Sunday, July 15, 2007

From Jew to Catholic, author finds his path a natural one

~from East Valley Tribune

Once a Jew and now a Roman Catholic, Roy Schoeman says his spiritual journey follows much the same transition as Christianity’s development from the seeds of Judaism.

“I haven’t converted to another religion,” he explains. “The Catholic Church is the continuation of Judaism. They are one and the same religion — the thing is the religion changed with the incarnation (God coming to earth in the human form of Jesus). It was always going to change.”

Schoeman, author of “Salvation Is From the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History From Abraham to the Second Coming,” will speak during the Arizona Marian Conference Aug. 24-26 at Doubletree Scottsdale Paradise Valley Resort. His talk to a Catholic audience is titled “Witness Testimony and God’s Plan for the Jews.”

Raised in a Conservative Jewish family where both parents fled Nazi Germany, Schoeman received solid Jewish instruction. His hometown spiritual leader was Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a foremost American Conservative rabbi, and his religion teacher was Rabbi Arthur Green, who would head the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. And for several months, he lived in Israel with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, the late famed Hasidic rabbi, singer and well-traveled songwriter and teacher.

“Growing up, I was quite devout about my religion,” he said. Schoeman enrolled in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he encountered a “very intellectually arrogant attitude that 'we know better than to believe in God, and we have scientific explanations for everything.’ ” He went on to earn an MBA at Harvard Business School and later joined the faculty. During those years, he said, “I basically fell into sin. I adopted the kind of normal ’70s college lifestyle, and under those influences, I basically lost my faith.” He regarded himself as a Jewish agnostic.

Schoeman said his life hit bottom. “There was no meaning and purpose to life, and there was nothing more to look forward to,” he recalls. Then while walking on an empty beach in 1987, he suddenly felt God’s love and presence. It triggered a deep quest to pursue knowing God. The following year, he had a long dream in which the Virgin Mary spoke with him and answered questions. He ended up realizing it was Christ who had come to him in the beach encounter — “and that I was now a Christian,” Schoeman recounts on his Web site.

“This completely consumed me when it happened.” He left teaching and devoted himself to writing and speaking about bridging the two monotheistic faiths.

With his realizations, Schoeman studied theology at several seminaries, began hosting a talk show on a Catholic TV network and wrote two books, his latest, “Honey From the Rock: Sixteen Jews Find the Sweetness of Christ.” He explains that his book, “Salvation Is From the Jews,” sought to help Christians hold a deeper understanding of Judaism as both a religion and “a central component of Christian salvation.” It seeks to show the “importance which Judaism has as God’s own religion and the unique and central role it has in the destiny of all of creation.”



Anonymous said...

One of the best preacher I have had the privilege of hearing was a priest who had been a rabbi. His personal Mass vestments bore the Mogen David superimposed with a cross.

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