Jews for Jesus–“You Can’t Say I’m Not a Jew”

I’ve been reading a book about Messianic Judaism in order to write an article for MJL, and jeesh is it strange. I won’t get into all the oddities of it quite yet (that’s what the article’s for) but if you’re looking for a fascinating read, I recommend Messianic Judaism: A Rabbi’s Journey Through Religious Change in America. Just this morning I was reading about Moishe Rosen, the guy who founded Jews for Jesus (a group that’s just one branch of Messianic Judaism), and today I stumbled across his obituary from this past Friday.

He was a controversial guy, and I certainly have no lost love for him, but I think he brought up some fascinating points about the Jewish world and halakhah. Here’s a quote from the end of his obit: “You can take from me everything but my Jewishness and my belief in God,” he once said. “You can say I’m a nuisance, a Christian, out of step with the Jewish community, but you can’t say I’m not a Jew.”

It seems so strange to me to cling so fervently to one’s Jewish identity while maintaining a belief in Jesus. Then again, I also don’t understand the people who think leggings count as pants, so I guess my capacity for understanding is relatively limited.

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