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Alternative Judaism

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Alternative Judaism or Agnostic Judaism refers to a variety of groups whose members, while identifying as Jews in some fashion, nevertheless do not practice Rabbinical Judaism as most other Jews.

VarietyEdit

Generally, beliefs of these groups are not compatible with mainstream Judaism. Instead, their beliefs fall outside of the traditional views of the Torah and Jewish law. These movements may be explicitly atheistic, or they may incorporate certain elements foreign to Judaism, such as pagan or other religious traditions. Mainstream Jewish movements often criticize alternative groups as “not being Jewish”, as alternative groups often follow ideas that fall outside two important parameters historically apparent in Jewish theology: the oneness of God and God’s non-corporeal nature. [1]

HistoryEdit

Alternative forms of Judaism are nothing new in Jewish history, and have appeared in the past in such forms as the Sabbateans and Frankists which fell outside the common Orthodox and Non-Orthodox (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist) classification of the four major streams of today's Jewish denominations. These may be combinations of secular Jewish culture and Jewish symbolism with non-Jewish religions and philosophies.

Alternative movements within JudaismEdit

Modern alternative movements that have emerged from within traditional Judaism:

Alternative movements outside JudaismEdit

Movements (some of which are syncretic) with origins outside of traditional Judaism:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. "For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews". (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, Aug 15, 2005, p. 9).
  2. Schiffman, Lawrence H. (1993). "Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish Community" (PDF). Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. http://www.jcrcny.org/pdf/sdpp/MEETINGTHECHALLENG2.pdf. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not. It is nothing more than a disguised effort to missionize Jews and convert them to Christianity. It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance…as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism.…Hebrew Christianity is not a form of Judaism and its members, even if they are of Jewish birth, cannot be considered members of the Jewish community. Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbreachable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former coreligionists." 
  3. Balmer, Randall Herbert (November 2004). "Messianic Judaism". Encyclopedia of evangelicalism (Rev. and expanded ed. ed.). Waco, TX: Baylor University Press. pp. pp. 448–449. ISBN 193279204X LCCN 2004-10023. http://books.google.com/books?id=Vjwly0QyeU4C&dq=Encyclopedia+of+evangelicalism&pg=PP1&ots=lJE21xhVeu&sig=297wvbsi3xPri38WiYMElF3Wgm8&prev=http://www.google.com/search%3Fhl%3Den%26q%3DEncyclopedia%2Bof%2Bevangelicalism%26btnG%3DGoogle%2BSearch&sa=X&oi=print&ct=result&cd=1#PRA1-PA448,M1. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism. Jewish groups are particularly distressed at the aggressive evangelistic attempts on the part of Messianic Jews.". 
  4. "Why Don't Jews Believe in Jesus?". Ask the Rabbi. Aish HaTorah. February 1, 2001. http://www.aish.com/rabbi/ATR_browse.asp?s=messianic&f=tqak&offset=4. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  5. Waxman, Jonathan (2006). "Messianic Jews Are Not Jews". United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. http://www.uscj.org/Messianic_Jews_Not_J5480.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Hebrew Christian, Jewish Christian, Jew for Jesus, Messianic Jew, Fulfilled Jew. The name may have changed over the course of time, but all of the names reflect the same phenomenon: one who asserts that s/he is straddling the theological fence between Judaism and Christianity, but in truth is firmly on the Christian side.…we must affirm as did the Israeli Supreme Court in the well-known Brother Daniel case that to adopt Christianity is to have crossed the line out of the Jewish community."</span> </span> </li>
  6. "Missionary Impossible". Hebrew Union College. August 9, 1999. http://www.huc.edu/news/mi.html. Retrieved 2007-02-14. "Missionary Impossible, an imaginative video and curriculum guide for teachers, educators, and rabbis to teach Jewish youth how to recognize and respond to "Jews-for-Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and other Christian proselytizers, has been produced by six rabbinic students at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion's Cincinnati School. The students created the video as a tool for teaching why Jewish college and high school youth and Jews in intermarried couples are primary targets of Christian missionaries."  </li>
  7. </li>
  8. Berman, Daphna (June 10, 2006). "Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus". Haaretz. http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=21820&sec=59&con=35. Retrieved 2007-02-20. "In rejecting their petition, Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon cited their belief in Jesus. ‘In the last two thousand years of history…the Jewish people have decided that messianic Jews do not belong to the Jewish nation…and have no right to force themselves on it,’ he wrote, concluding that ‘those who believe in Jesus, are, in fact Christians.’ The state's position is backed by all streams of normative Judaism, none of which recognizes messianic Jews as Jews."  </li></ol>

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