Yesterday was Yom Kippur (pronounce it like this: yome kee-poor).
It’s a great day for introspection, for quiet reflection. The nation is quiet. No cars move. Kids play in the street. Religious Jews fast and afflict their souls. Christians and non-religious Jews have a sandwich and read a good book – but, we’re VERY quiet about it.
It is both a sprititual and a cultural experience. It’s a part of the fabric of Israeli society.
It’s also Ramadan, and my neighborhood of Gilo is surrounded on all sides by Arab towns and villages: Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Whatsitsname. You can’t miss Ramadan when you sit where I am.
I find Ramadan to be interesting. It’s Yom Kippur, but for a month. You fast from sunup to sundown, and then feast the night away. I suspect that Ramadan for Muslims is as an important spiritual and cultural experience as Yom Kippur is for those who are Jewish.
Why is Ramadan a month long? Well, do you remember the basic tenet of Islam?
Muhammed said that God brought the truth to the Jews via prophets like Moses, David, Jesus, etc. But, the Jews didn’t obey and didn’t even write down the truth properly. So, said Muhammed, God brought His FINAL prophet to give you the Real Deal. That prophet, of course, was Muhammed.
Remember, Muhammed knew what Judaism and Christianity taught – and was impressed by what he saw. So, when he built the idea of Islam, he said that pork was not Halal (i.e., not Kosher). He taught the same view towards murder: to kill a man is to kill the world.
He also wasn’t immune to a bit of one-upmanship. Yom Kippur is a day? Ramadan will be a MONTH!
Of course, Muhammed added a bunch of other stuff like killing infidels and spreading Islam by force of arms. That kind of thing.
But, it strikes me that the success of Islam owes more to its twisted plagarism of Judaism and Christianity, than to anything else.