4 Cheshvan 5781 / Thursday, October 22, 2020 | Torah Reading: Noach
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The Noahide World Conference

Interview with Ray Petterson, the founder and director of Noahide Nations, who are now planning their first Noahide Nations World..


In case you haven’t noticed there aren’t many Bnei Noach in the world.  I joke that there are more pandas living in the wild than Bnei Noach. Yes, the numbers are growing. Yes, we have many reasons to be optimistic. And yes, it’s quite rewarding despite the challenges associated with being part of such a, well, select group of individuals.  That being said, there are times when it’s great to be around like-minded people. Noahide Nations – an organization for Torah centered Bnei Noach- has a unique opportunity for community building, Torah learning, and of course some schmoozing this June in lovely Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  There they will be hosting their first Noahide Nations World Conference.  I spoke with Noahide Nations founder Ray Pettersen about their upcoming conference on the eve of their move to their new headquarters in Dallas, Texas.    
BRESLEVISRAEL: Can you tell us a little bit about Noahide Nations?
PETTERSEN: Noahide Nations is an organization founded for Torah-centered Noahides and for those who are curious about the Torah – to let them know that they don’t need to convert for God to love us.
Our website (noahidenations.com) is really a melting pot of information and dialogue about Torah. There’s a forum section; a Torah learning center where people can log in and receive instruction from rabbis, Jewish women, educated Noahides- scholarly individuals.
BRESLEVISRAEL: What’s the idea behind this international conference?
PETTERSEN: Well, it’s from June 26th to June 29th, 2008 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  [For more information see noahidenations.com.]  The idea behind the conference is two-fold and it’s pretty ambitious.  One is to begin a serious unification process of the Noahide movement worldwide.  In other words we need people who consider themselves leaders in England, Netherlands, Puerto Rico- all over the world- that will come to this conference.  And we can begin to start this unification because right now we are just spread out pretty much all over the internet.  That’s how we meet each other, and that’s all well and good.  If it weren’t for the internet we wouldn’t be where we are right now. 
I have people that are involved with Noahide Nations from all over the world, and that’s what we need to begin to do.  And in doing that then the Noahide movement can begin to realize and manifest its destiny to become Righteous Gentiles and to spread Hashem’s truth to the nations.  Yes, we are supposed to still learn and study under the rabbis.  But certainly that doesn’t mean that Noahides aren’t able to learn that knowledge and to become teachers as well.  So that’s part of it, to bring that unification process to a head to really make it happen.
BRESLEVISRAEL: Can you talk about some of the community building aspects of the conference? 
PETTERSEN: Yes, the other part- it’s a community type thing- is that the Jewish people- often times you can talk to a Jewish person and tell them you are a Noahide and they don’t know what the heck you are talking about.  What’s a Noahide?  There are many people out there who don’t truly understand what a Righteous Gentile is. Because of this, the reason I wanted to have it in the Ft. Lauderdale area is a town called Hollywood, which has a very large Jewish community. 
I wanted to extend a hand- and receive a hand back- which I think I already have- from the Jewish community.  Because you know what?  We’re on the same team!  Our roles are different, but we are on the same team.  So rather than this idea that Jews are somehow better than Gentiles- and some Noahides being adamant towards the Jewish community- we need to eliminate all of that and bring forth a true understanding of what a Noahide is, what we are to Hashem, what we are to the Jewish people and what we are in the redemption. 
And vice versa.  Jewish people need to know who we are.  The only way that will happen is by direct involvement by both parties.  That’s one of the reasons I wanted to get as highly recognized rabbis to speak at the conference as possible so that a good many people from the Jewish community would make the decision to come, even if it’s just for one day. 
BRESLEVISRAEL: What else will be happening at the conference Bnei Noach need to hear about?   
PETTERSEN: There’ll be an announcement about a Noahide home school association.  Also, an International Noahide Torah Fellowship that we’re getting going.  There’s going to be an ordination program where people can actually be trained by rabbis and by Noahides who are currently community leaders. Because we need to start sprouting Noahide communities all over the world. 
As Sir Edmund Burke said so beautifully, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing.”  What we are doing is something.  Now it’s really a matter of who wants to join on, who wants to get on board. 
BRESLEVISRAEL: Didn’t I see something about a siddur being unveiled at the conference? 
PETTERSEN: Yes, a siddur for Noahides will be published and made available at the conference. 
BRESLEVISRAEL: I think many Bnei Noach are loners, sort of by default.  What do you think?
PETTERSEN: Do something about the isolation.  It’s really about this: once you know the truth, what are you doing with the truth?  That’s what Hashem asks us.  What does it mean to be a servant?  Well, it means many things, but one of the things it means is to spread His truth.  We have to be that vehicle that gets Hashem’s word out to the masses.  To a large degree Hashem puts us through these experiences for this destiny. 

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