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Jews for Jesus

Moishe the Convert

The church known as Jews for Jesus was begun by a Jew who converted to Christianity named Martin (Moishe) Rosen, in 1973. Rosen hoped to bring other Jews to the Baptist church to which he belonged. To this end, Rosen became a minister and joined the American Board of Missions to the Jews. The mission of ABMJ was clear-cut, with the precise aim of converting Jews to Christianity. However, it soon became obvious to Rosen that most Jews didn't want to give up their Jewish traditions.

Rosen determined to leave the ABMJ and founded Jews for Jesus, whose aim is to allow Jews the luxury of believing in Jesus as the messiah without forcing them to give up their Jewish heritage. The group states that Jesus is the "Jewish Messiah." While other Christians cite the New Testament as their proof that Jesus is the son of God, Jews for Jesus uses the Old Testament to suggest that Jesus is the messiah of both the Christians and the Jews. According to Rosen, if a Jew believes in the Torah, it follows that he must believe in Jesus as the messiah.

Wild Success

Rosen has had a wild success in converting many thousands of Jews (along with non-Jews) to his brand of Christianity. This success is apparent when one considers that Jews for Jesus has an annual budget of $24 million, which is used in the main to fund gargantuan evangelizing efforts.

A close look at the tenets of this church shows a paucity of Jewish content. In actual fact, the Jews for Jesus' "Statement of Faith" contains a repudiation of Jewish literature as non-binding for members of Jews for Jesus. It's easy to understand why this should be so: if Jews believe that Jewish religious texts are the word of God, then Jews cannot support Jesus as the messiah of Judaism since there is no Jewish textual support for this assertion.

The attraction of Jews for Jesus is that it allows Jews to keep their religious identity even after they convert to Christianity. However, the Torah proscribes the idea of combining the two religions. According to Jewish thought, once a Jew worships a foreign god or idol, in this case, Jesus, he is no longer Jewish (1 Kings 18:21). The Jewish faith does allow the converted to return to Judaism if they return to the belief of the oneness of God.

In 1993, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling on the eligibility of members of Jews for Jesus for Israeli citizenship by the Right of Return. The ruling states that Jews for Jesus are not Jews since their belief in Jesus as the messiah runs contrary to Jewish values. The court further stated that the group's beliefs, "marks the clear separation between Judaism and Christianity."

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