Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Baltimore's Jewish Times asks, "Can Jews Believe in Jesus?"

In "Fusion of faiths," Baltimore's Jewish Times writer Maayan Jaffe asks, "Can Jews Believe in Jesus?"

The article retreads much old territory: rabbis, anti-missionaries, and spiritual leaders emphasize how Messianic Jews are a threat to Jewish communities while demonstrating their ignorance of (or refusal to acknowledge) key distinctions within the movement (e.g. the difference between "Hebrew Christian" and "Messianic Jew"). “Whether you wear a tallit, keep Shabbat, observe all the holidays, do Torah study, once you believe in Jesus as your lord and savior, you are by definition Christian," claims one rabbi.

Jaffe also investigates a newer development: these lines of reasoning are much less convincing to younger Jews, some of whom are calling for tolerance. "I don’t believe anyone [should be] barred from attending Hillel events lest they break some sort of rules,” wrote one respondent to an online survey. "It’s unfair to assume that all the Messianic Jews are missionaries and that allowing them to Hillel events threatens the institution of Hillel itself,” added another.

Messianic Jews mentioned in the article include Dr. Mitch Glaser, Walter Lieber, and Rabbi David Rudolph.

See the full article at http://jewishtimes.com/fusion-of-faiths/.

Update: more thoughts below as I continue to react to the article:

  • "One could make a case within Judaism for certain reinterpretations of even ancient, deeply held practices. But that doesn’t mean one can declare pork kosher." Most Messianic Jews agree with this statement. Maybe you've got us confused with Reform Judaism, Rabbi Burg?
  • "The real battle starts in the fall, when they are at the student activity fairs and things like that,” she said." One wonders what kind of battle Ms. Shaffin is expecting.
  • "Rabbi David Rudolph of Tikvat Israel Messianic Synagogue, however, was met with opposition pretty much only from professionals; Messianic Jewish leaders now go by “rabbi” instead of priest." I'm at a loss on the second statement; I guess the author was unaware that only leaders in Catholic and Orthodox Christianities are referred to as priests, while leaders in other Christian denominations go by Pastor, Reverend, etc.

1 comment:

Glenneun said...

"Shaffin also noted that the fear is less about proselytizing at events than it is about what happens after hours."
Is there a better way to break down walls of misunderstanding than this?