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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 (247)
September 29, 2013
Oh the irony
I see more demagoguery and xenophobic rhetoric here than on some yahoo chat boards. Just because someone doesn't agree with your beliefs or doesn't think you have the truth doesn't make them anti-Semitic. This type of thinking is almost as dangerous as anti-semitism itself. NEVER classify an entire country, religious or cultural group as all the same because of some errant actions of what is usually an outspoken minority.
ALL the early followers of Jesus "Christ", aka Christians were Jews. What became Christianity was SUPPOSED to be a continuation, if you will, of Judaism. Unfortunately, it has been hijacked and misrepresented so many times that that Abrahamic and Judaic identity has been lost and/or (in some cases) erased.
Humanity will only ascend to its apex when people from every
PS: We have all endured persecution. It is for us to learn from it and teach it so it will not happen again, not reciprocate the petulant seeds of intolerance that bloomed into history's pandemic injusb
Rami
FL, US
September 24, 2013
Aron, your comment that "All these attempts have had little or no success." leads me to believe that you may be underestimating the impact that such efforts are having.

Jews for Judaism on their web site states: "Today over 1,000 Christian missionary groups spend $300 million annually, targeting Jews for conversion worldwide. In recent years, they've succeeded in converting over 350,000 Jews."

Messianic missionary efforts are increasing as we speak, and this number is expected to rise significantly in coming years as they continue to gain momentum. I would like to see Chabad take a much more active role in providing an anti-missionary effort.
James D.
Los Angeles / Orange County
May 29, 2013
To Karen: RE: To Katrin in Germany
“I love you so much for saying that.”

One the one hand, your comment made me happy because I obviously could make you happy.
One the other hand, it made me sad, because it’s sad that our world has come so far that someone is so happy about someone else not singling you Jews out. It should be normal that noone feels left out at no times. You Jews all in all are so humble by nature that you probably don’t even realize the humility within your own words.
And on yet another hand, they humbled me.

Thank you for sharing your story and telling me about this Catholic girl. I thank G-d He protected you and sent you a real friend.

May He bless you, too, and may you walk underneath his wings always.

All the best and a Shabbat Shalom everyone.
katrin
Germany
May 27, 2013
Thank you Karen and have a Shabbat Shalom full of health and blessings
Uri Yitzchak
Orlando Fl
May 25, 2013
To Uri,
Thank you for explaing, and Shabbot Shalom!
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA USA
May 24, 2013
Can G-d be anything he wants? Why does G_d blind people who are born to Christian to see him only through Christ? Hashem makes everyone and everything. So if G-d made Muslims Jews Atheists etc.... then we are all special creations and think how the King designed! I want not to Judge I just want to learn how to focus on that we all have one ultimate Creator of loving kindness in common!
Michelle Andre
cape coral
May 23, 2013
To Katrin in Germany
I have wanted, for a long time, to congratulate you on your post saying we already ARE saved, because we have G-d's covenant. I love you so much for saying that. G-d bless you, my dear. By the way, it was a Catholic girl who got me to go back to Judaism and she, too, told me that my religion was stolen from me when I became Christian at the age of 21. She actually went WITH me to Chabad for many weeks until I felt comfortable going back.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA USA
May 23, 2013
Katrin, the definition of anti-semitism is very different from how people use the word.
People who are being "missionaries" to Jewish people to convert them are sometimes anti-semitic and sometimes not. Just the fact that they want to "help" Jewish people "achieve" what they consider as a higher spiritual plane shows ignorance and not hatred. Unless they come out and say that we are Christ killers, devils, etc., they are not being anti-semitic. They are ignorantly thinking they are helping us. ignorant. Not hatred. Ignorance does lead to some Jews leaving our beliefs, but does not kill them. Please don't confuse people trying to convert us (with no negative consequences if we refuse) with people who did Pogroms or who kill if you don't change. This is not the same as an inquisition or holocaust through murder of the body. Will it murder our spirit? It can do that, but because it is not meant to do it, we can not label being a missionary as being anti-semitic. The practice, and not the person doing it, might be considered that way by us emotionally, only.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA USA
May 23, 2013
to Karen
...dont understand the point of your comment, please explain- I never said or suggested that a Jew who believes in other religions is not a Jew. I said that for a Jew to believe in something other than the One Creator is Idolatry-did not make that up-is Halacha (Jewish Law).
Uri Yitzchak
Orlando,FL
May 22, 2013
Re; Idolatry,
Uri Yitzchak, whether or not it is idolatry, a Jew is still a Jew if he believes in Jesus; however, you might then call him a Jew who believes in idolatry, if that is your definition. Remember, even the Jews in the desert who made golden calves were still considered Jews. Right? A rabbi once said, on this site, mind you, that if you dunk an elephant into water, when he comes out, he is still an elephant.
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA USA
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