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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 (296)
June 19, 2015
Anonymous, California - please do not paste your own feelings onto me, a Christian. I do not regard Judaism as wrong.
I find it strange you would regard the faith which, living in California, is presumably followed by at least some of your friends and acquaintances as an irrelevance.
I believe common law has some influence from Halakhah - especially in the idea of the law as source rather than code, the role of judges as absolute arbiters and the role of precedent. Medieval England had some Jewish civil administrators, so there is a way this influence could have occurred. I would not even consider this had I listened to my Atheist friend when he described the Talmud as "drivel" and consequently not bothered to read it. (Atheism is a far greater threat to all religions in the West than they are to each other, by the way).
I suppose my point is - open your mind, without adopting other peoples' beliefs you can start to perceive the way G-d works for our betterment.
Anonymous
March 19, 2015
not wrong, just irrelevant
I agree with the post dated Feb. 11, that states "To a Buddhist, Judaism is neither wrong nor right, It is simply irrelevant. "

It also states "To a Christian or Jew, by contrast, the faith of the other is wrong."

I agree with the statement that Christians consider Judaism wrong.
However please do not paste your own feelings on to me as a Jew. Jews do not "reject" Christianity, it is simply irrelevant.

Once again for the record: Jews do not proselytize. And as a Jew, other religions are simply not relevant to me.
Anonymous
California
March 18, 2015
So a Jew can practice elements of Buddhism according to this site, but not Christianity. One is atheistic is nature, and the other affirms the worship of the God of Abraham. Or have you forgotten that Jesus was a Jew who loved God and his law?

"As long as logic and clear thinking are suspended, anything makes sense!"
Anonymous
March 13, 2015
To Anonymous in UK
Just wandering: are you a missionary?
Uri Yitzchak
Orlando,FL
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 12, 2015
Response to Anonymous in the UK
Anonymous asks, "[Can] the faiths can stop defining themselves according to rejection of each other and start to see value in each other?"

In fact, the lines are far more blurred than you might imagine. The 2013 Pew study, "A Portrait of Jewish Americans", reveals that since 1995 50-60% of Jews intermarry, and the percentages of Jews who either don't believe in God, say its okay to work on Shabbat and not keep Jewish laws is surprising. Even a full third report that one can believe Jesus was the Messiah, including those who consider themselves Orthodox. However, the Study did not ask respondents if they believed Jesus was God or the son of God. The answers may well have been very different if they had.

But among those who do distinguish between Jewish and Christian beliefs, I would say that things would be far easier if Christians did not approach Jews to argue for Jesus.
Jim D.
Los Angeles
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
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