WCF Communication Director Authors 'Jewish Roots of Family Values'
March 21, 2011
MEDIA ADVISORY, (christiansunite.com) -- In an important contribution to the ongoing debate over the origins of the natural family, the Family Research Council (a WCF Partner) has just published "The Jewish Roots of Family Values," an issue brief by World Congress of Families Communications Director Don Feder.
Feder discusses the foundation for family values in Jewish Scripture -- Torah and Talmud -- and the way these virtues are reflected in traditional Jewish life. He writes: "Family values are Jewish values. To understand the origins of the traditional family, we must look to the Torah and the traditions of a people who gave the world God-based morality."
Feder notes that the seed of family values are found in the story of Adam and Eve, "At the beginning of history, God does something no social worker, government agency or international organization has been able to duplicate -- He creates a family."
Feder calls Genesis (from Chapter 12 to the end) "the story of a Jewish family -- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, and their children and grandchildren."
Here the importance of marriage and procreation for human happiness is illuminated, as well as the relationships of husband and wife and parent and child.
Feder says the importance of childbearing to traditional Judaism may be seen in the way the birthrate rises among American Jews, based on their level of observance -- from 1.86 children per family among all Jews, to 3.3 for the modern Orthodox, 6.6 for traditional Orthodox and 7.9 for Hasidic Jews -- almost four times the American birthrate.
Feder explains that: "More than the synagogue, the home is central to Jewish religious practice. In the Jewish home, Shabbat (the Sabbath) is ushered in on Friday evening. The home is also the setting for lighting the Hanukah menorah and conducting the Passover Seder, for festive meals on Rosh Hashanah, the break-fast on Yom Kippur, the Brit Milah (circumcision ceremony) and lighting Yahrzeit (memorial) candles."
Finally, Feder discusses the ways in which Jewish family values came to dominate the West, via Christianity.
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs observes: "Don's monograph reflects the diversity of World Congress of Families. As our international Secretary, Allan Carlson, likes to say, the Congress is a coalition of orthodox believers -- who don't necessarily believe in the same thing. The WCF leadership includes Catholics, Evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Russian Orthodox and other adherents to traditional faiths, who are united in their recognition of the role of the family in the divine scheme and its centrality to civilization."
World Congress of Families is having events this year in Riga (Latvia), London, Lagos (Nigeria) and a first-ever Demographic Summit in Moscow. There are also plans for World Congress of Families VI (tentatively scheduled for Madrid in May, 2012). Australia, India and Russia have alos submitted proposals to hold World Congress of Families VII in 2013 or 2014.
The World Congress of Families (WCF) is an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars, leaders and people of goodwill from more than 60 countries that seek to restore the natural family as the fundamental social unit and the 'seedbed' of civil society (as found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). The WCF was founded in 1997 by Allan Carlson and is a project of The Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society in Rockford, Illinois. To date, there have been five World Congresses of Families - Prague (1997), Geneva (1999), Mexico City (2004) and Warsaw, Poland (2007). The World Congress of Families V was held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, August 10-12, 2009 ( www.worldcongress.org).