Friday, November 11, 2005

Similarities between the Sikhs and Jews


There were so many of them it seemed. The Sikhs reminded me of Lubavitch Chassidim with their uncut beards, their unending, genuine hospitality, etc. The only difference physically was that one wore turbans and one group wear black hats. To the Sikhs - all humanity are equal and they got rid of the caste system in their religion.

Over the Sikh holy book was a beautifully embroidered cover much like Jews covering their Torah. On top was a canopy, which is what we use during weddings and when transferring the Torah from one place to another.

After services the Sikhs have a "lenger" - a community meal. The Jews have a "kiddush". However the Sikhs win in orderliness. Jewish "kiddushes" are unruly. Everyone waits for the Rabbi to recite the blessing over wine and then food grabbing is de riguer. With the Sikhs, you sit down in very even rows and wait for people to serve you. They feed people by the thousands. In every temple we visited we were served not only by local Sikhs but by the head of the Birmingham group - who modestly served others. This was unusual and even the head of the Institute, took her turn in serving us too.

Their marriage ceremony used to last 7 days - similar to Jewish wedding celebrations where you would have 7 days of special festive dinners in different places after the wedding. But now the Sikhs have dwindled it down to just one day.

Their prayer book looked like a Jewish book of Psalms, only much shorter.

I felt we were kindred spirits and also felt very connected with their community. I know when I visit London and Birmingham, I'll be welcomed warmly by them.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sat Sri Akal and shalom,a beautiful thoughtful post,much enjoyed by me,a british sikh woman,I have often marvelled at the number of similarities between Judaism,the worlds oldest religion,and Sikhism,one of the worlds youngest.G-d bless you always from Surinder Kaur.

jerusalemgypsy said...

Thank you! What does Sat Sri Akal mean? I love the chant - Wahi Guru. I look at the beaded ring I got as a gift in India and think of this chant which means God is wonderful (I believe). I have quite alot of British Sikh friends, especially would like to visit your temple in Birmingham.

Surinder Kaur said...

Hi long time no reply! Sorry,please forgive me,Sat Sri Akal means G-d is true and timeless/eternal,is the nearest translation i can give you,you seem like such a wonderful person please find your way to Scotland one day,and visit our temple in Glasgow,you are assured of the warmest of welcomes.If you like i can leave my messenger details?Be well,be blessed,Shalom and Sat Sri Akal Ji,from Surinder.

Jase said...

Shalom and Sat sri Akal,
I have had the great opportunity to learn and study with the Sikh community of NYC. I am an Orthodox Jew. My bahai friend and I visited and sang Gurbani in the Sikh Gurudwara of LI. It was an amazing experience, and we posted it on youtube.com
the link http://youtube.com/watch?v=g9ljJtjjZXk

The teachings of Guru Nanak give me a lot of hope because they are universal and have no contention with the scripture of another monotheistic religion. It really shows how people devoted to G-d can unify.

John Robertson said...

As a Gentile who learns from the Orthodox Rabbis and who has observant Sikh tenants I find very little difference at all .The Torah teaches us to be strong and resist evil as does Sikhisim .The Torah teaches G-d is one as does Sikhism .I feel at home with Sikh people as I am with Orthodox Jews .Diet respect equality and doing good deeds are in common.MISREPRESENTATION BY THE MEDIA IS ALSO COMMON .I am fortunate to know such people of both faiths .HaSHEM Ehad Sat Sri Akal..

Anonymous said...

Another similaritie is that Sikhs place their holy book the Guru Granth Sahib on a ver important stool called a Manji Sahib, Jews also place their holy book The Torah on a very special table.

hope this helps
God bless you
Laura
XX

Anonymous said...

As a Sikh, I have always wondered why there is any controversy about jews from the rest of the world. It is completely mind numbing to me that there are those that actually hate the jews, when a more lovable respectable people couldn't exsist. It always warms my heart when a jewish friend talks about god and religion, and there is a true happiness radiating from them.

jerusalemgypsy said...

As a Sikh, I have always wondered Anonymous said "why there is any controversy about jews from the rest of the world. It is completely mind numbing to me that there are those that actually hate the jews, when a more lovable respectable people couldn't exsist. It always warms my heart when a jewish friend talks about god and religion, and there is a true happiness radiating from them."

I don't understand anti-semitism either. Perhaps when we were thrown out of Israel by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, we scattered all over the place and because we were different, and kept to ourselves mostly, didn't intermarry, didn't eat other peoples' forbidden food, we were suspected of being the cause of many awful things, like the plague, etc. Whereas the Sikhs didn't scatter all over the universe until modern times (is that right? I may be mistaken). But your comment is why I love the Sikhs so much!

Anonymous said...

To sardar's first comment. Sorry bud, but judaism is not the oldest relegion it is obviously hinduism. You must be some sikh-nut khalistani which wants nothing to do with hinduism yet sikhism is 75% copied from hinduism.

Anonymous said...

Sikhism is one of the mots beautiful of religions with some of the most liberal of beliefs . Here I give you a resource on sikh religious books so that you can read whatever yu can grab and increase your awareness of what sikhism means, its history, about sikh gurus etc

http://www.jsks.co.in

Anonymous said...

Sikhism reject many hindu beliefs. For eg: hindu worship stones whereas gurbani rejects idol worship:

"The hindus have forgotten the primal lord; they are going the wrong way. As Naarad instructed them, they are worshipping idols. They are blind and mute, the blindest of the blind. The ignorant fools pick up stones and worship them. But when those stones themselves sink, who will carry you across?"
(SGGS p556)

Anonymous said...

Shalom and Sat Sri Akal, I am a British Sikh Teenager who has spent many of his early childhood looking at world countries, cultures and religions. I am strongly religious, though not quite orthodox. I was very touched by this article as it inspires unity between Sikhs and Jews. I would like to point out two more similarities between Sikhism and Judaism. 1) Seva and Kibbutz which is volunteer service, which both religions have. 2) Both our religions are the victims of genocide and dicrimination. (Sikhs: 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots, Wadda Ghalughara. Jews: Holocaust, Spanish Inquisition).

jerusalemgypsy said...

Hi anonymous. Actually, Kibbutz is not a religious term - it's a place (only in Israel) where people live communally. The original kibbutzim were for socialist living - people would work and live communally - the money wouldn't go to them, but to the kibbutz and the people would get a monthly (small) stipend. But the kids' education, summer camps, medical, food - even travel - was all taken care of by the kibbutz. It's not a religioius term though. Tzedakah is a religious term - meaning charity, and volunteerism is a part of that, though not a requirement. A requirement is to give actual charity (10% of one's income).

Anonymous said...

shalom and sat sri akaal

i have allways known that jews are intelligent and spritual people, seems like i was born knowing this. However i also know that sikhs are spritually advanced warriors, who were disarmed by the british empire. However i know that jews and sikhs will get on very well as they both believe in education and family. I hope jews and sikhs will run a maffia to socially run the universe.
sikhs also want their own homeland, and many reject the khalistanis, in the same way orthodox jews reject zionism, as things in this world should only be won by a true and admired way.

Anonymous said...

shalom and sat sri akaal

i have allways known that jews are intelligent and spritual people, seems like i was born knowing this. However i also know that sikhs are spritually advanced warriors, who were disarmed by the british empire. However i know that jews and sikhs will get on very well as they both believe in education and family. I hope jews and sikhs will run a maffia to socially run the universe.
sikhs also want their own homeland, and many reject the khalistanis, in the same way orthodox jews reject zionism, as things in this world should only be won by a true and admired way.

Alela said...

Hi i am Alejandra from Argentina, i am jew and i meet thanks to internet a great man special to me and he is sikh. I am trying to learn because u wish start a great relation with he.
Thanks!
and kisses for JAK if you read this.

Anonymous said...

jews are good people and i really think india should join with israel to take out the invading musalmaan like the sikhs did in the 17th and 18th century.

Anonymous said...

a sikh from india ...
some similarities

a)Free Food Serving Langar..
b)Respect to our holy books , TORAH , GURU GRANTH SAHIB JI.
MOving them with a canopy.
c)Tzedakah in jews , dasvant in sikh both are 10 % of income.
d)both Victims of Genocide
e)Marriage durations 7 days
f)equality for all ... no caste

Nanak Naam Chardi Kala , Tere Bhane sarbatt da bhala

Bless you all

Rupie Mahil said...

Sikh scriptures mentions the Angel of Israel twelve times... I don't understand this very well... Anyone know of the correlation that is used.
Shalom and Sat Sri AKAL

Anonymous said...

I'm a sikh and yes my mom always tells us that sikhism is off Hinduism. I really do like the parts of scripture that I have read. I also love Hinduism with their knowledge of our Chakras and keeping them balanced...after all we are all energy. I lived in a building with many successful and wealthy Jewish people that I found to be very kind and smart.