Reading “From Christian Science to Jewish Science” was a fun part of my winter holiday in San Fransisco. Quite a page turner! It’s a remarkable story. I highly recommend “From Christian Science to Jewish Science” by Ellen Umensky for just about everyone.
Ellen Umensky wrote this book because she found herself astounded that as a professor of Jewish studies she had never heard about Jewish Science. Further, that it was left out of scholarly works and that she had no idea that Christian Science was such a force in the first decades of the 20th century, to the degree that the Reform Rabbinical Community concocted a new brand of Jewish practice, Jewish Science, modeled on Christian science in a campaign to win Jews back from Christian Science.
What sad flattery to Mary Baker Eddy. In imitation of Christian Science, Jewish Science was created to lure Jews, hundreds to possibly thousands back from Christian Science, and to prevent other Jews who were potential converts to the new metaphysical religion that healed the sick.
Beyond the reasons put forth by the author, I think Jewish people would be attracted to Christian Science for the same reason I am: it’s scientific, intellectual, and a self-evident truth of God as both Mother and Father and an ever ready source of healing. The first book on Jewish Science was written by Alfred G. Moses in 1916. You can read it in google books. With passion to win Jews back from Science Moses states, “The Psalms were written by Jews for Jews.”
We find out in Umensky’s book that in mocking up a Jewish Science to compete with Christian Science much was left out. In Jewish Science there is no mother in God. In the early years of Jewish Science healers were instructed through a course of study. But they were never titled practitioners, just helpers. Jewish science is largely material, matter oriented, where Christian Science is fully spiritual and metaphysical. Yet, in its early stages Jewish Science promised the Jew that it could do just as much for him as Christian Science. But ultimately Jewish Science was steered to the doctor’s office.
Imagine a science of healing that is race or nation specific. Jewish Science was designed for Jews only.
Jewish Science went on through the years and reduced itself to talks about positive thinking, health through good cheer and good deeds. Still later it became something bigger under the stewardship of Rabbi Clifton Harby Levy. Levy must have had many M.D. sponsors. At the end of his life he had an extraordinary art collection of biblical art. Thanks to Rabbi Levy Jewish Science is very big today, but it’s generally practiced by credentialed licensed health professionals in medical centers. The God of Jewish Science is an advocate of psychology. It’s now dispensed mostly by rabbis and chaplains. Jewish Science are services dispensed by trained therapists and psychologists to patients at medical centers. Cancer centers well stocked.