York Rite and the Jews

Discussion in 'The York Rite' started by dlevine54, Nov 14, 2013.

  1. dlevine54

    dlevine54 Registered User

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    My lodge is very active in the York Rite and they keep asking me to join, but my concern is that I'm Jewish. I've researched this and talked with a number of people and the consensus is that it’s only the Cammandary and Knights Templar where Christianity come up. Up to that point Christianity doesn't come into play and I've also been told I can join but stop before the Cammandary. The question I can't seem to get an answer to is this. I've been told that the obligation of the Knights Templar includes a sentence that I will defend the Christian faith and beliefs. While I believe that the basic beliefs of both Judaism and Christianly are similar, the ten commandments etc, I've noticed that one of the uniforms of the Knights Templar has the traditional red cross of the original templar’s. While I may be able to take the oath because the basic values are the same I would have a problem wearing the cross or performing specific Christian actions, not because there is anything wrong with them but because I’m Jewish. After that long introduction here is my question. Is there anything in the uniform or actions, such as making the sign of the cross in any of the degrees prior to the Cammandary and Knights Templar?
     
  2. Brennan

    Brennan Registered User

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    No. The uniforms with the cross on them are only in the commandery orders.


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  3. tomasball

    tomasball Premium Member

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    Actually, there are three Commandery orders. The first one, the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross, is not Christian in character. It deals with the embassy of Zerubbabel to the Court of Darius in Persia, to ask for assistance in rebuilding the Temple. The Order of Malta, and the Order of the Temple, that is Knight Templar, are very Christian.

    The first body of the York Rite, the Chapter, confers four degrees. The Mark Master Degree is concerned with events during the building of King Solomon's Temple. The Past Master's Degree is intended to qualify a man to be Master of a Lodge. The Most Excellent Master Degree depicts the occasion of the completion and dedication of the Temple by Solomon. The Royal Arch Degree depicts the destruction of the Temple, the Babylonian Captivity, the return to Jerusalem and the work of rebuilding the Temple.

    The second body of the York Rite is the Council, which confers two degrees, plus one optional degree. The Royal Master Degree and the Select Master Degree are set during the building of King Solomon's Temple. The optional Super Excellent Master Degree depicts the disobedience of King Zedekiah to the commands of God, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and the Babylonian Captivity.

    Although a Christian can find symbolism in the degrees of the Chapter and Council, and there are some Bible readings from the New Testament, there is nothing explicitly advocating any Christian doctrine.

    The third York Rite Body, the Commandery, as I have said, is pretty well-marinated in Christian doctrine. I have known Jewish brethren who joined the Commandery, but I thought they were being pretty "flexible" in their sensibilities.

    Arrangements differ from town to town, but you will usually find the Chapter and Council meeting on the same night, one right after the other, and the Commandery meeting independently on another night.

    I hope that's enough information to help you. If you need any further explanation, just ask.
     
  4. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    I highly recommend the Chapter Degrees, culminating in the Royal Arch, regardless of belief system.
     
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  5. dlevine54

    dlevine54 Registered User

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    Thanks for the information. It give me somehting to thing about.
     
  6. barryguitar

    barryguitar Registered User

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    Though the brethren of your blue lodge may be more into York Rite, you may consider the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. There you will find that your jewishness is indeed celebrated.
     
  7. Rommel

    Rommel Registered User

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    In the york rite the i am part off we have mans from every creed, many jews and even non christians!!!


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  8. brother josh

    brother josh Registered User

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  9. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Please correct me if I am wrong, but the Commandery takes its inspiration from the crusades. If that is true, even if it were permitted (which seems to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction), I would think that a Jewish brother with a knowledge of European Jewish history would not want to join.

    The Crusades were an extremely dark time for the Jews of Europe. Each Crusade touched off a period of violence against Jews. At the time, Jews were viewed as Christ-Killers, desecrators of the Host, allied with the devil, and all manner of slander. When the call came to go to war against the enemies of Christianity, and people left there homes with weapons in hand, they did not wait until they arrived at the Holy Land to use them. Faced with non-believers in their backyards, the results were fairly predictable.

    I understand that the history of the Knights Templar may be inspiring, and there may have been individuals and ideas to emulate, so I can understand why a Christian man may want to take part in that symbolism and those lessons. But in medieval Europe, defending Christianity with a sword too often meant death for those who who were not Christian. As a Jewish man, there is too much blood and loss associated with it for me to even consider joining in good conscience.

    That said, I am interested in the Royal Arch. It doesn't seem very active in my area. The website for the Grand Royal Arch Chapter in my state has not been updated in a long time. The calendar stops in December, 2013 This does not inspire much confidence.
     
  10. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    I highly recommend the Royal Arch.
     
  11. Companion Joe

    Companion Joe Premium Member

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    I highly recommend the York Rite. If you don't wish to join the Commandery, you don't have to. You can just do the Chapter or Chapter and Council, then stop. The only thing not joining the Commandery would do is preclude from joining a few of the invitational bodies.

    The Chapter and Council degrees greatly enhance the Blue Lodge experience. The Commandery orders veer off from Hiramic legend, so you won't be missing out on anything there.

    I say go for it.
     
  12. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    I have heard this same advice from several others. I am looking forward to the experience.
     

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