HomeCalendarFAQSearchRegisterLog in

Share | 
 

 The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:50 pm

I'm finding this websiteto be a bit concerning. I'm wondering how others feel? "Rabbi" Dr. Richard C. Nichol is calling for a conversion process for people involved in the Messianic movement. He encourages them to tell others they are just "Jewish" without any explanation. He claims that having a process in place for conversion will help the Jewish community take them more serously. The entire idea is a mess but I have several thoughts.

1. Deception.
Will the people who have gone through this process interact with Jews in ways that are not approrpirate without revelaing their status? Just as I believe a non-Orthodox convert sometimes have a responsiblity to share that fact so much more should these "converts" be sharing the fact they didn't have a valid, halachic conversion by any stretch of the imagination. He's laying this out there like Messianic "Judaism" is a legitimate form of Judaism. People who go through the process will believe they are totally and fully Jewish.

2. More problems for genuine converts
Conversion isn't easy. #1 up there leads to more difficulty for those who are sincere.

3. My concern here has less to do with the Jewish community but I would think this could lead to some serious emotional issues. Mr. Nichol claims the reason for opening the door of conversion is because some non-Jewish members of these congregations are feeling psychological and spiritual pain because of their ambiguous (i.e. non-jewish) status. I fail to see how taking Non-Jews and putting them through a conversion process almost no group on earth is going to accept will alleviate their "psychological and spritual pain"?
Back to top Go down
James

avatar

Posts : 101
Join date : 2011-09-06
Location : NC

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:53 pm

I'll be honest; it bothers me.

We had a group of them come to our synagogue a couple of weeks ago. That, in itself, wasn't an issue, but after service they proceeded to tell members of our congregation that pork was kosher and Christmas was a Jewish holiday. Their "rabbi" was trained by the Southern Baptists. Everyone has a right to worship as they please, but I have a problem with Christians trying to pass themselves off as Jewish. Especially when they are so often fronts for evangelical Christian proselytizing.
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:41 pm

James wrote:
I'll be honest; it bothers me.

We had a group of them come to our synagogue a couple of weeks ago. That, in itself, wasn't an issue, but after service they proceeded to tell members of our congregation that pork was kosher and Christmas was a Jewish holiday. Their "rabbi" was trained by the Southern Baptists. Everyone has a right to worship as they please, but I have a problem with Christians trying to pass themselves off as Jewish. Especially when they are so often fronts for evangelical Christian proselytizing.

Did they ask if they could visit beforehand? The Messianics I've met don't eat pork or celebrate Christmas. But they have a boat load of strange ideas about Judaism.
Back to top Go down
James

avatar

Posts : 101
Join date : 2011-09-06
Location : NC

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:55 pm

I doubt it; we have an open door policy and get groups and visitors all the time. That same night we a group of boy scouts and a group from the local community college.

Judging by the rabbi's reaction, if they did call ahead, they weren't honest about it.
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:09 pm

James wrote:
I doubt it; we have an open door policy and get groups and visitors all the time. That same night we a group of boy scouts and a group from the local community college.

Judging by the rabbi's reaction, if they did call ahead, they weren't honest about it.

I'm curious as to how he handled the situation? I've never seen anything like that happen.
Back to top Go down
James

avatar

Posts : 101
Join date : 2011-09-06
Location : NC

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:24 pm

He got a little upset, but did a good job at keeping his composure; he didn't kick them out or tell them not to come back.

He did ask their leader where he received his semikha; it was when he said it was from the Southern Baptists that things heated up. Our rabbi did a good of job; basically he told them that they were welcomed to believe what they wished and to visit our synagogue, but that we were a Jewish congregation that followed halacha, and that Jesus played no part in our religion or worship.

They did come back the following Friday night, but I haven't seen them since.
Back to top Go down
searchinmyroots

avatar

Posts : 152
Join date : 2011-12-01
Location : New York

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:53 am

Well, I would call that......................................


CHUTZPAH!!!!!!!
Back to top Go down
SaraK

avatar

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-01-22
Age : 27

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:00 pm

Messianics in general bother me. It's like they don't understand the most basic beliefs of either Christianity and Judaism.
Back to top Go down
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:37 pm

I originally didn't have a problem with Messianics (Hebrew Christians), because I thought they were just a different denomination of Christians. Because, in all honesty, Jesus was a practicing Jew, and he never said to give up the law. In fact, he said that no one should change one letter of the law until everything he had foretold had come to pass (i.e. the Messianic Age).

Guess what? We're not in the Messianic Age. Starting with St. Paul, Christianity has done a lot of contortions to get around the rule of law. They're not even consistent which laws they will and will not keep (e.g. eat pork, ban homosexuality).

So I was down with a Christian movement that got back to pre-Nicea Christianity. It eliminates a lot of contortions and hypocrisy. (Obviously doesn't fix the problem that Jesus never fulfilled Messianic prophesy, but hey, it's a start.)

Then I listened to Rabbi Tovia Singer's lectures http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/anti-missionary-mp3s/ and discovered it was not just a group of Christians attempting to create Christianity as it existed in its earliest days; it was, instead, a group of Christians attempting to convert Jews by inserting Jesus into everything Jewish.

One thing Rabbi Singer points out is that Hebrew Christians are very welcoming--like most churches--whereas many synagogues are not welcoming. He said that many of the Jews he works with talk about how they never felt welcome in Judaism, and they identify with Jesus as an outcast who was also not liked by his people.

I think that's one thing we as converts have to do--make sure people are welcome and try to spread our love for Judaism to others. While the people in my new synagogue have been much more welcoming than those in my old one, the warmest welcome and friendliest person I've met is another new convert.
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:48 pm

searchinmyroots wrote:
Well, I would call that......................................
CHUTZPAH!!!!!!!

Yeah, really!!
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:45 pm

Mychal wrote:
I originally didn't have a problem with Messianics (Hebrew Christians), because I thought they were just a different denomination of Christians. Because, in all honesty, Jesus was a practicing Jew, and he never said to give up the law. In fact, he said that no one should change one letter of the law until everything he had foretold had come to pass (i.e. the Messianic Age).

Guess what? We're not in the Messianic Age. Starting with St. Paul, Christianity has done a lot of contortions to get around the rule of law. They're not even consistent which laws they will and will not keep (e.g. eat pork, ban homosexuality).

So I was down with a Christian movement that got back to pre-Nicea Christianity. It eliminates a lot of contortions and hypocrisy. (Obviously doesn't fix the problem that Jesus never fulfilled Messianic prophesy, but hey, it's a start.)

Then I listened to Rabbi Tovia Singer's lectures http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/anti-missionary-mp3s/ and discovered it was not just a group of Christians attempting to create Christianity as it existed in its earliest days; it was, instead, a group of Christians attempting to convert Jews by inserting Jesus into everything Jewish.

One thing Rabbi Singer points out is that Hebrew Christians are very welcoming--like most churches--whereas many synagogues are not welcoming. He said that many of the Jews he works with talk about how they never felt welcome in Judaism, and they identify with Jesus as an outcast who was also not liked by his people.

There seem to be two groups who call themselves Messianic Jews. The first was meant to be a group of Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah and their divine savior. Their purpose is to share their experience with other Jews in hopes they too will accept Jesus as their messiah. I think this is what you are talking about, Mychal? Their goal is to convert Jews. They are the one's who like to use the phrase "completed Jew". They stick Jesus into everything. They have many Non-Jewish members in their congregations but their ultimate goal like you said, is to convert Jews. They tend to be fairly supportive of the J4J groups.

Then we have the second group. I've met many involved in this second group over the last few years on the internet. They are uh, at odds with the first group to say the least. The second group would like to see Jews "saved" but they don't make it a priority. Where group #1 is very much about outreach to Jews group #2 is more obsessed with trying to look like they are Jewish even when they are not. This group believes that once a person accepts Jesus they are now a part of the Jewish people. Still a Non-Jew but a part of the Jewish family. You will find them talking about being "biblically kosher" which means they don't eat pork, shrimp, etc but they do mix meat and milk (though some do not). They will talk about family purity and how they follow it. They insist on "keeping the feast days". They rid their house of chametz for Pesach. They believe they are commanded by God to circumcise all their baby boys. They call Jesus "yeshua" and get annoyed when others insist on calling him Jesus. There are probably are some Jews involved in this movement but it appears to me to be largly a Non-Jewish group. Jews who believe Jesus is their messiah go into mainstream Christianity or sometimes group #1. Here is a quote by someone in regards to believers (that is the term they use so I'm using it) and how they relate to the Jewish community.

Just because gentiles don't become Jews when believing on the Messiah they nonetheless gain what they did not have - promises and responsibilites...A child on this earth adopted into a family takes on the family's name, the family's relatives (good and bad), takes on the family's traditions, and will eventually think and act as the family does. The one thing they do not do, cannot do is take on the family's genetics..Nevertheless, they BELONG to that family in each and every way on a daily basis fully and completely.

This group desperately wants to be Jewish. They try very hard to look Jewish and copy culture and tradition from Jewish groups. It often comes off very strange because they do not understand what's behind it or they mix ideas similar to group #1 (inserting Jesus into everything). They fully believe they have been grafted into the Jewish people. Nevermind that they aren't accepted. How can you be adopted when the family doesn't adopt you? Anyway...

The group that showed up to James' shul were probably in group #1. The second group may or may not disclose that they aren't Jewish. There has been an issue with a few of these Messianics going to synagogues, becoming friendly with other members, passing themselves off as Jews, even participating in rituals...and then being found out as Non-Jewish Messianics. Not all but some of the men will wear kippot and women will cover their hair. They look like Jews. They speak like Jews and that is why it's deceptive. They do not reveal who they really are and seemingly because they don't think they should have to reaveal anything.

Now, there is a group who believes they can convert and become Jews through the Messianic conversion. My assumption these people are some sort of mix and #1 and #2. They want to be Jewish so bad they don't care if their conversion isn't accepted by anyone else. They just want a Jewish identity somehow, some way without giving up their Christianity. But they aren't necessarily going to be honest about it. The article states it clearly. They intend to tell others they are simply "Jewish".



Back to top Go down
SaraK

avatar

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-01-22
Age : 27

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:57 pm

I just came across this blog: Messianic Jews Doing It Wrong
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:06 pm

I should say that of course I have my own bias when describing the groups. They would likely describe themselves different but they do see two different groups. Both sides think they are in the majority. Razz
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:56 pm



Did you see the part about the tallit? I can't remember if it was here or elsehwere we discussed this? I think probably elsewhere. Anyway, a tallit was purchased as a gift. Well, the person put it on later in shul and it was realized it was one of those messianic things. I imagine the person who bought it was pretty much mortified.

Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:11 pm

I was going to mention earlier than Messianics do often have very loose definition of who is Jewish. Your link reminded me.

My paternal great-granddad Anthony Czarnecki was born to Julius Felix (Julian) and Alexandria Andrulewicz Czarnecki; and Julius' parents were Antoni and Katarzyna Danilowicz Czarnecki, and "Danilo" or "Dani'el" came into the Polish and Russian languages from the Jewish people who were exiled to Europe during the Diaspora.

This is her proof she's Jewish.


Back to top Go down
SaraK

avatar

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-01-22
Age : 27

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:34 pm

Dena wrote:


Did you see the part about the tallit? I can't remember if it was here or elsehwere we discussed this? I think probably elsewhere. Anyway, a tallit was purchased as a gift. Well, the person put it on later in shul and it was realized it was one of those messianic things. I imagine the person who bought it was pretty much mortified.


I was googling tallit a while back, just to read about the ritual around it, and one of the first links was a Messianic site. So irritating :/
Back to top Go down
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:01 pm

My mother has a Messianic tallit (I examined it; the tzitzit are tied correctly, but are not the proper length; it also has a cross, Star of David and fish embroidered on it). She also has a non-kosher mezuzzah.

It's not that she is a Messianic--she doesn't use either--but she does seem to have an odd fondness for Jewish things and does more study of the Old Testament than most Christians.

My stepbrother--the Methodist minister--studied Hebrew when he was in seminary. Most everyone else studied Greek or Latin. And unless I misunderstood him, a rabbi who was a friend of his, gave him an aliyah to read from the Torah. It pleased him to no end.

Sometimes I look at them and myself and I think, "Three were called by God. One works sometimes as a Sunday School teacher. One works full-time as a minister. And one lives as a Jew."
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
usuario



Posts : 43
Join date : 2012-01-08
Age : 31
Location : Frederick, MD

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:19 pm

I think people should have the freedom to call themselves whatever they want. If we disagree with somebody else's definition of Jewishness then it is our responsibility to do the checking.
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:21 pm

Mychal, I remember you mentioning your mother had a tallit. Did she buy it or was it a gift? Did she hang her mezuzah? I think many of people have non-kosher mezuzot because they are so expensive.


Last edited by Dena on Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top Go down
SaraK

avatar

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-01-22
Age : 27

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:30 pm

usuario wrote:
I think people should have the freedom to call themselves whatever they want. If we disagree with somebody else's definition of Jewishness then it is our responsibility to do the checking.

The issue is different with Messianic Jews than with converts to liberal movements who won't be considered Jews by Orthodoxy, though. If you profess a belief in Jesus, how can you call yourself a Jew?
Back to top Go down
Mychal

avatar

Posts : 277
Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:35 pm

My mother bought her tallit in Florida at some sort of Christian theme-park in Florida called "The Jerusalem Experience." It's supposed to be a scale model of the Old City.

She did hang the mezuzzah, but she doesn't observe the custom of touching it coming and going.

I am really liberal when it comes to taking a person at their word when they say they're a Jew--far be it for me to question or doubt anyone's Jewishness--but even I have have to draw the line at people who simultaneously claim to be a Jew and believe in Jesus. If you want to be a Christian and keep Jewish law because you think that's what Jesus would want, go to it. But if you believe in Christ (any Christ--take your pick; there's be about 24 of them so far), then you're not a Jew. Messianic expectations have not yet been fulfilled, therefore you can't believe anyone is or was a Messiah,
Back to top Go down
http://becomingjew.blog.com/
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:57 pm

Mychal wrote:
My mother bought her tallit in Florida at some sort of Christian theme-park in Florida called "The Jerusalem Experience." It's supposed to be a scale model of the Old City.

Oh, yeah. I've seen that on television.

Mychal wrote:
She did hang the mezuzzah, but she doesn't observe the custom of touching it coming and going.

I don't either, usually.

Back to top Go down
usuario



Posts : 43
Join date : 2012-01-08
Age : 31
Location : Frederick, MD

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:01 pm

SaraK wrote:

The issue is different with Messianic Jews than with converts to liberal movements who won't be considered Jews by Orthodoxy, though.

I'm sure the Orthodox would disagree.

Quote :

If you profess a belief in Jesus, how can you call yourself a Jew?

The Orthodox would say: "If you do not believe in Torah miSinai, how can you call yourself a Jew?". (Both questions assume your mother is not Jewish). To the Orthodox, TM"S is as fundamental to Judaism as Jesus is to Christianity, so I think the comparison is valid. (I am not Orthodox but I am stating their opinion.)

Personally, I don't believe Messianic Judaism is a valid form of Judaism, and since I believe halacha is binding, I believe that halachically, most Messianic "Jews" are not Jews. But I do not believe Messianic Jews are being dishonest if they claim to be Jews, since they believe themselves to be Jews, even if they are aware that we do not agree. It is our responsibility to check when we count people for minyans or let people host kiddushes. I give people the benefit of the doubt until they start spouting "Yeshua" or Paul of Tarsus's writings, or if I see pork and cheeseburgers at the oneg.
Back to top Go down
SaraK

avatar

Posts : 38
Join date : 2012-01-22
Age : 27

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:24 pm

usuario wrote:
SaraK wrote:

The issue is different with Messianic Jews than with converts to liberal movements who won't be considered Jews by Orthodoxy, though.

I'm sure the Orthodox would disagree.

Quote :

If you profess a belief in Jesus, how can you call yourself a Jew?

The Orthodox would say: "If you do not believe in Torah miSinai, how can you call yourself a Jew?". (Both questions assume your mother is not Jewish). To the Orthodox, TM"S is as fundamental to Judaism as Jesus is to Christianity, so I think the comparison is valid. (I am not Orthodox but I am stating their opinion.)

Personally, I don't believe Messianic Judaism is a valid form of Judaism, and since I believe halacha is binding, I believe that halachically, most Messianic "Jews" are not Jews. But I do not believe Messianic Jews are being dishonest if they claim to be Jews, since they believe themselves to be Jews, even if they are aware that we do not agree. It is our responsibility to check when we count people for minyans or let people host kiddushes. I give people the benefit of the doubt until they start spouting "Yeshua" or Paul of Tarsus's writings, or if I see pork and cheeseburgers at the oneg.

1) Of course the Orthodoxywould disagree, but that doesn't negate that Liberal movements are movements made up in the majority of Jews-by-birth and converts in liberal movements are accepted as full Jews by the movement they convert in. Messianics aren't considered Jewish by anyone but themself.

2) If all it takes to be considered Jewish by other people is to consider yourself Jewish, why do we need standard procedures of conversion?

Maybe Messianic Jews aren't being dishonest in considering themselves Jewish but Messianic Judaism isn't a Jewish movement like Conservative or Reform Judaism.
Back to top Go down
Dena

avatar

Posts : 678
Join date : 2011-09-05
Age : 35

PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:38 pm

SaraK wrote:
Messianics aren't considered Jewish by anyone but themself.

In the case of a Messianic conversion it wouldn't even be accepted by all Messianics. That is one of the reasons I think it's just a mind game for those involved.





Back to top Go down
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space   

Back to top Go down
 
The Case for Conversion: Welcoming Non-Jews into the Messianic Space
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
 :: Jewish Fundamentals :: Conversion Discussion & Issues-
Jump to: