July/August 2012 – “Kosher Jesus”…but not the Messiah?
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 28, Number 6 July/August 2012 Tammuz/Av 5772
**Shabbat at the Shores, July 13
**Messianic Community Picnic, August 26
**UMJC Regional Youth Camp, August 31- September 3
“Kosher Jesus”…but not the Messiah?
By Rabbi Barney Kasdan
We all know that one of the encouraging phenomena in our day is the increasing interest in the Jewishness of Yeshua. A recent book by famous TV Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (“Shalom in the Home” cable program) has certainly added to the discussion. His latest book is entitled “Kosher Jesus” and takes a look at reclaiming Jesus for the Jewish community. Rabbi Boteach has taken some major heat from some of his rabbinic colleagues although he quickly makes it clear that he does not believe Yeshua is the Messiah for us Jews. But having said that, he explores the Jewish background of the first-century Yeshua (a name he never uses) and encourages both Jews and Christians to reevaluate their previous conclusions. Simply put, Yeshua was a great rabbi teaching wonderful Jewish wisdom. He also loved his people greatly while equally hating the Romans and their occupation of Judea. Yeshua died as a martyr, comparable to Bar Kochba a century later. What is even stranger is that after his tragic death, Rabbi Yeshua was changed from a Jewish sympathizer to a Roman sympathizer! This was done, according to Boteach, with some creative dedacting and re-writing of the Gospels. So the final product?—a kosher Jesus who thought he might be the Messiah but who obviously is not.
What are Messianic Jews to say to all this? First, the positives. It is great that the new book has increased the dialogue about the undeniable Jewishness of Yeshua. Our Jewish people have much to learn from this most influential Jew of history. Instead of fear, Boteach says we should have a more open heart to the real Yeshua. Sadly, many
of us have excommunicated Jesus from the Jewish community largely because of the bad relationship so often between the church and the synagogue. But as the rabbi puts it, Jesus did not burn a synagogue or put Zyklon B in a gas chamber. It will take some major adjustment in perspective but we live in a day when many are reevaluating the long-held presuppositions. We Messianic Jews can appreciate this call to a new openness and dialogue.
Now for the problems which are many. Rabbi Shmuley insists that “Jews will never accept the divinity of Jesus.” Ironically, I would say this is one of those long-held presuppositions! The book never mentions the tens of thousands of present-day Jews who embrace Yeshua as the Divine Mashiach. The Rabbi can simply say we are not Jews (by the historical presupposition) but the fact that there are over 200 messianic synagogues around the USA (not Christian converts) challenges that bold assertion. No mention is made of why many of us Messianic Jews have come to our faith in Yeshua. Ignored are the powerful verses of the Tenakh like Isaiah 9:5-6 “a son…called Mighty God?” Or Proverbs 30:1-4 “Do you know the Creator’s Name, or His son’s Name?” Although Rabbi Boteach doubts Yeshua’s Davidic descent, the New Testament is clear on that historical fact. I was disappointed to see many of the Rabbi’s problematic interpretations of the New Testament as he attributed them to mistakes and Jewish ignorance. Matthew and Luke would not have been that stupid. The apparent problems pointed out by Boteach all have logical answers especially as one studies in the original languages. I wonder if the Rabbi took any biblical Greek?
Another expected response is his sharp criticism of Shaul/Paul. It is tempting to receive a kosher Jesus and yet to throw Paul under the bus. Although the book questions Paul’s Jewish credentials and education, would he be so foolish as to name his mentor Rabbi Gamliel and other details of his early life if it were not so? It would be so easy to disprove such claims by the living witnesses! But that actually leads Rabbi Boteach to lean heavily on his theory that the original Jewish Jesus was changed by later New Testament editors. The Rabbi admits that his views of Jesus and Paul are greatly influenced by modern Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby, author of such works as “The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity.” That should speak for itself. What is highly ironic is that the Rabbi seems to put a lot more faith in the words of contemporary Jewish scholars than the original Jewish sources and the eyewitnesses of the Gospels! Those original Jewish men and women saw the works of Yeshua and heard his exact words which they faithfully recorded. Many of those same disciples followed Yeshua, not just as a Roman rebel, but as the Mashiach promised to our people. Perhaps Rabbi Boteach’s book will cause many more people to question and even read the original source called the Jewish New Testament. Maybe then many more of us Jews will conclude: “Kosher Jesus”….and also the Messiah!
July 4, Wednesday, 1:30-3:00pm. KA Music and Dance Teams at SD County Fair. Zemer Yeshua and Nagila B’ariel will give a special program in this open air concert. Bring the family and invite your friends to this great outreach event!
July 13, Friday, 5pm- Sunset. Shabbat at the Shores. Welcome in the summer season with this great sunset service at La Jolla Shores on the grassy area by the main lifeguard tower. Bring your dinner, a chair or blanket as we celebrate Shabbat together at this beautiful location. Bring your surfboard for a 4pm surf session with the Rabbi at the checkered flag!
July 14, Saturday, 1pm. Mid-Year Congregational Meeting. We will be electing our new Board of Directors at this Oneg Luncheon hosted by our Youth Group. KA members please make this a priority.
July 19-22. UMJC International Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Join hundreds of messianic believers from around the globe for this annual gathering. Special concerts, workshops and fellowship with the mishpacah. Conference details and hotel information at umjc.org.
August 9-11. Asheville Music Festival. Three days of music, arts and drama from the young messianic Jewish community worldwide joining in this outdoor setting in North Carolina. All will be blessed and pass the word. More details at AMF12.com.
August 17, Friday, 5pm- Sunset. Shabbat at the Shores. Welcome in the summer season with this great sunset service at La Jolla Shores on the grassy area by the main lifeguard tower. Bring your dinner, a chair or blanket as we celebrate Shabbat together at this beautiful location. Bring your surfboard for a 4pm surf session with the Rabbi at the checkered flag!
August 31-Sept 3. UMJC Regional Youth Camp. Send your kids and youth to this great Shabbaton weekend with other messianic kids from all over the west coast. Held in the San Bernardino mountains, 2 hours from San Diego. Great program, teachers, sports and fellowship. Contact our office or Education Directors Michael and Jeannie Stinton for more info. Don’t miss it!
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont, Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship and study. Our current sermon series is “Zechariah—God Remembers” which is a chapter by chapter study of this amazing prophet from the Tenakh.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 4 through High School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and Hebrew.
Dance Ministry: Beginning Dance Workshop is held every Shabbat, 10:00-10:25am in the upstairs classroom area. All welcome to learn!
Tuesday Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: Corporate prayer from 6:30-7:00 as we lift up Israel and the needs of our synagogue. Class from 7:00-8:30. No classes July or August. The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies. Call our office for further information.
“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in Devarim/Numbers. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith! There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time. Contact Gabe Pacheco or Luciano Rivera for info.
Men’s Club: All men are invited to this Monday evening group (2nd and 4th at KA) for connecting, dialogue and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with today. Always some good discussion and study along with service projects for men to be involved with. Also a group meets every Wednesday 5am. Contact Frank Rosas or Rome Remigio for more information.
Sisterhood: This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service. Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting. All women are welcome!
KA Zekeynim/Elders Board of Directors
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Luis Garabay, Patty Kolb, Tovik Liberman
Frank Rosas Laurie Herlickman, Bob Haas
Luis Garibay Paty Garibay
Eric Kragenbrink Joanne Kragenbrink
Joan Savarese Tony Savarese
Jeannie Stinton Michael Stinton
Audio: Gabe Pacheco CD Duplication: David Stephens
Dance: Sue Rubin Facilities: Jim Scarborough
International: Eddie & Yrena Niewald Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Office: Jan Folb Oneg: Maria Montelongo
Prayer: Patty Kolb Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas Social Action: Eric Tauber
Translation: Paty Garibay
Ushers: Tony Savavese Website: Rome Remigio
Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton Rabbinic Intern: Yisrael Vazquez
Havurot/Small Groups (connect with the community!)
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
Men’s Club, Rome Remigio every Wed, 5:00 am or 2nd and 4th Mondays at KA 7pm.
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Carlsbad, Eddie & Yrena Niewald, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Bay Park, Mike and Sylvia Ferson, every Thurs. 10 am.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas, Various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano Rivera, Shabbat 4pm-sunset at KA upstairs. Potluck Havdalah.
Tijuana, Yisrael and Aviva Vazquez, 1sr & 3rd Weds 7pm plus 3rd Saturday, 10am.
Sisterhood, monthly meeting.
Contact the KA office for more details and contact information.
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within the Jewish community, please send it to:
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177
Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our people! (Genesis 12:3)
Nu? News is published bi-monthly by Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue. We welcome your testimonies, poems, humor (no kvetches) or any creative submissions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org