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December 12, 1986 - Image 48

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-12-12

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Shema Yisrael's
reaching out
to the 'forgotten
elements' in our

Who's A Jew?
Who's A Christian.

'Christian Jews' are trying
to blur the distinctions
between the religions


Staff Writer


n Paris in the year 1240, a public
disputation took place between
an apostate named Nicholas
Donin and a Jewish scholar
named Yechiel ben Yosef. The
disputation centered on the Talmud
and when it was over, a Talmud was
publicly burned.
No Talmuds were burned after
the Kelly & Company show on Nov.
11, although the program vaguely
resembled a medieval disputation, as
a probe into the beliefs of "Christian
Jews" became a referendum on
It was a bad show because it

seemed to have no focus, it seemed
to get away from everybody," said
Rev. James R. Lyons, director of the
Ecumenical Institute for Jewish-
Christian Studies, who participated
in the televised encounter. It didn't
do justice to the question."
That question, whether or not
"Christian Jews" are a legitimate
Jewish or Christian sect, was
twisted until participant Rabbi Alon
Tolwin found himself defending
"Rabbi Tolwin had to do some
defense, but any rabbi would have,"
said Allan Gale, assistant director of
the Jewish Community Council.
Gale had a stronger objection to
the program:

Loren Jacobs spreads the "Gospel of Jesus" in Birmingham.
The slogan on his shirt originated with Moshe Rosen, head of
Jews for Jesus.

(Christian-Jewish program partici-
pants Haskell Stone and Loren
Jacobs) are organizers, proselytizers.
Very little was said about what they
do within the community and how
the Jewish community feels about
The discussion, instead, centered
on the validity of beliefs, a hopeless
area in which to become entangled,
"They're allowed to believe," Gale
emphasized. "A Christian would
have thought that (Stone and
Jacobs) were under attack for their
While acknowledging the right
to proselytize, Gale criticized Stone
and Jacobs' deceptive tactics and
their claim that, although they are

' ,

Jewish, normative Judaism is inau-
The truth is not "just that it was
a private decision" to believe in
Jesus, Rev. Lyons charged. This is
an organized group, whose purpose
is to convert Jews. That never came
The group is called . "Shema Yis-
rael," headed by Jacobs and to which
Stone is, apparently, loosely affil-
According to Kelly & Company
Associate Producer Brad Hurtado,
there was no conspiracy to deceive
the public as to Stone and Jacobs'
identities or motives. In fact, said
Hurtado, their motives should have
been clear to all.
"It's obvious that as a Christian

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