June 9 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – June 9, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 2 articles on the subjects of Messianic Jews and attitudes towards Christianity. Of these:
1 dealt with Messianic Jews
1 dealt with attitudes towards Christianity
This Review included reactions to the JFJ summer campaign in Israel in light of Moishe Rosen’s recent death.

Messianic Jews
Jerusalem Post, June 4, 2010
This article reviewed the activities of JFJ in Israel in the wake of Moishe Rosen’s death last month. Written by Stewart Weiss, director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Raa’ana, it is of a more antagonistic vein than usually appears in the Jerusalem Post: “Last week, the good citizens of Ra’anana awoke to find their cars plastered with what appeared to be parking tickets. However, on closer examination, the cards turned out to be yet another slick missionary campaign conducted by Jews for Jesus. The message read, in part: ‘Jews, you have been condemned to death. But you can still save yourselves from this terrible punishment – all you have to do is believe in Jesus and all will be forgiven!’ The card also included a coupon for a free book, They Call Him Yeshua. Later in the week, on two successive mornings, Jews for Jesus members solicited cars at the Ra’anana junction, until city authorities were notified and the missionaries were driven off. But rest assured they will be back. Because, as they freely admit, they are missionaries with a ‘holy’ mission: ‘to make the messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide.’ As such, they are driven by an obsessive compulsion to convince Jews everywhere that we erred when we initially rejected Jesus as the messiah, and can only atone for that ‘sin’ and enter the kingdom of heaven by embracing him now … JFJ HAS been at it since 1973, when Moishe Rosen, who died last month – you’ll excuse me if I don’t sit shiva – founded Hineni Ministries … Handing out millions of promotional pamphlets per year, its favorite targets are the unsuspecting, the uninitiated and the uninformed: Russian Jews, college students, interfaith couples and, despite our government’s anti-missionary laws, alienated Israeli youth. And its favorite tactic is the ‘love bomb’: bombarding its prey with attention, affection and even cash, until they are ‘hooked.’ JFJ will stop at nothing to advance its cause, often relying on a doctrine it calls ‘divine deception,’ the conviction that one may bend or even break the truth if it’s for a ‘sacred’ cause. It combines clever advertising gimmicks – including posters in Yiddish or ads featuring supposed Holocaust survivors who have ‘found the truth’ – with carefully-constructed propaganda campaigns. Knowing that Jews have a visceral negativity toward proselytizers, JFJ hides its true identity behind code-names like ‘Messianic Jews’ or ‘completed Jews,’ insisting that one can retain his observance of Jewish laws and customs, while at the same time affirming Jesus as the messiah … Israel rightly denies them automatic citizenship under the Law of Return. Simply put, these people are the theological equivalent of ‘Indians for Custer,’ and should never be confused with real Jews … Now, most of us would simply dismiss JFJ and the other missionary groups as a nuisance to be avoided, a bizarre blip on the religious radar screen. We might put them rather low on the ladder of problems we face. Yet I think it is important that we take their threat seriously, and so I think we ought to do two things: First, let us emphatically declare that JFJ is an insidious, anti-Semitic organization, no less than the KKK or the Muslim Brotherhood … A number of years ago, I was asked by a local reporter to attend a press conference being given by Michael Evans, yet another so-called Hebrew Christian. After giving his spiel, I stood up to refute his arguments. I began by telling the press that, despite his claim, he was not a Jew. He stood up to argue, but I assured the reporters that I could prove it. I took out a Bible – our version, not the ‘new, improved’ edition – and turned to the section describing the commandment of tzitzit, attaching fringes to the corners of one’s garment. I then duly took out my tzitzit to show to all assembled. ‘Now, produce yours, if you are indeed a Jew!’ I said to Evans. Embarrassed, he fumbled for an excuse.”
Attitudes towards Christianity
Makor Rishon, June 4, 2010
In an earlier edition of Makor Rishon, Elhanan Shiloh wrote an article concerning the nature of Judaism – to which several people responded, including David Rokeach (possibly the author of Jews, Pagans, and Christians in Conflict?). In relating to Shiloh’s plea for a modus vivendi between religious and secular against Heschel’s claim that one must be “all or nothing,” Rokeach appealed to the New Testament: “In the New Testament (Matthew 5:17-20), the following statement is attributed to Yeshu: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished’ [vv. 17-18]. In contrast, Paul, the true founder of the Christian sect, made very different statements. Paul failed in his ‘missionary’ attempts amongst the Jews but was successful amongst the Gentiles. Accordingly, in order to attract them, he determined that the Gentiles were absolved from observing the commandments of the Torah, faith in Yeshu being sufficient for them. In his efforts to prove this by forced exegesis of the Tanakh, Paul was helped by the Septuagint version – the early Greek translation of the Bible. Thus, for example, in his letter to the Galatians (3:10-11), Paul writes: ‘All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is [everyone] who does not continue to do [everything] written in the Book of the Law” (Dt. 27:27).’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Paul’s claim is based on the term ‘everyone,’ which is added in the Septuagint: Because no one is able to keep all the practical commandments, in Paul’s view this means that they should be abolished entirely.”