A Few Responses to Recent Comments

Shalom all:

I want to respond to several recent comments. I know I don’t always respond to all comments that come in here. I am too busy to always respond. Also, I do not find that all comments need a response.

First, let me say thanks to Rabbi Carl Kinbar, a friend, who corrected me privately about a factual error. I guess I am ruining the privacy by mentioning it publicly! The Tosefta was written down about 275 C.E. and not 400, as I stated. The Tosefta contains rabbinic discussion and opinions not chosen for inclusion in the Mishnah, from 200 C.E. The Tosefta was mentioned in my post on the Noahide laws because the very first mention of the Noahide laws is in the Tosefta. That is, we cannot historically say that anyone was talking about the Noahide laws much before 275, because we have no evidence of it. The silence of the Mishnah on the Noahide laws may suggest that they were not a widely accepted concept in the early centuries.

Second, let me encourage some who make comments on the blog:
1. If you are going to write a lengthy comment responding to what I have said, then write it in a word processor first.
2. Take time to develop what you write.
3. Don’t post poorly thought out sentences strung together haphazardly.
4. Have a flow of argument, a logical order to what you say.

I say this because, some are typing (late at night it seems) rather long responses in a confusing, disordered style. It is hard for us to read and understand what you are saying, because you don’t put your thoughts in order with care to communicate.

I think Michael and Marc have some worthy things to say, but their words are less likely to be heard because they are written sloppily. I would even encourage you to go back and rewrite your comments, to make them more coherent.

Third, Gracie Ruth, God bless you, you know how to make your point succinctly. You said, “Acts 15 is in itself evidence that the Noachide commandments for gentiles were established at the time of the Apostles.”

As I indicated in “Musings on the Noahide Laws, Part 1,” I do not agree. The four prohibitions in Acts 15 for Gentiles are:
1. Abstain from the pollutions of idols and things sacrificed to idols.
2. Abstain from sexual promiscuity.
3. Refrain from eating meat strangled (with the blood in it).
4. Refrain from ingesting blood.

I do not think James had the Noahide laws in mind for several reasons:
1. His prohibitions cover only three of the seven rabbinic Noahide laws.
2. There are other explanations that are far better as to a possible rationale for James’ four prohibitions.

What was James thinking when he said that non-Jews would not need to be circumcised and take on Torah yet they should carefully observe these four prohibitions?

I like an explanation I found in a commentary by Tim Hegg (whom I rarely agree with). These four areas are all things non-Jews would find in their involvement in pagan temples. Idolatry and meat sacrificed to idols, temple prostitution, strangled meat, and in some cases rites involving the eating of blood were customs from the temples of the day. These social practices would be too abhorrent for Jews to tolerate in mixing with non-Jews. These things needed stopping immediately.

I have also heard another possible source for James’ four prohibitions. Some say he had Leviticus 17-18 in mind, as descriptions of abominable practices that must be stopped. Let me ask for help here from the readers. Does someone know the argument for Leviticus being the source for the prohibitions of Acts 15? I admit, I have forgotten the case for Leviticus as the source, but I seem to recall there was a good case for it. Bonus points to anyone who can present the case (logically and coherently, please).

Finally, both Michael and Marc, if you can work through their disjointed prose, bring up the argument that Deuteronomy 14:21 is about unrighteous Gentiles. Deuteronomy 14:21 says that Jews are permitted to sell meat found dead to the stranger or the foreigner. I argued from this that God permits non-Jews to eat all meat except meat with the blood still in it. Marc and Michael argued that God does not permit non-Jews to do so. Only non-Jews who reject God and care nothing for his law may do so.

Let me say several things about this. One, the stranger or sojourner mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:21 is a non-Jew living in the land protected by and under the rule of the laws of the land. But even if we accept the notion that some sojourners in the land were not held to much of a standard, even if we are talking about complete and utter pagans, my argument still stands.

God says that Israel may sell unclean meat to non-Jews. If the eating of unclean meat is a sin, then it is a sin to profit from causing sin. I have used the illustration: would God allow us to sell crack to modern pagans? Obviously not. But God did not command non-Jews to observe the dietary laws. Not even righteous Gentiles. Not even the sojourner in the gates who draws near to Israel. There is no valid Torah argument for non-Jews to keep kosher, period.

Soon I will get back to the Noahide laws. I will argue that they are not part of Second Temple Judaism at all. I will argue that they are not part of the background of the New Testament. I will also argue that they are not an accurate depiction of the relationship of Torah to non-Jews. I hope you will pay attention and correct me where I am wrong (especially you, Mr. Shalom Bayit).

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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149 Responses to A Few Responses to Recent Comments

  1. Shalom Bayit says:

    Derek

    Thank you for your invitation to participate in this discussion. As per your instructions I will attempt to be succunt. I regret to say I must decline. I believe I said in my previous post that my comments on this subject would be limited to what I said there.Once again: I encourage anyone who wants to discuss the derivation of the traditonal Jewish view on this matter to discuss it with a qualified Jewish rabbi.

    By the way I suspect that Carl Kinbar is an excellent source on Tosefta. This is the subject of his doctoral thesis. Grad students tend to know more about the details of their thesis subject than anyone else including their advisors. I commend you for citing him.

    I will look on with interest. However I dont have a dog in this fight.

  2. Shalom Bayit says:

    Addendum

    I hope that being succunt is better than succint. I aplogize that I am texting this from a location without a WP. Unfortunately my access is limited.

  3. michael says:

    Derek,

    I wonder if you noticed that Mark did cover, as to why, the term ‘stranger in the gates’ can allow for those who have taken on Torah, and those who have not.

    I’m having trouble seeing your heart in all this. In your Ideal world, how is the “flock of G-d” to behave, with both Jews and Gentiles going to synagogue together?

    Separate Messianic communities among the Gentiles?

    I agree, the ‘apostolic writings’ seem to neglect this issue, specifically,’should Gentiles observe all of Torah?’, but…

    What have Gentiles been brought into? If G-d has called them equal, why should we hold halakah higher?

    If a Gentile puts on tzit-tzit, AND BENEFITS FROM IT, what is the harm? You may say this, ‘erodes Jewish identity’. I say an Asian(..German,etc..), believer putting on tzit-tzit, will look just as, out of place, as a white boy putting on a 2pac shirt, or a big gold chain,or crooked ball cap. Conversion is not the way to fix the ‘Gentile Problem”. (but hear me, I doooooo appriciate your respect of sancta)

    It may be offensive to man, not to keep halakic requirements, but isn’t this why He was rejected? I think He addressed certain ‘traditions of the elders’, but, His obedience to death, certainly speaks equally about His; obedience to the leaders in place, at that time, Torah, AND about purchasing those from among the Gentiles.

    How do you interpret the parable of the wedding feast?

    Is the great commission to all nations not a continuation of the Abrahamic cov.?

    From beginning to end It seems like G-d wants us to hold to His word, Gentiles might have feared G-d before but now they know Him. What eles should a believer in Torah do if he’s a Gentile?
    Do your seven go to heaven was already in place.
    What scripture should he read, certainly a great deal of it would not even apply to him.

    What then IS the signifigance of this age, Mashiach has ushered in(?), by your standpoint maybe nothing.

    Israel has had a history of holding to Torah for a season, till their leadership would fail them. He is still calling His people, ‘who were not His people’, back to Torah. That is those who will live by faith and His commandments regardless of ethnicity. Shall we go through John 15: (or Romans9:24-26)

    Joh 15:9 According as the Father did love me, I also loved you, remain in my love;

    Joh 15:10 if my COMMANDMENTS ye may keep, ye shall remain in my love, according as I the COMMANDS of my Father have kept, and do remain in His love;

    Joh 15:11 these things I have spoken to you, that my joy in you may remain, and your joy may be full.

    Joh 15:12 `This is my command, that ye love one another, according as I did love you;

    Fast forward to, praying, these things to the Father:

    Joh 17:20 `And not in regard to these alone do I ask, but also in regard to THOSE WHO SHALL BE BELIEVING, through their word, in me;

    Joh 17:21 that they all may be ONE, as Thou Father art in me, and I in Thee; that they also in us may be one, that the world may believe that Thou didst send me.

    Joh 17:22 `And I, the glory that thou hast given to me, have given to them, that they may be one as we are one;

    Joh 17:23 I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfected into one, and that the world may know that Thou didst send me, and didst love them as Thou didst love me.

    Gentiles shouldn’t fear, “looking like wanna be jews”, and miss out on their inheritance in Yeshua. Neither should one swing to the other side, like in Galatia. Gentiles/(possibly Jewish Christians), afraid of persecution for looking like gentiles/(or concerning Jewish Christians,afraid of looking -apostate or heretical) .

    Gal 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

    Simply my point; some dodn’t want to look like ‘minim’ and some don’t want to look like Jews.

    On a more daring note; I suggest that in Paul’s ideal world, (though he sees, preaching circumcision, as a removal of the stumbling offence of the cross) I think he would still rather Israel accept the gentiles, as he has, so Gentiles can make faith based decisions on their own.

    I would suggest that the sign of circumcision is equally offered to gentiles, because the promise of the land is fulfilled as when they will reign with Messiah there.

    I would venture to say that Paul’s is so zealous about seeing Gentiles come in because he knows that, “then will All of Israel be saved”. So to ‘fail to mention’ that he would like to see Gentiles, enjoy all of torah, is to expediate the saving of his own brothers.

    This is just thought, but it would explain his care/passion for them, as he may see himself, as their only way to learn Torah. Who eles had such a responsibility to the Gentiles. Paul brought this upon himself.

    P.S. I dont have a WP.

  4. Marc says:

    “I argued from this that God permits non-Jews to eat all meat except meat with the blood still in it. Marc and Michael argued that God does not permit non-Jews to do so. Only non-Jews who reject God and care nothing for his law may do so.”

    Derek you are taking this a little out of context. Where did I say those that reject God and care nothing for His law? You are making what I said a harsh statement which I never implied.

    I said: “The sages solved this problem by pointing out the term stranger(ger) and alien has different meanings in different contexts. A multy purpose word.”

    “When it says ‘not even the stranger cannot eat of it’ it must mean the type of Gentile who has taken on Judaism, converted or the like.”

    “The sages says the Hebrew really is: ‘you shall not eat flesh with it’s soul still in it’s blood’. Meaning ‘you shall not eat something still alive’. Every moving things are food for the sons of Noah just as long it’s not moving, as long as it’s dead.

    This means that a Gentile outside of the covenant of Israel can eat anything as long as it’s dead.

    So you can give anything to a non covenant member as long as it’s dead.

    So the minimum is don’t eat things that are still alive.

    So the question is are you or are you not a covenant member of Israel?”

    Derek scripture says: “You shall not eat anything that dies of itself; you may give it to the alien who is within your gates, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the LORD your God.”

    Your response was: “God says that Israel may sell unclean meat to non-Jews. If the eating of unclean meat is a sin, then it is a sin to profit from causing sin. I have used the illustration: would God allow us to sell crack to modern pagans? Obviously not. But God did not command non-Jews to observe the dietary laws. Not even righteous Gentiles. Not even the sojourner in the gates who draws near to Israel. There is no valid Torah argument for non-Jews to keep kosher, period.”

    Your mis-interpretation is that they can sell. Scripture doesn’t say sell. So by giving it to a non covenant member it’s not a sin, why? Because God said covenant members can give non-kosher meat to a non covenant member. Since God said so then it is not a sin. Nowhere in scripture does it say sell.

    Let’s look at: Exo 20:8-10 (KJV) “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates”

    I guess being a Gentile makes you less than cattle! ‘No sabbath for you! God would not be pleased!

    Derek being a Gentile are you not a stranger or a servant(manservant) of the Most High?

    Marc

  5. michael says:

    I gotta say I love this site! It really gets right under the fluff! I’ve been thinking (and reading) about some of Derek’s Ideas and there not that bad. I can see his point about distinctions between Jew and Gentile being important to the ekklēsia. I am curious as to why he would defame his position(and message), as a Gentile, by converting!!??
    I’ve been ‘musing’ about how much credence we give to the ‘key verses that say(insert burly voice here); ” ye stranger in thy gates, ye may do as Israel” and then we give NOT, the same credence to the ‘key’ verses that say, “ye Israel do this…….(insert cricket noise)”.
    My point is, a Gentile fits in, either ‘solo scriptura’,(integrated but not equal), or supernaturally by Yeshua’s sacrifice.

    I guess I didn’t make a point actually. There still remains a question. Does fitting in make you Israel? Does fitting in to G-ds plan,(mysteriously i might add) only include; Gentiles provoking Jews to jealousy, with there shiny salvation, or Gentiles living like Jews without permission. Does it include mutual benifits? Ask the baby playing with the cobra.

    The only thing that immediately comes to mind, in favor of making Gentiles, Israeli without being a “replace-mental amellinalist” is the “olive tree” in romans.

    Still confused, me too. It seems ‘Super Charismania’ is safer for the Gentile. This stuff could drive someone crazy. I myself would never sugest Gentiles shouldn’t enjoy the benifits of Torah. All of them. It’s the holy One’s job to check hearts, not me.

    I want to say, Derek about your book, ‘Jesus didn’t have blue eyes”
    I actually heard that he did , so…. sorry.

    Just kidding, but there is some ‘hearsay’ that the ‘Cohen HaGadol always had blue eyes. I think your safe though, cause, Our boy’z commin with the heat, like Malki-Tzedek, Playa!!!

  6. Isn’t it stated somewhere in Paul’s writings that the Commandments are only designed for the Redeemed, and thus people not a part of the Covenant aren’t sinning by doing such, just living up to their (wretched) nature?

  7. michael says:

    Somewhere in Pauls writings?

  8. Grace Ruth says:

    michael:

    If your wife’s best friend puts on your wife’s wedding ring, even if that friend enjoys wearing it, it is an afront to your marriage, because that ring is a symbol of the marriage covenant between you and your wife. In the same way, tzitzit are a reminder of the covenant between Israel and HaShem. It is an afront for a gentile to wear tzitzit, even if he personally benefits from doing so.

    Shalom

  9. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Ruth… you have put it quite nicely with your wedding ring analogy. Thank you!

    Appropriation of Israelite identity markers by those to whom they do not belong, and pretending to be an Israelite is not a very loving thing to do to one’s Jewish neighbor. Most Jews I know (Messianic or not) would not be too happy about this.

    Shalom,

    Gene

  10. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    Most Jews I know (Messianic or not) would not be too happy about this<<<

    You are right about this.

    However speaking just for myself if they would stick to genuine Jewish Halacha and not branch out on their own I at this point would see their participation as the lesser evil. I just went to a Bar Mitzvah sponsered by the local MJ congregation. The flagrant violations of all Jewish precedents were a lot more disturbing. I truly feel for the young lad in question. Not least because of the photographer who was there for every photo op. And an Episcopalian who was present was likewise offended at the misuse of Christian sancta BTW. ( The reading from the NC taht the apostolic stream apparantly have chosen was out of Pauls letters and had to do with kicking people who were sexually immoral out of the church. What that had to do with the Parsha was of course not evident to Simple Jews like myself)The Episcopalian in question wondered why there was no “Gospel Reading” thought it quite odd, and told me that they now understood why I was unable to worship within MJ.

    I have had about enough with this sideshow. Noone seems to want to address the serious questions in MJ. Especially the “RC” which has done nothing except publish position papers.

    I therefore am prepared to publically swallow hard and state the following: Henceforth I as a Jew do not care if Gentiles want to use do the Jewish identity markers to their hearts content provided they use them in a manner that if they were Jews would be considered correctl and if they promise to encourage the Jews around them to do the same. This despite the fact that it is formally a violation of Jewish law for them to do so. I dont care provided that they know this as well and choose to ignore the warning. I simply am stating that I am not offended.

    If someone like “Rabbi Rich” or anyone else from the “RC” or anybody wants to give them static I guess they can tell them a Jew said it was just ” a-ok” with them.

    And that is all I intend to say on this matter.

    Be well my friend.

  11. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Shalom Bayit…

    You said: “Henceforth I as a Jew do not care if Gentiles want to use do the Jewish identity markers to their hearts content provided they use them in a manner that if they were Jews would be considered correctl and if they promise to encourage the Jews around them to do the same. This despite the fact that it is formally a violation of Jewish law for them to do so. I dont care provided that they know this as well and choose to ignore the warning. I simply am stating that I am not offended.”

    Of course, just because Gentiles put on Jewish garb, take on Hasidic accent and Yiddishe slang, G-d will not be fooled about who’s a Jew and who’s not. So, yes if one looks at this this way, one shouldn’t be too concerned.

    However, we must see the situation for what it is: Messianic Jews (at this time, at least and probably always will be so) come in varying levels of observance (just like any Jews). I grew up secular (can’t grow up more secular that in the good’ol USSR) and since getting saved, I until recently have been participating almost exclusively in a church environment. No I am in MJ. While it’s getting better every day, as far as the fullness and authenticity of my observances go, at his point of my Jewish education I would probably get a rebuke from Reb. Shaul (and probably from you tooShalom Bayit) as originally directed at Peter – to him , I’d look like I “live as a Gentile, not as a Jew”. It seem that a lot of MJ “rabbis” (former evangelical pastors?) are not in a much better place observance and liturgy wise.

    That said, I don’t need a Gentile who pretends to be a Jew to come along and rebuke me for not being enough of one. To me being a Jew is more than just following a certain liturgy, as I grew up in an environment where there was NONE (other than matza on Passover, smuggled to us by my grandparents). That’s why to me this hijacking I see in the One-Law movement is more than just religious – it’s national and personal. I can’t stop this type of identity theft, but I will not be associated with it and certainly do not want to encourage it.

    Of course, they can do whatever they want in their own congregations. Just like any other church or religious movement out there, they are free to believe whatever they like.

    Shalom my friend…

    Gene

  12. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene

    As I have said to you before I am not in a position to judge either you or any other Jew MJ or otherwise for their level of observance.

    However I think that pastors/ Rabbis are a different matter.

    <<<It seem that a lot of MJ “rabbis” (former evangelical pastors?) are not in a much better place observance and liturgy wise.<<<

    These folks are ignorant or hostile to Judaism and often both. AND they enforce this attitude on their congregants.

    The MJ “rabbi” who was at this service was not able to read his Torah portion and barely able to read the Hebrew. How can he dare to call himself a “rabbi” and demand “submission” from Jews. Surely you as a graduate of the former USSR should agree that forcing a distorted vision of Judaism on Jewish people is evil? Compared to this I just dont think that the hijaking of Jewish tradition by Gentiles is that big a deal. And given that it is going to happen anyway, I just thought maybe we should put the phenomenon to some good use since clearly “Rabbi Rich” and company arent going to do anything any time soon.

    (BTW on a different note, speaking of your former homeland, have your read “Absurdistan?” I just started it. Its hilarious)

    Take care

  13. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit…

    You said: “…However I think that pastors/ Rabbis are a different matter.”

    I agree with that. However, most, if not nearly all of these rabbis come from a secular background and grew up in churches. Who is overseeing them and will they submit to outside control?

    Shalom Bayit, did you ever give me your take on the fact that Israeli MJ congregations, for the most part, are not nearly as traditional as the ones in the US? I heard somewhere, as an explanation, that they see no need to prove their Jewishness since they live in the Land, why American Jews feel the need to connect to their Jewish community. However, from what little I know of MJ Jews in Israel, it seems that they are quite observant, at least on the basic level. It’s also a common knowledge that even the secular Israelis feel that they have already fulfilled their mitzvot by merely residing there.

    You said: “Surely you as a graduate of the former USSR should agree that forcing a distorted vision of Judaism on Jewish people is evil?”

    In my case and for most Jews in the former USSR, there was no version at all:) Shalom Bayit, I wish that at least the “weak” kind of MJ Judaism was present as I was growing up! Even that, something would have been better than nothing, in my opinion. May be it’s the case for MJ Jews as well in US – at least SOME Judaism, even the weak watered down kind is better than nothing, right? Certainly it’s preferable for believing Jews than a total integration into churches and wholesale adoption of Gentile lifestyles, as has indeed been the case for the great majority of Jewish believers in US? You said that it’s the “rabbis” who is the problem. Well, if MJAA or UMJC had tougher rules, may be that would help, although I am afraid that the change my comes from within. As more MJ Jews mature, they will demand something better.

    You said: “Compared to this I just dont think that the hijaking of Jewish tradition by Gentiles is that big a deal. And given that it is going to happen anyway, I just thought maybe we should put the phenomenon to some good use since clearly “Rabbi Rich” and company arent going to do anything any time soon.”

    I must respectfully disagree with that assessment. I don’t see anything good coming out of Gentile wholly appropriating Jewish identity. Certainly not for Gentile themselves or for the way MJ will look to the outside Jewish community (as a total fake, where even the Jews are not even the “apostate” kind!). I see pseudo-Jewish cults and the “lost tribes” teachings coming out of that. It’s enough to read the Two-House materials to see that this is already.

    As far as Rabbi Rich – I think what he does is at least a start of a dialog. You can’t control independent MJ congregations and their “rabbis”, we don’t have or want a MJ pope:) So, there’s only so much that R. Rich can do. However, I think it’s wise to do this peace meal, not all at once. I am not sure that a lot of Jewish believers coming out of church background are ready for the full traditional observance. I talk to Jewish believers in the churches – most of them have theology that’s identical to most gentile believers, including some degrees of supersessionism, antinomianism, dispensationalism, and the typical “gospel of grace vs yoke of law” church mentality. It’s an uphill climb, my friend.

    You said: “…have your read “Absurdistan?” I just started it. Its hilarious”

    No, but judging from the Amazon description it sound like a lot of fun. I suspect a lot of humor may be lost on those in the American audience who are not as “worldly” (in a good sense).

    Be well,

    Shalom,

    Gene

  14. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    I agree with that. However, most, if not nearly all of these rabbis come from a secular background and grew up in churches. Who is overseeing them and will they submit to outside control?<<<<

    I dont think it a question of what they will do. Their power over their congregants in part comes from the legitimacy granted to them by others. Many of them claim to be the front line of “apostolic networks”. More if not most are part of some sort of umbrella organization such as Tikkun, MJAA or UMJC. You cant please everyone. However at least the RC should stop recognizing their ordinations and PLEAAASE lets stop all this foolish “dialogue” and the fatuous paper exchanges. As if these folks were Jewish scholars or would even recognize it if they saw it. The RC won’t “dialog” with Jewish laypeople like that dont meet their requisite standards for learning when we ask perfectly legit questions. Its a double standard that is obviously political.

    Shalom Bayit, did you ever give me your take on the fact that Israeli MJ congregations, for the most part, are not nearly as traditional as the ones in the US?<<<<

    I did. Its somewhere on the blog but I dont remember where.

    I heard somewhere, as an explanation, that they see no need to prove their Jewishness since they live in the Land, why American Jews feel the need to connect to their Jewish community.<<<

    The above is the party line that I have always heard from secular Israelis, MJ or no. My impression is that the issue is more nuanced. I think what I said was that it is possible that the mission groups in Israel have latched onto this explanation and adjusted their marketing accordingly.

    Clearly being religiously observant in Israel has political social and ethnic implications.From my observations emotions about this subject run complex and ambivalent.I think the mission movement and MJ oversimplify this phenomenon at their peril.

    I wish that at least the “weak” kind of MJ Judaism was present as I was growing up!<<<<<

    I didnt mean to imply that the Soviet state allowed you to do anything at all. I think that all authoritarian approaches to religion are bad.They are bad hether theyare not allowing any at all, forcing an official tradition on someone or as is the case here manipulating people who are not in the best position to make an informed choice into accepting a distorted version of Jewish tradition.

    Even that, something would have been better than nothing, in my opinion. May be it’s the case for MJ Jews as well in US – at least SOME Judaism, even the weak watered down kind is better than nothing, right?<<<<<

    If we were talking about a gradual immersion process with some expectation of continous improvement I would agree with you. However that isnt the case. On the contrary, the emphasis from top down in this movement is on preservation of the current leadership structure at all costs. The “rabbis” at the bar mitzvah I attended were not just practicing a weak watered down Judaism. They were imposing THEIR view on Jews who had a variety of observance standards.

    Certainly it’s preferable for believing Jews than a total integration into churches and wholesale adoption of Gentile lifestyles, as has indeed been the case for the great majority of Jewish believers in US? <<<<<

    I am not sure I agree. At least those Jews are intellectually honest and at least they get exposed to some religious tradition that has some moral and intellectual substance. In addition the Jew who goes to church on Sunday at least has the opportunity to go to a real Shul on Saturday.

    You said that it’s the “rabbis” who is the problem. Well, if MJAA or UMJC had tougher rules, may be that would help, although I am afraid that the change my comes from within. <<<<<<

    They can be “tough” when and where they want to be. As it stands now UMJC recruits from within. Both MJTI and UMJC REQUIRE all “rabbinical ordination” candidates to come from EXISTING congregations.

    According to their rules, if a Torah Chachem were to miraculously accept Jesus and apply for recognition as an MJ “rabbi” they would first have to show their bonefides by being sponsered by ( and presumably in “submission to”) a MJ “rabbi”. Thats how absurd the current situation is.

    As more MJ Jews mature, they will demand something better.<<<<<

    What makes you think more MJ’s will mature without some form of leadership?

    I don’t see anything good coming out of Gentile wholly appropriating Jewish identity…. I see pseudo-Jewish cults and the “lost tribes” teachings coming out of that. It’s enough to read the Two-House materials to see that this is already.<<<<

    I didnt say put these people in LEADERSHIP! My point is that a gentile practicing real Judiaism in a congregation 1) provides a better model for practice than that of MJ leadership and 2) belies the point that it takes years of gradual change for a Jewish leader to learn to live Jewishly. BTW it was ironic that the MJ “rabbi” at this Bar Mitzvah had a non Jewish wife who was far more proficent than he. Its because she had the incentive and the interest to learn and he didnt.

    we don’t have or want a MJ pope.<<<<<

    Better. We have MJ “apostles”. And the current Pope would never dare to publically say the kinds of things about Judaism that these folks say routinely.

    What can R Rich and others do? They could start by refusing to recognize their legitimacy as rabbis.Just say publically and repeatedly that these folks are not Jewish and not rabbis. They can dialogue with them as Christian leaders if it is felt necessary to talk to them.

    This would at least give support to the Jews in their congregations who might suspect that something is amiss and might be inclined to look for something more authentic. It took me 30 years before someone told me it was ok not to have to follow those people.

    I am not sure that a lot of Jewish believers coming out of church background are ready for the full traditional observance. <<<<<<

    As I have said on numerous occasions, I do not wish to see observance forced on people who are not ready. What I do think is necessary is to get the restraints on legitimate Jewish practice that leaders have put in place out of the way. Then let freedom of conscience and the ruach do their work.

    theology that’s identical to…church mentality. It’s an uphill climb, my friend.<<<<

    Someone had to teach them these concepts. They werent born with them.

    You said: “…have your read “Absurdistan?” I just started it. Its hilarious”

    No, but judging from the Amazon description it sound like a lot of fun. I suspect a lot of humor may be lost on those in the American audience who are not as “worldly” (in a good sense).<<<<

    Probably so.

  15. These are some very significant discussions. I’ve been saying a lot of similar things for awhile. I was reluctant to use the title “rabbi,” but my congregation really wanted it. I, at least, refuse to accept it fully until finishing the Masters of Rabbinic Studies from the Messianic Bible Institute, but it is such an embarrassingly incomplete education that I think the use of the title has been somewhat diluted. I go along with using it only because the dilution has long predated me, and because I, unlike a whole lot of other “real rabbis” that I could quote to you actually BELIEVE IN GOD AND THE SCRIPTURES AS WRITTEN. There are actual people with supposed genuine rabbinic ordination running around — even Orthodox, I believe — that have publicly written about the non-existence of God, the inaccuracy and undivinity of the Tanakh, even claiming that Abraham or Moses never existed and the Torah was made up by the Scribes during the exile to Babylon!

    However, I want to see the level of education — at all levels, not just the clerical — in Messianic Judaism go way up in the future. This is why I am working in CTOMC to establish a seminary with a more complete education, to get a homeschooling/parochial schooling network started, as well as hoping to expand from a seminary to an adult education program to provide training for non-clergy in MJ.

  16. michael says:

    ( missspelled Covenant i only wrote co.)
    There is heredity obvi. but it doesnt restrict the cov that writes torah upon the heart.

    I’m open ..I just haven’t seen hard evidence for either so I’m not gonna be the one to tell gentiles not to follow thier older brother around and do like he does.

    I’d still like to know how you interpret Hoshea in Romans, if they are not Israel and just the people of G-d (like thats a small thing!)

    What laws should they follow, you do agree they should keep Torah. Show me where Gentiles are “restricted” In the Torah.

    I’m not being a jerk I’m serious.

    I still am confused about why there was a need for Yeshua to come If we already knew the tabernacle was a copy of the one in heaven; and Messiah is a priest like Malki-Tzedek;

    Why eles but even if a gentile ignorantly says

    Rom 11:19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off, so that _I_ should be grafted in.”
    Rom 11:20 Rightly [said]or TRUE!! They were broken off by unbelief, but _you_ have stood by your faith. Stop being conceited, _but_ be fearing.

    True He says!

    Paul seems to agree theologically It was part of G-ds plan to bring them near –ie Convert them.

    Rabbi Yehudah said: [Elijah will come] to bring near, but not to push away.

    Mat 12:30 “The [one] not being with Me is against Me, and the [one] not gathering with Me, is scattering.

    Joh 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not from this fold. These also it is necessary [for] Me to bring, and My voice they will hear. And they will become one flock, one shepherd.

  17. Shalom Bayit says:

    Hi Adam:

    supposed genuine rabbinic ordination ….— that have publicly written about the non-existence of God….Torah was made up by the Scribes during the exile to Babylon!<<<<<

    Theological Liberalism in Judaism! I’m shocked!

    This seems to me like Claude Rains in Casablanca being shocked that there was “gambling at Ricks”.

    And there are some doctors who are quacks. And there are theologically liberal protestant pastors.

    Whats the point? Whats the moral? Legitimate education and ordination are merely a floor. Not a ceiling.

    Why bother to insist on a competant and educated rabbinate when there is the possiblity that some may move off fecklessly to parrot the non believing pseudoscholarship of the moment?

    I think that Winston Churchill said something to the effect that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.

    By analogy…..

  18. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    However, most, if not nearly all of these rabbis come from a secular background and grew up in churches<<<

    To paraphrase Stuart, it took a special kind of narcissism to rise to leadership in MJ. One had to be prepared even eager to regard onself as special, to turn ones back on the fate of the entire Jewish people including ones family of origin.

    One had to do this to be acceptable to the powers that be in the Church world that trained and funded up and coming leaders which was at the time quite suspicious of MJ. This latter function has in turn been taken up by the MJ leadership itself. The process has now become self selecting.

    Those who werent able or willing to do this either moved on and left the movement or stayed in the margins. Or like myself may have moved back and forth between these positions looking in vain for an acceptable alternative.

    Unfortunately the RC has come out of these roots and even they are finding it hard to find a new identity for themselves. This includes “Rabbi Rich”, Stuart,Mark Kinzer and all the rest. None of them have received legitimate “Smicha” from a true Jewish rabbi. Their roots are in institutional Christianity as well and they are having trouble extricating themselves. It is sad to watch.

    They are ( and I include some who I regard as possibly great scholars and towering individuals of our day) showing themselves not wanting to do so despite the distracting rhetoric about starting something new.

    Lets be real. The things I have posted all over this blog “werent done in a corner”. I have yet to see in any of the paper presentations and dialogues a well reasoned repudiation of the excesses documented here. Along with a defense of genuine Judaism and the liberty of Jews to worship as Jews within what is supposed to be a Jewish movement.

    Thats not hard to do. Its not rocket science. I’m not seeing anything that others dont. If someone were intent on establishing and individuating a movement, one of the first steps would be a systematic critique of those authoritarian and illigitimate leaders and their ideology. However I note that noone has done this. And there is no idea that is so obscure that NOONE writes about it. Noone discussing something speaks as loudly as when EVERYONE is discussing something.

    Maybe its not that the RC is avoiding the subject of Jewish liberty. Perhaps the RC just has other agenda items which are more pressing.

    Such as converting gentiles to “Messianic Judaism”.

    Who is kidding who?

    Its all a distraction and to anyone who doesnt have a political agenda it is quite clear that they just dont care. And dont want to deal with these issues with a 10 foot pole.

    Sorry but I call ’em as I see ’em.

  19. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit…

    You said: “None of them have received legitimate “Smicha” from a true Jewish rabbi. Their roots are in institutional Christianity as well and they are having trouble extricating themselves. It is sad to watch.”

    How can they have received it, what true rabbi (by which you probably mean Jewish Orthodox) will give his “smicha” to a Messianic Jews, ANY messianic Jew?

    My friend… I came out of the church myself as did most if not ALL MJs. I have been in church for a long time in my short (still young) life. But now, I am diving into the Messianic Judaism headfirst, and actually in the process of setting up a MJ fellowship. I am educating myself, and will, in all likelihood, immerse myself in MJ education. If I ever become a leader in MJ congregation (rabbi?), what legitimacy will I be able to claim (I do have my great-grandfather Shlomo as a big rabbi in Poland before WWI – may be I can claim a succession:)???

    In out previous conversations, you highly recommended that I contact Carl Kinbar – and I intend to do just that. However, isn’t he in the same MJTI as Richard Nichol, Stuart Dauermann, Mark Kinzer, the people that you don’t quite respect as MJ leaders? Is not Carl part of the same group and obviously identifies himself with the rest of MJTI? Does Carl have a “legitimate “Smicha” from a true Jewish rabbi”? If not, how can he be teaching and ordaining MJ rabbis at the MJTI?

    Shalom

    Gene

  20. The Gimlet says:

    You mention Acts 15;20 but make no mention of Acts 15:21. I encourage you to consider what is surely the more powerful half of the councils ruling.

    Gentile Christians either miss or ignore this entirely because they have no idea what it means. People seeking Torah have the tools and operate in a context suited to excavating the meaning from this passage.

    I think its meaning speaks directly and poignantly to the issues you have raised.

  21. Gimlet:

    You’re new here, so I’ll cut you some slack. If you read various articles here about Gentiles in Messianic Judaism and especially on the subject of Acts 15, you’ll find that I have addressed verse 21 at length.

    I think I know where you are coming from, but there are major problems with the use of Acts 15:21 by many in the Hebrew-roots/Torah-revival movement.

    Derek

  22. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    << his “smicha” to a Messianic Jews, ANY messianic Jew?<<<

    1) I did not necessarily mean orthodox. What I meant was that even Reform and Conservative rabbis have received smicha from someone that dates back within the Jewish community as a rabbi. 2) If you read through the blog you will see that at one time I had a friend who had legit Smicha and who was willing and able to in fact do as you describe here. He was rebuffed and alienated after attending a “Messiah Conference”, hearing Jonathan Bernins denounce “the rabbis” from the pulpit, and noone there had the slightest interest in his offer. He is now lost to MJ and I dont think there is much chance he will return.

    However, isn’t he in the same MJTI as Richard Nichol, Stuart Dauermann, Mark Kinzer, the people that you don’t quite respect as MJ leaders? ?<<<<

    I guess I need to clarify what I said previously so as not to lead to misinterpretation. In point of fact I have great respect for Stuart, Carl and Mark Kinzer. . I think that you would do well to maintain contact with and to seek advice from any of the three of them whenever you or they have the time to do so ( which my not be frequent) I have audited classes with Stuart and Carl and found them to be excellent instructors. I felt that my fellow students were bright and enthusiastic but in a very different place than I was at in terms of interests and orientation. I therefore conclude that I would probably personally be better suited at a Jewish institution of learning, possibly a Yeshiva.

    It is possible at some time in the future that I might be interested in taking another course. Given the previous limitations that I discussed with you and the extreme unliklihood that I would have someone sponser me from a local congregation and other factors I dont see that happening any time soon. Its not a reflection on them or MJTI. Its just not a good fit for me given my time constraints and educational goals. Same for Hasheyvenu.

    With regard to Carl, Stuart and Mark:
    While I dont have expertise or even a basic working knowledge of their fields, I have spent time in academia and do recognize talented, original and honest scholars when I see them. They are all making great strides in a new an exciting field of intellectual endeavor. It is possible that new scholarly careers may be built out of a synthesis and a fresh approach that people from MJ backgrounds bring to the developing dialog between informed Rabbinic Jews and informed and educated Christians.

    I wasnt talking about your legitimacy or lack thereof. What I was getting at was that all the current crop of MJ leadership not only were “in the church” but had to become part and parcel of the institutional church leadership structure in order to arrive at their current positions. This creates a culture that is quite difficult to change from within. I am merely noting that the RC appears to me to be part of that culture as well. If you draw the inference about any of the individuals named above that this applies to them I wont contest it. While I dont have a detailed CV of anyones work history on hand, it is quite clear that noone got to leadership within MJ in that generation without going through the process I describe.

    We are not talking about individuals here but rather whether there is an institutional move towards a “mature MJ”. My position is that 1) It isnt happening 2) The institutions and individuals who are supposed by some to be instrumental in making this move arent really showning signs that that is a high priority on their radar screens. I base this upon the complete silence on the points I documented.
    3) I have made a hypothesis that the reason that they havent moved in this direction is because they are still institutionally tied to MJ institutions which themselves are still tied to Mission baseed church institutions.

    Does that help to clarify?

  23. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    If I ever become a leader in MJ congregation (rabbi?), what legitimacy will I be able to claim (I do have my great-grandfather Shlomo<<<<<

    I recognize the difficulty. Its really problematic. I do think there are some younger folks in the movement including Jonathan Kaplan and others who might be able to provide you with some mentorship.

    However it really is a problem. Let me ask you this: If you do seek “legitimacy” would it be through an MJ institution? If so then to go for the MJTI “ROI” track ( which they stress “ordains” noone) and then seek ordination through the UMJC, you will need a recommendation from a local congregational leader and to demonstrate participation in an existing local UMJC congregation.

    Given what we are discussing, isnt it an oxymoron to talk about rabbinic legitimacy in such a context? How do you intend to enter the system without becoming part of the institutional church??

    I think it says something that neither of these institutions places as much emphasis on a commitment to Judaism and the Jewish people as on participation inthe existing MJ structure.

    It also says volumes to me that these matters are not being discussed openly and frequently.

  24. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit

    You said: “However it really is a problem. Let me ask you this: If you do seek “legitimacy” would it be through an MJ institution? …..How do you intend to enter the system without becoming part of the institutional church??”

    Should I just join the Lubavitchers, enroll in their yashiva, start riding the mitzvah mobile and we’ll call it a day?

    In all seriousness, MJ is a good step up for me and others like me, those previously secularized and “churchinized” Jews. It’s the best thing we’ve got, and pretty much ALL we have at this moment. Dropping out and joining Yeshua-denying Jewish congregations is not an alternative for me (may it’s for others, I will not limit G-d) – how can two walk (I would add worship and serve) together lest they agree? I want to serve for Yeshua, actively, and as a part of the congregation. Messianic Judaism is where I can find like-minded Jewish believers, with similar stories as my own. Through MJ I can reach out to other Jews in US and former USSR, most of whom are quite secular and not at all into hasidic version of Judaism.

    So, Shalom Bayit, I would like to sum it all up:

    My main goal is to bring the Good News of Maschiach to the lost sheep of Israel, and my second goal is to do it as a Jew (and be the best kind that G-d can help me be and I know how). With that in mind, we’ll see where the movement will be 10 years from now (if we’re still around – I’m not talking about “rapture”:)

    Shalom…

    Gene

  25. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    Should I just join the Lubavitchers, enroll in their yashiva, start riding the mitzvah mobile and we’ll call it a day<<<<

    Point taken. I personally would choose the former but I see where that is problematic for you. Lets get past the hyperbole and talk about the systematic problem ok?

    I presented this scenario to make the point that you and I as individuals dont have a good solution. Isn’t the marketing of The “mature Messianic Judaism” supposed be that MJ was supposed to create institutions so that difficult as our lives may become we dont have to make this choice? I thought that this was what all this was supposed to be about. And by the way, I am not asking for someone to build it for me. I simply want someone to address the structural obstacles that they have put in place and to remove them officially.

    Now acknowledge my point please: The fact is that we do have to make this choice. You make yours I make mine. Except in very isolated and rare instances for the select few in the “inner party” it is still not possible to be both publically declare Yeshuah and to be an otherwise reasonably faithful practicing Jew.

    And the RC and others have clearly not put making this possible for as many people as possible at the top of their agenda. As I mentioned its not even on the radar screen. I have already been told by them that they dont have time or resources to address this point. People have careers to build and there are Christians and MJ power brokers to engage in paper exchanges and of course there are gentiles to mentor and convert and…. oh I dont know losts and lots of more worthy causes than addressing the needs of Jews.

    And so I believe it self evident that MJ as an institution has failed its major mandate and given up the ship and that without even a public debate

    QED

  26. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene

    Another Addendum:

    Through MJ I can reach out to other Jews in US and former USSR, most of whom are quite secular and not at all into hasidic version of Judaism<<<<

    And that is why the numbers of Jews streaming into MJ is outnumbering the success of Chabad? Where is that happening my friend? Is that happening with Russian Jews?

    Not from what I read in Absurdistan!

    former USSR<<<

    BTW I heard from someone I met working in the FSU that in fact the MJs are using Chassidic forms with good responses.It sounds as if there are some rather large congregations there that have utilized this approach? Appararantly they are associated positively with ethnic identity among the younger generation? Is there any truth to that?

    Be well

  27. Yaakov says:

    I have visited this site a few times at the suggestion of a friend. I find it a good place to dialogue and would like to add a few thoughts, if I may, on parts of the current discussion.

    Gene, you mention many or all MJ’s coming from church backgrounds. I have not seen this at all. Most I have seen are Jews who grew up as I did, in secular homes but were not “church goers”. Many (or some) of us who found MJ, found it after “falling away” from our Jewish roots for a few years, or as in my case, several decades!

    The discussion regarding the current “state of affairs” of MJ is an intersting one to read about from the perspective of others. I found MJ about 7 years ago and “lasted for almost 2 years”. What do I mean? It became quite evident from attending services, bible study groups and many MJ conference, that this fluid thing we call a “movement” is somewhat of a “free for all”, where those in “power” decide what the rest of us will be exposed to – proper or improper. MJ demonstrates no unifed, cohesive approach in worship or study that I have found, albeit, my limited travels. My point is that unlike “mainstream Judaism” there is little or no consistency from one place of worship to another. No familiar form in which to worship from one place to another. This is, inpart, what I refer to as a free for all. While Chabad and Orthodoxy certainly don’t have all the answers, they possess many of the necessary qualities for those who seek to be part of their Jewish community.

    Part of the severe discomfort for me is MJ’s egocentric approach that “we have the answers and are a more complete form of Judaism” According to who? Yeshua? What did He practice?

    I must agree with a few others that MJ, having grown out of the “church” is stuck in the “church”. We’re not in church, we’re in the temple – This also relates to part of the discussion reagrding Jews and Gentiles. Jews are Jews – Gentiles are Gentiles. This is made quite clear without in any way alluding to or suggesting this distinction is in any way “bad”. It’s always been the reality. We worship as Jews. Gentiles are NOT expected to be Jews are are clearly told this. The covenant at Siani was with the nation of Israel, not the pagans. I think we know who the nation of Isreal is, don’t we? And yes, there have been those who have chosen to be part of Israel in scripture. I think this to be all well and good. Gentiles are G-d’s children and loved no more or less than anyone else. But…they are not Jews and are not bound to worship or live as Jews. As we read the Shabbos Shacharit service we read that the Sabbath was Not given to the nations, but to the Jews. I don’t have problems with anyone following the Sabbath, but we must remeber Hashem’s covenant – and I don’t believe He has changed His mind.

    As for “MJ rabbi’s” I think this to be mostly an oxymoron.
    While ther are a few folks like Carl , Stuart and Mark who are extremely knowledgeable, the 99.9% of others using this title, is an insult to our ancestors. Most can’t read or speak Hebrew, know little or nothing of Talmud or the many writings of our sages, and bring their “church clothes” with them as they stand on a pulpit claiming authenticity. They just don’t have any. And you ask why the larger Jewish community rejects MJ? Yes, of course its because of Yeahua, but MJ can’t even claim to know Halacah or dialogue in any indepth way with their counterparts on these issues. This speaks to the trainig, especially the severe lack of any rigorous training in MJ. I agree that those bodies that “ordian MJ rabbi’s” are a major part of the problem. Lookat what it takes to become a Conservative Rabbi – quite demanding from many angles, as it should be. You can’t claim to be an algebra teacher after completing algebra 101 and 102. It takes a lot more to claim proficiency. Shouldn’t we expect this from “MJ rabbi’s”. Or perhaps the better question is, why do we tolerate anything less?

    I don’t want to criticize for the sake of doing so – it’s just that for me, I too have had to stradle both worlds -MJ and Orthodoxy, to find some real identity and connection to authentic Judaism. It just doesn’t seem to exist in MJ – at least not in my part of the world. While I have no profound answers, I think we should take a lesson from our brothers from Chabad and Orthodox Judaism. Let’s be honest here. MJ has consistently not only denied our rich history as lived by the more “orthodox”, it continues to alienate itself and promote alienation of it’s members from our rich past, wisdom and knowledge. It is these very “religious rabbi’s and sages” from more than two thousand years ago that are responsible for us being here today! They sacrificed so that we have the freedom to speak to each other as Jews on this website! I was once told by a well known “MJ rabbi that I should stay away from Chabad since they were a bunch if nuts”. Lashon Hara? Is this how we are to speak of other Jews, not to mention this man’s utter ignorance. I consider it shameful.

    In closing, please understand my journey, my teshuvah, has been heartfelt but like others, difficult, especially within the context of MJ. There is a serious lack of things “Jewish” which are substantive and I believe are sought by our neshamah in an effort to connect to who we are as Jews.

    Thanks for the opportunity to express some thoughts. They are not meant to offend, just to provide a look into another person’s struggles to learn how to be a better Jew.

  28. Boze says:

    Mission driven groups have a tendency toward drift. I am not a history expert so please correct me if I misstate things, but it seems as though much of Church history involves the taking on of pagan customs to bring acceptance from the pagans. When membership is high, the churches are strong in their stances. When membership starts to lag, more pagan customs are de-vilified to make Christianity more acceptable to the secular public. The recent legitimizing of gay leadership is just one example.

    Judaism doesn’t have this problem because it lacks a missionary mandate. Converts go to Judaism, not the other way around. Even Chabad is very clear about what it’s bringing the secular Jew into. There’s no attempt to water down Judaism to appease the masses and save more souls because the very act of watering it down would defeat it’s purpose, unlike in Christianity where works and identity don’t matter and all that matters is the knowledge of Jesus.

    In light of this, Messianic Judaism has a built-in problem. In wishing to preserve both Judaism AND Yeshua, it has to ask if it’s more important to save as many souls as possible or be Jewish.

    The solution I see is that MJ should leave the soul saving to gentile churches. If the desire is simply to make people into believers without worrying about their jewishness or lack there of, there’s thousands of organizations around the world that do that already. If the desire is to create an authentic Yeshua serving Judaism, then that mandate has to stand above all else, or it will fail.

    This means a trained Jewish leadership that cares more about preserving it’s identity as Jews than reaching out to gentiles. A Chabad like outreach toward Jewish brothers could be instituted when MJ has something real to bring them into, but the current focus should be building the house, not filling it with people. Gentiles should not be the concern of MJ except to preserve family harmony, and then conversion should be encouraged taught to give the family a unified identity with itself and its MJ community. Gentiles should be allowed within the congregations, but not as teachers, and the difference between Jews and Gentiles should be taught.

    Just so I don’t misrepresent myself, I’m not Jewish, nor do I have any real leadership experience and I imagine what I said has many practical problems. It’s just the only way I see for MJ to escape the fate of Christianity and turn to a more Jewish Judaism.

    Please forgive me if I’ve spoken (written?) out of place, and correct me where I’m wrong.

  29. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Yakov…

    Thank you for your insightful post. I hear your heart, and I can sympathize with many of the issue you have raised. I am concerned with them as well, perhaps not to the same degree as you are.

    You said: “Gene, you mention many or all MJ’s coming from church backgrounds. I have not seen this at all. Most I have seen are Jews who grew up as I did, in secular homes but were not “church goers”. Many (or some) of us who found MJ, found it after “falling away” from our Jewish roots for a few years, or as in my case, several decades!”

    Of course, most Jewish believers WERE NOT BORN into a church background, they ended up in it when they came to salvation (before Messianic Judaism was even an option). It’s an easily observable fact that most of the Jews who believe in Yeshua are still (for a time being at least) not part of MJ or living Jewishly to any significant degree.

    Of course, as you said, they were born and grew up in secular Jewish homes before (as was I). Did most of them become observant after coming to believe in Yeshua? It’s not what I have observed. Most were spiritually nurtured in evangelical churches, an only ethnically identify themselves with our People. But Jewish believers now ARE coming out of the churches and joining MJ congregations. That’s what I meant by “coming from church backgrounds”.

    You said: “In closing, please understand my journey, my teshuvah, has been heartfelt but like others, difficult, especially within the context of MJ. There is a serious lack of things “Jewish” which are substantive and I believe are sought by our neshamah in an effort to connect to who we are as Jews.”

    Again, thank you for expressing your heartfelt thoughts. I can see your passion for “Jewishness” in MJ and for our people. However, Yakov, please offer solutions with criticism.

    Also, one thing I seldom see in this blog from my fellow traditional MJs, is the passion for sharing the Good News with those of our own flesh and blood. Those Jews, who are, for the time being, are cut off from their own Olive Tree because of unbelief, for our Jewish brothers and sisters.

    It’s our service to our Maschiach and to our people to brings them to and nurture them in the knowledge of Yeshua, is it not?. I wish that there was a balance – let’s observe the Torah and our traditions, and let’s ALSO share the Salvation of our Maschiach. Some of you feel that MJ congregations are not serving your Jewish needs and letting you live fully as Jews, so you remain “secret” believers in Yeshua-rejecting congregations, afraid to speak up for your faith for fear of being rejected or thrown out.

    “…Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. (12:42-43)”

    Yakov – where can I as a believing Jew find a congregation that honors our Maschiach, that will worship and service Him along side with me, and will bring the Good News to OUR people AND live as Jews at the same time? If such do not exist, perhaps YOU can start one with like minded people. For the time being, I choose to be in and serve in MJ, because I’m not a self-sufficient island and I don’t see a better alternative anywhere.

    Shabbat Tov, my brother…

    Gene

  30. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Boze… thank you for sharing your thoughts…

    You said: “In light of this, Messianic Judaism has a built-in problem. In wishing to preserve both Judaism AND Yeshua, it has to ask if it’s more important to save as many souls as possible or be Jewish. The solution I see is that MJ should leave the soul saving to gentile churches.”

    I hope that my Jewish brothers do not ever see this as a viable solution. Yeshua has made his mandate to his Jewish followers to bring the Good News specifically to the lost sheep of Israel. I will not be a part of any type of MJ that ignores this commandment of our Maschiach or leaves it to someone else. That’s just not an option for Jewish believers.

    Shalom,

    Gene

  31. Boze says:

    What I ment to say was that it should leave the soul saving of gentiles to gentile churches. As you stated,

    “Yeshua has made his mandate to his Jewish followers to bring the Good News specifically to the lost sheep of Israel.”

    As for bringing in Jews, I believe it is vitally important to the movement to follow Yeshuas words on this. But just as Yeshua finished raising up his deciples under his tutalige before giving them the mandate to “go forth”, I believe that MJ should have a firmly Jewish structure in place to bring Jews into.

    Thank you for your response, and the opertunity to clarify my thoughts.

  32. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaachov, Gene and Boze

    I read the posts that you have written and am smiling inside.

    At last I see us having a true discussion on this important matter. I also would like to say that I find something of merit in what each of you have said. It is like the blind man and the elephant. We all know where we would like to be but dont know how to get there.

    I would like to present a “sound bite” and throw it out here as a challenge to the four of us and any others that would like to address it.

    Here is my soundbite. Boze wrote the following:

    A Chabad like outreach toward Jewish brothers could be instituted when MJ has something real to bring them into, but the current focus should be building the house, not filling it with people.<<<<

    Is it if interest to anyone else that Chabad strongly objects to the term “outreach” for what they do?? After years of ridicule and isolation other Jewish groups are now attempting to imitate Chabads methods in “outreach” because of their success in “reaching Jews”. Chabadniks I talk to tell me that what they do is “INREACH” and that THIS it the secret to the Rebbes philosophy.

    Here is the soundbite:

    What of Messianic “Inreach”? Is it possible? Is it desirable? If so how would it look different from “outreach”???

    Look forward to an interesting discussion.

  33. Yaakov says:

    Dear Gene and Boze:

    Thanks for your responses. Gene, I will try to offer some attempts at a solution although I must confess, if I had one, I wouldn’t be writing to all of you – but then again, I think I would be.

    Actually Gene, I attend Chabad regularly and I have been VERY open from the beginning (the day I met the Rabbi), concerning my belief in Yeshua and also with several congregants. Perhaps a few think I’m a bit misguided, to say the least, but I am treated with much respect. I have also attended the local modern orthodox shul, but must confess, I think it would be much more difficult for me to openly express my beliefs there. I don’t find modern orthodoxy as “inviting” as Chabad, nor do they espouse the Chabad philosophy that: A Jew is a Jew is a Jew – and actually MEAN IT. It’s why I feel so comfortable with Chabad. It has been a vehicle for me to serach, learn and grow so much as a Jew. I do wish I was able to find such an environment in my local area when it comes to MJ.

    As for spreading the “Good News” among our people, my experience, like many other controversial issues, is that to do so in any meaningful way requires first establishing a relationship in which trust and comfort are present and strong, and then to look for small opportunities to raise questions with our brothers and sisters. All too often I hear and see an assault on our fellow Jews regarding Machiach. This is such an affront, and anyone, who’s strong values and beliefs about anything, who has been so harshly confronted cannot “hear” with an open heart or mind. This is also a serious shrortcoming of MJ. So now let me offer at least some small piece of a solution to this issue. We need to TEACH ourselves an effective approach which is respectful and sensitive to the long held values and beliefs of those we seek to reach. We need to really understand why they believe what they believe and start where they are, not where we want to take them! This is someting that can be taught and practiced. I don’t see it happening. What I do see, is our developing startegies to defend or go on the offensive with regard to “proving” Yeshua is Messiah. This simply will never work if you understand human behavior. I say this because I am a mental health professional and have some experience in this area.

    At any rate, thank you for your thoughts and I do look forward to some on-going discussions about things of importance to us all.

    Be well

  34. Yaakov says:

    Dear Shalom Bayit:

    I think this is a challenging thought. My concern is, as Boze has clearly and accuartely stated, we don’t have a “house”- to further the analogy – we have a “frame” but an inadequate interior. Without solid floors and walls we offer nothing that our fellow Jews will find significant or enriching.

    Can we finish the building project? I think this will require many who are much brighter and talented than me, although I would be willing to play my part in such a project. The question is do others believe this to be a sound and wothwhile venture?

  35. Shalom Bayit says:

    My concern is, as Boze has clearly and accuartely stated, we don’t have a “house”- to further the analogy – we have a “frame” but an inadequate interior<<<<

    Interesting point. How to build one… hmmm. . Perhaps our first order of business is to “inreach” to MJ?

    What do you think of that concept? Perhaps this helps address your cencenrs and my concerns as well as explain to Gene why this takes priority over “Jewish evangelism”.

    in any event, it was my understanding that this was supposed to be what the “mature MJ” of the Rabbinic Council Hasheyvnu etc were supposed to lead to.

  36. elisheva says:

    Shalom Bayit:

    How would we go about inreaching to MJ?

  37. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit…

    You said “Interesting point. How to build one… hmmm. Perhaps our first order of business is to “inreach” to MJ? What do you think of that concept? Perhaps this helps address your cencenrs and my concerns as well as explain to Gene why this takes priority over “Jewish evangelism”.”

    If MJ doesn’t put a foremost priority on “evangelizism”, then you’re leaving this to the gentile churches and the “J4J” to reach our people with their “version” of the Good News. Do you see my point? And once they reach, you WILL see people coming to faith in Yeshua, but it will now be in a “church” context, as has happened to most Jewish believers already.

    I am not for J4J tactics at all, but even the Lubavitches are promoting their “Rebbe” as messiah a whole lot more than what I am seeing Yeshua promoted in some MJ places. I see their newspaper in the Russian store down here in S Florida, almost every page is covered with something about their Rebbe. Our “Rebbe” Yeshua and the Good News is the most important thing a Jewish person will ever hear. I’d hate to be in any MJ congregation that puts Yeshua or His Good News on the back burner when He comes.

    We should be like Reb Shaul – everywhere he went he spoke of Him, and he was far more observant than any of us can ever hope to be.

    Shalom,

    Gene

  38. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    I have a question for you, Iam not trying to be a pessimist, but what is your MJ congregation like in South Florida?
    Is the leader a Jew? Are they concerned more about Jews or are they more concerned with how gentiles will fit into the movement?

    Shalom

    Elisheva

  39. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Elisheva…

    You said: “I have a question for you, Iam not trying to be a pessimist, but what is your MJ congregation like in South Florida?”

    Actually, I am affiliated with a congregation in Atlanta, and rabbi there is very Jewish and his foremost concern is Jews and how they fit into MJ. As a result, the congregation is about 65% Jewish. Traditional liturgy and non-charismatic, but wouldn’t call them Lubavitcher type.

    I am currently in the process of organizing my own Jewish Messianic Fellowship (not a congregation, at this time) in S. Florida with like-minded Jewish friends (launch date: after New Year’s) – called Beth Avinu (BethAvinu.org – the real site is being built, check back soon). It will be run by Jews and for Jews (of course, any Gentiles who LOVE the Jewish people will not be turned away). We are connecting with another MJ congregation here in S. Florida – the leader is Jewish. It will be as traditional as we can muster.

    My main concern is and will be for the Jews in S. Florida.

    Good Shabbos…

    Gene

  40. Yaakov says:

    Dear Gene:

    Again thanks for your reply. Please allow me to correct you.

    Chabad as the largest hasidic group in the world does not in fact believe the late Menachem Schneerson is or ever was Machiach. What does exist is a small group of those in Chabad who do believe this and they have been quite vocal about it. The Rebbe never thought of or referred to himself in this manner.

    Any thoughts about my approach to what you refer to as “evangelizing”? That is, do you think building relationships is the place to begin?

    Good Shabbos to all

  41. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    That congregation you talk about in Atlanta sounds great, Iam glad to see a congregation like this exists somewhere. What is the name of it, Id like to read about it on there website.

    Elisheva

  42. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Elisheva… I sent you an email…

    Gene

  43. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Yaakov…

    You said: “Please allow me to correct you. Chabad as the largest hasidic group in the world does not in fact believe the late Menachem Schneerson is or ever was Machiach. What does exist is a small group of those in Chabad who do believe this and they have been quite vocal about it. The Rebbe never thought of or referred to himself in this manner.”

    I didn’t mean to imply that the WHOLE Chabad believes that he is the Maschiach by saying that Lubavitchers claim the he is one. Many of them, however, clearly did while he was still alive (although many has since changed their minds). I still see their newspaper (in Russian and English) published here in S. Florida – “Welcome theKing!”, “We Want Maschiach Now!” – right under the photos of the dead “Rebbe”. Again, granted, YOU ARE CORRECT – it’s not ALL Chabad, but as you said “a small group”. Small but VERY vocal in the Jewish community here in US. My point was merely to show that they have a great zeal for what they considered the true moschiach. Nothing more, nothing less.

    You asked: “Any thoughts about my approach to what you refer to as “evangelizing”? That is, do you think building relationships is the place to begin?”

    Yes, I DO believe that it’s the BEST way to share the Good News of Yeshua HaMaschiach with our Jewish brothers and sisters. However, if you look at the scriptures, you will see Yeshua was sending his talmidim from Israeli town to Israeli town, clearly sharing the Good News without first establishing close relationships and friendships that you suggest must be established beforehand. In fact he sent them to people, many of who he warned would reject them and their message (no friends here). Yeshua taught that any town that doesn’t accept them, talmidim should shake off the dust of their feet:

    “11. Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. 12. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. 14. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. 15. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Matthew 10:11-15)

    Shaul did the same thing, he went to every Jewish community along his way. Sometimes his Jewish unbelieving brothers would beat him half to death (Acts 14:19), and sometimes they would welcome his teachings:

    “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. (Acts 14:21)”

    Yes, preaching the Good News with love and kindness to our fellow Jewish believers is the way to go. If possible, we should always try to established a friendship and trust, as you suggested. I agree with that. However, the Word of G-d doesn’t limit us to proclaim it to only those who “like us” or consider us our friends. Would you agree with that from scripture?

    I ALSO acknowledge that sharing the Good News with our people is VASTLY different NOW (because of two millennia of antisemitism) that it was before. However, unlike two thousands years ago, Jewish followers of Yeshua are much less likely to be stoned or whipped for proclaiming the Good News to our own people – although that time may still come:)

    Again, you have a choice – either churches or J4J’s with their confrontational tactics and church theology will reach our people first and shuffle them into gentile congregations, infuse them with antinomian church teachings and traditions, dispensationalism, Christmases and Easters, or we ourselves, Messianic Jews, will share the Good News, teach them about their OWN Maschiach and teach our Jewish family how to live and worship as Jews. For me the choice is clear.

    Shalom in Yeshua,

    Gene

  44. Boze says:

    From everything I’ve studied, Yeshua was Torah observant. Paul was also Torah observant. The messianic prophecy that Yeshua came to fulfill, and everything he taught to his Jewish followers was to be understood through the context of their religion.

    Right now, much of MJ is a lot of M and not so much J. Should religious Jews be actively recruited into something that will limit their access to the teachings and structure and wisdom of Judaism? Is that a price Yeshua finds acceptable? Before answering, consider that during the time of the Gospels, the “Christian” leaders were religiously Jewish.

    The hard question for me, and one that I’ve struggled with recently is who is better off, the Jew that calls on Yeshua’s name, and eats pork (as well as performing any number of other secular deeds) or the meticulously Torah observant Jew who is not a believer in Yeshua. If a man today is as righteous as Moses, is he now condemned for living in the wrong century? Seemingly simple from a Christian perspective, the questing becomes harder if you believe that Yeshua taught torah observance.

    Perhaps this question is why I worry about out-reaching (or in-reaching, a phrase I’ve now decided I like) toward people who have a far deeper understanding of Hashem’s holy word than I, and telling them that what I have is more meaningful. I feel MJ’s current focus should be creating the solid foundation to bring people into.

    On a different note, I’d like to say thank you to all of you for discussing such sensitive topics in a civil manner. It is sadly a rare blessing to find places where that is possible.

  45. Yaakov says:

    Gene:

    Some reaction to your last posting. Your referneces to the Talmidim are a good protrayal of what we read. However, you went on to suggest we live in a different time, one that has experienced literally nearly two thousand years of antisemitism. Your comittment to spreading the gospel is important, but I think you may not appreciate what the reality is of our more “traditional”Jewish brother ans sisters. You need to, unless you do so now, go out and interact regularly with non MJ to better understand why just “walking into town and speaking of the Messiah doesn’t work on any large scale. You are correct – we don’t focus on those who like us, we reach to everyone – not unlike Yeshua telling us He has come for the sick, the healthy are not in need. The reality is quite different now and requires different approaches. I don’t think it’s j4j OR the church as our only choices. Spending time with others, getting to know them and them you is of great importance. Yeshua did not leave us a formula to speak to our people. Remember, it is the RUACH HAKODESH WHICH CHANGES THE HEART, not you or me. We are Hashems instruments only.

    As for the references to the Rebbe as Maschiach, I can tell you that Chabad as a whole is exremely embarrassed regarding this small group who have taken it upon themselves to suggest such a thing. I have and still do spend a good deal of time in south Florida – family there- and have attended many Chabad congregations. I can assure you NON of them believe such a thing and never acknowledge this embarrassment. Perhaps the picture and the caption are not meant to be connected as you suggest, perhaps they are and your area is one in which this small splinter group is active.

    Your description of the MJ congregation in Atlanta sounds very attractive…and unusual in MJ. I think you are quite fortunate to have such a place. Please understand, this is an anomoly in MJ, not the norm in the US. Consider yourself blessed with such a place. As Elishiva asked, do they have a website? I too would like to visit.

    Be well

  46. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Yaakov…

    You said; “Your comittment to spreading the gospel is important, but I think you may not appreciate what the reality is of our more “traditional”Jewish brother ans sisters.”

    I acknowledge that coming from a secular Jewish background, my ability to relate to my fellow Jews who are more traditional is limited. That’s where YOU come in, right? However, I can easily relate to secular Jews, who are by FAR more numerous and approachable.

    Very few Messianic Jewish congregations will be able to sufficiently accommodate those coming from very traditional background, simply because the majority of Jews in these congregations are not so inclined themselves, being formerly secular.

    Some do indeed try to be as traditional as possible, but I am afraid that the expectations are being set quite high by some here. The best hope for those coming out of traditional backgrounds is to either hold separate more traditional services at their MJ congregations, or create their own traditional congregations and “in-reaches”. I do understand the problem you guys face, believe me.

    You said: “Spending time with others, getting to know them and them you is of great importance……Remember, it is the RUACH HAKODESH WHICH CHANGES THE HEART, not you or me. We are Hashems instruments only.”

    Yaakov, that’s all true. However, that’s sounds a bit passive as the ONLY method we can use, especially when I compare it with the way apostles did it.

    OK, then, let’s talk about the acceptable “Jewish evangelism” methods:

    How about such methods as TRADITIONAL messianic Jews visiting the elderly Jews in Century Village to help them and to teach them about Yeshua – would you do that yourself or would you be be against that (consider it predatory)? How about visiting Jews who are in prison or in a hospital, is that OK? How about promoting free Passover Seders in newspapers to attract unbelieving Jews? How about a college campus “in-reaches” , like setting up a Messianic Jewish “club” and promoting it to the Jewish student? What’s acceptable? Remember, churches and J4J may get to them first…

    You said: “As for the references to the Rebbe as Maschiach, I can tell you that Chabad as a whole is exremely embarrassed regarding this small group”

    That’s good, I am glad that they are looking for another Maschiach.

    You said: “Your description of the MJ congregation in Atlanta sounds very attractive…and unusual in MJ. I think you are quite fortunate to have such a place. Please understand, this is an anomoly in MJ, not the norm in the US. Consider yourself blessed with such a place. As Elishiva asked, do they have a website? I too would like to visit.”

    My friend, that congregation is quite traditional, but not orthodox. I have seen a good number of elderly Jewish people there who are quite comfortable there and who appeared quite traditional, and at the same time a good number of younger (Jewish!) folks worshiping as Jews. It was very encouraging to see. Again, I would not characterize that congregation as Orthodox in practice but as conservative.

    Yaakov… please visit my Beth Avinu Messianic Jewish Fellowship’s temporary site at BethAvinu.org, and submit the contact form on it with your email address – I will send you more info (as well some photos I took myself) about that Atlanta congregation.

    In Yeshua…

    Gene

  47. elisheva says:

    Yaakov:

    The website seemed very Christian oriented to me,I dont think it would meet my needs as a observant jewish believer.
    But I would love to hear your input about it. I think its very difficult for people who are traditional to find somewhere messianic to worship, I worship like you and Shalom Bayit do, except I havent gone to a Chabad, I attend an orthodox synagoe, but I am not open like you have been.I totally agree with Gene, most Jews are secular in nature. Maybe someday MJ will be different, we can only hope and pray.

    Elisheva

  48. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Elisheva… I’ve sent you some photos I took when I visited it them. The website stuff did not represent what I saw with my own eyes when I visited them… The place is not Christian oriented as you said, but I can see WHY you would think that judging from the site. However, there were some elements (probably to appeal to the general audience), like Messianic worship songs that would remind you of a church.

    If stuff like that bothers you, I don’t think that it would up to your standards, I am sorry. For someone like me, it suits me fine – but not everyone is like me. The fellowship that I am organizing in South Florida would be even less “churchy”. But even then, I would never be able to make it Orthodox friendly, not only because I wouldn’t know where to begin, but also because then I would be reaching to a very small segment of Jewish population. At the same time, worshiping in Chabad, while you say it meets your needs as an observant Jew, still separates you from other believers. I don’t think it’s a good thing.

    As you said, may be some day MJ would be different, but it’s not at this time. I certainly hope that at least SOME congregations would be more accomodating for believers like you. I would certainly consider holding separate services for more traditional people in my fellowship / congregation if there’s a need – Elisheva, what do you think of that idea for at least a partial solution?

    Shalom,

    Eugene

  49. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    If you study really hard,even a secular jew can Learn what Hashem expects of us!

    I think your solution is an awsome idea, to bad not everybody thinks that way. I totally praise you for making the attempt.

    Shalom

  50. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene Yaakov Elisheva and Bose

    Good discussion. May I say that it is refreshing to see these topics publically discussed here. I cannot recall seeing these issues discussed ANYWHERE else. Can any of you?

    I think that the issue of the Lubavitcher Rebbe which has come up may be a side issue. I only wish to make a few points about this. Yaakov has said a lot already which I agree with. He has personal experience to back up his remarks.

    Gene,with regard to the Lubovitch and the Rebbes “Messiahship”:

    1)Chabad has come under intense scrutiny and even much Lashanon Hara with the Jewish community over this issue. They have dealt with it decisively as an institution. I dont know about Yaakov but I have NEVER been asked to “submit” to the Rebbe as a condition of attending a Chabad congregation in good standing.

    Furthermore there used to be a saying in MJ/ Christianity. “Character counts”. In terms of influence on character I would stack the Rebbe up as a leader against an “apostolic stream” that MJ has put forth.

    2)When MJ leadership is as honorable and honest about Dan Justers claims to “Apostleship” as Chabad has been about the Rebbes “Messiahship” then I will be willing to concede that you have a point. Please direct your comments to “Rabbi Rich” and the leadership of the UMJC.

    I have already documumented here that in Tikkun congregations one must be 1)in submission to the “apostles” and 2) that said Apostles have imposed certain practices as rules on Jews as conditions of them being in good standing. This is a matter of public record on the web. Not a few tracts seen lying around in South Florida.

    If you want to see what Lubovitch publically says about the Rebbe, go to their web site:

    Read this article by R. Schochet.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/100895/jewish/Moshiach-in-Jewish-Law.htm

    This is the “party line” on Moshiach in Jewish law. Does it make a case for the Rebbe?

    It changed my life when I read it last Spring. I strongly urge you to read it carefully from the standpoint of scripture.
    I urge all participants in this discussion to read the above and reference it for our discussion. This is the challenge MJ must meet. Not a straw argument about the Rebbe.

    If anyone is interested in further reading about Lubovitch and the Rebbe and their view of Moshiach I suggest that they read through the other postings on the subject.

    http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/332562/jewish/Moshiach.htm

    And

    http://www.chabad.org/therebbe/default_cdo/jewish/The-Rebbe.htm

    There is nothing here about having to “submit” to his Messiahship. And BTW if I were going to go by the dedication and character of his emissaries alone as opposed to those seen in the MJ “apostolic stream” , it would be a slam dunk for me.

    End of subject.

    II

    As far as evangelism goes, what happened to the truisim in Christianity that the BEST evidence for Yeshuas messiahship is in the “changed lives”? Correct me if I am wrong but isnt that what it means to be an “ambassador for Christ”?

    If so, then shouldnt this be true for Jews as well? The best evidence for MJ should be the appearance of masses of Jews who are living holy lives of Jewish character. Is this what is happening? If not, why not?

    How do we as a community read II Corinthians 4:2? yes I see it is about proclaiming the word, but if fidelity to Torah is part of the conscience of every Jew then shouldnt our lives as a community reflect that?

    Gene talks about facing Yeshua in judgement. Yashe Koach Gene. I believe that this dovetails with R Schochets article. It is (or should be) the heart of the matter for all of us.

    This should be sobering for all of us. However let us not use it to justify in our rhetoric our own practices and our own arrogance. How do we read and obey Deut 30:8? To me this clearly mandates that a Jew doing Teshuvah will “do all His commandments which I command you today” as an outward sign of inward change.

    The Rebbes emissaries are out seeking every individual Jew that they can with this message. Often at great hardship and sacrifice to them. Is this what we are teaching each other and the Jewish community? Are we agents of this great turning to Hashem or are we putting up theological and spiritual impediments to our people in the name of Jesus? And if the latter this either says something about HIS messiahship or it says something about us and our methods.

    I for one am more comfortable facing him by honestly admitting the latter than allowing Yeshua to take the hit for what we in this movement have done in his name.

    I repeat my proposition. What is needed is to replace “outreach” with “inreach”. Outreach implies that we are superior to the rest of our people. Inreach implies that we are in an ongoing process of Teshuvah that we then share with our fellow Jews.

    (Isnt there something in Christianity about evangelism being one beggar showing another where to find bread?)

  51. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva:

    I certainly will visit the web site Gene noted and let you know my reactions as you asked. I think it’s great that you attend an orthodox shul. Chabad is just another experience you may want to try as a comparison. Services are nearly identical. It’s more of what Shalom Bayit has noted as well as what I have said. There is a certain belief and approach from the Lubavitch Chabad that is so accepting and genuine. Not that you haven’t experienced this in your shul. I did not find the same in my area when attending the orthodox shul. If there were no Chabad, I would go to the local orthodox service on Shabbos as you do.

    Gene:

    Perhaps I was not as clear as I hoped. I too grew up as a secular Jew as I mentioned earlier. And I agree with you, most Jews are really secular. I don’t want to convey to you that orthodoxy is the “best” approach at all. You noted the congregation in Atlanta was more conservative. I happen to think that’s great compared to what I have seen over several years. I’ll repeat – consider yourself fortunate for such a shul!

    As for your suggestions about visting hospitals etc. I think it’s geat – have done a few similar things myself. My problem is again, do we go in and visit and then begin to discuss the gospel? There needs to be a context in which we communicate to others. The other problem is Gene, with the current state of MJ congrgations, I would not feel too comfortable suggesting they attend. Your congregation sounds great, but it is, I think as I said before, an anomoly in the world of MJ. Even secular Jews can and have not been immune to the anisemitic world around them and the reference to “Jesus” or “Yeshua” is not as easy to overcome by visits and outreach. Again, as Shalom Bayit suggests, our lives should first be a living testimony to Hashem, and our relationships with others should demonstrate this, not just during a visit, but over a period of time. Again I go back to human relationships and the power of them in communicating. It is then that the RUACH HAKODESH along with our relationship and discussion of thins spiritual may benefit inthe ways we hope for.

    Gene, as we can all see, this is not so easy to solve since we all seek some different things and no congregation can be all things to all people. At some point, we need to make choices for a season which we feel is where or what we are being guided to do. My problem is as I have said before, to a very great extent MJ is a hodge podge of those in charge or those they answer to, rather than utilizing at least, most of a service that has kept our people in tact as a nation.

    I would hope for a meeting of the minds of those in the highest of leadership roles in MJ to get serious about what all of us have been discussing and stop hiding behind the bushes. No response or involvement from them, is in fact, a very loud response to what I believe are problems not just for us but for the masses.

    I do enjoy our discussions, but wonder if “anyone out there is listening”!!

    Be well brother

  52. elisheva says:

    Yaakov:

    Thanks for your input! I wouldnt say the orthodox shul is accepting at all, people that assume Iam a believer make it very difficult for me there.
    Reading shalom Bayits website about Chabad was encouraging to me, I live pretty far from the local chabad, but i might check it out in the future.
    Iam not really sure the difference between Chabad and orthrodox shuls, but it might be worth seeing what it is like. I would never have the courage like you to tell anyone I believe in yeshua! I think that is awsome that they accept you there knowing your belief in Yeshua at your Chabad that you attend where you live.

    Shalom

    Elisheva

  53. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva:

    I’m not so brave! I have as I said, told the Rabbi when I first met him. I have made a comment or two during Kiddush about Yeshua, but did not get into any big discussions. So I’m wouldn’t say everyone knows what I believe, they don’t. But, I don’t feel I need to go around announcing it either. As I have been discussing with you, Gene and others, the importance of developing relationships is such a critical part of being human. As others begin to know us, and as Shalom Bayit has said, as they see how we live our lives, it leaves them much more open to wondering about such things. This then enables me to look for an opening in a diccussion and perhaps bring up Yeshua, not in a definitive way, but by questioning things. This is much less threatening than some other approaches.

    I know the Rabbi depends on me each week for a minyan, and knows I’ll be there. We sometimes study together, I try to follow as many mitzvahs as I can reasonbly follow. This coming from a believer, when at times he has difficulty depending on the more “observant non believing Jews” in the congregation to come to shul.

    I say this not to acknowledge that I am doing more than others,I’m surely not, but to emphasize the importance of living who we are and allowing that to also assist in “inreaching” or “outreaching” to others. It is I think a combination of things that are most effective.

    I do think if you attend a few Chabad services you may see a difference. This doesn’t mean you will like it and may prefer where you are. Sometimes, like anything else, different congregations have different environments as a result of the people who attend. Perhaps you will find the people at Chabad open and friendly, or maybe no different than where you are. Either way, you have to do what you feel you are led to do. Gene is absolutely right, attending a shul with non believers is difficult and we can feel isolated and alone. These are tough choices for some of us.

    I wish for you good fortune in your walk as a Jew.

  54. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaacov, Gene, Elisheva

    There is a certain belief and approach from the Lubavitch Chabad that is so accepting and genuine<<<

    I agree with Yaacov about this. The great thing about Chabad is that they are the most tolerant and loving Jewish organization I have run into towards all Jews. They have variation between locations and obviously may have their limitations. However compared to all other branches of Judaism including Reform and MJ they have been to my observation the most “accepting and genuine”. This IMHO is the hallmark of what they stand for. I invite Yaacov to correct me if I am mistaken.

    I am getting the impression BTW that Gene seems to be under the misimpression that I am advocating a very high strict standard of orthodoxy for MJ. I was wondering if either he or someone else could help me understand what I wrote that gives that impression ?

  55. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Shalom Bayit:

    You said: “I am getting the impression BTW that Gene seems to be under the misimpression that I am advocating a very high strict standard of orthodoxy for MJ. I was wondering if either he or someone else could help me understand what I wrote that gives that impression ?”

    No, I don’t think you are pushing orthodoxy on MJ as a whole, so I don’t think I’ve misinterpreted what you’ve been saying. I believe that you are only asking that MJ and it’s leadership were a bit more understanding and accommodating to more traditional believers as yourself, Yaakov, and Elisheva, but at the same time you do not expect the same level of observance that you yourself follow of everyone in MJ. However, if I understood you correctly, you seem to expect traditional observance from MJ rabbis.

    Did I get it right?

    Shalom…

    Gene

  56. Shalom Bayit says:

    However, if I understood you correctly, you seem to expect traditional observance from MJ rabbis<<<<

    I guess it depends upon how you define traditional? I expect a rabbi to be knoweldgeable about and committed to Judaism.

  57. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaakov

    I would hope for a meeting of the minds of those in the highest of leadership roles in MJ to get serious about what all of us have been discussing and stop hiding behind the bushes. No response or involvement from them, is in fact, a very loud response to what I believe are problems<<<<

    I couldnt agree…..

    (more) <grin

    Yashe Koach

    but wonder if “anyone out there is listening<<<

    Good question.

  58. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit…

    You said: “I guess it depends upon how you define traditional? I expect a rabbi to be knoweldgeable about and committed to Judaism.”

    I would define it to be similar to what’s practiced in conservative synagogues in US, but with some MJ elements (like MJ songs in worship) and solid Yeshua-centered teaching …

    I agree with the “knowledgeable” part.

    Gene

  59. elisheva says:

    Gene, Yaachov, Shalom Bayit:

    Something Gene mentioned to shalom Bayit. This is something I thought I would toss out because I have had a problem trying to figure it out since becoming a believer.
    Maybe you guys can give me some input on what you think about it?

    My question is how do you incorporate being a jew ( which to me means following what Hashem expects of Jews) and having a “solid Yeshua-centered teaching “. How do you go about that?

  60. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    I would define traditional in the same way. We are on the same page.

  61. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva

    My question is how do you incorporate being a jew ( which to me means following what Hashem expects of Jews) and having a “solid Yeshua-centered teaching “. How do you go about that?<<<

    Yaakov was discussing this above.

    This is supposed to be what MJ leadership should help define for us simple Jews. I cant imagine a higher priority given what I thought was the mission of MJ. Can you?

    One would think that Hasheyvenu and the RC would be out holding seminars for the unenlightened instead of exchanging learned papers with each other and mentoring gentile converts.

    Unfortunately we are unable to get clear and acceptable guidance from anyone about this. I wouldnt begin to claim to have an expert answer to this question.

    I am just a “simple Jew”

  62. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaakov, Gene, Elisheva

    but wonder if “anyone out there is listening<<<

    Gene can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe a man named Josef Stalin once asked derisively of the pope “How many divisions does he have”?

    How many “divisions” do we have? Compared to the number of non Jews enthusiastically waiting in line to “convert to MJ” we may not appear to the powers that be to have any.

    I guess this remains to be seen.

  63. elisheva says:

    Gene,Yaachov,Shalom Bayit:

    I would like each one of you to define what “Solid Yeshua Centered Teaching” exactly is?

  64. elisheva says:

    Shalom Bayit:

    MJ Leadership isnt going to get any different, it could possibly get worse.

    So what is a “SIMPLE JEW” to do? Are we suppose to just give up and let this happen?

    We cant just give up and walk away

  65. Shalom Bayit says:

    We cant just give up and walk away<<<

    Who said anything about giving up? <<<<grin

  66. Shalom Bayit says:

    Solid Yeshua Centered Teaching” exactly is?<<<<

    I never use the term myself. I have heard Dan Juster talk about the need to be “Yeshua Centered”. I must confess to having found this somewhat vague when he used it. Perhaps Gene can help us understand better what this means and why he appended it as well as the MJ songs on to the rest of his description.

  67. elisheva says:

    So Shalom Bayit, ‘WHAT ARE SIMPLE JEWS’ suppose to do?

  68. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva:

    So Shalom Bayit, ‘WHAT ARE SIMPLE JEWS’ suppose to do?<<<

    At my last contact with a member of the “RC” he suggested that the members of the RC were too busy (presumably with the other matters I have described above) to come up with responsa for simple Jews. he suggested that I get about the business of educating myself. While I was a bit taken aback by the former, I find it hard to argue with the latter. Clearly l am not going to be able learn anything further from RC/MJTI etc given this mind set. However I do agree that I need to get about the business of learning and frankly being too closely involved with MJ is a major hinderence for serious Jewish study. I have therefore made my own decisions.

    But I digress: You ask what we can do:

    We fulfill our obligations as Jews the best we can. This includes getting educated Jewishly and learning to think prayerfully but critically about these issues.

    On this blog and others like it, I would suggest (humbly) that we look back to the links and verses I have cited in this thread. How does Deut 30 apply to us today? And I would look at the link I left from R Schochet and absorb that material.

    Thats for starters. How about it?

  69. elisheva says:

    Shalom Bayit:

    I know what are obligations are as Jews.

    Iam already getting Jewishly educated. My point is the more Jewishly educated I get, the more it conflicts with my belief in yeshua.

    Thats why I wanted to know what to do?

    Since you seem to know the leadership in the RC better then me, why is it they dont care about us ‘SIMPLE JEWS”?

    I might just have to find out one of there names and write to them myself

  70. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva:

    My point is the more Jewishly educated I get, the more it conflicts with my belief in yeshua.<<<<

    Yeah. That is a problem.<<<grin/gulp!

    I emphatize but dont know what to tell you. I have had the same problem. I think that Dan Juster would tell me my problem is that I wasnt submitted to the apostolic stream. I tried but found that they didnt know anything. The people who claim to know arent sharing.

    One would think from their concern about Jewish souls that they would find this diconcerting enough that we are thinking this way. From what I have seen it does not lead to much action.

    Thats why I wanted to know what to do?<<<

    I am serious about public eschewing any claim to expertise in this area. The scriptures are very clear about the penalties for being a false teacher. I am a simple Jew and would like the same answers. So would Yaakov from what I read. I wont speak for him but it appears as if he you and I are asking similar questions.

    Since you seem to know the leadership in the RC better then me, why is it they dont care about us ‘SIMPLE JEWS”?<<<<

    I think that “dont care” is a bit strong. They would strenuously object to this and I dont want to have to answer for something I didnt say. I really cant answer why they do things. When I try to discuss these matters with these folks I find that there is often or even almost always a subtext that I am just too “simple” to grasp.

    What I can say is that institutionally this has every appearance of being pretty faint on their radar screen. Their priorities are with mentoiring the next generation of leaders many of whom it appears are not Jews. Go figure.

    I might just have to find out one of there names and write to them myself<<<<

    Thats not a bad idea. If enough people do this and long enough perhaps something will change. Wasnt there a parable in the NT about the unjust judge and the annoyinig litigant?

  71. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva:
    Since you seem to know the leadership in the RC better then me, why is it they dont care about us ‘SIMPLE JEWS”?<<<

    The cynical answer would be that we dont have a constituancy. (See my comemnt above about Stalin and “divisions”). It means in the realpolitik of MJ, Real Jews and their spiritual needs have no impact on the flow of power and money that advances careers within MJ leadership. I would hate to think that the case.

    However I do know that they spend more time in “dialogue” with every nutty fringe “Olive oil twelve houses and and dog, ephraemite nevite, cultish nutty nut” that rears its head and almost no time with Jews. I think it partly because these folks are annoyingly persistant and therefore hard to ignore. ( Witness the conversations on this blog alone). I truly think that if enough Jews find each other and get a bit more squeaky with the powers that be then they will begin to pay attention.

    This is hard to do because most Jews in MJ have had the spirit knocked out of them by the trauma of their separation from the Jewish community and their families of origin. In this perplexed state many have been prey to authoritarian leaders with little knowledge and little inclination to address their needs who have found it easy to blame them for their perplexity.

    Thats the culture of this movement from my observations. There may be individual exceptions in leadership but the tide is against them.

  72. Yaakov says:

    Dear Elisheva and others”

    I’ve been following the conversation today and am happy as requested by Elisheva to speak to a few issues.

    I too have experienced that the more Jewish education I receive, the more distance it creates from MJ. There are a few issues on the table.

    I too have spoken to a few in leadership and while they are quite knowledgeable, they appear to have priorities which, in my opinion, are quite esoteric. That is, I believe they see themselves as a “think tank” exchanging academic/theological writings and thoughts with each other. I don’t believe it’s a matter of them thinking we’re all too stupid to understand, but I think it’s even more basic than that. My belief at this point in time is this: they don’t have any real answers to such questions you and all of us pose. They have not been confronted with such concerns in the past to any significant degree by many MJ and have few answers. Go study, attend another congregation are sorry excuses for such critical issues. I believe they are in the back room trying to figure things out while keeping themslves isolated and insulated intentionally. They know how sad the situation is in the movement, but the masses are satisfied enough so as not to cause any major revolution or challenge to the power structure, so hence, we have the status quo, or as I like to call it, a homeostatic relationship. With no large scale confrontations, the result is things remain the same. Movements which are organized, planned and include the people, make change happen. Look at our own recent history:the civil rights MOVEMENT; the Poor Peoples MOVEMENT of the 1906’s for example. These movements included the masses – leaders looked to the people and educated them while providing education on how to become agents of change. And look at the outcome! Look around MJ – see anything remotely similar? Why? Leaders have no intent of making such changes to the homeostatic balance. The masses don’t question, so why change. Think of MJ as a corporation. Its a business and must sustain itself or face disintegratiion. Such organizations eventually exist to keep themselves in existence and to support thos in charge and ependent upon the survival of the organization. While this may sound a bit harsh, look around closely, contact some of these people, and discover for yourself. Not a pretty picture.

    I think the other problem is a political one. The two major MJ organizations are not the best of friends. The result is a split among those who are or want to be in power. This, in my opinion is antithetical to Judaism and MJ. One would hope that those who sell themselves as “apostles” and “leaders” would act in a more spiritual way and show a bit of selflessness. Is this not the humility Hashem expects of us all?

    In the end, I think there may be enough masses to enable this dysfunctionl system to exist. But there may not be. It will only be at this time that change may be examined, but by that time it may be too late. I do not see a promising future for MJ. It may limp along,,but I don’t think it’s impact will be significant on Jews who need something tangible to grasp. The current form of MJ is quit fluid and as I have stated previously, an unorganized free for all from congregation to congregation. Go to a conservative shul or an orthodox shul or a Reform synagogue, the services are always the same with few variations – consistency, organiztion, leadership! MJ is far from such a place and after nearly 40 years there really is little excuse other than the obvious. A sorry situation indeed.

    None of this precludes believing. It may mean finding a more Jewish place to do it. Again, a sad state of affairs which shows little prospects for real change.

  73. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear fellow Jewish believers…

    I would like to share a few thoughts with all of you…

    I’d rather be in a “dysfunctional” Messianic Judaism, than to be separated from my fellow believing Jewish brothers in Yeshua. That’s why I am staying in MJ to make MY OWN fellowship/congregation a safe haven for them.

    There are a lot of religions that are very cohesive and well planned from a human point of view(Mormons and JWs come to mind), and thus they are seemingly worthy of our admiration. As far as execution they would put any MJ or any Christian congregation to shame. As far as unity in theology and leadership, they would put Jewish congregations to shame as well. But they lack one thing – Yeshua… That’s why I don’t care how well they run their organizations, how well their services go, how consistent they are from place to place, or anything else. It doesn’t matter to me and I don’t think it matter to G-d.

    I can be with a group of Gentile believers, and I can share my heart with them about our Father, Avinu – they can understand me. Sure they do not see G-d from my Jewish perspective (why would they???), but I can still see how G-d is working in their lives. Sure, some of them bought into replacement theology, dispensationalism, etc… and I feel VERY sad for them and one day they’ll find out better. But I can still relate to them on a spiritual level.

    It’s even more so with my fellow Jewish believers – instant connection, even you guys in this blog. How wonderful it is to sit down with a fellow Jewish believer and talk to him or her about what Yeshua accomplished in their lives. How even more wonderful it is to worship side by side with them! I would stay in MJ just for that, to have that connection. Can any unbeliever really understand me, even a Jewish one, without having been changed by His Blood and eyes opened?

    I am not going to judge those of you who remain in non-believing Jewish congregations for whatever reason. I don’t know what Yeshua is accomplishing with you being there. Perhaps you’re there for a good reason, I do not know. However, I can see that some of you have a very negative, I would say even hopeless view towards the believing Body of the Maschiach, while at the same time, just about nothing but praise for everyone else – and that’s troubling to me.

    Yes, I too can see problems in the MJ part of the Body just as well as any of you, but I am not going to drop out. The Tanakh and the Brit Hadasha describes a lot of individuals and whole congregations with lots of problems, so G-d is not surprised by that, and He doesn’t give up on them. He will discipline them, for sure.

    One thing I will not do, is say “YOU fix it!and THEN I’ll consider you worthy of my presence”. I will not say that I’ll be back when SOMEONE ELSE gets THEIR act together. I live in the NOW. I want to worship and serve Avinu side-by-side with my fellow Jewish believers NOW. If it’s in a “dysfunctional” MJ, well so be it.

    Shalom,

    Gene

  74. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    I guess I shouldnt speak for Shalom Bayit and Yaakov, but dont you think we want to worship side by side with our fellow Jewish believers?

    So you are saying I should suck up to my local MJ congragation that doesnt really care about me as a jewish believer and cares mostly about the gentile wannabe jews fittng in. Is that where I should go worship Gene?

    I can relate to gentiles on a spiritual level, but they have no idea where iam coming from and frankly I really dont think they really care to.

    There just has to be a solution, I just dont know what it is.

    Hashem has called me to be with Jews so thats where Iam in my spiritual walk. Iam not sure where Yeshua fits into that spiritual walk but I know in my heart who he is.

  75. Gene Shlomovich says:

    “There just has to be a solution, I just dont know what it is.”

    Elisheva…. how about trying to get together with fellow Jewish believers in your area – just a small home group, for a Torah study, instead of joining some congregation out right?

    The key here is not the size of the congregation or even a particular MJ congregation in your area (some areas have very few good ones), but the fact that you MUST stay connected to other fellow believers (not just “online”:), otherwise you’re leaving yourself very vulnerable to enemy’s spiritual attacks. We are His “flock”, not lone rangers.

    Shalom…

    Gene

  76. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    I’d rather be in a “dysfunctional” Messianic Judaism, than to be separated from my fellow believing Jewish brothers in Yeshua. <<<<<<

    I think it important that we stay together on this and not misrepresent each other in our rhetoric. Dysfunctionality is never a healthy thing and one should never settle for it. To encourage someone to stay in what is inherantly and unchangeable dysfunctional is in my opinion different from making do with inadequate organizational structures.

    For those of you ( including Derek ) who talk about “mature MJ” and the inevietable change in the movement, it has been precisely this rhetoric, which I have heard from the inception of the movement which has been used by dysfunctional leaders to manipulate vulnerable Jews for as long as I can remember.

    That’s why I am staying in MJ to make MY OWN fellowship/congregation a safe haven for them.<<<<

    Thats good if indeed you are independent from the rest of MJ.

    Hows that goin’ for ya?

    There are a lot of religions that are very cohesive and well planned from a human point of view(Mormons and JWs come to mind),<<<<<

    Its funny you bring the Mormons up. I know a bit about them since I have friends in Salt Lake. They are in fact well cohesive and well planned but extremely dysfunctional. Same for JW. They are manipulative, and guilt tripping to keep their membership not thinking and staying on board. If the menmbership has trouble reconciling the contradictory and silly theology.. well its the memberships problem and not the systems. And BTW I think it ironic to say but MJ reminds me of the Mormon church. With all that talkd of “two houses, Ephramemites, Nevites, Gadites, Olive Trees” etc its it part of that quinessential quirky American McReligion which helped to spawn a Joseph Smith and has very little in common with Judaism.

    and thus they are seemingly worthy of our admiration. As far as execution they would put any MJ or any Christian congregation to shame.<<<<<

    We are not talking about execution but about integrity and intellectual honesty.

    As far as unity in theology and leadership, they would put Jewish congregations to shame as well. .<<<<

    I hope that Yaacov comes and clarifies that we are not talking about efficient services here. We always expect things that are Jewish to be…..

    Well Jewish….

    Unless run by German Jews<<<smile

  77. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaacov

    .They have not been confronted with such concerns in the past to any significant degree by many MJ and have few answers. Go study, attend another congregation are sorry excuses for such critical issues. I believe they are in the back room trying to figure things out while keeping themslves isolated and insulated intentionally. They know how sad the situation is in the movement, but the masses are satisfied enough so as not to cause any major revolution or challenge to the power structure, so hence, we have the status quo, or as I like to call it, a homeostatic relationship. With no large scale confrontations, the result is things remain the same Movements which are organized, planned and include the people, make change happen. Look at our own recent history:the civil rights MOVEMENT; the Poor Peoples MOVEMENT of the 1906’s for example. These movements included the masses – leaders looked to the people and educated them while providing education on how to become agents of change. And look at the outcome! Look around MJ – see anything remotely similar?<<<<

    Yashe Koach.

    You have said it much better than I. The RC and Hasheyvenu folks should be ashamed. I hope Derek reads this and carries the message to his mentors. I feel that he and the other idealistic Gentiles who have signed on to this are also in my opinion being misled. Derek and I have had several discussions about the inevietability of change. I have tried to point out on several occasions to him and his other colleagues that change doesnt happen without the type of thing you are talking about here.

    And frankly with all deference to my friend Gene, as long as we are colluded into settling for something less then this cannot happen. An analysis of the systematic problems which stand in the way of a “mature MJ” or “PMMJ” should have been on the agenda of any “think tank” that really wanted to effect change. The fact that it isnt ( Just look at the topics at Hasheyvenu forum and the way in which it is limited in distribution) and you can see that this isnt where they are going.

    Yaacov:

    What would Saul Alinsky have done?

  78. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    I dont know alot of local Jewish believers.

    I have been to small home groups that are mixed with jewish believers and gentile believers and there agenda is very christian oriented. The jews in this group have been believers for 20- 30 years ,you know the ones coming out of churches!

    They are more concerned about the believers in churches loving the jews, which I think is important also, but they are not concerned about what Hashem expects of us as jews, the person in charge who is a jew tried to disciple me, I got totally turned off, it was all about not being a jew and that you didnt need to follow torah because you have yeshua now.

    I pray someday you will understand> grin

  79. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Elisheva…

    “I pray someday you will understand> grin”

    BELIEVE me, I DO understand your problem. I see the problems in MJ, and many things make me quite angry. I am upset at this as well, that Jewish believers basically become gentile Christians, with little if any difference between them and gentile believers. I DO think it’s wrong for them to say the Torah is obsolete now. It’s just plain stupid!

    This problem is 2000 years old, give or take a few years, and it’s not going to be fixed overnight. However, for the first time in centuries we have Jewish believers who DO find Yeshua and at the same time stay Jewish. No all of them are very traditional and some are quite churchy… but I praise G-d that He is working in us.

    I am building an MJ forum, as some of you guys have been asking me to do… it’s nearly completed and will go live in a few days. There just dont’ seem to be one anywhere I looked (unless you count J4J forums! – I don’t!) Elisheva… I sincerely hope that you will be able to connect with believers like yourself in your own area through that forum, those believers who are in hiding and who avoid mainstream MJ congregations.

    Gene

  80. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene

    I think the forum is a great idea. I think one area or more ought to be restricted to comments by people who already believe that Jews should be Jewish ala the RC / Hasheyvenu vision. There needs to be a place where people who arent in the elite can hash these things out and share their lives publically. We dont want to spend our time reinventing the wheel answering the same objections over and over again. We need to get on with it.

  81. Shalom Bayit says:

    Addendum

    Before someone corrects me, I do realize that Hasheyvenu now publishes its papers on the website. I think my point still stands.

  82. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit…

    There will CERTAINLY be a section where Traditional Believers will be able to connect.

    I am also considering a section, perhaps divided by state or other geographic region, where traditional believers SPECIFICALLY can find each other to form small groups or fellowships. I can see this need.

    I am considering having each new signup be authorize by an admin before any posting is allowed. However, the forums would be viewed by all visitors without registration.

    I am open to input…

    Gene

  83. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva, Gene, Yaakov

    it was all about not being a jew and that you didnt need to follow torah because you have yeshua now<<<<

    I find this less offensive and dysfunctional tham “you still need Torah but a) we will define for you what that means and or b) you are on your own as to how you will meet the dual mutually exclusive obligations which we have given you. The former is typical of Tikkun/ UMJC and some MJAA congregation, the latter is my read on Hasheyvenu and the RC.

    All equally non helpful.

    I agree with Yaakov’s analysis and I hope we can get back to discussing that.

  84. Shalom Bayit says:

    MUST stay connected to other fellow believers (not just “online”:), otherwise you’re leaving yourself very vulnerable to enemy’s spiritual attacks. We are His “flock”, not lone rangers<<<<

    I’m ok with this. I fail to see why it has to conflict with Shabbos.

    There are 6 other days in the week for “fellowship”. Including Saturday nites. If MJ leaders REALLY cared about the observant Jews in their midst they would arrange for some participation off hours. I have found however that their egos are so invested with being “rabbis” that they are offended that Jews dont want to attend their “Messianic Sabbath services” and they are unwilling to accomodate.

    Again, whose responsibility is this anyway?

  85. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Come’on Shalom Bayit… brother… let’s be a bit more optimistic! Please focus on what G-d can accomplish through YOU!

    Isn’t G-d in control??? I think He’ll be the one who can sort out any messes that humans create… especially the BIG ones.

    My solution for you is the same as before – organize your own group if you don’t like any in your area. Get ten like minded Jews in your city, and start a small fellowship and hold your own Shabbos! Is that possible? Too hard? Is anything too hard for G-d? Pray! Are you only a “simple Jew”? Yeshua himself picked simple little Jews like you and me to work through (well… except when he picked Reb Shaul… that’s because Gentiles needed some extra help:)

    Don’t wait for big mahas at the top of the MJ ladder to get their act together! If they really don’t care about people under them, they will fail.. and G-d help them… Our job is to follow Yeshua and care for his flock.

    Gene

  86. Yaakov says:

    Dae Shalom Bayit, Gene and Elisheva:

    Perhaps a bit of calrification and then response is important. Gene, I am confused, just a bit, of your statement “I’m going to make my own fellowship and congrgation”.

    Would is a bit confusing and moreso, disconcerting given yor statements, is that it sounds like your going off to do your own thing, to start your own fellowship and congregation. I’m not going to question your credential s to do such a thing, but more importantly, I thought you were making a clear statement about “remaining in the fold” You spoke as if you were going to continue to attend a MJ congregation. Is not starting your own congregation, as you stated is your intent, doing the very thing we have been discussing as problematic – no oversight, et., etc., etc.?

    I do think your suggestion of having a fellowship among Jewish believers is a very good thing and support it completely…but a congregation? Perhaps I misunderstood. Please clarify.

    Elisheva mentions not thinking you understand. I must agree. You have chosen to focus on some of my comments regarding MJ as a dysfunctional organization and stretched and molded it in a way which is out of context. Please reread as it relates to PEOPLE and LEADRES and their RELATIONSHIPS.

    Shalom Bayit asks me “what would Saul Alinsky do”?

    Saul Alinsky, (a nice New York Jewish boy) (: was what we use to call in the 1960’s a “community organizer”. You would do well to read his books. At any rate, he spent his life working with the poor, less priviliged and others of similar experience seeking to EMPOWER THEM, to help FREE them from the BONDAGE which had bennPUT UPON THEM BY THE POWER STRUCTURE

  87. Yaakov says:

    SORRY,

  88. Yaakov says:

    Sorry, contiuation to follow shortly.

  89. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Yaakov… fellowship, I am starting a fellowship, not a congregation. I wanted to make it clear (see bethavinu.org). There will not be a rabbi there, but spiritual leaders. However, if down the road G-d will choose to grow and transform it into a congregation, I believe that He’ll find the right “rabbi” to lead it (or may be by that time I’ll be ready, educated, experienced and qualified enough for that role, who knows!?:)!)

    As I said to you before, we are (and it’s not just me who’s starting it) organizing our fellowship under the accountability of our good MJ rabbi friend. So, there will be oversight, but we are still in control.

    In any case, I am doing this in the context of MJ (and probably the MJAA version), since we have some connections with the leadership, some of who I know personally and I can tell you only about those that I know, THEY DO CARE ABOUT THE JEWISH PEOPLE, unlike what some have been saying about them here). I am not starting my own movement , and I will not be an offshoot of Chabad or any other religious organization that doesn’t accept Yeshua (like they would allow my fellowship in!).

  90. Yaakov says:

    Back to Mr. Alinsky, just for a moment. He was the most critical figure in several major changes in lage communities in NY and elsewhere. He worked with the “have nots” and found the natural leaders among them. Once found, he worked closely with them to identify THEIR problems – meaning the people’s problems, and educated them on the change process, both political and personal. He cahnges lives and communities forever. He did not assume he knew what was best for the people, but TRUSTED the PEOPLE and that they knew what was best for themselves. He was a master “guide” if you will, at educating them about how to get what they felt they needed. And he became a very “feared ally of the downtrodden” by those in power.

    Why does Shalom Bayit even mention Alinsky. Well it may inpart be because of what I’ve described. He may also have other reasons, and we’ll leave those to him to discuss.

    At any rate, what I’ m not sure you understand Gene, is that if the masses remain uneducated about the possibilities they have, if they become aware that THEY can change that which is ubacceptable, if they can feel EMPOWERED, then they can cause change -if effect, they become Hashem’s “tools of change”. So we have a parrell process here – those who feel dissatisfied with thrie lot and know not how to change it, accepting the homeostasis- the situation as static – thenwe have those who are TAUGHT about the process of change, become EMPOWERED, and go forth to create what THEY think they need. Of course we only need change agents in situations where people are dissatified, otherwise, why change. Or as I allude to, if you think things can’t change, why bother? Where do see MJ in this process? Do YOU think change is required for the general good. Do you find intalking to others they feel similar? If so, perhaps some of us can become Saul Alinsky’s. But to become such a person is to first understand the whole process of change and how to work with and empower others. Not a semesters course or a how to manual, but a process to be learned by those who ahve been ther and done that.

    This, I think Gene, encapsulates what you might not appreciate. It’s not about organizational STRUCTURE – it’s much more important and essential – it’s about those of us in need finding ways to get fed properly.

    I hope I helped clarify a bit. If not, I’m sorry, and please show me, if you should want to know, how I might better express myself and my desire for you Gene, for Elisheva, Shalom Bayit and anyone who feels they need more or something differnt in their spiritual development.

    Be well

  91. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    Is the person you talking about that is going to mentor/ help you build your felowship, the person you talked about to me in the MJ congregation in Atlanta?

  92. Yaakov says:

    Gene

    Thanks for the clarification. You did note in a previoue message you were starting a “fellowship/congretation”. This was the reason for my question. I hope your endeavor is successful.

    are ther many people in your area from which to draw? How will you make your fellowship know to them and what do you see your gatherings to look like? I only ask since I think it is a very good plan and wonder what you will be doing.

    Gene, I don’t think any of us, or at least let me speak for myself, are saying we -I – feel the esatblished leaders don’t care about us. If you read what I said it is not that at all. Caring is not the issue. Change and power are the issues, personal agendas is an issue, not rocking the boat is an issue, admiting there are problems and admitting there are no current solutions is an issue. Not addressing how to -as Elisheva asks – provide Yeshua teaching in a real Jewish context, that is in direct relationship to the teaching of the rabbis and sages, if this is possible, is an issue. There are more, but it’s unnecessary to go on.

    Do your friends at the MJAA think any of what we are discussing is a problem for some of us? Have you asked and have they acknowledged? I’m interested to know the answer.

    At any rate, I hope all goes well with your efforts.

  93. Gene Shlomovich says:

    He will be one of the people helping us, yes. We volunteered to be accountable to him. He’s a very busy guy, so I am not sure how much help he’ll be for us, but he was gracious enough to offer help. I wouldn’t call him a mentor (he’d need to spend a lot more time with me for that).

    I said before, really liked his congregation (they’ve been around for over 20 years, which is ages in MJ years). It just “smelled” Jewish not “churchy”, if there’s such a thing – and I know what “church” smells like:)! I also liked his no-nonsense approach and very low tolerance for charismatic weirdness, and the way Jewish believers are nurtured in that congregation and grew up in it. I also like his involvement with Israeli congregations, and the poor in Israel.

    That said, I would probably be somewhat less tolerant of some of the “churchy” stuff than he has been (as he’s old school, first generation of MJs). I would be more willing to try out separate traditional services (if there’s a need, of course).

    Gene

  94. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    Iam really worried for you, and I cant get into it right now.

    All I can say is I have a few questions for you:

    1. How many times have you been to that congregation?
    2. How recent have you been there?
    3. How well do you really know the rabbi there?
    4. How well do you know the Jewish believers that grew up in that congreation?

    All I can do is pray Hashem will show you the truth

  95. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Elisheva, I really appreciate your concerns… thank you! I am not worried, but I would appreciate your prayers regardless!

    1. How many times have you been to that congregation?

    My best friend (who is Jewish also), has known and been friends with this rabbi for almost 20 years. He knows him VERY well. He knows his son (who will be replacing him shortly) VERY well, he knows his wife VERY WELL. My friend’s own brother and his whole family has been a part of that congregations from day 1 (over 20 years!). The rabbi has been like a second father to my best friend’s nephew (who turned out a SOLID MJ, whom I saw grow up over the years) The rabbi came down to Florida and spent a great deal of time with us a few months ago. We’ve also attended one of the “inside” training sessions he conducted for another Florida congregation (very sobering of the stuff that some congregations go through and practice).

    2. How recent have you been there?

    I’ve been there last winter, with my wife and my best friend. We are planning on going again shortly.

    3. How well do you really know the rabbi there?

    See point #1.

    4. How well do you know the Jewish believers that grew up in that congreation?

    I know some of them VERY WELL, and spent a lot of time discussing MJ and Jewish theology issues. I can only say that I only wish I was a Jew like them… I wish I spiritually grew up in that congregation myself.

    Shalom,

    Gene

  96. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    I hate to even say this publically to you and I hope you can understand.

    When I became a believer almost 4 years ago, I despirately needed support as a jew, I was so torn away from my Jewish communtity from believing in Yeshua, I didnt know where to go.

    Someone lead me to this congregation and it was a very bad situation for me. The situation there stripped me even more of my Jewish identity, and I was more of a secular jew then. No one cared about me being a jewish believer or anything about being Jewish, they cared about me being “SAVED”!!!!

    Iam sorry for this Gene.

    The only people I found to be somewhat Jewish and they lived aroubd the courner from me was Lisa and Arthur Mann. Iam sure you have met them.

  97. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    We volunteered to be accountable to him<<<

    I have a good friend who did something similar to you. He escaped from the trap of “submission” to Tikkun and is now in “submission” to some “rabbis that he met from MJAA.

    Out of the frying pan into the fire.

    What Yeshiva did your “rabbi” get his “rabbinic” training at?

    If its none of my business, please let me know.

  98. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaacov:

    Gene, I don’t think any of us, or at least let me speak for myself, are saying we -I – <<<

    Its ok. You can say “we”. You are at least reflecting my thoughts on this matter extremely well.

    feel the esatblished leaders don’t care about us. If you read what I said it is not that at all. Caring is not the issue.<<<<<

    Come to think of it Yaacov, havent we all known dysfunctional parents who “care” very much about their children?

    Change and power are the issues, personal agendas is an issue, not rocking the boat is an issue,<<<<

    Hmmm. It sounds as if we must have been to similar places.

    admiting there are problems and admitting there are no current solutions is an issue.<<<

    It has occured to me more than once or twice in my 30 odd years of episodic participation in MJ that perhaps Hashem is waiting for all of us to collectively throw up our hands admit that we dont know.

    Gene said: <Isn’t G-d in control??? I think He’ll be the one who can sort out any messes that humans create… especially the BIG ones<<<

    Thats definitely true. But as I seem to recall from scripture it wasnt a pleasant process to be on the receiving end of the sorting out. There is enough “Chubris” (Chutzpah + Hubris = Chubris, a form of arrogance indigenous to MJ) out there. There are enough phoney “rabbis” and “apostles” and other worthies who demand submission and provide no moral leadership. I dont want to be caught trying to lead when I dont have the knowledge base to teach properly.

    Back to Yaacov:

    Not addressing how to -as Elisheva asks – provide Yeshua teaching in a real Jewish context, that is in direct relationship to the teaching of the rabbis and sages, if this is possible, is an issue.<<<<

    Not AN issue but rather the heart of the matter. I fail to see how MJ leadership could have any higher priority.

    So how would Saul Alinsky address this failure Yaakov? We may not be able to “lead” as “rabbis”, but can we make some sort of contribution as change agents? I am pretty outraged that MJ leadership in the RC / Hasheyvenu mode have pushed this conversion of Gentiles agenda while not addressing the concerns of people like Elisheva. How do we find the other people so affected and give them the tools to bring about change?

    There are more, but it’s unnecessary to go on. <<<<

    Feel free. You are “on a roll”

  99. Gene Shlomovich says:

    You said: “Someone lead me to this congregation and it was a very bad situation for me. The situation there stripped me even more of my Jewish identity, and I was more of a secular jew then. No one cared about me being a jewish believer or anything about being Jewish, they cared about me being “SAVED”!!!!”

    Elisheva, I am sorry your Jewish needs were not addressed in that congregation. I can’t blame them for caring more about your eternal destiny, than about anything else… Yeshua cares about your eternal destiny. On His list of priorities, it goes right above liturgy, above your rabbi, above your congregation, and aboive your earthly comforts…

    As for me, being an observant Jew is one thing (very few of Jews around the world are), but my Jewish identity doesn’t depend on a certain Chabad or Orthodox liturgy, a certain type of prayer, on a kippah I wear. When Israel worshiped idols, they were still Israel. I grew up in a country that denied me all of the things American Jews take for granted (including physical safety as a Jew), but it couldn’t strip away my own or my family’s Jewishness. Being Jewish for me doesn’t depend on a rabbi, on a specific congregation – my HaShem is the one keeping me Jewish. He has kept me Jewish even while I was in the church (which I am not any longer since starting my fellowship with a few Jewish friends). I will die a Jew.

    I am glad that when I was a teenager in the good’ol USSR, some Christian radio ministry was streaming forbidden airwaves into my country and offered free bibles to anyone who would write them a letter requesting one. We didn’t understand or care what they were preaching So, me and my brother we wrote them a letter. In fact, we wrote many – no one ever shipped us anything for free before! I didn’t read them then, but I knew they were famous and important. But I am glad that HaShem reached out to me even back then…

    A few years later, we were fortunate enough to move to US. In the beginning we attended a Reform synagogue. The people there were really nice, they cared about our family as my mother was dying from cancer months after our arrival. But there wasn’t much spiritual about them, it felt like a social club. About three years later, I started my intellectual and spiritual search for truth, for G-d. After reading a ton of books, both for and against G-d, after reading prophecies about Israel in Tanakh, one day I prayed to receive Yeshua… I received his Salvation! It was the most important day in my entire live.

    That day I felt more Jewish than I ever did. I kept reading and re-reading the Jewish prophecies about Israel (the country where my great-granparents lived and dies, where my grand-parents live now, and where my extended family and friends reside as well – all of whom I keep in touch on a regular basis). I was so proud of being a Jew!

    Years later, I decided to go to church because read in the Tanakh an admonition “do not forsake your fellowship”. Since most Jews I knew cared nothing about Yeshua who saved me, I went to the first place where I knew people talked about Him – church down the street. I had no other choice as I didn’t know about MJ!

    I have never forsaken my Jewishness. That’s why I am now heavily involved in everything Jewish NOW. Yes, I admit it – to me bringing Salvation / Yeshua to my own people is the foremost desire in my life… loving HaShem and serving Him in a way He wants to be served will be my focus until He returns to gather my people.

    As Reb Shaul wrote:

    “I speak the truth in Maschiach — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in Ruach HaKodesh — 2. I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Maschiach for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4. the people of Israel.” (Romans 9:1-5)

    Reb Shaul had great anguish for the Salvation of his Jewish brothers and sisters. He worried about their eternal destiny, to the point that he wanted to be separated from HaSchem for their sake. He didn’t worry about the Jewishness – Shaul knew the HaShem will ALWAYS AND FOREVER preserve His Nation – no matter HOW FAR THEY STRAY from Him once again (as they’ve done many many times in the past).

    Do we have the same spirit as Shaul did for his Jewish brothers and sisters? Are we more observant that Shaul, one of the Prushim, was?

    In Him,

    Gene

  100. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Shalom Bayit…

    You said: “Out of the frying pan into the fire.
    What Yeshiva did your “rabbi” get his “rabbinic” training at?
    If its none of my business, please let me know.”

    I am sure it wasn’t an Orthodox Yeshiva…

    What Messianic yeshiva were there over 20 years ago? I guess G-d worked with what available material He had back then, whoever had a willing and contrite spirit to serve Him in the face of both Gentile and Jewish opposition…

    Shalom,

    Gene

  101. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    Do you really in your heart think my eternal distany is more important? I think my eternal distany is important but I think what hashem expects from me as a jew is also very important.

    I have asked each one of you how can we have Yeshua and Judaism, and because we are simple jews, no one has the answer, including you Gene.

    I think since you have been in a church environment a little and I have not experienced that, you see things on more of a christian level then I do and thats OK.

    In what way did you receive yeshuas salvation? I dont understand really what that means?

    Sometimes I have a hard time relating to you because we are on so different spiritual levels, but i can say one thing I can relate totally with you is on the night my life was about to end and I prayed to G-D and he sent me Yeshua, it will be a night I will never forget as long as I live also!

    I pray you dont take it personally that I was honest about telling you my experience in your congregation in Atlanta.

  102. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene

    Being contrite and serving Hashem does not make someone knowledgeable about Judaism. I have served Hashem the best I can since 1973 in the face of much opposition as well as indifference from Jew Christian and not the least MJ leadership.

    That dont make me no rabbi.

    Isnt there a Christian cliche about working in Mc Donalds not making one a hamburger?

    BTW does this conregation light Chanukah candles?? If so do they recite a blessing and if so what is it?

    Happy Hanukah to you and yours my friend

  103. elisheva says:

    Gene, Yaachov, Shalom Bayit:

    I hope all of your homes are smelling from oil from cooking Latkes

    H A P P Y C H A N U K K A H

  104. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Elisheva… As I light the candles in my home with my wife, I wanted to say “Happy Hanukkah” to you! May HaShem bless you richly, may He light the path before you, may reveal Himself even more to you, and draw you closer to Himself.

    I want to thank G-d that he has redeemed you now, as He will redeem All His people Israel in the future.

    You said: “Do you really in your heart think my eternal distany is more important? I think my eternal distany is important but I think what hashem expects from me as a jew is also very important.”

    Eternal destiny with Yeshua, not rejecting the most precious Gift that HaShem has to offer humanity and our Jewish nation in particular, that’s what’s the most important thing. To love our G-d – that’s number one. Yes, being a Jew and serving our G-d is important too, obeying his commandments – indeed, this goes hand in hand with loving Him. Yeshua said:

    “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15)

    You said: “I have asked each one of you how can we have Yeshua and Judaism, and because we are simple jews, no one has the answer, including you Gene.”

    I will get into that that – you e-mailed me about it. I wanted to answer you personally. We have gotten side-tracked a bit. I am not saying I have all the answers, but I will do my best… I will do that when I get freed up a bit.

    You said: “I think since you have been in a church environment a little and I have not experienced that, you see things on more of a christian level then I do and thats OK.”

    Of course, we are all products of our environment. However, I have since learned A LOT about what it means to be Jewish when it comes to my faith. I have a lot more to learn… about I am not stopping now. I am not the same person I was yesterday. I grew spiritually.

    You asked: “In what way did you receive yeshuas salvation? I dont understand really what that means?”

    Before I knew anything about G-d, before I really knew Him, before I had knew any theology, eschatology, any of that stuff – all I did was read His Word… it tells you right there what it means to be saved by Yeshua:

    “…whoever trusts in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17. For G_d did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16)

    and

    “That if you confess with your mouth, “Yeshua is Adonai,” and trust in your heart that G_d raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10. For it is with your heart that you trust and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9-11)

    That’s exactly what I did – Yeshua became the Adonai of my life. I just gave up. That’s was it. No church had saved me, it was just me and Him. Only Yeshua died for me. It’s not mere intellectual ascent, a believe – it’s trust in the fact that He alone is capable of saving me, it’s taking G-d on His word.

    You said: “Sometimes I have a hard time relating to you because we are on so different spiritual levels, but i can say one thing I can relate totally with you is on the night my life was about to end and I prayed to G-D and he sent me Yeshua, it will be a night I will never forget as long as I live also!”

    We are different – Baruch HaShem, otherwise what a boring world it would be! I can learn from you, and you from me. Yet, we are united in Him – as Jews and as believers – doubly! I thank Adonai for that!

    You said: “I pray you dont take it personally that I was honest about telling you my experience in your congregation in Atlanta.”

    Elisheva, I really appreciate you being open and concerned for me. The fellowship that me and my friends are starting is our own, not anyone else’s, not some other rabbi’s, or whatever. Our fellowship is independent – but dependent on Him. I will rely on HaSchem to guide us.

    Thank you for your prayers.

    Gene

  105. Yaakov says:

    Dear All

    Have a joyful and safe Channukah

  106. elisheva says:

    Gene:

    Thank you for your blessings!!

    I hope you and your wife had a blessed Channukah

    Shalom

  107. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Yaakov, Elisheva, Shalom Bayit, and all – Happy Hanukkah! (or whatever way you choose to spell that:)!

    Gene

  108. Yaakov says:

    Dear Elisheva:

    I am saddened to read about your eexperience in the MJ congregation you mentioned. They sound like many MJ in that Judaism seems less important than other things, in this case your salvation. No question here about salvation. But is ther a competition here for what comes first – some say yes – Yeshua, others say Judaism. Yeshua was first a Jew sent for a purpose. I’m not so sure He would be pleased with where things have gone in His name. Gene, your comment about this to Elisheva is somewhat disturbing. What makes you a Jew? Is it Yeshua that makes you a Jew? Does Yeshua downplay your Judaism? Did He downplay His Judaism? He attended services at the Beit Hamikdash. How do you say congregations don’t matter Gene. Being part of a Jewish congregation appeared to be important to Him. Gene, do you wear tzitzit?

    One of our oldest most sacred prayers, the Shemonah Esrei, ends with praying for the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash and that may we be granted our portion. This was said by our ancesters over two thousand years ago – and you say liturgy is not important. Gene, you have missed many things which Maschiach expects of you as a Jew. You are simplifying things to an extreme. This is the effect of much of MJ-a watered down – dummed down Judaism replaced by some crazy form of worship, replete with “dancing in the isles while waving flags in your face and flailing appendeges. Liturgy and congregations are essential to being a Jew. You quote Shaul, but fail to note his focus on urging us to worship together. So just what does your Jewishness depend on, if not the words of HaShem, liturgy, congregational worship and mitzvot? How do you pray? When you go to shul, do think the liturgy is just a bunch of words to be repeated. who are we – and you praying to and praising on Shabbos? Gene, litugy and prayer has been a part of our Jewishness since we became a nation at Sinai. It’s another major aspect of MJ worship that is dummed down. You say your HaShem makes you Jewish. I have no idea what you mean. Please explain.

    Gene, I am also sorry to learn of your persecution in the USSR. as a Jew born and raised in the US, you are quite correct – we take many things for granted. We are and have been fortunate, Baruch haShem.

  109. Yaakov says:

    Gene, my message to Elisheva has several questions for you. sorry I didn’t add your name at the top. Please read, although I expect you would anyway. Just didn’t want you to miss it.

    Be well

  110. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Yaakov…

    You said: “Gene, your comment about this to Elisheva is somewhat disturbing. What makes you a Jew? Is it Yeshua that makes you a Jew? Does Yeshua downplay your Judaism? Did He downplay His Judaism? He attended services at the Beit Hamikdash. How do you say congregations don’t matter Gene. Being part of a Jewish congregation appeared to be important to Him. Gene, do you wear tzitzit?”

    No doubt, Yaakov, if we compare our levels of observances (at least at the present), you’re are a more of a Jew than I am…. You would shame me, I confess – I am not a good Jew.

    Does believing in Yeshua make me or anyone else a Jew? No, I don’t believe in replacement theology. HE MADE me a Jew the day HaSchem created me through Yeshua.

    You said: “One of our oldest most sacred prayers, the Shemonah Esrei, ends with praying for the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash and that may we be granted our portion. This was said by our ancesters over two thousand years ago – and you say liturgy is not important. Gene, you have missed many things which Maschiach expects of you as a Jew. You are simplifying things to an extreme.”

    Yaakov, did I say that congregations, rabbis, liturgy don’t matter or not at all important to G-d? I said not such thing, look my words up. But I believe that there are more important things to G-d, like our Love for Him, our knowing Him personally, our trusting in his son Yeshua.

    Do I simply things too much? Of course I do, I am only a “simple Jew”:) (this phrase has become the perfect excuse for everything in this blog:)

    You said: “So just what does your Jewishness depend on, if not the words of HaShem, liturgy, congregational worship and mitzvot? ”

    Yaakov, what did my Jewishness depend on, or my father’s Jewishness, or even my grandfathers, when I was growing up without any of this? Was I not a Jew then? Did HaShem look at these Jews, with the world around them not letting them forget that they are Jews, and think of them as not Jews because they didn’t have liturgy, congregational worship and mitzvot? If that was a measure of one’s Jewishness, most of the world’s Jews would be in big trouble or gone completely.

    You said: “You say your HaShem makes you Jewish. I have no idea what you mean. Please explain.”

    Yaakov… I didn’t say that. What I said was that “my HaShem is the one KEEPING me Jewish” – just as he does you, wouldn’t you agree? If wasn’t for Him and His love for our nation, we’d all be dead long time ago, gone from history books like the other nations around Israel! What I meant is that I rely on Him for EVERYTHING, including my Jewishness.

    Shalom brother…

    Gene

  111. Yaakov says:

    Dear Gene, Elisheva and Shalom Bayit:

    Gene, please let me respond first to your last posting.

    I am extremely upset, concerned and ashamed. Not at anyone of you, but at myself!! Gene, you said, that you are not a “good Jew”, and that my level of observance at this point in time “would shame you”…May G-d forgive me and I ask for your forgivness for my EVER giving such an impression, and for your thinkig for a SECOND that anyone is a better Jew than you. There is no better Jew than you, or Shalom Bayit or Elisheva or any other Jew.

    Let me tell you what I experienced last night and this morning before reading your response. In prayer last night and again this morning, I thought of some of the questions I asked of you. What followed was a pain, not physical, but something else, in my heart, about my written words and more importantly, my attitude from which those words came. Gene, I believe the pain felt in my heart was HaShem”s way of telling and reminding me of who I am, of reminding me of my need for more attention to humility and love and acceptance of you and everyone. I am very ashamed that I in any way caused such a reaction in you.

    I also realized I have not respected you as I should by the tone and nature of my questions. I didn’t even take my own advice about relationships…and through this you continued to respond kindly. I guess I was trying to make my points known to you , but also trying to “convince” you of my perspective. While I think dialogue is fine, respect and love are most important – I failed here.

    While I am happy to dialogue with people, I can no longer “push” my agenda on others. I think this difficulty we have all been discuuing, is a result of the shortcomings of MJ and it’s severe lack of leadership. I do pray that at some time in the near future, those who are in or come to occupy positions of authority, are learned and responsive to all of us, and demonstrate real action in addressing the concerns of all Jewish beleivers, regardless of their backgrounds. While I pray for this, I do not feel in my heart it will happen in our time.

    May G-d show us each our way in this world so that we can fulfill His will and purpose.

    Shalom

  112. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Yaakov, thank you dear brother for your thoughtfulness, for being so broken before HaShem and considerate. I really appreciate it, I really do – it touched my heart.

    HaShem has been at work, humbling me before Him. I need this humbling if I am going to be effective in His service to His nation, or He’ll find someone else to have that privilege.

    Yaakov, I value your insights into the Jewish thought, G-d’s perspective on Israel and on what it means to be a Jew. I value your views on MJ’s shortcomings. I see them also, and I can’t defend them. But for the sake of the Jewish people who are in MJ and for those Jews who are coming to know their Maschiach through this movement, I pray that HaShem’s would continue to work through it, in spite of many obvious and at times painful failures and sinful ambitions of some leadership, as He does the same with each and everyone of us individually. If it’s not HaShem’s will for MJ to continue, I pray that He do with this movement what He wills, or fix it Himself.

    In Yeshua,

    Gene

  113. elisheva says:

    Gene, Yaakov, shalom Bayit:

    You know what I think is really ironic, that no one else has been talking on the blog but the 4 of us, Barach Hashem.
    I truelly beleive that Hashem wanted the 4 of us to connect as jewish believers and share our thoughts and hearts with each other. I can say at least for me its been a blessing.
    I pray someday Hashem will have us met each other, I dont know where Yaakov lives, somewhere neutral.

    I cant even tell you how much all of you and your thoughts and inputs have touched my heart. I just wanted to say thank you.

    Iam having alot of issues right now in my personnal life and really would appreciate my Jewish brothers prayers!

  114. Shalom Bayit says:

    Gene:

    I see us slpping into polemic. Lets all back off a litte, see where we really disagree and also admit to our points of agreement. OK? I see a false dichotomy developing here in our rhetoric.

    Eternal destiny with Yeshua, not rejecting the most precious Gift that HaShem has to offer humanity<<<

    We all would agree with this or we wouldnt be in MJ. Having said that, I think it would be helpful for us all to check out what Stuart has written about this subject. I also recommend if you have a chance that you take his Jewish “virtues and values” course. Its the only forum I have attendended where the problems with the culture of MJ was ever addressed publically and it helped me collect a lot of my thoughts about this subject.

    One of my concerns ( and this was discussed extensively at the course) is that the mission culture of MJ is such that the above “trumps” all other considerations and is brought forward to end all discussions about the considerable problems in the movement.

    The issue of eternal destiny is obviously of such heavy significance that in a mission culture like MJ this has been used as an excuse for all sorts of bad behavior. And if all that is necessary is to get as many Jews as possible to make a “verbal declaraion that Yeshua is L-rd” why then of course it is justified to call oneself a rabbi if one isnt and to mislead Jews about Torah and Jewish heritage and who cares if we cut corners here and there. We are “saving souls”.

    BTW this also from my observation leads to the unseemly trafficking in Jewish souls. “How many saved Jews do you have in your congregation”? leads to dollars and influence in the Christian mission world. Therefore the pressure is on to fill a congregation with anyone with Jewish heritage even if mentally ill or otherwise disordered with little attention paid to the serious family trauma etc at the front end. MH “rabbis” often discover after these people are in the congregations for a while that they then have to deal with the considerable problems they have contributed do. And of course by marginalizing, alienating and ostracizing any Jews with the potential to be “Saul Alinsky’s” they tilt the balance of emotional and financial stability and maturity in their congregations to the point where non Jews rise to leadership in a Jewish movement and are necessary for the funding of the congregations. Thus the headlong move for “conversion”.

    After all if the ends justify the means….( Wait a minute. Didnt a guy by the name of Lenin say that?) <grin

  115. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaacov

    There is no better Jew than you, or Shalom Bayit or Elisheva or any other Jew<<

    Amain to that

  116. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva

    I truelly beleive that Hashem wanted the 4 of us to connect as jewish believers and share our thoughts and hearts with each other. I can say at least for me its been a blessing<<<

    I echo your sentiments

  117. Shalom Bayit says:

    Yaacov

    I guess I was trying to make my points known to you , but also trying to “convince” you of my perspective. While I think dialogue is fine, respect and love are most important – I failed here.<<<

    I have gotten to know Gene. I felt he was searching just like us or I wouldnt have started this discussion with him and the rest of us. We are all in the same “closed system” and struggling for answers.

    And yes Gene we should in my opinion aspire to being “simple Jews”. I would hope that all of us would understand what this means and direct our hearts and minds to be good simple Jews trying to do Hashems will the best we can.

    Yaacov. I dont see you as being any worse than the rest of us. We are in the “mushy middle” trying to find our way to be better. I understand this and your comments in this context. I think from the little I know of Gene that while he publically acknowledged his appreciation for your heart, he already knew this as well.

    Remember we are Yidden and we know how to give and take. And a Controversey “for the sake of heaven” endures ( Pirke Avot 5:20)

    http://www.ohrtorahstone.org.il/parsha/5765/korah65.htm

    Your comments have helped me understand some of the nuances necessary for the kind of change that leads to true Shalom.

  118. Yaakov says:

    To all

    Elisheva – I too have been very aware that is has been the 4 of us on the site. I also agree with your sense about why. You said you need prayer. Can you tell us what we might pray about specifically? If not, we can and will pray for you in a more general way.

    Gene, thank you for your forgiveness and understanding. We all trust that HaShem’ Will shall be done with MJ as it is with everything.

    Shalom Bayit: thank you for the kind and helpful words.

  119. elisheva says:

    Yaakov:

    Thanks for asking what to pray for. I dont know where else to turn, even through the 4 of us have never met face to face I feel I can share my heart here, even though the rest of the world can read it.

    I have had very deep pain in my heart for the past 3 years or so from a bad situation that happened in my life, someone who I trusted and loved and who took a vow under Hashem decided to commit adultry.

    I have so much bitternes and pain from this in my heart and soul, I would like you to pray for hashem to give me peace about this situation, so I can move on with my life, since I have young children to raise and be strong for.

    Thank you all for your caring hearts

  120. elisheva says:

    Dear Gene, Yaakov and Shalom Bayit:

    Iam feeling really ashamed and embarrassed about writng about my life to you all publically.

    I really made a big mistake doing that.

    Iam sorry if I offended anyone with my life situation. I wanted to say iam especially sorry to Shalom Bayit!!!!

    Shalom to my jewish brothers

  121. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva:

    Please do not feel this way, you did nothing wrong. You called out to us for help. Is this not what we are to do – to call on those who are there, who HaShem has put in our midst. What you mentioned is a very painful experience, made worse when it happens from someone you truly beleive you can trust. There are others of us who have had such pain in our lives as well. I am glad you felt comfortable enough with the three of us to speak not only of your situation, but to call on us for prayer. Trust that we will all pray for your healing and that of your children.

    I would ask others who may have read of your experience but have not wriitten thus far on this site, to please show thier compassion for you by posting their thoughts and letting you know they will be praying for you as well.

    Sharing your “life situation” is in no way offensive to anyone. This is, and I know you beleive this, what we should be doing with each other.

    Elisheva, I would like to talk to you via email,only if you would be comfortable, but I’m not certain how to give you my email without posting it publicly on the site. do you or does anyone know how I might do this. Elisheva, if you are not comfortable with this idea, it’s fine. Please let me know what you think is best for you at this time.

    Please know we are still here and can help with prayer and perhaps in other ways – just let us know

    Your brother

  122. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Elisheva… your privacy has remained, you did nothing wrong and you offended no one. Please do not feel this way. By not holding your pain in, you did the right thing – you are actually seeking help from those who can pray for you to HaShem.

    We are praying for you and we are here for you (as Yaakov said, please let us know how we can help).

    In Yeshua’s love,

    Gene

  123. elisheva says:

    Genea and Yaakov:

    Thank you for understanding and praying for me.

    Iam comfortable to talk to you via e-mail Yaakov ,but my life is very complicated to say the least. I think I said enough publically to the world, sometimes my honesty gets me in trouble.

    My e-mail was already made public on this site awhile ago, so save your privacy.

    elisheva@yahoo.com

    Thank you both for helping me feel somewhat less ashamed , but pain can sometimes over power you and bring you down a road that is not a fun thing to travel.

    I love you guys like a brother that I never had

    Shalom

  124. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva:

    I just attempted to email you twice and both my emails were returned stating your account does not exist with Yahoo. Is it a problem on my end or something else?

  125. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Yaakov… elisheva@yahoo.com is wrong and will bounce back (I am not sure if Elisheva is aware of that fact). It should start with L – lelisheva@….

    Gene

  126. elisheva says:

    I forgot to put the lelisheva@yahoo.com, it was late when I wrote it last night!

  127. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva

    I just saw this exchange today. I am glad you are finding support. I echo the comments of my brothers.

  128. Yaakov says:

    Thanks everyone. Now I can contact you via email

  129. elisheva says:

    Gene, Yaakov, Shalom Bayit:

    I just wanted to say I love all of you from the bottom of my heart

    It hurts me to say this but I cant be involved with this.

    I just wanted to say Good bye

  130. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Dear Elisheva…

    Sorry to see you go. If you need help, prayer, anything I can do – you have my e-mail address – contact me anytime! Also, you’re always welcome in the newly minted Beth Avinu Jewish Messianic Community Forums (go to: bethavinu.org/forums/) Feel free to post there!

    In Yeshua…

    Gene

  131. elisheva says:

    Gene, Yaakov and Shalom Bayit:

    PLEASE PRAY FOR ME !!!!!

  132. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva:

    I am quite concerned about how you are feeling. You should have received my persoanl email, but others need to be aware that things you are saying are of significant concern. If you wish to just communicate via private email, ok. But I don’t want you to loose the few of us you have said you felt “close to”.

    Of course we will pray. Be CERTAIN to remain in contact. It sounds like you have our private email addresses and we have yours – so we can continue to seek shalom from Him.

    Brachot to you.

    Have a good Shabbos all

  133. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva

    I echo Genes comments. Good Shabbos Gene Yaccov ELisheva and anyone I havent mentioned Good Shabbos to you as well .

  134. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Good Shabbos Shalom Bayit, Yaakov, and Elisheva, and to all others who love HaShem…

    Eugene

  135. elisheva says:

    Good Shabbos my brothers

    Barauch Hashem

  136. Yaakov says:

    Shalom all

    Hope all is well

  137. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva

    I’m wanting to know how your are.

  138. Shalom Bayit says:

    Elisheva

    I sent you an e mail. Did you get it? I think we are all concerned.

  139. elisheva says:

    Gene, Yaakov, Shalom Bayit:

    Hashem put Jewish believers on your journey in your life to give you true shalom through his spirit in there hearts.

  140. Yaakov says:

    Hey Gene:

    Where are you? Hope all is well.

  141. elisheva says:

    If you are a Jewish Believer or any others that love Hashem,

    Please log on to Beth Avinu Messianic Jewish Community Forum

    I would like to lift up a special family in need of prayer

    Barauch hashem

    Shalom

  142. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Thank you, Elisheva.

    Here’s the link to the Beth Avinu Messianic Jewish Community Forum.

    bethavinu.org/forums/

    Gene

  143. Gene Shlomovich says:

    Hi Yaakov…

    I am doing OK, thank you for asking, brother! How are you? I will be praying for you and your family, as I know you experienced a recent loss.

    Stop by the new forum at bethavinu.org/forums/ – we can move our conversations there and leave Derek’s blog for what it was intended – comments on his articles…

    Shalom.

    Gene

  144. Yaakov says:

    Glad to hear everything is ok. Thank you for your prayers for the recent loss of my dear mother.

    I will visit your site and want to publicly thank Derek for allowing us to meet on his blog. We will certianly contribute to his articles, but as you say, we don’t want to misuse his sight for it’s intended purpose.

  145. elisheva says:

    Yaakov:

    Iam wanting to know how you are?

  146. Yaakov says:

    Elisheva

    I’m OK. Been busy yesterday and am busy at work today. I’ll take so time later to email.

    Gene:

    I’m having trouble registering on your site. It keeps asking for verification of my email. I’ll start again and hope it works.

    Speak to you later Elisheva. Hope you got some rest

  147. elisheva says:

    Yaakov:

    Iam glad you are OK

  148. Yaakov… it’s a security feature (to prevent spam posts)… you need to click on the link that the forum e-mails you when you first signed up (so, please check your e-mail account). Once you clicked on the e-mail verification link in your e-mail, it will confirm your registration. You will then be able to log into the forum without a problem.

    Let me know if you have any further issues.

    Shalom,

    Gene

  149. Shalom Bayit says:

    Derek:

    <<publicly thank Derek for allowing us to meet on his blog<<<<

    I know that I have made a special contribution ( at least in quantity) to the excess grafitti that you have generously allowed us to plaster all over your site.

    Thank you for giving us a forum to discuss these issues freely. Up until this point, as far as I can see there havent been many sites that had postings on these subjects.

    I wish you a safe passage back from Israel.

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