Will they let her play?
Tomorrow is the finals of the Bible Quiz in Israel. The JTA from Jerusalem reports, "Should Bat El Levy be asked at Israel's international youth Bible quiz next week about the messiah's coming, she may find herself in a bind.
The 17-year-old Jerusalem girl is a world-class scriptural scholar who, as it happens, believes in Jesus."
So who cares what she believes? She was Jewish before she believed anything and she'll be Jewish long after this quiz is even a faint memory.
Today's Jerusalem Post says,
"Both chief rabbis of Israel called on Tuesday to cancel the International Bible Quiz slated for the capital on Independence Day in protest against the participation of a 16-year-old girl who believes Jesus is the messiah.
"Choosing her as a finalist in the International Bible Quiz for Jewish Youth is a transgression of Halacha and is a distortion of the goal and essence of the quiz," wrote Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger in a letter to Education Minister Yuli Tamir. "The Chief Rabbinate of Israel vigorously protests [the participation] of this representative... Bible quiz participants have always been Jews who believed in the Torah handed down by Moses.
"The Chief Rabbinate calls to disqualify this girl from taking part in the quiz. If she is not disqualified, we call to cancel the quiz immediately.
"It is unacceptable that a member of a cult that has removed itself from the Jewish faith will take part in a quiz dedicated to a book that has been holy to the Jews since their inception as a people," the rabbis wrote.
"Nevertheless, Tzurit Berenson, 15, from Nahariya, one of the four Israeli finalists, said that she and the other contestants intended to participate in Thursday's competition.
"We asked our own rabbis what to do and they told us that we should participate," said Berenson, who added that she had taught herself the Bible and has been preparing for the quiz for years.
"Berenson said religious activists have been trying to discourage her and the other participants from taking part in the quiz, "but we have all decided to go ahead with it."
Isn't it a joy to know that 15-year-olds know the ideas of Tenach better than their older counterparts? Good on those young co-participants who challenge the rabbis and who just want to win in tomorrow's finals.
Shame on the ones who are trying to prevent another Jew from experiencing something Jewish. Who cares if any participant is a Jewish Buddhist or a Jewish atheist for that matter? Let these Jewish kids and young adults have a go.