HindusUnited ForIsrael

Chief Rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger: "For thousands of years we Jews & Hindus have marched on parallel causes and have now built bridges of cooperation between the two religions. Jews have lived in India for over 2000 years and have never been discriminated against. This is something unparalleled in human history".

Both our traditions have given birth to many other religions: Hinduism has given birth to Buddhism and Jainism, and, similarly Judaism is the mother of Christianity and Islam. We have both experienced the persecution of intolerant rulers. We also have been subject to the holocaust during colonial times. Both our religions are revealed. Hinduism does not have a beginning. It was never started. Dharma was always there. The Vedas are not books, they are revealed facts by Rishis: Rsayastu mantradrstarah, not mantra-kartarah. Rishis are the seers of the mantras, not its authors. Vedas are revealed. Similarly Moses did not create the Holy Books. They were revealed. God is the source of both the Jewish and Hindu traditions. Moses did not create the religion. Similarly in our tradition we say even Rama or Krishna didn't create the religion. We have four Vedas, you have five Holy Books. We have Smritis, you have Midrash. Both of us remove shoes at the temple. We take a ritual bath before special rites. The outer purity is needed to cultivate inner purity. You keep Kosher, we have what is called "achara"--both refer to strict codes about internal and external purity. We are pure in our food habits. We do not mix certain types of food, or eat old food. We purify ourselves before going to the temple.We have lunar calendars in both traditions. The number of years in our calendar is the same. For marriages and other auspicious events, we see different days. Both perform marriages under canopies. Some of the rites are similar. We also have corresponding festivals. In the Jewish tradition, you have Yom Kippur, and we have Navaratri; we fast and pray and do special prayers at the time. The festivals of Purim and Holi, coming in the springtime, signify triumph of good over evil are in both traditions. When we do a blessing, we use rice as the symbol of fertility. Both, Hindus and Jews, do penance and fasting. In the past, it is said that Jews used to rub ash on the body to purify themselves. We have two important rivers: Jordan and Ganga.