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July 05, 1991 - Image 28

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

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

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because most Jews have
their first exposure to Heb-
rew Christians during
their college years.
"It's a time when they
are going through a per-
sonal upheaval," he said.
"It usually comes at a low
point in their lives, not a
high point, and the over-
whelming majority of Jews
who join Messianic groups
have their first contact not
with a Jew who believes in
Jesus but with a Chris-
tian."
Rabbi Singer said the
dynamics are fairly simple.
The Jew meets a born-
again Christian who is
always smiling and en-
thusiastic. The Jew asks
why everything is going so
right for the Christian. The
gentile then gets the Jew
into some sort of outreach.

Often the Jew will go
back to his rabbi and ask if
the Bible is the word of God.
Some rabbis,according to Rab-
bi Singer, say not neces-
sarily. The Jew goes back to
the Christian minister who
says that the word is
divinely written and that
Jesus is the messiah. End
of story.

"They are going through
an adolescent phase,"
Rabbi Singer said. "This is
fantasy formation. They
are looking to identify with
some hero. For them it's a
time of low self-esteem that
allows them to be so
vulnerable. They don't
check out what the Chris-
tians are saying because
they are having such a
wonderful time. And if
Jewish 'experts' are not in-
timately familiar with the
the Scriptures, it can be a
serious problem.
"Jesus is a happy pill,"
he continued. "Messianic
Jews have an imaginary
friend named Jesus who
will save them from any
woes they have. This is
very powerful. It's not a
question of how smart or
successful they are
anymore; it's a question of
their self-esteem. They see
their parents and their
Jewish community as hyp-
ocritical. Their mother
tells them that it's okay
not to keep kosher and it's
okay to only attend syn-
agogue twice a year, but
don't bring a non-Jew into
the house. Every Messianic
Jew points to a failure in

the Jewish community.
The failure is ours, not
theirs. Messianic Judaism
is the result of what the
Christians are doing right,
and what we're not doing
right."
Loren Jacobs knew when
he was a teen-ager that his
Reform upbringing wasn't
enough. He said he never
got a deep sense of spiri-
tuality even though he was
bar mitzvah and confirm-
ed. What he • got instead
was a curiosity that led
him to a lecture on biblical
philosophy at Nor-
thwestern University.
The lecture addressed
prophecy, saying that the
modern world is getting
close to Jesus' return. In
Mr. Jacobs' upbringing,

Messianic Judaism
is the result of
what the
Christians are
doing right, and
what we're not
doing right.

prophecy was never
discussed.
"We kind of did re-
ligion," he said. "We did a
seder, etc. That was the
real extent of it."
In reading prophecies
that the Messianics and
Christians say point to the
existence of Jesus as mes-
siah, Mr. Jacobs said he
started praying. If Jesus
was real, he prayed, he
should reveal himself.
Messianic Jews believe
that the Old and New
Testaments form a perfect
complement. The prophecy
in one describes the actual
life and death in the other.
Messianics aren't
necessarily out there pro-
selytizing, though some do.
Recently, Loren Jacobs'
group mailed thousands of
hand-written postcards
asking the recipient if he or
she knew that Jewish pro-
phets predicted Israel's
rebirth and growing world-
wide anti-Semitism. The
hand-written card openly
identifies the sender as be-
ing a Messianic Jew. The
card tries to link the
"truth" of biblical prophecy
to the establishment of
Jesus as the Jewish Mes-
siah.
In becoming a believer in
Jesus, many Jews talk
about a dream or a super-

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