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2xx1xy1JD

Faux Jew debate question

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yewchapel
"I've never heard of a Catholic church having a pastor."

Yes, Catholics churches have pastors. "Pastor" is not a title, as it may be in other churches, but local churches do have pastors, who are also priests.

That said, I love your comment.

I suppose priests (and deacons) are pastors too :) I was thinking of 'pastor' as in the title.

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Anxious Girl

It seems that wearing a rosary as a fashion accessory is a very big trend out here. Even on teens that I KNOW belong to one of the local evangelical churches. I always thought that the rosary was a Catholic religious symbol.

When I was little, I remembering trying to wear pretty rosaries around my neck. But my ma would tell me that it's disrespectful for some odd reason. :| Then when I got into high school, I saw a lot of guys wearing rosaries. I guess it just depends on how and where you're being brought up; so to speak. I remember saying good-night to my great-grandmother when she was alive and I slept over my grandmother's house, and if I stopped in her room while she was saying the rosary in Italian before going to sleep, she would start all over again. :shock: That woman was dedicated, I tell yah. :D * before her husband died, she went to church every day; but when she die she would go to church every sunday. She would also watch mass on T.V on sundays, too. *

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patsymae

Just noticed (okay, am I brain dead or what) the icon that accompanies my comments.

Fuck.

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kolga

It seems that wearing a rosary as a fashion accessory is a very big trend out here. Even on teens that I KNOW belong to one of the local evangelical churches. I always thought that the rosary was a Catholic religious symbol.

Mala beads seem to be a big thing with the hippie/hipster/urbanite crowd here. I don't think they have quite the same intensive spiritual meaning as the rosary, but it still strikes me as "Look at ME I'm wearing religious tools as fashion!"

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Dena

So, the debate question: Is it hypocritical to snark on some people who blend religious traditions (the Faux Jews) and Do Judaism Wrong, while at the same time objecting to ultra-Orthodox Jews who claim that non-Orthodox Jews are Doing Judaism Wrong? If the answer is no, how do we tolerate one, but not the other?

Nope!

The faux Jews are making Christianity look like Judaism. At least the other sects of Judaism is still Judaism.

And as a Jew who was raised being told things like, here is some ham, it's not kosher, but eat it anyway, I got sucked into the faux crap because I didn't know any better. I was young and stupid, what can I say? When I was looking up local synagogues and saw messianic I thought it was like reform or something like that.

I will say though, I did meet some VERY interesting people.

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Soldier of the One

Why not? Take 3 days off and eat pork!

Hmmmm... bacon :dance:

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2xx1xy1JD
I think it's a free country and if you want to borrow other bits of people's religions, go ahead, have fun. After all how were Christianity and Islam founded (ducks for cover :lol: )

Good point. Any Christian or Muslim here is free to correct me, but isn't part of the basic theology of both religions based on taking basic Jewish holy texts and then telling Jews that they are Doing it Wrong?

Christianity: The Old Testament clearly shows that Jesus must have been the Messiah. The Jews who rejected this information were Doing it Wrong (and possibly doomed to go to hell as a result).

Islam: Jews did receive a Divine revelation, but over time started Doing It Wrong by misinterpreting or altering the teachings, so we needed Mohammed to receive the true version.

In that context, are the Faux Jews who aren't part of deceptive efforts to convert Jews any worse than their mainstream counterparts?

Soldier of the One: I agree that the requirements for a Messiah are relatively clear in Judaism, and that the requirement for strict monotheism is even clearer - but do those tests also exclude some Jewish groups? Some Lubavitchers think that the Messiah was their Rebbe, who died (or not) in New York in 1994. Non-Orthodox groups will openly question the whole idea of a revelation at Mount Sinai and teach the documentary hypothesis. Reconstructionist Jews will follow Jewish law, but aren't sure that there is a G-d. Humanist Jews are atheists. Jewish Renewal borrows heavily from other spiritual traditions. Plenty of Israeli Jews seek spirituality in India. What is the rationale behind drawing this one particular line in the theological sand, as oppose to any other?

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Soldier of the One

2xx1xy1JD,

It's a good and hard question. But I'm also kind of intrigued in the way you asked it: you seem to set up a dichotomy between Lubavitch on the one hand and non-Orthodoxy on the other, as two possible 'beyond the pale' versions of Judaism? You're Modern Orthodox right? Forgive me if I am reading this the wrong way but... *any* Jewish denomination could calibrate that spectrum, placing themselves at the center. Conservative Jews consider themselves 'the reasonable middle', Reform Jews consider themselves the inheritors of the 'true prophetic tradition', Orthodox Jews consider themselves the representatives of 'Torah true Judaism'. The question, therefore, is really loaded I think. That's not a problem in and of itself, but it's good to take it into account. Therefore, I am not sure if I can answer it without falling into denominationalism.

Ironically, it's this very conflict of denominationalism that makes Judaism even more tetchy about the claim of Messianics. There's enough contention and infighting as is, and so little we can all agree on. I don't believe 'authentic' Judaism is any hard or fast thing. Any religious identity is fluid and when people fall into the trap of trying to prove how authentic or 'real' their worldview is, exclusivism often results.

That's why I bring it back to the simple issue of monotheism. It's the greatest (and most important) common denominator. Even Reconstructionist Jews who believe that 'God is the power that makes for salvation' will affirm that there's only one God and that Jesus isn't Him (or Her). When you start using Halachah as your criterion, it gets messy. But then again, denominationism has always existed. Whether it was Pharisees versus Sadducees, Karaites versus Rabbanites, Mitnagdim versus Chassidim, etc. Once we make a claim to monopolize Jewish Law, the discussion stops... making sense?

I also think there's a difference between religious experimentation that consciously and honestly admits to syncretism (and that's usually quite humble about enforcing that on others - syncretists tend to be a tolerant bunch! :)) and a theologically-fundamentalist group trying to pander of their syncretic theology as The Truth and telling the rest of us that we're doing it Wrong. No JuBu would say that their Judaism is 'superior', or the 'true, fulfilled Judaism'. They'd be more inclined to say that this is what works for them and that's that. I have no problem with that.

At the core of Messianic doctrine lies supersessionism - the idea that through Christ, there is a 'New Israel'. Ironically, mainline Christianity deals with this by having actually become a separate religon and that's OK - to each their own. But with Messianics, it becomes real tetchy because they try to 'convert' the members of our community. Which undermines not only our truth claim to our own version of truth but also undermines our communities (in the most extreme case).

I think the Southern Baptist Convention pumps 250 dollars a year into their 'mission among the Jews'. That's a dazzling amount of money, if I am correct. This is less about theology than it is about identity politics.

Is this an answer? Dunno. Sorry! :)

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Arete

While Christianity and Islam both can be considered to have cores of "your interpreting it wrong", from the beginning each was open about being a seperate movements. Messianics are appropriating historical and generational memories. Mainstream Christians don't claim their ancestors were at Sinai. Muslims don't say their ancestors worshipped at the Second Temple. They build on Judaism as a starting point the same way civilizations build on each other. So Rome built on the foundation of Greece, but the Romans did not claim their ancestors fought at Marathon. Messianics want the right of the full cultural and historical inheritance of Jews, and they essentially want to steal it, which is what makes what they do particularly vile. You can't claim the right to an inheritance just because you want it.

Don't get me started on crosses, Tibetan prayer beads, Native rituals, and Stars of David as fashion accessories. It is wrong, it is rude, and it really shouldn't be done. It makes a mockery of other cultures sacred objects. No one is asking people outside the culture to consider them sacred, but when they wind up as a trendy piece of jewlery or "hip" Japanese mall art, you aren't exactly doing anything for the mutual tolerance arguement. In fact, it is essentially giving ammunition to the argument within subcultures that the outside world only knows how to mock and disrespect, so no need to spread your wings to see what it may have to offer.

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Peanut2

Sorry if it's not okay to bring this thread up again. Newbie mistake if so.

People wrote some really preceptive stuff here, so there isn't much to add. There is the non-PC fact that Jesus can never, ever be part of Judaism. Christianity and Judaism simply don't mix at this point. This isn't a Holocaust thing. It's the overall persecution of generation after generation. From pogroms to the Spanish Inquisition to Mel Gibson. They just cannot mix. Christians starting up with Jewish symbols and seders is like a white person wearing blackface (insert whatever smilie face for those keeping up with NY news.) There is a history here that can never make it appropriate, even with the best intentions. Christianity is an attempt of being a new Judaism, and to take up Jewish practice is just another way of doing so.

As others pointed out, part of the problem is that Christians doing this really don't know what they are doing and are approaching Judaism with a Christian perspective. There are Christian groups who are genuinely interested in learning more about Judaism, and they tend to simply watch, observe, read, and learn, and not take on rituals in what end up as mockery. The result, in Jewish eyes, looks like an Easter bunny with a crown of thorns.

There is a Catholic something (monastery? there are priests and nuns there) in Israel that focuses on reconciliation and all sorts of nice sounding things. They speak French and like to get invited to Shabbat meals and seders and all sorts of Jewish things. They sit there quietly and observe, and if there are any French speakers around they ask questions and schmooze. If they incorporate anything into their own worship they keep it private AFAIK.

There is a book called Constantine's Sword that anyone interested in this topic should read. It basically a book that addresses this issue, among others. I'm in the middle of reading it and there is a reference to a Catholic seder, and how the priest leading it did it wrong (from a Jewish POV, obviously). The priest invited some Jewish friends to this "seder", and I hope the hubris involved in doing so, instead of getting an invite to an actual Jewish seder, is apparent.

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Avalondaughter
"I've never heard of a Catholic church having a pastor."

Yes, Catholics churches have pastors. "Pastor" is not a title, as it may be in other churches, but local churches do have pastors, who are also priests.

That said, I love your comment.

I always thought the term "pastor" just meant the head preacher at any house of worship. When I still practiced Catholocism, the listings of the staff on the church bulletin referred to the monsignor as "pastor" and the other priests as "senior priest" and "parochial vicar." I even saw the word pastor to identify the rabbi on a sign outside a synagogue once.

As for Christians who like to incorporate some Jewish traditions and holidays, I see the point. Christianity wouldn't exist without Judaism. Jesus was Jewish. The earliest Chriatians were considered just a weird Jewish sect. No, most Christians do not have the ethnic/cultural background, but neither do true Jewish converts. I don't see anything wrong with wanting to connect with who Jesus was, or where your religion originated, or observe some of what your Bible still preaches.

While I think the whole fake Jew thing is ridiculous and insulting to Jews as you can't really combine philosophies, I see why they do it. That feel the need to prove they believe the entire Bible. It justifies their Old Testament beliefs. It starts out innocently enough with things like the Duggars not eating pork and then just gets out of control.

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yewchapel
Sorry if it's not okay to bring this thread up again. Newbie mistake if so.

People wrote some really preceptive stuff here, so there isn't much to add. There is the non-PC fact that Jesus can never, ever be part of Judaism. Christianity and Judaism simply don't mix at this point. This isn't a Holocaust thing. It's the overall persecution of generation after generation. From pogroms to the Spanish Inquisition to Mel Gibson. They just cannot mix. Christians starting up with Jewish symbols and seders is like a white person wearing blackface (insert whatever smilie face for those keeping up with NY news.) There is a history here that can never make it appropriate, even with the best intentions. Christianity is an attempt of being a new Judaism, and to take up Jewish practice is just another way of doing so.

As others pointed out, part of the problem is that Christians doing this really don't know what they are doing and are approaching Judaism with a Christian perspective. There are Christian groups who are genuinely interested in learning more about Judaism, and they tend to simply watch, observe, read, and learn, and not take on rituals in what end up as mockery. The result, in Jewish eyes, looks like an Easter bunny with a crown of thorns.

There is a Catholic something (monastery? there are priests and nuns there) in Israel that focuses on reconciliation and all sorts of nice sounding things. They speak French and like to get invited to Shabbat meals and seders and all sorts of Jewish things. They sit there quietly and observe, and if there are any French speakers around they ask questions and schmooze. If they incorporate anything into their own worship they keep it private AFAIK.

There is a book called Constantine's Sword that anyone interested in this topic should read. It basically a book that addresses this issue, among others. I'm in the middle of reading it and there is a reference to a Catholic seder, and how the priest leading it did it wrong (from a Jewish POV, obviously). The priest invited some Jewish friends to this "seder", and I hope the hubris involved in doing so, instead of getting an invite to an actual Jewish seder, is apparent.

What about Christians from a Jewish ethnic/cultural background? While I appreciate the history of anti-semitism, non-Christians have participated in anti-semitism too and you know, Jesus was Jewish. How can Jesus and Judaism never mix if Jesus was undeniably Jewish and spoke in the Gospels through the lens of Judaism? Most of the early church and all the disciples were Jewish. Paul was Jewish (and doesn't reject that, despite what biased commentators would say). Half of our Bible is shared with the Torah. Christianity and Judaism DO mix, unavoidably so.

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Ramona

Speaking of (possibly) cultural appropriation and rosaries... you can get "witches rosaries".

https://www.google.ca/search?q=witches+ ... 23&bih=597

That doesn't sit right with me.

(and not because of the specific faith - as someone who currently identifies as Pagan/seeker, I certainly don't have any problems with any Pagan faith. it's the item itself... y'know?)

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TouchMeFall21

I think part of the issue is that Judaism, in the United States, is as much a cultural identity as set of religious beliefs. I was raised conservative, but have since veered reform-to-non-practicing, and have married outside the faith. Still, if asked to give 5 adjectives to describe myself, "Jewish" would probably land right at the top. This cultural identity feels, for lack of better word, earned, and I think that's why I feel uncomfortable with the appropriation of tradition. Because so much of what they're appropriating is indeed tradition, as opposed to bibically-sanctioned (think Jinger's star of david), so it's hard to feel comfortable with the rest of it.

I always think it's interesting that my husband would define his heritage as Irish and Italian, while I would probably answer the question as "Jewish" (if i wanted to get detailed, Ashkenazi). Technically speaking, totally inaccurate (Judaism is not a heritage). But I'm pretty well certain that my ancestors' experiencein the Russian shtetl had more in common with my ancestors' experience in the Polish shtetl than it did with their Russian neighbors, so to me it feels like a much more honest way to describe my family's history.

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chaotic life

My egnostic father discovered he was Jewish as an adult. His family migrated between the wars and concealed their Jewishness. They were completely secular and non-religious. At Christmas every year, my great-grandfather would make a donation to the local Methodist church and display the reciept on his mantle for every visitor to see, as proof he was a "good and charitable" person (hardly, he was a mysogonistic, hardened, alcoholic asshole but that had NOTHING to do with his being Jewish but a rich miser with an affinity for anything with spirits).

When my great-grandfather died and was buried in the Jewish section of the town cemetary my father went researching and digging to find out WHY. That led to his discovery that the family was Jewish and a search into his heritage. That searching led him to Jews for Jesus and a conversion to Christianity. I think dad's choice to be Christian is more than being led astray by Jews for Jesus since he went to seminary and became a preacher and missionary. However, he has always framed his Christian faith as it points to it's heritage in his Jewish background. So I sort of get why a Christian might want to look to Judiasm to understand the roots of their own religion.

What I do not get is the propensity of Messianic and Torah observants to not only pick and choose but to then attempt to interpret Judiasm through their Messianic lense. I think it's HIGHLY insulting to try to tell Jews that they are wrong about their own beliefs, and their own interpretation of Torah because your Messianic interpretation is the ONLY correct interpretation. At that point, I think they lose the right to have their religious practices respected when they stop respecting the religious practices of others.

Honestly, I find Orthodox Christianity the most interesting synthesis that is fully Christian but has always retained and respected it's roots of beginning within Judaism. I've never seen Orthodoxy attempt to rewrite Judaism in the same mannerr that Messianics do. It feels more respectful than Messiancis to me.

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OnceModestTwiceShy
My egnostic father discovered he was Jewish as an adult. His family migrated between the wars and concealed their Jewishness. They were completely secular and non-religious. At Christmas every year, my great-grandfather would make a donation to the local Methodist church and display the reciept on his mantle for every visitor to see, as proof he was a "good and charitable" person (hardly, he was a mysogonistic, hardened, alcoholic asshole but that had NOTHING to do with his being Jewish but a rich miser with an affinity for anything with spirits).

When my great-grandfather died and was buried in the Jewish section of the town cemetary my father went researching and digging to find out WHY. That led to his discovery that the family was Jewish and a search into his heritage. That searching led him to Jews for Jesus and a conversion to Christianity. I think dad's choice to be Christian is more than being led astray by Jews for Jesus since he went to seminary and became a preacher and missionary. However, he has always framed his Christian faith as it points to it's heritage in his Jewish background. So I sort of get why a Christian might want to look to Judiasm to understand the roots of their own religion.

What I do not get is the propensity of Messianic and Torah observants to not only pick and choose but to then attempt to interpret Judiasm through their Messianic lense. I think it's HIGHLY insulting to try to tell Jews that they are wrong about their own beliefs, and their own interpretation of Torah because your Messianic interpretation is the ONLY correct interpretation. At that point, I think they lose the right to have their religious practices respected when they stop respecting the religious practices of others.

Honestly, I find Orthodox Christianity the most interesting synthesis that is fully Christian but has always retained and respected it's roots of beginning within Judaism. I've never seen Orthodoxy attempt to rewrite Judaism in the same mannerr that Messianics do. It feels more respectful than Messiancis to me.

I'm Jewish and I study Russian Orthodoxy as an academic and.....this has NOT been my experience at all. The anti-Semitism in the ROC is staggering, and believe me, if you tell the average ROC member that Christ was a Jew, you stand a good chance of getting punched in the face. (I don't know as much about other denominations under the Eastern Orthodox umbrella.)

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chaotic life

My experience with Orthodoxy is in observing Americans who are Orthodox. So, I cannot speak to how it is practiced elsewhere except to say that doesn't surprise me, but I don't think that was how Orthodoxy was originally set up. If the religions practiced in Europe were not frequently anti-semetic, then it is unlikely that nearly as much persecution of Jews would have occurred there in over the last 2000 years.

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2xx1xy1JD
2xx1xy1JD,

It's a good and hard question. But I'm also kind of intrigued in the way you asked it: you seem to set up a dichotomy between Lubavitch on the one hand and non-Orthodoxy on the other, as two possible 'beyond the pale' versions of Judaism? You're Modern Orthodox right? Forgive me if I am reading this the wrong way but... *any* Jewish denomination could calibrate that spectrum, placing themselves at the center. Conservative Jews consider themselves 'the reasonable middle', Reform Jews consider themselves the inheritors of the 'true prophetic tradition', Orthodox Jews consider themselves the representatives of 'Torah true Judaism'. The question, therefore, is really loaded I think. That's not a problem in and of itself, but it's good to take it into account. Therefore, I am not sure if I can answer it without falling into denominationalism.

Ironically, it's this very conflict of denominationalism that makes Judaism even more tetchy about the claim of Messianics. There's enough contention and infighting as is, and so little we can all agree on. I don't believe 'authentic' Judaism is any hard or fast thing. Any religious identity is fluid and when people fall into the trap of trying to prove how authentic or 'real' their worldview is, exclusivism often results.

That's why I bring it back to the simple issue of monotheism. It's the greatest (and most important) common denominator. Even Reconstructionist Jews who believe that 'God is the power that makes for salvation' will affirm that there's only one God and that Jesus isn't Him (or Her). When you start using Halachah as your criterion, it gets messy. But then again, denominationism has always existed. Whether it was Pharisees versus Sadducees, Karaites versus Rabbanites, Mitnagdim versus Chassidim, etc. Once we make a claim to monopolize Jewish Law, the discussion stops... making sense?

I also think there's a difference between religious experimentation that consciously and honestly admits to syncretism (and that's usually quite humble about enforcing that on others - syncretists tend to be a tolerant bunch! :)) and a theologically-fundamentalist group trying to pander of their syncretic theology as The Truth and telling the rest of us that we're doing it Wrong. No JuBu would say that their Judaism is 'superior', or the 'true, fulfilled Judaism'. They'd be more inclined to say that this is what works for them and that's that. I have no problem with that.

At the core of Messianic doctrine lies supersessionism - the idea that through Christ, there is a 'New Israel'. Ironically, mainline Christianity deals with this by having actually become a separate religon and that's OK - to each their own. But with Messianics, it becomes real tetchy because they try to 'convert' the members of our community. Which undermines not only our truth claim to our own version of truth but also undermines our communities (in the most extreme case).

I think the Southern Baptist Convention pumps 250 dollars a year into their 'mission among the Jews'. That's a dazzling amount of money, if I am correct. This is less about theology than it is about identity politics.

Is this an answer? Dunno. Sorry! :)

Thanks for a thoughtful response. I think the key, like you said, is the fact that the Messianics are funded and supported by another religion, and don't represent a more spontaneous religious evolution or fusion. Beyond the deceptive marketing, there is also an agenda to spread a very specific doctrine, which is pure evangelical Christianity dressed up with Jewish symbols.

I asked the question in the way that I did because these are denominations that I've seen being subjected to the "well then, you're not really Jewish/not really different from Christianity" line.

Interesting thought about having a common denominator. In North America, rejecting faith in Jesus may be that common denominator. As a kid, there may have been some theological conflicts between the Orthodox and atheist sides of my family, but they agreed on this:

Religion: Not Christian

Deity: Not Jesus

Major holiday: Not Christmas

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