Names can be helpful and names can be misleading. The word (Beriot) is a Hebrew word that does not appear in the Hebrew Bible, although it does appear in Jewish sources (Pirkei Avot 1:12ff) and means “everyone who is created”, i.e., humanity. The Beriot Institute of Hebraic Studies (IHS) welcomes all and has thus tried to capture this sense with the use of the word Beriot.
We invite all who have a desire to worship through the experience of studying the holy texts of Judaism and Christianity, but primarily, first and foremost, the Hebrew Bible. We will welcome any interested in seeking to enter a Hebraic Perspective on any level, regardless of religious background; thus, our name (Beriot).
We have chosen the word Hebraic because we are emphasizing the Hebrew Bible, sacred to both Judaism and Christianity, as alive, of great significance and importance. While the word Hebraic does not exactly refer to the Hebrew Bible, it points in the direction of a perspective from Hebrew and the culture thereof. We think that the title ‘Old Testament’ is too pejorative a term, with visions of a person with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. By using another term or terms we know little will change; rather, we must be comfortable while being succinct in expressing our views with the terms we use.
Most of those involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue will exclude any ‘middle ground’ between Judaism and Christianity. This is understandable since each would find any mix as a great threat to their identity, history of thought, and how they draw the lines for their communities. There are endless possibilities and blends from Judaism and Christianity, which might be reason enough not to seek after some synthesis. Some “middle ground” groups include the Jewish Roots of Christianity, Ephraimite, and Messianic movements. Separate and worthy of mention are the B’nai Noach. Others have converted from Christianity to Judaism. Christianity does not want to hear from such people, nor do they wish them to be represented in any dialogue between Christianity and Judaism. Some Jews have converted to Christianity or assimilated into the culture. Those who have left Judaism for some type of Christianity also are not welcomed within most dialogue groups. Many, on both sides and in the middle, are interested in learning about Judaism and Christianity, its texts and a Hebraic perspective. There are Jewish and non-Jewish people who find themselves rejecting elements from Judaism and Christianity and find themselves in some type of no-man’s land. Again we say, come and join us.
Hillel used to say, “Love all humanity (beriot) and draw them to divine instruction”.