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July 05, 1991 - Image 26

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-07-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-400101111,11111000110440iiiiiNiftidrOW

No Longer
On the Fringe

1111• ■••■■ •111P
Wirdbia ■

Words to songs are
projected by an overhead
projector while
congregants sway back and
forth, arms in the air.

tions much like they are
used to, where they can
identify their love of Christ
with other Jews. Some
Messianic congregations
have their own Torahs, syna-
gogues and classrooms. But
many, like Shema Yisrael,
congregate in church halls.
What one finds in a Mes-
sianic congregation is
music playing and
sometimes people dancing.
There are plenty of "I love
you's" that anti-missionaries
describe as "love bombing!'
It's not the same synagogue
experience that most
mainline Jews are used to.
"We're often asked, 'Are
these people normal?' "
Mr. Schreiber said. "Yes,
there are members of the
fringe in the group.
However, the vast majority
are normal people. But,
almost to a person, these
individuals, no matter how
normal, have gotten in-
volved because of a per-
sonal crisis. They are look-
ing for something to
reassure them. And until
they met another Hebrew
Christian, they've prob-
ably never met a Jew who is
passionate about Judaism."
Rabbi Motty Berger, the
founder of Jews for
Judaism, has said that
Messianic Jews would
make great traditional
Jews because they possess
more spirituality than
most unaffiliated Jews.
Unaffiliated Jews number
almost 65 percent in the
United States. Some 85
percent of Messianic Jews
who leave that fold become
Orthodox Jews, according
to Jews for Judaism.
Rabbi Alon Tolwin, di-
rector of the Detroit office
of Yeshiva Aish Hatorah
has, like Mr. Schreiber,
counseled Messianic Jews
and their families. Rabbi
Tolwin talks with frustra-
tion about the issue. His
disgust isn't geared to the
Messianics. It is, instead,
focused on mainline
Judaism.
"I think the mere fact
that Jews join these groups

26

FRIDAY, JULY 5, 1991

is pointing a finger at the
failure of the Jewish com-
munity to convey what
Judaism is all about," he
said. "These people are
looking for a sense of spiri-
tuality, a sense of meaning
in their lives, and they
haven't found it in the
mainstream. The sad fact
is that mainline Judaism is
what country club you
belong to and where your
seats at the Palace are
located. These Jews who
join these groups are not
looneys. Their eyes are not
glazed over. They are
regular people."
Michelle Vining probably
would not want to be called

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