July 23rd, 2011
01:00 AM ET

New York synagogue restores Torah that survived confiscation by Nazis

The Torah from Kolin, in the former Czechoslovakia.

By Philip Rosenbaum, Matthew Moskowitz and Jonathan O’Beirne, CNN

New York (CNN) - Help wanted: Someone who can sit in one place for hours on end, has the hand-eye coordination of a brain surgeon, a yogi’s power of concentration, a linguist’s knack for languages – especially ancient Hebrew – and a monk’s ability to work alone in contemplative silence, all while avoiding impure thoughts.

The hypothetical job posting, which you’re not likely to see in the classifieds, is for a sofer, or Torah scribe.

Every day, scribes around the world spend painstaking hours writing new Torahs – which contain the first five books of the Bible – by hand and restoring damaged or old ones that show the natural ravages of time that could make the scrolls unusable for services.

Such was the case for a Torah at Manetto Hill Jewish Center in Plainview, New York. Until recently, the Torah sat in disrepair in a showcase in the suburban Long Island synagogue after the congregation adopted it in 1974.

It is one of 1,564 Torahs from the former Czechoslovakia that made it out of the ashes of the Holocaust into Jewish hands, in the form of the Westminster Synagogue in London. From there, the Torahs were distributed to synagogues around the world.

During World War II, the Nazis confiscated this Torah, also known as number 559, from a synagogue in Kolin, about 35 miles east of Prague. The Nazis were known to confiscate sacred items.

The town’s Jewish community was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic, where most were killed.

Rabbi Yochanan Salazar, a scribe with Sofer on Site, a North Miami Beach, Florida-based organization, restored the Kolin Torah, which he calls a “survivor of the Holocaust.”

He cleaned some sections that had been damaged and completely rewrote other parts.

For Salazar, the restoration carried deep personal meaning. His grandfather was the only one from his mother’s side of the family in Poland to survive the Holocaust. Salazar was born in Ecuador and moved to the United States as a teenager.

“I’m able to take this Torah and to re-use it and say, ‘I’m not giving up on my heritage,’” Salazar said. “‘I’m not giving up on who I am, I’m not breaking that chain of our tradition, of our history.’”

Based on font style, type of parchment and other revealing details, Salazar estimates the Kolin Torah is at least 200 years old.

“Each time the Torah is used, not only is it a living part of our community, it is a testament to the continuity of Jewish life and the failure of Hitler’s Final Solution,’” David Ross Senter, Manetto Hill’s rabbi, wrote on the synagogue’s website.

Over the years, many Torahs from Holocaust-torn Europe were stashed in damp storage rooms, where they suffered damage.

“If there is anything that prevents the Torah from being used, we restore it back to its valid status under Jewish law,” said Salazar, who works with a quill and black ink.

The quill must be made from a kosher bird, such as a goose, turkey, or other animal so that the words in the Torah “will be in your mouth,” Salazar said. “Therefore it must be something that has to be allowed in your mouth.”

Jews believe that the Torah was handed down from God. It contains the Pentateuch, which begins with Genesis and ends with Deuteronomy.

Handwritten on the skin of a kosher animal, such as a cow, goat or lamb, the long scroll has two wooden rollers on each end. Each text contains nearly 305,000 letters, more than 79,000 words and 5,845 sentences, according to a video on Sofer on Site’s website.

Holes or other defects in the parchment are patched with white glue and Salazar uses soft tissues to remove dust and high-polymer erasers that don’t leave much residue.

“You really only have one chance to get it right,” with a very old and delicate Torah, Salazar said.

“Once you write that letter, you don’t have another opportunity to correct it,” said Salazar, who was trained as an electronic engineer and who became a sofer in 2004. “Every letter is written carefully and slowly.”

If a mistake is made in writing a Hebrew letter, the sofer must wait for the ink to dry and scrape it off. If a shadow remains, it is not considered ink and may be written over. Restoring the Kolin Torah took about six months and cost about $14,000.

Most errors can be fixed. But a few, such as if the scribe were to forget to sanctify God’s name aloud while writing it and can no longer remember where the reference was, require that the Torah be buried.

Nothing of the sort has happened to Salazar, who, like any scribe, makes mistakes. He could not recall any slips of the hand while restoring the Kolin Torah.

The Kolin Torah was re-dedicated at Manetto Hill, a Conservative synagogue, on May 1, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It will appear on the synagogue’s podium for use during high holidays, bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings.

“We’re sort of like saying to ourselves and the souls of the departed, ‘You know we haven’t forgotten you. We know you’re there. We know you’re watching us. We know what you went through,’” Salazar said.

Every Torah holds 613 mitzvot, or commandments, governing prayer, food, dress, work, travel, treatment of animals, personal relations and more.

The final commandment says every Jew must write a Torah.

Scholars say that taking part in restoring one, as the members of Manetto Hill have done, counts just the same.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Judaism • New York

soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. John Arguelles

    Being Jewish I'm glad these Jews did this. It's awesome news.

    July 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  2. Rod C. Venger

    @ David Johnson – that may be the stupidest conclusion I've ever read. The Bible says what it says. It's interpreted in different ways because every one of the 6 billion people on the planet is different. Is the glass half full or half empty? You want to blame the Bible for the failings of people...most of whom choose to ignore the Bible regardless of interpretation...and then link that to the non-existence of God?

    I guess if you don't catch any fish then the lake must not have any.

    July 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • @Rod C. Venger

      "You want to blame the Bible for the failings of people"
      I suppose YOU want to credit the Bible for the successes of people (in inspiration, good acts, loving behavior, overcoming hard life situations, etc?
      It's funny how you people "think"...it resembles "not thinking" like an identical twin.

      July 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • @Rod C. Venger


      July 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  3. snooper27

    Would it be politically incorrect to use "germans" instead of the inaccurate "nazis" in news stories of those days of WW II?

    July 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • MCR

      Not all Germans were Nazis, and not all Nazis (or Nazi sympathizers) were German. Political correctness is not the issue–factual correctness is. Peace.

      July 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    Matthew 5:

    27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

    Did Jesus want us to maim ourselves? Never! He wanted to say that we have to get released from our natural lust, so that we can behave like a blind man or a amputated man, regarding women. When Jesus has set us free from lust, we are spiritual blind men and spiritual amputated man. Regarding the lust, our eyes and hands have finished to exist in a real sense.

    This is Jesus interpretation of Exodus 20:14: You shall not commit adultery!

    July 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      For a better understanding what it means to be a sinner we invite you to read the articles What is Sin? and Victory over Sin listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
      All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived, including the Jewish people, as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • sami

      How do you know what Jesus wanted?

      July 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  5. Ron

    I'm an atheist but I thank goodness for stuff like this. Jews have always been the scapegoats and their persecution saddens me immensely. They are a lovely people with kind hearts and an open mind. They deserve respect. So glad a sofer restored the torah. <3

    July 23, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Guest

      Thank you, Ron. After reading all of the hatred and bigotry spewed at the Jewish people, your post was a breath of fresh air.

      July 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • iamacamera

      What an excellent reply. Thank you.

      July 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • GAW

      Thank you Ron for your thoughtful response. Sadly many of the atheists posting on the belief blog are giving atheism a bad name in the same way that Fundamentalists give Christianity a bad name.

      July 23, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • MCR

      Good comment, Ron. Thank you.

      July 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
  6. Alexandra

    @The Real Alexandra, sorry about that. Didn't think of it. Then don't use the name "OceanLight."

    July 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Alexandra

      I didn't use the name "OceanLight." Stop using my name – you are way meaner than I am, and I don't like you smearing my good name with your filth.

      July 23, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  7. Richard S Kaiser

    OceanLight wrote; “@David Johnson, the world knows you are another uneducated ignorant atheist. I don't waste my time replying to lengthy garbages like your comments. I may come back or may not. Make your comment for me shorter, less than 3 lines. Otherwise don't demand anything. You have no rights to waste other people's time.” On July 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Poor Oh Poor Pitiful Oceanlight,
    Please Refrain from Your Bombastic WORD Of Judgementation That Serves Only The Ignoramus Minds! Atheists OL In Nowadays Have Become “Educated” and Their Ongoing Atheist Theologies Bear Weightiness In Lights of The Religiously Devoted To But ONE GOD.

    “Learn Ye Oh OceanLight; Be Ye Written In Your WORD Of Faith as a Servant that Need Not Be or Shown of Sinful Virtues and May The GOD of the Gods and Goddesses Be Of Mercy Toward Those Dedicated With Truancies In Otherly Lives Less Fortunate then Most.”

    July 23, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Alexandra

      Richard, you are German, aren't you? If you only didn't allow the screwed stupid liberal theology in your land 100 years ago... Worry over your youth in your country, since you didn't get any lesson from your history.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • The Real Alexandra

      Hey, Alexandra is my user name here. Stop stealing my name, OceanLight!

      July 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  8. OceanLight

    All the other OceanLight's posting on this page are fake.

    July 23, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • OceanLight

      The above OceanLight is a fake.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • OceanLight

      The fake OceanLights are fake. Which is a double negative, which makes them real.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Alex

      you are all ridiculous.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Alexandra

      Atheists are ridiculous.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • The Real Alexandra

      Get your own name! I have been Alexandra here for a long time!

      July 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
  9. OceanLight

    @David Johnson, the world knows you are another uneducated ignorant atheist. I don't waste my time replying to lengthy garbages like your comments. I may come back or may not. Make your comment for me shorter, less than 3 lines. Otherwise don't demand anything. You have no rights to waste other people's time.

    July 23, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • OceanLight

      I don't like to read. It makes my brain hurt even more than usual. You need to answer in only one word from now on, David Johnson. And no more of your making sense stuff.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • OceanLight

      2nd OceanLight is a fake.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • OceanLight

      The third OceanLight is a fake.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  10. Arvin Huac

    I wonder if the Belief Blog is going to put in some stories about how the Norway massacres were committed by a Christian Fundamentalist.

    If that good Christian W Bush can lay a country to the sword and kill tens of thousands needlessly, why not this guy too?

    Yeah, we already know the lame excuse. It gets pulled out every time that a Christian does something horrible or embarrassing or stupid. It's literally been used millions of times: "He's not a REAL Christian."

    July 23, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • OceanLight

      The world has 2.3 bilion Christians – that's like 32% of entire population. USA alone claims 250 million Christians. Let's see how dangerous Christians are. Most Christians engage in life-saving activities and depend on writings by the fundies for guidance. Norway needs to go back to the proper Lutheran education.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • OceanLight

      Why aren't Americans be grateful to former President Bush for protecting their nation? Americans have becoime real stupid in every way.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • OceanLight

      Christians only do good in this world. Atheists like the Norway guy pretend to be Christians to persecute us. George Bush went to Iraq and saved us from, uh, well, I am sure it was something really bad that he nobly saved us from. Because he is Christian. And God wants abortion doctors killed and non-Christian countries invaded, and liberal summer camps in Norway put to his terrible swift sword of love.

      It all makes perfect sense to me.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • OceanLight

      The first two OceanLights are fakes. God will punish them in the lake of fire for imitating me. Atheist anti-Christs are so evil.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • OceanLight

      The third OceanLight is a fake. Atheists have no honesty or integrity. Lying is nothing to them since their conscience is dead. Shame on them.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • OceanLight

      4th OceanLight is a fake.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • OceanLight

      The Fifth OceanLight is a fake.

      July 23, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  11. David Johnson


    You didn't reply to any of my responses to your blathering.

    Like most of the deluded believers, you want to preach, but you don't want to answer any challenges to what you are saying. As you type, you probably feel the presence of god and feel his pleasure as you witness to the world. Pfui!

    All your warm and fuzzy feelings are felt by all the other members of other religions. It is just brain chemistry. Your god is no more likely to exist than is the Muslim god or the Hindu god(s).


    July 23, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • OceanLight

      David, look at your lying atheistic friends. This your kind. Or maybe you are doing it. Why don't preach to your fellow atheists regarding lying and false pretention?

      July 23, 2011 at 11:33 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    The Torah contains the law, which God gave Israel by Moses.

    Regarding the Torah (the five books of the Torah are called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy), there is something very interesting: The Torah contains the Sermon on the Mount of the New Testament.

    The Sermon on the Mount was not invented by Jesus, but is a divine interpretation of the Torah by God's Son Jesus.

    Thus, the high demands of the Sermon of the Mount were yet valid for the people of Israel.

    One more mystery: Yet the Old Testament believers were saved by faith and soley by faith they could live a life, which was not in conflict with the law.

    July 23, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Hey Rein,
      Where do you see the sermon on the mount in the Torah ?

      July 23, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Bucky Ball

      A small example: Jesus told us to love our enemies (Gospel of Matthew).

      Exodus 23, 5: God commanded: When you meet your enemy together with his donkey, which has collapsed under a heavy load, you are supposed to help him (your enemy).

      July 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Laughing


      Seriously? You're going to say the sermon on the mount INFLUENCED something that predated it? Are you stupid? Really? You haven't necessarily proven to be moronic (maybe gullible and deluded, but not moronic). If you have jesus claiming to be a rabbi, this means he's studied the pentetuach more closely than most people, knew exactly all the lines you think COME from his sermon on the mount probably right off the top of his head. Sorry Rainer, the cause and effect here is that the torah was there and it EFFECTED jesus's sermon on the mount, not the other way around.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      When Jesus lived on earth, there was no New Testament. At Jesus' time the word Scripture meant just the Old Testament. The Bible, which Jesus used, was just the Old Testament.

      In Exodus 20:13 God commanded, you shall not murder. Jesus said that yet anger against somebody can cause God's judgement. First, when you read it, it seems, Jesus had tightened the law, but he didn't. Yet in former times it was meant like Jesus interpreted it. Explanation: The cause of a murder is anger, thus anger is just invisible murder.

      Jesus can give us the power, not to habour any anger against anybody. Jesus is a Redeemer.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ Rainer....

      Thanks? Pretty sure I reasoned that out for myself, now lets see if we can make the jump together shall we?
      You said, "The Torah contains the Sermon on the Mount of the New Testament."..... So now that we both know that the torah was the word of god and that jesus knew nothing of a new testament because it was written 200 years after his death, that his sermon on the mount is from the old testament.....it was not inspired by jesus, jesus was just a plagiarist. Geddit?

      July 23, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • J.W

      Rainer and Laughing have me completely confused.

      July 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
  13. vanessa fredrrickson

    we need to take away casy anthonys abilty to make money on our little fallen anen angel. pass it to all of the news media. spread the news we want to tell the truth. lets stop casy anthony right now.

    July 23, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • David Johnson

      @vanessa fredrrickson

      The woman was tried by a jury of her peers and found to be not guilty of killing her daughter.


      July 23, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  14. OceanLight

    The existence of Israel and of the Jews shut up all the stupid claims of atheists.

    July 23, 2011 at 7:39 am |
    • David Johnson

      While the establishment of the state of Israel was seen by Christian Zionists as a sign that God was fulfilling his promises to Abraham and Jacob, the early political leaders of Israel were primarily secular. David Ben Gurion, Israel's Prime Minister from the founding of Israel until 1963, represented the secular Ideals of the early Zionists.

      For practical reasons, Ben Gurion accepted the boundaries that excluded the ancient Jewish lands of Samaria and Judea in the West Bank. The early Israeli leaders also agreed to a divided Jerusalem.

      There was no miracle here, or Jerusalem would not have been divided. Evangelicals see a miracle behind every event. This is because they are delusional.

      Israel receives about $3 billion in direct foreign assistance each year, which is roughly one-fifth of America's entire foreign aid budget.

      The United States is the reason Israel survives. Not the desert hobgoblin. LOL! LOL 'till my sides ache.


      July 23, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Lycidas

      Israel does not require the US to survive you dolt.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  15. Reality

    Saved only to be replaced by the "New Torah for Modern Minds":

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument."

    "The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

    July 23, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Fred

      I'm not sure which alternate reality you're getting your information from, but there is a ton of archaeological evidence confirming the existence of Israel and the Jews in the Holy Land.
      Don't look now, but your anti-semitism is showing.

      July 23, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • Reality


      We await your ton of references from scientific, unbiased sources.

      You can purchase the New Torah for Modern Minds from Amazon.com:

      "Etz Hayim: Torah and Commentary (Hardcover) $58.00

      ~ David L. Lieber (Editor), Jules Harlow (Editor), United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (Corporate Author), The Rabbinical Assembly (Corporate Author)
      4.7 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)

      "The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) is the primary organization of synagogues practicing Conservative Judaism in North America. It closely works with the Rabbinical Assembly, the international body of Conservative rabbis, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.[1]"

      While you are at the Amazon site, you might want to check out the following:

      "Letting Go of God ~ Julia Sweeney (DVD – 2008)

      Five Star Rating

      July 23, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  16. OceanLight

    I'm glad villains usually do not destroy things that have monetary values. I hope New Yorkers would read the content of Torah and the Gospel. Torah had conclusions the Jews had been unaware. The Bible, both OT and NT, is seamless together as a whole. God did not spare the original copy so that mankind will read and study His Book instead of decorating it and storing in museum. God's Word is priceless in practicing and carrying it out.

    July 23, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • David Johnson

      You said: "God's Word is priceless in practicing and carrying it out."

      Really? Is the bible the best a god can do?

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      Christians believe god's purpose in creating the Bible is to guide human beings towards a knowledge of God, and to help them lead moral lives, Christians must be certain of the meaning of the Bible.

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      "There are in excess of 1,000 Christian faith groups in North America. They teach diverse beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, the second coming, Heaven, Hell, the rapture, criteria for salvation, speaking in tongues, the atonement, what happens to persons after death, and dozens of other topics.

      On social controversies, faith groups teach a variety of conflicting beliefs about abortion access, equal rights for ho_mo$exuals and bi$exuals, who should be eligible for marriage, the death penalty, physician assisted suicide, human $exuality topics, origins of the universe, and dozens of other topics.

      The groups all base their theological teachings on the Bible. Generally speaking, the theologians in each of these faith groups are sincere, intelligent, devout, thoughtful and careful in their interpretation of the Bible. But, they come to mutually exclusive conclusions about what it teaches. Further, most are absolutely certain that their particular interpretations are correct, and that the many hundreds of faith groups which teach opposing beliefs are in error." Source: Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

      If the bible is ambiguous, then it cannot be said to be inerrant.

      The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      July 23, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  17. Hana

    I am so impressed by the people who still do this. The Medieval manuscript arts are among my more passionate interests. I study paper and parchment making, ink making, book binding, illumination, gilding, and calligraphy. I am no where close to being a professional. I dont have the patience to do that. But, I do have great respect for those who have and continue to do such works.

    July 23, 2011 at 2:32 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      Am looking at 4, ((2 from 1450's, (Butler 3-19-1912 Sotheby sale), actually guilded w gold "flakes", Book of Hours, Northern France)), and 2, 1400"s Hour of Matins, Spanish, hanging on my wall. 😈 Have you seen the new St. John's bible ? Unbelievable !

      July 23, 2011 at 5:22 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      oops, "gilded"

      July 23, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • OceanLight

      Hana, I did book-binding and calligraphy, too. Calligraphy is truly a blissful fun, mixed with watercolors. Too bad computer graphics push everything aside, but human hands will always thirst for working with real substance. Use of computers saved trees at least for some extent, though discarded computers pollute the planet for sure.

      July 23, 2011 at 7:29 am |
    • Hana

      Bucky Ball

      Of course I have seen the St. Johns Bible. It is FABULOUS. Like I said, I am no where up to that callibur. But, I still love learning.

      July 23, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      If you are ever traveling, and stop in Minneapolis, when I was visiting my uncle once, he took me to the rare book archive at the U of M. There was an amazing Midwest calligrapher, named Judith Duncan whose stuff is there. I wish it was on line, but it doesn't look like it is. http://special.lib.umn.edu/findaid/html/scrb/scrb0001.html
      Somewhere on : http://valleycalligraphyguild.com/show2001p3.html is a sample of her work, but I can't find it.

      July 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Hana

      Thank you Bucky Ball!

      July 24, 2011 at 1:10 am |
  18. OceanLight

    Who could have imagined God would visit His creation and His people taking on flesh? Israel, God disguised Himself in the first visit so that only honest humans( those who admit their being sinners) would find Him. Israel, as a youth I read the New Testament Bible(and later by the Old Testament Bible) I knew the Almighty God loved you infinitely. Those who read the Bible cannot help but love you and cherish you, Jews. All the wrongs done to you in "Christian" name was due from illiteracy in the Bible. Israel, don't be deceived by erroring, evil humans. Jesus loves you and He alone is your Savior.

    July 23, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Hana

      They have not converted in the past 2000 years of Christians beating the "message" into everyone's heads. They are not likely going to do it now just because you said so and posted it online. Please move on and show people respect.

      July 23, 2011 at 2:28 am |
    • OceanLight

      Hana, no, the Jews who trust in Jesus as their Savior are increasing by far. One needs to hear the truth whether he wants it or not. Respecting people means giving them the vital life-saving truth they need.

      July 23, 2011 at 7:17 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "One needs to hear the truth whether he wants it or not."

      You got that right, Sparky. Here's a truth for ya': There is no evidence that Jesus ever actually existed.


      July 23, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • Scott

      Well the wrongs done to me in the name of Christ were by very bible literate Christians. Without religion good people would still do good things and evil people would still do bad things; but, for good people to do evil things, that takes religion

      July 23, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  19. OceanLight

    All villains will be put to utter shame when Israel retrieves her true glory. Israel, accept your Divine Messiah who came to you 2,000 years ago and who loves you and suffered for you. God visited you before in your midst and He will do it again.

    July 23, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Pink Monkey the evolved one

      And if he doesn't get it right this time, well, he'll just have to keep trying.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • OceanLight

      @Pink: Sorry, He will come in terror because that's what this evil mankind needs and deserves.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • WesH

      @ Ocean Light – "Come in terror"? I thought he was all-loving? Your God confuses me...

      July 23, 2011 at 5:40 am |
    • OceanLight

      @WesH, Jesus' Second Coming is for the Judgment, nothing else. God is love but He is also holy and just. Our action have consequences and we are guiltier than we want to think. Everything will be exposed. Repent of sin, trust in Jesus alone for salvation and start a new life in God – the Gospel message for us hopeless sinners who cannot save ourselves.

      July 23, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "Jesus' Second Coming is for the Judgment, nothing else. God is love but He is also holy and just. "


      It is said: "By your fruit you will be known."

      Let's look at your god's "fruit".

      God directly or at His insistence, murdered men, women and children including babies. This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      God killed every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah and his family, because man was wicked. Afterwards, He decides He won't kill everything again, because man's heart is evil from his youth. This isn't evil? Is this moral? An all knowing god didn't know this BEFORE He murdered everyone on the planet? OOOooopsie!

      God had a man believe he was going to sacrifice his son to Him. Do you know how traumatic that would be for a father and his son?
      If you had the power would you do this? Would you be so insecure? This isn't evil? Is this moral?

      There was a man who loved God. God made a bet with Satan that even if the man were tortured, his Possessions taken, and his children killed, he would still love God and never curse Him. God won the bet.
      Would you do that? Would you kill a man's children for a bet? This isn't evil? Is this just?

      God sent a bear to kill a group of children, because they had teased one of His prophets.
      Did the children deserve to die, because they teased a bald man? This isn't evil? Is this moral? Is this a just god?

      God allowed a man to sacrifice his daughter to Him, for giving the man a victory in battle. Human sacrifice! This isn't evil? Is this just?

      God created a place He can send people to be burned for all eternity. Could an all benevolent god construct such a place of misery? Does anyone deserve to be burned alive forever? Is this justice?

      If a puppy wet on the floor, would you hold it over a burner? Even for a second? I couldn't do that. Not to a puppy. Certainly not to a human. I am more moral than the Christian god, and I am not omnibenevolent.

      I call Jesus, Himself as a witness!

      Jesus had this to say:

      Matthew 7:17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

      Luke 6:43 "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.

      1. A god who is not evil, can't do evil things!
      This is established, by Jesus' testimony.

      2. The Christian god is guilty of horrid crimes against humans
      Evidenced by the atrocities recorded in the bible and the Christian god's own admission:

      Isaiah 45:7, KJV says the Christian god is responsible for at least some evil: "..I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."

      3. Therefore, god is evil. He bears bad fruit.

      Read the examples of god's behavior again. Tell me in what reality or under what circ_umstances, these actions would not be evil?


      July 23, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Scott

      Yes. And they have been predicting it for very soon, any day now for the past 2000 years

      July 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  20. OceanLight

    Israel will survive against all odds. Israel's survival proves that the only true God is and He acts.

    July 23, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • WesH

      I would argue that Isreal survives because of its outstanding armed forces. Not like God was shooting lightning bolts at Syrian tanks while they rolled into the Gaza Strip. And not to go for the "low blow", but God wasn't very protective of the Jews during the Holocaust...

      July 23, 2011 at 5:37 am |
    • OceanLight

      God will protect Israel in super-natural way. In the Holocause era, many people died, not just Jews. Chinese, Russians, Germans, Poles, Ja-panese are just a few to name.

      July 23, 2011 at 7:08 am |
    • OceanLight

      WesH, God is sovereign. We creatures all have only limited time on earth anyway. Remember that. We must not doubt God's perfect goodness and all-knowing wisdom but keep on, thanking another day on earth that none of us deserve. There will be justice at the end.

      July 23, 2011 at 7:36 am |
    • David Johnson


      You said: " We must not doubt God's perfect goodness and all-knowing wisdom..."

      "Doubt" is the adult response to anything, for which there is no evidence. Only children under the age of 6, should suspend their critical thinking and believe in magic.

      We must not doubt Santa will deliver presents to all the good boys and girls. Except, we do doubt that Santa exists. He just doesn't fit in with the reality we see around us. He is too fat to fit down the chimney, reindeer can't fly, the sled couldn't hold all those presents.. etc. We apply our critical thinking to everything, except our gods. *sigh*

      Now let's apply this to the bible:

      God created Adam from a handful of dirt; Talking snakes; trees that bear fruit, that imparts knowledge and eternal life; a global flood, that required a pair of each organism on earth, be stuffed onto a boat; people who lived hundreds of years; a man who was swallowed by a fish, only to be spit up 3 days later, unhurt; a tower god was afraid might reach heaven; a woman who is turned into a pillar of salt; talking donkeys; unicorns; satyrs; a leviathan god creates and then does battle with; a zombie messiah, who was actually god incarnate; zombie Saints who left their graves and wandered about the town; belief in a circular, flat earth you could fall off the edge of.

      Do the stories in the bible fit with the reality you see around you?

      The Christian god is no more real than Santa or the Easter Bunny.

      “For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
      – Carl Sagan


      July 23, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Lycidas

      Wow...quoting a science fiction writer....hey, how about you quote the guy who wrote that Green Lantern movie that bombed next.

      July 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.