In my second reply or answer to you Lisa I am going to use examples of other religions to compare them to Judaism in accordance to the Jewish practice.
First Judaism exists more then 5000 years, and therefor has older roots, rituals, traditions, laws, and a religious practice and faith experiance then its offspring Christianity and Islam, and Judaism is closer to the old Zoratrist Persian faith then the two other Monothe�st faiths that came after it.
This old bond and continuation of faith, customs, culture, language and sense of belonging to a special cause and people is in itself already a sort of Unity in diversity. All jews agree on what the core meaning, the fundament and essence of being Jewish or a Jew/Jewess is. And that uniting element makes people who feel connected by the blood (Jewish mother, grandmother and so forth) and their faith to Judaism to be Jewish and united in Judaism.
I start by the Christian example, the largest religion in the world is Christianity and the largest church is the Roman-Catholic church, this church is based on the Jewish person Jesus, his Jewish mother Mary, the Jewish G'd JHW, Adonai or Hashem. Jesus built his church on the Jewish Fisherman Saint Peter, whom he called his rock. The Roman-Catholic church is built around this dogma and 900 million people belong to this faith and feel connected because they share a heritage, faith, customs, culture and a way of life.
Secondly you have the Islam which is the second offspring of Judaism, with their Tenach teachings, Orthodox Jewish way of service and education (the Islamic Madrasah looks very simular to the Jewish Jeshiva), their Jewish prophets (Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Isaiah, Samuel, Ezekiel and Job), 5 prayers a day towards Mecca (that comes from the three prayers towards Jerusalem of the Orthodox jews).
Ummah is an Arabic word meaning Community or Nation. It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or (in the context of pan-Arabism) the whole Arab world. In the context of Islam, the word ummah is used to mean the diaspora or "Community of the Believers" (ummat al-mu'minin), and thus the whole Muslim world.
The Jewish Ummah is K'lal Yisra'eel ('the united jewish community in the world), which means the decendants of the twelve tribes, or the Jewish Diaspora + Israel.
Lisa Judaism is very strong rooted in the world, because in the Old Israel and Judea it had two states, in Islamic Spain and Mideaval Poland jews were advisors and counselors or Sultans and Kings, and administrators of the estates of Polish nobiliy in Ukraine. Jews were also doctors, scientists and philosophers in the Arab world for Arab rulers (Egypt, Alexandria; Maimonides). Although anti-semitism in various parts of Europe, there was a Jewish enlightenment, social progress and reform in some parts of Europe after the middle ages. Napoleon accepted jews, the position of the german jews, jeke's, improved in the 18th and 19th centuries, also due to the the Jewish Enlightenment, Haskalah, and more peaceful coexistence of jewish-non-jewish people. With the exeption of Czarist Russia and the existing anti-semitism under some European writers, artists (the composer Wagner), politicians and rulers. Under influence of the formation of European nation states and European nationalism, especially German nationalism (Theodor Herzl was in advance a Jewish German Nationalist in Austria), Zionism started to develop as an independant branch of Nationalism, because the Jews had no state, and Palestine was Ottoman (Turkish) territory, inhabited with Arabs and Jewish, Druze and Armenian minorities. In the 20th century resurection of Israel the K'lal Yisra'eel
became reality when a part of the World diaspora returned to the land of the prophets and ancesters, and jews of the twelve tribes reunited in a difficult coexistence. Although the existing Kulturkampf (culture clash) of the Central (Poland) and Eastern-European (Russia) ashkenazi's, German Yekke's, American and Western-European jews on one side (most of them white Ashkenazi European jews too), and Southern-European (Latin/Ladino), Mediteranian, North-African and Middle-eastern Sephardic and Mizrachi (Arab) jews on the other side (the dark, semitic features, tinted skinned, Arab looking) oriental jews. Russian jews in Israel look down on the culture and music of the oriental jews in Israel, because they consider the Russian culture superior, and stay in their Russian culture, neighbourhoods, media, circles, networks, communities and atmosphere, Russian enclaves in an Hebrew and Arab speaking environment.
But in the same time jewish unity is growing in the only Jewish state in the world, because Ashkenazim and Sephardim merge in mixed marriages, creating the Israeli Sabra. Jews of European and American heritage become fascinated by the Sephardi and Mizrachi culture, art, music, heritage of the Middle eastern Arab, Berber, Turkish, Persian and Kurd jews, because they stand closer to the hebrew roots of the Torah, Mishnah and Palestinian Talmud. Ashkenazim see that their oriental brothers and sisters stand closer to the semitic roots, the Middle eastern culture, the people from Mosje in Egypt and the desert Sinai. In the same time they are the elite and know that the arab jews have resentments, because they were discriminated by Labour (Labourparty, Histraduth Union and Tshal/IDF army) Ashkenazi elites in the first decades of the existance of Israel. Wounds had to heal and they got their revenge with the victory of Likud with Begin in the seventees, eightees, ninetees and the beginnig of this century.
Like Israel world Judaism has to unite in a slowly proces of advance, being interested in other branches of Judaism, building bridges, and being less doctrinairy, dogmatic and more curious, rational-analytic, empirical,
and filled with the wish for K'lal Yisra'eel, creating a Chevre (circle of friends), and seeing the mitswah of Jewish Unity as part of Tikkun Olam, because when Jews finaly get united the world will be united and world peace will be near!
Jewish unity is probably the most difficult task in the world, but worth while
trying and striving for over and over again!
Jewish Unity in my view already exists, but it is stil hidden in it's diversity,
plurifomity, schisms, fierce intellectual debates and traditions.
Jewish Unity is in my view a sort of Jetser tov, a good approach!
The Jewish soul
A simple thing
At one with G-d
Last edited by Redhead; 01/05/09 12:02 AM.