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September 10, 2004 - Image 30

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-09-10

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of '

Jews for Jesus
campaign puts
community on edge.

Special to the Jewish News


ust as Hurricane Frances blew
into Florida late last week, the
Jews for Jesus' Behold Your
God (BYG) campaign blew into
metro Detroit and Ann Arbor.
Scheduled to run from Sept. 3-24,
the BYG campaign is expected to
include mailings, events, telephone
calls, street evangelism and door-to-
door visits to encourage Jews to
accept Jesus as their Messiah.
Loren Jacobs, leader of the
"Messianic Jewish" Congregation
Shema Yisrael, estimated that tens of

returned to sender. Maybe it will
cost them something," he said.
A special task force convened by
the Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit to counter the
BYG campaign has sent a flyer to all
Jewish institutions, organizations,
schools and agencies in the hopes it
will be widely distributed. The flyer
briefly describes the BYG campaign
and provides advice on what to do if
approached. The task force includes
rabbis, communal organizations,
Hillels, day schools, BBYO and the
Jewish federations of Metropolitan
Detroit and Washtenaw County.

BBAC Cancels Program

thousands of Jewish homes received
a mailing from Jews for Jesus.
The mailing featured a picture of
grieving children and invited recipi-
ents to order a DVD or VHS copy
of Forbidden Peace and to attend a
screening of the film and meet the
Israeli and Palestinian it features.
The invitation says the men "found
a path of peace ... through a person
— Y'shua (Jesus) of Nazareth."
An informal survey at Temple
Israel's annual Labor Day picnic on
Sept. 6 confirmed that, indeed,
many in the Jewish community
received the mailing, and that it was
just as unwelcome as the hurricane.

Jacqueline Fox of Farmington Hills
received two invitations at her home
and ripped them up and threw them
"I think it is offensive," she said,
especially to do it at this time of
the year, with the holidays and kids
going back to school. It's deceitful
and I don't like it. How they can call
themselves Jewish is beyond me."
Others in the temple gift shop
nodded their agreement as she
Stuart Weiss of West Bloomfield
also wanted no part of BYG.
"I wrote 'refused' on the invitation
and put it back in my mailbox to be


While the Jews for Jesus invitation
says the screening will be held at the
Birmingham Bloomfield Arts Center
(BBAC) in Birmingham on Sept. 12,
it will not take place there. Jane
Linn, BBAC executive director, said,
"Please share the word that there will
be no meeting of the Jews for Jesus
this Sunday at the BBAC."
"We are very disappointed that
they have forbidden the Forbidden
Peace," said Jacobs, adding he was
surprised by the "arbitrary" action of
the BBAC. "They said something
about forms not being filled out,
and that they received several con-
cerned phone calls. They are capitu-
lating to pressure. They seem to

Ecumenical Viewpoint

One informed Christian's take on Jews for Jesus.

Special to the Jewish News


avid Blewett, director of the
Ecumenical Institute for
Jewish-Christian Studies in
Southfield, has strong opinions about
Jews for Jesus based on personal expe-
"Jews for Jesus are Christians; they
are not Jews," Blewett said. "They
absolutely deny and oppose all the
growth in the Christian church in the
past 40 years when it comes to respect
for Jews and Judaism."
Blewett, who has a master's of divin-
ity and is a member of several national
boards, committees and task forces
that focus on human rights issues as
well as Christian-Jewish relations, first

learned of Jews for Jesus in the early
1970s while studying at a fundamen-
talist seminary.
"We studied their techniques on
street-corner evangelism, and I was
excited," Blewett admitted. "I thought
that Jews for Jesus could be the way I
could understand Judaism."
But soon he became disillusioned
with such teachings and it was a major
factor in his leaving fundamentalist
"Studying their techniques and liter-
ature, you see all the misinterpreta-
tions of Scripture, and so much of
what they didn't say," Blewett said. "I
thought of the commandment: Thou
shall not steal. What they were doing
was a lot of stealing. These people
claim Judaism and everything that

represents Judaism."
God," he said.
But there was more that disturbed
"But Jews already
have a relationship,
"They were lying about Jews; they
a covenant, with
were lying about Scripture, and they
Abraham, Isaac,
were lying about Christianity," he
Jacob and his 12
said, his voice rising. "While they
sons. Why should
are a problem for the Jewish com-
someone who has
munity, and I support. the Jewish
a covenant with
David Blewett
community in its concerns, it is
God need another
equally a problem for the Christian
covenant with the
community. It's triumphalism or
same God?"
super-secessionism gone crazy. "
Christians should be saying that
While Blewett doesn't have a prob-
"Jews who feel isolated don't need to
lem with evangelism per se, he finds it
accept Jesus, they need to accept
unacceptable, and unnecessary, to
Judaism," Blewett said. "This is what
evangelize Jews.
Jesus was telling people, and when
As a Christian, "Jesus is my way
Paul was talking with Jews, he was
into salvation and makes it possible
always building up Judaism. When he
for me to have a relationship with
talked to gentiles, he would say that

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