Judaism has a strong tradition, especially in the Hasidic movement, in which Orthodox Jews make visits to the tombs of great male and female sages of holy character, asking for their intercession with God on behalf of various problems and endeavors.
For many of us who grew up as Christians in the more traditional wings of that faith — Roman Catholicism, Episcopalian/Anglican, Eastern (Greek) Orthodox — many church groups and projects often had a patron saint, an exceptionally holy person who was considered to be looking out for that organization or project, and interceding with God for its welfare.
In keeping with these traditions, we humorously suggest two patrons for this website, one Jewish, and one Christian, who were also adult children of intermarriage.
When King Solomon was building the First Temple in Jerusalem, he “sent for Hiram and brought him down from Tyre. He was the son of a widow of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father had been a Tyrian, a coppersmith. He was endowed with skill, ability, and talent for executing all work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and executed all his work.” (I Kings 7:13-14, The Jewish Study Bible, Jewish Publication Society/Oxford University Press).
We also nominate St. Timothy, companion of St. Paul, “the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed [in Christianity]; but his father was a Greek [pagan]” (Acts 16:1, King James Version), to whom St. Paul wrote, “to Timothy, my dearly beloved son . . . without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day” (II Timothy 1:2-3).
So even though Hiram the Tyrian of the tribe of Naphtali and St. Timothy are probably very busy in the afterlife, we nominate them for our website’s patrons, and hope that they’ll keep our organization’s welfare in mind!
We thank them for their intercession!
SAINTS AND SAGES ASSOCIATED WITH OUR BIRTHDAY
The birthday of the Half-Jewish Network, the date of our first gathering, September 22, 2005, also has some support from Jewish and Christian sages and saints. On the Jewish lunar calendar, our first dinner, held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 22, 2005, was 18 Elul (“Chai Elul”) in the year 5765.
We did not know when the day was selected for our first dinner that it is the birthday of the great 18th century founder of the mystical Hasidic movement, R. Israel Baal Shem Tov (b. 1698 (?)), and also the birthday of one of his primary successors, R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (b. 1745), the founder of a major Hasidic group, Chabad Lubavitch.
We also learned much later that 18 Elul, Chai Elul, is the yahrzeit (anniversary of death) of R. Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal of Prague, (d. 1609). The Maharal was one of the foremost Jewish leaders of his day, the author of many Jewish texts with philosophical, Kabbalistic and Talmudic strains. A persistent legend ascribes to him the creation of the Golem of Prague, a magical creature that the Maharal allegedly unleashed against the enemies of the Jews.
September 22 on the Christian calendar is the feast day of St. Phocas of Sinope, a kindly hermit, who cared for a flower garden, looked after the needy, and is said to have been martyred by the Romans. He is a patron saint of gardeners and sailors. Another Christian saint associated with September 22 is St. Thomas Villanova, an Augustinian priest and the 16th century Archbishop of Valencia, Spain, who was famous for his assistance to the poor.
While she is not associated with our birthday, we would be remiss if we did not invoke the intercession of Teresa Sanchez de Cepeda y Ahumada, better known to us as St. Teresa de Jesus of Avila (1515-1582), who was the patrilineal grandchild of a Jewish-Christian intermarriage, a great Catholic mystic who was one of the most remarkable figures in the history of spirituality.
THANKS, SAGES AND SAINTS!
We hope that all of the sages and saints mentioned above will intercede for our organization, and thank them for their intercession.