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Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

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Question:

I was accosted at the beach today by a guy from Jews for Jesus. He offered me a New Testament in Yiddish and said that many Jews have been "saved" by accepting Jesus as the messiah. I just ignored him. Then I saw a big ad in the newspaper from the same people. My question: Can a Jew believe in Jesus?

Answer:

Of course a Jew can believe in Jesus. Just like a vegetarian can enjoy a rump steak, a peace activist can join a violent demonstration, and a dictator who preaches martyrdom can surrender himself to his enemies. As long as logic and clear thinking are suspended, anything makes sense!

I think your response to that missionary was the best one - to ignore him. Missionising is not a new phenomenon. Certain Christian sects believe that their messiah will only return when the Jews accept him. Throughout history Jews have been threatened with death, torture and expulsion if they don't convert. More recently, missionaries targeted the weak of our community - the elderly, new immigrants, and the underprivileged - in an attempt to exploit their vulnerability. All these attempts have had little or no success. Whether religious or not, Jews are reluctant to give up their Jewishness.

So they came up with a new ploy. Rather than demand conversion, they offered Jews to remain Jewish, and even "complete" their Jewishness by accepting Jesus. Thus Jews for Jesus was born.

This is a movement of non-Jews who pose as Jews by taking on Jewish names. They do usually have a token Jewish member, who is invariably either ignorant of Judaism at best or psychologically imbalanced at worst. They are a sham.

All religions are free to present their beliefs in the open market of ideas. But if they have to resort to slimy tactics like Jews for Jesus does, then they obviously have nothing to offer a thinking person.

Editor's Note: Visit Jews for Judaism for a comprehensive counter-missionary handbook.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (280)
January 23, 2015
"... have been threatened with death, torture and expulsion if they don't convert..."
Jews were not "threatened" -- they were murdered and those who were not, were kicked out of their homes, businesses, and countries!!!

History is history - fact is fact. Too many people already don't believe that there is no anti-Semitism or that Jews made it up.

Anyone who believes in Jesus as their savior is a Christian.

I guess if people can say the Holocaust did not happen, then a Jew can believe in Jesus. People can believe in the tooth fairy as long as those beliefs do not cause harm.

This Jewess believes that G-d 'said' "No other gods before Me" - I believe in G-d of the Jews, thus I believe in no other or pray to any other.

Besides that, I do not believe that G-d has a body - only that He made us in His image. That means He has all elements of what makes up any human -- female, male, transgender, blind, deaf, tall, short, fat, skinny - and teeth.

I wish S/He had made me with teeth that replenished themselves - instead of giving that gift to shark.
Meira Shana
San Diego
January 23, 2015
to Paul
Obviously by your words..."you are myopic" it sounds like you are a christian missionary since your scriptures teach that we Jews are" blinded by the devil", yet you believe our Bible to be sacred. Your scriptures to not add up nothing at all to our Scriptures and, obviously too, who you believe in is definitely not our G-D
Uri Yitzchak
Orlando,Fl
January 11, 2015
Jews marrying Christians
It goes both ways - for many, if their Jewish child marries a gentile, they disown their child.

For many Christians, if their Christian child married a Jew, they really disown their child.

To many Christians, to be a Jew is the worse thing possible.

Makes me wonder, since childhood, why Christians who believe that can pray to a Jew as their god.
Anonymous
CA
January 6, 2015
Response to Jim D.
First, you are not offensive but perhaps myopic. I did not offer that the NT is a replacement of the Torah or the initial writings by or for mankind. I said that all add up to the Testament. I do not nor do you know what our God thinks, commands, forgives or... or....
Paul
January 5, 2015
Presumptive, prejudiced
I find the article snarky - Christians are predatory, JfJ is subversive and so on.

Amidst the abundant accusations of anti-semitism, Christian countries (like the author's native Australia) are rarely credited for their pluralism, for being good places to be a Jew or for their support of Israel.

There is a similarly syncretic, if less organsied Jewish mission to Christians called the Noahide movement - accordingly Christians are 6/7 Noahide, they just need to drop the Jesus idolatry and ideally adopt the Torah to be complete. It finds an audience among the Orthodox and certain protestants.

Like all evangelising movements it is based on prejudice about the beliefs of others, and presumption of absolute truth in ones own.

People, not only Jews - but anyone deemed heretical by the mainstream - have endured tremendous suffering because of this kind of nonsense.

I am quite sure this is not what G-d wants for his children.

Maybe we can agree on this single truth?
Anonymous
Halifax, UK
November 24, 2014
Response to Paul
Paul, your perspective is grounded in the Christian view that the NT is a valid extension of, and supersedes Torah. "Jewishness" is not just about eating bread and wine on Friday nights or attending high holiday services. As difficult as it may be to understand, and despite voluminous Christian claims to the contrary, neither the Torah, the Prophets nor the Writings support faith in Jesus. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The Torah is very clear that no Jew is to believe in any foreign god -- and Jesus is not the physical manifestation of Hashem. Please forgive me for being offensive, but worshiping Jesus as G-d is the ultimate sin for a Jew. That certainly would be doing something wrong under the Torah. And if a believing Jew feels alienated from his people for this, it is with good reason. Also, none of the "sects" of Judaism support belief in Jesus. Finally, the events of the first two centuries do not change this fundamental fact. It was valid then, as it is valid today.
Jim D.
Los Angeles
November 24, 2014
TO Paul from Texas, to say that a Jew "hasn't done anything wrong" to believe the "Christian claims" is both ignorant of what the core of Judaism is (worship one God), and disrespectful of Jews.
Anonymous
California
November 24, 2014
Jews and Elephants
A very wise rabbi once told me, when I asked if I was still Jewish because I was baptized into a Christian cult at one time, said, "Look, if an elephant is dipped in water, when it comes out, it is still an elephant; if a Jew is dipped in water, when he comes out, he is still a Jew". Even while I was in the cult and following it, I always maintained I was Jewish and was proud of being Jewish. In "My Jewish Soul was Crying", I explain how I got out of the cult.
KarenJoyceChayaFradleKleinmanBell
November 24, 2014
Still
Still, it doesn't directly make sense to alienate a Jew who chooses to believe the Christian claims on Jesus. Literally, by the standards of at least many Jewish sects, as long as the "Jewishness" of one's daily life does not diminish and as long as they adhere to Torah for ultimate guidance then they haven't done anything wrong.

As a side note...It is worth discussing the pressures on Judaism through the lens of sociology and history rather than dogma. I don't see how the above arguments about Jews for Jesus has any bearing on if a Jew decides to acclaim Jesus. A cursory view of the many Jewish sects in the world would garner more heresy than following someone who, to paraphrase previous comments, brought Torah law to the gentiles. It makes much more sense to view the problem brought up by Aron Moss through a much less, and needless, snarkiness and instead view the issue through the context of the 1st and 2nd century Jewish wars which alienated Christianity away from Judaism.
Paul
Texas
November 3, 2014
Response to John Dover
Hi John. There is no doubt that if we all have one God, the world would be much better for it. By the way, Buddhism does not worship a god, as I understand it. In any case, we know that Jesus was not God, therefore Christians and Jews don't really worship the same one -- although Christians mistakenly believe that Jesus was/is the God of Israel. Therefore it never will be possible for Judaism to believe in Jesus. Some wayward Jews do, but what you are saying will never happen. However, we believe the reverse will happen: Christians one day will come to realize that the God they truly want to worship is Hashem, the one true God of Israel. In that way and in that day, Isaiah 53 will be realized. Jewish messianic prophesy predicts that one day all the world will worship the God of Israel. We hope and pray for that day to come, along with the Messiah and world peace, as we say: "speedily in our day". God bless.
Jim D.
Los Angeles
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