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File:Jews For Jesus logo.png
Jews for Jesus New York by David Shankbone

The New York City office of Jews for Jesus.

Jews for Jesus is a Christian[1][2] evangelistic organization that focuses specifically on the conversion of Jews to Christianity. Its members consider themselves to be Jewish — either Jewish as defined by Jewish law, or Jews according to Jews for Jesus — as "living out their Jewishness."[3] Jews for Jesus defines "Jewish" in terms of parentage and as a birthright, regardless of religious belief.[4] The identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish organization is overwhelmingly rejected by Jewish religious denominations[5][6] and secular Jewish groups[7][8] due to the Christian beliefs of its members. The group's evangelical activities are opposed also by some Christian organizations and scholars.[9][10]

Aims and organization

Jews for Jesus is based in San Francisco, California. Jews for Jesus official mission statement is "to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide." They say that belief in Jesus as Messiah is a fulfillment of the prophecies of Hebrew scripture. Through media advertisements, production and distribution of literature, producing music and organizing person-to-person evangelism, the organization asserts that "a specifically Jewish mission" is necessary, saying "Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for 'them' not 'us.'"[11]

Jews for Jesus promotes awareness of the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith. Their website contains brief descriptions of Jewish festivals,[3] and also runs programs explaining the significance of Passover, Sukkot and Hanukkah, explaining what they consider messianic elements and how they believe these festivals are related to Jesus.

Beliefs

A summary of Jews for Jesus' beliefs:[12]

  • The Old and New Testaments, as originally written, are divinely inspired and inerrant.
  • Recognition of the value of traditional Jewish literature, but only where it is supported by the Bible.
  • God the creator exists as a trinity, is perfect, all wise, all powerful and all loving.
  • Jesus is the Messiah, the second person of the Trinity, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of all humanity, rose again, and is co-equal with God. Jesus will return to earth in the near future.
  • People are saved through a belief in Jesus as savior and an acknowledgment of their sins, not by their achievements.
  • Heaven is a reward for those who are saved; Hell is a place of "everlasting conscious punishment" for the lost.
  • Israel exists as a covenant people through whom God continues to accomplish His purposes and that the Church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer.

Jews for Jesus takes the mainstream Christian positions that Jesus is the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Tanach, and that Jesus is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity.

According to an article on Jews for Jesus by B. Robinson of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,

Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. ... They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a "covenant people." They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.[10]

Background

One of the most important Jewish principles of faith is the belief in one God and one God only with no partnership of any kind (see Deuteronomy 6:4), and belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or Christ, is held as incompatible with Judaism.[6][13]

In his book A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson describes the schism between Jews and Christians caused by a divergence from this principle:

To the question, Was Jesus God or man?, the Christians therefore answered: both. After 70 AD, their answer was unanimous and increasingly emphatic. This made a complete breach with Judaism inevitable.[14]

Jews for Jesus believes it is entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures[15] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism: "While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures."[16]

According to a common belief in Judaism, these "indications" are based on mistranslations[17][18][19] and Jesus did not fulfill the qualifications for Jewish Messiah. The vision of God as a trinity is seen by Judaism as a deviation from monotheism and therefore is rejected.[20]

America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains "[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense."[21]

Stated core values

Jews for Jesus describes its core values in the following way:

They commit to:

  • Direct Jewish evangelism as their priority
  • An apostolic lifestyle of availability, vulnerability and mobility
  • Striving for excellence in all that they do
  • Deploying only front-line missionaries who are Jewish or married to Jews
  • Principle-based operations and practice
  • Accountability to their mission family and the body of Messiah
  • Integrity and faithfulness
  • Creativity in their staff
  • Stepping out in courageous faith and taking risks for God.[22]

Understanding that they:

  • are under the authority of God and His word
  • desire to honor Messiah Y'shua and
  • are dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit

Leadership, funding and outreach

The organization was founded under the name Hineni Ministries in 1973 by Moishe Rosen, an ordained Baptist minister[23] who was born Jewish and converted to Christianity at the age of 17.[24] Rosen remained its executive director until May 1996 when he was replaced by David Brickner,[10] who, though having some Jewish ancestry, is not Jewish according to Jewish Law.[25]

Jews for Jesus is funded by donations from fellow Christians.[26][27] It has a full-time staff of 150 employees running branch offices in nine cities across the United States.[10] There are also branch offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada (in Montreal and Toronto), France, Germany (in Essen), Israel, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Ukraine (in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kiev and Odessa). In addition to its English-language website, the group has websites in Hungarian, Persian, Italian, Spanish and Korean.[28]

According to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the group's total income in FY 2005 was $17,523,386.[29]

Methods of evangelizing

The majority of evangelism used by Jews for Jesus consists of large mailings and pamphleteering. The organization uses colorful pamphlets and T-shirts to get their message across and is known for targeting populations of Jews which they see as receptive to their message,[30] such as recent immigrants, college students, senior citizens and interfaith couples.

Stephanie Persin writes, "Evangelists in the organization have been trained to recite phrases from the Old Testament and to use Yiddish words so as to convince potential converts that Jews for Jesus maintain Jewish traditions." [24][31]

On their official website, Jews for Jesus says that they give out 8 million pamphlets a year.[32] They use college-age volunteers for much of their evangelism. Each July they send a team of 20 to 30 to New York City, which they say has the world's largest and most diverse Jewish population.[33]

Affiliations and support

Jews for Jesus defends its actions against these charges, stating:

"If a person believes the Bible and believes that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9,10) and then that person declines to tell a Jewish friend about Christ, it indicates one of two things. Either that person has decided that the Jews are not worthy of the gospel, in which case he would be a racist, an anti-Semite and a hater of people instead of the lover of people that God wants him to be. Or perhaps he has judged the gospel as being unworthy of the Jews in which case he has trivialized the passion of Calvary and the awesome significance of Christ's resurrection."[34]

On the Christian counter-cult site Apologetics Index, Jews for Jesus is listed as an orthodox member of the Christianity family.[35]

Jews for Jesus is a member of numerous evangelical Christian groups, including The World Evangelical Alliance,[36][37] the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability,[29][36] the World Evangelical Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada,[38] the Canadian Council for Christian Charities, the Evangelical Alliance of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, the Fédération Evangélique de France (Evangelical Federation of France), the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism.[39]

Opposition and criticism

One of the criticisms of Jews for Jesus surrounds the tactics they employ in their missionary and outreach programs. Critics say that the organization uses vague and misleading language along with deceptive tactics in its attempt to convert Jews to Christianity.[40] These tactics include statements that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish prophecy of Messiah and attempts by Jews for Jesus to interpret core principles of Judaism in an effort to bring these Jewish principles into accord with Christian doctrines.[41] To this end, critics say that Jews for Jesus uses the ambiguity in the definition of "Jew" and "Jewish" to confuse their prospective converts into believing there is a possibility of one being a follower of both Christianity and Judaism simultaneously.[42] However, belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or Christ, is held as incompatible with Rabbinic Judaism. [13]

Although Jews for Jesus believes their views of the Messiah are entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures,[15] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism,[43] these interpretations by Jews for Jesus are rejected by Judaism.[17][18][21][44] Jews for Jesus responds to these allegations by stating that their allusions to "Jewishness" refer to ethnic descriptions and not religious ones.[45]

Jewish opposition

In 1993 the Task Force on Missionaries and Cults of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY) issued a statement which has been endorsed by the four major Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations.[8] Based on this statement, the Spiritual Deception Prevention Project at the JCRCNY stated:

On several occasions leaders of the four major Jewish movements have signed on to joint statements opposing Hebrew-Christian theology and tactics. In part they said: "Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not ... It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance ... as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism ... Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbridgeable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists."[46]

The director of a counter-missionary group Torah Atlanta, Rabbi Efraim Davidson, stated that "the Jews for Jesus use aggressive proselytizing to target disenfranchised or unaffiliated Jews, Russian immigrants and college students" and that "their techniques are manipulative, deceptive and anti-Semitic."[47]

In his 1997 book The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century, Alan Dershowitz wrote: "In America, and in other nations that separate church from state, one's Jewishness is a matter of self-definition ..." but notes: "I do not mean to include former Jews who practice Christianity under the deliberately misleading name Jews for Jesus. A Jew for Jesus already has a name: a Christian."[48] However, it should be noted that Dershowitz was not speaking as a rabbinical authority, most of whom hold that a Jew who is an apostate is still a Jew.

In an interview for Beliefnet, Orthodox Rabbi Irving Greenberg, the author of For the Sake of Heaven and Earth, said:

"But I have to recognize that there are people of ill will; there are Christian missionaries who still believe that Christianity is the only valid religion. There are Jews for Jesus who use the trappings of Judaism to bring people into a religion that teaches that Judaism is finished. Jews for Jesus are worse theologically than the mainstream of Catholicism or Protestantism, which now affirm that Judaism is a valid religion. Jews for Jesus say that it is not. They use the Jewish trappings, but de facto, they are teaching the classic Christian supersessionism--that Judaism was at best a foreshadowing of Christianity".[49]

The author of the book Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History David Klinghoffer expressed his concern in The Jewish Journal: "When Jews accept Jesus, they marry other Christians or their children do, thus disappearing into the Christian population."[25]

Concerning Christian-Jewish reconciliation and Christian missions to the Jews, Emil Fackenheim wrote:

"... Except in relations with Christians, the Christ of Christianity is not a Jewish issue. There simply can be no dialogue worthy of the name unless Christians accept — nay, treasure — the fact that Jews through the two millennia of Christianity have had an agenda of their own. There can be no Jewish-Christian dialogue worthy of the name unless one Christian activity is abandoned, missions to the Jews. It must be abandoned, moreover, not as a temporary strategy but in principle, as a bimillennial theological mistake. The cost of that mistake in Christian love and Jewish blood one hesitates to contemplate. ... A post-Holocaust Jew can still view Christian attempts to convert Jews as sincere and well intended. But even as such they are no longer acceptable: They have become attempts to do in one way what Hitler did in another."[50]

Outreach Judaism

Outreach Judaism, is an international organization that responds directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity.

The organization was founded by Rabbi Tovia Singer. Rabbi Singer's program aims to provide educational resources to individuals targeted by organizations such as Jews for Jesus. As a world renowned public speaker and as one of the top counter-missionaries in the world, Rabbi Singer addresses more than 200 audiences a year. He is the author of the book and accompanying audiotape series entitled Let's Get Biblical.

Jews for Judaism

Jews for Judaism, established by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz in 1985, is the largest Counter-Missionary organization in existence.[51] The name Jews for Judaism is a deliberate parody of Jews for Jesus, as Jews for Jesus is one of the primary missionary organizations that Jews for Judaism was founded to counter.

Messianic Judaism opposition

Some Messianic Jews[52][53] who self-identify as Torah observant object to perceived associations with Jews for Jesus,[54] as encouraging the celebration of traditional Christianity, including potentially not keeping kosher,[55] observing Shabbat on Sunday (or not at all), or celebrating non-Jewish holidays such as Easter[56] and Christmas.[57]

Christian opposition

Some Christian churches see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself and thus object to evangelizing Jews.[58]

Mainline Protestant

Some Mainline Protestant denominations that have issued statements criticizing evangelism of Jews include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,[59] the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA,[60] which said in 1988 that Jews have their own covenant with God.[61] The Board of Governors of the Long Island Council of Churches opposes proselytizing of Jews, and voiced these sentiments in a statement that "noted with alarm" the "subterfuge and dishonesty" inherent in the "mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning", and named Jews for Jesus as one of the three groups about whom such behavior was alleged.[62]

Islamic and interfaith opposition

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, an umbrella organization that includes Muslims, Jews, and church groups from the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, has condemned Jews for Jesus as promoting activities "harmful to the spirit of interreligious respect and tolerance." The conference is also opposed to religious proselytizing in general, though evangelism is an important tenet of Christian theology due to the Great Commission. The conference also denounces the group's "deceptive proselytizing efforts", stating that when practiced on "vulnerable populations" such as the young or the elderly, these efforts are "tantamount to coerced conversions." The Rev. Clark Lobenstine, a Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister and executive director of the Conference, has stated that his group condemns Jews for Jesus and other messianic Jewish groups by name because they "go beyond the bounds of appropriate and ethically based religious outreach."[63]

In the United Kingdom, there has been opposition to the activities of Jews for Jesus from the Council of Christians and Jews which has prohibited members of the organisation from joining its meetings, through the issuing of a Code of Conduct opposing Jewish proselytisation by Christians. In 2003, the sponsorship of Jews for Jesus by All Souls Church, Langham Place, a Conservative Evangelical Church in London, with a launch event on Rosh Hashanah launching a UK mission targeting the Jewish community led to the Interfaith Alliance UK a coalition of Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious leaders issuing a letter of protest to the Archbishop of Canterbury.[64]

A particularly strong opposition has emerged from Muslim imams and leaders in the light of the emergence of "Messianic Muslim" Evangelical missions directed at the Muslim community modeled on Jews for Jesus, with the presentation of Evangelical beliefs in Arabicised terms and encouragement of Muslims to become "followers for 'Isa",[65] and on 10 December 2003, a joint Jewish-Muslim Delegation supported by the Office of the Chief Rabbi in Great Britain together with Muslim imams presented a protest to the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres.

There are also several other organizations that oppose identification of Jews for Jesus as a Jewish group.[66][67][68]

Rick Ross, a self-declared "cult expert", has been critical of the organization as well and has included them on his website.[69][70]

Litigations

1987 - freedom of speech

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Jews for Jesus in a 1987 suit it filed against the municipal agency in charge of Los Angeles International Airport that had barred the group from distributing leaflets at the airport as part of a larger ban on what they described as First Amendment activities. Jews for Jesus challenged the airport's right to institute such a sweeping ban.[71][72]

1992 - civil rights violations

In 1992 the New York Court of Appeals ruled against Jews for Jesus in a suit the organization brought against the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY), an umbrella group representing 60 Jewish agencies in the metropolitan New York area. The case addressed the JCRCNY's 1985 warning to Long Island rabbis that Jews for Jesus was seeking a venue to conduct a Passover seder. Jews for Jesus sued the JCRCNY for violating its civil rights; the decision upheld a lower court ruling that the JCRCNY communication did not "go beyond the proposal stage" and that there was no evidence that any of the Long Island rabbis had actually contacted establishments for the purpose of discriminating against Jews for Jesus.[73]

In a 1992 lawsuit brought by Jews for Jesus against the JCRCNY, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the efforts of the JCRCNY urging Jewish organizations not to patronize a New York country club because it allowed Jews for Jesus to hold its annual convention on its premises were not protected as an exercise of the JCRC's First Amendment rights.[71]

1993 - refusal of automatic citizenship in Israel

In 1993 the Supreme Court of Israel, in a case involving a couple affiliated with Jews for Jesus, ruled that Jews who adhere to the Christian beliefs are regarded by Israeli law as "members of a different faith," and are not eligible for the automatic citizenship that Israel grants Jews. This is done not to try to change Jewish Law, but to preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel - i.e., that allowing in people whose sole mission is to get Jews to become Christians is inimical to one of the core ethics of the country (to be a haven for Jews). In its summary of the ruling, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the belief that Jesus is the Messiah "cannot be reconciled with Judaism" and "marks the clear separation between Judaism and Christianity."[71]

1998 and 2005-2006 - online name

Jews for Jesus has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In 1998 they successfully sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting — registering the domain name jewsforjesus.org for a site criticizing the organization.[71] The domain now belongs to Jews for Jesus and is used for their main site.

In 2005 Jews for Jesus sued[74] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. In September 2006 Christianity Today reported that "Jews for Jesus settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as 'Whistle Blower' on jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site."[75]

2006 - misuse of Jackie Mason name

In 2006 comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against Jews for Jesus, alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is a member of the Jewish faith and not associated with Jews for Jesus.[76] Jews for Jesus has issued a detailed response to the allegation on their website.[77]

A judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian.[78]

In December 2006, Jackie Mason dropped the lawsuit against Jews for Jesus after they issued a letter of apology to Mason. The group's executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted "to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract." Brickner continued that he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, "There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It's like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a Gentile."[79]

See also

References

    • "During my time with the mission, I found Jews for Jesus to be a Christian ministry (or Messianic, if you prefer) with a passion for the good news about Jesus…" Pastor Lev Leigh. Hope Baptist Church. Richmond, CA (Letters From JFJ Alumni)
    • "… Jews for Jesus and other Christian groups who hold to the uniqueness of Christ." (Jews for Jesus Leader Contradicts American Catholic Bishops. Jews for Jesus, Press Release. August 19, 2002)
    • "Clothed in colorful shirts with large writing identifying their Christian group, Jews for Jesus has been keeping up with the 24-hour-running city, handing out tens of thousands of literature and promoting their evangelistic campaign – Behold Your God – through media outlets." (Christian Post. )
  1. Is "Jews for Jesus" Jewish or Christian?
  2. 3.0 3.1 Jews for Jesus - Judaica
  3. "We believe that Jewishness is a birthright. It is inherited from our parents. Our people are not of one culture; we have diverse cultural expressions (Ashkenazi/Sephardi, Georgian/Russian, Ethiopian, Persian, etc.). Our people are not of one religion. While Judaism might be the traditional religion for many Jewish people, Jews are still considered Jewish even though they might be atheists or even if they embrace other beliefs. Those who say that Jews who believe in Jesus are errant Jews or misguided Jews are entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to negate our Jewishness. We are Jews by birth and that cannot change."Jews for Jesus Q&A: Can you explain how one can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time? That seems like a contradiction in terms
  4. "There is virtual unanimity across all denominations [of Judaism] that Jews for Jesus are not Jewish." (Kaplan, Dana Evan. The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism, Cambridge University Press, August 15, 2005, pp. 139-140).
  5. 6.0 6.1 "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, August 15, 2005, p. 9).
    • "To make the record clear, Jews for Jesus is a Christian missionary organization – period." Jews for Jesus: Jewish or Christian? You Decide, Jews for Judaism website, retrieved September 11, 2006.
    • "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." (Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448).
    • "I do not seek, of course, covertly (as sometimes Jews for Jesus do) or overtly, to convert myself, or any other Jew to Christianity…" (Boyarin, Daniel. Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity, University of Pennsylvania Press, July 2004, p. xii).
    • "Certain Christian missionary groups have now set up a front organization called "Jews for Jesus," through which they entice naive Jews to Christianity…" (Stolper, Pinchas. "Was Jesus The Messiah? Let's Examine The Facts", in Kaplan, Aryeh. Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Mesorah Publications, August 1991, p. 293).
    • "Even as I write, I fear that Christian missionaries or, even more insidiously, Jews for Jesus—people who (unlike the redeeming avant-garde of Christianity) believe that Judaism is superseded, and Jewish have no right to exist as Jews any more—will misuse my words. These people, who believe that Christianity has taken over Judaism like some succubus that must now govern the behavior of its host body, seek to abolish the Jewish religion." (Greenberg, Irving. For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity, The Jewish Publication Society, October 2004, p. 97).
    • "It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with 'Jews for Jesus' or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don't use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian." (Lotker, Michael. A Christian's Guide to Judaism, Paulist Press, March 2004, p. 35).
    • "Evangelical Christians are engaged in aggressive and extensive missionary activity among Jews. Among other results, this has given rise to groups of 'messianic Jews', of which 'Jews for Jesus' is the most outstanding example. These are actually Jews who have adopted the evangelical Protestant faith and its precepts." (Wistrich, Robert, Terms of Survival, Routledge (UK), March 1995, p. 343).
    • "Messianic Judaism is a Christian movement that began in the 1970s combining a mixture of Jewish ritual and Christianity. There are a vast and growing numbers of these groups, and they differ in how much Jewish ritual is mixed with conventional Christian belief. One end of the spectrum is represented by Jews For Jesus, who simply target Jews for conversion to Christianity using imitations of Jewish ritual solely as a ruse for attracting the potential Jewish converts. On the other end are those who don't stress the divinity of Jesus, but present him as the 'Messiah.'" "Messiah Truth. Messianic Judaism: A Christian Missionary Movement". http://www.messiahtruth.com/response.html. 
  6. 8.0 8.1 Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish Community
  7. Others who oppose the evangelism related activities of Jews for Jesus:
    • Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.
    • Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448
    • "Today, many evangelical Christian-Protestant groups are spending between 100,000,000 and 150,000,000 dollars a year to transform Jews into Christians. The best known of these organization is Jews for Jesus…". (Berkley, E. George. Jews, Branden Books, February 1997, p. 129).
    • "Thirdly, there is Jews for Jesus or, more generally, Messianic Judaism. This is a movement of people often of Jewish background who have come to believe Jesus is the expected Jewish messiah… They often have congregations independent of other churches and specifically target Jews for conversion to their form of Christianity." (Harries, Richard. After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism in the Shadow of the Holocaust, Oxford University Press, August 2003, p. 119.)
    • "…Jews for Jesus (Jews converted to 'born again' Christianity who are seeking to make more such converts…". (Marty, Martin E. When Faiths Collide, Blackwell Publishing, January 2005, p. 35).
    • "Jews for Jesus, the leading organization dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity, has long been a concern because of its aggressive proselytizing with a deceptive message: that Jews who accept Jesus as the son of God and their savior remain Jewish." Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception, Anti-Defamation League, August 27, 2004, retrieved September 11, 2006.
    • "Jews for Jesus is a sect of a very different nature. This group… has a sole motivational goal of converting Jews to Christianity." Fogel, Keith and Marian E. Conversos of the Americas, Xlibris Corporation, April 2004, p. 169).
    • "Jews for Jesus is an evangelical Christian organization …" Who are the Jews for Jesus? (exjewsforjesus.org)
    • "… its doctrine is strictly Christian in the fundamentalist/evangelical understanding of Christian faith" Is Jews for Jesus a Christian organization, or is it a Jewish organization? (exjewsforjesus.org)
  8. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Robinson, B. Messianic Judaism. Jews for Jesus, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, October 29, 2001.
  9. What We Do (Jews for Jesus)
  10. Statement of Faith (Jews for Jesus) written January 1, 2005
  11. 13.0 13.1 A belief in the divinity of Jesus is incompatible with Judaism:
    • "The point is this: that the whole Christology of the Church - the whole complex of doctrines about the Son of God who died on the Cross to save humanity from sin and death - is incompatible with Judaism, and indeed in discontinuity with the Hebraism that preceded it." Rayner, John D. A Jewish Understanding of the World, Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 187. ISBN 1-57181-974-6
    • "It has always been recognized, for instance, after the rise of Christianity and Islam, that these two religions are incompatible with Judaism and that no Jew can consistently embrace them while remaining an adherent of Judaism." Neusner, Jacob & Avery-Peck, Alan Jeffery. The Blackwell Reader in Judaism, Blackwell Publishing, 2001, p. 8. ISBN 0-631-20738-4
    • "Aside from its belief in Jesus as the Messiah, Christianity has altered many of the most fundamental concepts of Judaism." Kaplan, Aryeh. The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Illuminating Expositions on Jewish Thought and Practice, Mesorah Publication, 1991, p. 264. ISBN 0-89906-866-9
    • "...the doctrine of Christ was and will remain alien to Jewish religious thought." Wylen, Stephen M. Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism, Paulist Press, 2000, p. 75. ISBN 0-8091-3960-X
    • "For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism. To call oneself, therefore, a 'Hebrew-Christian,' a 'Jew for Jesus,' or in the latest version a 'messianic Jew,' is an oxymoron. Just as one cannot be a 'Christian Buddhist,' or a 'Christian for Krishna,' one cannot be a 'Jew for Jesus.'" Schochet, Rabbi J. Immanuel. "Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots", Canadian Jewish News, July 29, 1999.
    • This July, Hebrew-Christian groups such as Jews for Jesus will work to convert Jews to another religion. The Jewish Response to Missionaries (NY Board of Rabbis)
    • Judaism and Jesus Don't Mix (foundationstone.com)
    • Jews believe that "Jews for Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and "Hebrew Christians" are no longer Jews, even if they were once Jews (whatjewsbelieve.org)
    • "If you believe Jesus is the messiah, died for anyone else's sins, is God's chosen son, or any other dogma of Christian belief, you are not Jewish. You are Christian. Period." (Jews for Jesus: Who's Who & What's What by Rabbi Susan Grossman (beliefnet - virtualtalmud) August 28, 2006)
    • "For two thousand years, Jews rejected the claim that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the dogmatic claims about him made by the church fathers - that he was born of a virgin, the son of God, part of a divine Trinity, and was resurrected after his death. ... For two thousand years, a central wish of Christianity was to be the object of desire by Jews, whose conversion would demonstrate their acceptance that Jesus has fulfilled their own biblical prophecies." (Jewish Views of Jesus by Susannah Heschel, in Jesus In The World's Faiths: Leading Thinkers From Five Faiths Reflect On His Meaning by Gregory A. Barker, editor. (Orbis Books, 2005) ISBN 1-57075-573-6. p.149)
    • "... there are limits to pluralism, beyond which a group is schismatic to the point where it is no longer considered Jewish. For example, everyone considers Messianic Judaism and belief in Buddha as outside of the Jewish sphere." ("Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah?" by Rabbi Shraga Simmons)
    • "No Jew accepts Jesus as the Messiah. When someone makes that faith commitment, they become Christian. It is not possible for someone to be both Christian and Jewish." ("Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah?" by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner)
  12. Johnson, Paul (1987). A History of the Jews. HarperCollins. p. 144. ISBN 0-06-091533-1. 
  13. 15.0 15.1 Don't Christians Believe in Three Gods? (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005
  14. The Trinity in the Old Testament by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987
  15. 17.0 17.1 Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah? by Rabbi Shraga Simmons (about.com)
  16. 18.0 18.1 Michoel Drazin (1990). Their Hollow Inheritance. A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries. Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.. ISBN 965-229-070-X. http://www.drazin.com. 
  17. Troki, Isaac. "Faith Strengthened".
  18. The concept of Trinity is incompatible with Judaism:
  19. 21.0 21.1 Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited. p. 100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4. 
  20. Core values (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005
  21. The Real Jews for Jesus. The Leaders by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
  22. 24.0 24.1 Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception. Methods (Anti-Defamation League)
  23. 25.0 25.1 A Tenuous Claim as a Jew for Jesus by David Klinghoffer. (The Jewish Journal) 2006-03-3
  24. "Finances". Jews for Jesus. http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/finances. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  25. The Real Jews for Jesus. Christian Dollars at Work by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
  26. About Us (Jews for Jesus)
  27. 29.0 29.1 Jews for Jesus. Financial information for FY2003-2005 (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)
  28. Targeting vulnerable population groups:
    • "The organization is also known for targeting vulnerable populations of Jews. New Jewish immigrants and college freshman as well as senior citizens and interfaith couples are easy targets for the organization." (Jews for Jesus by Stephanie Persin. Jewish Virtual Library)
    • "Since people are most vulnerable at times of personal change and transition, the missionaries center their efforts on a number of vulnerable Jewish populations, including high school and college students, senior citizens, and recent immigrants." (Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & "Jews for Jesus" New York Board of Rabbis)
    • "Such congregations are designed to appear Jewish, but they are actually fundamentalist Christian churches which use traditional Jewish symbols to lure the most vulnerable of our Jewish people into their ranks."
    (Messianic congregations target Jews by Rabbi Tovia Singer)
    • "Young men and women are particularly vulnerable to evangelicals because so often these adolescents are unsure of themselves, the world around them, and the adulthood that awaits them. ... The elderly are also perilously vulnerable..." (Evangelizing the Jews, Part 2: Who is Most Vulnerable? by Rabbi Tovia Singer (outreachjudaism.org). Also at Aish)
    • "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." (Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups. Frequently Asked Questions and Answers)
    • "Individuals are most vulnerable to these groups and their tactics when they are lonely and hurting, overwhelmed or confused, away from their support system or have lost a loved one or a close friend." (College Programs. Got Friends? by Scott Hillman, Jews For Judaism)
    • "Their efforts here have drawn criticism from mainstream Jews and some Christians, who accuse Jews for Jesus of leading the vulnerable - the young, the old, recent immigrants..." (Jews for Jesus missionaries find warmth, hostility By Matthew Hay Brown (Baltimore Sun) August 27, 2005
    • "Nonetheless, JFJ continues to make this contradictory claim, purposefully focusing on young, naïve, or socially vulnerable populations with their campaigns. College students, recent immigrants (most notably Russian Jews), and the elderly are targets for conversion." (Jews for Jesus offends Jews and Christians By Ethan Frenchman and Seth Mayer, Chicago Maroon. October 4, 2005)
  29. Jews for Jesus by Stephanie Persin (Jewish Virtual Library)
  30. What We Do
  31. SWC New York
  32. Why emphasize witnessing to Jews? (Jews for Jesus)
  33. Messianic Jews | Apologetics Index
  34. 36.0 36.1 Associations (Jews for Jesus)
  35. Members (Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association)
  36. Affiliates (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada)
  37. Associations and Memberships
  38. Jews for Jesus - Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception
  39. Judaism Teaches... or Does It? by Moishe Rosen (Jews for Jesus) March 1, 1997
  40. Jews for Judaism, The Challenge of Missionaries and Cults
  41. "While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures." The Trinity in the Old Testament by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987
  42. Troki, Isaac. "Faith Strengthened".America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices contains "[a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense."
  43. Jews for Jesus, How can one be a Jew and Christian at the same time.
  44. Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & "Jews for Jesus"PDF Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Spiritual Deception Prevention Project
  45. Portland Jews Brace for Assault by 'Jews for Jesus' By Paul Haist (Jewish Review) May 15, 2002
  46. Dershowitz, Alan (1997). The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century. Little, Brown; 1st ed.. p. 324. ISBN 0-316-18133-1. 
  47. Disagreeing in the Service of God
  48. Fackenheim, Emil (1987). What is Judaism? An Interpretation for the Present Age. Summit Books. p. 249. ISBN 0-671-46243-1. 
  49. Ruth Guggenheim (Jews for Judaism)
  50. "I consider Jews For Jesus a Christian organization. Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews For Jesus, is a Christian missionary, schooled in a standard bible college and not trained as a rabbi. The Jews For Jesus organization has worked diligently teaching Jesus to the non-believing Jewish people, but it is Christianity being taught and not Messianic Judaism (in spite of JFJ efforts to make the two terms synonymous). I would like to see evangelism to the Jewish people which includes teaching Torah observance." Ellen Kavanaugh. (lightofmashiach.org). "Actually, We Are NOT Jews for Jesus". lightofmashiach.org. http://www.lightofmashiach.org/notjewsforjesus.html. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  51. "We are NOT "Jews for Jesus"! "Jews for Jesus" is a primarily Baptist missionary group whose sole focus is converting Jews to Christianity. They are not a part of the Messianic movement and have never been in favor of Messianic congregations! We do not approve of their theology, their ideology, or their methods." Rabbi Adam J. Bernay. Beit Tefillah Messianic Fellowship. Fresno, CA. "About Us". beit-tefillah.com. http://www.beit-tefillah.com/about/. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  52. " We are not "Jews for Jesus". We strongly agree with their work of bringing non-Messianic Jews to acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus), as the Jewish Messiah. However, we just as strongly disagree with the belief/policy of "Jews for Jesus"; upon acceptance of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Jews (and Gentiles), are not to obey and follow the Torah(Law)! This contradicts and violates the Tanakh and Messianic Scriptures that speak of Yeshua (Jesus). We believe the Torah speaks of Yeshua (Jesus) and those that love Him keep His commandments." 5twenty8.com. "Statement of Belief". 5twenty8.com. http://www.5twenty8.com/statement.php. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  53. "If you were hoping this article would provide the answer, you will be disappointed. When the question is "How do we work out our Jewish identity?" the answer can only be: "It's personal! Go work it out with the Lord." Maybe that sounds vague and non-committal, but in this we are committed to vagueness, for these are things we believe the Scripture leaves to each believer's discretion." Mitch Glaser. Jews for Jesus. "Lifestyles of the Messianic". jewsforjesus.org. http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/havurah/mm88_01/choppedliver. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  54. "About Christmas, Easter, and Paganism". jewsforjesus.org. http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/2003_12/paganism. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  55. "Christmas is still a Jewish holiday". jewsforjesus.org. http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/havurah/5_4/christmas. Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  56. Christian opposition:
  57. Guidelines for Lutheran - Jewish Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  58. Spector, S. Evangelicals and Israel, 2008, Oxford University Press: Oxford, p. 114
  59. A Theological Understanding of the Relationship Between Christians and Jews, 199th General Assembly (1987) of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
  60. Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception, Anti-Defamation League . Retrieved July 5, 2009.
  61. Conversion Outreach Plan Stirs Outrage. Jews for Jesus Trains 600 for Street Work By David Cho (Washington Post) August 17, 2004
  62. The Guardian Imams join plea for gay tolerance 26 September 2003
  63. See for example Messianic Muslim Followers of Isa
  64. Jews for Jesus by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
  65. Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices. Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.
  66. Balmer, Randall. Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism, Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448
  67. Taking Aim: Efforts to convert Jews draw fire from interdenominational group, The Arizona Republic, 1982, By Richard Lessner
  68. Jews For Jesus (rickross.com)
  69. 71.0 71.1 71.2 71.3 Legal Cases Involving Jews for Jesus (ADL)[dead link]
  70. Template:Findlaw us
  71. Jews For Jesus, Inc., Et Al., Appellants, V. Jewish Community Relations Council Of New York, Inc., Et Al., Respondents
  72. Google Sued for Trademark Infringement Based on Third-Level Subdomain by Eric Goldman (CircleID) December 30, 2005
  73. Christianity Today News Briefs September 1, 2006
  74. Comic sues Jews for Jesus
  75. Press Release: Jews for Jesus and Jackie Mason (Jews for Jesus) August 25, 2006
  76. Jackie Mason Charges Against Jews For Jesus Denied By U.S. District Court, November 8, 2006
  77. USA Today, nymag.com (and many others) quoting an Associated Press release, December 4, 2006.

Further reading

  • Sentenced for Life: A Story of an Entry and an Exit into the World of Fundamentalist Christianity and Jews for Jesus by Jo Ann Schneider Farris (Writers Club Press, 2002) ISBN 0-595-24940-X
  • Hawking God. A Young Jewish Woman's Ordeal in Jews for Jesus by Ellen Kamentsky (Sapphire Press) An excerpt
  • Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America, 1880 - 2000 by Yaakov Ariel (The University of North Carolina Press, 1999) ISBN 0-8078-2566-2
  • Smashing the Idols: A Jewish Inquiry into the Cult Phenomenon by Gary D. Eisenberg (Jason Aronson, 1988) ISBN 0-87668-974-8

External links

pt:Jews for Jesus ru:Евреи за Иисуса fi:Jews for Jesus yi:זשוס פאר זשיסעס

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