The Jews for Jesus Negev 1 – British Jews for Jesus Campaigner Arrested in Israel

barry-prison

Jews for Jesus web page headline

Dan Sered, Israel director of Jews for Jesus, reports that one of Jews for Jesus UK staff in Israel on a B2 tourist visa has been arrested by immigration officers whilst he was holding a “Yeshua” banner in the southern Negev region of Israel:

Barry Barnett is participating in our Negev campaign here in Israel. He was out on an outreach bannering when six immigration 2(4)inspectors detained him and seized our banner for no reason. Our outreach in Israel is 100% legal, and Barry is not an illegal worker in Israel. With his B2 tourist Visa he is permitted to exercise his faith, which is what he was doing. Barry has been held in an immigration office for four hours without cause and is now been taken to prison in Ramle near Tel Aviv.

Most tourists enter Israel on a B2 visa stipulating that no employment of any kind is permitted. For a discussion on the B2 visa read here. The Israeli Foreign Ministry definition of a B2 is as follows:

A B/2 visa is granted to someone who wishes to stay in Israel for only a short time (for a visit, tourism, a business meeting or study in a Hebrew ulpan). A person who enters Israel on a B/2 visa is not allowed to work in the State of Israel.

Jews for Jesus claim they have never had anyone imprisoned in Israel for expressing their faith. If Israeli immigration are going to start arresting tourists for holding banners and start to interpret the rules of the B2 visa in this way, any foreign political protester coming to Israel will face imprisonment, much like the plight of the Greenpeace Arctic 30. Barry Barnett may well be called the Jews for Jesus Negev 1, but one thing Israel needs to be cautious of is the manipulation of its immigration laws by non-governmental religious groups such as Yad L’Achim, whose raison d’etre is the eradication of all non-Orthodox Jewish life in Israel. Yad L’Achim’s relationship with the Ministry of Interior has been controversial in the past as recorded here and here

It remains to be seen if the hand of Yad L’Achim is behind the imprisonment of Barry Barnett or not. However we do hope for his swift release from Ramle prison where he is held without charge. Jews for Jesus are most certainly unpopular in Israel, but a democracy is tested by its willingness and vigor in defending such hated minorities.

112 thoughts on “The Jews for Jesus Negev 1 – British Jews for Jesus Campaigner Arrested in Israel

  1. I’m not a lawyer, but if Mr. Barnett received any sort of regular financial support from a JfJ organization over any period, I suspect that he could be deemed an employee whose assignment was to pursue in Israel the tasks of his employment contrary to the nature of his visa. This might be deemed fraud. The use of prepared equipment such as this large banner indicates premeditation that would support the interpretation that the visa conditions were deliberately flouted.

    One does not need incitement from an anti-missionary organization to explain this turn of events. Thus the picture above, with its declaration that a campaigner had been arrested without cause, is disingenuous at best and at worst it is incitement against the nation of Israel. It is thus comparable to headlines screaming that Israel has done something heinous against Palestinian Arabs, when the truth is that Israel has defended itself legally against some security encroachment or threat.

    The same accusation of fraud might be levied against paid foreign political protesters, who are not merely exercising rights to freedom of thought and of expression, if they entered on a B2 visa. It may be that Israel has been lenient about occasional violations of this sort in the past, because such freedoms truly are valued and protected; but if there is any basis to expect repeated violations and fraudulent representations, I would not be surprised to see unyielding enforcement against the perpetrators.

    Someone who had applied for a different visa category quite likely would be treated differently. After all, there have been actual foreign missionary organizations, and non-Jewish religious organizations, operating in Israel for a very long time, that receive full toleration under the laws of Israel. As for Mr. Barnett, I suspect that he will be released quite soon and barred from re-entering Israel for some period. And JfJ should adjust its operating procedures to ensure that Israeli laws are not violated and that fraud is not perpetrated under a guise of religious freedom.

    • A B2 visa allows for business trips and is ambiguous at some points, hence the link to this discussion http://www.ktalegal.com/israel-immigration/b-2-visitor-visa/frequently-asked-questions-regarding-b-2-visitor-visa

      This was the visa the kibbutzim used for their thousands and thousands of foreign volunteers who worked all over Israel http://www.ivolunteer.org.il/Eng/Index.asp?ArticleID=339&CategoryID=131

      This is a new interpretation of the B2, assuming this is the reason for his arrest by immigration officials.

      • The foreign kibbutz volunteers raise an interesting question. Are they being employed by the kibbutz or any of its industries, in any contractual manner comparable to permanent employees of these industries, or are they tourists who pay for their lodging and food by means of their labor? It would seem that the latter interpretation is applied to their case. If so, is there something different about Mr. Barnett’s activities that would distinguish them from any other tourist who might “pay his way” with a non-currency tender? One possible distinctive might be the prior relationship he had with the organization before entering the country. Employees who enter the country to perform some activity in support of a commercial venture apparently may be required to supplement their B2 with a work permit. While this case does not involve a commercial venture, might not the same rule apply to foreign employees of a non-commercial venture? Kibbutz volunteer tourists make an agreement with the kibbutz or its agency prior to their coming, but that agreement apparently is not specifically an employment agreement but might be interpreted as a tour-package purchase agreement which covers a limited specified period of time. If Mr. Barnett’s prior relationship with JfJ were deemed to be not specifically limited to a tour-package but rather to be more akin to an ongoing employee relationship, then he would not be viewed like a kibbutz volunteer tourist but as a business tourist potentially requiring a work permit to perform activities associated with his employment.

        Hmmm … this deliberation seems to me an awful lot like something that might appear in a legal brief or a Talmud tractate. Perhaps I should consider augmenting my career options. [:)]

        • Something else to add to the.mix is JFJ-Israel is a registrted charity, amuta, in Israel, hence not a commercial business.

        • This becomes more and more complicated, or is that “curiouser and curiouser”? Is Mr. Barnett to be deemed an employee of the UK branch of an international religious conglomerate which also has a branch registered in Israel? The Habad and Breslov organizations could represent similar patterns, but it is the threat of rioting and civil unrest that really complicates matters. Yad L’Achim has been censured previously for complicity in terroristic behavior; and the kinds of confrontations featured in the conflict under discussion seem destined to generate a lawsuit or two.

          But wasn’t there just recently a discussion here or in a related blog about the notion invoked by Rav Shaul in Rom.11:14 of provoking Jews to jealousy or zealousness? Somehow the nature of the provocation here seems to me at odds with Rav Shaul’s intention.

        • Will all the foreign Chabad and Breslover volunteers be subject to this new interpretation of B2, if it turns out to be the pretext for the arrest?/

        • Gev, I think most Breslovers live in the Land. Chabadniks are more commonly from Chutz LeAretz!

        • Perhaps you already know this, but one of the biggest differences between Chabad and Breslov is that rabbi Nachman always stressed the importance of living in Eretz Yisrael, whereas Chabad focused on scattering around the world living wherever Jewish communities had formed. This was one of the factors in the enmity between rabbi Nachman and the Baal HaTanya, founder of Chabad. Another factor is that the other Chassidic movements were jealous of rabbi Nachman’s pedigree as the closest of all Chassidic leaders to the Baal Shem Tov. rabbi Nachman was the great grandson of the Baal Shem Tov and both his parents had been raised from infancy by the Baal Shem Tov’s daughter Adil. rabbi Nachman’s mother Feige was Adil’s daughter, while his father Simcha was son of rabbi Nachman of Horodenker, whose wife died shortly after childbirth. He desired to move to the Holy Land (he is buried in Tiberius) and asked the Baal Shem Tov to arrange for his daughter to adopt the infant Simcha. The Baal Shem Tov agreed on condition that rabbi Horodenker would permit the two babies to wed when they came of age. This was one of the last great decisions the Baal Shem Tov made before he died.

          Also of note is that rabbi Nachman of Breslov married at 13. His wife Sashia was 12. He became a grandfather at age 27. The Talmud says that children who marry right after puberty are given a special grace to live free of any kind of defilement from ungodly sexual desires.

        • rabbi Nachman on Eretz Yisrael:

          THE LAND OF ISRAEL

          Wherever I go, I am always only going to the land of Israel . I am only here in Breslov temporarily.

          Chayey Moharan #156

          * * *
          From level to level

          A true Israelite is one who constantly advances from level to level. Each advance to greater holiness can be accomplished only through the holiness of the land of Israel . Likewise our prayers ascend only through the land of Israel .

          When a person reaches the level of the land of Israel , he is worthy to be called “a man of strength and valor”. Before one attains this level, “Let not he that girds his armor boast like he that removes it” (I Kings 20:11 ) . However after winning the battle, he does indeed deserve to be called “a man of war”.

          Likutey Moharan I, 20

          * * *
          Houses and apartments.

          What do I mean by the land of Israel ? I mean the actual country of Israel with its houses and apartments!

          Chayey Moharan #15

          * * *
          Why go to Israel ?

          The only motive for going to the land of Israel should be spiritual: to draw closer to God. One who goes there with this intention will certainly benefit. Merely by setting foot in the land, he will become absorbed in and transformed by its holiness. For this reason even one who walks four cubits in the land of Israel is assured that he will inherit the world to come ( Ketubot 111a) . But if a person’s motive has no connection with devotion to God and purification from evil, how will the land of Israel help him? It will vomit him out “as it vomited out the nation that was before you” (Leviticus 18:28 ) .

          Likutey Moharan I, 155

          * * *
          Longing

          Pray that God should give you longing and desire for the land of Israel , and then you will succeed in getting there. Pray also that He should plant yearning for the land in the hearts of all the Tzaddikim.

          Likutey Moharan I, 155

          * * *
          Charity for Israel

          Charity given for the land of Israel is greater than charity for causes elsewhere. When you give charity for the land of Israel you become included in the air of the land of Israel , which is “holy breath without the taint of sin” ( Shabbat 119b) . Through this breath the forces of severity and darkness are banished from the world. One can also thereby escape alien thoughts and distractions during prayer, and one’s mind and thoughts become clear and refined. This is the repair of the holy Covenant.

          Likutey Moharan I, 37

          * * *
          To distinguish between light and darkness

          The land of Israel is the very summit of holiness, encompassing all other levels of holiness. It is there that we can completely free ourselves of the notion that the world is governed through nature and come to know and believe that everything happens only through the hand of God. When man knows this he becomes like God, acquiring the ability to distinguish between light and darkness. “Light” refers to the deeds of the Tzaddikim while “darkness” refers to those of the wicked ( Bereishith Rabbah 2) .

          Telling stories about the Tzaddikim help s cleanse and purify the mind. But for every story about a Tzaddik we find a parallel story about a wicked person , because the realm of evil is a reflection of that of holiness. Thus we are told that Pinchas flew in the air, and the same is said of the wicked Bilaam, except that in his case it was through witchcraft. The ability to distinguish between light and darkness enables us to distinguish between stories about true Tzaddikim and those that are not.

          To separate the light from the darkness requires the ultimate level of faith. This can be attained only in the land of Israel .

          Likutey Moharan I, 234

          * * *

          BACK TO THE ESSENTIAL RABBI NACHMAN HOMEPAGE

          AZAMRA HOMEPAGE

          By Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum
          © AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5767 – 2006-7 All rights reserved

        • There is a huge division in modern Breslov over Zionism. While rabbi Nachman encouraged his followers to move to the Holy Land, even under Turkish control, and he alluded to a future Holocaust that would engulf European Jewry, most of his followers believe he would have fiercely opposed political Zionism.

          rabbi Odesser, of Na Nach fame, supported Zionism and incurred a lot of enmity from other Breslov leaders. he was born in Tiberius in 1888, and thus was the only Breslov elder who could be described as a Sabra. His grandchildren serve in the IDF and he would say that it is good Israel has a powerful army “so the Goyim will fear us.”

          Most Ashkenazi Breslovers are closely allied with Satmar and Naturay Karta denouncing Zionism. However, unlike NK, they make a great effort to live in the Land of Israel since rabbi Nachman placed such emphasis on its importance to achieving genuine Torah holiness.

          The Sefardim who have flocked to Breslov in recent years generally are Zionistic, although they will try to avoid military service.

          The Na Nach group are passionate Zionists.

          Thus we have the irony that while Breslovers make it a great priority to live in Israel and Chabad tend to stay in Chutz LeAretz, philosophically Chabad is much more Zionistic than Breslov. The only exception to this are the Na Nachs who are militant Zionists.

    • Mr Barnett, according to JfJ reports, was with a group of Israelis and held the banner with them, only he was arrested. I assume that it was the Israelis who had prepared the banner, not Mr Barnett.

  2. I do hope that Jews for Jesus have engaged the services of a good lawyer to help get Barry Barnett out of jail asap. Calev Myers would seem to be a good choice.

  3. This is a great opportunity to share his faith in prison and be a great testimony to the police and the public. What would yshua do in this situation? Would he demand his rights or use the opportunity for the kingdom. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood…

  4. I have every confidence that J4$ won’t milk this situation and do everything they can to free their valued worker.

    I also believe in fairies at the end of the garden! :-)

  5. Politics and legalities aside it seems Yad L’Achim in their zealousness have followed the pattern of their predecessors who opposed the early “jews for Jesus” of the time of Saul of Tarsus by throwing Barry into prison to try to stop the spread of what they considered to be a genuine threat to Israel. Saul wished he could be in hell himself to save his opponents if God would allow it because he loved his countrymen. He counted it worth it to have been imprisoned and to have gotten 39 lashes three times to promote his view. False charges motivated by deep religious differences took legal turns so he ended up in a Roman prison after worshiping in Jerusalem to fulfill a vow knowing full well he would end up in prison. I am sure Barry is of the same cut as Saul. Because Yad L’Achim doesn’t believe the history reported by Luke in Acts they cannot understand their tactics in this case will be as Gamilel predicted to the Sanhedrin will only not stop the spread of what they fear; but rather fan the flames of its unquenchable fires.

  6. The thought occurs to me that this episode should evoke more than a discussion of whether the law was fairly invoked against Mr. Barnett or whether one should expect to suffer for one’s faith. There is an opportunity here to discuss the tactics employed by JfJ, and whether they do more harm than good, given that the goal is not to generate publicity but rather to encourage acceptance of Rav Yeshua’s efforts on behalf of Israel as “good news”. Of course, this could direct the discussion into interminable arguments over theology, messianology, ecclesiology, soteriology, missiology, etc. On the one hand, JfJ has positioned themselves as a lightning rod for all manner of criticism and the opportunity for true MJs to say: “We are not them.”; though, on the other hand, the increased antagonism and resentment that they generate tends to spill over into generalized negative perceptions of anyone who professes affinity with Rav Yeshua.

    My own perspective is that they do more harm than good, and that the time has passed when Jewish believers pursuing the goals of the Jewish Messiah might invoke the name of the fictionalized enemy of the Jewish people who is called “Jesus”. It was never really appropriate, even a generation ago, to mount massive Christian evangelistic campaigns against Jewish communities or to attempt to extract benefit from Jewish reactions against that name. The same effort directed into modern advertising methods and multi-media presentations, in order to correct long-standing errors and misperceptions of who was Rav Yeshua really and what did he actually teach, might have been much more effective in many ways in an environment of reduced antagonism. But, of course, this suggestion is accompanied by the benefit of four decades of hindsight (though there were some who expressed such views even that long ago).

    • In fact, the so-called “Great Commission” that is based on Matt.28:19-20 was an instruction to make disciples, which is primarily a teaching effort. It is not a command to make converts nor to start massive social movements nor to stir up socio-political unrest. It seems to me that Rav Shaul’s advice in Rom.12:18 would be well applied to this effort, that insofar as it depends on our behavior we are to be at peace with everyone. The examples in the messianic writings showing various persecutions against Rav-Yeshua supporters, which Rav Yeshua warned us would occur, should not be taken as encouragement to generate additional similar antagonisms. Rav Yeshua messianists have at least as much justification as other Jews to take to heart the lesson of the Hurban that sectarian separatism based on “sinat ‘hinam” brought about the destruction of the second Temple — in order that we should endeavor not to encourage any further such “minut” within any segment of our people. If we cannot correct this attitude, we should not be surprised at encountering resistance to rebuilding the Temple and we should not discount the danger that it would only be destroyed again for the same cause.

      In my view at least two kinds of discipleship effort are needed in the present era. One would be similar to FFOZ’s educational video presentations that are directed to Christian non-Jews in churches, showing how various scriptural notions are best understood from the Jewish background in which they were based originally. This approach might also be of particular interest to disaffected assimilated Jews who have settled into church environments; and it may be hoped that it might encourage them to rejoin the community of Jewish messianists. The second effort would be both an educational and a practical demonstration of how Jewish Rav-Yeshua messianists should behave individually and communally, including their practice of synagogue worship. Since Jews remain a numerically small demographic, multimedia recordings should be produced for wider distribution in order to educate those who cannot participate personally in such communities about how they might emulate such behaviors within the limitations of their local environments. This likely would include instruction for integrated participation within traditional synagogue communities. The topic of positive interactions and cooperation between various Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and communities (including of course, support for Israel) should feature in both of the above educational streams.

      Beyond discipleship efforts and “kiruv” efforts, there is also a need for general education about why Jewish messianists interpret various scriptures as they/we do, and how these views correlate with various elements found in traditional Jewish literature. Of course, such efforts as I’ve described would revolutionize the nature of Christianity; and the impact on a large segment of what claims to be modern Messianic Judaism would also be significant. Jews would behave as Jews, and non-Jewish discipleship might need a new name (for which I propose “Notzerinity”, as evoking both the “Nazarene” and the notion of the “notzer” who is diligently dedicated to HaShem’s instructions).

      And while everyone is pondering these notions (pro or con), I find that the time has arrived for me to wish one and all “Shabbat Shalom”.

      • It may be that I have entered a conversation beyond my expertise and knowledge.My words above were from my heart as an encouragement for Barry Barnett more than anything else. I rushed into the conversation without properly investigating the purpose of this Blog. I am not a Messianic Jew nor a Jews For Jesus. I am a Goyim for Jesus. I say that because while I was at Fuller Theological Seminary pursuing my MA in Theology and a PhD in Psychology (that I did not finish the dissertation toward) i took a Jewish Studies course from Mitch Glaser and I walked with Jews for Jesus handing out broadsides in the Rosebowl Parade in Pasadena in 1983 with a Goyim for Jesus shirt on

        ,I had had a previous interest in reaching Jewish people with the Gospel since my salvation experience in 1973. A man who had discipled me was 85 years old at the time. he had been a Lutheran pastor who became a Baptist pastor and then in his later years had founded the Midwest Hebrew Mission in St. Paul Minnesota. He took it concretely and literally that we should all start evangelizing in Jerusalem. So he wrote letters to Rabbis about why Jesus is the Messiah. While I am not persuaded his exegesis is entirely applicable I never experienced him as having a desire to be as you say “evangelistic ..against Jewish communities.” He seemed to love the God of Israel deeply and loved Jewish people because God loved His people. On the day Ben Gurion died he had someone from his office call my mentor Rev. Victor Peterson thanking him for his love of Israel. I was in his home when he received the call.

        I would have to say my own desires to support and participate with the God of Israel in communicating the truth of Yeshua as Messiah to Jewish people and feeling good and happy at the sight of Hebrew letters and finding deep joy in the existence and prosperity of Israel is because Yeshua likes and loves them. My motives are akin to why I love the Food Channel because my wife is a Chef and loves the Food channel. Or why i like the Minnesota Twins because my father liked the Minnesota Twins.

        My father was a scientific materialist atheist with two doctorates. His father was a medical doctor researcher in virology and was first to isolate the N1H1 flu virus. I am the only Shope who believes in Jesus.

        I actively evangelized my father, (and attempt to engage others in my family to the extent they will let me) to the day of his death because it hurt me to think of him missing out on eternal life and ending up in eternal suffering and it gave me joy to thin of getting to be with him forever. It was out of deep love and concern. I had to study how to approach him so he did not dismiss me. I had to hear him and use reason.

        My life mission is to extend and deepen the Kingdom of God into souls (including my own.)

        But back to the an unfinished thread – In 1983 I also was sent by the Fuller School of World Missions to Kfar Blum in an experiment to see if personal evangelism might be viable and to then recruit two others to go the next year. I had a few discussions with some Israelis. The two I recruited were Africans – on from Uganda one from Malawi. I guess they were tolerated in being more overtly vocal of their faith. I have no idea if we were effective; whether we were detrimental or if we might have had some positive impact. I do know our hearts were in the right place.

        I have little opportunity to evangelize Jewish people now. So I still support Jews for Jesus financially. I was supporting the Hear Oh Israel campaign. So I am to blame if their work there is doing your efforts “more harm than good.” I am not their apologist. I cannot really tell if you are correct or not. That is my stake in Barry Barnett. It is my fault he is there as much as it is anyone else who supports JFJ.

        But I will give this much of an opinion: I suspect it is not so much of an “either/or” answer that is correct but a “both/and”. I think I have followed you thoughts accurately as I have taken time to study them.

        I do not know where you stand on the literal 7 day creation or the 7 epochal stage creation (short earth or long earth). But the short earth view certainly got in the way of even beginning a discussion with my father. So did lots of uneducated views he had heard from well meaning but unrefined Christians he had shot down over the years. I had to approach him reasonably with facts and answer difficult questions requiring doctoral level considerations. Distancing myself from the views of others who I figure have the Ruach ha’Kadosh without distancing myself so far as to betray them as brothers.

        I do not disagree with your studied and experiential derived ideas about how to approach the ultimate goals you and JFJs have: eternal life for your people. I am not offended by your critiques even though they are leveled right at me because I am a co-signer of JFJ.

        I doubt they are from the God of Israel’s perspective “doing more harm than good.” Or I would repent and quit supporting them.

        I do see how their impact on some of the people you are reaching may make your work more difficult and frustrating. May God give you wisdom and grace to overcome those obstacles and may those folks overlook what offends them and see the heart of Yeshua’s messge to them.

        Of course the debate in the best strategies are worthy. I will be following them and if I can lend any help to your cause I am glad to do so as I become aware of the need and am able. I doubt I have sufficient position wisdom, expertise or knowledge to participate in any practical sense.

        With that said I am glad to hear Barry has been released and I hope he is allowed to stay in Israel and resume his activities.

        I hope you and they succeed with God’s blessing.

        • Randy,

          You sound to me like a very blessed and devoted person with a sincere faith in Yeshua and a genuine love for Jews. As a Jewish believer in Jesus who lived for 20 years in Israel as an ultra Orthodox Jew, I salute you. I wish I had met someone like you much earlier in my wanderings amongst Jewish Orthodoxy. You might have helped restore my sanity.

        • Dear Robert — You place your finger squarely upon one of the saddest aspects of modern Christian evangelism vis-à-vis Jews. So many people whose hearts are not at all antagonistic toward Jews, and who indeed wish them their very best, nonetheless push them farther away from Rav Yeshua’s good news because they do not understand how to present what is really good news. Thus “my people perish for lack of knowledge” (Is.5:13 in one translation I cannot immediately identify). However, my complaint against JfJ has been that their tactics even more than their words have exacerbated antagonism.

          Your experience with your father does seem to illustrate the need to tailor spiritual discussion to the needs of an intended audience. So it is also with a Jewish audience. There were, no doubt, numerous things that were much more important for your father to learn before he could really listen to the merits of a young-earth versus old-earth argument. Most non-Jews need the “sincere milk of the word” before they can handle any meaty argument. For Jews the need is for kosher meat, preferably with just the right spices.

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  8. Found this critique of J4J by a Christian seminary professor:

    The Messianic Jewish Congregational Movement

    by David A. Rausch

    Dr. Rausch is associate professor of church history and Judaic studies at Ashland, (Ohio) Theological Seminary. This article appeared in the Christian Century September 15-22, p. 926. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation and used by permission. Current articles and subscription information can be found at http://www.christiancentury.org. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.

    When I began research on the new Messianic Jewish congregational movement over four years ago, I soon learned that both Christians and Jews were experiencing a great deal of frustration. For mainline denominations; the Messianics’ claim to be “Jewish” believers of Jesus was regarded as deceitful. The Jewish community viewed them as a cult. One angry Jewish Defense League member I met in Toronto in 1980 clenched his fist and screamed: “These Messianics are the Nazis — the spiritual Nazis! They pretend to be Jews and use traditional Jewish symbols to trap children and the unsuspecting.”

    To my surprise, even most evangelicals opposed the Messianic Jews, accusing them of rebuilding the wall of partition between Jewish and gentile Christians and, in fact, of going back under the Law. A well-known Hebrew Christian whom I interviewed, a leader in missionary outreach to the Jewish community, shook his head and quietly explained:

    To these “Messianic Jews” Jewishness means Judaism . . . a rabbinic Judaism of the Ashkenazic flavor. . . . They neither have a real knowledge of Jewish history or of Jewish-Christian history, nor do they possess a good handle on biblical exegesis. . . . Like the Ebionites of old they will finally blend into Judaism and deny the Messiah.

    This evangelical attitude came as a shock, for initially I had thought that the movement was simply a “Jews for Jesus” extension of previous Hebrew Christian evangelistic organizations that also had been opposed by both Christians and Jews.

    Whatever one’s stand on the issue, it is important to gain some understanding of this movement. Although many regard the concept as unthinkable, the movement is growing and is gaining gentile supporters. The number of Messianic congregations (“synagogues”) continues to rise, and there is a fervent commitment on the part of these Messianics to “discover their Jewishness.”

    However, Messianic Jews themselves were of little help to me in tracing the historic roots of the movement. As I interviewed their leaders across the United States, I found a prevalent belief that they had coined the term “Messianic Judaism.” Others thought that the term had originated within the past ten or 20 years. Most of their opponents also agreed that this was so.

    In fact, both the term “Messianic Judaism” and the frustration with the movement go back to the 19th century. During 1895 Our Hope magazine, which became a bulwark in the fundamentalist-evangelical movement under the editorship of Arno C. Gaebelein, carried the subtitle “A Monthly Devoted to the Study of Prophecy and to Messianic Judaism.” An organ of the Hope of Israel movement in New York City, the magazine maintained that Jewish converts should not sever themselves from their people and their Jewish practices. It castigated the gentile Christian church for teaching that Jewish believers must refrain from observances proclaimed in the Mosaic Law.

    This approach did not escape unscathed; other Jewish missionary enterprises labeled Our Hope’s “Messianic Judaism” as outright “Judaizing,” declaring that such theology was “unscriptural, mischievous and dangerous.” Even the coeditors, Gaebelein and Ernst F. Stroeter, a former professor at Denver University, later split over the issue. Gaebelein switched his position regarding Messianic Judaism; Stroeter maintained its validity to the end of his life. This was very important in Gaebelein’s case: he might not have been accepted as a leader within fundamentalist evangelicalism, nor become a famous Bible and prophecy conference speaker, if he had not changed his view.

    For the scholar who seeks to unravel this tangled history, there are many surprises. It is fascinating that the movement would arise in the American branch of the Hebrew Christian Alliance (HCAA), an organization that has consistently assuaged the fears of fundamentalist Christians by emphasizing that it is not a separate denomination but only an evangelistic arm of the evangelical church. The organization’s Quarterly, however, reveals that the tension between the Messianic Jewish movement and the Hebrew Christian movement had always been present. After the inception of the HCAA in 1915, the first major controversy was over an “old” heresy — and the “heretical” dogma that was being proposed was Messianic Judaism. The controversy could have split the organization asunder during that period but for a strong united effort against Messianic Judaism. The outcome was a statement explaining that “history and experience proved [Messianic Judaism’s] doomed failure” and emphasizing, “We will have none of it!” The statement concluded:

    We are filled with deep gratitude to God, for the guidance of His Holy Spirit in enabling the Conference to so effectively banish [Messianic Judaism] from our midst, and now the Hebrew Christian Alliance has put herself on record to be absolutely free from it, now and forever.

    Well, not quite. The Hebrew Christian Alliance of America was forced by popular vote nearly 60 years later, in 1975, to change its name to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America. At the annual conference in Dunedin, Florida, in 1973, the politics involved in replacing the “old guard” with the “new guard” resembled a novel about life in Washington, D.C. The impetus for the change came from younger members within the HCAA, whose ranks were nearly nonexistent before the 1960s. By the final ballot they were joined by some older members as well. In 1981, at the association’s conference, Martin (Moishe) Rosen, the leader of the controversial “Jews for Jesus,” was not even nominated for the executive committee position he had previously held.

    Rosen is an enigma with regard to Messianic Judaism, and perhaps his organization engenders both gentile and Jewish confusion over Messianics. The slogan “Jews for Jesus” caught on in the 1970s and catapulted Rosen’s little band of missionaries into national prominence. Subsequently, enterprises ranging from overt Jewish missionary efforts to orthodox Messianic congregations have been called “Jews for Jesus.” The label is unfortunate, because it blurs the two distinct threads within Jewish Christianity that have historically run side by side. At one end of the spectrum is the Hebrew Christian movement, made up of missionary societies and individual missionaries who regard themselves primarily as an evangelistic arm of the evangelical church to the Jewish community. At the other end of the spectrum are the most orthodox of the Messianic congregations and individual adherents who regard themselves primarily as Jewish — Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Between the ends of this spectrum fall an array of congregations and individuals. And, to complicate the matter, some Hebrew Christians now call themselves Messianic Jews.

    Another reason why the all-encompassing label “Jews for Jesus” is unfortunate is that Rosen’s organization uses confrontation tactics which many Messianic Jews (and some evangelical Christians) cannot condone. In practice, the principle of confrontation holds that making the Jewish community angry or stirring up controversy equates with “publicity,” no matter whether a Jew is converted or not. Sensitivity is sacrificed for confrontation. Understanding is sacrificed for getting the message out.

    This point was not clear to me when I began my research, but Moishe Rosen soon set me straight. He told me that an article I had written for a Jewish publication, in which I had briefly mentioned him, was “sugarcoated” with respect to Jews for Jesus. It was a mistake I never made again. Once I understood the concept of confrontation and had documented its effect, pieces of the “Jews for Jesus” puzzle began to fall into place.

    Evangelical Christians are to be found on both sides of the confrontation issue. A professor at an evangelical liberal arts college explained to me that he liked the intense confrontation, saying: “My money goes to Jews for Jesus, because you can see they are doing something. Jews are ready to kill them for their boldness — yes, for their antagonism!” Quite a few Christians agree with him; Rosen’s organization grossed nearly $2.5 million last year. However, Messianic Jews and other Christians (evangelicals among them) are not so sure. Even Billy Graham has come out against evangelistic enterprises aimed solely at Jews. These people believe that the confrontation tactic only increases the historic antipathy felt between Christians and Jews — antipathy that has expanded into crusades and pogroms. The effectiveness of the message of Christ is thus lost.

    Currently, I find many Messianic Jews dissociating themselves from the label “Jews for Jesus,” explaining that the organization is “just a small group of 100 or so Hebrew Christians in a west coast missionary enterprise that is very vocal and widely publicized.” For the messianic congregation that is seriously attempting to foster a first century, Jewish-Christian worship experience, repeatedly defending Rosen’s actions exacts too high a price for them to pay.

    For example, there has been intense reaction to the Jews for Jesus program, “What Evangelical Christians Should Know About Jews for Jesus.” Carrying the subtitle “A Confidential Report: Not to be Distributed to Non-Christians,” a printed outline explained “confrontation tactics” and seemed to espouse “Jewishness” only as a plot for bringing Jews into the evangelical church. This material has led to charges by both Christians and Jews that Messianic congregations were “Jews for Jesus” and thus were fakes. While most Messianic leaders maintain cordial relations with Rosen, to many he is an expendable commodity. The program of the Messianic congregation is quite different from his.

    On the other hand, Rosen has seen the effectiveness of the Messianic congregations. A pragmatic individual, he voted for the HCAA’s change of name in 1975 and has just organized his own Messianic congregation in New York City. Jews for Jesus may be expanding to a two-pronged ministry; i.e., confrontation-oriented evangelistic teams, plus lower-key, stable congregations. This current development will cause controversy and may further confuse what is distinctively Messianic — the expanding congregational movement. One minister from the west coast has stated: “I have a regular Christian congregation with some Jewish converts in it, but if these fanatics who call themselves ‘Messianic Jews’ want to play their little congregational game, we can play it too.”

    Such statements are disheartening to Daniel Juster, a key figure in the Messianic Jewish congregational movement today. An ordained United Presbyterian minister, Juster progressively “evolved” toward Messianic Judaism while pastoring the First Hebrew Christian Church in Chicago (now called Adat Ha Tikvah) from 1972 to 1977. He is a graduate of Wheaton College (B.A., philosophy) and McCormick Seminary (M.Div.). Currently the spiritual leader of Beth Messiah Congregation in Rockville, Maryland, he is president of the Union of Messianic Congregations, a new federation of 24 congregations (there are over 30 in the United States and Canada). One of the Messianic movement’s leading theologians, he has just completed a manuscript titled Foundations of Messianic Judaism: A Biblical Survey.

    Among his many activities, Juster serves on the board of the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, holds extensive discussions with rabbis in the Washington, D.C., area, and was invited as a participant in the 1980 dialogue between evangelicals and Jews. He is an open and eloquent individual who strives for complete honesty in Messianic Judaism, and so does his wife, Patti. She once received a phone call scoring the Messianic congregation for being deceptive, because Jews could not believe in Jesus. Since the caller had identified himself as being from Conservative Judaism, she suggested that he talk to the “nice rabbi” at the Conservative congregation down the street. There was silence on the other end of the line. Finally, the caller said: “I don’t know quite how to tell you this, but I’m the rabbi of that congregation.”

    This bizarre episode led to a dinner invitation and dialogue, but the rabbi still feels that there are awesome dangers in the Messianic movement. In light of the history of Jewish Christianity, one cannot blame the Jewish community for being suspicious. In his study The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue (1934), James Parkes concluded: “In the whole of this account it is significant that no honorable part has been played by converted Jews, as interpreters of their old faith to the new.” Nonetheless, Messianic Jews are now determined to reverse that stigma. A training institute has been established in Chicago, and some congregations have begun religious schools for their children.

    The annual conference, which used to struggle to reach an attendance of 150, now draws nearly 1,000 participants for its weeklong session. The schedule has been dominated by topics such as rabbinic theology, the Holocaust, modern anti-Semitism, gentilization of Messianic Judaism, Messianic congregations, Messianic communities, and Messianic Jewish history.

    For some, however, much more is needed. In my travels throughout the United States and Canada, I met scores of Messianic Jews for whom most of their congregations are too “liberal” with regard to traditional (or Orthodox) Jewish practice. Many of these people are on the periphery of the movement, watching its progress but choosing to worship in regular Orthodox or Conservative Jewish synagogues.

    Those few modern Messianic congregations which have tried to institute Orthodox worship have invariably met with disaster. When the Los Angeles congregation was judged to have become “too Jewish,” the Assemblies of God took their building away from them (Phil Goble, author of a book titled Everything You Need to Grow a Messianic Congregation, had attended that group). In Pittsburgh, because of internal friction, the Orthodox Messianic congregation has dissolved.

    Yet traditional Messianic Jews do exist and share a great concern that the Messianic congregations should at least progress toward traditionalism in their liturgy and institutions. As Andy Pilant, a traditional Messianic worshiper from Pittsburgh, told me:

    The only thing I knew is that if we were going to be Jewish, we had to be honest about it. . . Jewishness was something that was more than laying teffilin, more than just singing Jewish songs. It was thinking Jewish, it was smelling Jewish, it was taking Judaism and putting it out to the ends of your fingertips — so that everything that you come in contact with would have a Jewish touch to it.

    The Messianic Jewish congregational movement is at a crossroads. It is not a wealthy movement, but because of its theological stance it cannot command the evangelical monetary support that Rosen’s organization enjoys. On the other hand, if such financial support should be forthcoming, the movement’s complexion and goals could be totally changed. It also contends with a gentile membership of 40 to 60 per cent that is capable of upsetting the delicate experiment in Jewish identity. And finally, it faces intense opposition from all sides — an opposition that may drive members into a fortress mentality. Nonetheless, the movement continues to grow and may well be one of the most important religious phenomena of the decade.

    Daniel Juster has said: “Why are they so mad at us? It is as though they have kept a well-guarded secret that Judaism and Christianity are not incompatible, and we have exposed their little game!” That statement continues to gnaw at my historical consciousness.

    • Shavua Tov, mevashir! Your presentation of this article by David Rausch is enlightening in that it shows one of the sorts of responses produced by Christian observers. I was particularly intrigued by its quote of a Hebrew Christian which included the assertion: “Like the Ebionites of old they will finally blend into Judaism and deny the Messiah.” The historical Christian evaluation of the Ebionites represents a rather interesting case of the winners of a conflict being the ones who write and interpret the history. We don’t actually hear the voice of the Ebionites themselves very clearly. I tend to suspect that they represent Jewish messianists who never left Judaism and were only perceived by non-Jewish Christians to “deny the Messiah” as Christianity departed further away from Judiasm and developed numerous doctrines about their increasingly fictionalized image of “Jesus” that were inimical to Jewish views. In all likelihood any such denials were of these inimical interpretations rather than denials of the genuine Rav Yeshua himself as the Messiah. We face a similar problem today as Messianic Jews seek to re-visit what the messianic writings actually say from a Jewish perspective. We too are faced with challenging or denying various traditional Christian doctrines in favor of a Jewish view that is more consistent with that of Rav Yeshua’s earliest disciples who all were Jews. Blending into Judaism, from which we never should have been separated in the first place, and which is consonant with our return from the dustbin of history, is exactly appropriate, as long as we can bring with us the real Messiah. There is a midrash that views the Messiah as a leper in chains at the gates of Rome, continually re-binding his wounds. In this story, a young man is sent to ask him when he will come to the Jewish people in fulfillment of prophetic expectations. The ultimate answer was a reflection of Ps.95:7 – “Today, if you will hear [obey] his voice”. This is an apt metaphor for what has been done with Rav Yeshua, imprisoned on the outskirts of Christianity waiting to be released by those who will hear his voice. MJs have sought to hear that voice clearly and to bring the suffering servant messiah (ben-Yosef) back home with us into the Jewish commonwealth. The road we have had to travel has been hazardous and dusty, scrounging resources and education as best we can from all manner of unlikely sources, longing for purification and the healing of wounds received from supposed friends (and not a few enemies) along the way. And the road continues to stretch on ahead of us, with our destination yet some distance beyond, though we continue slogging along in hope and trust of HaShem Who bids us onward.

      • @PL: “I tend to suspect that they represent Jewish messianists who never left Judaism and were only perceived by non-Jewish Christians to “deny the Messiah” as Christianity departed further away from Judiasm and developed numerous doctrines about their increasingly fictionalized image of “Jesus” that were inimical to Jewish views. In all likelihood any such denials were of these inimical interpretations rather than denials of the genuine Rav Yeshua himself as the Messiah.”

        This is a very astute comment! My fear is that the major Messianic organizations are all supported by Gentile churches with specific agendas that end of shaping and coopting their autonomy. I don’t think any of them has true independence of thought and spirit. They are all forced into sycophancy to a greater or lesser degree.

        I myself am preparing to foresake all forms of organized Christianity and Messianism. I retain a kind of private admiration of Yeshua, but after spending the 12 years since my baptism assiduously scrutinizing church history and denominational claims, I throw up my hands and say “enough”. There is not true unity here, and it seems that each community thrives at least as much on the opportunity to demonize and hate rivals as on the love commands of Yeshua.

        Last night I watched a very interesting documentary based on a class at Harvard comparing the thoughts and worldviews of CS Lewis and Sigmund Freud. (By the way, Freud’s Hebrew name was Shlomo!).

        Freud made a very good observation, in my opinion, when he stated that the problem with Christianity is that its command to love is restricted to a narrowly defined sacred community, and those outside that community are open season for hating and equally sacred religious violence. I think Freud has identified the Achilles Heel of all organized religion. At least with Judaism the ideology is clear: us against the world. Christianity pretends to proffer love equally to all peoples, but always ends up in bitter internecine warfare with outsiders and even within the fold against disfavored denominations.

        I fear we are deluding ourselves about the “religion of love.”

  9. Heard Pat Robertson on 700 Club really castigate Chabad yesterday:

    He claimed that he met with a group of Lubavitchers who tried to convince him that rabbi Schneersohn was Moshiach. Robertson responded very sarcastically that “Schneersohn didn’t fulfill any of the prophecies.” I was struck by how harsh and dismissive he was of Chabad, not even extending the courtesy to them of referring to their leader as rabbi. Perhaps he was enraged over the rival claims to Messiahship?

    See at 54:30 here: http://www.cbn.com/tv/2855926147001

    Transcript:

    Terry: THIS IS DIMIR,
    WHO SAYS, “MY WIFE IS TRYING
    TO CONVERT TO JUDAISM, AND
    SHE IS TELLING OUR SON HE
    SHOULD AS WELL.
    AS A CHRISTIAN, WHAT DO YOU
    I SAY TO THEM?”

    Pat: IF YOU WOULD SHOW
    HER THAT THE PROPHECIES ARE
    FULFILLED IN JESUS — I MET
    WITH A GROUP OF ULTRA
    ORTHODOX JEWS.
    AND THEY TRIED TO PITCH ME
    THAT SNERSON WAS THE
    MESSIAH.
    AND THEY SAID YOU’LL LIKE
    OUR MESSIAH, AND I SAID
    YOU’LL LIKE MY MESSIAH,
    TOO.
    WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO IT,
    SNERSON DIDN’T FULFILL THE
    BIBLE.
    GO THROUGH AND SHOW YOUR
    HUSBAND OR YOUR WIFE OR YOUR
    CHILD THAT JESUS CHRIST
    FULFILLED THIS.
    AND THERE IS NO — AND THE
    QUESTION YOU’VE GOT TO ASK
    REAL QUICKLY, AND YOU LOVE
    THEM, YOU SAY, LOOK, THE
    BIBLE SAYS THAT IN ORDER TO
    GET FORGIVEN ON THE DAY OF
    ATONEMENT, YOM KIPPUR,
    YOU’VE GOT TO OFFER BLOOD,
    AND SPRINKLE BLOOD OF AN
    ANIMAL ON THE ALTER.
    AND YOU SAY THERE IS NO
    BLOOD AND ALTER.
    WHY?
    BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST IS OUR
    OFFERING.

  10. I wonder if, buried in all the small print somewhere, there’s a clause that says something like “visa holders must not do anything harmful to the public good” which they are using as an excuse to detain Barry with the aim of deporting him. Obviously there would then be arguments about whether evangelism is bad, and freedom of religion / expression as it applies to tourists.

    More generally, I do have concerns about whether the confrontational approach of Jews for Jesus actually achieves anything. It certainly gets them a lot of publicity, and brings in lots of donations from well-meaning Christians, but is it really the right way to reach people? There’s a strong argument that it does more harm than good.

    • “More generally, I do have concerns about whether the confrontational approach of Jews for Jesus actually achieves anything. It certainly gets them a lot of publicity, and brings in lots of donations from well-meaning Christians, but is it really the right way to reach people? There’s a strong argument that it does more harm than good.”

      What proof do you have for that? Perhaps it does YOU harm since it convicts you of the feebleness of your own outreach efforts?

      I am not involved with J4J, but I do admire them. I think they are totally like the original apostles whom the Lord sent all over the world. They were uprooted from their congregations and communities and from their homeland to treck across the globe proclaiming the Risen Christ. Most of them met martyr’s death.They had no worldly compensation for their activities. They simply spoke the Truth of Yeshua. I think J4J are heroic. But I am not surprised that the local Israeli Messianic community might wish to denigrate their efforts. They are foreigners who come to the Land and humiliate the local “believers” with their fervor and passion for the simple truth of the Gospel.

      • That is an unwarranted slur on Israeli Messianic congregations Mevashir, some of them (particularly those in Beersheva and Arad) pay a heavy price for their beliefs.

        • Yes I am aware of the sacrifices of the Negev groups. It seems to me, though, that the other believers in Israel do not really stand in solidarity with them but use them in a kind of lurid voyeuristic sense.to vicariously validate their own lack of sacrifice. Am I being too harsh?

          Back in 2005, I printed out a list of all Messianic groups in Jerusalem and distributed them in the mailboxes of about 1000 apartments in a secular part of Jerusalem. The leadership of King of Kings severely castigated me for this.

          But I don’t think now is the time for timidity and false modesty. AKA cowardice.

      • I have never been involved with JfJ, mevashir, but I have been friendly with a number who have been. Nonetheless, I have been a recipient on occasion of the harm that the organization’s approach has done in misrepresenting Rav Yeshua. It has nothing to do with the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of anyone’s outreach efforts, but rather with a defect in the content of their message which is embodied in their methodology. Whether or not they have been “heroic” to face the kinds of opprobrium they generate, they have not actually represented “the simple truth of the gospel”, but rather a Christian evangelical counterfeit that distorts it from being anything like the actual good news that Rav Yeshua offered to his students. Fervor and passion are romantic, but if they are employed in a false cause they are destructive; and that also is one of the accusations levied against JfJ.

        However, I think “anon” is mistaken to suggest fine print in the visa definition as an excuse for detaining Mr. Barnett. I suggested above that his participation in an event that became somewhat political and perhaps a threat to social order may have brought to light the possibility of an incidentally fraudulent violation of the terms of a tourist visa. I suspect that greater charges should be levied against the counterdemonstrators who violently disrupted a lawful exercise of free speech by JfJ. If any of them were foreigners on a tourist visa, they might become subject to similar expulsion. Disagreeable speech is not a justification for violence in a civil society. It is rather a justification for alternative dissenting speech in a separate lawful venue.

        As for references to anything said by Pat Robertson, I suggest that they have no bearing whatsoever on the topic at hand. One may cite thoughtless, foolish, inconsiderate, or irrelevant statements from anyone, because there is no lack of them in the world. They cannot be fitted into just any context, no matter whose side of an issue one wishes to support or decry.

        • @PL: “Whether or not they have been “heroic” to face the kinds of opprobrium they generate, they have not actually represented “the simple truth of the gospel”, but rather a Christian evangelical counterfeit that distorts it from being anything like the actual good news that Rav Yeshua offered to his students.”

          Can you clarify? I think J4J presents a very effective simple version of the Gospel for secular Jews ignorant of rabbinical writings. They basically say what Paul said in Romans 10:9: Call on the name of Jesus and be saved!

          What is wrong with that in Israel’s overwhelmingly secular environment?

        • @mevashir — Another poster (Mimzy) asked essentially the same question, which I attempted to answer briefly. I hope it is a sufficiently clear differentiation between Jewish messianism and Christianity of whatever form.

          BTW, I don’t think the issues here are timidity, false modesty, or cowardice — as against boldness or brashness — but rather wisdom, sensitivity, and proper content. And while certainly there have been, and probably there still are, congregations whose desire to pursue a Messianic Jewish praxis and outlook has been inhibited by financial strings attached to non-Jewish supporting organizations, most of the MJ congregations I have known are entirely independent and correspondingly poor, particularly if they began with financial assistance and were required to sever ties in order to maintain their Jewish integrity.

      • Mevashir you really know nothing about the Israeli MJ community, nor what many go through each day for their faith, you ought to reconsider that claim.

  11. Proclaim Liberty,
    What do you say is the heresy of J4J, this Christian evangelical counterfeit that distorts it from being anything like the actual good news? This just doesn’t sound right.
    .
    Be specific. What exactly is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what is it that J4J is NOT telling disciples?

    • Shalom, Mimzy — JfJ presents a fairly standard Hebrew-Christian perspective, which tends to neglect, or even to deny outright, Jewish responsibilities to interact within the Jewish community in a Jewish manner, to observe Torah in a manner specified by Jewish authorities as Rav Yeshua commanded in Matt 23:3, to represent Rav Yeshua as the Torah observant Pharisee that he was, and to respect the spiritual integrity of the Jewish people. JfJ continues a pattern of Christian antagonism against Jews rather than seeking to encourage Jewish growth and maturity. The good news that Rav Yeshua himself presented was that “malchut ha-shamayim” was not a remote notion but rather was close at hand and experientially available. In modern terms we would consider this a very Hasidic sort of notion; and it has tremendous implications for the improvement (i.e., “rescue”, “redemption”, “salvation”) of all Jewish society as individual Jews would mature in this perspective. There are, of course, many secondary considerations that support the fundamental key that opens the door into this “kingdom”, which is repentance (i.e., turning toward HaShem and internalizing the instructions that He has provided). Further progress in this kingdom would be fostered by performing and teaching Torah, as noted in Matt.5:19. Much of what Rav Shaul added in his letters to non-Jews was aimed at bringing them to a state comparable to that which Jews already enjoy as members of an irrevocable covenant with HaShem, hence presentations of good news for non-Jews must provide a significant amount of background training that is already incorporated in Jewish culture with which most Jews have been already ingrained in some degree. The simplicity of what Rav Yeshua presented is based on the existing background knowledge in which his Jewish audience was already immersed. But the distinctive responsibilities that are incumbent upon Jews and not upon non-Jews are not reflected by JfJ; and the assimilation that they foster is detrimental to the continuation of Jewish existence. That is very bad news rather than good news; and it is contrary to the expressed will of HaShem Who promised to His friend Avraham that his descendants would live within a set of defined territorial boundaries that belong to them as a people defined by HaShem, and that they would reflect Avraham’s spiritual heritage which is encoded in the Torah covenant and instructions that Moshe Rabbeinu recorded (and that has been preserved and continually applied by designated Jewish authorities to varying conditions affecting Jews throughout history, in accordance with the Torah’s own authorization of such authorities).

      Now, there are certainly improvements that may be sought by Jews within the Jewish community, including aspects of spiritual health. But these cannot be pursued from outside the community from a position of antagonism and invalidation, and that was certainly not Rav Yeshua’s modus operandus (though Christians including JfJ have misread his arguments about various halakhic issues in this fashion). But let no one presume that only the Jewish community could benefit from improvement, or that the same improvements are required identically in every community of faith. And I’ve already intimated above the important distinction between seeking converts and making disciples, as well as suggesting into what sort of discipline they should be immersed. There is a lot more that could be said, but I hope that what you find here is sufficient to characterize it.

      • @PL: “There is a midrash that views the Messiah as a leper in chains at the gates of Rome, continually re-binding his wounds. In this story, a young man is sent to ask him when he will come to the Jewish people in fulfillment of prophetic expectations. The ultimate answer was a reflection of Ps.95:7 – “Today, if you will hear [obey] his voice”. This is an apt metaphor for what has been done with Rav Yeshua, imprisoned on the outskirts of Christianity waiting to be released by those who will hear his voice.”

        This is an important midrash you have cited. But I disagree with you that the significance is not that Messiah is “imprisoned on the outskirts of Christianity waiting to be released by those who will hear his voice” but actually he is at the very heart of Christianity represented by the Roman Catholic Church. I say this because whether we like it or not history placed Rome at the center of Christendom and we need to stop pretending it is all an aberration.

        I have many issues with the Roman Catholic Church, not least of which is their apparent capitulation to darwinism and old earth theistic evolution, which is a total betrayal of the historical portions of Genesis 1-11. But the Roman Catholics have something that we Messianics do NOT have, and that is a total and absolute reverence for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. This is the very heart of Catholic worship, and in my experience Messianics miss out on this totally.

        Take your expression Rav Yeshua. I think it is totally inappropriate. C S Lewis already clarified that Jesus is far more than a great man or a great teacher or even a great rabbi. He is God in the flesh and the lamb who was slain from the foundations of the world. Messianics seem hesitant to acknowledge this and to proclaim it. Instead they seem to pay lip service to Jesus the atonement and then to rush back to their Torah scrolls playing pretend TARYAG mitzvah fulfillment like the other Jews. I think it is preposterous and self deluded.

        I also disagree with your calling Jesus a Pharisee. I agree that he had a certain respect for the Pharisees occupying Moses’ seat, but he also acted very differently from Pharisees, as seen in his behavior towards the woman who anointed his feet in the home of Shimon the Pharisee and his willingness to heal people who were lepers, whom Pharisees would normally shun totally and absolutely.

        I feel from many years of participating in and observing Messianic communities both in Israel and abroad, that they do not show genuine reverence for Jesus the Christ. They toy with him and try to defang and declaw him into a normal “Pharisaic rabbi.” Nothing could be further from the truth!

        I think the midrash expression of Yeshua as bandaged at the gates of Rome alludes directly to the Shroud of Turin, which is like a photograph recording the crucifixion and resurrection of the Christ. This shows us our Messiah bruised bleeding and literally bandaged in the folds of the linen burial shroud. I believe the Roman Catholic Church has a certain Divine Merit in being entrusted by Providence to guard this precious icon and relic. I also believe that we Jews will suffer under the tyranny of this church until we too are willing to drop our intellectual pretentions and submit fully and simply and wholeheartedly to Jesus crucified and resurrected as Paul explains in Romans 10:9. We need to admit that the Catholics, with all their pagan accretions to the faith of Yeshua, demonstrate much greater reverence for him than almost all Messianic Jewish groups. The Catholics have hijacked our faith but Jesus allows them to because of their love and reverence for him that we don’t even begin to compare to.

        I believe we are in the position of Joseph’s brothers who had to totally bow and submit to him in Egypt. The Catholics are like Egypt who have embraced our brother Jesus whom we hated and sold into Gentile slavery by not only murdering him but by rejecting his message after his glorious resurrection. Those pagan Egyptians venerated Joseph, Tzafnat Paneach, and he tolerated their idolatry just because of their reverence for him. I believe it is the same with the Catholics. Jesus tolerates their idolatry and misconceptions and perversions of the truth simply because ot their enormous love and reverence for him. As it says: Love covers a multitude of sins.

        Until Jewish people overcome a deep and persistent hatred of Jesus, even amongst the Messianic believers, we will see him remain in Roman/Gentile captivity, because that’s where he prefers to be!

        • In my opinion the reason Jesus grants authority to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:1-3 is purely and simply because they are necessary to keep the Jewish people groaning under the yoke of Torah that will drive them to the foot of the cross. They also preserve the dream of Messiah that again will eventually point them to Jesus.

          Jesus does not want anyone following him to behave like a Pharisee, but he does ordain them as the best way to preserve unbelieving Israel’s Messianic vision and destiny until the day when the veil shall be lifted and their eyes opened to the truth of Yeshua as Israel’s Messiah and Savior of the world.

        • This is an email sent to Mark Shea, a Catholic apologist who supports old earth theistic evolution and boasts of Catholic contributions to it. I explain why such a philosophy as totally antithetical to Torah revelation.

          It’s based on this internet article: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/11/marshall_mcluha079201.html

          “Theistic evolution” espoused by Catholic scientists like Ken Miller, John Haught and Francisco Ayala (who reportedly has become an atheist) and enthusiastically endorsed by Mark Shea, is a total oxyMORON, about as sensible as “chaste debauchery” or “ethical embezzlement.”

          This unholy triumvirate of apologists for the evil mythology of darwinism are poster children for the Vatican hierarchy’s frantic effort to curry favor with the scientific establishment they rely upon to fund their numerous Catholic colleges and universities around the world.

          Mark the “Shea-Hey Kid” seems eager to raise their banner to prove that Catholics can be good scientists and good theologians as well. Unfortunately, Shea proves himself a very poor theologian and an even less competent scientist.

          Genesis 1 teaches that God created the different life forms to propagate “after their own kind.” DNA is designed to prevent macro-evolution, not to promote it via the illusory scheme of “mutation combined with natural selection.” We can illustrate this idea with the following acronym:

          D oes
          N ot EVOLUTION!!!
          A llow

          It is both curious and disappointing that Catholics boast of their fidelity to the “Real Presence” in the Eucharist while at the same time they deny the “Real Past” in Genesis. This is because all notions of evolution, theistic or atheistic, necessarily destroy the credibility of the historical accounts in Genesis 1-11. Evolution makes no room for such foundational biblical ideas as the Noahic Flood since the geological changes evidencing this relatively recent catastrophe in earth history can be posited to have occurred through perfectly ordinary processes over very long periods of time (called Uniformitarianism). Whatever good the Catholic hierarchy imagines it achieves in extending an olive branch to the darwinists is totally vitiated by its invalidating the integrity of the biblical account. And so the church of Christ representing Gentiles engrafted into the Olive Tree of Torah revelation turns out to be standing on sandy ground devoid of a truly firm foundation, a paper tiger and a totally naked emperor who resorts to pious propaganda and holy hyperbole to promote a form of theological magic devoid of genuine biblical truth.

          And of course most fatal of all to Catholicism is that all concepts of evolution — atheistic and theistic alike — posit death as the driving mechanism of biological development and not a tragic aberration produced by “Original Sin” in Eden, and thus removing the sina qua non of Christianity. In his book Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, Ayala even suggests that the story of the Fall in Genesis 3 is simply a parable for the inevitable consequences of man’s highly evolved brain — reflected in the painful process of childbirth for the female of the human species — finally perceiving the reality of death that always has prevailed upon our hapless planet. If Shea-Hey wants to laud this perspective that is fine, but let him at least be honest enough to admit that it renders his purported theology utterly useless ridiculous and barren.

          Can we expect such honesty from Shea-Hey at his bully pulpit? It’s more likely to see a DNA molecule evolve by chance from scratch than to see such candor emanate from Shea-Hey’s keyboard. After all, Shea-Hey’s highest priority is the institutional survival of his church, not God’s Truth or Mankind’s Salvation. Mark is fully devoted to protecting his harlot and making sure she is well coated with makeup, clothing and jewels to disguise her horrendous and horrifying ugliness.

          Shea is proving himself a faithful adherent of a church that deems marriage the only unforgivable violation of priestly celibacy, while unhesitatingly pardoning fornication, pederasty and other forms of sexual perversion. So it makes sense that Mark would advocate a philosophy that is as logical as “chaste fornication.” A perfect Catholic conundrum!

          The rest of us can only be grateful for people like Mark Shea who so expertly depicts the monstrous deceit and harlotry of his church that will betray every principle of spiritual integrity in her relentless pursuit of money and power. She truly is the whore riding the beast of scientism, and Mark’s pathetic apologies for her make it so much easier for the rest of us to flee the Babylonian Harlot on the Tiber lest we receive of her chastisements.

          Meanwhile Shea-Hey would be wise to crawl back down to Dante’s 9th circle where his satanic mentor can retrain him in the latest methodologies of utilizing false religion to thwart a lost and starving humanity’s increasingly desperate search for its Creator God.

  12. Barry Barnett has been freed from prison. Israeli justice has won the day and seen the imprisonment of a tourist for holding a banner to be pure folly.

  13. Pingback: Jews for Jesus Campaigner Freed from Israeli Prison |

  14. I want to thank you Mevashir for your kind encouragement. I also have followed some of your other comments and some of your exchanges with Proclaim Liberty and others. Your discussions are in my eyes enlightening and stimulating. i find myself wanting to agree and disagree and join in with my own perceptions in the spirit of “as iron sharpens iron so the wits of one man sharpen the wits of another.”

    However i am unsure how invited I am to these discussions as a Gentile believer. i want to jump in. Some of the things you are discussing I have mulled over for years (evolution and creationism; the divisions and fractions among believers in Yeshua.for instance.) Others are really new and fascinating to me like the variety of views of Messianic Jews about the history of the early schism of Pharisaic Judaism and Messianic Judaism and the relevance of that today as all these historic factors are being reconstituted before our eyes. On these I have many questions and few comments as I am for the very first time being exposed to them by watching you discuss them.

    Is it really true that many Messianic Jews do not really believe in or heavily weigh the atonement and resurrection of Yeshua as centrally important? What about the importance of our becoming new creations by the gift of Ruach ha Kadosh? And of our being united in Messiah? Both Jews and Gentiles? Certainly i fear being proud as if I being a Gentile, a wild olive branch, of failing to properly honor the clear precedence of the true trunk of God’s Covenant with Abraham Isaac and Jacob, the Land of Israel and all the promises to Israel proper. What is the Messianic Jewish view on this dimension.

    I am new to the notion that Jews need to be urged back into Pharisaic practices. It does make sense that for the fulfillment of the promises to israel the Mishna has been preserved and the need for Jewish ethnic and cultural identity to be guarded. Your observations in that regard are epiphanies to me as I hear that. But I am in agreement with you that Yeshua was not a Pharisee per se. I know He agreed and taught much of what they taught but as you before my eyes are differing and debating so did he with them and they among themselves. So I have questions for Proclaim Liberty and you about these teachings. I am slow to formulate opinions until I can truly understand them in more detail.

    I have an English translation of the Mishna which I study sometimes to better understand Jewish background of the New Testament properly. I had not before considered how Messianic Jews regard it and study it differently. So I have questions.

    I am not trying to become Jewish. I am what God has made me and am content. However I do want to understand better the way Messianic Jews think and the dilemmas you face so if I talk with you I do not offend you and so I may enrich my own spiritual walk and so i may enjoy your company.

    So to what extent am I invited to participate in these conversations on this Blog?

    • @Robert — It’s not my blog, that I could invite or disinvite anyone, but per my observations the conversations here are open to anyone who is willing to maintain civility. Nonetheless, the interesting topics of discussion you’ve cited are a bit off the current topic. Some of them have been discussed already on other topics of this blog and other blogs relating to messianic Jewish topics. I mentioned in an earlier reply the danger that the question I raised therein about evangelistic content could open a door to all sorts of interminable arguments over theology, messianology, ecclesiology, soteriology, missiology, etc., so I’m not sure how far we should continue within the bounds of the current topic or if there is a better forum where I might appropriately disagree with mevashir over the nature of Rav Yeshua’s Pharisaism, or that of Rav Shaul or tens of thousands of Jewish Rav-Yeshua messianists in Jerusalem at the time described in Acts 21; or to address any of these other fields of thought.

    • Robert,

      I am NOT a Messainic Jew. I do not so characterize myself. My original vision when I was baptized back in 2000 after 18 years as an ultra-Orthodox Jew is that via Yeshua Israel would be engrafted back into the family of man. I believe this is the thrust of Paul at the end of Romans 11, when he describes how God has consigned ALL men (Jews included) into unbelief so He might have mercy on all.

      I personally find Messianic worship very discouraging. Jesus seems almost an afterthought. It seems to me many Messianics are saying the following: “Thanks for dying for us Rav Yeshua, now let’s get back to Torah study, which is really interesting and the heart and soul of our faith.”

      I do think that Torah Study in its various forms is THE Messianic sacrament, to rival the Catholic Eucharist for example. And although I studied the Torah deeply with many classical rabbinic commentaries and such for many years, I find under the government of Yeshua that this study is not very rewarding. It does not encompass a vision for Gentiles and largely continues to view them as adversaries. I didn’t embrace Yeshua in order to remain within a new Jewish ghetto, which is how I see the Messianics. Or if there is cross fertilization, generally I have seen the conversation to be one-way: Messianics accusing Christians of not observing Sabbath, the Jewish feasts, and accepting pagan concepts of Christmas and Easter. I don’t believe Messianics desire to learn anything from their Christian brethren, despite 2000 years of enormous Christian scholarship and spiritual insight into the entirety of Scripture.

      In short, I see the Messianics as schismatic and divisive as any other denomination and it has proven very discouraging to me.

      PL’s response is not surprising, as I also have seen a desire to control dialogue on this blog. I am not a member of Rosh Pinah community. I just occasionally comment from my perch in Denver, Colorado, where I now live.

      If you wish we can communicate via email. As for the others, my experience is they will not be very open to discussions with you. I have found Messianics to be extremely defensive and insecure. I myself am not so insecure about discussing doctrine and such because I am not wed to a particular system. I have personally lived out them all and found all of them to be lacking, so I am willing to discuss/debate them in a collegial atmosphere.

      One exception to Messianic insecurity I have found is Messianic rabbi Jerry Feldman of Kansas City. Perhaps sound him out if you wish:

      • It’s interesting to me that while Messianics will run down and denigrate Christmas and Easter, they themselves hardly celebrate these events in Messiah’s life. They largely ignore his birth, or subsume it under Tabernacles, and ditto with Easter. In this they are like the Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses who also denigrate these holidays.

        • It seems to me, mevashir, that you’ve rather missed the point that Christmas and Easter never were events in Rav Yeshua’s life, but rather were inventions by Roman Imperial Christianity. Rav Yeshua was not born in December, nor was Sol Invictus an appropriate representation to associate with his birth. Easter rather commemorates the fertility rites of Ishtar, and it was deliberately severed from any possible relationship with the Jewish Passover that did figure in Rav Yeshua’s life and particularly his death and resurrection. Hence, of course, they have no meaning for Jewish messianists except as symbols of Christian enmity against Jews. A devotion to history, my dear mevashir, is one of the hallmarks of Jewish religious praxis. I don’t happen to know the basis of any SDA or JW antipathy to these holidays, so I can’t say if their reasons might have any merit. Birthday celebrations are not a characteristically Jewish custom, though many Jews have adopted them from surrounding cultures; however, commemoration of someone’s decease is a particularly Jewish means of honoring the summation of a life.

        • It doesn’t matter when he was born exactly, does it? Christmas is like a Christian Hanukkah, a festival of light for the whole world and not just for the Jewish ghetto.

          Which is worse, PL, celebrating Yeshua’s birth (as suggested in Isaiah 9:6) on the “wrong day” or not celebrating it at all???

          My own view is that he was born on Tisha BeAv, but the point is to join in a collective global acknowledgement of his birth, not to stake out a divisive and schismatic viewpoint that covers up his light and separates from the rest of humanity recognizing him.

        • Again, I think you are wrong about Easter. You may not like the name, but it is considered the day Jesus rose from the dead following his crucifixion on Passover. The connection is always made in churches to the Passover. Perhaps you prefer the Eastern Orthodox churches which retain the name Pascha, but of course then you have to deal with the Jew hatred of Chrysostom and other eastern saints.

          I also disagree with you about the anti Jewishness of the church. Yes, of course it is prominent, but as one trained in Chassidic approach of self judgement, I ask myself what we Jews did to incite this reaction. Clearly the stance of enmity of the rabbis towards Jesus and his followers started the ball rolling. The Jews cast the first stone, and although Christians should not retaliate in kind, their bitterness is understandable. especially considering the evidence that Jewish leaders worked with the pagan Roman government to incite violence against Christians.

          I assume you have heard of the extreme persecution unleashed against Christians by the stoic philosopher Emperor Marcus Aurelius, considered deeply puzzling by many historians. (The stoics often found common ground with the Christians.)

          Can Aurelius’ behavior be a coincidence considering his close friendship with rabbi Judah the Prince reported in the Talmud? Also the rabbis lobbied that Christians should not be exempt from Emperor worship as the Jews were, deeming them a heretical cult. This led directly to the martyrdom of many early Christians.

          I suspect PL that there are parts of history that you do not have a mastery over and that even one as confident as you might be able to learn a thing or two.

          The main point in my view is that we Jews must introspect about what we have done to provoke Christian hatred of us and not whine about anti-Semitism. Did the Jews led off to Babylon ever accuse Nebuchadnezzar of anti-Semitism? What about the Assyrians who destroyed the northern Israelite kingdom? No, the Jews of the Tenach were taught by their prophets that when hatred and violence descends upon them they are at fault for causing God to withdraw His protection from them. It would be nice of more Messianics recognized this and evinced this attitude of spiritual maturity and enlightenment.

        • Enough already of blaming the victims, mevashir! Jews long ago incorporated into everyday liturgy (as well as that of Yom HaKippurim) the introspection of which you write. But I wonder what you are considering was the “first stone” to have been cast? There were a lot of stones flying in that era, both verbal and physical, hence our view that the Hurban was a result of sinat ‘hinam, and all this was before the existence of distinctive non-Jewish “Christians”. The use of the term as a slur in Antioch may have preceded the Hurban by a few years, but it had not yet been adopted as a term of identity by any of those persecuted under it.

          There was no uniform stance of enmity against Rav Yeshua and his followers from “the rabbis”, who did not become an authoritative socio-political force until after the Hurban and the Yavneh reconstitution of Judaism — which is also when the separatist sectarianism that was deemed a cause of the Hurban was condemned. Both Rav Yeshua and Rav Shaul evidenced their affinity with Pharisaic methodology and interpretive outlook, and Rav Yeshua’s arguments with various groups including Pharisees are representative of the deliberation that was occurring generally in that era as a number of aspects of halakhah were being developed. There was no wholesale antagonism against Pharisees nor from Pharisees, though the ancient equivalent of modern anti-missionary sects certainly did exist and could obtain support from people in power (hence Rav Shaul’s early activities before his Damascus-road experience). Rav Yeshua considered the scribes’ and Pharisees’ teaching to be authoritative for his own disciples (viz:Mt.23:3), including aspects of Oral Torah (e.g., tithing herbs).

          It was the Roman Empire that created a distinctive Christian religion at odds with Judaism, in part by some of its demands upon non-Jews from which Jews had a legal exemption. Non-Jewish disciples thereby suffered because they desired to emulate some Jewish Torah-based behaviors but had been released from any requirement to convert to Judaism and become responsible for the entire Torah. Effectively they were persecuted for not being idolatrous pagans any longer, and thus for resisting the established religious order of the Roman Empire without a legal justification. The defense by Jews of their own legal exemption which could be endangered or eliminated by trying to include others within it is not necessarily properly characterized as you have done — as a deliberate action against a supposedly heretical Christian cult. Later, when the Roman Empire adopted a form of Christian religion, it soon became their standard to exclude from it anything Jewish. Virtually all the polemics between Christians and Jews can be traced back to tensions produced by Imperial Roman anti-Jewish attitudes and policies, and Jewish self-defense as a small and continually endangered minority people.

        • PL: I would clarify two points:

          (1) Your quote here is utterly incomprehensible to me and reflects either a total misunderstanding of the New Testament or a deliberate slander by you of the early Jewish Christians:

          “There were a lot of stones flying in that era, both verbal and physical, hence our view that the Hurban was a result of sinat ‘hinam, and all this was before the existence of distinctive non-Jewish “Christians”.”

          I’m not aware of any organized violence against the Jewish establishment by the early Jewish Christians. If you are claiming so, can you provide a source? We all know of Saul of Tarsus’ murderous campaign against believers, but I’ve never hear of the inverse!

          Furthermore, while the Talmud castigates the simple Jewish masses (Amay HaAretz) for hating their rabbis and refusing to submit to their authority as the fulfillment of sinat chinam, Jesus says something much different in John 15 and actually blames the Jewish leadership for their sinat chinam against Him!

          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%2015:18-27&version=NLT

          John 15:18-27 New Living Translation (NLT)

          The World’s Hatred

          18 “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. 19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. 20 Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. 21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me. 22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father. 24 If I hadn’t done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty. But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. 25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures[a]: ‘They hated me without cause.’

          26 “But I will send you the Advocate[b]—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. 27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.
          _________________________________________________________________________

          (2) This paragraph of yours is troubling to me:

          “It was the Roman Empire that created a distinctive Christian religion at odds with Judaism, in part by some of its demands upon non-Jews from which Jews had a legal exemption. Non-Jewish disciples thereby suffered because they desired to emulate some Jewish Torah-based behaviors but had been released from any requirement to convert to Judaism and become responsible for the entire Torah. Effectively they were persecuted for not being idolatrous pagans any longer, and thus for resisting the established religious order of the Roman Empire without a legal justification. The defense by Jews of their own legal exemption which could be endangered or eliminated by trying to include others within it is not necessarily properly characterized as you have done — as a deliberate action against a supposedly heretical Christian cult. Later, when the Roman Empire adopted a form of Christian religion, it soon became their standard to exclude from it anything Jewish. Virtually all the polemics between Christians and Jews can be traced back to tensions produced by Imperial Roman anti-Jewish attitudes and policies, and Jewish self-defense as a small and continually endangered minority people.”

          Specifically this section confuses me: “Non-Jewish disciples thereby suffered because they desired to emulate some Jewish Torah-based behaviors but had been released from any requirement to convert to Judaism and become responsible for the entire Torah.” It is my understanding from Acts 15 that the Apostles themselves released the non Jewish disciples from these requirements but you imply it was the pagan Roman government.

          This section also is peculiar: “The defense by Jews of their own legal exemption which could be endangered or eliminated by trying to include others within it is not necessarily properly characterized as you have done — as a deliberate action against a supposedly heretical Christian cult.” Do you have specific historical evidence for this claim, or is it rather wishful thinking? I recall from yeshiva days that Orthodox Jews are proudly insistent that Christians are idolaters and Jewish converts are traitors!

          Finally this section too perplexes me: “Virtually all the polemics between Christians and Jews can be traced back to tensions produced by Imperial Roman anti-Jewish attitudes and policies, and Jewish self-defense as a small and continually endangered minority people.”

          It is clear from the Talmud that Jewish rabbis enjoyed very close relations with the pagan Roman government. It is claimed that rabbi Akivah married a former Roman Emperess and he and other leaders often journeyed to Rome to seek favors from the government. rabbi Akivah was later martyred by these same Romans not because they opposed him per se but because of his role in fomenting the deadly bar Kochba revolt against Rome by proclaiming BK a false messiah.

          So in my view while Jewish elites were close to the pagan Romans, their ostracism of the early Christians led to their matyrdom. And later anti Jewish violence I would view as simply karmic t retribution, or in the words of Jesus: In the measure you measure out so will it be measured back to you.

          _________________________________________________________________________

          Can you perhaps tell us something about yourself. Are you an ordained rabbi? A professional historian? You write with the style and authority of an academic.

          Thanks.

        • Shalom,mevashir —

          I’m sorry you find some of what I’ve written obscure. I’m afraid you might consider me something worse than either an ordained rabbi, a professional historian, or an academic of any stripe. My professional training is in the engineering sciences; and that includes certain knowledge-management techniques for the acquisition and application of new information as required to develop solutions to previously unaddressed problems. This has affected my approach to the acquisition and application of historical and Judaic knowledge. For more than four decades I have been pursuing the implications of messianic Judaism as an autodidact, listening to and reading the work of various academics (hence the tone) and rabbis. Early in my experience I found that I wished to know the depths of what the rabbis have been taught. Some years later, at least one traditional rabbi of my acquaintance offered a comment to another rabbi, which was later relayed to me, that indicated I was succeeding. I have served informally as a hazan/shatz in shuls of messianic and traditional Judaisms. I have attended classes given by rabbis and teachers in various streams of Judaism. I have taught some classes informally as well.

          Let me begin to address protests in one of your recent posts by asserting that the term “Jewish Christian” is almost an oxymoron if we constrain it to the first and second century CE, because the term “Christian” developed in Grecophone territory and cultural framework. The early Jewish disciples had other terms of self-identification based in Jewish terminology and cultural references. The three sole references to the term Christian in the apostolic writings, taken together, indicate that it was a term of persecution and slur. Only later did non-Jewish disciples embrace it as a label for themselves. Given the cultural and political context, they may have had little choice in the matter.

          The “flying stones” to which I referred were not constrained to any single pair of polemical antagonists. In the first century there were no “Christian” versus “Jew” arguments, but only arguments between segments of Jewish society such as Sadducees, Zealots, Essenes, Shammaiyist Pharisees, Hillelist Pharisees, Hellenists, Romanists (we might call them collaborators with the occupation), and Rav-Yeshua messianists whose views might overlap with almost any of these viewpoints, and possibly more than one of them, despite a natural affinity for Pharisaic viewpoints. Certainly the preaching of the early Rav-Yeshua disciples contained elements of complaint against Jewish failings (including Pharisaic ones) that were in some degree responsible for the death of their rabbi as well as a host of other societal ills. Complaints against the messianists included charges of heresy and disturbing the peace (i.e., threatening to bring the might of Rome down upon the already beleaguered Jewish community). However, polemics between Pharisees and Sadducees, charges of separatism against Essenes, charges of political recklessness against Zealots, charges of political and religious corruption against both Pharisees and Sadducees from several sides, and all manner of other arguments between these perspectives were common features of the era, forming the social background for the later analysis regarding sinat ‘hinam. Rav Yeshua’s comments about being hated, and the rabbinic comments about hatred from the “‘amei ha-aretz”, were not describing the only hatreds present in the era. I’m not talking about “organized violence”; and even “disorganized violence” tended to be quashed by the Romans who were strongly insistent upon public order.

          You might find some good background information in Mark Nanos’ treatments of Romans and Galatians, particularly with respect to the effects of Roman law on non-Jews who wished not to behave any longer as pagans but who were not Jewish and whom Rav Shaul needed to discourage from seeking conversion to Judaism as a solution for the political pressures they faced in resisting Roman enforcement of common pagan public practices. While non-Jewish Rav-Yeshua disciples had been released, by the Acts 15 Jerusalem Council’s halakhic ruling, from responsibility to convert to Judaism and take on the full Jewish yoke of Torah, we see in the Didachae that their praxis was still encouraged to resemble Jewish behavior, in keeping with the Acts 15:21 recommendation that they should learn Torah in synagogues each Shabbat.

          Your yeshiva days likely exposed you to the modern results of centuries of polemical exchanges between Jews and Christians about idolaters and traitors; but that Jewish view is not any more accurate than numerous traditional Christian accusations against Jews. Among these is the general view that “Jews got what they deserved” (note the overly broad-brush condemnation). One cannot justify such views from efforts made by Jews, including Rabbi Akiva, to interact with the Roman civil powers that held such control over Jewish survival. One wishes to appear as friendly as possible in such circumstances, because the alternative can be deadly. Losing a diplomatic battle over hard-won societal privileges, such as the exemptions for Jews from common public paganism requirements, as a specially-recognized protected people, could be destructive to the entire Jewish people or force them to flee en masse from the territories controlled by the Roman Empire (which included most of the known world at that time). The stakes were awfully high to consider allowing anyone to tamper with the status quo that protected the Jewish people. At the same time, there was endemic resentment within Roman culture against Jews because they had historically represented such dissidence from the cultural standards that either the Romans or the Greeks before them tried to enforce universally upon the peoples of their empires. Thus the Roman Empire was not about to create yet another special exemption for another minority demographic, lest it set a precedent for many other peoples to diverge from the societal controls exercised from Rome. Hence the persecution against this new anti-idolatry religious group that nominally affiliated itself with “the damnable” Jews. It is such cultural dynamics as these within the Roman Empire that I blame for the enforcement of separation between Jewish and non-Jewish disciples as well as from the Jewish community in general. Various persecutions exacerbated these dynamics; and when the Roman Emperor Constantine adopted what was being called Christianity, it is not entirely surprising that conclaves such as the Nicene Council expressed such antipathy toward Jews — ignoring the fact that Rav Shaul had expressed centuries before in his letter to the Roman assemblies (Rom.3:1-2; Rom.9:4-5) that Jews are HaShem’s guardians of the spiritual heritage He entrusted to them, and that non-Jews are thus beholden to Jews and must obtain their understanding of these resources from Jews.

          I hope this addresses your issues adequately.

        • PL: Thanks for such an eloquent reply. You certainly sound erudite and write with grace and power.

          I would query three things you write above:

          (1) “The three sole references to the term Christian in the apostolic writings, taken together, indicate that it was a term of persecution and slur. Only later did non-Jewish disciples embrace it as a label for themselves. Given the cultural and political context, they may have had little choice in the matter.” Do you mean that the reference in the NT to being called Christians in Antioch is derogatory? Why do you believe that? Doesn’t Christian mean “Follower of Christ”? What is derogatory about that?

          (2) “One cannot justify such views from efforts made by Jews, including Rabbi Akiva, to interact with the Roman civil powers that held such control over Jewish survival. One wishes to appear as friendly as possible in such circumstances, because the alternative can be deadly. Losing a diplomatic battle over hard-won societal privileges, such as the exemptions for Jews from common public paganism requirements, as a specially-recognized protected people, could be destructive to the entire Jewish people or force them to flee en masse from the territories controlled by the Roman Empire (which included most of the known world at that time). The stakes were awfully high to consider allowing anyone to tamper with the status quo that protected the Jewish people.” I take your point here. But can you at least note the huge difference between Akivah and Paul? The former was content to seek favors from Rome while apparently saying nothing to correct their idolatrous practices, while the latter (Paul) risked life and limb to wean Roman pagans from idolatry into faith in Yeshua. Would you say Paul was reckless in this approach? Did he lack sensitivity to the needs of the Jewish communities scattered throughout the Empire? And most importantly, whose actions should a Jewish believer emulate? That of Akivah seeking to ingratiate himself to pagan power for his own self interest, or that of Paul willing to risk his very life to correct pagan idolatry out of a great sense of love and compassion for such people? Finally, if Akivah was so careful about preserving the safety of Jews within the Empire, why did he undertake the reckless path of anointing bar kochba a false Messiah and demanding that his students join the army to rebel against Rome, which precipitated an enormous holocaust against the remnants of Palestinian Jewry? Why do Jews today even respect Akivah, after he commited such a cardinal sin and error of anointing a false messiah? Why is his judgment not suspect? Jews do not respect bar kochba or shabbetai tzvi, so why do they respect rabbinic enablers of these pretenders like Akivah>

          (3) “It is such cultural dynamics as these within the Roman Empire that I blame for the enforcement of separation between Jewish and non-Jewish disciples as well as from the Jewish community in general. Various persecutions exacerbated these dynamics; and when the Roman Emperor Constantine adopted what was being called Christianity, it is not entirely surprising that conclaves such as the Nicene Council expressed such antipathy toward Jews — ignoring the fact that Rav Shaul had expressed centuries before in his letter to the Roman assemblies (Rom.3:1-2; Rom.9:4-5) that Jews are HaShem’s guardians of the spiritual heritage He entrusted to them, and that non-Jews are thus beholden to Jews and must obtain their understanding of these resources from Jews.”

          I thought you don’t want to play blame games? If you claim to revere rabbinical teachings, you might wish to examine the teachings of Hassidic luminaries like the Ball Shem Tov and Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, both of whom taught that when affliction strikes Jews they need to examine their own hearts and souls, making a Cheshbon Hanefesh, to see why God’s protection and favor were withdrawn.

          Your analysis seems comprehensive and very insightful, but it is easier for me to take the simpler approach that in rejecting Yeshua the Jewish establishment had to suffer some kind of terrible Divine repercussions. Yeshua himself alluded to this expected outcome many times in the Gospels.

          Finally, how could Roman Christians be expected to approach rabbinical authorities in order to “obtain their understanding of these resources from Jews” if those same Jews had anathematized their religion and even their buildings as rank idolatry and Jewish heresy?

          Perhaps the errors were on both sides and today we can hope for healing and a common meeting of the minds. I believe each community must speak correction and repentance to its own members, and thus as a Jew I feel compelled to point out the historic errors we have committed, and if you are a Gentile then perhaps your passion is bringing correction to the Church.

          It is a privilege to correspond with you.

          PS See this for a shocking account of how Orthodox Jews blame the followers of Yeshua for the failure of the bar kochba revolt! The author is a respected rabbi in the OU, not a member of the lunatic fringe! ***http://www.ou.org/chagim/sefira/mystery.htm

        • PL: This paragraph should better be worded:

          “Finally, if Akivah’s motive in appeasing and ingratiating himself to the pagan Roman government truly was the safety of Jews within the Empire, why did he undertake the reckless path of anointing bar kochba a false Messiah and demanding that his students join the army to rebel against Rome, which precipitated an enormous holocaust against the remnants of Palestinian Jewry? ….

      • Mevashir I would like to talk about these things by email. You may double click my name in blue and it goes to my business webpage. On that page is a link that points to my personal email.

        And thank you for the link to Rabbi Feldman.

        I think I may primarily observe this conversation unless I just cannot help myself sometimes. While I a not locked out I am not feeling especially welcomed. I have taken the pattern of the risen Yeshua in Revelations letter to Laodicea where He says “… if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in …” and applied it to my counseling for years. Yeshua honors our free will so much that He does not intrude. Who am I to insinuate myself into conversations about topics uninvited. Now I am not extending this to imply what i have to contribute might be anyway like the value of inviting Yeshua into a conversation or that this group has not done so. It is just that i do not feel actually invited. I feel sort of politely tolerated except by Merashir.

        But I will make this observation, not a a parting shot, for I am willing to discuss and respond to any who might want to respond:

        I view what is happening in our generation as an amazing reconstitution of many of the factors and dynamics found in the history of the Book of Acts and of Rev Shaul’s prophetic words in some of his letters. There seemed then as now to be apostles and teachers primarily devoted to the Jewish community that were insular and only mildly devoted to Gentile believers.. Peter and James seemed among them. Rev Shaul seems to have had frustrations with their religious expressions. Some accommodations were made to give some of the practices of Torah to the Gentiles to practice, like not eating blood. Beyond that Rev Shaul taught about the dangers of being so devoted to the Torah that adherence to it became idolatrous if it was approached as a means of justification rather than relying on the atonement supplied the priestly office after the order of Melchizedek as Yeshua offered His own body up at both priest and sacrifice.

        It seems there was a sincere and worthy effort to try to communicate Yeshua to and with the Pharisees of that time and now again with the inheritors of the Mishna. Rev Shual seems to have prophesied that this time around the efforst will succeed and “All Israel will be saved.” I rejoice at this and at seeing the efforts of everyone involved in their own way in front of me including Proclaim Liberty and Miravir and others working toward that end.

        Paul also advocated against schisms. He seems to have been writing I Corinthians 3 to this conversation suggesting the different things Ruach ha Kadosh filled believers do although apparently divergent may all be being orchestrated by the Head of the Body of Messiah.

        I find this as confirming Scripture and increasing my faith. I value the debate and know we can all learn and grow from the process if done in the right spirit.

        • @Robert — Who are you to insinuate yourself into conversations about topics uninvited? Who do you think you need to be? Internet blogs are a rather wide open forum, and no invitations are offered or needed. The only etiquette is to maintain civil discourse and remain arguably on topic. Brevity or concision is also nice, though I suspect I stretch the envelope in that regard. Some moderators are more insistent than others to limit how far the discussion may stray from the posted topic.

          I think you’re right to note how the dynamics of 19 centuries ago have been reproduced in our own era. Maybe, with HaShem’s help, we can do better than our predecessors.

        • PL: What is your reason for using the questionable euphemism “Hashem”? Are you aware that it is employed in Leviticus 24 as a means of shielding the Divine Name from curse? I think it is no coincidence that Jewish people use this term, rather than pronounce YHWH that appears almost 7000 times in the Tenach, since it might subconciously reflect that attitude of curse disparagement and denigration of rabbinical Judaism against Jesus (“Yeshu”) and His followers.

        • @mevashir — The term “HaShem” has long been used by Jews for exactly the purpose of protecting the Tetragramaton from being profaned, made common, or misused. This usage is a means by which its holiness is emphasized and preserved. That is why I align myself with my people in using it as we have done for millennia. It does not denigrate or disparage anyone, and certainly not Rav Yeshua.

        • Hashem has been used as a kinui since the time of Yeshua, and I feel it is the consequence, indirectly and subconsciously, of the attitude of those same Jewish rabbis of enmity hatred and contempt for Yeshua. The openly curse and revile His name in their traditions, and thus they use the euphemistic name for God that is recorded in the passage about the member of the tribe of Dan who curses YHWH. I see use of Hashem as confirmation of the rabbinical attitude toward God’s Divine Son of scorn and derision.

        • http://mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0324.htm

          Leviticus 24:10-16

          י וַיֵּצֵא, בֶּן-אִשָּׁה יִשְׂרְאֵלִית, וְהוּא בֶּן-אִישׁ מִצְרִי, בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיִּנָּצוּ, בַּמַּחֲנֶה, בֶּן הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית, וְאִישׁ הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִי. 10 And the son of an Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the children of Israel; and the son of the Israelitish woman and a man of Israel strove together in the camp.
          יא וַיִּקֹּב בֶּן-הָאִשָּׁה הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית אֶת-הַשֵּׁם, וַיְקַלֵּל, וַיָּבִיאוּ אֹתוֹ, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה; וְשֵׁם אִמּוֹ שְׁלֹמִית בַּת-דִּבְרִי, לְמַטֵּה-דָן. 11 And the son of the Israelitish woman blasphemed the Name, and cursed; and they brought him unto Moses. And his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.
          יב וַיַּנִּיחֻהוּ, בַּמִּשְׁמָר, לִפְרֹשׁ לָהֶם, עַל-פִּי יְהוָה. {פ} 12 And they put him in ward, that it might be declared unto them at the mouth of the LORD. {P}
          יג וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר. 13 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying:
          יד הוֹצֵא אֶת-הַמְקַלֵּל, אֶל-מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה, וְסָמְכוּ כָל-הַשֹּׁמְעִים אֶת-יְדֵיהֶם, עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ; וְרָגְמוּ אֹתוֹ, כָּל-הָעֵדָה. 14 ‘Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
          טו וְאֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, תְּדַבֵּר לֵאמֹר: אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי-יְקַלֵּל אֱלֹהָיו, וְנָשָׂא חֶטְאוֹ. 15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying: Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.
          טז וְנֹקֵב שֵׁם-יְהוָה מוֹת יוּמָת, רָגוֹם יִרְגְּמוּ-בוֹ כָּל-הָעֵדָה: כַּגֵּר, כָּאֶזְרָח–בְּנָקְבוֹ-שֵׁם, יוּמָת. 16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him; as well the stranger, as the home-born, when he blasphemeth the Name, shall be put to death.

        • Note particularly verses 11,16 about blaspheming “the Name” (Hashem). I think people who employ this name are revealing a subconscious attitude of hatred and enmity to Jesus, God’s Divine Son.

        • Robert,

          I already went to your link and emailed you from mevashir AT aol DOT com.

          Maybe it went into your spam?

        • Robert: I think you write with grace and kindness and are a very great blessing to this forum!

          What kind of counseling do you do?

  15. Proclaim Liberty and Mevashir you each in your own fashion have let me know in your eyes there is a place at this table of fellowship for me to learn and participate. Thank you. It seems we are free to not like each others ideas but there is a mutuality of respect and honor.

    • Messianic Jews are in great need of fellowship with non Jewish believers.

      You know what happens biologically and sociologically to communities that become inbred. They become riddled with mutations and other mental and physical aberrations.

      Robert can only bless this forum. And don’t be too timid either. Jews tend to speak and hear best when the volume is set to chutzpah.

  16. Mevishir if you go to my Webpage by double clicking my name in blue it takes you to my bio and an explanation of my counseling. I call my practice Balanced Perspectives based on the scripture to moderate in all things except in zeal for God. So I use social science strategies and techniques that have been demonstrated by research to work and will include Christian spirituality for all who invite and welcome it. I endeavor to help adults, teens and couples succeed in their lives. I am a licensed mental health counselor in Washington State.

    • Very interesting.

      “I call my practice Balanced Perspectives based on the scripture to moderate in all things except in zeal for God.”

      This has always been a tough one for me. Balance. I find myself constantly called to zealous action for God that jeopardizes my relationships.

  17. In a 20 year longitudinal study observing 40 married couples who came to a special house with video cameras once a year for a week at a time it was discovered that one type of dynamic that predicts divorce is what is called “negative interpretations.” The is where one person takes the words or actions of another to be worse than they mean them to be.It is certainly important to speak on the question of whether or not the partner meant in in the offensive way or not. But it is mind reading and false accusation to insist that it was meant that way even though it only could be taken that way, or not. The antidote is for the questioned one to respond truthfully to admit it or deny it. If it is admitted then a discussion may ensue to rectify the problem with repentance and forgiveness. If it is denied it is recommended the offended one give the accused or questioned one the benefit of the doubt and be a defense attorney in attitude to look how the one justifying themselves might actually be innocent instead of a prosecutor insisting on guilt when there may be none. I am not only pointing to the exchange about the use of ha Shem; but about other discussions I have seen develop since I have been watching the debates.

      • There are strong urges within me to do so but I have not. I am currently writing out how I came to believe in Yeshua to my brother an sister. I had been an ahtiest/agnostic as they are. But The God of Israel intervened to reveal Himself to me. I had written three letters to my father before he died. The last one he read the day he died on an operating table. He may have received God’s grace.

        I am also working on my PhD dissertation at the International University of Graduate Studies on the topic of “eupheme” which is Rev Shaul’s word some translate as “good report” in Philippians 4:8. It seems to mean in the koine Greek usage “what is good about a miserable situation.” So I think the suggestions to meditate on what is lovely and noble might be what is good about an otherwise ignoble person and what is beautiful about a stinky garbage dump. Rev Shaul said in vs 9 “do what you see me do and the peace of God will be with you.” Well he instead of looking for what was bad about dying or being in prison parcticed eupheme by asking “I cannot figure out which is better.” and when he was being supplanted by self interested ambitious believers said he was not going to focus on that but only on that Yeshua was being taught by them despite their motives.

        So I am proposing to run an experiment where I take one group an teach them eupheme and one group I do something else and see how te groups fair on a pre and post Wellness measure. If I get statistically significant results I may write a book about it to help others benefit from this concept.

        But I have so many duties and there is something in me thwarting me from getting to it . I need prayers to remove te obstacles within me and from outside of me to get to it. I think I am suppose to write and have been neglecting my gift because of the hindrances I speak of.

        your very question is an encouragement. you seem to have a gift of encouraging. Thank you.

        • @Robert: “I am also working on my PhD dissertation at the International University of Graduate Studies on the topic of “eupheme” which is Rev Shaul’s word some translate as “good report” in Philippians 4:8. It seems to mean in the koine Greek usage “what is good about a miserable situation.” ”

          This is most fascinating to me! I assume Eupheme is the root for our word euphemism, about which I have had some exchanges with Gev regarding the common Jewish usage of Hashem as a substitute for YHWH.

          I would love to read your testimony if and when you write it. Interestingly I also have been having some exchanges with my father, from whom I have been alienated for over 30 years, so I can relate to your hope that your letter touched your dad before he died.

          About your experiment, are you trying to use Eupheme as a kind of spiritual or psychological placebo, so to speak? It sounds like a very worthy experiment indeed.

          I can totally relate to this concept. As a 9-11 Truther, I am overwhelmed by sadness at the extent the truth of this matter has been censored from American society. I have sought all sorts of euphemes to try to see things from God’s perspective. So far the only good I have derived from it is the encouragement to totally turn my back on news and politics and to devote myself totally to spiritual ends, knowing that God is ultimately in charge. 9-11 has taught me that political action is futile, and helped diminish my addiction to news and media, which have proven themselves to be utterly unreliable and slick managers of disinformation lies and state propaganda.

  18. i know I am off subject – but is anyone aware of anything in the Mishna or are there any Rabbinic stories that might have been influencing Rev Shaul in his use of eupheme as I have just described it? I would love to use such in my proposal.

    • Generally the approach of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (whom his followers view as the true heir of the Baal Shem Tov) stressed finding the silver lining and hoping for the best. He had many phrases of encouragement, such as:

      (1) There is a situation in which all is transformed for the best.

      (2) The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the essential thing is not to let yourself become afraid.

      (3) It is a great mitzvah to be joyous all the time.

      (4) The role of a Jewish rabbi is to provide 1 part correction and 99 parts encouragement.

      This is a good site with some of his ideas:

      ***http://www.azamra.org/essential.shtml
      _____________________________________________________

      The approach of Merlin Carothers, a former US Air Force chaplain, also emphasizes always seeing the good in any situation, even when things appear hopeless. See these amazing resources: ***http://www.amazon.com/Merlin-R.-Carothers/e/B001KMUGK6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1385485779&sr=8-1-spell

      In his book Prison to Praise he records an incident that happened when he was a chaplain. A pilot came to his office to tell him that his wife decided she wanted a divorce following news of the pilot’s transfer to an overseas base. In his book Prison to Praise, Carothers told the young man that the best thing they can do is to get down on their knees and praise God for this news!!! To the shocked pilot Carothers explained that this is exactly the approach of Paul in praising God in all situations and all things. So they got down on their knees together and prayed. The next day the wife came to speak to Carothers and a very amazing outcome transpired in which she not only decided to stay married but she discovered her long lost brother from whom she had been separated at a very young age via adoption.

      The story is truly incredible!

      • Block me if you choose. You have fulfilled your purpose in my life by introducing me to Robert, a man who appears to possess the true spirit of Christ of genuine love, joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self control.

        You have also given me the privilege of corresponding with Proclaim Liberty and to expose some of his dangerous errors of admiring Christ-haters like rabbi Akivah.

        Shalom Gev. Tihiyeh Gever ve’al titfached miEmeth

    • Helping a fellow believer who asks for assistance, as Robert has done, is called Kiddush Hashem. Denying him or blocking him is Chillul Hashem

    • Thank you for the reminder, Gev. I did try to invoke the “on topic” principle in a prior post (or even three); and I was wondering when your patience might wear a bit thin as this discussion wore on. I was even thinking about asking whether you might be interested in starting another topic for this deviant thread, or if there exists already an older topic where adding these posts might be more fitting (given a return to civility). There are a few additional answers I could return to mevashir, but I hesitate to prolong this seemingly ongoing off-topic thread in situ.

      • Indeed, he has a habit of hijacking every thread he comments on. I allowed him as much slack as I have previous trolls, but my limit is reached now.

  19. Gev

    It is not clear why you were so irritated with my exchange with Mevashir when we went “off topic”?

    I see the appropriateness of the correction to some extent – but am bewildered by the intensity of your correction. It seems maybe you were growing in irritation and had held it in and then when it came out it was not only the irritation of the moment but of several other things you had held back?

    I certainly will endeavor to stay in bounds. Do you have a policy statement somewhere so I may study what in bounds means to you as a gatekeepers for everyone’s welfare here?

    With respect

    Rob

    • Robert, Mevashir is a prolific troll who shoehorns the conspiracy theories he subscribes to into as many threads as he can get away with, the most obvious ones are just deleted. He has sought to use this blog to promote those ideas, including the latest odious suggested about the Holocaust. His links to far right racist sites is also unacceptable, so they get deleted too. He has to ask why such far right racists like to use his material so much.

      Our blog rules are found here: http://roshpinaproject.com/comments/

  20. @mevashir — I can’t speak for Gev, but I suspect that “plugging [your] former Chasidic group Breslov” is probably a bit off-topic for most of Gev’s topics (certainly for this one, though I must plead guilty for starting the deviant trend here); and providing sufficient information about them to explain some point you wish to make likely tends to produce long posts; though I found your posts here on the subject interesting, particularly as they supported Zionism and Israel rather than criticizing them. Personally I favor Rav Kook’s view of them as representing elements of “the beginning of redemption” as the second exile is coming to closure, and as preparatory steps toward the arrival of Moshia’h ben-David. You also referred in one post to your support for “911-truthers”, which, if I understand correctly, also accuses Israelis along with the US government of secret involvement in that atrocity. If so, since this is patently false, then your protestations about Gev being afraid of the truth are rather suspect (both in English and in Hebrew), because your own grasp of truth and the means to determine it is clearly defective. I’m also unsure whether a number of your statements in various posts support my inference of a streak of general anti-Jewish antagonism in your own outlook (rather than specific positive criticisms for which alternative policies or solutions may be recommended). Robert may do well to keep that in mind in any further conversations.

  21. Well back to the topic. I understand Barry Barnett must leave by Dec 3rd. he had a rough time in the 3 days in jail. If he is deported he may not return for 10 years which would be very disappointing for him personally it seems – I read somewhere else in his own writings that he had had hopes of Aliyah eventually. Also i saw in another webpage somewhere there is specific written Israeli government policy defining what good tourist behavior might be. If I had these at my finger tips I would refer you to where i saw them. I suspect it was on the JFJ site as I was surfing the net for info on this topic late last night (I am at 7:30 am in the State of Washington USA. right now.

  22. Pingback: Sign Spoken Against #2: Anti-Yeshua « Streams in the Negev

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