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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Holocaust, Antisemitism, Missionaries (9/12)
Section - Question 17.2: Is belief in Jesus-as-G-d compatible with any Jewish movements?

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Holocaust, Antisemitism, Missionaries (9/12)
Previous Document: Question 17.1: Are groups calling themselves "Jews for Jesus" or "Messianic Jews[sic]" Jewish movements?
Next Document: Question 17.3: Countering the Question: Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus as the Messiah?
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                                  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]http://www.ed.ac.uk/~jsoc/chadash/jesus.htm; 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!

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