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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 (291)
March 12, 2015
Can a Jew...
People who claim to be a specific religion and claim to murder or cause another to be murdered are not what they claim to be. They are devils. Many examples of such treacherous behavior exist throughout time and worldly space. No exceptions. They are devils.
Paul Durant
Idaho
March 12, 2015
reply to Meira
Meira don't wish to be a sceptic but there are tens/ hundreds of Christian denominations.

I have been to churches all my life of various denoms without hearing anything anti semitic. Granted I don't speak Latin or Koine Greek maybe something slipped into the RC or Orthodox weddings I went to.

I don't deny the fact of Christian anti semitism but do believe its slow consignment to the dustbin as a mainstream doctrine is largely complete. Unless you're talking about the Westboro Baptist Church but their single digit congregation think I'm bound for the eternal BBQ too.

Southern Baptists are afflicted with something I would term 'conditional Philo semtism' ('you're all good, now hurry back to Israel and make Jesus appear') but in the mainstream we've largely accepted Jesus, his apostles, even P(S)aul and the religion they inspired is essentially, if not theologically, Jewish and celebrate it. No need to convert. Just be happy with who G-d made you.
Anonymous
UK
March 11, 2015
Alice in Wonderland
I can just picture the scene you tell of; the sound of the waves, birds calling, children screaming (nu), a sunny warm calm day. When Blam all of a sudden this mishegenah belief bombs you.
Aaron gets the gold star for writing this short and clear, funny, devout, vitriolic and somber story.

I am glad to be Jewish. Noone has ever tried to dissuede me, even them knockers that come knocking at our door. I give them the look, I open my mouth and say
"I am Jewish". They leave really fast.

I should remember to always have the 25 reasons why Jews Will Never Believe In
Jesus, but having my mezzuzah necklace is my safe place.
Sheri
Freeport,MI
February 23, 2015
Fact, Fiction, Faith
The facts: I was born of 2 Jewish parents and raised in the orthodox ways and rituals, as proscribed by Torah, et al.

The fiction: I was not there in the biblical times so have no personal experience with who wrote all of the amazing words, thoughts, facts, deeds, happenings, etc. as found in the Tanakh.

The faith: I choose to believe there is G-d and in doing so take G-d at G-d's Words - that I shall have no other gods before G-d, the Only One, the I Am.

I don't like that Christians (former Jews or pagans or new Christians or their church) felt the need to murder people who refused to convert to their religion!!

THAT to me is not loving-kindness or G-d's Commandments in any sense of rhyme or reason. Period.

I have been to just about every denomination of Christian church and have, with my own ears, heard hatred spewed from the pulpits toward Jews. Made for a very uncomfortable place for me to be in spite of my ability to pray to G-d no matter where I am.

Anti-Semitism lives
Meira Shana
San Diego
February 13, 2015
Part of the problem here (I am sure) is that both Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity are products of a split in Judaism of the 2nd temple and therefore each is partially defined by its rejection of the other. For example it is implicit that Buddhism rejects Judaism, but does it explicitly reject Judaism? No, to a Buddhist Judaism is neither wrong nor right, It is simply irrelevant. To a Christian or Jew, by contrast, the faith of the other is wrong as codified during the prolonged period in which they split. One rejects Jesus the Messiah, the other is idolatrous, and so on. On top of this Jews lived mainly among Christians affording plenty of opportunity for this rejection of the other to become familiar, fester and assume the form of sectarian bigotry.
A better question than whether Jews can believe in Jesus (no) is whether the faiths can stop defining themselves according to rejection of each other and start to see value in each other?
Anonymous
uk
February 2, 2015
I'd suggest tthose who believe STAY Jewish
Listen, we need to open up our understanding. With the Internet many are doing their own research and finding their own conclusions which is personal. If in your heart you believe Moshiach is a job role and 2000 years ago Age of Moshiach was started by descendant of David, then once you have been convinced, I understand you cant go back. Not everyone is at the same spiritual levels and everyone has different beleifs and uses their free will differently. But Moshiach is more of a debate rather than your day to day life as a Jew. Hashem set up this debate to always remind us that Moshiach is coming. But all sides agree Moshiach is coming so everuone can wait together. I will say this, with Youtube people are doing their own research now about things they've been told their whole life and when they find they're not true, they begin to trust the Jewish community much less as a valid source which pushes them away from Judaism. If Im told X, and I was lied to, then maybe Y, Z is a lie to?
Anonymous
January 29, 2015
Reply to Uri
Uri - the NT is not a doctrine so it is wrong to say it teaches hatred of Jews. The NT is a historical record of Jesus and philosophy from early (Jewish) Christians. Consider that Christianity started as a Jewish sect, it contains within it records of intra Jewish sectarian conflict around the time of the 2nd temple in which early Jewish Christians were involved. Some of it is harsh to what would have been regarded as other Jews by its authors but the story of early Christianity is one of persecution.... harshness in such circumstances is human.

The NT's lack of doctrine lends itself to syncretism and reform. JfJ is an example of this - by adopting Jewish law they abrogate the teachings of Paul.

The biggest example of Christian reform is the Catholic Protestant split.

I think it is important to recognise that Christian attitudes to Jews have evolved, reformed, and continue to do so, and that the lack of codification in the NT allows this.

G-d bless.
Anonymous
UK
January 28, 2015
Disinformation
Kudos to Aron for ignoring the missionary and discounting the presented "Jesus". Rightly, he did. Mainstream Christianity teaches that G-d is "finished" with the Jews, that the world is in a new "era"/"dispensation", and that "Jesus" broke and taught against, "abolished" Torah. Since all of that is error, it was right for Aron to discount it. But there are many other errors on this thread, like the "NT ... supersedes Torah", "Jews are blinded by the devil", and so on. The Truth is, that the Truth is the Truth, will always be the Truth, restoring the soul. The "NT" does not teach against it (e.g. Matthew 5, esp. 17-19). Torah is Light and Wisdom and Isaiah 2:3 and Micah 4:2 are both true and desirable outcomes, so TEACH TORAH. Many come here to learn Torah. Stick to teaching Torah instead of propagating disinformation. Otherwise, you're just making more proselytes that also don't love Torah enough to share it.
Christopher
January 28, 2015
Can a Jew believe in Jesus
I do not discount what an individual believes. Personally, I do not attribute absolute sanctity to either the New or Old Testaments. I believe, because the scribners were human creatures, their content may contain some "spin". I believe the scribners' intent to be honorable.

I have trouble the thought that our FATHER in Heaven would worry with earth and its inhabitants when the Heavens are HIS. We are mere particles among many masses of particles.
Paul in Idaho
Idaho
January 28, 2015
Christian belief is that Jesus is not G-d, but the son of G-d. Jesus was filled with G-d's spirit and his (figurative?) son, but we can all be filled with his spirit. It's a nuanced, much misunderstood theology even by Christians.
Now, Christianity, not being an explicitly codified religion, has many interpretations and liturgies, and consequently many attitudes to Jews.
Mature Churches e.g. the RC have no mission to Jews, whereas new Charismatic Churches, e.g the Southern Baptists, do.

What do I hope for personally? That Christians and Jews can talk about spiritual issues without the burden of cynicism and prejudice would be the main thing.

I, a Christian, see something very valuable in Judaism and the clear foundation of my own religion.

We all wish to commune with G-d. Whether we do so by observing the Mitzvot or faith in Jesus, probably the biggest sin we can commit is to condemn each other - our very diversity is a reflection and creation of G-d himself. Don't forget that!
Anonymous
UK
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