Question about Judaism...TIA - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-18-2006, 03:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Abby View Post
I'm hesitant to write this stuff, because I really don't want to offend anyone, but I think from the standpoint of many of the Jewish mamas on this thread we sort of feel like we're beating our heads against a wall. Each and every person is welcome to practice spirituality however they wish, but from the viewpoint of normative Judaism (which I think is what the OP was asking about) belief in a messiah having already come places you outside the belief system of normative Judaism. While you (the generic you) might be technically Jewish (if your mom was or you converted) you are not practicing normative Judaism.
Yes, I think we are talking about our right to self-definition.

Since rabbinic Judaism is normative Judaism (and that includes Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Hasidic and Mitnagdic Judaism!) we get to answer the question "what do Jews believe about who is a Jew."

Asserting to a group of Jews, "no, it's really okay and normatively Jewish for you to have Christian beliefs, Christianity used to be Jewish"--what's your authority for such an assertion? What is your background in Jewish law and culture? What's the logical connection between the historical Jewishness of Christianity and Christianity today?

It's really annoying, if also a bit comic, to be on thread after thread in which non-Jews tell Jewish people what they believe.

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Old 10-18-2006, 03:59 PM
 
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It's really annoying, if also a bit comic, to be on thread after thread in which non-Jews tell Jewish people what they believe.
:
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Old 10-18-2006, 04:45 PM
 
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Threads that are meant for theological debate should always go in the religious studies forum. I am moving this thread over there shortly. Thanks for your patience.

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Old 10-20-2006, 01:59 AM
 
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Okay this thread is no re-opened.

Please remember the UA when posting. We need to really watch the baiting/adversarial tones. If you feel a post is in violation of the UA, please contact a moderator. Do not take matters into your own hands on the thread. Thanks for all your efforts to keep this thread respectful of all members.

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Old 10-20-2006, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Back to the OP:



But OTOH, most contemporary Christians are descended not from Jewish folks living in Nazereth in 1 CE, but from Vikings, Celts, Teutons, and all manner of other "heathens" who converted or were forcibly converted at some point. But maybe that's not where you were going with this.
Thanks! I didn't know that. Honestly my post was not meant to start any kind of debate. I was honestly curious and not very knowledgeable about this topic. They never went over this is Yeshiva

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Old 10-20-2006, 02:30 PM
 
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Here's a completely different thought. Did you know there is a theory called the Mythical Jesus? It is in opposition to the Historical Jesus camp.

The idea is that, Paul, who is the first "Christian" (altho he did not use this term, as it was not invented yet) to write about this Iesous Christos, did not have in mind an actual historical flesh and blood man. In order to understand this, keep in mind half of the books in the bible attributed to Paul were not written by him. As well, the Acts of the Apostles is a fictional gloss.

He spread his new religion, or a new take on Messianic Judaism, with pagan overtones (there from the beginning, NOT added in the later part of the first century and into the second) to Gentiles only. Gentiles who knew next to nothing about Judaism, besides a passing interest in monotheism.

Peter, who supposedly brought "the good news" to the Jews, did not exist. Nor did the whole folk tale about Mary and her virgin birth (another pagan idea), the miracles, Mary Mag and Lazurus, etc. The narrative in Mark (later greatly embellished by Matthew, who quoted-mined the Hebrew Scriptures to give it more oomph, and by Luke who made Jesus more and more divine) was written as a symbolic story which was taken as actual history as it spread. There were no fact-checkers back then. Travel to the places Jesus would've been known, had he existed, such as Galilee and Jerusalem, was difficult to impossible for people in Corinth, Ephesus, etc.

Therefore, Christianity was always for the Gentiles and any Jews that ever actually believed in Jesus were few to none.

http://www.jesuspuzzle.com/

http://www.entheology.org/POCM/pagan...g_started.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_as_myth
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Old 10-20-2006, 03:07 PM
 
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Therefore, Christianity was always for the Gentiles and any Jews that ever actually believed in Jesus were few to none.
So-- if Christianity was always for the gentiles, why would Paul want to make Jesus Jewish? What's with the whole Jewish angle? Just because Paul was Jewish? It's hard to make sense of why he would want to introduce the mitzvot into the mix, if this was a purely gentile movement.

It's no wonder that this isn't a theory that enjoys a lot of support in the academic world. (Or so says Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Wikipedia.) It just seems like a much more complicated explanation of history than the historical Jesus version.

I figure, if Bar Kochba turned out to be a historical person, there's no reason to think that Jesus was not. In the Talmud they have Bar Kochba acting like a superhero, but that doesn't make him not a real person. I guess that the deal with Jesus in the NT is about the same.

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Old 10-20-2006, 03:40 PM
 
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So-- if Christianity was always for the gentiles, why would Paul want to make Jesus Jewish? What's with the whole Jewish angle? Just because Paul was Jewish? It's hard to make sense of why he would want to introduce the mitzvot into the mix, if this was a purely gentile movement.
Read this book:

The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, written by a late Jewish scholar, Hyam Maccoby.

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It's no wonder that this isn't a theory that enjoys a lot of support in the academic world. (Or so says Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Wikipedia.) It just seems like a much more complicated explanation of history than the historical Jesus version.
Having read a lot of what religious scholars have to say on the subject, and what you have to do to keep your job in adademia, in the theological realm, it's a risky spot (economically) to put yourself in when you take on the MJ position. Yet, as evidenced by wiki and elsewhere, it is something more and more people are exploring, now that we have the Nag Hammadi discoveries, and ever more scientifically conducted archeological explorations.

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I figure, if Bar Kochba turned out to be a historical person, there's no reason to think that Jesus was not. In the Talmud they have Bar Kochba acting like a superhero, but that doesn't make him not a real person. I guess that the deal with Jesus in the NT is about the same.
Yes, but it's certainly a viable alternative to call oneself "agnostic" on the question of whether Jesus existed. The extra-biblical evidence is just not there.

Anyway, I don't want to go on and on. It was just one more angle on whether there were all that many "Jewish" (Judaean? Israelite? pre-rabbinic? pre-Temple destruction? diasporic?) followers of Jesus of Galilee in the first place.

Google Ebionites for more on the (sketchy) info we have on these early so-called Jewish C'ians. The only evidence they existed comes from writings from the 3rd and 4th centuries.
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Old 10-20-2006, 04:37 PM
 
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All right, one more point. You've got an Oxford Annotated? Look at the introductory essay to the Letter to the Romans, called the summation of Paul's theology. It says in that day, before GMark was even written, there was an anti-Jewish trend amongst "Christians", already, even before the "gospels" were written. How long would a Jewish community identify with a cult that was against them from pretty much the start of the movement?
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Old 10-21-2006, 03:16 PM
 
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And just to clarify for some other pps- this discussion is only pertaining to ethnic Jews. I'm not talking about a person who just starts practicing it or even converts formally to it. I'm talking about an ethnic Jew who believes Yeshua is the messiah in a completely Jewish context and is not a member of CHristianity.


Kristi

Hi Mama2B.
I guess you can say that I'm an ethnic Jew who believes Yeshua is the Messiah, but yet I don't really understand people who believe that and yet continue to follow the laws of Judaism and don't consider themselves Christians.
They are fooling themselves.

I don't keep Sabbath, though I do rest on Saturday...yet I have my computer on still. If I go to Messianic Church, it's on Saturday, not Sunday.
I keep Yom Kippur, but not for the same reasons observant Jews do, since I believe in a different source of sin atonement.
I celebrate Passover and I don't eat bread during Passover, I shy away from pork.
But that's about it.
I think "Messianic Judaism" is an oxymoron.(did I spell that right?). You either follow Judaism or you follow Christianity. That's what I think.
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Old 10-21-2006, 03:30 PM
 
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Honestly, it doesn't make any sense. A Jew who believes that Rabbi Schnerson is the messiah is a Jew. A Jew who believes that there is no messiah is a Jew. A Jew who doesn't believe in G-d is a Jew. But a Jew who believes that Jesus/Yeshua is the messiah- even if he continues to live a Jewish lifestyle (eating kosher, going to synagogue, keeping the Torah, etc.) and even if he hates/rejects/avoids Christianity is no longer a Jew?

Christianity did not start until a century after Jesus' death. before that it was all Judaism. Christianity has made Jews hate Jesus because of the way they have misconstrued his words, used his name as a battlecry in the Crusades, Inquisitions, etc. and now Christianity has become a safehaven for anti-semitcs. I can see why Jews hate anything connected to Christianity. However, to say that a person who practices Judaism yet believes Yeshua/Jesus is the messiah is not a Jew is ridiculous. And to believe that someone can stop being ethnically a Jew regardless of their beliefs is also ridiculous. Judaism and Jewishness is not about not believing in Jesus- its about genetics and faith in G-d and the preservation of Torah and tradition. Let's get real.

Kristi
Kristi, you sound so angry. No one above you on this thread said any such thing about those Jews believing in Jesus no longer being Jewish. That seemed to come out of thin air. But regardless, a Jew who believes in Jesus is still Jewish. Are you upset because of the typical Jewish reaction towards messianics? Most of those messianics aren't Jewish to begin with, but the ones who are Jewish, well, they are still Jewish, in the technical sense. Sorry you are so upset. OK, I didn't read any more posts after yours, I just had to reply, it was so off the line of thought already going on and you sounded so upset I fely compelled to answer, so I am off to finish reading this thread now.
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Old 10-21-2006, 03:39 PM
 
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Therefore, to "kick out" those who believe differently is wrong and against Torah.

Kristi
Who is being kicked out of what? Jews aren't "excommunicated" from being Jewish. A particular Jew might be "kicked out" of his family or community, but their Jewish card isn't being revoked. People are kicked out of families and communities for all sorts of reasons all sorts of times.
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Old 10-21-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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A related question from a nice Jewish girl that is embarrassed to admit how little she knows about this stuff....

WHY would someone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah WANT to call themselves Jewish (other than the obvious sneaky proseletizing reason)?

I'm not trying to deride anyone but I could never wrap my head around this question.

Yup, we are the chosen people and all but that doesn't make life easier!
Why wouldn't you call yourself a Christian who follows many Jewish traditions?

I know that may be upsetting to your immediate family, but that doesn't seem a legitimate reason to label yourself something so incredibly counter-intuitive....
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Old 10-21-2006, 10:24 PM
 
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Just a thought from your friendly non-meshichist MDC Chabadnik:

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Also, the bringing up Chabad's meshikhist wing (those advocating the idea that the Rebbe z'l was the messiah) is not helping your argument, Mama2B, because the meshikhist Chabadniks (and there's a contingent where I live that's quite noisy) are considered outside of normative Jewish thought. There are nonChabad folks who won't accept Chabad kashrut certifications because of it, as the least of examples. They cause great embarassment and consternation among nonmeshikhist Chabadniks, who far outnumber the meshikhist ones.
Even those who do not accept Chabad kashrus (which is next to impossible to do, btw, especially in the US), etc., still consider meshichist Chabadniks Jewish, afaik. The belief that the L. Rebbe is mossiach is outside of normative Jewish thought, but for every meshichist I have met, this changes nothing about their observence to something non-halachic. There have been many Jewish groups thoughout the ages that have believed one or another individual to be mossiach. As long as those followers kept to halachic Judaism, they have genrally remained within Judaism and their descendents are counted among Jews today. When they have departed from halachic observance, it is another story altogether. This is why I have no problem with meshichists continuing to be considered fully Jewish and practicing Judaism.

I guess if a Jewish person believed that JC is mossiach (but not G-d!!!), but otherwise kept halachic Judaism, that person would still be practicing Judaism. I think "Messianics" of this type, however, are very few and far between.
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Old 10-22-2006, 12:22 AM
 
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A related question from a nice Jewish girl that is embarrassed to admit how little she knows about this stuff....

WHY would someone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah WANT to call themselves Jewish (other than the obvious sneaky proseletizing reason)?

I'm not trying to deride anyone but I could never wrap my head around this question.

Yup, we are the chosen people and all but that doesn't make life easier!
Why wouldn't you call yourself a Christian who follows many Jewish traditions?

I know that may be upsetting to your immediate family, but that doesn't seem a legitimate reason to label yourself something so incredibly counter-intuitive....
Your questions make me smile in the way, because I used to ask myself this question as well.
Well, I don't understand people with any ethnic background who believe in Jesus but don't want call themselves Christians, but if they are ethnically Jewish: meaning from a Jewish mother, they are still Jews, they just do not observe Judaism.
You know why some Jews who believe in Christ don't want to be called Christians? They are afraid!!!!!!!!!!!! They are afraid of judgement, they are afraid that by calling themselves Christians they stop being Jews (regardless if Jewish blood flows thru their body). It's a scared brainwashed mentality of: "oh no, I believe in Christ. Am I betraying my "Jewishness"?
That's where it all comes down too. That's because Christian churches now are so far from keeping any Jewish background or any of Jewish commandments: like keeping a day of rest on a SAturday. There are far far more gentiles in Churches then Jews. And that's fine. Because Messiah is not going to come until as many as possible Gentiles come to accept him. And Jews are not meant to believe in Christ, that's the whole prophecy.
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Old 10-22-2006, 01:51 AM
 
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A related question from a nice Jewish girl that is embarrassed to admit how little she knows about this stuff....

WHY would someone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah WANT to call themselves Jewish (other than the obvious sneaky proseletizing reason)?
You could be an individual who is trying to create some kind of syncretistic belief. I mean, Christianity is not the only messianic spinoff movement from judaism, it's just the most successful. There are still followers of Shabbatai Tzvi and Jacob Frank, you know, other Jewish pretenders to messianism. (pretenders in the sense of pretenders to the throne.)

I think it's a tough choice for syncretism.

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Old 10-22-2006, 11:52 PM
 
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Just a thought from your friendly non-meshichist MDC Chabadnik:



Even those who do not accept Chabad kashrus (which is next to impossible to do, btw, especially in the US), etc., still consider meshichist Chabadniks Jewish, afaik. The belief that the L. Rebbe is mossiach is outside of normative Jewish thought, but for every meshichist I have met, this changes nothing about their observence to something non-halachic. There have been many Jewish groups thoughout the ages that have believed one or another individual to be mossiach. As long as those followers kept to halachic Judaism, they have genrally remained within Judaism and their descendents are counted among Jews today. When they have departed from halachic observance, it is another story altogether. This is why I have no problem with meshichists continuing to be considered fully Jewish and practicing Judaism.




Yes, that. Have yet to meet a meshikhist (and wow, have I been meeting them lately ) that's nonhalakhic in any way, shape or form.

My understanding is that Jacob Frank's messianist cult just followed its natural course and became Christian. Which is what they were. And Shabtai Tzvi converted to Islam, and there are those who consider themselves still "Shabtai'ans" or something like that, and they're an identifying-Muslim cult. Is my understanding, anyway.














But to get totally OT and side-tracked by the kashrus question, the O-K hashgakhah is ubiquitous in the States, but truly, there are folks who don't hold with it. Really. Hard to do if you're not in Boro Park, but hey, there ya' go. Totally OT.
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Old 10-23-2006, 01:01 AM
 
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Yes, that. Have yet to meet a meshikhist (and wow, have I been meeting them lately ) that's nonhalakhic in any way, shape or form.
I've heard they're pretty intense over there. Gotta love 'em.

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But to get totally OT and side-tracked by the kashrus question, the O-K hashgakhah is ubiquitous in the States, but truly, there are folks who don't hold with it. Really. Hard to do if you're not in Boro Park, but hey, there ya' go. Totally OT.
Yes, WAAAYYY OT, but can't resist. If avoiding OK was the only issue, I can see how that would be relatively easy. I have heard that most of the kashrus agencies (maybe excepting some of the smaller mehadrin/chassidish/what-have-you ones) employ Chabadniks as mashgichim and accept them as shochets, etc. No doubt there are tons of Chabadniks working for the OU, the Star K, and so on. If one only eats a very limited range of hechsherim, it would be possible, but it would be pretty hard. Or maybe people are only concerned when the admin of the hechsher are "a bunch of crazy meshichists".
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Old 10-23-2006, 01:13 AM
 
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Why not just not employ meshichists? (I mean this as question and in the most naive way possible.)
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Old 10-23-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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Yes, WAAAYYY OT, but can't resist. If avoiding OK was the only issue, I can see how that would be relatively easy. I have heard that most of the kashrus agencies (maybe excepting some of the smaller mehadrin/chassidish/what-have-you ones) employ Chabadniks as mashgichim and accept them as shochets, etc. No doubt there are tons of Chabadniks working for the OU, the Star K, and so on. If one only eats a very limited range of hechsherim, it would be possible, but it would be pretty hard. Or maybe people are only concerned when the admin of the hechsher are "a bunch of crazy meshichists".
And according to DH: anytime you eat something from a way-out foreign country, do you think the hechsher company is flying out someone to supervise or are they relying on the local shaliach? (that's probably what you meant )
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Old 10-23-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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Why not just not employ meshichists? (I mean this as question and in the most naive way possible.)


That assumes that the people making judgmental judgments about meshikhist Chabadniks are actually able to distinguish between meshikhist Chabadniks and all Chabadniks. Have learned from experience that many aren't. (And the emes is that until we connected ourselves with various Chabad institutions some years back ... preschool and the very special and holy and loving and wonderful Chabad rebbeim on the Upper West Side ... we couldn't distinguish between them. And a lot of folks in Rekhovot haven't figured it out either. And other places. ) And it assumes that if you went that step of not employing meshikhists, said judgmental people would care one way or the other ... some people just like bashing Chabad.



Am personally not pleased with the whole meshikhist thing, and find it leads to, well, people asking the kinds of questions that have been on this thread ... but have gained some patience with it over the last few years. We all do need the world to be fixed so badly, you know?
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Old 10-23-2006, 02:56 PM
 
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I think "Messianic Judaism" is an oxymoron.(did I spell that right?). You either follow Judaism or you follow Christianity. That's what I think.
I happen to agree with you. However, as a non-Christian, I don't think it's fair for me to decide what is and isn't Christianity. I'm comfortable saying that a Jew who follows "Messianic Judaism" isn't practicing normative Judaism. I don't feel qualified to define whether or not that person is practicing Christianity- that individual's beleifs and practices could be outside the scope of normative Christianity and deserve a label all its own.

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Old 10-23-2006, 04:04 PM
 
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My understanding is that Jacob Frank's messianist cult just followed its natural course and became Christian. Which is what they were. And Shabtai Tzvi converted to Islam, and there are those who consider themselves still "Shabtai'ans" or something like that, and they're an identifying-Muslim cult. Is my understanding, anyway.
I think both groups stayed separate. There was an article about five years ago (? not sure) in the Jerusalem Report about Sabbateans in Turkey. They aren't Jewish or Muslim, but this third sort of mishmosh thing.

(Mishmosh=a less respectful and formal way of saying "syncretistic.")

About the kashrut: I understood that many Hasidim practiced a stricter/slightly different/somehow not the same set of rules for shechita, and that this dates back to the 19th century or earlier. Isn't that the case?

An annoying thing about Judaism is, because it's rules-based, you can create all kinds of rifts and spin-offs by disagreeing about just one thing. Like, matrilineal and patrilineal descent. Like, shechitah (kosher slaughter for meat). Like, matzah. Like--you name it! So here we are discussing big things, like messianic movements, when you could just as easily fracture over something a lot smaller.

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Old 10-24-2006, 05:39 AM
 
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And according to DH: anytime you eat something from a way-out foreign country, do you think the hechsher company is flying out someone to supervise or are they relying on the local shaliach? (that's probably what you meant )
Yes, I did mean that. And sometimes you only have to go to Kansas or some such to be considered "way-out". I hear hashgacha work is one of the top money makers for shluchim located anywhere outside of the larger Jewish communities.
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Old 10-24-2006, 07:03 AM
 
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Wow. I just spent a long time on that Messianic Torah website. The "Biblical clothes" are interesting. If I understand them, they are saying that they don't reject Torah in any way, they just add on a few more books from the NT to supplement their beliefs. Therefore, they are not Christians.

I do find them to be deliberately misleading in their use of Hebrew-- there are many Jews who do not immediately connect Yeshua with Jesus.

I would feel very uncomfortable with them at my Shabbos table (we host religious Christians all the time who are interested in having a Shabbat meal with Jews). Sure J was Jewish, and sounds like he was a great guy, but I don't think their definition of mashiach is the same as Chabad or any other Jews. I can understand them wanting to call themselves something other than Christians, but maybe they should call themselves Messianic Israelites or Messianic Hebrews, because they are not practicing Judaism, and I resent their underhandedness.

The "JuBus" or "HiBus" I know (Jews who spiritually/philosophically identify with Eastern Religions) haven't started their own places of worship or ordained their own Rabbis.

They remind me of the "Black Hebrews" in Dimona.
"The Original African Hebrew Israelite Nation of Jerusalem,":http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/...k_Hebrews.html
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Old 10-24-2006, 12:07 PM
 
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Black Hebrews of Dimona are different because they're not out to convert all the Jews. Not sure if they're into Jesus, but if they are, they don't believe that the rest of the world has to believe in him. It's central to messianic Christian AND messianic Hebrew belief that they have to spread the good news. Which is why I used to get so much junk mail from them.
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Old 10-24-2006, 09:26 PM
 
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Sure J was Jewish, and sounds like he was a great guy, but I don't think their definition of mashiach is the same as Chabad or any other Jews. I can understand them wanting to call themselves something other than Christians
:
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Old 10-24-2006, 09:38 PM
 
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Black Hebrews of Dimona are different because they're not out to convert all the Jews. Not sure if they're into Jesus, but if they are, they don't believe that the rest of the world has to believe in him.
AFAIK, the Black Hebrews are not into JC. I've actually always kind of admired them. I certainly don't think that their religion is Judaism, but I can see the appeal of their beliefs and lifestyle (at least in the ideal of what little I know of it). They believe that African people (or some of them anyway) are from the ten lost tribes. They identify the slavery, oppression, and prejudice against POC with the experience of the Bnai Yisroel (the children of Israel) in Egypt. Unfortunately, there seems to be a sentiment that they are the "real Jews" among them due to this (don't know if this is official doctrine). They have their own version of tznuit (modesty) and promote natural childbirth and veganinsm.

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It's central to messianic Christian AND messianic Hebrew belief that they have to spread the good news. Which is why I used to get so much junk mail from them.
Yeah, I just love getting thick books thrown into my front yard titled Things Your Rabbi Never Told You. Or people ringing my bell, claiming they want to discuss "Torah" with me.
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:14 AM
 
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I happen to agree with you. However, as a non-Christian, I don't think it's fair for me to decide what is and isn't Christianity. I'm comfortable saying that a Jew who follows "Messianic Judaism" isn't practicing normative Judaism. I don't feel qualified to define whether or not that person is practicing Christianity- that individual's beleifs and practices could be outside the scope of normative Christianity and deserve a label all its own.
Wow, nice to see some respect for a different faith on this board.
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:35 AM
 
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I hope I didn't offend anyone with my Q about the whole kosher and who can certify and meshichist/non-meshichist issue.

Can I ask another meshichist question? The one I always ask when people claim that J is the Moshiach? Where is world peace? And do they think the Rebbe z'l is dead or not? :
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