Thursday, November 1, 2018

Christians: Time to Come Out of the Closet for Messianics

Photo: Christians from 100 nations marching in 2017 Sukkot parade in Jerusalem. 
Imagine if they all came out of the closet also in support of Messianic Jews. 

I can't help but notice how the Messianic Jews are coming into view in the wake of the horrible anti-Semitic attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue occurred last Shabbat. 

Israel must be a safe haven for all Jews, yet the denial of the "Jewishness" of Messianic Jews remains an obstacle in every way. The closest one can get to having their conscience pricked over that false assertion that Messianic Jews are no longer Jews, comes when there is wide acknowledgement that anti-Semitic murderers do not make the same distinctions as do many Jews. There is no denial: Messianics are still Jews. 

The day after the murder of those 11 elderly Jews, Dr. Michael Oren, Israel's former Ambassador to the US, now a Knesset member and the Deputy Minister for Diplomacy tweeted this comment: 

"The Conservative Jews of Pittsburgh were sufficiently Jewish to be killed because they were Jews but their movement is not recognized by the Jewish State. Israel must bolster these communities, already challenged by assimilation, by strengthening our ties with them." 

Oren's comments were politically pointed to the strong legal controls of the Orthodox in Israel over other sects of Judaism which are widely accepted, much less the Messianic movement which they utterly oppose. I could not pass up the wide opening to reply to Oren's tweet: 

"Yes and amen to that. Israel should also recognize the same with Messianic Jews. Our Dallas Shabbat service was shot up by an anti-semite in the late nineties. Many shots fired into the packed service & miraculously no one hit. Messianics are sufficiently Jewish to be killed too." 

Normally I keep my Twitter feed non-religious because I use it to follow the news. I do not want to be blocked by Jewish news reporters that I follow, as I have been in the past by some Jewish counter terrorism experts. Despite this, I could not comment with such a wide opening left. 

Later I saw another wide door open when Bethany Mandel of Jewish publication, The Forward tweeted, 

"When I was being harassed and sent death threats, the ADL wasn't interested until liberal journalists got them too. They never had any advice or assistance with security concerns. Experts at the Federation gave me their cell phone numbers and told to call them day or night." 

I replied in a tweet: "When our Messianic synagogue was attacked in the late 1990's by an anti-semite shooting rounds into a packed Shabbat service, all Dallas ADL did was go on a media campaign about how 'they're not really Jews'. As they repeated after subsequent hate vandalism attacks" 

Now I see that a controversy has broken out over Republican Jewish candidate defends inviting Messianic rabbi to honor Pittsburgh victims. 

"Lena Epstein, a Jewish Republican nominee for Congress in Michigan, defended inviting a Messianic rabbi to honor the victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre at a campaign event that featured Vice President Mike Pence. 

“I invited the prayer because we must unite as a nation — while embracing our religious differences — in the aftermath of Pennsylvania,” Epstein said in a statement she posted Monday on Twitter after news of the event prompted Jewish outrage on the social networking service. 

“Any media or political competitor who is attacking me or the vice president is guilty of nothing short of religious intolerance and should be ashamed,” she said." 

Does it not seem like the timing to lean in to this prayer point and challenge to the greater Jewish community be made now? 

UPDATE: In the days since I wrote the above comment, there has been an explosion of American Jewish opinion articles carpet bombing public opinion about Messianic Jews, or as Jews prefer to call all Jew who follow Israel’s Messiah, “Jews for Jesus”. That is their way of emphasizing that these Jews are not following a Jewish Messiah, but a “Christian god”. 

This controversy has put Messianic Jews front and center in Israel and in the US media. I believe it is time that Christians came out of the closet with our Jewish friends, that we really do care about our Jewish brothers and sisters in the faith and we’re not going to turn a blind eye anymore to mistreatment of them - not verbal and not in any form of persecution. 

Jews in Israel recognize they have no greater allies in the world than Christians. It is high time we stood up for Messianic Jews as we do for all Jews and for Israel. Here are just some of the articles that are being published against Messianic Jews by traditional or secular Jews.

DO NOT REMAIN SILENT at the expense of Jewish followers of Yeshua.

Mike Pence's Messianic problem | Jewish News Service

Rabbi Who Appeared with Pence Thinks Jews Hell-bound | Newsweek

Pence should apologize (but it’s not his fault) | My Christian friends mean well when they invite me to their messianic congregation — they simply don’t get it | Opinion Blog Times of Israel

Fake Jews | TPM (blog)