Someone's gonna get murked this summer in New York.

Mobius can edit this – he may or may not want to. This is more editorial than usual.

Jews for Jesus drive me frothing mad, if for no other reason than it is classic swaggerjacking: speaking Hebrew/Yiddish and keeping kosher is not the sole qualifier for being a Jew. Last time these $%^&*ers approached me, I was in Union Square, and
even after repeatedly, politely asking them to leave me alone, they
persisted. Which ended ugly and with police.

Jews for Jesus are Christian. Christ is their messiah. It doesn’t get more Christian than that. Which is fine – whatever gets you closer to your higher power without stepping on other peoples’ toes is good, whether it’s Zoroastrian fire worship or your local Alchoholics Anonymous meeting. But Jews for Jesus expressly DO step on toes. Namely mine. And yours. Because we’re the ones they’re targeting: for collusion, conversion, and ultimately, absorbtion. I caught their ads on the F Train in Brooklyn, which cuts through Kensington, Borough Park and other Jewish neighborhoods… their site is offered in Russian, Yiddish, and Hebrew, and they are making a new marketing push using ‘Jesus for Jews’… and all I could think was “Wow. What a clever branding opportunity these momzers have taken.” They are flexing very hard in New York City, folks, and it is neither coincidence nor bad luck that brings them to our doorstep.

This isn’t Christian-bashing (“Some of my best friends are gentiles!”). There are Pentecostals and Seventh Day Adventists who incorporate Jewish elements into their ritual and spirituality – without co-opting our name or niche. Jews for Jesus (Hi, 50 Shekel!) make very clear that while they consider themselves mishbuchah… it’s sort of the smarter, sleeker, holier-than-thou branch of the family. We’re the retards clinging to some deluded pre-messianic past, while they’re the rocket-powered future of the Jewish brand.

Perhaps what gets under my skin most is that they have developed an approach to messianism that incorporates us into its foundation… without asking us. Or even respecting or liking us very much. And then turn around and act like we’re the half-wits for not jumping on the bandwagon.

35 thoughts on “Someone's gonna get murked this summer in New York.

  1. not to be too contrarian, but one must consider that Paul/Saul himself was thoroughly convinced he was expressing an authentic iteration of Judaism. And with the postmdoern basis of understanding we have, we know that self-definition is the lion’s share of identity. So: J4J aren’t quite Christian, because they don’t identify as such.
    (Orthodox) Halchically speaking: if their moms are jewish, then they are, too.
    so, wither way, it’s not up to us to say.

  2. That’s a load of crap.
    If that’s the case, I’m an Afro-Chinese Mithrain. Why? How? Because it’s how I identify myself.
    To identify yourself with a particular paradigm or culture, there has to be SOME acceptance by that culture OF the identifier.
    This is me, rejecting Jews for Jesus as Jews at all.
    And I bet there are Jews who would reject me as well, as I am probably grossly deviant by their standards.
    But there are SOME that would.
    Which I do not think is the case with Jews who embrace Jesus as messiah + prophet.

  3. One time in Kikar Tzion, jerusalem I was supposed to meet a friend and when I got there she showed me this letter that someone had given her. I saw this stuff about Yeshua and burst out laughing. Apparently the weird guy who had given it to her was only a few feet away- which upon finding this out, I found even funnier that I had laughed in his face. Such Hutzpah. Him, not me.

  4. Mithrainism was a manicheist warrior religion of the ancient world, primarily in the Fertile Crescent. Some considered a precursor or rival to Zoroastrianism.
    DAMN IT.

  5. I just had quite a day on Brighton beach 🙂 … the missionaries are hitting NY and hitting it hard… I mean they brought in a whole team of russian speaking ‘Jews for Jesus’ from Ukraine, Germany etc. to prey on the unaffiliated russian Jews who wouldn’t know any better…and the fact that they’re using the “Jewish” angle is nothing more than pure deception… No point in reasoning with most of them… If anyone wants to volunteer for some anti-missionary work go to and contact someone there.

  6. Prominent Reform, Conservative, and Recon Rabbis have come out in public to say that
    – one can be an atheist and still be a good Jew
    – the Torah is not necessarily Divinely inspired, or binding.
    In addition, the non-Ortho Jewish mainstream has been welcoming to BuJews and other movements fusing a Judaism of fluffy, non-binding ethical generalities with various pagan practices.
    All the while urging their Ortho brethren to be less “judemental” and more “accepting” of “pluralism”.
    So why the sudden “intolerance” for “diversity” when it comes to J4J?
    One could easily make the case that religious Christians know – and adhere – to the law of Moses more closely than most assimilated Jews. So what’s not to like? Finally American Jews can have their “continuity” – and cheeseburgers too!
    Surely if we can jettison the binding nature of Torah and ordain gay rabbis, we can get over those minor philosophical quibbles.
    Surely if we can urge our Israeli brothers to forgive those attacking them and “understand” their pain – surely we can then get over a few old historical greivances – what’s a crusade, a pogrom or two over 2 millenia of shared history and values?
    Could all Jewschool’s modern hipsters – each of them cherry-picking received Judaism to create their own “personally relevant” funkadelic religious/cultural fusion – could all these folks please explain what separates between accceptable and unacceptable reforms or reconstructions of Judaism?
    Historically, Christianity is simply the first – and most successful – Reform movement in Judaism. And it’s done a MUCH better job that modern Reform in preserving authentic Jewish values.
    What’s not to like?

  7. Ben David. Now is not the time to be neither sarcastic nor an idiot. There is a really big difference between Reform and Christianity, and you know that (the main difference is that C is targeted at gentiles). Saying that Reform, which saved millions of JEws from becoming christians, is actually a form of christianity is a severe lack of hakarat hatov (something you should know about).
    Stop being sectarian and start listening.
    In other matters – proselityzing is definitely not persecution. does it kill people? does it hurt them? perhaps, just perhaps, instead of telling the poor JFJ people who need to make their quotas to go away, we could convice JEws to reject them because they want to?

  8. So why the sudden “intolerance” for “diversity” when it comes to J4J?
    Because they’re liars. This has nothing to do with any of the theological questions surrounding Judaism vs. Christianity. J4J is a missionizing arm of the Southern Baptist Church, funded by them and a coalition of other fundamentalist denominations. They go to great lengths to hide those institutional connections, falsely claiming that their leadership are born Jews. Their “theology” is a marketing ploy, carefully and specifically designed to appeal to Jews.
    There are messianic congregations that are not part of J4J, but hold their beliefs sincerely. I can respectfully disagree with and cordially ignore them, because they don’t use deceptive and aggressive tactics to evalgelize in the Jewish community.

  9. These guys also have a branch in London. They’re weird. My weird threshold isn’t exacly low, either.

  10. Um…. the comment just above mine really demeans this conversation, and the whole site.
    No hating please….
    BTW, I feel very close to some Christians on various theological points. During Pesach, someone put an Easter Bunny on the seder plate, as a gesture fully in line with oranges, olives and grapes. Jesus was a Jew, and a lot of what he is quoted for is nothing other than an iteration of prophetic Judaism. It’s appropriate for our people to show some healing, and be able to appreciate and dialogue with Christianity and the legacy of Jesus.
    An increasing number of Christians are talking about trying to ‘be like Jesus’ rather than ‘believe in Jesus.’ If nothing else, this sounds like a better marketing strategy…. good for them.
    And in this happy, meaningful conversation, J4J are completely uninvited, because they are decietful. They give religion itself a bad name. Grrrr…

  11. Yeah, I’d like to think that if there’s one thing we all can agree on, it’s
    Jews for Jesus = wack.
    And don’t mind Ben-David, guys, he’s just frustrated because he couldn’t tell me which part of our wrong/deceitful reasons for being in Iraq were “trumped up.” Or, instead of being flip and sectarian, you can tell us how J4J are doing “a MUCH better job that modern Reform in preserving authentic Jewish values.” Because that whole Jesus = messiah thing seems to really contervail that.

  12. “And with the postmdoern basis of understanding we have, we know that self-definition is the lion’s share of identity. So: J4J aren’t quite Christian, because they don’t identify as such.
    (Orthodox) Halchically speaking: if their moms are jewish, then they are, too.
    so, wither way, it’s not up to us to say. ”
    Well, no self-definition has nothing to do with it. The persons with Jewish mothers may be halachically Jewish, but if they believe in Jesus as a messiah, then they are apikorsim (heretics) and what they are practicing is not Judaism.
    By definition, if you believe in Christ , you’re a christian.
    as to ben-david’s griping againt non-Orthodoxim, I can’t speak for Reform or Recon, but he’s factually in error about Conservative ideology which maintains both belief in God as primary, and considers halacha completely binding. We just don’t agree with Orthodoxy about the process of interpretation – and thus about some of what is binding. (e.g. we all agree that one must not violate shabbat, but according to some Conservative sources, it is permissible to use electricty since flipping a switch is more like closing a door than putting in your final hammerblow).

  13. If there were a real “Jews for Jesus” movement that was more or less the equivalent to what the first Jewish-Christians believed (i.e. Jesus was the messiah and had some good teachings, but that on also needed to observe the Torah and all this is strictly for the Jewish people.) then I might tolerate them as part of k’lal yisra’el. After all, such beliefs are no nuttier than thoseof Chabad. 🙂
    But the actual incarnation of J4J is a branch of fundamentalist, evangenical, Calvinist Protestant Christianity, and is totally 100% certified glatt-treif goyish.
    Just keep on your guard and be polite, ut be firm. These guys are also infesting Washington, DC, by the way.

  14. best commentary I’ve seen on these, um, people, is from the duo What I Like About Jew:
    I’ve never been the most observant jew
    After my bar mitzvah I was through
    I’ve disobeyed the code of Abraham
    I’ve eaten several shiksas and some ham
    But as bad as I have been
    I still would never dream
    Of foresaking my forefathers
    And playing for the other team
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    When I see you my mind just freezes
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    Stink as bad as rotten cheeses
    And just to show you who’s the boss
    I’d really like to nail you to the cross
    Jews for Jesus
    Your shirt of blue emblazoned with a star
    Filthy turncoat – that is what you are
    You offer me a pamphlet – I decline
    I’d rather jam a broom up your behind
    Like mayonnaise on rye
    You make your bubbe cry
    Go get your foreskin reattached
    It’s time for you to die
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    I wanna wanna chop you into pieces
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    I hope you get lots of diseases
    Traded in Purim for the Pentecost
    I’d really like to nail you to the cross
    Jews for Jesus
    “Jew for Jesus” – the phrase is pure deceit
    It’s like being a vegetarian for meat
    I’d gladly baptize you in my toilet
    For you, just like the bowl, are full of shit
    Let’s take him to the lake outside of town
    You’d better walk on water or you’ll drown
    You’re born again – that’s nice
    Stay dead – that’s my advice
    If Jesus resurrects you, great!
    I get to kill you twice
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    On Christmas day do ya eat Chineses
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    I’d wanna wanna toss you from trapezes
    Jews for Jesus, Jews for Jesus
    These two things are antitheseses
    Time for you to learn about the Holocaust
    While I nail you to the cross
    Jews for Jesus

  15. For more info on J4J campaign, see the Jews for Judaism infosite and how to respond:
    One thing that I’d like to add here, as a employee of Jews for Judaism, is that anger is of course a valid response, but it cannot stop there. Remember that these people are still Jews, and more importantly human beings. It’s a much stronger tactic to respond from a point of love than hate. Try inviting a missionary for shabbat–most of them won’t know what to do with themselves. They pride themselves on their martyrdom from the mainstream Jewish world. Reverse that, and you’re 100x stronger. Plus, if someone’s joined J4J from being alienated from Judaism from childhood or whatever else, which is the vast majority–then why would they ever want to come back to a people who treat them like crap in every encounter? There’s a way to do this constructively while keeping our pride and dignity. We need to take the upper hand and get off the defensive they’ve been so good at putting us on–because then they have the power.

  16. It seems to me that when you believe that a human being is the son of G-d or that G-d can have a son, you are no longer Jewish. You have crossed a line. Jews do not worship human beings.
    The founder of the “Jews for Jesus” in Philadelphia was a Baptist who converted to Judaism under false pretenses. He then changed his last name to a “Jewish sounding last name.” His son now leads this group. They target Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe who often have a very sketchy knowledge of Judaism.

  17. From what I’ve read of Jesus’ writings, he was a terrific Jew, out there fighting the Roman occupation of his brethern. He did not found Christianity, which was, most emphatically, not a type of ‘reformism.’ Paul or Peter (I always forget which started the Christian movement) yelled at converting pagans NOT to perform brit milah, BECAUSE CHRISTIANITY WAS NOT TO BE AN EXTENSION OF JUDAISM.

  18. Also, these J4J freaks are a throwback to the flagellant ‘movement,’ of people gone psychotic because they could not see themselves capable of changing the horrible environment they were born into.
    Because they’re too large to fit back into the ‘safety’ of the womb, these infantile individuals create a pseudo-religion that is as close to a huge breast, overflowing with milk, that they can fantasize about.

  19. Amit wrote:
    There is a really big difference between Reform and Christianity, and you know that (the main difference is that C is targeted at gentiles). Saying that Reform, which saved millions of JEws from becoming christians, is actually a form of christianity is a severe lack of hakarat hatov
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    1) Christianity began in the synagogues of the Roman Empire and targeted assimilated Jews. The “gentiles” that it first appealed to were the intermarried spouses of these assimilated Jews (a tactic familiar to anyone who’s followed modern Reform’s attempts at “outreach”)
    The syncretic mix of Jewish and pagan elements developed gradually, as increasingly assimilated Jews grew more comfortable jettisoning circumcision and other practices. Again – a direct parallel to the moving goalposts of modern Reform policy on matters of ritual and morality. And a direct parallel to modern cherry-picking, syncretic phenomena such as BuJews.
    2) Do you REALLY want to assert that Reform Judaism has “saved” Jews – now, in 2006, with intermarriage and affiliation rates what they are today? This line dissolves on contact – we all know the statistics, and feel the pain in our own families.
    Amit wrote:
    Stop being sectarian and start listening.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    … just as soon as someone tells me why and how their own funkalicious cultural fusion – the “Culturally Jewish” or “Ethical Humanism” rewrites of the covenant that has resulted in the “Gay Pride Passover Seder” – why and how is any of this revision less a travesty of than J4J?
    Just tell me where the line is – why is opposition to J4J not being “sectarian” while totally atheistic rewrites of Jewishness as an ethnic-identity-with-benefits are acceptable?
    Once it’s OK to get jiggy with the covenant, once Judaism is whatever individual Jews make it out to be – what is the cutoff point for Judaism?
    And why are the folks who consistently celebrate the “creative descruction” of the covenant and hammer on Orthodox “sectarianism” and “intolerance” getting all riled up over a fellow Jew’s personal spiritual path?

  20. So Ben David, what’s your approach? That any interpretation of Halacha is “cherry-picking” and morally equivalent to Jews for Jesus? And if so, how do you apply that to yourself?
    After all, you’ve told us before the you’re a settler. Seems like it must take just a bit of interpretation to argue that a nationalistic violation of international law is somehow a particularly pious path…

  21. Ben-David, you said :
    “Prominent Reform, Conservative, and Recon Rabbis have come out in public to say that
    – one can be an atheist and still be a good Jew
    – the Torah is not necessarily Divinely inspired, or binding.”
    you failed to mention that the same prominent rabbis have also come out and said that J4J is NOT Judaism!

  22. Well, Ben-David.
    I would answer to you that
    a) The pagan fusion you refer to was a result of Roman institutional Christianity, which nip-tucked and botoxed the Judaism right out of it to create the Frankenstein religion we refer to today, replete with holidays very much in line with old Roman celebrations.
    b) Your obnoxious and rather dense grasp of Jewish reform vs. Stealth Christianity, where it is either all or nothing?
    The Oven of Achnai, Bab Metzia 59a
    We learned elsewhere: if he cut it (the material for an oven) into separate tiles, placing sand between each tile, Rabbi Eliezer declared it pure, and the Sages declared it impure…On that day Rabbi Eliezer brought forward every imaginable argument, but they did not accept them. Said he to them: ” If the Halachah agrees with me, let this carob tree prove it!” thereupon the carob tree was torn a hundred cubits out of its place- others affirm, four hundred cubits. “No proof can be brought from a carob tree,” they retorted. Again he said to them: “If the Halachah agrees with me let the stream of water prove it.” Whereupon the stream of water flowed backwards. “No proof can be brought from a stream of water,” they rejoined. Again he urged “If the Halachah agrees with me, let the walls of the schoolhouse prove it,” whereupon the walls inclined to fall. But Rabbi Joshua rebuked them saying: “When scholars are engaged in Halachic dispute, what right have you to interfere?” Hence they did not fall in honor of Rabbi Joshua, nor did they resume the upright position in honor of Rabbi Eliezer, and they are still standing thus inclined. Again he said to them, “If the Halachah agrees with me, let it be proved by Heaven.” Whereupon a Heavenly voice cried out: “Why do you dispute with Rabbi Eliezer, seeing that in all matters the Halachah agrees with him.” But Rabbi Joshua arose and exclaimed: “it is not in Heaven” (Deuteronomy 30:12). What did he mean by this? Rabbi Yermiah said: “That the Torah had already been given at Mt. Sinai; therefore we pay no attention to a Heavenly voice, because You have long since written in the Torah at Mount Sinai, ‘One must follow the majority'” (Exodus 23:2)
    You fucking sucker.

  23. So when I first read about the Jesus for Jews campaign here on JewSchool, I had to ask my Mother to be sure and pick me up a flyer while she is visiting back home in NY. Sure enough, when I see her today, I get a stylish Yankee hoodie, a studded belt with a skull on it (WTF???), a box of canolis (now that’s what I really wanted!) and a mailer that my aunt recieved on her doorstep (yeah, I guess the last name ‘Tanenbaum’ really gives you away). A fold out thick, postcard-ish flyer that shows 4 ‘ethnically PC’ looking people with a header that asks us the question; “Who is FOR these people?” Well, I could hardley contain my curiosity (laughing and eye rolling, really) so of course I opened it up to read:
    “Well, their mothers of course.
    Their spouses, certainly.
    Their friends, let’s hope so.
    But incredibly, they would all tell you first and foremost that Jesus is for them. You see, these four men and women, all from different places and prospectives, are Jews for Jesus. And they want you to know that Jesus is for Jews. ”
    Then they have some cheesy quote from one of these people and then ask if you’d like to know more. Please check if you’d like a FREE copy of their book. Also, please check one of the following;
    “I am Jewish” or “I am Gentile” (hahaha, I am gentile. Sorry, that cracks me up) The final question asks for your phone number so they can call you up and attempt to brainwash you with southern baptist Propaganda. Well, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
    I don’t know guys, they sound pretty friendly to me! Anyone wanna take the plunge with me??

  24. Monk – you’re quite right. There is a mechanism for change within Halacha.
    But the vast majority of American Jewry – those who are Reform or just plain unaffiliated, and a significant chunk of the Conservative movement’s laity – do not feel particularly bound by those rules, or the covenant in general.
    My goal here is to point out to the precious remnant of young, interested Jews that, as they try to fashion a workable, meaningful take on their own Jewishness, they have to re-evaluate the assumptions they were brought up with – specifically, about received covenantal Judaism, and its optional/binding nature.
    Our Story So Far:
    Post-Enlightenment democracies separated religion from governmental power, and made it a matter of personal conscience. From that vantage point it was to indirectly influence social and moral norms, without the excesses and oppressions of various Inquisitions or Crusades.
    Many Jews jumped on this notion with both feet, since it allowed them to be free and equal in these societies.
    Now we have reached a point of paradoxical inversion – even as post-Enlightenment secular Western states have slid into amorality – unable to define or defend a stable moral code without the authority of religion – most American Jews are still fighting that old fight, vehemently opposed to ANY expresion of religion in the public square, even their own. The trajectory of assimilation into the general culture has led them to dumb down their own religious heritage to the level of an ethnic identity.
    The nation that was to be a Light to the Nations has almost wholly thrown over that role, and adopted the moral relativism of the modern secular West. Although many feel sincerely motivated by their Jewishnes to “work for social justice” – the DEFINITION of social justice and moral norms is no longer drawn from received Judaism in any consistent way.
    The upshot is that the modern amoral – excuse me, “non-judgemental” – language of secular aimlessness is applied to the religion. So we here calls for “pluralism” and “diversity” within Judaism.
    But religion, by definition, deals with non-negotiable moral absolutes. It most definitely is “judgemental” – that’s its purpose and strength – both for individual spiritual growth, and in the public square as a counterweight to secular political power.
    A relative handful of young Jews raised in this environment is swimming against the tide, fighting to work out a meaningful Jewish identity worth maintaining.
    But in order to do that, they have to question the underlying assumptions they’ve received.
    Judaism is not whatever you feel or will it to be. It is not whatever the majority of Jews at any one time decide it will be. There is a received core of meaning. A received scale of values.
    Even the halachic process clearly defines areas of the law that are not subject to human revision.
    Many people raised on secular citizenship with a side-order of ethnic Jewishness are trying to reclaim the depth and strength of Judaism, the Religion in their personal definition of Jewish identity. One of the things they have to deal with is that religions don’t follow the rules of PC democracies. They may be about personal “empowerment” – but require adherence to a path of spriritual growth that most definitely limits personal choice.
    You can’t access the strength of covenantal Judaism without actually keeping the covenant – just like living together is never exactly like marriage.
    Many people chafe at this unfamiliar notion, which has no place in a secular world in which individual freedom is the ultimate good. But it must be faced: if I can make up Judaism as I go along – how is my Jewish identity any deeper or stronger than the stale, anydone ethnic Jewishness of the previous generations, which has proven to be a dead end?
    And if the many Boomer Jews fused their Jewishness with Buddhism, Hinduism, and even atheism haven’t crossed any lines – why is only the apostacy of J4J singled out? For old emotional reasons? Because fashionable PC opinion declares that Christians are yucky uncool subhumans, while Buddhism is cool and garners you hipster points?
    Answers, please. Most of the folks here are – rightly – unsatisfied with the old, suburban ethnic Jewishness. They want more depth.
    But that depth means being Jewish is no longer whatever you will it to be.
    It means the covenantal nature of Judaism, The Religion must be addressed – and applied consistently.

  25. Ben-David,
    I agree that we tend to approach JuBu’s with greater tolerance than we do Jews for Jesus. Obviously, we don’t have the same historical baggage with Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. as we do with Christianity. At the same time, I would submit that there is a very real difference between “Messianic Jews” and Jews who have adopted Asian religious practices. Normative Judaism has always placed an emphasis upon the individual’s roles within the contexts of family and community that is at least as great as, if not greater than, the emphasis that it has placed upon doctrine. Jews for Jesus, and Messianic believers in general, are convinced that everyone who disagrees with them will burn in hell – and they don’t seem to be made terribly uncomfortable by the idea. As is the case with Christian fundamentalists, there is a profound willingness on their part to abandon, for all of eternity, everyone who disagrees with them – including all of their Jewish ancestors and family members. In this act of abandonment, which is morally repugnant from a humanistic perspective as well, they have separated themselves from k’lal yisroel.
    I agree also with dietybox, who suggests that many feel estranged, and should be approached inclusively; however, what they are doing should in no way be considered a “legitimate heterodoxy”, on the order of Conservative, Reform, Recon, Jewish Renewal, et al. Jews within these movements and denominations consider themselves to be part of normative Judaism. Messianics believe that their movement succeeds Judaism, and that the penalty for failing to recognize this is eternal damnation. They have drawn an obvious and unavoidable line.

  26. Both Present Tense and Moment had good exposes of JfJ way back. Go to a good library and track ’em down. And also, see these:
    Jews for Jesus Hit Town and Find a Tough Crowd
    New York Times, United States – 7 hours ago
    As part of what has become an annual summer rite, missionaries, many of them young people from across the country, are descending upon New York City, working …
    New York: Missionaries storming Israelis
    Ynetnews, Israel – Jul 3, 2006
    The Jews for Jesus sect declared the largest campaign in its history in a bid to convince Jews to convert and join the sect. The …,7340,L-3270388,00.html

  27. Ben-David.
    I don’t actuallty disagree with your initial assessment, about how we have sheared away layer after layer of tradition until it has reached an unrecognizable point.
    It’s the final answer you draw to that basically translates as ‘any deviance is apostacy and all are equally odious’. I think that is specious reasoning at best, and also not really the argument I set out to have.
    I am post-denominational. I was raised in a secular household that was firmly rooted in cultural Judaism, my mother raised us in a lower-middle class Jewish community (she worked in Jewish community services for 17 years), we observed the Sabbath, were members of a Reformed congregation; but religiously that was about it.
    By your measurements, there’s very little breathing space between the level of religious observance I grew up with… and the Christian sect we keep referring to.
    You’re equating the diversity of Jewish thought – the spectrum of Liberal Reform to hardcore Ultra-Orthodox – to absolute heresy. Which is fine; it’s an old argument that we’ve been having since the B’nei Korach: who is holy? But you’re picking the wrong enemies here, and lumping together the wrong arguments. Are Jewish Buddhists heretics? Maybe. But they are not evangelical, do not seek to get in under the wire, pinch you by the ear and whisper seductively to you in Hebrew. Their apostacy and Christian ‘J4J’ methoddology are not the same argument. That Jews for Jesus attempt to usurp our name as a matter of branding and as a marketing plan for conversion – THAT is the crux of the argument, not apostacy in degrees.

  28. Ben-David says:
    “Now we have reached a point of paradoxical inversion – even as post-Enlightenment secular Western states have slid into amorality – unable to define or defend a stable moral code without the authority of religion…”
    Um, no. The paradox is that religions which claim to offer “a stable moral code” are often, in practice, anything but moral. That’s a main reason why they attract a minority of the adherents of any faith — not because the majority adherents are immoral or even relativistic.
    Back to Jews for Jesus — the NYT has a sympathetic video on the group struggling to make headway among the stiff-necked Jews of NYC here.
    The accompanying article here is more even-handed.

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