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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Holocaust, Antisemitism, Missionaries (9/12)

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               Frequently Asked Questions on Soc.Culture.Jewish
            Part 9: The Holocaust, Antisemitism, and Missionaries
                    [Last Post: Thu Feb  5 11:07:09 US/Pacific 2004]

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Subject: ORGANIZATION This portion of the FAQ contains answers to the following questions: Section 15: Churban Europa (The Holocaust) 1. [5]Why do Jews seem to treat the Holocaust as their tragedy alone? 2. [6]Where can I get information on the Holocaust? 3. [7]How do I get tickets to see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum? 4. [8]Is there any online information available on Yad Vashem? Section 16: Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews 1. [5]Why is antisemitism used to mean anti-Jewish? 2. [6]Is there any truth to the myth of the Jewish American Princess? 3. [7]What is the connection between Judaism and Freemasonry? 4. [8]How do I counter antisemitic postings such as the infamous "Protocols"? 5. [9]Did the Jews kill Jesus? 6. [10]Can you tell me about the Disputation at Barcelona? Section 17: Countering Missionaries 1. [5]Are groups calling themselves "Jews for Jesus" or "Messianic Jews[sic]" Jewish movements? 2. [6]Is belief in Jesus-as-G-d compatible with any Jewish movements? 3. [7]Countering the Question: Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus as the Messiah? 4. [8]What do missionary groups believe? 5. [9]What sort of deceptive terminology do missionaries use? 6. [10]How can these missionaries be countered? 7. [11]Who is financing "Jews for Jesus" and similar groups? 8. [12]Are the key Christian beliefs derived from Judaism?
Subject: Question 15.1: Why do Jews seem to treat the Holocaust as their tragedy alone? Answer: Jews don't, and in fact, a hefty percentage of articles on the Holocaust go out of their way to mention the number of gentiles murdered, as well as soldiers and civilians killed in the war itself. Jews focus upon it for several reasons: (1) It destroyed a third (1/3) of world Jewry, almost all of European Jewry, and obliterated the entire European Jewish culture. (2) It was directed primarily at Jews--Hitler himself wrote that his real war was against Judaism and the idea of absolute morality, the antithesis of amoral nationalism. (see his discussions with his friend, Hermann Rauschning) (3) It happened just 50 years ago, which is recent. It is important to mention other attempts at mass extermination or national destruction, such as Armenian, Cambodian, East Timorese, Kurdish, Native Americans, Stalin's purges, etc. One should also mention other large scale injustices such as Black African enslavement in America, but to make clear that even if it is not the same as the Holocaust, it's still a moral problem.
Subject: Question 15.2: Where can I get information on the Holocaust? Answer: Additional information may be found in the [5]Antisemitism Reading List, found at [6] Information is also available on the newsgroup [7]soc.culture.jewish.holocaust, which is a storagehouse for all kinds of information from various sources on the Holocaust in Europe that occurred between 1942-1945 (along with the events leading up to it that happened in the early 30's). In that group you will find Holocaust materials from both personal testimonies of survivors and their families and "hard" facts from historians and observers. The newsgroup has a archive at [8] The [9]Nizkor Project (An Electronic Holocaust Educational Resource) [Home Page: <>] has also made the following information on the Holocaust available; it can be used to answer the "revisionists": * A two-part FAQ on Auschwitz. The URL for [10]part 1 is: <>. The URL for [11]part 2 is: <>. * A two-part FAQ on Operation Reinhard -- A Layman's Guide to Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The URL for [12]part 1 is < >. The URL for [13]part 2 is < >. * A two-part FAQ on the Institute for Historical Review. The URL for [14]part 1 is <>. The URL for [15]part 2 is <>. * A two-part FAQ that provides common answers to the various revisionists claims that the Holocaust never occured. The URL for [16]part 1 is < 1>. The URL for [17]part 2 is < 2>. If you are using WWW or Mosaic, the relevant pointer is: [18] The Nizkor Project also offers a direct and well-documented response to the IHR's "66 Questions & Answers About the Holocaust," at [19]<>. The Nizkor Project's archives are now searchable, using URL <[20]>. Alas, Nazi-ism didn't end with the Holocaust, and there has been a resurgance of neo-Nazi groups in Germany. Between October 1992 and April 1993, the [21]Simon Wiesenthal Center ([22] conducted a covert operation to determine the strength, financial base, and ultimate leadership of Germany's neo-Nazi movement. Center officials also wanted to find out the links between Germany's radical right and similar organizations in the United States, and to determine the degree of commitment on the part of German police towards the enforcement of laws passed by the German parliament over the years to thwart the resurgence of Nazism in the Bundesrepublik. The results of this operation are documented and [23]available on the net at the URL < ep>. A [24]Holocaust bibliography is also available at the URL <>. It contains thousands of listings for those interested in research. You might also contact the [25]Simon Wisenthal Center: 9760 West Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90035 voice: (310)-553-9036 fax: (310)-277-5558 e-mail: [26] WWW: <> Reference librarian/archivist: Paul Hamburg
Subject: Question 15.3: How do I get tickets to see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum? Answer: Opened in April 1993, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., summons all who enter its portals to rise to an important and extraordinary challenge: to remember and immortalize the 6 milion Jews and millions of other Nazi victims of World War II--Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, the handicapped, Jehovah's Witnesses, political and religious dissidents, Soviet prisoners of war--who were murdered in the most horrifying event of our time: the Holocaust. The main task of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is to present the facts of the Holocaust, to tell the American public as clearly and comprehensively as possible what happened in that darkest chapter of human history. To this end, the Museum has reconstructed the history of the Holocaust through multiple media: the meaningful arrangement of objects as well as the presentation of documentary photographic and cinematographic materials. This museum holds the world's largest and most diversified collection of Holocaust-related objects; but in its display it is a "conceptual museum" rather than a traditional, object-oriented one: it's primary purpose is to communicate concepts, complex information, and knowledge, rather than merely to display objects of the Holocaust, unrelated to the historical context of each individual exhibit. A visit to the museum, or a tour through the virtual exhibition, can be an interesting and challenging learning experience but, at the same time, it also will be a thought-provoking, disturbing, and personally upsetting one. And so it should be. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is a free, Federal Museum dedicated to presenting the history of the persecution and murder of six million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazi tyrrany from 1933-1945. To accomodate large numbers of visitors expected by the museum, and to ensure a meaningful experience for every one, the museum is open on a time-ticket basis, which means that a ticket is required for admission, and that tickets are marked with a specific time and day in order to regulate the number of people passing through the exhibits at any given time. Tickets may be obtained in one of three ways: you can visit or call Ticketmaster at 1-800-432-SEAT and purchase tickets for a specified date and time using a credit card. Currently, there is a $3.50 phone charge and a $1.00 per ticket handling fee. Tickets to the museum are free, except for the handling charges which go directly to Ticketmaster. A second method of obtaining tickets is to go directly to the walk-up window and request them. Demand is heavy, and only a portion of each day's tickets are set aside for walk-up business. The last, and most difficult, method of obtaining tickets is to call your elected representative and request assistance in finding tickets. The Museum is not part of the Smithsonian system, and therefore some Congressmen do not bother to request complimentary tickets from the museum. Some do. The Museum is open from 10:00-5:30 daily, except for Christmas (go figure!) and certain Jewish holidays (to be determined). The telephone number is (202) 488-0400. Their [5]home page is available at [6] .
Subject: Question 15.4: Is there any online information available on Yad Vashem? Answer: Yad Vashem is the Holocaust memorial of the Jewish people. Located in Jerusalem Israel, it was established in 1953 by an act of Parliament. At the core of the Holocaust was the decision to kill the Jews--six million of whom were murdered. These events are of monumental significance for the contemporary world and, by directing visitors to confront this history, we hope to stimulate them to grapple with issues that strike at our basic nature as human beings and to gain insights about our societies and about ourselves. The name YAD VASHEM comes from a passage in the Book of Isaiah: "And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial ... an everlasting name [a "yad vashem"], that shall not be cut off." (chapter 56, verse 5). Yad Vashem is available via WWW using the following URL: [5]
Subject: Question 16.1: Why is antisemitism used to mean anti-Jewish? Aren't Arabs Semites too? Answer: The word "anti-Semitism" was coined in Germany in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr as a more euphonious way of saying "Judenhass" (Jew-hatred), and has always meant exactly that. Its antonym, "Semitism" connoted a positive attitude toward the Jewish people. The word has become too sanitized and too easily misunderstood, which is exactly what Marr tried to accomplish with the word's creation. According to a (now discredited) nineteenth century theory that held that racial groups and linguistic groups coincide, Semites are natives of a group of Middle Eastern nations that are closely related in ethnicity, culture and language. Under this theory, the modern day Semites would be the Jews and Arabs. In ancient times, the Assyrians, Canaanites, Carthaginians, Aramaeans and Akkadians (one of the ancestors of the ancient Babylonians) were also counted among the Semitic nations. It should be noted that many of these groups contributed much to the development of modern culture, in particular the Phoenicians (Semitic seafarers including Canaanites, Aramaeans and northern Israelites), the Babylonians, as well as the Arabs and Jews. One theory that has been voiced among the practitioners of ancient history is that these groups emerged from a common home in Arabia during the early Sumerian period. More likely, they were descended from various waves of people who entered the Middle East, only the last of which brought the Semitic languages. Like the Babylonian king Hammurabi, Abraham appears to have been an "Amurru" or West Semite, a group that spread out from the Levant to as far east as Ur and Babylon. Hebrew and Aramaic are both West Semitic languages. The modern day "Semites" all claim to trace their ancestry to Noah's son, Shem, from whom they take their name. Given that the theory of "semites" and non-"semites" is now discredited, the preferred term to use is "Antisemitism", which has a general connotation of "anti-Jewish". When written in this fashion, it helps to eliminate the confusion with the discredited theory. (The use of the non-hyphenated form is a suggestion of the distinguished historian James Parkes). Emil Fackenheim, the Jewish philosopher, has also adopted this spelling, explaining "... the spelling ought to be antisemitism without the hyphen, dispelling the notion that there is an entity 'Semitism' which 'anti-Semitism' opposes" (Emil Fackenheim, "Post-Holocaust Anti-Jewishness, Jewish Identity and the Centrality of Israel," in World Jewry and the State of Israel, ed. Moshe Davis, p. 11, n. 2).
Subject: Question 16.2: Is there any truth to the myth of the Jewish American Princess? Answer: While there may be a few token women who fit the stereotype, it's a cruel slur frequently directed at Jewish women in general, and not always by Jews. (see William Styron's Sophie's Choice, especially chapter 7, for some very offensive Jewish portrayals, including the JAP.) The most common use of the slur "JAP" is by Jewish men who rationalize their habit of dating gentile women by slandering the Jewish women whom they could be dating. Many who use the term are unaware of its offensive nature, so if someone uses it innocently, politely ask them not to use the term.
Subject: Question 16.3: What is the connection between Judaism and Freemasonry? Answer: The following is extracted from a paper by Paul M. Bessel of Arlington VA that accompanied presentations in February 1989. The FAQ would would like to thank David Kaufman ([5] for providing this information; the full text of the presentation may be obtained from him. The full text is online at [6] Jews were actively involved in the beginnings of Freemasonry in America. There is evidence they were among those who established Masonry in seven of the original thirteen states: Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. A Jewish Mason, Moses Michael Hays, helped introduce the Masonic Scottish Rite in America. Paul Revere served under him as Deputy Grand Master. There were several other Jews who held the masonic titles in the late 1700's: Solomon Bush in Pennsylvania, Joseph Myers in Maryland and later in South Carolina, and Abraham Forst of Philadelphia in Virginia in 1781. Another Jewish Grand Master was Moses Seixas in Rhode Island from 1791 until 1800. There were many other American Jewish Masons in early American history, including one in George Washington's original Fredericksburg Lodge. Jewish Masons played an important part in the American Revolution, with 24 of them serving as officers in George Washington's army. In addition, several helped finance the American cause, including Haym Salomon, a Philadelphia Jewish Mason who with others contributed and raised money for the American war effort and loaned money to Jefferson, Madison, Lee, and others for their personal expenses. Salomon was imprisoned by the British and died in his 40's bankrupt and with penniless heirs. There is evidence that Jews, including rabbis, continued to be involved in the Masonic movement in the United States. There have been at least 51 Jewish American Grand Masters. Today there are many Jews active in Masonry in America and other countries. Israel has about 60 Masonic lodges with 3,000 members. Jews had also been involved to a small extent in the formation of modern Freemasonry in the early 1700's in England. Until then Jews were not permitted to participate in many of the ordinary activities of life. Then the Enlightenment concept of the universality of all people brought about a society where people's religious beliefs did not affect their rights as citizens. Jews were gradually permitted to exercise the rights of citizenship and to pursue their lives as they wished. Many Jews viewed joining Freemasonry as part of their "emancipation" from the old legal and social exclusions. Modern Masonry was as much a product of the Enlightenment as the emancipation of Jews. Many society leaders were Freemasons and if Jews could join this fraternity that would prove they were being accepted. They could also use the opportunities presented by their participation in a social organization with Christians to prove the two could prosper by their association. Freemasonry's philosophy of the brotherhood of all people indicated Masonry would accept Jews as members. There are many common themes and ideals in Masonic and Jewish rituals, symbols, and words: * Belief in G-d, prayer, immortality of the soul, charity, and acting respectfully to all people are essential elements of Freemasonry as well as Judaism, and of course other religions too. * Masonry and Judaism, as well as other religions and statements of ethical standards, teach that we must discipline ourselves and keep our passions in check. Jewish masons follow rituals in synagogues and in Masonic lodges to help them develop this ability. * Judaism and Masonry give the greatest respect and support for freedom of individuals. Judaism teaches that everyone is capable of good or evil and attempts to help us use our free will to choose the righteous path. Masonry teaches that those who are morally fit can find "light" in Masonry if they desire it of their own free will. The concept of exercising free will to accept the law and atone for past transgressions is what Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are about. * Light is an important symbol in both Freemasonry and Judaism. Contrast the holiday of Chanukah with the use of light in Masonry, where it represents the Divine spirit, religious freedom, and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and of the spiritual Temple within us all. * One of the fundamental symbols of Masonry is the Temple of Solomon and the Second Temple, which also figured as the central part of the Jewish religion. King Solomon, one of the greatest figures in Jewish history, is also one of the most important figures in Masonic rituals. While there are many common aspects of Judaism and Freemasonry, it also should be recognized that because of the history of attempts to force Jews to convert they can be uncomfortable about being asked to say Christian prayers or otherwise indicate non-Jewish beliefs. Some parts of Masonry use New Testament prayers, references to Saints, the cross as a religious symbol (although it is stated that the cross is being used as a symbol of religion in general rather than the Christian religion), and one Masonic organization requires aspiring members to swear to support the Christian faith. Jews must deal with these references to other religions by remaining quiet or not participating in those parts of Masonry. Did Masonry always welcome Jews? No. Although a Jew, Edward Rose, became a Mason in a London lodge in 1732, this event apparently excited attention and led to other lodges debating whether they should permit Jewish members. Eventually, significant numbers of Jews joined English Masonry where they were apparently welcomed. French Masonic lodges, and those in different countries affiliated with the French Grand Orient during the Napoleonic occupations, admitted Jews without restrictions. In 1869 a Jew was Grand Master of the Scottish Rite in Paris. However, later in the 1800's French society became more anti-Semitic, culminating in the Dreyfus affair where a French army officer was unjustly accused of treason mainly because he was a Jew, and French Masonry unfortunately also became more anti-Jewish. Today, some parts of French Masonry are officially neutral about religion and do not even require a belief in G-d. In Scandinavia, according to some sources, Masonry is officially Christian and does not accept Jewish members. It is probably not surprising that the country with the longest history of anti-Semitic prejudice in Freemasonry as well as in society is Germany. Most lodges there did not permit Jews to be members, and they even questioned visiting Masonic brethren about their religion at the doors of their lodges and barred Jews even if they were Masons in good standing in other lodges. This caused lodges in England, the Netherlands, and the United States to protest but they did not retaliate against visiting German Masons. German officials feared secret societies as potential sources of subversion, so the Prussian government became involved in Masonry as a means to watch and control it. The future Kaiser Wilhelm I was the patron of the three Berlin Grand Lodges for many years, and he decided that Jews would only be permitted if there was unanimous agreement. Since one of the Grand Lodges was known to be adamant against accepting Jews, this forced the others who wanted to be more tolerant to maintain anti-Jewish policies. In Russia, Freemasonry was also suppressed because of the belief it might be used to support political activity against the Csarist regime, at the same time that Jews were prevented from obtaining rights of citizenship in that country. Various claims were made by those who wanted to keep Jews out of Masonry. Some said Masonry was a Christian institution and Jews could not become members unless they converted. Some said only Christians could possess the good character necessary to achieve Masonic ideals. Others said Masonry has Christian symbols and prayers but Jews could become Masons if they simply complied with requirements such as swearing on the Christian Gospels and eating pork at Masonic meals (both violations of halacha), without having to convert. However, there was also an argument that if a Jew voluntarily complied with Christian practices he showed he was contemptuous of his own religion and had a bad character, and was thus unworthy to be a Mason. Another argument was that Jews preferred to be in their own social groups. It was said they should not try to push their way into Masonic lodges where they were not wanted, would be uncomfortable, and would make others uncomfortable by their presence. Some Jews did join lodges that were primarily Jewish and the B'nai B'rith organization in its early days had a ritual parallel to Freemasonry. Finally, there were the rawest antisemitic arguments. Some of those who wanted to keep Jews out of Masonry said the Jewish religion was inherently evil, or that Jews were racially and genetically evil and could never be permitted in Masonry even if they converted. In general, Freemasonry's attitudes toward Jews mirrors those of the rest of society. Jews became more acceptable from the late 1700's until the 1870's. From that time on, anti-Semitism increased in many countries. This also occurred in Freemasonry, but by then Judaism and Masonry were being jointly attacked. Freemasons and Jews always had critics. Eventually the bigots realized they could promote their ideas by tying Masons and Jews together as objects of hatred. Critics said Freemasonry and Judaism were dedicated to undermining the institutions of existing society, including Christianity and the State, and pointed to the secrecy associated with both as proof of their evil intentions. Masons and Jews were said to be involved in, or benefited from, radical efforts such as the American, French, and Russian revolutions. Masonry and Judaism promoted free will of men, contrary to efforts of those who sought to insure that people had the "correct" thoughts. (This may explain why the Roman Catholic Papacy has expressed its antagonism toward Freemasonry so frequently and strongly since 1738, and why extreme conservatives in other religions also oppose Freemasonry.) Gradually the charge was made that Freemasons and Jews were both evil and they were purposely supporting each others' radical schemes. Ironically, Masons and Jews were also sometimes accused of being too reactionary. Aristocrats often belonged to Masonic lodges, and some German Masons promoted the return of the Kaiser after World War I brought about a republic. Also, some Jews still dressed and acted in the same conservative ways as their ancestors in the middle ages and thus kept themselves apart from modern society. Increasingly Jews and Freemasons were accused of being disloyal to their countries, keeping strange secrets, and designing to take over the world. The ultimate form of this hatred was the sinister "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", which originated in Russia and received wide circulation after it was translated into German in the 1920's. Some bigots claimed this document was a transcript of a meeting of Jewish leaders plotting world domination, in partnership with Freemasons. Although this document was not even a clever hoax, its influence was unbelievably widespread and long-lasting in whipping up hatred against Jews and Masons by many, including Henry Ford in the United States during his long anti-Jewish campaign in the 1920's and 1930's. It was a short step from this to the ideology of the Nazis. Hitler attacked Masons as well as Jews, and after taking control of Germany and other European countries Nazis used the slogan "All Masons Jews--all Jews Masons", and persecuted Masons, Jews, and others. The Soviet Union and other totalitarian regimes have consistently attacked Freemasonry, because they cannot tolerate an organization whose basic beliefs are freedom of individuals and tolerance and generosity toward all people. Dictatorships have regularly attacked and persecuted Masons and Jews, and these attacks on Masons and Jews together are not all in the past. Last year a group called the "Islamic Resistance Movement--Palestine" said that Freemasonry and other "Zionist-affiliated" organizations are about to be liquidated.
Subject: Question 16.4: How do I counter antisemitic postings such as the infamous "Protocols"? Answer: A good starting point is the web page <[5]>. This site contains a number of links with information on how to counter the protocols. Another page that might be of use is [6] This Web site provides refutations to various alleged quotes from the Talmud which are distributed by anti-Semites as well as refutations of other anti-Semitic claims. In a related issue, there is an urban legend circulating about Barnes and Noble stocking the Protocols as a Jewish book. Here is a refutation of that legend, from the fellow who started the protest, Rabbi Eric Silver: March 1999 This will be (I hope) my final statement on the Barnes and Noble issue, and because of its content, I would ask that it be given the widest possible distribution. (I probably don't need to say that. My e-mail box, my fax lines and my telephone have been jammed for days. As many of you know, some weeks ago I contacted Barnes and Noble over the fact that they were carrying "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion" under the rubric of "Judaica" (yes and no-depending upon how and where one looked on the net and in the retail stores,) and that their web site contained a review by a person purporting to be a university professor, attesting to the historicity of the book and claiming that many of the dire predictions and plots in the book were already coming to fruition. Barnes and Noble told me that they saw it as their mission to carry every title in print, cited the First Amendment, and you can guess the rest, so I wrote an e-mail describing the situation, sending it out to the various lists on which I am a subscriber. Friday afternoon I received a phone call from Gus Carlson who heads up the Communications and Customer Relations Department at Barnes and Noble, and Laura Dawson who manages the company's data base for the on-line and retail stores. They had just gotten off the phone after a session with ADL. That call was followed by a phone call from Tom Simon, Vice President of Content Development at the company. They deeply regretted the earlier response I had received, and both wanted to assure me that at no time did any anti-Semitic intent color Barnes and Noble's actions in this matter. I think they are to be absolutely believed on this score. This company carries many books, and each book has its adherents and its detractors. The company's initial response to me was to cite First Amendment freedoms, and indicate that they would carry even controversial books. I would be the first to agree with that position. "Protocols," however, is in a different category altogether, and the three B&N executives with whom I spoke all agree with that. They made plain to me that the company was not aware of the book's true nature at the outset of all this brouhaha, and that had they been, the book would have been classified differently. They also assured me that new company policy would ensure that reviews would be carefully screened to ensure that a spurious review does not pop up on their web site. A bit of clarification is in order: very often a book will be classified by its distributor, and Barnes and Noble will accept the classification. An out of print version of "Protocols" that carries the label "Judaica" will be classified that way on the Internet site because no one at B&N knows any different. That's a far cry from malice. Similarly, if it finds its way onto a shelf in a retail store, there are obvious reasons why the manager would place it in the Judaica area. The title itself is misleading, and pity the poor store manager who obviously doesn't have the time to read every single book in the store. I think we're done with this issue, and in the best possible way. Please-don't boycott Barnes and Noble. They don't deserve it. They are honest book merchants who go out of their way to provide the reading public with the best in books and service. At no time in any of this was there even a scintilla of malicious intent. Occasionally even a good company will slip up, but once B&N became aware of the book's true nature, they acted with alacrity. The fake review was pulled, and the book is being appropriately identified. They have taken steps to ensure that spurious reviews don't pop up on any book that might be controversial, and they have also taken steps to prevent a vendor from classifying a book under a particular heading (i.e., Judaica,) without that classification coming under B&N's scrutiny. Moreover, Mr. Simon has asked me to prepare a review of "Protocols" and he will post it on the web site as the first review. He also proposed that I include URL's to sites that would advise readers about the nature of propaganda, hate literature, and so forth. Lastly, he advised me that the company is considering setting up a new classification called "propaganda," "hate literature," or something like that. That would ensure that hate literature (sic!) doesn't inadvertently pop up in the wrong section. I want to commend Barnes and Noble for cleaning up their own act, and I also want to commend the many of you out there who have taken the time to let B&N know of your concern. More than anything else, it proves that this is a company that listens to its customers, and that's what good business is all about. Rabbi Eric A. Silver Similar comments were raised about, which prompted the [7]ADL to raise the issue to Amazon's corporate office. Here is the result, as [8]documented by the ADL at [9] New York, NY, March 28, 2000... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today that and Barnes & have agreed to prominently place on their Web sites ADL's statement that The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is an anti-Semitic Czarist forgery. ADL said the online booksellers would state that they do not endorse the views expressed in the book or the publisher's description should one appear, which has had instituted for some time. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement: We are pleased that and Barnes & have responded positively to our concerns and those of the public, and have instituted ways to alert their customers to the fact that the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion is a forgery. Since we are not in the business of banning books, no matter how reprehensible they may be, we sought and achieved the best solution to inform book buyers. Both and Barnes & have demonstrated corporate responsibility and we commend them for it. Following is ADL's statement on the Protocols which will appear on and Barnes & "From the Anti-Defamation League: The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, circulated by the Czarist secret police at the turn of the 20th century, is plainly and simply a plagiarized forgery. The Protocols has been a major weapon in the arsenals of anti-Semites around the world, republished and circulated by individuals, hate groups and governments to convince the gullible as well as the bigoted that Jews have schemed and plotted to take over the world." In addition, Barnes and Noble bookstores will no longer shelve The Protocols under "Judaica," but under "World History."
Subject: Question 16.5: Did the Jews kill Jesus? Answer: Official Christian doctrine no longer holds that Jews killed Jesus, although it once spread that lie. Where did the notion come from? In the "New Testament", Jews are held in part responsible for Jesus' death. Some of this position comes from the fact that the disciples were Jewish, and it was a disciple, Judas, who betrayed him to the Roman authorities. Some Christian sources depict a scene in which "the Jews," given the choice of saving Barrabas or Jesus from crucifixion, chose Barrabas. However, the text doesn't tell us who :"the Jews" were; further, assuming this took place (which is historically unlikely given the Roman's behavior), they all couldn't have been gathered in one place. So, again, there is only indirect responsibility. Finally, politically, we know that some Jewish leaders (who were appointed by Roman Government) may have seen Jesus as a political threat. However, the threat was more to the Romans, and the Jewish leaders may have been pressured to silence him. The final decision lay with the Romans, who alone used crucifixion as a means of killing criminals and who alone had authority to impose the death penalty. The New Testament accounts do not agree on the story of who killed Jesus. The Encylopedia Judaica summarizes this as follows. In the first three books, the Pharisees are not mentioned in connection with the trial, and in John, only once (18:3). Only Mark (14:53-65; followed by Matt. 26:59-68) records a formal, Jewish, "night" trial with accusations, witnesses, and a sentence. Luke records a morning hearing before the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66-71) without formal sentencing, and John has separate appearances before Annas (at night) and Caiaphas (in the morning) who conducts an interrogation (18:12- 24). In the entire book of Luke (not just in his description of the Passion) there is no mention of the Sanhedrin's verdict against Jesus, and John records nothing about an assembly of the Sanhedrin before which Jesus appeared. Hence, it seems very probable that no session of the Sanhedrin took place in the house of the high priest where Jesus was in custody, and that the "chief priests and elders and scribes" who assembled there were members of the Temple committee (see also Luke 20:1): the elders were apparently the elders of the Temple and the scribes were the Temple secretaries. The deliverance of Jesus into the hands of the Romans was, it seems, the work of the Sadducean "high priests," who are often mentioned alone in the story. A man suspected of being a messianic pretender could be delivered to the Romans without a verdict of the Jewish high court. In addition, the high priests were interested in getting rid of Jesus, who had spoken against them and had predicted the destruction of the Temple. Mark offers some clues to the historical situation. The public reason given in the placard on the cross (Mark 15:26), recorded in all four Gospels, was that Jesus claimed to be a king, which for the Romans was tantamount to sedition. Those crucified with Jesus are called "revolutionary bandits". Jesus teaching on the kingdom, his association with marginal groups in his society, and his attacks on abuses associated with the Temple made him suspect to both Romans and the Jerusalem aristocracy. Though some interrogation may have taken place before Jewish authorities, the Romans bear the responsibility for any formal trial. All the texts agree that the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate (a.d. 26- 36), ordered the execution (also attested by the Roman historian Tacitus, Annals 15.44). The execution was in the Roman way, by crucifixion. All the books indicate that on the third day after the crucifixion Jesus' tomb was found empty. According to Mark an angel announced that Jesus had risen, and the other books state that Jesus appeared before his believers after his death. Jewish laws on capital trials are found in texts almost two centuries after the death of Jesus (M. Sanh. 4-11), so it is not known whether they reflect first-century practice. By these norms the trial in Mark is not legal, since according to the Mishnah capital trials could not be held at night or on the eve of a Sabbath or feast day (M. Sanh. 4:1). The sentence of death could not be pronounced on the same day as the trial (M. Sanh. 4:1); prior examination of witnesses, as well as independent agreement of their testimony, was required (M. Sanh. 4:5; cf. Deut. 19:15-18); the charge of blasphemy required the explicit pronouncing of the divine name (M. Sanh. 7:5); and trials were to be held in the official chamber, not in the house of the high priest (M. Sanh. 11:2; cf. Mark 14:54). Also uncertain is whether the Sanhedrin had the power to execute for capital offenses during Roman occupation (see John 18:31). If so, Jesus should have been stoned, which was the Jewish penalty for blasphemy. We also know that the early Christians who wrote the story wanted to make the Romans appear less guilty. Another factor to consider: It was Jesus' resurrection that began Christianity. If the Roman's hadn't killed Christ, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to rise (if you hold with the resurrection). In fact, in the texts, Jesus claims all responsibility, and is explicitly the "willing Suffering Servant" Christian theology is that Jesus' entire purpose was to come to die.
Subject: Question 16.6: Can you tell me about the Disputation at Barcelona? Answer: This question refers to the disputation between the Ramban (Nachmanides, not the Rambam) and Pablo Christiani, a Jew from Provence who became a Karaite and later a convert to Catholicism. Christiani had King James of Aragon's ear, and was able to convince the king to host the dispute. It was written up in a polemic by R' Chaim (Charles) Chavel, for which there is an English translation published by Shilo (1983), titled "Disputation at Barcelona". It is also the topic of Rabbi Dr. David Berger's PhD thesis and much of his book "Jewish-Christain Debate in the High Middle Ages", published by Aaronson in 1979. Some historical context is provided in from "Barcelona and Beyond: The Disputation of 1263 and Its Aftermath" by Robert Chazan, Berkeley: University of California Press (1992). Lastly, "The Disputation", a play re-enacting the debate, is available on video from a number of anti-missionary groups. (Try [5] First, the use of "the" is probably incorrect, as there were many such disputations. They started around 1240 CE, when Nicholas Donin (another convert) challenged the local Rabbis to defend the Talmud against challenges of racism and anti-Christianity in the Talmud. They won the battle but lost the war, they won the dispute but the Talmuds were burned by the cartload anyway. Another famous disputation ran for two years. The Tortosa "disputation" (1413-14), between St. Vincent Ferrer and the apostate Geronimo and the local Jewish leaders. In this disputation, they let the Jews defend the gemara, but not attack Christianity. When the French Jewish community fled in the 1300s, and the Spanish and Portugese were force out in the 1490s, the trend of disputations ended. The dispute at Barcelona was near unique in that it let both sides have equal say. The key topics were Christianity, the Jewish definition of messiah, and proving the messiah hadn't yet come. Nachmanides relied heavily on logic, rather than purely citing sources. Again, Nachmanides won the battle, but lost the war--he had to flee Spain. The issues discussed in the debate included: * Whether Isaiah 53's suffering servant described Jesus. * Whether the Talmud, when it speaks of the messiah being alive in its day, meant that the messiah had come. In response to this, Nachmanides distinguished between the messiah being born, and the messiah coming. Moses didn't come until the declaration "Let my people go!" and clearly nothing parallel has happened to start the messianic era. An interesting side impact of this disputation was the result of the Ramban's willingness to use the Christian chapter system for citing verses in the dispute. This played a large role in the acceptance of the system amongst Jews, and its use today. Note that Pablo Chistianity trained under the Dominicans, the people behind the Inquisition. So the connection between the disputation and the later expulsion is probably significant. Also, when looking for books on Nachmanides in the Library of Congress, look under P for "Bonatruc ca Porta", his Castillian name.
Subject: Question 17.1: Are groups calling themselves "Jews for Jesus" or "Messianic Jews[sic]" Jewish movements? Answer: No. Once you start reading their literature that they mail available to members (and on their web pages), it is clear that they are Christian organizations whose intent it to bring Jews to Christianity. Sadly, for many of these organizations, their membership includes persons who are technically Jewish, but who believe and practice Christianity. This is illustrated best by some examples: * Jews for Jesus. The following is a description of the Jews-for-Jesus ministry, from the member profile page of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability ([5] Jews for Jesus is an outreach by Jewish Christian evangelists. Our methods vary from conventional missionary work like personal visitation and tract distribution to large display media ads proclaiming Christ in secular newspapers and magazines. * Messianic Judaism. Messianic Jews are organized into the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America ([6] The description of this organization at the "About MJAA" page ([7] clearly states as a goal: Most importantly--To introduce our Jewish brothers and sisters to the Messiah Yeshua. Both of these organizations, and other similar groups, are clearly missionary organizations whose goal is to bring Jesus to the Jewish people.
Subject: Question 17.2: Is belief in Jesus-as-G-d compatible with any Jewish movements? Answer: No. There are many problems when one tries to reconcile belief in Jesus as the Messiah or the "Son of God" with traditional Jewish beliefs. A good description of the problems is found in the essay "Why Jews Can't Be For Jesus" by Rabbi Shmuel Arkush, Head of Operation Judaism in the United Kingdom. The essay may be found at [5]; some of the key points are repeated below: * Christians believe in the Trinity, that G-d consists of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They say that this three-part G-d is the same as the G-d worshipped by the Jews. However, Torah says, "Hear O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d the L-rd is One." This is the watchword of our faith from Deut.. One cannot reconcile a single G-d with a three-part G-d. * Christians believe that one cannot approach G-d except through Jesus; therefore, all prayers must be in Jesus' name. However, Torah, in the Ten Commandments, says "I am the L-rd your G-d, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me". By praying to Jesus as a mediator, one is putting Jesus before G-d. * Some Christians say that Jesus was a Prophet who came to change the way it used to be. Torah says: "If there arise among you a prophet or a dreamer and he gives you a sign or a miracle. And the sign or miracle comes to pass and he calls you saying 'Let us go after other gods, whom you have not known and let us worship them.' You shall not listen to that prophet or dreamer. For G-d is testing you, to see whether you love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deut. 13:2) All Jewish groups agree that organizations such as Jews for Jesus and Messianic Judaism are not Judaism. Consider the following responsa from the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform Rabbinic organization: Individuals who feel a vague attachment to one or another religion pose no problem for those religious groups who leave identification solely in the hands of the individual. Judaism, however, does not do so. It is not the individual who defines whether she is Jewish but the group. For us in the Jewish community anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate. Through that belief she has placed herself outside the Jewish community. Whether she cares to define herself as a Christian or as a "fulfilled Jew", "Messianic Jew," or any other designation is irrelevant; to us, she is clearly a Christian. It is true that this individual may be somewhat different form other Christians as she continues to follow certain Jewish practices and folkways, but we should remember that various Christian sects do likewise. For example, the Seventh Day Adventists observe shabbat as their day of rest. There are some Black Christian groups who also follow specifically Jewish observances, and there have been other groups like this in the past centuries. The concluding paragraph of the responsa says: [They] should be seen as outsiders who have placed themselves outside the Jewish community. This should be made clear to them and to the Jewish and general community, especially as many such individuals are active proselytizers. Such individuals should not be accorded membership in the congregation or treated in any way which makes them appear as if they were affiliated with the Jewish community, for that poses a clear danger to the Jewish community and also to its relationships with the general community. We certainly do not want these individuals to speak for Judaism in any public forum. In conclusion, we should make the distinction between ourselves and these individuals very clear to them, to the Jewish community, and to the general community around us. This is also the position within the state of Israel. According to the law of the State of Israel, "Messianic Jews" are considered members of another religion and therefore ineligible to make aliyah to Israel as Jews. The "Messianic Jews" took their cases to the Israeli Supreme Court on more than one occasion, and every time the verdict was loud and clear - they're not Jewish!
Subject: Question 17.3: Countering the Question: Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus as the Messiah? Answer: The question above is a typical one asked by Christian Missionaries. The answer is easy, if one understands Jewish beliefs. Jews do not believe that the Messiah is a part of G-d, or Divine in any way, more than any other person. Jews look only to G-d for our salvation, and when the time comes for G-d to bring the anointed king, then it shall happen. Jews do not concern ourselves with the messiah's identity, for the messiah is a person and the messiah's coming does not change our relationship with G-d. Jews do not accept the notion that Scripture "foretells" that G-d would robe Himself in flesh; in fact, to Jews, this idea is idolatry, and we stand against it. The reason why Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah is straightforward: he did not meet the requirements in the job requisition! G-d outlined these requirements in the Bible. The key aspect of proof is in the state of the world.According to the Bible, amongst the most mission of the messiah includes returning the world to return to G-d and G-d's teachings; restoring the royal dynasty to the descendants of David; overseeing the rebuilding of Jerusalem, including the Temple; gathering the Jewish people from all over the world and bringing them home to the Land of Israel; reestablishing the Sanhedrin; restoring the sacrificial system, the Sabbatical year and Jubilee. This simply has not happened. Judaism has no notion of the messiah not doing these things on the first visit, let along needing a second visit to do these things. Whenever these things are described in the Tanach, the description says that the messiah will come and do these things--once. Oh, you want specifics? According to Torah, the Messiah will: 1. Ezekiel 37:26-28: Build the Third Temple 2. Isaiah 43:5-6: Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel 3. Isaiah 2:4: Usher in an era of world peace, and end all hatred, oppression, suffering and disease. "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall man learn war anymore." 4. Zechariah 14:9: Spread universal knowledge of the G-d of Israel - uniting the entire human race as one: "G-d will be King over all the world--on that day, G-d will be One and His Name will be One" Jesus fulfilled none of these messianic prophecies. Additionally: * Jesus was not a prophet. Prophecy could only exist in Israel when the land is inhabited by a majority of world Jewry. During the time of Ezra (~300 BCE) the majority of Jews refused to move from Babylon to Israel, thus prophecy ended upon the death of the last prophets (Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi). Jesus appeared on the scene approximately 350 years after prophecy had ended. * Jesus was not descended from King David. Per Genesis 49:10 and Isaiah 11:1, the Messiah must be descended on his father's side from King David. However, according to the Christian claim that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth, he had no father -- and thus could not have possibly fulfilled the messianic requirement of being descended on his father's side from King David! The Christian idea of a virgin birth is derived from a verse in Isaiah describing an "alma" as giving birth. The word "alma" has always meant a young woman, but Christian theologians came centuries later and translated it as "virgin." This accords Jesus' birth with the first century pagan idea of mortals being impregnated by G-ds. * Tradition teaches that the Messiah will lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance. Deut. 13:1-4 states that all mitzvahs remain binding forever, and anyone coming to change the Torah is immediately identified as a false prophet. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus contradicts the Torah and states its commandments are no longer applicable. (John 1:45 and 9:16, Acts 3:22 and 7:37) In Christianity, the role of the messiah was redefined in order to fit the man's career as written by his followers. As Jesus was said to have been resurrected, the Bible was examined with the purpose of finding evidence that the messiah would be killed without bringing peace to the world or redemption to Israel. There was therefore the expectation of a second coming, at which time Jesus would carry out the task expected of the messiah (because he obviously didn't do it the first time). This also required creation of an explanation for the first coming and its catastrophic end. The net result of all of this was to shift the function of the messiah from a visible level where it could be tested (as in Tanach, what Christians call the "Old Testament") to an invisible level where it could not. As a result of this reworking, the messiah's goal the first time around was changed from the redemption of Israel to the atonement for "original sin". A reworking of Biblical themes. There were also mistakes with respect to Jesus's death and its foretelling. Psalms 22:17 says, "Like a lion, they are at my hands and feet." The Hebrew word ki-ari (like a lion) is grammatically similar to the word "gouged." Thus Christianity reads the verse as a reference to crucifixion: "They pierced my hands and feet." Christians also claim that Isaiah 53 refers to Jesus. Actually, Isaiah 53 directly follows the theme of chapter 52, describing the exile and redemption of the Jewish people. The singular form is used because the Jews ("Israel") are regarded as one unit (this occurs elsewhere in Torah). For Jews, if the Tanach's requirements for the messiah have not been fulfilled, then there can only be one explanation: he has not yet come. To Jews, who were often subjected to mockery and contempt when asked where their messiah was, this was a painful statement to make. But it was inescapable. As our forefather's said: Ani M'amin: I believe with complete faith in the coming of the messiah; and though he may tarry I shall wait for him every day." Furthermore, Christianity contradicts Jewish theology. In Christianity, the notion of "Trinity" breaks G-d into three separate beings: The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19). However, the basis of Jewish belief is captured in the Shema: "Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is ONE" (Deut. 6:4). Jews declare the One-ness of G-d every day, writing it on doorposts (Mezuzah), and binding it to the hand and head (Tefillin). This statement of G-d's One-ness is the first words a Jewish child is taught to say, and the last words uttered before he dies. In Jewish law, worship of a three-part G-d is considered idolatry -- one of the three cardinal sins which a Jew should rather give up his life than transgress. This explains why during the Inquisitions and throughout history, Jews gave up their lives rather than convert. Furthermore, Christians believe that G-d came down to earth in human form, as Jesus said: "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). However, in Judaism, the fundamental idea is that G-d is Incorporial, meaning G-d has no physical form. In Judaism, G-d is Eternal, above time, Infinite, beyond space. G-d cannot be born, and cannot die. Saying that G-d assumes human form makes G-d small, diminishing both G-d's Unity and Divinity. The Torah says: "G-d is not a mortal" (Numbers 23:19). Judaism says that the Messiah will be born of human parents, with normal physical attributes just like other people. He will not be a demigod, and will not possess supernatural qualities. In fact, an individual is alive in every generation with the capacity to step into the role of the Messiah. (Maimonides - Laws of Kings 11:3) In Christian belief, prayer must be directed through an intermediary. Jesus himself is an intermediary, as Jesus said: "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." In Judaism, prayer is a totally private matter, between each individual and G-d. Torah says, "G-d is near to all who call unto Him" (Psalms 145:18). Further, the Ten Commandments state: "You shall have no other gods before me," meaning that it is forbidden to set up a mediator between G-d and man. (Maimonides - Laws of Idolatry ch. 1) Lastly, in Christianity, the physical world is viewed as an evil to be avoided. Mary is portrayed as a virgin. Priests and nuns are celibate. Monasteries are in remote, secluded locations. In Judaism, the belief is that G-d created the physical world not to frustrate us, but for our pleasure. Jewish spirituality comes through grappling with the mundane world in a way that uplifts and elevates. Sex in the proper context is one of the holiest acts we can perform. The Talmud says if a person has the opportunity to taste a new fruit and refuses to do so, he will have to account for that in the World-to-Come. Jewish rabbinical schools teach how to live amidst the bustle of commercial activity. Jews don't retreat from life, we elevate it. So what do Jews say about Jesus, if he wasn't the messiah. The historical Jesus (not the mangod Christianity made him into) accomplished a great deal in turning people away from idolatry and towards a more authentic knowledge of G-d. But he has no special role to Judaism, in fact, no role at all.
Subject: Question 17.4: What do missionary groups believe? Answer: Important Note: It should be pointed out that not all Christian groups conduct missionary activities, and that not all missionary groups target Jews. The questions in this section are focused primarily on those groups that target Jews for missionary activities, and use a Jewish basis for this targeting. ** With respect to the beliefs of missionary groups, their own statements express their beliefs. Although beliefs vary between the various groups that missionize, clear examples of the goals of these groups can be found in the ministry statements for such groups that are on file at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountabily (ECFA) <[5]>: * The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry is an evangelical faith ministry proclaiming the need for personal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ to Jewish people and their Gentile neighbors.([6] * Jews for Jesus: Jews for Jesus is an outreach by Jewish Christian evangelists. ([7] * Light of Messiah Ministries: Light of Messiah Ministries exists for two purposes. First we want to overcome the misunderstanding that Jesus is not for the Jewish people. We want to help our people know that Jesus is our Messiah and that the most Jewish thing that anyone can do is believe in Him. We also want to help our brothers and sisters in Messiah understand the Jewish roots of their faith in Jesus. ([8] * Shoresh USA, Inc.: Shoresh teaches the Church to reclaim its Jewish roots, so that it is encouraged in deeper discipleship and equipped to share the Gospel with the Jewish people. Shoresh reaches Jewish people with the Good News of their Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, so that they will receive Him with joy and fulfill their unique calling to bear the Gospel message to the world. ([9] * Chosen People Ministries: The purpose of Chosen People Ministries is to serve the Messiah in fulfilling the Great Commission with specific emphasis on the Jewish people. ([10] The beliefs of the organizations are also clear once you start looking at the doctrinal statemenst on the organizations websites. For example, one can learn quite a bit about the real Jews for Jesus by visiting their web page at [11], or the home page of the Messianic Jewish Alliance for America at [12] Their statements found on these pages are both candid and Christian: * Jews for Jesus: The Jews for Jesus statement of faith, at [13], says that members of Jews for Jesus believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments [emphasis added by FAQ maintainer] are divinely inspired, contain no errors and are the final authority in matters of faith and life. Although members of Jews for Jesus recognize "the value of traditional Jewish literature," they do so only insofar as "it is supported by or conformable to the Word of God." (Note that, by their definition of the New Testament as divinely inspired, this "Word of God" includes the words of Jesus). However, Jews for Jesus regard this literature (including books such as the Talmud) as "in no way binding upon life or faith." According to this statement, although members of Jews for Jesus believe only in one God, they believe it exists in three persons: a father, a son, and a Holy Spirit (which goes counter to Jewish theology). They believe that God had a physical son, and gave that son for the redemption of the world (again, counter to Jewish theology, but a key aspect of Christian theology). The doctrinal statement goes on to express the belief that Jesus is the messiah (according to Jewish theology, the messiah has not yet arrived), and is "co-equal with God". They believe that Jesus was born through "the virgin birth", led a "sinless life", and they hold with the concepts of Jesus' atoning death, burial, and bodily resurrection. All of these are key Christian theological elements, but not part of Judaism. The Jews for Jesus doctrine believes that all human beings, with the exception of Jesus, are sinners by nature and practice, and that Jesus died for the sins of humanity. Again, key Christian concepts. * Messianic Jews: The Messianic Jewish Alliance for America statement of faith, at [14], says that the Tenach and the later writings commonly known as the B'rit Hadasha (New Covenant) are the only infallible and authoritative word of God. It indicates that they accept the teachings of those documents as their final authority in all matters of faith and practice. These are the approximately the same words as Jews for Jesus; as with Jews for Jesus, they include the words of Jesus and his disciples as "divinely inspired". In terms of belief, although they hold with God as defined by the Shema, they believe that God exists as a trinity. More significantly, the hold with basic Christian doctrine: "Messiah Yeshua's deity (Is. 9:6, John 1:1,4), His virgin birth (Is. 7:14), His sinless life, His atoning death (Is. 53, Ps. 22), His bodily resurrection, His ascension, and His future return in power and glory." They also believe that all Christians are Jewish: "Gentiles who place their faith in Yeshua, are "grafted into" the Jewish olive tree of faith (Rom. 11:17-25) becoming spiritual sons and daughters of Abraham (Gal. 3:28-29)." Remember these excerpts when a Hebrew-Christian tries to claim that his or her practice is Judaism. The reality is that the belief is not Jewish (the Jewish belief is one undivided God, and that the Messiah has not yet arrived) and that the goal is to serve as a witness for Christianity to the Jews ("....introduce to the Jewish people...") If an MJ is technically Jewish, try teaching the MJ about Judaism, which teaches that one should love one's neighbor as oneself, that one should not bear a grudge, that the righteous of all nations have a share in the world to come, that G-d is close to all who sincerely call, and that the Messiah will usher in a time of peace.
Subject: Question 17.5: What sort of deceptive terminology do missionaries use? Answer: First and foremost, groups such as these often usurp Jewish terminology and practices. On the surface, the claim is that they do this because they are "completed Jews". For example: * They no longer call their places of worship churches, but use the words like synagogue, "Beit Knesset", "Kehillah". * They hide all the crosses and use Menorahs and Stars of David instead. * They often parade around with Torah scrolls while praying to Jesus. * Many wear "kipot" (Jewish head coverings) and prayer shawls. * They celebrate Jewish holidays like the Passover Seder, but pervert their meaning by claiming that theirs (Christian) is the real meaning of Jewish customs and traditions. By doing this, they negate, distort, or ignore their real origins and significance. * They call their leaders 'Rabbis'. * They refer to Jesus as Yeshua, to make him sound Jewish. Why do they do this? Recall that such groups consider both the Tanach and the Christian Gospel as the word of G-d. In the Christian Gospel, I Corinthians 9:20, it says: "To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from G-d's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I have become weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." [New International Version] In other words, they're trying to sell Christianity in the guise of Judaism. Christians believe that through faith in Jesus a person is saved. The Christian has the perspective that this is such a singularly important thing, above all and any other thing in life--or, for that matter, in death--that any regard or concern for others (which is a fundamental part of his commitment to and love for G-d) that he persuade others to at the very least Hence, there is a strong emphasis to save people by bringing others to Christianity. For many of them, messianic synagogues are the answer. This allows, in their words, "Jews to become Christians while still remaining Jews and cherishing their Jewish ancestry. Swedish Americans cherish their Swedish ancestry. Chinese Americans treasure their Chinese ancestry. Hebrew Americans ought to cherish their Hebrew ancestry and remain strongly Jewish.". Missionaries proclaim, "I am a Jew. I go to synagogue. I invite you to my synagogue. It meets on Friday evening." They then make those to attend those "synagogues" feel right at home. But recall their mission statements: their goal is to bring the Jew to Christianity. Note that it is not just Jews that feel the practices of these groups are deceptive. The following are some quotes from a FAQ on such groups by Yad Lachim ([5] * In 1977, the Board of Governors of the Long Island Council of Churches (New York) accused "Jews for Jesus" of "engaging in subterfuge and dishonesty," and of "mixing religious symbols in ways that distort their essential meaning." "Jews for Jesus" filed a suit in a State Supreme Court in Manhattan against a 600-member Council. The Rev. Jack Alford, the executive director of the Council, said the suit "proves the point we were making about their tactics." He added: "The mentality of 'Jews for Jesus' is the kind of mentality that has been spawn in some fascist and communist countries." Eventually, the lawsuit was rejected by court. (The New York Times, July 2, 1977) * In the summer of 1987 in Washington D.C. (USA), there was held an Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. Partaking in the conference were representatives of various Protestant churches, Roman-Catholics, together with Moslems and representatives of Jewish organizations. The Conference concluded with an official statement (published in "Interfaith Connector" Vol. 8, No. 2) which stated: "We condemn proselytizing efforts which delegitimize the faith tradition of the person whose conversion is being sought. Such tactics go beyond the bounds of appropriate and ethically based religious outreach. Examples of such practices are those common among groups that have adopted the label of Hebrew Christianity, Messianic Judaism, or Jews for Jesus. These groups specifically target Jews for conversion to their version of Christianity, making claim that in accepting Jesus as the savior/messiah, a Jews 'fulfills' his/her faith. Furthermore, by celebrating Jewish festivals, worshipping on the Jewish Shabbat, appropriating Jewish symbols, rituals and prayers in their churches, and, sometimes, even calling their leaders 'Rabbi', the seek to win over, often by deception, many Jews who are sincerely looking for a path back to their ancestral heritage. Deceptive proselytizing is practiced on the most vulnerable of populations - residents of hospitals and old aged homes, confused youth, college students away from home. These proselytizing techniques are tantamount to coerced conversions and should be condemned."
Subject: Question 17.6: How can these missionaries be countered? Answer: Numerous books have been written on the subject, see the [5]Antisemitism portion of the reading list. Above all else, be prepared. Support Jews for Judaism(r) and other counter-missionary organizations. Jews for Judaism(r) is a Jewish organization worldwide (with branches in Canada, South Africa, and soon-to-be branches in Australia and Israel) which opposes cults and missionary efforts directed at Jews. Jews for Judaism(r) is North America's only full-time educational, outreach and counseling organization dedicated to countering the multi-million dollar efforts of groups such as Jews for Jesus. Their offices serves as Crisis Intervention Centers to help those in need and promote Jewish continutity. They are not specific to a single movement in Judaism; they unite Jews of diverse backgrounds, and have earned the endorsement of a wide sectrum of Jewish community agencies, leaders, and rabbis. Their contact information can be found below: JEWS FOR JUDAISM Website: [6] * Canada, Ontario, Toronto Julius Ciss & Rabbi Michael Skobac 2795 Bathurst. PO Box 41032 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6B 4J6 Voice: (905) 761-0040 FAX: (905) 761-0070 [7] * South Africa, Raedene Rabbi Graeme Finkelstein PO Box 51525 Raedene South Africa [8] Voice: 2711-485-4865 * USA, California, Los Angeles Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz & Mark Sanders [Main Office] P.O.Box 351235 Los Angeles, CA 90035-1235 [9] Voice: (310) 854-3381 FAX: (310) 854-3662 * USA, District of Columbia, Washington D.C. Scott Hillman [10] Voice: (301) 649-5494 * USA, Illinois, Chicago Voice: (630) 415-1874 [11] * USA, Maryland, Baltimore Mark Powers & Scott Hillman P.O. Box 15059 Baltimore, MD. 21282 [12] Voice: (410) 602-0276 FAX: (410) 602-0578 * USA, New York, New York City Gerald Sigal Voice: 212-633-2125 Address: PO Box 117 Forest Hills, NY 11375 [13] * USA, Pennsylvania, Harrisburg Mark Powers Voice:(717) 233-5397 [14] * USA, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Voice: (215) 627-2272 [15] In general, missionaries are closed-minded, obstinate, and illogical, relying upon memorization rather than reason. Debate with missionaries takes place on the [16]alt.messianic newsgroup, not soc.culture.judaism or any s.c.j newsgroup. Other Resources There are a number of other resources available. First, consult your local federation council, and see if they have a Task Force on Missionaries and Cults. Some other organizations that have a web presence include: * Torah Life and Living ([17] TLL also provides a National Anti-Cult Anti-Missionary Hotline at 1-800-572-0372 or 1-877-ANTICULT. TLL provides anti-cult, anti-missionary exit counseling that helps re-expose Jews to their Jewish Heritage, and helps to heal families shattered by messianics, missionaries, and cults. * The Jerusalem Institute of Bible Polemics ([18] This is an organization that reaches out to the Jewish Community worldwide and offers its expertise in dealing with the problems caused by missionaries who seek to win Jewish souls. * Yad L'achim ([19] This organization offers guidance, advice, direction, and solving problems of Israeli citizens, young and old, who have become trapped in the clutches of missionaries and mystic cults. * The Task Force on Missionaries and Cults ([20] The leading counter-missionary and cult organization in North America and is the leader in providing information and assistance to individuals and communities in the U.S., Europe, and Israel * Derech Emet ([21] A group working to save Jews from missionaries and cults. Support is provided in both English and Russian. * Outreach Judaism ([22] An organization dedicated to bringing Jews back from the Church. * Jews Not For Jesus. ([23] Lastly, the Being Jewish web page ([24] maintains a list of Anti-Missionary Web Sites at [25] Dafna Yee also maintains a list of over 80 anti-missionary sites at [26] Note: Jews for Judaism(r) is a registered trademark of Jews for Judaism International, Inc.
Subject: Question 17.7: Who is financing "Jews for Jesus" and similar groups? Answer: The Evangelical Council for Financial Responsibility ([5] is a wonderful resource for seeing what some of these organizations are spending, for the 1997-1998, 1998-1999, and 1999-2000 fiscal years: * Jews for Jesus: FY ENDING FY ENDING FY ENDING 12/31/1998 12/31/1999 12/31/2000 Income: Total: $13,628,190 $16,566,060 $11,653,220 Donated: $ 9,670,903 $11,875,600 $12,742,930 Expenses: Program Services: $ 9,273,284 $10,306,600 $11,272,260 General/Admin: $ 1,923,136 $ 1,847,503 $ 2,123,040 Fund Raising: $ 649,963 $ 914,775 $ 1,166,985 * Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc.: FY ENDING FY ENDING FY ENDING 12/31/1998 12/31/1999 12/31/2000 Income: Total: $ 7,670,172 $ 7,323,415 $ 7,684,293 Donated: $ 5,959,927 $ 5,886,419 $ 5,944,681 Expenses: Program Services: $ 5,167,787 $ 5,287,971 $ 5,769,062 General/Admin: $ 1,466,107 $ 1,466,253 $ 1,490,062 Fund Raising: $ 211,058 $ 235,566 $ 275,042 * Chosen People Ministries: FY ENDING FY ENDING FY ENDING 6/30/1999 6/30/2000 6/30/2001 Income: Total: $ 5,087,207 $ 5,855,787 $ 5,678,173 Donated: $ 4,453,785 $ 5,293,154 $ 6,010,797 Expenses: Program Services: $ 4,178,096 $ 4,926,066 $ 4,902,867 General/Admin: $ 1,044,101 $ 966,480 $ 762,426 Fund Raising: $ 439,296 $ 687,733 $ 1,335,241 * Messianic Vision, Inc.: FY ENDING FY ENDING FY ENDING 12/31/1998 12/31/1999 12/31/2000 Income: Total: $ 1,823,514 $ 1,905,287 $ 2,011,678 Donated: $ 1,246,100 $ 1,345,072 $ 1,355,198 Expenses: Program Services: $ 1,116,585 $ 1,393,008 $ 1,456,944 General/Admin: $ 471,663 $ 486,793 $ 519,746 Fund Raising: $ 43,694 $ 59,099 $ 43,694 * Shoresh USA, Inc.: FY ENDING FY ENDING FY ENDING 12/31/1998 12/31/1999 12/31/2000 Income: Total: $ 812,777 No Data Found Donated: $ 226,095 No Data Found Expenses: Program Services: $ 579,669 No Data Found General/Admin: $ 33,920 No Data Found Fund Raising: $ 3,405 No Data Found * Light of Messiah Ministries: FY ENDING FY ENDING FY ENDING 12/31/1998 12/31/1999 12/31/2000 Income: Total: $ 314,878 $ 420,180 $ 464,260 Donated: $ 261,541 $ 373,115 $ 401,694 Expenses: Program Services: $ 120,375 $ 154,527 $ 232,077 General/Admin: $ 87,444 $ 110,910 $ 153,419 Fund Raising: $ 38,778 $ 48,142 $ 66,729 Some other considerations: * The amount of donated funds does not equal the total income from the group. What are the other sources of monies? * Every member of the board of the UMJC (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations) is ordained and a member of a mainline Christian church. Most are either AOG (Assemblies of G-d) or Baptist.
Subject: Question 17.8: Are the key Christian beliefs derived from Judaism? Answer: Let's look at some of these beliefs: 1. The coming of G-d as man. This belief is clearly pagan in origin. It's Osiris, or Zeus who are gods who appear as a man. There is no basis for this in Judaism. 2. Children carrying the sins of their fathers. In truth, Children de-facto carry the sins of their fathers. Aside from this being a verse, it's a psychological fact. Someone raised by parents who habitually sinned in some way has that "baggage" with them even though the act isn't the child's. Someone raised by pickpockets isn't going to see the evil in it that you or I would. 3. G-d as the father of the Jews. In the Torah, in Exodus, the Jews are called "My firstborn". Note that this does not imply that Jews alone are the children of G-d. A firstborn child is given the most responsibility and for that has the greatest potential for privilege if they are met. Much as the Jews have more commandments to fulfil, but have a special covenant with G-d if they do. (And are punished worse if they don't.) 4. The concept of the sprit or the angel of the Lord. G-d has a Will, in the sense that G-d is not understood as a blind force or law. In that sense of "spirit", this is a Jewish belief. If that's what you mean by "spirit", I'd agree. As for Angels. Angels exist in Judaism. They all serve G-d. With no free will. An angel must complete its mission in the same way as a rock dropped above the ground will fall. In fact, natural forces like gravity are themselves mediated between the Will of G-d and the physical action by an angel. As the Talmud says it, "not a blade of grass lives without an angel standing over it saying 'grow! grow!'. 5. The concept of a trinity. Not Jewish at all. Judaism has an indivisible G-d, which is incompatible with the trinity. Judaism teaches that every person has three parents: a mother, a father, and G-d, but none of us are deified. It's not "natural" that the child of G-d be a god. What early Christians did was take the Canaanite and Phoeician trinity of Ba'al, Asheirah and Moloch (Ba'al, Ishtar and Marduk), which later became the basis of the Greek and therefore the Roman pantheon and grafted that into Judaism to appeal to the polytheistic non-Jews of the Middle East. They also changed a religion that was about law, self improvement, decisions, and man's struggle to redeem himself, and made it about G-d, turning to G-d for salvation from man's inherent fallibility (the original sin).
Subject: How do I obtain copies of the FAQ? Answer: There are a number of different ways to obtain copies of the FAQ: * WWW. If you are reading this on Usenet, and would like to see an online, hyperlinked version, go visit [2] This is the "web" version of the FAQ; the version posted to Usenet is generated from the web version. Note that the version is a copy of the actual master version; if you want to access the master, visit [3] * Email. also provides an autoretriever that allows one to obtain a copy of the FAQ by return Email. To use the autoretriever, you send a retrieval request to [4] with the request in the body of the message. A more reliable way to retrieve these files is through the [5]FAQ autoretriever ([6] For the FAQ, the request has the form: send faq partname For the reading list, the request has the form: send rl partname "Partname" is replaced by the name of the part, as shown in the general index. The following is a short summary of the mapping to partnames for the FAQ: + [7]01-FAQ-intro: Section [8]1: Network and Newsgroup Information. + [9]02-Who-We-Are: Section [10]2: Who We Are + [11]03-Torah-Halacha: Sections [12]3, [13]4: Torah; Halachic Authority + [14]04-Observance: Sections [15]5, [16]6, [17]7, [18]8: Jewish Holidays; Jewish Dietary Law and Kashrut; Sabbath and Holiday Observance; Woman and Marriage + [19]05-Worship: Sections [20]9, [21]10, [22]11: Jewish Worship; Conversion, Intermarriage, and "Who is a Jew?"; Miscellaneous Practice Questions + [23]06-Jewish-Thought: Section [24]12: Jewish Thought + [25]07-Jews-As-Nation: Section [26]13: Jews as a Nation + [27]08-Israel: Section [28]14: Jews and Israel + [29]09-Antisemitism: Sections [30]15, [31]16, [32]17: Churban Europa (The Holocaust); Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews; Countering Missionaries + [33]10-Reform: Section [34]18: Reform/Progressive Judaism + [35]11-Miscellaneous: Sections [36]19, [37]20: Miscellaneous; References and Getting Connected + [38]12-Kids: Section [39]21: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions + [40]mail-order: Mail Order Judaica The following is a short summary of the mapping of partnames for the Reading Lists: + [41]general: Introduction and General. Includes book sources, starting points for beginners, starting points for non-Jewish readers, General Judaism, General Jewish Thought, General Jewish History, Contemporary Judaism, Noachide Laws, Torah and Torah Commentary, Talmud and Talmudic Commentary, Mishnah, Midrash, Halachic Codes, Becoming An Observant Jew, Women and Judaism, and Science and Judaism. + [42]traditional: Traditional Liturgy, Practice, Lifestyle, Holidays. Includes Traditional Liturgy; Traditional Philosophy and Ethics; Prayer; Traditional Practice; The Household; Life, Death, and In-Between; and The Cycle Of Holidays. + [43]mysticism: Kabbalah, Mysticism, and Messianism. Includes Academic and Religious treatments of Kabbalah, Sprituality, and the Jewish notion of the Messiah. + [44]reform: Reform/Progressive Judaism + [45]conservative: Conservative Judaism + [46]reconstructionist: Reconstructionist Judaism + [47]humanistic: Humanistic Judaism (Society for Humanistic Judaism) + [48]chasidism: Chassidism. Includes general information on historical chassidism, as well as specific information on Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Breslaw (Breslov), and other approaches. + [49]zionism: Zionism. Includes Zionism and The Development Of Israel, The Founders, Zionistic Movements, and Judaism in Israel. + [50]antisemitism: Antisemitism. Includes sections on Antisemitism, What Led to The Holocaust, Medieval Oppression, Antisemitism Today (Including Dealing with Hate Groups), Judaism and Christianity, and Judaism, Freemasonry and other rumors. + [51]intermarriage: Intermarriage. Includes sections on "So You're Considering Intermarriage?", The Traditional Viewpoint, Conversion, and Coping With Life As An Intermarried. + [52]childrens: Books for Jewish Children. Includes sections on Birth and Naming, Raising a Child, Family Guidebooks, Upsheren, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Holiday Books for Children, Liturgy for Children, Bible and Torah for Children, Jewish History for Children, Jewish Theology for Children, Israel, Learning Hebrew, and Jewish Stories. Alternatively, you may send a message to [53] with the following line in the body of the message: send usenet/news.answers/judaism/(portionname) Where (portionname) is replaced by the appropriate subdirectory and filenames; for example, to get the first part of the reading list, one would say: send usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists/general * Anonymous FTP: All portions of the FAQ and of the reading lists are archived on [54] and are available for anonymous FTP from the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/FAQ directory (URL [55] Similarly, the parts of the reading lists are stored in the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists directory (URL: [56] ts). Note that the archived versions of the FAQ and reading lists are the posted versions; that is, they are each one large ASCII file.
Subject: Who Wrote the FAQ? Answer: The original version of the Frequently Asked Questions was developed by a committee consisting of Mike Allen, Jerry Altzman, Rabbi Charles Arian, Jacob Baltuch (Past Chair), Joseph Berry, Warren Burstein, Stewart Clamen, Daniel Faigin, Avi Feldblum, Rabbi Yaakov Feldman, Itzhak "Jeff" Finger, Gedaliah Friedenberg, Yechezkal Gutfreund, Art Kamlet, Joe Kansun, CAPT Kaye David, Alan Lustiger, Hillel Markowitz, Len Moskowitz, Colin Naturman, Aliza Panitz, Eliot Shimoff, Mark Steinberger, Steven Weintraub, Matthew Wiener, and headed by Robert Levene. The organization and structuring of the lists for posting purposes was done by [2]Daniel Faigin, who is currently maintaining the lists. Other contributors include Aaron Biterman, A. Engler Anderson, Ken Arromdee, Seymour Axelrod, Jonathan Baker, Josh Backon, Micha Berger, Steven M. Bergson, Eli Birnbaum, Shoshana L. Boublil, Kevin Brook, J. Burton, Harvey Cohen, Todd J.Dicker, Michael Dinowitz, Rabbi Jim Egolf, Sean Engelson, Mike Fessler, Menachem Glickman, Amitai Halevi, Walter Hellman, Per Hollander, Miriam Jerris, Robert D. Kaiser, Yosef Kazen, Rabbi Jay Lapidus, Mier Lehrer, Heather Luntz, David Maddison, Arnaldo Mandel, Ilana Manspeizer, Seth Ness, Chris Newport, Daniel Nomy, Jennifer Paquette, Andrew Poe, Alan Pfeffer, Jason Pyeron, Adam Reed, Seth Rosenthall,, David Sheen, Rabbi John Sherwood, Michael Sidlofsky, Michael Slifkin, Frank Smith, Michael Snider, Rabbi Arnold Steibel, Andy Tannenbaum,, Meredith Warshaw, Bill Wadlinger, Arel Weisberg, Dorothy Werner, and Art Werschulz, and the soc.culture.jewish.parenting board. Some material has been derived from other sources on the Internet, such as [3], [4], and [5] Comments and corrections are welcome; please address them to [6] A special thank you... Special thanks for her patience and understanding go to my wife, Karen, who put up with me hiding at the computer for the two months it took to complete the July/August 2000 remodel of the entire soc.culture.jewish FAQ and Reading Lists. If you think the effort was worth it, drop her a note c/o [7] ------------------------------------------------------------ -- Please mail additions or corrections to me at Questions should be sent to Last Modified: $lastmod End of SCJ FAQ Part 9 (Holocaust, Antisemitism, and Missionaries) Digest ************************** -------

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