Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Seismic Shock: When blogging meets policing

The BBC has an article about Seismic Shock's encounter with the police, in which he comes out as Joseph Wiseman, a student at Leeds University (see also his article at Harry's Place, Introducing Myself. It turns out that he has also been posting at Harry's Place as Yeze, identifying himself as a Messianic Jew. He writes:
I am a Christian strongly opposed to anti-Semitism, and I also support the continued existence of Israel. I attend an Anglican evangelical church occasionally, and also a neo-charismatic church more regularly. I hope for a just and peaceful solution to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict that provides security for Israelis and Palestinians alike, as well as justice for both Jewish and Arab refugees from 1948.

Jewishness is also a big part of my life, as I was born Jewish, I attend a Messianic fellowship, and will always identify as a Messianic Jew. I should stress that I am the third generation of my family to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. This is not some new-found faith for me, but a belief with deep roots. I have never been anything other than a believer in Christ.
I don't know much about Messianic Judaism - before reading Yeze's blog posts at Harry's Place, I had basically thought of it as a type of evangelical Christianity with a few Jewish trappings (like wearing a tallit or blowing the shofar), and had not thought of it as a form of Judaism. Now I'm more curious to know if I was correct. I have met some Christians in Ithaca who have gone to some kind of Messianic Jewish service, and I know that there are people who call themselves Messianic rabbis. I'll have to look into this further and see what they mean.


  1. My understanding is that most Messianic Jews strongly identify as Jewish. Most Jews equally fervently reject their status as Jews. If "Jewish" is an intersubjective identity, then I have to think that they are not Jewish, as the bulk of the Jewish community refuses to recognize them as such.

  2. This is a little ridiculous. How can a Jew not be a Jew? Are atheist Jews not Jews?

  3. My impression, from the Midwest, is that many,if not most, members of Messianic Jewish congregations have no Jewish background. Scott Roeder, the killer of abortion doctor George Tiller, was a member of a Messianic Jewish congregation in KC. His background is entirely Christian.

  4. Stuart, thanks for that information. I wonder why someone with no Jewish background would join a Messianic congregation. Wiseman said that his family is Jewish (and Messianic), so I can understand his connection to the movement.

  5. Sure, those ethnically not Jews, can be considered not Jewish. But to make a blanket statement that "most Messianic Jews" are not Jewish (as David made) is baseless. I know two such people, and one of them is a Jew, no doubt about it.

    Also, just because religious communities do not consider some Messianic Jews as Jewish, does not mean they are not.

    Here's a link for a Messianic Synagogue: http://tikvatdavid.com/Tikvat_David/Home_Page.html Their Rabbi, Derek, is ethnically not a Jew, but he is JewISH nonetheless. A link to his blog can be found at the bottom of that page.

  6. Hi, may I comment - I don't believe in Messianic rabbis or Gentile Christians pretending to be rabbis.

    There are always some crazies in every movement but they don't speak for everyone.

    I do believe my Jewishness continues through belief in Yeshua, and I think there are very clear parallels between my beliefs and other expressions of Jewish messianism, such as Lubavitch and Breslev.

    I attend church because I believe I should associate with other believers in Jesus, but I want to keep up my Jewish identity and grounding as well, as I don't think Jesus ever wanted to take this away from people - hope that's helpful.

  7. Joseph, thank you for writing. I'm curious to know how you keep up your Jewish identity. Is this something you express religiously (for example when you go to church) or do you think of it as more of an ethnic identity?

    And David - it's true that most Jews would say that Jews who have converted to Christianity are no longer Jews. But I wonder if we are now (in the last few decades) seeing something new - Jews who believe in Jesus but who don't want to cut their ties to the Jewish community.

    And John, a sample size of two isn't large enough to make a blanket statement. I think it would be interesting to read some academic research about Messianic Jews - do you (or Joseph) have any suggestions?

  8. Quote: “Jews who believe in Jesus but who don't want to cut their ties to the Jewish community.”
    A logical analysis (found here: www.netzarim.co.il) of all extant source documents and archeology proves that the historical Ribi Yehosuha and his talmidim (apprentice-students), called the Netzarim, taught and lived Torah all of their lives; and that Netzarim and Christianity were always antithetical.

    It is possible for a former Jew to become kareit (see the example of Esau; read more in the above website ( Glossaries (main page); Edom )) from the berit (the pact) with ha-Sheim (the Creator), and lose his/her status as a Jew; until that person makes teshuvah.

    Anders Branderud

  9. For more information about Shofar and other Holy Temple instruments.

    We have three websites

    1) Shofar Sounders WebPage


    2) Joint Effort with Michael Chusid, an expert Shofar sounder and commentator

    3) Shofar WebPage
    If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to ask.

  10. Afinkle, is this a contribution to the ongoing discussion, or just an advertisement for a product?

  11. A Jew is a Jew no matter what they believe. Even those that support the dismantling of Israel (Heaven forbid)are still Jews.

    Most of the time it seems that Messianic Jews take the heat, but debates between the Orthodox and other branches can be just as testy.

    The only real difference between Messianic Jews and others is that they are waiting for the second coming of Messiah and the rest are still waiting for the first.