Contrary to what the mainstream media might have you believe, Jews and Muslims can and do form friendships. Sadly, we don’t get to read much about this, but here’s a rather sweet story from The Jewish Chronicle which certainly made me smile – I hope it does the same for you.
Muslim joins the Kisharon team
Muslim orthodontist Siamack Bagheri ran the marathon for learning difficulties charity Kisharon as “my small step for peace”.
The Iranian-born 45-year-old said he had been inspired by a Bat mitzvah girl who was the daughter of a friend. “She said she did not want presents, but to give the money to a charity in Israel that looks after Israeli and Palestinian children of all persuasions, all with special needs. This touched my heart.
“Iran historically welcomed and encouraged its connection with the Jewish people and with all the bad news of today, it is nice to run for a Jewish charity like Kisharon, which is close to my heart.”
Now based in St John’s Wood, Dr Bagheri belongs to a long distance running club, through which he met Kisharon chief executive Beverley Jacobson.
As for Sunday’s race, he was “fine until 19 miles, then it got very tough. I had muscle spasm in my right thigh.
“I had to stop running and walked for half-a-mile before gaining the strength to start running again. I was determined to get through the pain and to get past the finishing line in less than 4 hours 15, which I did.”
Part of the £13,000-plus he raised will aid victims of an Iranian earthquake.
Having been away from this blog for a few months, it was great to return and find many positive comments. And then there was the post from ‘Andrew’, which states, astonishingly, as follows:
Jews are a race. Yes a lot of Jews are mixed because of the diaspora but there still is a Jewish look amongst us. There might be Japanese Jews but they are very small in number. (Perhaps <100). There were also a lot of Chinese Jews who had converted in Kaifeng, but eventually assimilated out. It is interesting to note that foreign cultures that convert to Jewry end up assimilating out. Ethopian Jews are converts hence their different genetic makeup.
Sigh. Andrew, clearly you either didn’t bother to read, or didn’t understand, the post that you are commenting on. So let me break it down for you, in a way so simple that even you can grasp this:
Jews – are – not – a ‘race’.
The proof? Anyone can become a Jew.
But nobody can alter their race.
As for this hypothetical ‘jewish look ‘- er, no, there really isn’t. I know Jews with blonde hair and green eyes and skin so fair it burns should they even glance at the sun. Equally, I know Jews who are so swarthy they are frequently labelled wrongly as ‘Arabs’ or ‘Asians’. I myself have dark hair, dark eyes and extremely fair skin – and am often assumed to be a Gentile because I ‘don’t look Jewish’…!
There is no ONE ‘jewish look’. And only a twit would believe there is.
There are Jews of ALL races.
There are Jews of ALL ethnicities.
So Andrew, you might not want to accept this point, but hey, who gives a damn? You don’t get to alter the FACTS. We ‘aint a ‘race’. Deal with it.
Sadly, this news story didn’t even surprise me.
Via Totally Jewish:
Police have launched an urgent investigation into a horrific Facebook group that gave graphic details of anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated by its members against Ilford’s Jewish community.
The group, created by a student at Loxford School of Science and Technology, attracted more than 500 members in two weeks following its launch last month and featured teenagers boasting about engaging in anti-Semitic behaviour.
It featured messages from youths using language rife with spelling errors,
profanities and teenage colloquialisms.
One girl wrote: “Jews are the ones that killed prophets in the past. Dirty filthy scum-bags. No wonder they have the curse of Allah upon them. Burn Jew burn.”
Another stated: “OMG! ii Saw a Jew Todaii ii Swearr downn Weariingg Dahh Hatt He Lookedd At Me Liike Man Knowsz Me [sic].”
She went on to describe screaming obscenities at the man and rudely telling him to go away.
In a further disturbing post, a girl bragged about aggressively confronting
a Jewish woman in Argos after she was “looking at me“. She wrote: “Looool i Had a Fight Wif 1 Urgh in Argos [sic].”
The Jewish News was informed about the group, created by a student at
Loxford School, by a private investigator in Australia. It has since been
removed from the popular social networking site.
The group was described by a Community Security Trust (CST) official as “one of the most shocking things I have ever seen”.
A spokeswoman from Redbridge Council, speaking on behalf of Loxford School, said the school was contacted about the group and then immediately reported it to Facebook and the police.
The spokeswoman said: “The student concerned has been dealt with and the school has taken disciplinary action. There is an ongoing police investigation so we are unable to comment further.”
Ilford police confirmed it had “received an allegation regarding anti-Semitic material being published on a social networking website”.
A spokeswoman told the Jewish News that the police are investigating and inquiries continue.
Several comments on the vile Facebook site included references to Islam and the Quran as justification for targeting Jews.
One female youth wrote: “We hate Jews for the sake of Allah as he has told us to do in the Quran.”
The group page included offensive jokes invoking pejorative stereotypes about Jews and money as well as an anti-Semitic cartoon. There was also a link to a YouTube video entitled “Kill All Christians and Jews”.
In addition several members expressed anti-Israeli sentiment. There was a photograph of graffiti saying “Jihad 4 Israel”.
Mike Gardner, director of communications at the CST, said he was left
“utterly chilled” by the casual way that the youths displayed their
He said: “It shows how new media is now facilitating the most shocking
anti-Semitism among groups of youngsters, as if hatred and violence and
gross ignorance were all just a part of their normal lives.
“Anybody who wants to understand how anti-Semitism can be transmitted today should study this online group closely, but they will need a strong stomach
to do so.”
The CST, which is due to release its latest findings on anti-Semitism in the
UK this week, has previously reported 609 incidents in the first six months
of 2009, more than in any other entire year. A report released by the
Jewish Agency last month revealed that there were more anti-Semitic
incidents in Europe in 2009 than in any year since the Holocaust.
Mike Gapes, the local MP for Ilford South, urged the authorities to take
“very strong action”. Gapes told the Jewish News: “I am deeply concerned.
Incitement to hatred is a crime and we must stand very firm and take action
against anyone who incited racial or religious hatred. Anti-Semitism has to
Lee Scott MP for Ilford North also denounced the site, saying: “It is
shocking and I condemn it.”
A Facebook spokeswoman said that the group was removed because it breached the company’s policies. She said: “We want Facebook to be a place where people can openly discuss issues and express their views, while respecting the rights and feelings of others.” She added that users should report groups that they feel violate Facebook’s rules.
Spencer Lewis, the headteacher of local Jewish high school King Solomon
said: “We have had no problems at all with Loxford that I am aware of and we have a very good relationship with the school.”
Why is anyone even surprised by this? The BBC and Guardian feed Brits a relentless diet of anti Israel nonsense. Our elected politicians meet with Hamas members. Israeli officials at present cannot even visit Britain without one Islamic group or another organising arrest warrants, under the specious guise of ‘universal jurisdiction’. (more on this later).
So why is anyone remotely surprised when British teenagers act on the messages they receive from the British media and British government…?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if things don’t improve for British Jews, I predict that in ten years, hardly any of us will remain. Like our fellow Jews in France, we will sadly and reluctantly be forced to leave.
I hope and pray that I am wrong.
Once again, we have Palestinian Arabs openly aiming to kill Israeli civilians.
Via the Toronto Sun:
Palestinians said Tuesday they had launched a large number of floating explosives into the Mediterranean Sea to avenge the death of a top Hamas commander, a day after two bomb-laden barrels washed up on Israel’s coastline.
Israeli authorities launched an intensive search for new bombs, closing miles of beaches, deploying robotic bomb squads and ordering surfers out of the wintry waters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas and hinted at retaliation.
Abu Saed, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, a Gaza faction with close ties to Hamas, said the attack was meant to avenge the killing last month of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a veteran Hamas operative who Israeli defence officials say was involved in smuggling rockets into Gaza.
“We confirm that there are still many of these charges in the ocean, and they haven’t exploded yet,” Abu Saed said, standing alongside five other gunmen in military fatigues.
In Jerusalem, Netanyahu accused Hamas, which rules Gaza, of being behind the operation, with support from Iran and Syria.
“We view with great severity the Hamas operation near the Gaza beach, and we will respond accordingly,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, a barrel bomb washed up on the beach of Ashkelon, about nine miles (15 kilometres) north of Gaza. A few hours later, another one was found at Ashdod, six miles (10 kilometres) farther north.
Each had about 22 pounds (10 kilograms ) of explosives, police said. They said bombs of that size could cripple small civilian vessels but not Israeli warships.
The second barrel blew up as a police robot was examining it, sending the tractor-like device tumbling through the air, according to witnesses. A police bomb squad defused the other one.
Maritime authorities warned sailors and fishermen to be alert to possible dangers in the waters. In Ashdod, a crane-like robot crawled along the beach, prodding suspicious objects.
The military linked the barrels to two explosions at sea on Friday, aimed at Israeli ships. Israeli analysts speculated that the beach barrels might have been meant for ships but floated ashore instead.
“The attack was an intended terrorist attack that failed,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Let’s note again, that when Israel finally responded to Hamas terrorism, by striking terrorist enclaves in Gaza, the Israeli military risked its own soldiers’ lives by actually alerting the Palestinians as to where they were about to strike. Israel phoned every single home in Gaza and asked civilians to stay away from any Hamas compounds that were about to be hit.
Palestinian Arab terrorists have no such conscience. They have always been more than happy to go after innocent Israeli civilians.
Today being Holocaust Memorial Day, I wanted to post something on anti semitism. Since that particular post is taking longer to finish than anticipated, here is a rather nice piece on the Magen David - or Star Of David. The piece on anti semitism will be posted tomorrow.
From Aish Ha Torah (http://www.aish.com)
Star of David
From the Holocaust to the Israeli flag, what is the deeper meaning of this six-pointed Jewish symbol?
by Rabbi Shraga Simmons
In modern times, the Star of David has become a premier Jewish symbol. This six-pointed star (hexagram), made of two interlocking triangles, can be found on mezuzahs, menorahs, tallis bags, and kipot. Ambulances in Israel bear the sign of the “Red Star of David,” and the flag of Israel has a blue Star of David planted squarely in the center.
What is the origin of this six-pointed symbol?
The six points symbolize God’s rule over the universe in all six directions.Through the Jewish people’s long and often difficult history, we have come to the realization that our only hope is to place our trust in God. The six points of the Star of David symbolize God’s rule over the universe in all six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down.
Originally, the Hebrew name Magen David — literally “Shield of David” — poetically referred to God. It acknowledges that our military hero, King David, did not win by his own might, but by the support of the Almighty. This is also alluded to in the third blessing after the Haftorah reading on Shabbat: “Blessed are you God, Shield of David.”
Various other explanations exist on the meaning behind the Star of David.
One idea is that a six-pointed star receives form and substance from its solid center. This inner core represents the spiritual dimension, surrounded by the six universal directions. (A similar idea applies to Shabbat — the seventh day which gives balance and perspective to the six weekdays.)
In Kabbalah, the two triangles represent the dichotomies inherent in man.In Kabbalah, the two triangles represent the dichotomies inherent in man: good vs. evil, spiritual vs. physical, etc. The two triangles may also represent the reciprocal relationship between the Jewish people and God. The triangle pointing “up” symbolizes our good deeds which go up to heaven, and then activate a flow of goodness back down to the world, symbolized by the triangle pointing down.
Some note that the Star of David is a complicated interlocking figure which has not six (hexogram) but rather 12 (dodecogram) sides. One can consider it as composed of two overlapping triangles or as composed of six smaller triangles emerging from a central hexogram. Like the Jewish people, the star has 12 sides, representing the 12 tribes of Israel.
A more practical theory is that during the Bar Kochba rebellion (first century), a new technology was developed for shields using the inherent stability of the triangle. Behind the shield were two interlocking triangles, forming a hexagonal pattern of support points. (Buckminster Fuller showed how strong triangle-based designs are with his geodesics.)
One cynical suggestion is that the Star of David is an appropriate symbol for the internal strife that often afflicts Jewish nation: two triangles pointing in opposite directions!
The Star of David was also a sad symbol of the Holocaust.The Star of David was a sad symbol of the Holocaust, when the Nazis forced Jews to wear an identifying yellow star. Actually, Jews were forced to wear special badges during the Middle Ages, both by Muslim and Christian authorities, and even in Israel under the Ottoman Empire.
So whether it is a blue star waving proudly on a flag, or a gold star adorning a synagogue’s entrance, the Star of David stands as a reminder that for the Jewish people… in G-d we trust.
Hitler would love it.
Decades after he tried to convince the world that Jews are a separate ‘race’, many people still fall for this lie. Jews are defined as a ‘race’ in fiction, by some theologians of other faiths, and by many otherwise intelligent, rational people across the globe. Log into any online forum where religion is the topic, and you’ll find endless posts passionately insisting that there exists a ‘jewish race’.
You’ll also see people referring to ‘being jewish via blood’ or of someone being ‘of jewish blood’.
I mean really – do they think we Jews have kosher chicken soup running through our veins…?!
There is no such thing as ‘jewish blood’!
Let’s clarify the issue. Jews never were and are not now a ‘race’.
Can you alter your race? No.
Can you convert to Judaism? Yes.
Are you then considered as Jewish as those born into the faith? Again – yes.
Clearly, then, neo Nazi protestations to the contrary, Jews are not a ‘race’.
Nor are we an ‘ethnic’ group, though again, we are often defined as such.
But think about it: there is no one ethnicity which unites all Jews. How can there be? There are Japanese Jews. Indian Jews. Black Ethiopian Jews. White Jews. We come in all shades and colours. We represent all ethnicities.
So we’re not a race, and we’re not an ethnic group. Yet we’re not a religion in the same way that Christians or Muslims are, either. After all, as perplexed non Jews often note, there do exist Jewish Atheists. How can this be, though, if Jews are members of a faith?
So what are we, exactly…?
Well, we’re a Tribe. We started out as a collection of smaller tribes, bound by tribal law. Today we are still tribal in nature.
You’re born into the Jewish Tribe, if your mother is Jewish.
You remain a member of the Tribe – unless you leave to join another faith.
And you can return any time you wish, so long as you renounce the religion you left the Tribe for.
People convert to Judaism and are then adopted by the Tribe.
You remain a Tribe member even if you don’t actively practise Judaism, which is how we can state that there do exist Jewish Atheists. Atheism is not a religion, thus it does not represent a violation of Tribal law.
Originally, even the Jewish G-d was a tribal deity – nothing remotely like the universal G-d that we worship today. Rather, the Jewish tribal deity was unique to Abraham and his descendants. It was only after Moses received the Torah at Mount Sinai that we find Jews being transformed from a Tribe with a localised deity, into a Nation with a Universal G-d.
So there you have it. That’s what we are. A faith, a family, and a nation. But above all, a Tribe. Personally, I prefer ‘tribe’ and think it’s more accurate, as it conveys better the clannish, and intense nature of Jews as a group.
So, next time you encounter someone calling us a ‘race’, remind them that only neo Nazis actually believe this, and that anyone who does use this term to define Jews, is sadly continuing Hitler’s legacy, something no decent person would ever desire to do.
Ask yourselves: would the University of Birmingham ever allow – let alone invite – an anti Muslim speaker to address students…?
What about if this same anti Muslim bigot openly advocated the murder of Muslims and supported an organisation that did precisely that…?
The answer to both is, of course, a resounding ‘NO!’.
Yet this same University has recently invited Hamas supporter and known anti semite, Azzam Tamimi, to address its students.
MP Denis MacShane has written to the university’s Vice Chancellor urging him to cancel Tamimi’s talk, but the university has refused to intervene, saying the talk should go ahead in the name of ‘freedom of speech’.
Here is what Hamas openly states about Jews. And let’s remember that Hamas was spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood – the very same group which also founded Al Queda.
There’s no doubt about it: the Pharisees are the bad guys of the Bible.
They’re portrayed as nothing short of selfishness and hypocrisy personified. Indeed, the very word ‘pharisee’ has become part of the vernacular and is shorthand for someone who is hypocritical, arrogant and, above all, legalistic.
Legalism being, of course, one of the basic things that Christianity has, historically, condemned Judaism for.
In the Bible, the Pharisees are portrayed as being fixated on adhering to man made laws, especially those that pertain to ritual purity. Jesus is presented as being the exact opposite: dismissive of the Jewish laws, and instead, concerned with ‘love’.
One typical example: according to the New Testament, Pharisees wanted to punish Jesus for healing a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath. However, no historical Rabbinic rule has been found according to which Jesus would have violated the Sabbath.
The Christian Scriptures aren’t subtle in condemning the Pharisees, either.
In fact, they give us the ‘Woes Of The Pharisees’ – an entire list ofcriticisms by JesusScribes and Pharisees. The Woes are found in the Gospel of Luke 11:37-54 and Gospel of Matthew 23:1-36.
Crucially, in some places within the Christian scriptures, it’s clear that ‘pharisee’ is used to represent Jews, period.
Thus it’s important to examine the way that, historically, Christianity has presented this particular Jewish sect.
Is the New Testament depiction an accurate one? And if not, why did the authors demonise this particular group?
Well, there’s an easy answer to the latter point. Of all the Jewish sects, it was the Pharisees that most resisted the influence and ideology of early Christianity. For Jews it was always incomprehensible for anyone to state that G-d would take human form.
So the Christian belief that a deity, in mortal form, could ‘die’ was rejected as being inherently ‘pagan’ by the Pharisees. Understandably so, since a deity in mortal form is a motif that we find in many Pagan religions and cults.
Similarly, the idea of the ‘trinity’ was irrational in the view of the Pharisees, since it seemed to violate the sacred Jewish teaching of G-d being One.
Given their disagreement with core Christian beliefs, is it any wonder that the Pharisees are presented so negatively in the Christian Scriptures…?
Yet the evidence suggests that the Christian Bible is far from accurate when it comes to the Pharisees.
For instance, though the New Testament presents the Pharisees as obsessed with avoiding impurity, Rabbinic texts reveal that the Pharisees just tried to offer ways of removing impurities, so that a person could again participate in the community.
And while in the New Testament the Pharisees objected to Jesus approaching outcast groups such as beggars and tax-collectors, Jewish texts actually stress the availability of forgiveness to all.
Indeed, much of Jesus’ teaching, for example the Sermon on the Mount, is consistent with that of the Pharisees and later Rabbinic thought.
Some scholars believe that those passages of the New Testament that are most hostile to the Pharisees were written after the destruction of Herod’s Temple in 70 C.E., at a time when it had become clear that Jews knew Jesus was not their Maschiach.
At this time Christians sought new converts from among the Gentiles; they thus had to be able to explain why converts should listen to them, rather than the Jews, concerning the Hebrew Bible, the Tanakh.
Of course, the Pharisees were just one of several sects within Judaism at the time of the second temple. They were the most significant group, though, because it’s from their traditions that contemporary Judaism arose.
But contrary to the Christian portrayal of them, the Pharisees were by far the most egalitarian sect. They believed that everyone, whether rich or poor, deserved an education, and that Torah should be accessible to all Jews. The Pharisees, then, were the ‘blue collar’ Jews of their time.
One of their staunchest beliefs was in the importance of the Oral Torah. This was given by G-d to the Jews at Mount Sinai, along with the written Torah. The Oral traditions were not codified until centuries later, and today we know it as the Talmud. Prior to that, the traditions were passed along orally, from father to son.
The Pharisees also believed in an ‘afterlife’ of some sort, and that those who were wicked on earth would be punished accordingly after death. Finally, they were sure that the Jewish Maschiach would arrive – the Messiah who, as we believe today – will fulfill the 23 Jewish prophecies and usher in world peace. The Messianic Age, in other words. So far, then, we can see that the Pharisees adhered to core, traditional Jewish beliefs.
But perhaps most crucially, the Pharisees were responsible for ensuring that Judaism survived, unadulterated by the influences of other, conflicting faiths and lifestyles.
This was a time when the Greeks were keen to assimilate the Jewish people by trying to combine their own, multiple deities, with Jewish theology. The Pharisees resisted any attempt at violating or diluting core Jewish tenets, and they were probably vocal about it. Nothing terrible about that, though.
Rather than recognising the devout nature of the Pharisees, though, the New Testament condemns them as taking part in the Jewish rituals without being spiritually involved in them. Over and over and over, Christian Bible tells us that the Pharisees were abject hypocrites.
Other Jewish sects, less passionate about preserving Judaism, are not indicted in this manner. The Sadducees, for instance, were far more relaxed and open to the Hellenic influences that many Jews encountered. The Sadducees also rejected the Oral Torah, instead preferring to focus on the Temple and all the associated rituals.
They also disagreed with any notion of an afterlife. Perhaps it is not surprising that after the Romans destroyed the temple in AD 70, the Sadducees faded into obscurity. They are not portrayed nearly as negatively.
There is a certain irony, also, in that the Christian scriptures show Jesus bitterly castigating and condemning the Pharisees. Yet from what we do know of his attitudes, Jesus actually agreed with many of the Pharisees’ conclusions.
In particular, he agreed with much that was taught by Hillel, who always taught ‘love thy neighbour’, long, long before Christianity adopted it and attributed it to Jesus.
The Pharisees also supported Gentiles who wished to convert to Judaism. Other sects were less supportive. Again, it is therefore somewhat strange that it’s the Pharisees who are consistently demonised in the New Testament.
One of the most bewildering aspects of the Christian Bible for Jews, or at least those of us who read it, is this idea that Paul was a Pharisee. Frankly, he didn’t seem to get even the basics of Judaism.
And there is not a single Jewish reference, anywhere, to any rebel student of Gamaliel who had a life changing vision either on the road to Damascus or anywhere else. Nor is there any mention of any follower of Gamaliel who suddenly became a heretic and started urging other Jews to abandon Torah and all the Jewish religious laws!
Paul spoke out against keeping the Kosher rules, and against circumcision, yet nowhere do we find even a fleeting mention of him! Why not?
Other miscreants and heretics are certainly referenced in the Jewish texts, warts and all.
And if Paul was such a brilliant student, why are all his references from the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures, the Septuagint?
How is it that he seems so lacking in knowledge of the Hebrew Tanakh, and so ignorant regarding Halacha, the Jewish religious law?
Indeed, some writers question whether Paul was Jewish at all.
Hyam Maccoby, for example, has raised some intriguing points about Paul. And he reminds us that there were good reasons for Paul claiming to be a Pharisee, even if he wasn’t:
It should be noted that modern scholarship has shown that, at this time, the Pharisees were held in high repute throughout the Roman and Parthian empires as a dedicated group who upheld religious ideals in the face of tyranny, supported leniency and mercy in the application of laws, and championed the rights of the poor against the oppression of the rich.
The undeserved reputation for hypocrisy which is attached to the name ‘Pharisee’ in medieval and modern times is due to the campaign against the Pharisees in the Gospels — a campaign dictated by politico-religious considerations at the time when the Gospels were given their final editing, about forty to eighty years after the death of Jesus.
Paul’s desire to be thought of as a person of Pharisee upbringing should thus be understood in the light of the actual reputation of the Pharisees in Paul’s lifetime; Paul was claiming a high honour, which would much enhance his status in the eyes of his correspondents.
Maccoby and several others have pointed to the writings of the Ebionites, an early group who believed Jesus was a normal mortal and nothing more. They had some very definite views on Paul. Maccoby explains:
Their writings were suppressed by the Church, but some of their views and traditions were preserved in the writings of their opponents, particularly in the huge treatise on Heresies by Epiphanius. From this it appears that the Ebionites had a very different account to give of Paul’s background and early life from that found in the New Testament and fostered by Paul himself.
The Ebionites testified that Paul had no Pharisaic background or training; he was the son of Gentiles, converted to Judaism in Tarsus, came to Jerusalem when an adult, and attached himself to the High Priest as a henchman. Disappointed in his hopes of advancement, he broke with the High Priest and sought fame by founding a new religion.
This account, while not reliable in all its details, is substantially correct. It makes far more sense of all the puzzling and contradictory features of the story of Paul than the account of the official documents of the Church.
The Ebionites were stigmatized by the Church as heretics who failed to understand that Jesus was a divine person and asserted instead that he was a human being who came to inaugurate a new earthly age, as prophesied by the Jewish prophets of the Bible.
Moreover, the Ebionites refused to accept the Church doctrine, derived from Paul, that Jesus abolished or abrogated the Torah, the Jewish law.
They were the same group that had earlier been called the Nazarenes, who were led by James and Peter, who had known Jesus during his lifetime, and were in a far better position to know his aims than Paul, who met Jesus only in dreams and visions.
Thus the opinion held by the Ebionites about Paul is of extraordinary interest and deserves respectful consideration, instead of dismissal as ’scurrilous’ propaganda — the reaction of Christian scholars from ancient to modern times.
The Ebonites, then, stated categorically that Paul was not Jewish. Their statement on this is to be found in the writing of Epiphanius in the 4th century, which says:
“They declare that Paul was raised in a pagan household. He went up to Jerusalem and when he had spent some time there, was seized with passion to marry the daughter of the high priest; and this was the reason he became a proselyte (Jew) and went through the Jewish ritual of circumcision. But when the lady rejected him, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the Sabbath and the Jewish Law.”
There is one final irony in the awful portrayal of the Pharisees in the Christian scriptures. And that is the possibility advanced by some that Jesus was himself a Pharisee.
Several scholars have argued that Jesus’ arguments with the Pharisees is a sign of inclusion rather than any real enmity. Debate was, after all, the main narrative mode employed in the Talmud as a search for truth.
As we touched upon earlier, Jesus’ teaching of ‘love thy neighbour’ reflects the teaching of the school of Hillel.
Jesus’ views of divorce, meanwhile, are closer to those of the school of Shammai, another Pharisee.
Hyam Maccoby writes:
“In my earlier book on Jesus, Revolution in Judaea, I showed how, in the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus speaks and acts as a Pharisee, though the Gospel editors have attempted to conceal this by representing him as opposing Pharisaism even when his sayings were most in accordance with Pharisee teaching.
In the present book, I have used the rabbinical evidence to establish an opposite contention: that Paul, whom the New Testament wishes to portray as having been a trained Pharisee, never was one. The consequences of this for the understanding of early Christianity are immense.”
One thing seems certain: the Pharisees were probably far more decent, and far less sinister, than is suggested by certain parts of the Christian bible.
So, it’s finally started. The trial in which Dutch MP Geert Wilders stands accused of, well, criticising Islam. Of course, it’s being worded differently. Wilders is charged with ‘inciting hatred and discrimination toward Islam.’ If he’s found ‘guilty’, he could very well end up in prison.
Meanwhile, those extremist Muslims who constantly express hatred of all things non Islamic are at liberty to preach hatred and the Joys Of Jihad across Europe, including in the Netherlands where Wilders is now fighting to remain a free man.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all religions are ideologies. They are thus open to critique and yes, condemnation. As long as those who wish to follow said religions are not prohibited from doing so, nor attacked for doing so, there is nothing wrong with openly criticising any faith.
Here are Wilders’ opening remarks:
” Mister Speaker, judges of the court, I would like to make use of my right to speak for a few minutes.
Freedom is the most precious of all our attainments and the most vulnerable. People have devoted their lives to it and given their lives for it. Our freedom in this country is the outcome of centuries. It is the consequence of a history that knows no equal and has brought us to where we are now.
I believe with all my heart and soul that the freedom in the Netherlands is threatened. That what our heritage is, what generations could only dream about, that this freedom is no longer a given, no longer self-evident.
I devote my life to the defence of our freedom. I know what the risks are and I pay a price for it every day. I do not complain about it; it is my own decision. I see that as my duty and it is why I am standing here.
I know that the words I use are sometimes harsh, but they are never rash. It is not my intention to spare the ideology of conquest and destruction, but I am not any more out to offend people.
I have nothing against Muslims. I have a problem with Islam and the Islamization of our country because Islam is at odds with freedom. Future generations will wonder to themselves how we in 2010, in this place, in this room, earned our most precious attainment.
Whether there is freedom in this debate for both parties and thus also for the critics of Islam, or that only one side of the discussion may be heard in the Netherlands? Whether freedom of speech in the Netherlands applies to everyone or only to a few?
The answer to this is at once the answer to the question whether freedom still has a home in this country. Freedom was never the property of a small group, but was always the heritage of us all. We are all blessed by it.
Lady Justice wears a blindfold, but she has splendid hearing. I hope that she hears the following sentences, loud and clear: It is not only a right, but also the duty of free people to speak against every ideology that threatens freedom.
Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States was right: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
I hope that the freedom of speech shall triumph in this trial.
In conclusion, Mister Speaker, judges of the court. This trial is obviously about the freedom of speech. But this trial is also about the process of establishing the truth. Are the statements that I have made and the comparisons that I have taken, as cited in the summons, true?
If something is true then can it still be punishable? This is why I urge you to not only submit to my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of freedom of speech. But I ask you explicitly to honour my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of Islam.
I refer not only to Mister Jansen and Mister Admiraal, but also to the witness/experts from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Without these witnesses, I cannot defend myself properly and, in my opinion, this would not be an fair trial. “
Some of you will, like me, have watched in horror as the BBC’s Panorama show recently twisted the history of Jerusalem to obscure any Jewish connection to the city.
Indeed, the bias was so blatant it’s a wonder that the BBC wasn’t embarassed to air this pitiful excuse of a programme.
Here’s just one of many articles that has been written on this appalling piece of ‘journalism’.
BBC’s Inaccurate Panorama
| Author: David Soakell
The BBC’s Panorama programme this week once again proved just how biased the British Broadcasting Corporation have become.
The documentary clearly distorted the Jewish history and rights to Jerusalem while promoting a one-sided and biased agenda.
Many groups have been ‘up-in-arms’ this week over the Panorama programme, which focused on tensions in the area of eastern Jerusalem adjacent to the Old City. One report by HonestReporting stated:
“Any pretence at balance is thrown out of the window as reporter Jane Corbin makes it clear that, under the BBC’s own interpretation of ‘international law’, anything that Israel does in that part of the city is illegal, setting the tone for the entire 30 minute program.”
Thus, Israelis are presented as usurpers of Palestinian rights and property in eastern Jerusalem in a one-sided piece of agitprop. As analyst Robin Shepherd writes: “Rarely will you get a clearer insight into the flagrant institutional bias inside the world’s most powerful media outlet than this. The slipperiness of the tactics employed, the unabashed censorship of vital historical context, and the blatant pursuit of a political agenda constituted a lesson in the techniques of modern day propaganda. It was something to behold.”
In the HonestReporting article, they state, “The BBC’s institutional anti-Israel bias often manifests itself not in what is broadcast but what is left out. Panorama is no different. The BBC reports events as though Jewish history in Jerusalem begins in 1948, thus omitting thousands of years of Jewish attachment to the city, including those areas of eastern Jerusalem that are the subject of Panorama’s investigation.
“The only time that the eastern part of Jerusalem was exclusively Arab was between 1949 and 1967, and that was because Jordan occupied the area and forcibly expelled all the Jews. As Mitchell Bard makes clear, before 1865, the entire population of Jerusalem lived behind the Old City walls (what today would be considered part of the eastern part of the city).
Later, the city began to expand beyond the walls because of population growth, and both Jews and Arabs began to build in new areas of the city. By the time of partition, a thriving Jewish community was living in the eastern part of Jerusalem, an area that included the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. This area of the city also contains many sites of importance to the Jewish religion, including the City of David, the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. In addition, major institutions like Hebrew University and the original Hadassah Hospital are on Mount Scopus — in eastern Jerusalem.”
We see on a daily basis how the Palestinian Authority [PA] continues to revise the history of Jerusalem. For example, Dr. Al-Tamimi, Chief Justice of the PA’s religious court, said, Jerusalem is the religious, political and spiritual capital of Palestine – Jews have no right to it. Statements like this, and programmes like the BBC’s Panorama back up the Palestinians propaganda which attempts to erase 3,000 years of Jewish history, enabling them to present Jerusalem as an exclusively Muslim city.
If the EU, UN, and UK, along with US President Obama insists on saying areas of Jerusalem are occupied territory, it will be disastrous for us all.
Jerusalem is Israel’s sovereign capital, and as the Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, declared:
“Israeli law does not discriminate between Jews and Arabs and between east and west Jerusalem. The demand to specifically halt construction for Jews is not legal in the US or in any other enlightened country… The attempt to demand this of Jerusalem constitutes a double standard and is unacceptable.”
We may only do it once a year, but when Jews and Christians join forces to lobby government on behalf of Israel, we sure do it with passion.
I spent yesterday with the British Zionist Federation and Christian Friends Of Israel – two groups that work closely together to try and get Israel a fair hearing in Britain. For the past five years, these groups have spent a day every year meeting with various MPs and discussing the way the British media represents – or rather MISrepresents Israel.
Last year there were around three hundred of us. This year, even more people showed up and the atmosphere was one of genuine frustration with the BBC and also with various MPs who are openly hostile towards Israel.
One thing which struck me was that, for all the supposed ‘differences’ between Jews and Christians, we do share a good sense of humour. The two hosts, Eric Moonman(ZF) and Geoffrey Smith (CFI) are both wonderful and had us laughing at the start of the day with their irreverant and charming humour. Geoffrey Smith also reminded us of a vital point to convey to those who argue: why shouldn’t Iran have nuclear weapons, since Israel does?
Smith pointed out: Israel has had nuclear weapons for several decades. Not once did any of the nearby Arab nations demand their own nuclear devices – because they’ve always trusted Israel. But since Iran has started enriching uranium and it’s become clear that Ahmadinejad has nuclear ambitions, several of those same Arab countries have stated that now they too want nuclear weapons.
This is an excellent point and one which we need to remind people of.
A lot of other interesting information was conveyed at the various sessions yesterday – I’m going to post something on them tomorrow so for those who may be interested, watch this space…!
Oh, and before anyone starts leaving stupid comments about Britain’s ‘israel lobby’, they might care to note: one of the MPs yesterday told us that British Muslims and several Muslim groups are ‘constantly throwing receptions and dinners’ for British politicians….
Sometimes it’s hard for people to get accurate information on Judaism. The increase in Christian Evangelical sites which pose as “messianic judaism” exacerbates this problem.
So this is the first in what will be a regular feature: questions about Judaism and Jews – along with clear, candid answers.
If anyone reading this has their own query, please feel welcome to submit it, and I’ll post an answer on Friday, when this FAQ post will appear again.
For now, though, here are a few very common questions about the Jewish faith:
A: There are 23 Jewish messianic prophecies. They must all be fulfilled – and in one normal, mortal lifetime. There is no ‘second coming’ in Judaism!
To qualify as maschiach, a person must thus fulfill them all *before* he dies.
Here are the actual prophecies:
* The Sanhedrin will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)
* Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance. (Isaiah 2:4)
* The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)
* He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8-10)
* The Moshiach will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with “fear of God” (Isaiah 11:2)
*****In other words – this must all be accomplished in a human lifetime*****
* Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)
* Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)
* He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)
* All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)
* Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)
* There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)
* All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)
* The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)
* He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 52:7)
* Nations will end up recognizing the wrongs they did to Israel (Isaiah 52:13-53:5)
* The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)
* The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)
* Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)
* The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot
* He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)
* Jews will know the Torah without Study (Jeremiah 31:33)
* He will give you all the desires of your heart (Psalms 37:4)
* He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13-15, Ezekiel 36:29-30, Isaiah 11:6-9).
A: As there is no concept of ‘original sin’ in Judaism, there isn’t really any concept of needing to be ’saved’. You’ll never, ever hear any Jew speak of this, in fact.
Judaism teaches that we are all born with a divine spark within us, and that we are born pure and innocent. It is entirely possible for every person to draw closer to G-d, and he has provided us with ways of doing this.
For Jews, that ‘way’ is studying Torah and applying it to our everyday life, and in general, simply by behaving with compassion and integrity to our fellow men.
Non Jews are advised to follow the seven Noahide Laws.
Nobody is expected to be ‘perfect’. Only G-d can ever achieve ‘perfection’.
What we as humans must do is learn from our mistakes, sincerely repent when we have offended either G-d or any fellow human, and to make amends to anyone we have hurt. We must try our best – and our actions count more than our beliefs. Thus Judaism says that the ‘righteous of all nations will have a share in the world to come’.
We don’t believe in ‘hell’, so we don’t act with honour to avoid ‘punishment’ in the afterlife. Rather, we try to do the right thing purely because it *is* the right thing to do
In Judaism we have a concept called ‘tikkun olam’ or ‘repairing the world’. We try to make the world a tiny bit better through our own actions.
Let’s all take a minute and imagine what would happen if the opposite was true. Can you envisage the riots if an ancient Muslim site was transformed into a Synagogue…?!
From YNet News
Iraq wants to turn ancient Jewish tomb into mosque
Some 2,500 years ago the prophet Ezekiel presented his Prophecy of Dry Bones, which according to various interpretations hailed the salvation of the Jewish people. According to recent reports, Iraq is currently trying to remove the Jewish traces from the prophet’s tomb and turn it into a mosque.
Ezekiel the Prophet, whose prophesy was recorded in the Book of Ezekiel, lived in Babylon at the time of Solomon’s temple. Tradition has it that he is buried in the village of Al Kilf, south of Baghdad, and followers of the three monotheistic religions continue to visit his tomb to this day.
”I received information from a senior Iraqi scholar pertaining to the local authorities’ intention of turning the tomb into a mosque under the guise of ‘preservation’ of the holy site,” says Professor Shmuel Morre, former head of the Arabic Language and Literature Department in the Hebrew University.
“The man who provided me with the information stressed that the Iraqi antiquities department has been under heavy pressure to erase any proof of the Jews’ connection to Iraq,” he notes.
Iraq also contains the tombs of the Ezra the Scribe, the Prophet Jonah and King Zedekiah. According to Prof. Morre, who himself was born in Iraq, his colleague informed him that local authorities have already began erasing Hebrew inscriptions off Ezekiel’s tomb in order to turn the site into a mosque.
For hundreds of years the tomb has been under the care of leaders of the Jewish community in Iraq.
Currently the country contains only eight Jews. The rest have become Muslim or are in hiding for fear of being murdered by terrorists upon embarking on a Jewish pilgrimage.
Manager of the “Justice for Jews” organization Shlomo Alfassa has approached US government authorities in Washington following the reports and demanded to “stop the Islamization of the Jewish prophet’s tomb.”
An application has also been made to the UNESCO headquarters, which is responsible for maintaining the religious character of holy sites.
For anyone who is involved in countering the lies told by Messianics, here are some additional facts, and some background information, that may be of interest. If anyone has extra info, please do submit it!
Some Christian Evangelicals Now Posing As ‘MESSIANIC MUSLIMS’ As Well As ‘messianic jews’: Radical Missionary Approach Produces ‘Messianic Muslims’
“Thus, for instance, Churches might be called “messianic mosques” – and may be designed to look like Muslim places of worship, with worshippers being required to remove their footwear before entering.
“Worship services might be designed on the lines of Sufi zikr and sama sessions, with regular Christian Sufi orders in place. Certain Muslim festivals may be celebrated by Christians after being ****suitably adapted.***
“By thus presenting themselves as little different from Muslims in external appearance, Christian missionaries will find it easier to win Muslim friends, and, hopefully, converts.”
“Become like the Muslims to reach the Muslims. Be all things to all men, George suggests to potential Christian missionaries. Hence, George suggests, in their encounters with Muslims, Christian missionaries must insist that they alone are the true Muslims.
This, he says, promises to have an impact on potential converts. In order to further convince Muslims of their claims to true ‘Islamicity‘, Christian missionaries could formulate their own version of the Muslim Shahada.
“Christian missionaries, too, might adopt taqiya, concealing their faith when occasion demands, focussing more on what unites them with the Muslims rather than on what divides them, while at the same time trying to spread Christianity among the Muslims through subtle means. “
A May/June 2000 issue of Watchman’s Trumpet magazine explains what this new missiology really entails:
“Several international missions organizations, including Youth With a Mission (YWAM), are testing a new approach to missionary work in areas where Christianity is unwelcome. A March 24, 2000, Charisma News Service report said some missionaries are now making converts but are allowing them to “hold on to many of their traditional religious beliefs and practices” so as to refrain from offending others within their culture.”
The Charisma article in which Watchman’s Trumpet reports elaborates: “Messianic Muslims” who continue to read the Koran, visit the mosque and say their daily prayers but accept Christ as their Savior, are the products of the strategy, which is being tried in several countries, according to Youth With a Mission (YWAM), one of the organizations involved.
The so-called “C5 missionaries” whom Phil had met advocate that it is okay to affirm Muhammad as a genuine prophet of God; that Muslim background believers should attend the mosque perpetually; and that Christians should consider legally converting to Islam to win Muslims as Muslims.
More here: http://www.strategicnetwork.org/index.php?loc=kb&view=v&id=8769 ————————————————————————————————————
“messianic jews” are evangelical Protestants, so we evangelize them as Protestants Source: ‘How Catholics Can Evangelise Jews’ http://www.secondexodus.com/html/evangelization/evangelizingjews.htm
“jews for jesus” This group was formed by Martin Meyer – an ordained Baptist Minister! All of the leaders and top staff members are evangelical Christians. This was the first Messianic group and is arguably one of the most well known and aggressive.
Arguments Against ‘jews for jesus’
“jews for jesus” maintains that a Jew can keep their religious identity, even after converting to Christianity. “jews for jesus” is appealing because it claims that its converts can believe in Jesus, partake in baptism, celebrate Christmas, and remain Jewish, all at the same time.
The group preaches a weird hybrid of Judaism and Christianity. The Torah itself argues against this idea of Judeo-Christian combination. While all Jews are considered members for life, a person who worships another god or idol is no longer considered Jewish (I Kings 18:21).
Worship of Jesus as the “lone son of god” is considered belief in a foreign god, and the convert would not be considered Jewish. Judaism does, however, always allow a converted Jew to return to the faith when they again accept the oneness of G-d.
” jews for jesus” claims that Jews must put faith in Jesus as their savior from sin. Original sin is an inherently Christian belief and, according to Judaism, “sin is an act, not a state of being” (Jews for Judaism). The Torah does not teach that humans are born with sin, but that individual repentance is necessary when a person strays from the commandments of G-d.
In other words, Jews do not believe that one person (namely, Jesus) is capable of repenting for all of humanity’s sins through his death. Likewise, Jews do not believe that one must pray to Jesus for G-d to hear. G-d, according to the Tanakh, can hear every individual’s prayer.
As it is written in Psalms 145:18, “G-d is near to all who call unto Him.” Christians feel that they must pray to Jesus in order for G-d to hear their words. The most important argument against “jews for jesus” is the fact that Jews do not believe that the messiah has arrived.
According to the Torah, the messiah must be a descendent of King David. Jews do not consider Jesus to be a direct descendent. More importantly, the messiah is supposed to bring peace to all humanity. As is stated in Isaiah 2:4: “And nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Jesus’ coming did not bring about peace and, therefore, Jews cannot accept him as the messiah. In response, “jews for jesus” might refer to the ’second coming’ of Jesus.
The gospels predict that Jesus will ascend Earth again to fulfill his messianic prophecies. Of course, there is no mention of a ’second coming’ in the Torah. Therefore,”jews for jesus” is unable to use Jewish textual evidence to prove that Jesus is the messiah and will come again.”
Christian Responses To Messianics:
This is a follow up about the Christian Evangelists who pose as ‘messianic jews’. The original post was called ‘The Missionary Position’.
This is to address a few queries I have received:
1 Messianics have of course every right to their own beliefs, rituals and practices.
They just don’t have any right to call it ‘judaism’.
Because it isn’t.
2 The Messianic movement is a very specific Christian Evangelical movement.
It does not represent all Christians. Indeed, many Christians have spoken out in condemnation of the Messianics and their lies when they pose as ‘jews’.
Tips For Countering The Lies Messianics Tell About Judaism:
Be warned before you start: Messianics relish the chance to debate Jews!
Their main aim is to convince *you* that yes, you ‘can remain Jewish and worship Jesus’. Now of cousre, this is a lie. But Messianics desperately need to believe it – it is the deceptive premise that underlies their entire ‘religion’.
The majority of Messianic groups get organised training in just *how* to debate genuine Jews. Former members of Messianic congregations often describe how they had to attend seminars and mock discussions in which they learned how to ‘disprove judaism’. Chances are, any Messianic that you meet, either online or in the ‘real world’ will know their bible inside out and upside down. Don’t let them distract you with scripture. Keep calm and keep stating the facts.
Here are some of the most common arguments that Messianics will come up with:
Messianic: “lots of Jews have now found Jesus, and are Jewish Christians”
FACT: A Jew who becomes a Christian = a Christian. Nobody can be both Jewish and Christian: it’s a theological contradiction. The two faiths contradict one another on almost everything.
A Jew who adopts Christianity as their religion is an EX Jew.
They are not ‘a jew for jesus’ any more than a Hindu who becomes a Christianity is a ‘hindu for christ’.
Judaism alone gets to define Jewish identity.
Judaism does not permit dual religious identity.
You are a Jew OR you are a Christian.
Messianic: “Lots of Jews are ethnically or racially Jewish, but Christian by faith.’
Note: This is one of the most common arguments used by Messianics.
FACT:No such thing as being ‘racially’ Jewish. Jews are not a ‘race’.
It was Hitler that tried to persuade the world that Jewish people were a separate race but it was a lie then, and it is a lie now.
You can’t change your race, but you can change your faith; many Gentiles convert to Judaism, thus proving it is not a ‘race’.
Nor is Judaism an ‘ethnicity’. How can it be? Which one ‘ethnicity’ unifies all Jews?
An Indian Jew is not the same ethnicity as a Japanese Jew. A Japanese Jew is not the same ethnicity as a Black Ethiopian Jew.
A Black Ethiopian Jew is not the same ethnicity as a Swedish caucasian Jew.
There are Jews of *all* ethnicities!
And what we share is the Jewish religion. A person cannot be part of both the Jewish and Christian religions.
Messianic: “Messianic ‘jews’ are simply Jews who know the truth about Jesus.”
FACT: 98% of Messianics were *literally* never Jews to start with. Not via birth. Not via faith. Not via theology. Not via worship. Not via heritage.
If they aren’t Jewish according to Judaism’s criteria, then they are not Jewish – period.
Christianity does not get to REdefine Jewish identity.
Judaism and ONLY Judaism gets to define JEWISH identity. Just as Christianity and only Christianity gets to define Christian identity.
Messianic: ‘But Jesus was Jewish – so why don’t Jews worship and accept him?’
FACT: Woody Allen is Jewish as well. Does that mean if *he* claimed to be the maschiach we should believe him?
Let’s say Woody Allen did declare that he was the Jewish messiah. Let’s say a small group of Jews believed him and began worshipping him.
Would they still be practising Judaism?
Answer: no, of course not!
Now apply the same logic to Jesus.
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon faith, defined himself as a ‘Christian’. Apply the same logic – shouldn’t all Christians worship him….?
Actually, the easiest way to think of this is:
The religion of Jesus = Judaism; he was Jewish
The religion about Jesus = Christianity; Christians worship Jesus
Messianic: ‘Religion is a personal thing. I have every right to define myself as Jewish.’
FACT: You don’t have any ‘right’ to hijack the very word ‘jew’ and then lie about what it represents.
Judaism has defined Jewish identity the same way for thousands of years. You don’t get to REdefine ‘judaism’ to suddenly INclude worshipping Jesus.
I can wake up tomorrow and announce I’m a Native American Indian! Does that make it true? Do I then have the ‘right’ to MISrepresent what Native American Indians stand for, in public forums?No, of course not. And you don’t have any ‘right’ to do it with Judaism!
Words have meanings.
And ‘jew’ means:
- someone born to a Jewish mother who has not since joined another religion
- someone who has converted to Judaism and has not later joined another religion
Messianic: ‘Jesus was Jewish. Therefore if I worship him, I’m Jewish as well.’
FACT: The ‘logic’ here is so flawed it’s almost amusing. Almost.
The facts are crystal clear: if you worship Jesus as ‘christ’ you are a *Christian*.
Let’s say Adam Sandler declared himself the Jewish messiah. If you believed him, would that make you Jewish?
Answer: no, of course not! Jesus is irrelevant to Judaism and always has been. Judaism was a complete and fulfilling faith for thousands of years before Jesus was even a twinkle in Joseph’s eye.
Worshipping any human as ‘god’ is forbidden in Judaism. It is idolatry.
Messianic: ‘The ‘old testament’ refers to Jesus again and again. Jews are just too stubborn to see it!”’
FACT:Given that the OT is a purely Christian text, yes, it probably does point towards Jesus.
The OT was produced by the Church; it is a MIStranslated, REorganised and REinterpreted, Christianised version OF the Jewish Tanakh.
Jews study and read the Tanakh in the original Hebrew. We don’t use any translation. And in the original Hebrew, Jesus is nowhere to be found. If he appears in the OT, it’s because the Church put him there.
* (note: you can find a detailed list of these MIStranslations in the Scripture section of this blog)
“jews for jesus”
Sooner or later someone will ask you about the infamous group ‘jews4jesus’. This is the most aggressive and well known of all the Messianic groups. Let’s be crystal clear:
‘jews4jesus’ is a Christian group. It was founded by Martin Meyer, an ordained Baptist minister.
Baptists don’t get to REdefine Judaism. Nor do Baptists get to start a ‘new jewish sect’ that practises Christianity!
Usually, Martin Meyer goes by the name Martin ‘Rosen’. He apparently feels it sounds more ‘jewish’. And at times, he claims that his parents were Orthodox Jews. This may or may not be true. Either way, it’s utterly irrelevant. Even if he started out a Jew, Martin Meyer exercised his right to leave Judaism, and to convert to Christianity.
Among the members of ‘jews4jesus’ there are a few former Jews. The key word here is of course: former.
If a few Jews convert to Islam – does Islam become somehow ‘jewish’?
No, of course not.
If a group of Jews become Hindus – does Hinduism now equal ‘judaism’?
No, obviously not.
Same applies to Christianity. Just because a few EX Jews are now Christians, this does not make Christianity somehow ‘jewish’.
Be aware: members of ‘jews4jesus’ are slick, quick and very practised at answering Jews who are trying to expose their lies.
One of the group’s favourite claims is:
”The original followers of Jesus were ‘messianic jews’. We’re no different’.
FACT: only a tiny sect of Jews ever followed Jesus. And the minute they affirmed belief in the ‘resurrection’ and in the notion that Jesus was anything BUT a normal mortal man, they were effectively *leaving* Judaism.
And the original followers of Jesus never practised Christianity because it did not exist until long after Jesus died. The rituals and beliefs of ‘jews4jesus’ has little in common with those who were part of the sect headed up by Jesus.
You might also like to point out that even if Jews were the first disciples of Jesus, it’s irrelevant. Consider: The first Australians were Brits. Does that mean that today’s Aussies get to REdefine British identity, customs and laws?