Jews for Jesus

Jews for Jesus is a Christian [
*"During my time with the mission, I found Jews for Jesus to be a Christian ministry (or Messianic, if you prefer) with a passion for the good news about Jesus..." Pastor Lev Leigh. Hope Baptist Church. Richmond, CA ( [http://www.forjewsforjesus.org/alumni/lj_leigh.html Letters From JFJ Alumni] )
*"... Jews for Jesus and other Christian groups who hold to the uniqueness of Christ." ( [http://jfjonline.org/pub/other/press_releases/020819_catholic.htm Jews for Jesus Leader Contradicts American Catholic Bishops.] Jews for Jesus, Press Release. August 19, 2002)
*"Clothed in colorful shirts with large writing identifying their Christian group, Jews for Jesus has been keeping up with the 24-hour-running city, handing out tens of thousands of literature and promoting their evangelistic campaign – Behold Your God – through media outlets." ("Christian Post". [http://ny.christianpost.com/article/ministries/194/section/jews.for.jesus.keeps.up.with.the.city.that.never.sleeps/1.htm] )
] evangelistic organization that focuses specifically on the conversion of Jews to Christianity, viewing its followers — either Jewish as defined by Jewish law, or Jews according to Jews for Jesus — as "living out their Jewishness." [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/judaica Jews for Jesus - Judaica] ] Jews for Jesus defines "Jewish" in terms of parentage and as a birthright, regardless of religious belief. ["We believe that Jewishness is a birthright. It is inherited from our parents. Our people are not of one culture; we have diverse cultural expressions (Ashkenazi/Sephardi, Georgian/Russian, Ethiopian, Persian, etc.). Our people are not of one religion. While Judaism might be the traditional religion for many Jewish people, Jews are still considered Jewish even though they might be atheists or even if they embrace other beliefs.Those who say that Jews who believe in Jesus are errant Jews or misguided Jews are entitled to their opinions. But they are not entitled to negate our Jewishness. We are Jews by birth and that cannot change." [http://www.forjewsforjesus.org/qanda/index.html#jew_christian Jews for Jesus Q&A: Can you explain how one can be a Jew and a Christian at the same time? That seems like a contradiction in terms] ] The identification of "Jews for Jesus" as a Jewish organization is overwhelmingly rejected by Jewish religious denominations ["There is virtual unanimity across all denominations [of Judaism] that Jews for Jesus are not Jewish." (Kaplan, Dana Evan. "The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism", Cambridge University Press, August 15, 2005, pp. 139-140).] "For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews". (Kaplan, Dana Evan. "The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism", Cambridge University Press, August 15, 2005, p. 9).] and secular Jewish groups [
* "To make the record clear, Jews for Jesus is a Christian missionary organization – period." [http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/j4jlibrary/jewsforjesus.html Jews for Jesus: Jewish or Christian? You Decide] , Jews for Judaism website, retrieved September 11, 2006.
* "Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism." (Balmer, Randall. "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism", Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448).
* "I do not seek, of course, covertly (as sometimes Jews for Jesus do) or overtly, to convert myself, or any other Jew to Christianity..." (Boyarin, Daniel. "Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity", University of Pennsylvania Press, July 2004, p. xii).
* "Certain Christian missionary groups have now set up a front organization called "Jews for Jesus," through which they entice naive Jews to Christianity..." (Stolper, Pinchas. "Was Jesus The Messiah? Let's Examine The Facts", in Kaplan, Aryeh. "Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1", Mesorah Publications, August 1991, p. 293).
* "Even as I write, I fear that Christian missionaries or, even more insidiously, Jews for Jesus—people who (unlike the redeeming avante-garde of Christianity) believe that Judaism is superseded, and Jewish have no right to exist as Jews any more—will misuse my words. These people, who believe that Christianity has taken over Judaism like some succubus that must now govern the behavior of its host body, seek to abolish the Jewish religion." (Greenberg, Irving. "For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity", The Jewish Publication Society, October 2004, p. 97).
* "It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with 'Jews for Jesus' or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don't use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian." (Lotker, Michael. "A Christian's Guide to Judaism", Paulist Press, March 2004, p. 35).
* "Evangelical Christians are engaged in aggressive and extensive missionary activity among Jews. Among other results, this has given rise to groups of 'messianic Jews', of which 'Jews for Jesus' is the most outstanding example. These are actually Jews who have adopted the evangelical Protestant faith and its precepts." (Wistrich, Robert, "Terms of Survival", Routledge (UK), March 1995, p. 343).
* "Messianic Judaism is a Christian movement that began in the 1970s combining a mixture of Jewish ritual and Christianity. There are a vast and growing numbers of these groups, and they differ in how much Jewish ritual is mixed with conventional Christian belief. One end of the spectrum is represented by Jews For Jesus, who simply target Jews for conversion to Christianity using imitations of Jewish ritual solely as a ruse for attracting the potential Jewish converts. On the other end are those who don't stress the divinity of Jesus, but present him as the 'Messiah.'" cite web
url=http://www.messiahtruth.com/response.html
title=Messiah Truth. Messianic Judaism: A Christian Missionary Movement
] PDFlink| [http://www.jcrcny.org/pdf/sdpp/MEETINGTHECHALLENG2.pdf Meeting the Challenge: Hebrew Christians and the Jewish Community] |66.8 KiB by Lawrence H. Schiffman] due to the Christian - specifically evangelical - beliefs of its members. The group's evangelical activities are opposed also by some Christian organizations and scholars. [Others who oppose the evangelism related activities of "Jews for Jesus":
* Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). "America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices." Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.
* Balmer, Randall. "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism," Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448
* "Today, many evangelical Christian-Protestant groups are spending between 100,000,000 and 150,000,000 dollars a year to transform Jews into Christians. The best known of these organization is Jews for Jesus...". (Berkley, E. George. "Jews", Branden Books, February 1997, p. 129).
* "Thirdly, there is Jews for Jesus or, more generally, Messianic Judaism. This is a movement of people often of Jewish background who have come to believe Jesus is the expected Jewish messiah... They often have congregations independent of other churches and specifically target Jews for conversion to their form of Christianity." (Harries, Richard. "After the Evil: Christianity and Judaism in the Shadow of the Holocaust", Oxford University Press, August 2003, p. 119.)
* "...Jews for Jesus (Jews converted to 'born again' Christianity who are seeking to make more such converts...". (Marty, Martin E. "When Faiths Collide", Blackwell Publishing, January 2005, p. 35).
*"Jews for Jesus, the leading organization dedicated to converting Jews to Christianity, has long been a concern because of its aggressive proselytizing with a deceptive message: that Jews who accept Jesus as the son of God and their savior remain Jewish." [http://www.adl.org/special_reports/jews4jesus/jews4jesus.asp Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception] , Anti-Defamation League, August 27, 2004, retrieved September 11, 2006.
* "Jews for Jesus is a sect of a very different nature. This group... has a sole motivational goal of converting Jews to Christianity." Fogel, Keith and Marian E. "Conversos of the Americas", Xlibris Corporation, April 2004, p. 169).
* "Jews for Jesus is an evangelical Christian organization ..." [http://exjewsforjesus.org/j4jquestions/#who Who are the Jews for Jesus?] (exjewsforjesus.org)
* "... its doctrine is strictly Christian in the fundamentalist/evangelical understanding of Christian faith" [http://exjewsforjesus.org/j4jquestions/#christian%20or%20jewish Is Jews for Jesus a Christian organization, or is it a Jewish organization?] (exjewsforjesus.org)
] Robinson, B. [http://www.religioustolerance.org/mess_jud3.htm Messianic Judaism. Jews for Jesus] , Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, October 29, 2001.]

Aims and organization

"Jews for Jesus" is based in San Francisco, California. "Jews for Jesus" official mission statement is "to make the Messiahship of Jesus an unavoidable issue to our Jewish people worldwide." They say that belief in Jesus as Messiah is a fulfillment of the prophecies of Hebrew scripture. Through media advertisements, production and distribution of literature, producing music and organizing person-to-person evangelism, the organization asserts that "a specifically Jewish mission" is necessary, saying "Jewish people tend to dismiss evangelistic methods and materials that are couched in Christian lingo, because they reinforce the assumption that Jesus is for 'them' not 'us.'" [ [http://www.jfjonline.org/about/whatwedo.htm What We Do] (Jews for Jesus)]

"Jews for Jesus" promotes awareness of the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith. Their website contains brief descriptions of Jewish festivals,.] and also runs programs explaining the significance of Passover, Sukkot and Hanukkah, explaining supposed messianic elements and how they believe these festivals are related to Jesus.

Beliefs

A summary of "Jews for Jesus"' beliefs: [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/statementoffaith Statement of Faith] (Jews for Jesus) written January 1, 2005]


* The Old and New Testaments, as originally written, are divinely inspired and inerrant.
* Recognition of the value of traditional Jewish literature, but only where it is supported by the Bible.
* God the creator exists as a trinity, is perfect, all wise, all powerful and all loving.
* Jesus is the Messiah, the second person of the Trinity, was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of all humanity, rose again, and is co-equal with God. Jesus will return to earth in the near future.
* People are saved through a belief in Jesus as savior and an acknowledgment of their sins, not by their achievements.
* Heaven is a reward for those who are saved; Hell is a place of "everlasting conscious punishment" for the lost.
* Israel exists as a covenant people through whom God continues to accomplish His purposes and that the Church is comprised of both Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Redeemer.

"Jews for Jesus" take mainstream Christian positions that Jesus is the Messiah, that his coming was prophesied in the Tanach, and that Jesus is the son of God, the second person of the Trinity.

According to an article on Jews for Jesus by B. Robinson of Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance,

Their doctrinal statement is basically indistinguishable from Evangelical and other conservative Christian groups. ... They differ from some Evangelical Christian groups in their belief that Israel continues to exist as a "covenant people." They also integrate some Jewish customs and use Hebrew and Yiddish in some literature.

Background

One of the most important Jewish principles of faith is the belief in one God and one God only with no partnership of any kind (see ), and belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or Christ, is held as incompatible with Judaism.A belief in the divinity of Jesus is incompatible with Judaism:
* "The point is this: that the whole Christology of the Church - the whole complex of doctrines about the Son of God who died on the Cross to save humanity from sin and death - is incompatible with Judaism, and indeed in discontinuity with the Hebraism that preceded it." Rayner, John D. "A Jewish Understanding of the World", Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 187. ISBN 1-57181-974-6
* "It has always been recognized, for instance, after the rise of Christianity and Islam, that these two religions are incompatible with Judaism and that no Jew can consistently embrace them while remaining an adherent of Judaism." Neusner, Jacob & Avery-Peck, Alan Jeffery. "The Blackwell Reader in Judaism", Blackwell Publishing, 2001, p. 8. ISBN 0-631-20738-4
* "Aside from its belief in Jesus as the Messiah, Christianity has altered many of the most fundamental concepts of Judaism." Kaplan, Aryeh. "The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Illuminating Expositions on Jewish Thought and Practice", Mesorah Publication, 1991, p. 264. ISBN 0-89906-866-9
* "...the doctrine of Christ was and will remain alien to Jewish religious thought." Wylen, Stephen M. "Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism", Paulist Press, 2000, p. 75. ISBN 0-8091-3960-X
* "For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism. To call oneself, therefore, a 'Hebrew-Christian,' a 'Jew for Jesus,' or in the latest version a 'messianic Jew,' is an oxymoron. Just as one cannot be a 'Christian Buddhist,' or a 'Christian for Krishna,' one cannot be a 'Jew for Jesus.'" Schochet, Rabbi J. Immanuel. [http://www.cjnews.com/pastissues/99/july29-99/feature/feature2.htm "Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots"] , "Canadian Jewish News", July 29, 1999.
* [http://www.nybr.org/missionaries.htm This July, Hebrew-Christian groups such as Jews for Jesus will work to convert Jews to another religion.] The Jewish Response to Missionaries (NY Board of Rabbis)
* [http://foundationstone.com.au/HtmlSupport/WebPage/Missionaries/missionariesAndCults.html Judaism and Jesus Don't Mix] (foundationstone.com)
* [http://whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation09.html Jews believe that "Jews for Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and "Hebrew Christians" are no longer Jews, even if they were once Jews] (whatjewsbelieve.org)
* "If you believe Jesus is the messiah, died for anyone else's sins, is God's chosen son, or any other dogma of Christian belief, you are not Jewish. You are Christian. Period." (" [http://www.beliefnet.com/blogs/virtualtalmud/2006/08/jews-for-jesus-whos-who-whats-what.html Jews for Jesus: Who's Who & What's What] " by Rabbi Susan Grossman (beliefnet - virtualtalmud) August 28, 2006)
* "For two thousand years, Jews rejected the claim that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the dogmatic claims about him made by the church fathers - that he was born of a virgin, the son of God, part of a divine Trinity, and was resurrected after his death. ... For two thousand years, a central wish of Christianity was to be the object of desire by Jews, whose conversion would demonstrate their acceptance that Jesus has fulfilled their own biblical prophecies." ("Jewish Views of Jesus" by Susannah Heschel, in "Jesus In The World's Faiths: Leading Thinkers From Five Faiths Reflect On His Meaning" by Gregory A. Barker, editor. (Orbis Books, 2005) ISBN 1-57075-573-6. p.149)
* "... there are limits to pluralism, beyond which a group is schismatic to the point where it is no longer considered Jewish. For example, everyone considers Messianic Judaism and belief in Buddha as outside of the Jewish sphere." (" [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_messianicjews.htm Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah?] " by Rabbi Shraga Simmons)
* "No Jew accepts Jesus as the Messiah. When someone makes that faith commitment, they become Christian. It is not possible for someone to be both Christian and Jewish." (" [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_c/bl_jesus.htm Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah?] " by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner)]

In his book "A History of the Jews", Paul Johnson describes the caused by a divergence from this principle:

To the question, Was Jesus God or man?, the Christians therefore answered: both. After 70 AD, their answer was unanimous and increasingly emphatic. This made a complete breach with Judaism inevitable. [cite book
author=Johnson, Paul
title=A History of the Jews
year=1987
pages=p.144
publisher=HarperCollins
id=ISBN 0-06-091533-1
]

"Jews for Jesus" believes it is entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/answers/theology/believeinthreegods Don't Christians Believe in Three Gods?] (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005] and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism: "While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures." [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/1987_06/trinity The Trinity in the Old Testament] by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987]

According to a common belief in Judaism, these "indications" are based on mistranslations [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_messiah3.htm Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah?] by Rabbi Shraga Simmons (about.com)] [cite book
author=Michoel Drazin
title=Their Hollow Inheritance. A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries
year=1990
publisher=Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.
id=ISBN 965-229-070-X
url=http://www.drazin.com
] [Troki, Isaac. [http://faithstrengthened.org/FS_TOC.html "Faith Strengthened"] .] and Jesus did not fulfill the qualifications for Jewish Messiah. The vision of God as a trinity is seen by Judaism as a deviation from monotheism and therefore is rejected. [The concept of Trinity is incompatible with Judaism:
* [http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/faq/faq-tr.html Response - Reference Center - FAQ - Proof Texts - Trinity] (Jews for Judaism)
* [http://www.outreachjudaism.org/trinity.html The Trinity in the Shema?] by Rabbi Singer (outreachjudaism.org)
* [http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/trinity.htm The Doctrine of the Trinity] (religionfacts.com)
]

"America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices" contains " [a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense." [cite book
author=Benjamin Hubbard
coauthors=John Hatfield, James Santucci
title=America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices
year=1997
pages=p.100
publisher=Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited
id=ISBN 1-56308-469-4
]

Core values

"Jews for Jesus" describes its core values in the following way:They commit to:
* Direct Jewish evangelism as their priority
* An apostolic lifestyle of availability, vulnerability and mobility
* Striving for excellence in all that they do
* Deploying only front-line missionaries who are Jewish or married to Jews
* Principle-based operations and practice
* Accountability to their mission family and the body of Messiah
* Integrity and faithfulness
* Creativity in their staff
* Stepping out in courageous faith and taking risks for God. [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/corevalues Core values] (Jews for Jesus) January 1, 2005] Understanding that they:
* are under the authority of God and His word
* desire to honor Messiah Y'shua and
* are dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit

Leadership, funding and outreach

The organization was founded under the name Hineni Ministries in 1973 by Moishe Rosen, an ordained Baptist minister [ [http://www.torahatlanta.com/articles/The%20Real%20Jews%20For%20Jesus.htm The Real Jews for Jesus. The Leaders] by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)] who was born Jewish and converted to Christianity at the age of 17. [http://www.adl.org/special_reports/jews4jesus/methods.asp Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception. Methods] (Anti-Defamation League)] Rosen remained its executive director until May 1996 when he was replaced by David Brickner, who, though having some Jewish ancestry, is not Jewish according to Jewish Law. [http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=15628 A Tenuous Claim as a Jew for Jesus] by David Klinghoffer. ("The Jewish Journal") 2006-03-3]

Jews for Jesus is funded by donations from Christians. [ [http://www.torahatlanta.com/articles/The%20Real%20Jews%20For%20Jesus.htm The Real Jews for Jesus. Christian Dollars at Work] by Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)] It has a full-time staff of 150 employees running branch offices in nine cities across the United States. There are also branch offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada (in Montreal and Toronto), France, Germany (in Essen), Israel, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Ukraine (in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kiev and Odessa). In addition its English-language website, the group has websites in Hungarian, Persian, Italian, Spanish and Korean. [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about About Us] (Jews for Jesus)]

According to the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the group's total income in FY 2005 was $17,523,386. [http://www.ecfa.org/?PageName=MemberProfile2&MemberID=6322 Jews for Jesus. Financial information for FY2003-2005] (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability)]

Methods of evangelizing

The majority of evangelism used by "Jews for Jesus" consists of large mailings and pamphleteering. The organization uses colorful pamphlets and T-shirts to get their message across and is known for targeting populations of Jews which they see as receptive to their message, [Targeting vulnerable population groups:
* "The organization is also known for targeting vulnerable populations of Jews. New Jewish immigrants and college freshman as well as senior citizens and interfaith couples are easy targets for the organization." ( [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Jews_for_Jesus.html Jews for Jesus] by Stephanie Persin. Jewish Virtual Library)
*"Since people are most vulnerable at times of personal change and transition, the missionaries center their efforts on a number of vulnerable Jewish populations, including high school and college students, senior citizens, and recent immigrants." ( [http://www.nybr.org/NYBR_NL_Summer_2006.pdf Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & "Jews for Jesus"] New York Board of Rabbis)
* "Such congregations are designed to appear Jewish, but they are actually fundamentalist Christian churches which use traditional Jewish symbols to lure the most vulnerable of our Jewish people into their ranks."( [http://www.somethingjewish.co.uk/articles/475_messianic_congregati.htm Messianic congregations target Jews] by Rabbi Tovia Singer)
* "Young men and women are particularly vulnerable to evangelicals because so often these adolescents are unsure of themselves, the world around them, and the adulthood that awaits them. ... The elderly are also perilously vulnerable..." ( [http://www.outreachjudaism.org/evangelizingthejews2.html Evangelizing the Jews, Part 2: Who is Most Vulnerable?] by Rabbi Tovia Singer (outreachjudaism.org). Also at [http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/Evangelizing_the_Jews3_Part_2_Who_is_Most_Vulnerable$.asp Aish] )
* "Deceptive proselytizing is practiced on the most vulnerable of populations - residents of hospitals and old aged homes, confused youth, college students away from home. These proselytizing techniques are tantamount to coerced conversions and should be condemned." ( [http://www.scjfaq.org/faq/17-05.html Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups. Frequently Asked Questions and Answers] )
* "Individuals are most vulnerable to these groups and their tactics when they are lonely and hurting, overwhelmed or confused, away from their support system or have lost a loved one or a close friend." ( [http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/mainpages/students-oncampus.html College Programs. Got Friends?] by Scott Hillman, "Jews For Judaism")
* "Their efforts here have drawn criticism from mainstream Jews and some Christians, who accuse Jews for Jesus of leading the vulnerable - the young, the old, recent immigrants..." ( [http://www.rickross.com/reference/jews_for_jesus/jews_for_jesus39.html Jews for Jesus missionaries find warmth, hostility] By Matthew Hay Brown (Baltimore Sun) August 27, 2005
* "Nonetheless, JFJ continues to make this contradictory claim, purposefully focusing on young, naïve, or socially vulnerable populations with their campaigns. College students, recent immigrants (most notably Russian Jews), and the elderly are targets for conversion." ( [http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=ARTICLES&id=1128484731 Jews for Jesus offends Jews and Christians] By Ethan Frenchman and Seth Mayer, "Chicago Maroon". October 4, 2005)
] such as recent immigrants, college students, senior citizens and interfaith couples.

Stephanie Persin writes, "Evangelists in the organization have been trained to recite phrases from the Old Testament and to use Yiddish words so as to convince potential converts that Jews for Jesus maintain Jewish traditions." [ [http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Jews_for_Jesus.html Jews for Jesus] by Stephanie Persin (Jewish Virtual Library)]

On their official website, Jews for Jesus says that they give out 8 million pamphlets a year. [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/whatwedo What We Do] They use college-age volunteers for much of their evangelism. Each July they send a team of 20 to 30 to New York City, which they say has the world's largest and most diverse Jewish population. [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/join/swc SWC New York]

Opposition and criticism

One of the criticisms of "Jews for Jesus" surrounds the tactics they employ in their missionary and outreach programs. Critics say that the organization uses vague and misleading language along with deceptive tactics in its attempt to convert Jews to Christianity. [ [http://www.adl.org/special_reports/jews4jesus/jfj_complete.pdf Jews for Jesus - Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception] ] These tactics include statements that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish prophecy of Messiah and attempts by "Jews for Jesus" to interpret core principles of Judaism in an effort to bring these Jewish principles into accord with Christian doctrines. [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/issues/11_2/judaism Judaism Teaches... or Does It?] by Moishe Rosen (Jews for Jesus) March 1, 1997] To this end, critics say that "Jews for Jesus" uses the ambiguity in the definition of "Jew" and "Jewish" to confuse their prospective converts into believing there is a possibility of one being a follower of both Christianity and Judaism simultaneously. [ [http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/mainpages/missionary_cult_challenge.html Jews for Judaism, The Challenge of Missionaries and Cults] ] However, belief in Jesus as deity, son of God, or Christ, is held as incompatible with Judaism.A belief in the divinity of Jesus is incompatible with Judaism:
*"The point is this: that the whole Christology of the Church - the whole complex of doctrines about the Son of God who died on the Cross to save humanity from sin and death - is incompatible with Judaism, and indeed in discontinuity with the Hebraism that preceded it." Rayner, John D. "A Jewish Understanding of the World", Berghahn Books, 1998, p. 187. ISBN 1-57181-974-6
*"It has always been recognized, for instance, after the rise of Christianity and Islam, that these two religions are incompatible with Judaism and that no Jew can consistently embrace them while remaining an adherent of Judaism." Neusner, Jacob & Avery-Peck, Alan Jeffery. "The Blackwell Reader in Judaism", Blackwell Publishing, 2001, p. 8. ISBN 0-631-20738-4
*"Aside from its belief in Jesus as the Messiah, Christianity has altered many of the most fundamental concepts of Judaism." Kaplan, Aryeh. "The Aryeh Kaplan Anthology: Volume 1, Illuminating Expositions on Jewish Thought and Practice", Mesorah Publication, 1991, p. 264. ISBN 0-89906-866-9
*"...the doctrine of Christ was and will remain alien to Jewish religious thought." Wylen, Stephen M. "Settings of Silver: An Introduction to Judaism", Paulist Press, 2000, p. 75. ISBN 0-8091-3960-X
*"For a Jew, however, any form of shituf is tantamount to idolatry in the fullest sense of the word. There is then no way that a Jew can ever accept Jesus as a deity, mediator or savior (messiah), or even as a prophet, without betraying Judaism. To call oneself, therefore, a 'Hebrew-Christian,' a 'Jew for Jesus,' or in the latest version a 'messianic Jew,' is an oxymoron. Just as one cannot be a 'Christian Buddhist,' or a 'Christian for Krishna,' one cannot be a 'Jew for Jesus.'" Schochet, Rabbi J. Immanuel. [http://www.cjnews.com/pastissues/99/july29-99/feature/feature2.htm "Judaism has no place for those who betray their roots"] , "Canadian Jewish News", July 29, 1999.
* [http://www.nybr.org/missionaries.htm This July, Hebrew-Christian groups such as Jews for Jesus will work to convert Jews to another religion.] The Jewish Response to Missionaries (NY Board of Rabbis)
* [http://foundationstone.com.au/HtmlSupport/WebPage/Missionaries/missionariesAndCults.html Judaism and Jesus Don't Mix] (foundationstone.com)
* [http://whatjewsbelieve.org/explanation09.html Jews believe that "Jews for Jesus," "Messianic Jews," and "Hebrew Christians" are no longer Jews, even if they were once Jews] (whatjewsbelieve.org)
*"If you believe Jesus is the messiah, died for anyone else's sins, is God's chosen son, or any other dogma of Christian belief, you are not Jewish. You are Christian. Period." (" [http://www.beliefnet.com/blogs/virtualtalmud/2006/08/jews-for-jesus-whos-who-whats-what.html Jews for Jesus: Who's Who & What's What] " by Rabbi Susan Grossman (beliefnet - virtualtalmud) August 28, 2006)
*"For two thousand years, Jews rejected the claim that Jesus fulfilled the messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Bible, as well as the dogmatic claims about him made by the church fathers - that he was born of a virgin, the son of God, part of a divine Trinity, and was resurrected after his death. ... For two thousand years, a central wish of Christianity was to be the object of desire by Jews, whose conversion would demonstrate their acceptance that Jesus has fulfilled their own biblical prophecies." ("Jewish Views of Jesus" by Susannah Heschel, in "Jesus In The World's Faiths: Leading Thinkers From Five Faiths Reflect On His Meaning" by Gregory A. Barker, editor. (Orbis Books, 2005) ISBN 1-57075-573-6. p.149)
*"... there are limits to pluralism, beyond which a group is schismatic to the point where it is no longer considered Jewish. For example, everyone considers Messianic Judaism and belief in Buddha as outside of the Jewish sphere." (" [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_messianicjews.htm Why did the majority of the Jewish world reject Jesus as the Messiah, and why did the first Christians accept Jesus as the Messiah?] " by Rabbi Shraga Simmons)
*"No Jew accepts Jesus as the Messiah. When someone makes that faith commitment, they become Christian. It is not possible for someone to be both Christian and Jewish." (" [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_c/bl_jesus.htm Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah?] " by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner)
*In his book "A History of the Jews", Paul Johnson describes the caused by a divergence from this principle:

"To the question, Was Jesus God or man?, the Christians therefore answered: both. After 70 AD, their answer was unanimous and increasingly emphatic. This made a complete breach with Judaism inevitable." (Johnson, Paul (1987). A History of the Jews. HarperCollins, p.144. ISBN 0-06-091533-1.)
]

Although "Jews for Jesus" believes their views of the Messiah are entirely compatible with the view of God presented in Jewish scriptures,and that the doctrine of the Trinity, fundamental to the Christian faith, is not entirely alien to Judaism, [ "While it is true that the Old Testament portion of Scripture does not present as clear a picture of the three-in-one/one-as-three Godhead, there are indications of the plurality of the Godhead in the Hebrew Scriptures." [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/1987_06/trinity The Trinity in the Old Testament] by Catherine Damato. (Jews for Jesus) June 1, 1987] these interpretations by "Jews for Jesus" are rejected by Judaism. [cite book
author=Michoel Drazin
title=Their Hollow Inheritance. A Comprehensive Refutation of Christian Missionaries
year=1990
publisher=Gefen Publishing House, Ltd.
id=ISBN 965-229-070-X
url=http://www.drazin.com
] [Troki, Isaac. [http://faithstrengthened.org/FS_TOC.html "Faith Strengthened"] ."America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices" contains " [a] note about Jews for Jesus, Messianic Jews, Hebrew Christians, and similar groups: Jews in these groups who have converted to Christianity but continue to observe various Jewish practices are no longer considered part of the Jewish community in the usual sense."] [cite book
author=Benjamin Hubbard
coauthors=John Hatfield, James Santucci
title=America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices
year=1997
pages=p.100
publisher=Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited
id=ISBN 1-56308-469-4
] "Jews for Jesus" responds to these allegations by stating that their allusions to "Jewishness" refer to ethnic descriptions and not religious ones. [ [http://www.forjewsforjesus.org/qanda/index.html#jew_christian Jews for Jesus, How can one be a Jew and Christian at the same time.] ]

Jewish opposition

In 1993 the "Task Force on Missionaries and Cults" of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY) issued a statement which has been endorsed by the four major Jewish denominations: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Reconstructionist Judaism, as well as national Jewish organizations. Based on this statement, the "Spiritual Deception Prevention Project" at the JCRCNY stated:

On several occasions leaders of the four major Jewish movements have signed on to joint statements opposing Hebrew-Christian theology and tactics. In part they said: "Though Hebrew Christianity claims to be a form of Judaism, it is not ... It deceptively uses the sacred symbols of Jewish observance ... as a cover to convert Jews to Christianity, a belief system antithetical to Judaism ... Hebrew Christians are in radical conflict with the communal interests and the destiny of the Jewish people. They have crossed an unbridgeable chasm by accepting another religion. Despite this separation, they continue to attempt to convert their former co-religionists."PDFlink| [http://www.jcrcny.org/PDF/7_6/Q_AHC.PDF Frequently Asked Questions About Hebrew-Christian Missionaries & "Jews for Jesus"] Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Spiritual Deception Prevention Project]

The director of a counter-missionary group "Torah Atlanta" Rabbi Efraim Davidson stated that "the "Jews for Jesus" use aggressive proselytizing to target disenfranchised or unaffiliated Jews, Russian immigrants and college students" and that "their techniques are manipulative, deceptive and anti-Semitic." [ [http://torahatlanta.com/IntheNewsArticles/Portland.html Portland Jews Brace for Assault by 'Jews for Jesus'] By Paul Haist (Jewish Review) May 15, 2002]

In his 1997 book "The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century" Alan Dershowitz wrote: "In America, and in other nations that separate church from state, one's Jewishness is a matter of self-definition ..." but notes: "I do not mean to include former Jews who practice Christianity under the deliberately misleading name Jews for Jesus. A Jew for Jesus already has a name: a Christian." [cite book
last = Dershowitz
first = Alan
title = The Vanishing American Jew: In Search of Jewish Identity for the Next Century
pages = p.324
publisher = Little, Brown; 1st ed.
date= 1997
id = ISBN 0-316-18133-1
] However, it should be noted that Dershowitz was not speaking as a rabbinical authority, most of whom hold that a Jew who is an apostate is still a Jew.

In an interview for Beliefnet, Orthodox Rabbi Irving Greenberg, the author of "For the Sake of Heaven and Earth", said::"But I have to recognize that there are people of ill will; there are Christian missionaries who still believe that Christianity is the only valid religion. There are Jews for Jesus who use the trappings of Judaism to bring people into a religion that teaches that Judaism is finished. Jews for Jesus are worse theologically than the mainstream of Catholicism or Protestantism, which now affirm that Judaism is a valid religion. Jews for Jesus say that it is not. They use the Jewish trappings, but de facto, they are teaching the classic Christian supersessionism--that Judaism was at best a foreshadowing of Christianity". [ [http://www.beliefnet.com/story/187/story_18792.html Disagreeing in the Service of God] ]

The author of the book "Why the Jews Rejected Jesus: The Turning Point in Western History" David Klinghoffer expressed his concern in "The Jewish Journal": "When Jews accept Jesus, they marry other Christians or their children do, thus disappearing into the Christian population."

Concerning Christian-Jewish reconciliation and Christian missions to the Jews, Emil Fackenheim wrote:

"... Except in relations with Christians, the Christ of Christianity is not a Jewish issue. There simply can be no dialogue worthy of the name unless Christians accept — nay, treasure — the fact that Jews through the two millennia of Christianity have had an agenda of their own. There can be no Jewish-Christian dialogue worthy of the name unless one Christian activity is abandoned, missions to the Jews. It must be abandoned, moreover, not as a temporary strategy but in principle, as a bimillennial theological mistake. The cost of that mistake in Christian love and Jewish blood one hesitates to contemplate. ... A post-Holocaust Jew can still view Christian attempts to convert Jews as sincere and well intended. But even as such they are no longer acceptable: They have become attempts to do in one way what Hitler did in another." [cite book
title = What is Judaism? An Interpretation for the Present Age
last = Fackenheim
first = Emil
year = 1987
publisher = Summit Books
id = ISBN 0-671-46243-1
pages = p.249
]

Outreach Judaism

"Outreach Judaism", is an international organization that responds directly to the issues raised by missionaries and cults, by exploring Judaism in contradistinction to fundamentalist Christianity.

The organization was founded by Rabbi Tovia Singer. Rabbi Singer's program aims to provide educational resources to individuals targeted by organizations such as Jews for Jesus. As a world renowned public speaker and as one of the top counter-missionaries in the world, Rabbi Singer addresses more than 200 audiences a year. He is the author of the book and accompanying audiotape series entitled Let's Get Biblical.

Jews for Judaism

"Jews for Judaism", established by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz in 1985, is the largest Counter-Missionary organization in existence. [ [http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/web/people/guggenheim.html Ruth Guggenheim] (Jews for Judaism)] The name "Jews for Judaism" is a deliberate parody of "Jews for Jesus", as "Jews for Jesus" is one of the primary missionary organizations that "Jews for Judaism" was founded to counter.

Messianic Judaism opposition

Some Messianic Jews ["I consider Jews For Jesus a Christian organization. Moishe Rosen, founder of Jews For Jesus, is a Christian missionary, schooled in a standard bible college and not trained as a rabbi. The Jews For Jesus organization has worked diligently teaching Jesus to the non-believing Jewish people, but it is Christianity being taught and not Messianic Judaism (in spite of JFJ efforts to make the two terms synonymous). I would like to see evangelism to the Jewish people which includes teaching Torah observance." Ellen Kavanaugh. (lightofmashiach.org). cite web
url = http://www.lightofmashiach.org/notjewsforjesus.html
title = Actually, We Are NOT Jews for Jesus
publisher = lightofmashiach.org
accessdate = 2006-11-04
curly = True
] ["We are NOT "Jews for Jesus"! "Jews for Jesus" is a primarily Baptist missionary group whose sole focus is converting Jews to Christianity. They are not a part of the Messianic movement and have never been in favor of Messianic congregations! We do not approve of their theology, their ideology, or their methods." Rabbi Adam J. Bernay. Beit Tefillah Messianic Fellowship. Fresno, CA. cite web
url = http://www.beit-tefillah.com/about/
title = About Us
publisher = beit-tefillah.com
accessdate = 2006-11-04
curly = True
] who self-identify as Torah observant object to perceived associations with "Jews for Jesus", ["We are not "Jews for Jesus". We strongly agree with their work of bringing non-Messianic Jews to acceptance of Yeshua (Jesus), as the Jewish Messiah. However, we just as strongly disagree with the belief/policy of "Jews for Jesus"; upon acceptance of Messiah Yeshua (Christ Jesus), Jews (and Gentiles), are not to obey and follow the Torah(Law)! This contradicts and violates the Tanakh and Messianic Scriptures that speak of Yeshua (Jesus). We believe the Torah speaks of Yeshua (Jesus) and those that love Him keep His commandments." 5twenty8.com. cite web
url = http://www.5twenty8.com/statement.php
title = Statement of Belief
publisher = 5twenty8.com
accessdate = 2006-11-04
curly = True
] as encouraging the celebration of traditional Christianity, including potentially not keeping kosher, ["If you were hoping this article would provide the answer, you will be disappointed. When the question is "How do we work out our Jewish identity?" the answer can only be: "It's personal! Go work it out with the Lord." Maybe that sounds vague and non-committal, but in this we are committed to vagueness, for these are things we believe the Scripture leaves to each believer's discretion." Mitch Glaser. Jews for Jesus. cite web
url = http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/havurah/mm88_01/choppedliver
title = Lifestyles of the Messianic
publisher = jewsforjesus.org
accessdate = 2006-11-04
curly = True
] observing Sabbath on Sunday (or not at all), or celebrating non-Jewish holidays such as Easter [cite web
url = http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/newsletter/2003_12/paganism
title = About Christmas, Easter, and Paganism
publisher = jewsforjesus.org
accessdate = 2006-11-04
curly = True
] and Christmas. [cite web
url = http://www.jewsforjesus.org/publications/havurah/5_4/christmas
title = Christmas is still a Jewish holiday
publisher = jewsforjesus.org
accessdate = 2006-11-04
curly = True
]

Christian opposition to "Jews for Jesus" and to efforts to evangelize Jews

Some Christian churches see Jewish religious practice as valid in and of itself and thus object to evangelizing Jews. [Christian opposition:
* [http://www.abrock.com/Attempt.html#valid Should Christians Attempt to Evangelize Jews? Israel's Covenant with God Remains Valid] by Allan R. Brockway
* [http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcon3.htm Policies of mainline and liberal Christians towards proselytizing Jews] (religioustolerance.org)
* [http://www.jcrelations.net/en/?item=961 What about Christian Jews or Jewish Christians?] by Fritz Voll (International Council of Christians and Jews)
* [http://www.jcrelations.net/en/?id=1499 Ecumenical Considerations on Jewish-Christian Dialogue] (World Council of Churches)
* [http://torahatlanta.com/articles/Christian%20Scholars%20Group.html The Christian Scholars Group on Christian-Jewish Relations: "Christians should not target Jews for conversion"] . The Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College. September 1, 2002
* "I normally defend my denomination. I'm loyal to it. But I have never targeted Muslims. I have never targeted Jews." [http://www.rickross.com/reference/messianic/messianic6.html Billy Graham Blasts Brethren] by Eric J. Greenberg, "The Jewish Week". January 7, 2000
]

The Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, an umbrella organization that includes Muslims, Jews, and church groups from the Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, has condemned "Jews for Jesus" as promoting activities "harmful to the spirit of interreligious respect and tolerance." The conference is also opposed to religious proselytizing in general, though evangelism is an important tenet of Christian theology due to the Great Commission. The conference also denounces the group's "deceptive proselytizing efforts", stating that when practiced on "vulnerable populations" such as the young or the elderly, these efforts are "tantamount to coerced conversions."Fact|date=November 2007The Rev. Clark Lobenstine, a Presbyterian (PCUSA) minister and executive director of the Conference, has stated that his group condemns "Jews for Jesus" and other messianic Jewish groups by name because they "go beyond the bounds of appropriate and ethically based religious outreach." [ [http://www.rickross.com/reference/jews_for_jesus/jews_for_jesus30.html Conversion Outreach Plan Stirs Outrage. Jews for Jesus Trains 600 for Street Work] By David Cho (Washington Post) August 17, 2004]

The Board of Governors of The Long Island Council of Churches, a group that is opposed to proselytizing of Jews in general, voiced similar sentiments in a statement that "noted with alarm" the "subterfuge and dishonesty" inherent in the "mixing [of] religious symbols in ways which distort their essential meaning", and named "Jews for Jesus" as one of the three groups about whom such behavior was alleged.Fact|date=November 2007

Roman Catholic leaders have also spoken out against singling out Jews for conversion. In August 2002 the U. S. Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs declared that the "evangelizing task no longer includes the wish to absorb the Jewish faith into Christianity and so end the distinctive witness of Jews to God in human history. Thus, while the Catholic Church regards the saving act of Christ as central to the process of human salvation for all, it also believes that Jews already dwell in a saving covenant with God. "... The distinctive Jewish witness must be sustained if Catholics and Jews are truly to be, as Pope John Paul II envisioned, “a blessing to one another.”" [ [http://www.jcrelations.net/en/?item=966 Reflections on Covenant and Mission] Consultation of the National Council of Synagogues and the Bishops Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. August 12, 2002 (International Council of Christians and Jews)]

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Holy See's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, stated in November 2002: "This does not mean that Jews in order to be saved have to become Christians; if they follow their own conscience and believe in God’s promises as they understand them in their religious tradition, they are in line with God’s plan, which for us came to its historical completion in Jesus Christ." [ [http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20051027_rabbi-rosen_en.html "Nostra Aetate", Forty Years After Vatican II. Present & Future Perspectives] Conference of the Holy See Commission for Religious Relations with Jewry, Rome, October 27, 2005 ]

Christian denominations that have issued statements criticizing evangelism of Jews include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA, which said in 1988 that Jews have their own covenant with God. In 1996, Pope John Paul II said Jews shouldn't be targeted for conversion. [ [http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20040810-123436-5028r.htm "Jews for Jesus to hit streets of D.C."] by Julia Duin, "The Washington Times", August 10, 2004]

Others

There are also several other organizations that oppose identification of "Jews for Jesus" as Jewish group. [Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance ( [http://www.religioustolerance.org/mess_jud3.htm] )] [Benjamin Hubbard; John Hatfield, James Santucci (1997). "America's Religions. An Educator's Guide to Beliefs and Practices." Teacher Ideas Press, a Division of Libraries Unlimited, p.100. ISBN 1-56308-469-4.] [Balmer, Randall. "Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism," Baylor University Press, November 2004, p. 448]

Rick Ross, a self-declared "cult expert", has been critical of the organization as well and has included them on his website. [ [http://www.rickross.com/reference/jews_for_jesus/jews_for_jesus8.html Taking Aim: Efforts to convert Jews draw fire from interdenominational group] , "The Arizona Republic", 1982, By Richard Lessner] [ [http://www.rickross.com/links.html#Jews%20For%20Jesus Jews For Jesus] (rickross.com)]

Affiliations and support

"Jews for Jesus" defends its actions against these charges, stating:

"If a person believes the Bible and believes that Jesus is the only way of salvation (John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9,10) and then that person declines to tell a Jewish friend about Christ, it indicates one of two things. Either that person has decided that the Jews are not worthy of the gospel, in which case he would be a racist, an anti-Semite and a hater of people instead of the lover of people that God wants him to be. Or perhaps he has judged the gospel as being unworthy of the Jews in which case he has trivialized the passion of Calvary and the awesome significance of Christ's resurrection." [ [http://www.jfjonline.org/about/targeting.htm Why emphasize witnessing to Jews?] (Jews for Jesus)]

"Jews for Jesus" is a member of numerous evangelical Christian groups, including The World Evangelical Alliance, [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/associations Associations] (Jews for Jesus)] [ [http://www.ifmamissions.org/member.htm Members] (Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association)] the National Association of Evangelicals, [ [http://www.nae.net/index.cfm?fuseaction=nae.members&listId=organizations#J Current NAE Members] (National Association of Evangelicals)] the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability,the World Evangelical Fellowship, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, [ [http://www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/about/structure.asp Affiliates] (Evangelical Fellowship of Canada)] the Canadian Council for Christian Charities, the Evangelical Alliance of Great Britain, the Evangelical Alliance of South Africa, the "Fédération Evangélique de France", (Evangelical Federation of France), the Lausanne Consultation on Jewish Evangelism. [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/about/associations Associations and Memberships ]

"Jews for Jesus" also notes the lack of consensus on many issues in Judaism, and says that due to the seemingly unusual assuredness of many Jewish groups that "Jews for Jesus"' beliefs are incompatible with Judaism, that this represents a double standard. Jewish groups, however, regard their united opposition to the beliefs promulgated by Jews for Jesus as proof that the two religions are irreconcilable, belief-wise, since it is one universal area where Jews of varying beliefs agree.

Litigations

1987 - Jews for Jesus sues for freedom of speech

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of "Jews for Jesus" in a 1987 suit it filed against the municipal agency in charge of Los Angeles International Airport that had barred the group from distributing leaflets at the airport as part of a larger ban on what they described as First Amendment activities. "Jews for Jesus" challenged the airport's right to institute such a sweeping ban. [http://www.adl.org/special_reports/jews4jesus/legal_cases.asp Legal Cases Involving Jews for Jesus] (ADL)]

1992 - Jews for Jesus sues for civil rights violations

In 1992 the New York Court of Appeals ruled against "Jews for Jesus" in a suit the organization brought against the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRCNY), an umbrella group representing 60 Jewish agencies in the metropolitan New York area. The case addressed the JCRCNY's 1985 warning to Long Island rabbis that "Jews for Jesus" was seeking a venue to conduct a Passover seder. Jews for Jesus sued the JCRCNY for violating its civil rights; the decision upheld a lower court ruling that the JCRCNY communication did not "go beyond the proposal stage" and that there was no evidence that any of the Long Island rabbis had actually contacted establishments for the purpose of discriminating against Jews for Jesus. [ [http://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I92_0038.htm Jews For Jesus, Inc., Et Al., Appellants, V. Jewish Community Relations Council Of New York, Inc., Et Al., Respondents ] ]

In a 1992 lawsuit brought by "Jews for Jesus" against the JCRCNY, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the efforts of the JCRCNY urging Jewish organizations not to patronize a New York country club because it allowed "Jews for Jesus" to hold its annual convention on its premises were not protected as an exercise of the JCRC's First Amendment rights.

1993 - Israel refuses citizenship to couple affiliated with Jews for Jesus

In 1993 the Supreme Court of Israel, in a case involving a couple affiliated with Jews for Jesus, ruled that Jews who adhere to the Christian beliefs are regarded by Israeli law as "members of a different faith," and are not eligible for the automatic citizenship that Israel grants Jews. This is done not to try to change Jewish Law, but to preserve the Jewish character of the State of Israel - i.e., that allowing in people whose sole mission is to get Jews to become Christians in inimical to one of the core ethics of the country (to be a haven for Jews).Fact|date=December 2007 In its summary of the ruling, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the belief that Jesus is the Messiah "cannot be reconciled with Judaism" and "marks the clear separation between Judaism and Christianity."

1998 and 2005-2006 - Jews for Jesus name online

"Jews for Jesus" has been involved in litigation regarding Internet use of its name. In 1998 they successfully sued Steven Brodsky for cybersquatting — registering the domain name "jewsforjesus.org" for a site criticizing the organization. The domain now belongs to "Jews for Jesus" and is used for their main site.

In 2005 "Jews for Jesus" sued [ [http://www.circleid.com/posts/google_sued_for_trademark_infringement_on_third_level_subdomain/ Google Sued for Trademark Infringement Based on Third-Level Subdomain] by Eric Goldman (CircleID) December 30, 2005] Google for allowing a Blogspot user to put up a site at the third-level subdomain "jewsforjesus.blogspot.com". In September 2006 "Christianity Today" reported that "Jews for Jesus" settled out of court with a critical blogger identified as 'Whistle Blower' on jewsforjesus.blogspot.com. The evangelistic ministry assumed control of the site." [ [http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/september/18.23.html Christianity Today News Briefs] September 1, 2006]

2006 - Comedian Jackie Mason sues Jews for Jesus for misusing his name

In 2006 comedian and actor Jackie Mason filed a lawsuit against "Jews for Jesus", alleging that they unlawfully distributed a pamphlet which used his name and likeness in a way that suggested he was a member of the group. In fact, Mason is a member of the Jewish faith and not associated with "Jews for Jesus". [ [http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/08/25/jackiemason.ap/index.html Comic sues Jews for Jesus] ] Jews for Jesus has issued a detailed response to the allegation on their website. [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/blog/20060825mason Press Release: Jews for Jesus and Jackie Mason] (Jews for Jesus) August 25, 2006]

A judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction against Jews for Jesus over the pamphlet, finding the distribution of the pamphlet to be protected by the First Amendment, and also stated that the pamphlet did not suggest that Mason was a Christian. [ [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/blog/20061108jackiemasondenied Jackie Mason Charges Against Jews For Jesus Denied By U.S. District Court] , November 8, 2006]

In December 2006, Jackie Mason dropped the lawsuit against "Jews for Jesus" after they issued a letter of apology to Mason. The group's executive director, David Brickner, stated in the letter to Mason that he wanted "to convey my sincere apologies for any distress that you felt over our tract." Brickner continued that he believed its publication was protected by the Constitution, but the group was willing in the interest of peace and love for Israel to retire the pamphlet. Mason replied in front of the federal court in Manhattan where he accepted the apology, "There's no such thing as a Jew for Jesus. It's like saying a black man is for the KKK. You can't be a table and a chair. You're either a Jew or a gentile." [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-12-05-mason_x.htm "USA Today",] [http://nymag.com/daily/intel/tags/religion nymag.com] (and many others) quoting an Associated Press release, December 4, 2006.]

2008 - Israeli Citizenship and Messianic Jews

The state of Israel grants "Aliyah" (right of return) and citizenship to Jews, and to those with Jewish parents or grandparents who are not considered Jews according to halacha, e.g. people who have a Jewish father but a non-Jewish mother. Specifically excluded were any “person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion.” An Israeli Supreme Court decision in 1989 ruled that Messianic Judaism constituted another religion.cite web
url= http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DEFDB1439F934A15751C1A96F948260
title= Israeli Court Rules Jews for Jesus Cannot Automatically Be Citizens
accessdate= 2008-04-24
date= December 27, 1989
work = World
publisher= The New York Times
quote= ‘Messianic Jews attempt to reverse the wheels of history by 2,000 years,’ Justice Elon wrote in a passage quoted by the Israeli newspapers. ‘But the Jewish people has decided during the 2,000 years of its history’ that Messianic Jews ‘do not belong to the Jewish nation and have no right to force themselves on it. Those who believe in Jesus are, in fact, Christians.’
] The Israeli government therefore rejected as a matter of course applications from Messianic Jews under the Law of Return.

On April 16 2008 the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in a case brought by a number of Messianic Jews with Jewish fathers and grandfathers. Their applications for Aliyah had been rejected on the grounds that they were Messianic Jews. The argument was made by the applicants that they had never been Jews according to halacha, and were not therefore excluded by the conversion clause. This argument was upheld in the ruling.cite web
url= http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1208870469395&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
title= Court applies Law of Return to Messianic Jews because of fathers
accessdate= 2008-04-24
last= Izenberg
first= Dan
date= April 22, 2008
publisher= The Jerusalem Post
quote= An article published in the "Baptist Press" after the High Court ruling was handed down maintained that the court had ruled that ‘the Messianics should receive equal treatment under the Israeli Law of Return, which says that anyone who is born Jewish can immigrate from anywhere in the world to Israel and be granted citizenship automatically.’ But, as was explained to "The Jerusalem Post" by a legal assistant to Myers, this is apparently a misunderstanding of the ruling, which determined that the petitioners were entitled to automatic new immigrant status and citizenship precisely because they were not Jews as defined by the Law of Return, but rather because they were the offspring of Jewish fathers.
] cite web
url = http://www.cbn.com/CBNnews/359362.aspx
title = Messianic Ruling
accessdate = 2008-04-17
year = 2008
work = cbn.com
publisher = CBNnews.com
quote = Myers told CBN News, "The bottom line is that if your father is Jewish or if any of your grandparents are Jewish from your father's side - even if you're a Messianic Jew - you can immigrate to Israel under the law of return or under the law of citizenship if you marry an Israeli citizen."
]

See also

* Christian-Jewish reconciliation
* Christianity and Judaism
* Dispensationalism
* Judaism's view of Jesus
* Jewish Messiah
* Jews for Judaism
* Messianic Judaism
* Outreach Judaism
* Supersessionism
* Who is a Jew?

References

Further reading

* "Sentenced for Life: A Story of an Entry and an Exit into the World of Fundamentalist Christianity and Jews for Jesus" by Jo Ann Schneider Farris (Writers Club Press, 2002) ISBN 0-595-24940-X
* "Hawking God. A Young Jewish Woman's Ordeal in Jews for Jesus" by Ellen Kamentsky (Sapphire Press) [http://www.skepticfiles.org/fw/defector.htm An excerpt]
* "Evangelizing the Chosen People: Missions to the Jews in America, 1880 - 2000" by Yaakov Ariel (The University of North Carolina Press, 1999) ISBN 0-8078-2566-2
* "Smashing the Idols: A Jewish Inquiry into the Cult Phenomenon" by Gary D. Eisenberg (Jason Aronson, 1988) ISBN 0-87668-974-8

External links

* [http://www.jewsforjesus.org/ Jews for Jesus] Official website
* [http://usedforjesus.com/ Ex-Jews for Jesus] website of former members of Jews for Jesus
* [http://www.outreachjudaism.org/ Outreach Judaism] The Jewish Response to Jews for Jesus
* [http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/ Jews for Judaism] Jews for Judaism website, an answer to Jews for Jesus
* [http://www.adl.org/special_reports/jews4jesus/jews4jesus.asp Jews for Jesus: Targeting Jews for Conversion with Subterfuge and Deception] - the view of the Anti-Defamation League
* [http://torahatlanta.com/articles/The%20Real%20Jews%20For%20Jesus.htm The Real Jews for Jesus] By Jason Levinson (Torah Atlanta)
* [http://www.aish.com/jewishissues/jewishsociety/Why_Jews_Dont_Believe_In_Jesus.asp Why Jews Don't Believe In Jesus]
* [http://www.faqs.org/faqs/judaism/FAQ/09-Antisemitism/section-18.html Who is financing "Jews for Jesus"?] (faqs.org)
*
* [http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_c/bl_jesus.htm Why don't Jews accept Jesus as the Messiah?] by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner (about.com)
* [http://www.bocaratonnews.com/index.php?src=news&category=LOCAL%20NEWS&prid=6689 County Jewish organizations protest evangelical attempt] by Steven Reiskind (Boca Raton News) November 5, 2003
* [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?apage=1&cid=1150885948447&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull Jews for Jesus campaign targets NY Jews] by Gal Beckerman (July 10, 2006) Jerusalem Post
* [http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/holy_hell_over_subway_jesus_regionalnews_jeremy_olshan___transit_reporter.htm Holy Hell Over Subway 'jesus' Ad Blitz Targets Jews] By Jeremy Olshan (New York Post) July 7, 2006


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jews for Jesus — Judaïsme messianique La synagogue messianique Baruch HaShem à Dallas au Texas Le judaïsme messianique est un ensemble hétéroclite de mouvements religieux combinant une théologie chrétienne avec une pratique religieuse juive, en clair des Juifs… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jews for Jesus — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt ist nicht hinreichend mit Belegen (Literatur, Webseiten oder Einzelnachweisen) versehen. Die fraglichen Angaben werden daher möglicherweise demnächst gelöscht. Hilf Wikipedia, indem du die Angaben recherchierst und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • JEWS FOR JESUS —    a NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT founded by Moshe ROSEN, a Jewish convert to CHRISTIANITY, which seeks to CONVERT JEWS. It originated in the COUNTER CULTURE of the 1960s as part of the JESUS MOVEMENT …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc. — Infobox SCOTUS case Litigants=Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc. ArgueDate=March 3 ArgueYear=1987 DecideDate=June 15 DecideYear=1987 FullName=Board of Airport Commissioners of Los Angeles v. Jews for Jesus, Inc …   Wikipedia

  • Jews for Judaism — Jews for Judaism, established by Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz in 1985, is an international organization designed to counter Christian missionaries trying to convert Jews. They aim to help Jews strengthen and rediscover their Judaism. It is the largest… …   Wikipedia

  • Jesus — This article is about Jesus of Nazareth. For other uses, see Jesus (disambiguation). Jesus …   Wikipedia

  • Jesus and Messianic prophecy — Christians commonly believe that many verses of the Hebrew Bible are prophecies of the Messiah and that these were fulfilled in the life of Jesus, with the rest to be fulfilled by his Second Coming. (A minority, called Full Preterists, believe… …   Wikipedia

  • Jesus movement — The Jesus movement was the major Christian element within the hippie counterculture, or, conversely, the major hippie element within some strands of Protestantism. Members of the movement were called Jesus people , or Jesus freaks . The movement… …   Wikipedia

  • Jesus myth theory — The Resurrection of Christ by Noel Coypel (1700). Jesus myth theorists see this as one of a number of stories about dying and rising gods. Description The …   Wikipedia

  • JESUS — (d. 30 C.E.), whom Christianity sees as its founder and object of faith, was a Jew who lived toward the end of the Second Commonwealth period. The martyrdom of his brother James is narrated by Josephus (Ant. 20:200–3), but the passage in the same …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”