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April 15, 2011

Chabad Rabbi And Catholic Priest Organize Jews Versus Catholics Basketball Game For Outreach

Rabbi_Yisroel_Wilhelm_Fr_David_Nix The team uniforms will contain an acknowledgment of what Catholics and Jews have in common and what separates them. “The back, for the Catholics and Jews, is the exact same. The front has a Star of David over the left breast, for all players. But the Catholics have a Cross inside the Star of David, almost as if to say: 'Jesus Christ fulfills all of the Hebrew Scriptures.'”


Jews vs. Catholics basketball game seeks to bring back lapsed believers
By Benjamin Mann • Catholic News Agency

Rabbi_Yisroel_Wilhelm_Fr_David_Nix Boulder, Colo., Apr 15, 2011 / 06:32 am (CNA).- Although the idea began as a joke, and still elicits laughter from students, an April 17 “Jews versus Catholics” basketball game has a serious purpose for the priest and the rabbi who organized it as a form of outreach to their communities' non-practicing members.

“These are the two main religions of the West, and there are a lot of people who left them,” said Fr. Dave Nix, parochial vicar at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Center in Boulder, Colorado. “The second-largest religious denomination in the U.S. is ex-Catholics. This is a link back to people's roots, in a fun way.”

Fr. Nix organized the game along with Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm, who directs campus ministries for the Hasidic Jewish outreach group Chabad. Rabbi Wilhelm and Fr. Nix, both age 32, hope the game will bring back young adults who have fallen away from their religion.

Catholic team members “don't have to promise they'll go to Mass and Confession,” said Fr. Nix, who says that “if you’re a baptized Catholic and you can make a free throw, you can play.” But he said the game offers reluctant Catholics “a connection to the family of faith, even a chance to be bold about belonging to it, before they're ready to make any kind of commitment.”

Rabbi Wilhelm's organization, Chabad, has the explicit aim of bringing nominal Jews back to the practice of their religion. Fr. Nix observed that the Catholic Church, despite its universal mission, often faces a similar task.

“Our mission is to reach every single person for Christ, whether they're Catholic or not – but of course, our first mission is to reach Catholics. We want to reach people who were baptized as Catholics, but aren't practicing their faith.”

For men, he said, sports can play an especially important role in this kind of “re-evangelization.”

“Sports is a way that people can trust each other, in a competitive environment,” said Fr. Nix. “It's sort of like going to war. You can learn to trust someone, but it's not on the basis of how orthodox they are or how frequently they're going to Mass.”

“The question is, can they be a real man? Can they act competitively?”

“Discipline is an important part of following Christ, and an important part of sports. There's a connection between those who can take up the cross and follow Christ, and those who are willing to be competitive for their team.”

Fr. Nix said he was glad to live in an era where a “Catholics versus Jews” basketball game could take place in a friendly spirit. But he noted that he and his Jewish counterpart were not seeking to downplay the real differences that divide the two faiths.

Catholicism and Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidism are “both pretty black and white religions,” he said, reflecting on both groups' strong truth-claims and adherence to tradition.

Fr. Nix observed that the opposition of his team and Rabbi Yisroel's is not the “gray versus gray” contest that might take place between more liberal Christian and Jewish groups. However, in keeping with Chabad's spirit of tolerant conservatism, many of the Jewish players will come from branches of Judaism that are less traditional than Rabbi Yirsroel's own.

Even the team uniforms will contain an acknowledgment of what Catholics and Jews have in common and what separates them.

“The back, for the Catholics and Jews, is the exact same,” Fr. Nix explained. “The front has a Star of David over the left breast, for all players.”

“But the Catholics have a Cross inside the Star of David,” he said, “almost as if to say: 'Jesus Christ fulfills all of the Hebrew Scriptures.'”


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Wow such a great idea. We should probably break out and have a good drink of wine with them also. Novel idea?

The way many of the Chabad Mosheachistin are behaving these days they aren't so far off from the other side that they want to play with. They also have such ridiculous Avoda Zpra beliefs.

Chochom, exactly right !

They have a lot in common: Both sides worship a dead Jew whom they believe to be the Messiah and have large numbers of pictures of him.

this is a step in the right direction.in the past, they would shoot the jews, not the ball.

Good !

The only real difference between traditional Judaism and orthodox Catholicism is the identity of the Messiah. But we will leave that question alone for now. Give me trust building over petty point scoring, even on a basketball court, any day.

Adam, not exactly, since all forms of Judaism makes a very strong/ ironclad distinction between G-d and human beings, whereas all Christianity has as its core belief that G-d incarnated G-d's self in human form, which is total heresy for any form of rabbinic Judaism (even Reform) and is total heresy for karaite Judaism and is total heresy for Samaritan Israelitism.

To Dave,

You are talking about the past. I am talking about what is already happening and the future. FYI, the Messianic Era commenced in the last decade. I am trying to turn all people to the same G-d. This is one of the things I must do to fulfil my job description on Planet Earth. This mission has been active for about fifteen years but even before 1997 I was unconsciously trying to do the same thing. There is a method to my madness. The correct world model which will prevail is monotheism that is based on ethical traditional values such as : Don't Sexually Abuse Children; Don't Murder; Don't Rape; Don't Plan Terrorist Acts etc. etc. There is a hierarchy of importance to the mitzvot. This view drives some Jewish leaders crazy but so be it. I am sticking to my guns. A child is not born Jewish, Catholic or Muslim. I am not trying to destroy certain belief systems in their entirety just reform them.

When I see a sincere attempt at trust building between nations, religions and people I applaud it. The universe really is stable, ordered, benevolent and expansive even if the minds of many bear witness to the opposite fact. The value of World Peace by 2050 is about $140 Trillion at a 4% compound growth rate.

If this is all too much for you check your frame of reference and try and work out why it is you think the way you do.

Shabbat Shalom !

P.S. Shabbat has just passed here but I am guessing wherever you are in the world it is still shabbat.

I am very much in agreement with you on the trust building part.
The problem is that all religions EXCEPT:
Judaism, Islam, and Sikhism
believe in the Creator of the Universe ie.
a Being unlike human beings, infinitely greater than human beings and who has never and will never be "incarnated" in any form.
My point is that Christianity believes in a limited god, not G-d, the Creator of the Universe, since the Creator of the Universe is beyond human understanding and never has and never will "incarnate" G-d's self in any form.

To Dave...

With G-d's grace I know how to build trust and get agreement on key points between any group that is willing to sit down with me. The prophecies are crystal clear that at some point in time all people will turn to the one G-d. This process unfolds over time. G-d is currently forcing everyone to readjust their mindset and frame of reference. This process will accelerate exponentially in the coming twenty nine days. The monotheistic faiths will lead the other groups. Those people with the best knowledge of G-d's plans for humankind will be blessed. Imagine all the people of Planet Earth are on the HMS International. There must be a captain and crew and all the passengers have a part to play. As at April 2011 we really are all on the same boat.

As a wise sage said...

"It doesn't matter what you think we will all know the truth and what is correct in the end !"

That "end" is nigh.

Adam, good luck, but to be quite frank in my humble opinion, Christianity is NOT monotheism. Also, I've read websites and accounts by former Christians who converted to Judaism and other former Christians who converted to Islam. The impression I get from them is that Christians have too much "invested" in their man-god to give him up easily.

my personal opinion: the whole thing is just plain weird. but we live in a weird word. (Does the weirdness mean that Moshiach and the Geulah Shleimah is not far off? I certainly hope so)

To Dave,

Interesting point re. Christianity and idolatory. Because he has failed to show up on the world stage many Christians are having to re-assess their belief system. They are left with dealing with how the world has been organised. You are correct that what people focus on and invest hope in has a great bearing on their life.

"We are what we think about every day !"

- Anon


"Where is a person ?"

"A person is where his will is !"

- The Baal Shem Tov

World Peace 2050 anyone...

What does this idea mean ? What is in it for me ? What is the correct role of the Jewish people in this plan ? What is the correct design for the Holy Land ? Where do I fit in the plan ? What can I do about it ? Who should be in the leadership group ? What is the correct timetable ? What are the moves that must be made ? In what order should they be made ? How should things be organised ?

To Yoel Mechanic,

What do you mean by the "whole thing" ?

The basketball rapprochment or life in general ?

P.S. Confusion often precedes understanding. The redemption unfolds over time. It is not just a click of the fingers and hey presto life is perfect. How the world is organised and layered with law, justice, finance, media, opinion, politics etc. determines much of behaviour. G-d is getting through to people but the process is uneven.

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