of God's world, by virtue of the splendour of the hidden Tzaddik having been revealed to him. Further more, as a result of one's eyes having been opened by the splendour of the genuine Tzaddik being revealed, one will also be able to see and behold the greatness of God and the Awesomeness of His world. The reason for this is that when this Tzaddik becomes revealed and renowned, he "gets a name" - becomes famous- in the world. Hidden within this name of the Tzaddik is the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, for His Name is intimately bound with ours (Yerushalmi, Taanit 2). Thus, when and to the extent that the "name" of that Tzaddik becomes esteemed, so does God's Name become all the more esteemed." 
Rebbe Nachman concludes Likutey Moharan I: 67 with: 

"And with this we return to BeREShYT, the beginning, the RoeSh BaYiT, the head and master of the house of the world, namely, the genuine Tzaddik, who is beauty and glory of the world, represented by Joseph, alluded to in the verse, "Joseph is the ruler...he supplies food..." (Genesis 42:6), because he is the RoeSh BaYiT, the master of the house of the world. For he is the one who maintains the Temple and every Jewish house and home...And when the name of this Tzadik, who represents the head of the house, becomes esteemed, the eyes of the Jewish people are opened, as above. So this is the connection of "bereshit' to "l'einei kol Yisrael". Bereshit- this is the master of the house, the Tzaddik, who is the glory of the world, through whom are opened "einei kol Yisael", the eyes of all the Jewish people." 

 This seems to say that when St Joseph is revealed in all his glories then the time of the veil being removed from the eyes of the Jews will occur in fulfillment of Romans 11 and all Israel will be saved.
Rebbe Nachman’s teaching has many layers of meaning and he reveals many different aspects of the concepts of Joseph. Joseph is the firstborn of the Chayot associated with the ox or oxen (also unicorns). He represents one of the four minds in the Temple.
A ‘Joseph’ is one who gazes and sees the inner meaning of all created things. Joseph the Patriarch was one such gazer of secrets, as were St Joseph the Tzaddik and St Joseph of Arimathea. The ultimate Joseph in Jewish thought is the Messiah son of Joseph who the Christians call Jesus son of Joseph. 

The Four Minds in the Temple are represented by the four Cherubim in the Temple. Two of the Cherubim being the golden male and female children on the Ark of the Covenant; and the other two Cherubim being of olive wood overlaid with gold that stand on either side of the Ark. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov discusses the mystery of these Four Minds in Likutey I:67. This mystery of Joseph is connected to the Four Minds in the Temple which are also represented by the four chambers of the Head tefillin according to Rebbe Nachman.  

"And all this is a manifestation of Mind, because the very first thing to arise from the four letters of God's Name are the Four Minds, alluded to in the verse " I have filled [Betzalel]with a Divine spirit- with Wisdom, Understanding, knowledge and with all craftsmanship" (Exodus 31:2). Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge and Craftsmanship are symbolic of the four Minds (Tikuney Zohar introduction)..." 

Wisdom represents the Mind that is Mashiach (Messiah) ben  (son of) Joseph and his mission, then in salvation history comes the mission of the Mind who is the Sabbath Queen who is the Mother of the Mashiach , then comes the mission of the Mind who is the Tzadikess (the Righteous woman) who is to reveal the Knowledge of Living in the Divine Will and finally to complete the mission comes the Mind who is the Hidden Tzaddik Joseph as the craftsman of God. St Joseph's mission is still partially hidden until the time of the full revelation of the glories of Joseph. Then will the Jews embrace in fullness the Kingdom of the Divine Will under the patronage of St.Joseph. Thus the work that St Joseph was doing was the work of living in the Divine Will which manifested outwardly as his work as a master craftsman in the village of Nazareth.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Rebbe Nachman and Jacob Frank: A Universal Reparation

 My ancestor Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

In Likutey Moharan I:164 Rebbe Nachman of Breslov reveals through a parable his approach to revealing the deep hidden mysteries of the Messiah and his Kingdom. Jacob Frank had tried to reveal these mysteries openly but both the Jewish and Christian communities of the 18th century were not ready for Torah observant mystical Jews to maintain their Jewishness within the Catholic Church. In the end Frank was forced to call his followers, who had received open baptism, to silence and to observe their Jewish customs secretly and privately and to appear as Gentiles to their fellow Catholics. As a result of this approach the Frankists were assimilated into the Gentile culture within a few generations.

Other groups such as those led by Reb Moshe ben Zalman the son of the Alter Rebbe and some of Rebbe Nachman and Rav Nosan of Nemirov's children and grandchildren [including Rebbe Nachman's daughters Udil Auerbach (Della O'Brien) and Chaya Zaslavski (Catherine Lavin)] also were baptised (though more quietly) and took Gentile names and occupations but within a few generations their descendants also had lost their Jewish identity. Rebbe Nachman once said: “My daughters have ru’ach hakodesh (holy spirit), which is close to prophesy. And I’m not talking about Sarah at all!” (Chayei Moharan 583). Rebbe Nachman taught his followers that they must always honour and respect his daughters as they were “precious trees that would give forth rare and goodly fruits.” He also wrote "Be careful with my offspring, make sure they stay within the Hasidic movement." In recent times members of the Breslov movement have sought to trace some of the Rebbe's lost descendants. He had five daughters Udil, Sarah, Miriam, Feige and Chaya.

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov while respecting Frank, as did the Baal Shem Tov, realised that this model of Frank would not work as the majority of the Jewish people were not ready to receive the Messiah's identity and that the Church was not ready to receive them with their full Jewish heritage in tact. He realised he would have to water-down the strong Messianic medicine and conceal it in stories and allegories. In Likutey Moharan he spoke of the Jewish people as a Healer and of the Universal Church as a great physician or doctor. However the Jewish people wanted their medicine in the form of folk medicine not the strong drugs and therapies that the Universal people (Catholics) offered.

Hillel Zeitlin a leading Breslov scholar stated that the person of the Messiah and the messianic salvation was at the heart of Rebbe Nachman's concerns. Others have commented that Rebbe Nachman was not just concerned with individual salvation but also national or Jewish salvation and also universal salvation. His famous Universal tikkun was for all people. This was a Catholic or universal reparation which would repair for the damage caused by Sabbateanism and its p'gam habrit (defiling the covenant). This defiling refers to all sexual impurity not just masturbation as seems to be the rather unbalanced obsession of some Hasidim. This universal Marian reparation alludes to the ten sefirot and the ten types of song found in the Psalms. This alludes to the Magnificat of the Virgin Mary in Hebrew with its pattern of nine echoing phrases and the hidden tenth referring to the voice of the Virgin which also mirrors or echoes the nine revealed decrees of Genesis 1 and the tenth hidden one which is the Divine Word and Voice and its echo on Sinai with the ten commandments (words).

Yehuda Liebes a leading Israeli scholar on Jewish mysticism in his studies on the influence of Jacob Frank on Rebbe Nachman comes to correct conclusions that the mysterious journeys and stays in certain places in Rebbe Nachman's life is connected with Rebbe Nachman's 'tikkun ha Kelali' ( universal reparation) which is connected with the Frankists. Yehuda Liebes writes: "R Nahman's journey to Kamenets on his way to the Holy Land, as well as his journey to Lvov, seem to have some connection with his endeavours to amend the Frankist heresy." However like Gershom Scholem and others, Liebes lumps Frankism with Sabbateanism and thus in my opinion misunderstands both Frank and Rebbe Nachman. Jacob Frank was a former Sabbatean who led many Jews out of Sabbateanism in which they had become morally and spiritually impure. This came about by an emphasis on the mysterious 'Eleh' (Goddess of the Zohar) and realising that the only one who could remedy or repair (tikkun) such spiritual pollution was the Lady of the Zohar who Frank came to realise was the Lady of Czestochowa. Those devoted to Her were able in union with her to perform complete or universal acts of reparation. 

Frankism was a Marian movement and Frank stated that they chose Catholic Poland because it was a nation that best understood "the Mother". It was the hidden Frankist or Zoharist leaven that spread in the rest of the Catholic Church that led to a new Marian Age in the history of the Church and world that led to the proclamation of the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception (in 1854) and Assumption (1950). This in a sense was a renewal or revival of the earlier Marian mysticism of the Middle Ages going back to St Hildegarde and St Bernard of Clairvaux and its manifestation among the Rhineland mystics of Catholicism and the Ashkenazi Hasidim of  Judasim coming forth from the noble Davidic families found among both the Jewish and Catholic communities (as well as the Muslim). It was from among these Davidic families that the mystical Book of the Zohar was revealed and would influence the Zoharists (Frankists). Just as their ancestors David and Solomon were led astray by sexual and sensual lust and impurity so some of their Davidic descendants the Sabbateans and the Occultists were led astray.

Frank's followers were divided between those who openly embraced the Catholic faith and hid their Jewishness and those who remained as religious Jews who hid their Catholicism. Rebbe Nachman was one of those hidden followers of the ideas of Frank and his concept of tikkunim for those fallen into the depth of sin, while not agreeing with Frank's open embrace of the Roman Catholicism of their day. Rebbe Nachman alludes to Jacob Frank as the 'choice silver of the tongue of the Tzadik' in 'Likutey Moharan 29:11: Rabbi Moshe Mykoff translation of the Likutey Moharan states; "And this is: That one, too, has found bat maZleh- this corresponds to 'noZlim from LeBaNon'- from the LiBuNa (whiteness) of the mind...All this is alluded to in the words (Proverbs 10:20) "keseF nivchaR leshoN tzadiK' [the last letters of which spell FRaNK.]" So here in "Likutey Moharan" Rebbe Nachman in a hidden way, reveals that Jacob Frank is a true messenger of the Hidden Tzadik. Here we see clearly Jacob Frank described as the one that has found devotion to the Daughter of Destiny (the Mystical Miriam, the Lady of Sorrows who is the lady of Czestochowa) and the way of sexual and intellectual purity flowing (nozlim) from her. It is through devotion to this mysterious Lady that sinners find a way to repair for their past and the damage it has done.

Frank and Nachman taught a general reparation for the generations that had fallen into sexual depravity of the Sabbateans. Thus they offered a spiritual way that was a forerunner of Pope John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body'. John Paul II offered a spiritual way and reparation for the modern generations who have also become morally and spiritually depraved. Rebbe Nachman also went to the Frankist Catholics in order to encourage them to continue following the true teaching of Frank rather than the distorted version being spread by the Prague Sabbateans who had joined with Eva Frank and were leading some of the Frankists back into Sabbatean errors.

Rebbe Nachman and Jacob Frank cannot be understood correctly without really understanding what tikkun (reparation) achieves. The concept of confession is also very important in this spiritual reparation. The Tzadik does not just do tikkun (reparation) for himself but on behalf of his followers, on behalf of all Jews- both religious and secular and for all men tainted with the sin of Adam. He associates the Sabbatean sin with this original sin of Adam. The Sabbateans were from the Mystical cream of the Jewish people and scholars but they like Adam and Eve fell through a desire for sensual delight of experiencing knowledge. Yehuda Liebes writes: "R. Nahman's messianism entails an act of tikkun, and this is the general meaning of 'ha-tikkun ha-kelali'. This name aptly describes R. Nahman's approach in general, since he perceived his mission as the tikkun of man...and the tikkun of his community, as well as that of the whole Jewish people from all their sins; both their wordly sins, which were first and foremost sexual, and the numerous doctrinal sins of his generation that had ravaged traditional Jewish structures ("the Enlightenment"). But above all, he was concerned with the tikkun of the original sin..." 

Yehuda Liebes in his work "Studies in Jewish Myth and Jewish Messianism" also believes that Rebbe Nachman was influenced by the writings and teachings of Jacob Frank. He lists a number of parallels in their writings. "I shall ...remark on the several other parallels, beginning with those between R. Nahman and Jacob Frank, who, I believe, had a profound influence on R. Nahman. During his youth, in the years of his Hitbodedut...R Nahman may have come across Frankists who had remained Jews, of whom there were many in Podolia." (Yehuda Liebes in 'Studies in Jewish Myth and Jewish Messianism')

Rebbe Nachman spent a mysterious hidden 8 months in Lvov among the non-Jews. He saw that among the Gentiles of Europe are the descendants of those Israelites who worshipped the golden calves and that part of his role is to do tikkun (reparation) in order to restore the unity of the two Houses of Judah and Ephraim.  Likutey Moharan I:164 also alludes to this mysterious stay of Rebbe Nachman in the Gentile Catholic city of Lvov for 8 months. Not only was he visiting literal Catholic medical doctors but he was secretly meeting with the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church and other Frankist Jews. After this he burnt his previous writings and hid his teachings in stories and in the mystical language of the Zohar. Some stories were hidden and were not revealed to the general public such as the "Story of the Armour" which was part of the universal reparation because of its obvious drawing on Pauline themes in the New Testament.

In the end both approaches bore some fruit by causing Hasidic Judaism and Catholicism to draw closer due to the hidden input of the Frankist mystical ideas in both faiths. We now await a time when the Church will be ready for a Jewish ordinariate or community in its midst that is fully Jewish and fully Catholic so that Israel's heritage may find its place in her midst once again. The true depth of Rebbe Nachman's teaching will be brought to light when it is unveiled by Catholic Jewish Breslov Hasidim in the future time of peace when the Jewish people are re-grafted to the Olive Tree. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Tawny Lion of the North

Are you coming?

O Catholic Lion of the North,

With your tawny mane of hair and beard,

In the dark days ahead,

In the midst of a European Crisis,

Of civil war between left and right,

And Isis freely reigning,

North Korean missiles soaring,

American Eagle and Chinese Dragon roaring,

While the Russian bear attacks from the rear,

The Western world shakes with dread and fear,

Bloodshed in Cockerel France,

While Leopard of England is clawed to death,

Water rises and fire spreads,

And the Holy Father imprisoned praying for a miracle,

Where are you Ruadh?

The son of the King of Saxon,

Will you hide in the far West or East?

Or in the southern antipodes like Arthur,

Until you arise in the far North,

To battle of the Birch Tree,

The crescent and the Bear fleeing from your kingly face,

Up goes the cry God for Harry, England and St George once again,

A new Henry the Lion arises from the North,

A South Saxon Duke who like Arthur has trekked,

Into the Arctic and the Antarctic snowy waste,

In service to his fellow man,

A champion of the wounded and damaged soldiers,

And consoler of diseased African youth,

And the son of England’s Rose.

Give up your desire for sparkle and blondes,

Embrace your cross and cross the Tiber,

To your long prophesied destiny,
                                           O sleeping Lion-like Prince of the North.

Catholic Jewish Trauma and Suffering: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

I don't think many Gentile Catholics realise how traumatic it can be for Jewish people who accept Yeshua as the Messiah and the rejection they receive from many of their family and friends. Many brand them as apostates and betrayers of their people and history. The more orthodox a background they come from the worse it is. 

There are numerous secret believers in Yeshua in the Jewish community whose entire lives and the lives of their family would be ruined and destroyed if they openly became a Christian. Often Gentiles will give them pious advice that one should be ready to sacrifice all for Yeshua while they themselves have never faced such a decision. 

The intense suffering of such Jews can lead to serious depression and blackness of a deepest dark night such as occurred in the life of  the Venerable Francis Libermann (1802-1852). The suffering and disappointed he caused his father who was a Chief Rabbi of Saverne played on his mind all his life. He would fall into the darkest of mental nights of anguish. He shattered his father's life long dream that his son would be a rabbi like himself. The son of Theodore Herzl a father of the Zionist movement became a believer in Yeshua and a Catholic but suffered greatly and eventually committed suicide. Hans Herzl was received into the Church at the Chapel of Our Lady of Sion, the home of the Catholic Guild of Israel, on 19 October 1924.

Not only do those who become Catholics suffer at being branded as apostates and betrayers by their fellow Jews but they then receive little compassion or understanding by many of the Gentiles in the Church they join. Many Catholics of Jewish background, especially in the past, kept that they were Jewish hidden. Those who were bold enough to maintain their Jewishness in the Church were/are looked down upon as weak brethren who are clinging to their Jewish customs like dog to its vomit or a pig to its swill. They just haven't realised their new Pauline freedom from all Jewish bondage- goes their reasoning. They also seem to think that any keeping of Jewish customs is saying that they believe they are necessary for salvation. Jews keeping Jewish customs is for sanctification not salvation.

These are some of the reasons that Jews in the Church need their own community with its own structures where they can be allowed to be fully Jewish and fully Catholic. Many Jews in the Church can end up going back and forth between the Church and Synagogue due to their double calling or vocation that cries from the depth of their being. Some will immerse themselves in the Gentile Catholicism but a part of their Jewish soul feels empty because it is not being fed. Others return to the Synagogue and immerse themselves in their Jewishness but they hunger for their Messiah and the riches of the sacramental life. Many Catholic Jews are in a sense crucified between the Church and Synagogue and misunderstood, judged and marginalised by both certain non-Messianic Jews and certain types of Gentile Christians.

Jews are an emotional warm hearted people who like to vigorously discuss and they often struggle in a rather less emotional environment of solemn Gentile piety and politeness. They often feel like they have talked too much or put their foot in it when mixing with their fellow Gentile Catholics. I think this is why when Jews from the different churches and from the Messianic movement get together in the Helsinki conversations on Jews in the Church that a special bond forms. They "get" one another. It is not the Gentile Catholics fault that they just don't "get" it, they are unable in most cases. 

A Hebrew Catholic friend of mine Ronda Chervin tells how she left a certain American Catholic community. They asked her why she was leaving. She responded "Because I want to talk". They said, "That's Ok what do you want to talk about?". she replied, "I don't want to talk about anything in particular I just want to talk!!!!". 

Hans Herzl son of the Zionist Theodore Herzl as a 12 year old British school boy.

Herzl's son Hans, mentioned above, left a suicide note that said: 

"A Jew remains a Jew, no matter how eagerly he may submit himself to the disciplines of his new religion, how humbly he may place the redeeming cross upon his shoulders for the sake of his former coreligionists, to save them from eternal damnation: a Jew remains a Jew ... I can't go on living. I have lost all trust in God. All my life I've tried to strive for the truth, and must admit today at the end of the road that there is nothing but disappointment. Tonight I have said Kaddish for my parents—and for myself, the last descendant of the family. There is nobody who will say Kaddish for me, who went out to find peace—and who may find peace soon ... My instinct has latterly gone all wrong, and I have made one of those irreparable mistakes, which stamp a whole life with failure. Then it is best to scrap it." 

He wrote this and then shot himself on the day of the funeral of his sister Paulina who had died of a drug overdose. His other sister Trude was to die in 1943 in a Nazi death camp. Maybe if he had the hope of a warm, vibrant and loving Catholic Jewish community or ordinariate supported by their fellow Gentile Catholics, he and others like him would have chosen a different end. Father Elias Friedman the founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics saw the need of such a community to alleviate the alienation of Jews in the Church from their Jewish heritage and to end the "regime of assimilation" which had been the policy of the Catholic Church since the demise of the mother Church of Jerusalem.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Jews, Convicts and Illegitimacy: A Tasmanian Jewish Story

Joseph Solomon the President of the Hobart Synagogue and Member for the Huon in 1880 son of the convict Judah Solomon and his mistress Elizabeth Howell

The story of early Jewish settlement in Tasmania and on the Mainland of Australia is a fascinating area of study. Many Australian families are halakhically Jewish even though they are Christian by religion today. I have been researching a Tasmanian Catholic friend's genealogy and found out that she is descended from some interesting characters in the early days of Tasmania and Australia. 

 Edward Theodore Castle the father of Daisy Bell Castle

Her great-grandmother was the rather prettily named Daisy Bell Castle who was born in 1899 in the Glamorgan- Spring Bay area of coastal north eastern Tasmania near Little Swanport.  She was the daughter of Edward Castle of Green Hills and his wife Maria Radford. The Castle family were of convict ancestry and Edward's father Robert Castle was a womaniser who had 17 children with four different women. Edward was one of 9 children whom Robert had with his first wife Mary Jane Dyer who was a cousin of his from Somersetshire in England.

While the Castle family were Anglicans Edward's wife Maria Radford was of Jewish ancestry. Maria was born in the Spring Bay area in 1870. She was the illegitimate daughter of her mother Rachel Maria Radford (born 1850 in Spring Bay). Rachel at the age of 18 had an affair with a married leader in the Jewish community of Hobart Mr Joseph Solomon of Temple House in Argyle St, who would later be elected to Parliament for the Huon Valley area in 1880. He was also president of the Hobart Synagogue and came from a well-known family of Jewish convicts who became leaders in the Jewish community of Tasmania. Mr Solomon also had a son with Rachel called Jacob Radford. After the affair ended after the birth of Maria, Rachel in 1871 married Matthew Poole and went on to have a large family with him. Joseph Solomon did not have any children with his legal wife.

 Maria Frankel the mother of Rachel Maria Radford

However not only was Joseph Solomon Jewish as well as the illegitimate son of his father Judah Solomon's housekeeper but Rachel herself was Jewish and illegitimate. Her father George Radford who wasn't Jewish in religion but of Jewish ancestry through his mother was from a family that lived in Sorrell and at the age of 16 he got a young 14 year old Jewish girl pregnant. This teenager Maria Frankel ran away from her home to live with the Radford family and had two daughters with George Radford. After the birth of the second daughter Ruth Radford, Maria Frankel returned to her father's home in Hobart who then arranged a marriage for her in Sydney with a Jewish young man called Lewis or Louis Cohen. Maria's mother Miriam had previously died in Hobart in 1847 when Maria was about 11 years old. Sadly about a month after Maria's wedding her baby daughter Ruth, who she had left along with her older daughter Rachel in the care of George Radford's parents John and Mary (nee Buxton) Radford, died in April of 1854. Maria Frankel went on to have a large family of 12 children with her Jewish husband Lewis Cohen and they for many years lived in Launceston in Tasmania (from 1855 until about 1872 when they moved to Sydney). Rachel was raised as a child of her grandparents in Sorrell and Hobart.

Mary Ann Buxton who was the paternal grandmother of Rachel Radford (who reared her as her own daughter) was also on her mother's side Jewish. Mary Ann's mother Ellen Bott was the daughter of Jane Barlow (the daughter of  the Jew Isaac Barlow and his wife Sarah Solomon). Isaac Barlow's sister Sarah Barlow (b.1710) was married to Isaac Solomon. This Isaac Solomon (b.1710) was the grandfather of the convicts Judah and Joseph Solomon. Thus Ellen Bott and Judah Solomon were second cousins. Thus Joseph Solomon (Judah's son) and his mistress Rachel Maria Radford were third cousins twice removed. The Barlow surname originally was Bar Loeb or Lowe meaning "son of the lion".

Maria Frankel was the daughter of Louis Jacob Frankel a Polish born Jew of Breslau and his wife Miriam Sarah Moses of an English Jewish family from Bristol of whom many settled in Australia and Tasmania. The Moses family had originally come from Alsae in France in the early 18th century to Bristol and they intermarried with the Aaron family of Birmingham. Rabbi Moses Aaron was a Rabbi for the Jewish community in Birmingham in the late 18th century.

Louis and Miriam Frankel arrived to Tasmania on the "Calcutta" in 1842 and they settled in Hobart. Their daughter Maria or Mary Frankel was about 6 years old when they arrived from England. Maria had a brother Simeon and a sister Esther who were both younger than her. Her father himself remarried in 1857 to Miriam Mary Marks in Melbourne Victoria and they had about 5 children together. The Frankel or Fraenkel family of Breslau were devoutly orthodox Jewish and many of them Rabbinic scholars. Maria Frankel's brother Simeon Jacob Frankel was married in 1863 to Annie Cohen in Melbourne. They lived at different times in Tasmania, Sydney and Melbourne after their marriage. Maria's sister Esther Frankel married in 1860 in Sydney to Emanuel Jonas.

Miriam Sarah Moses' family were in business with and closely related to the Nathan family. Miriam's brother Samuel Jacob Moses had arrived in Australia with his wife Rosetta Blanche Moses (the daughter of Henry Zvi Moses and Esther Nathan). Samuel arrived in Hobart in 1841 a year before Louis and Miriam Frankel arrived in Hobart. It would seem that Miriam and Samuel's older brother David Moses in 1827 was convicted of a crime and sent to Tasmania for 7 years where he arrived in a convict ship the "Marmion" in 1828. This David Moses should not be confused with David Lionel Moses who died in 1845 from falling off his horse. This David was younger and was the brother of Rosetta Blanche Moses and of Mrs Harriette Nathan the wife of Louis Nathan. His Jewish funeral in 1845 caused great interest in the colony.

 Julia Moses the wife of Elias Moses and daughter of Abraham Moses

Miriam Sarah Moses (Mrs Frankel)'s brother Elias Moses arrived in Sydney in 1833 and went into business with Samuel Benjamin his shipmate. Two years later in 1835 Samuel Benjamin married Miriam and Elias' sister Rachel Moses.  Elias Moses married his relative Julia Moses the daughter of Abraham Moses. Another older sister of Miriam was Catherine Moses whose husband was Moses Benjamin a leading merchant in Melbourne and brother to Samuel Benjamin of Sydney. Moses went into business around 1838 with his brother David Benjamin and his half-brother Solomon Benjamin. Moses and Samuel Benjamin's mother was another Miriam Moses (b.1779) a daughter of Samuel Eleazar Moses. 

Miriam Sarah (nee Moses) Frankel also had a brother Solomon who married Deborah Hart in 1835 in Sydney as well as a youngest brother called Moses Moses (Moss). Moses married Esther Nathan on 16 November 1842 in Sydney.  She was a daughter of Nathan Lyon Nathan who was sent to Australia as 16 year old convict. He later returned to England and married there, and returned to Australia as a free settler. Nathan’s children and extended family were greatly involved in the establishment and growth of the Jewish communities in Australia and New Zealand. They were a prominent Jewish merchant family. Nathan's son Louis Nathan was married to Harriette Moses a sister of Rosetta Blanche Moses. The members of the extended Moses family were also great supporters of the Orthodox Jewish synagogue and communities throughout Australia.

There is much in the lives of the people here that I have touched on only very lightly and there is so much more to tell. The crimes they committed that led to their coming to Australia is also a fascinating story. The drama of Judah Solomon's wife coming from England and he refusing to give up his mistress and live with his legal wife is also an interesting story. The prettily named Anglican girl Daisy Bell Castle turned out to be of maternal Jewish ancestry and so are all her female line descendants. Daisy Bell Castle (b.1899) goes on her direct maternal line back to around 1720 and the birth of a Jewish woman called Judith Cohen who was the wife of Aaron Levy of Amsterdam and Hamburg. Judith Cohen is my friend's 8x great grandmother. 

By a strange coincidence another friend of ours who also attended our Passover Seder this year is also descended from these Jewish families of Bristol and Birmingham and I descend from Aaron and Judith too. Aaron Levy and Judith Cohen are her 6x great grandparents and they are my 7x great grandparents. Both my friends descend from their daughter Bertha (Batya) Levy who married Levy Moses of Birmingham and Bristol and I descend from her sister Rachel Levy of the Netherlands. They say there is only 6 degrees of cousinship separating most Jews and it would seem to be the case here. 

Let us redo the history of this line of women descended from Judith Cohen of Amsterdam via Miram Sarah Moses of Bristol and Hobart and their brokenness in illicit and/or difficult relationships in God's Divine Will so that healing will flow through the whole family. These stories also demonstrate that one can always come back from the disasters and problems in life and become a blessing to others. We all have an inner convict in us that is waiting for healing and freedom.

Judah Solomon and the Building of the Hobart Synagogue