to Rabbi Riskin
©September 12, 2010 by Asher Intrater
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin recently published an article (Jerusalem Post, 8-27-2010) criticizing Messianic Judaism. Here is a brief excerpt from Asher's response:
Rabbi Riskin is well-respected in both Christian and Jewish circles. He is dynamic, intelligent, and spiritual. There are many issues in which we are in total agreement. However, there are certain points in which we would disagree. Riskin says that he does not believe our community has been persecuted. Yet consider, for example:
These attacks were perpetrated by extremist elements of the Ultra-Orthodox (who do not represent mainstream Judaism in our eyes). The ONLY reason these attacks took place was because the victims were Messianic Jews.
We are also accused of "proselytizing". Yet, disseminating our beliefs is a basic right of freedom of expression and religion. In fact, we do not disseminate our faith as many Ultra-Orthodox missionaries do, who approach cars in the middle of traffic, ask people to lay tefillin in shopping centers, and drive mission-mobiles around the city with loudspeakers in their "proselytizing" efforts.
Rabbi Riskin accused us of being "deceptive." Yet our beliefs are openly stated to anyone who asks. Anyone who joins our gatherings for more than a few moments understands who we are. Expressions of Jewish practice, including circumcision, Shabbat, Holidays, Bar Mitzvah and Chuppa, are part of our faith. We have stood for those values despite criticism from both Christian and Rabbinic circles.
Finally, our view of the Messiah is said to put us out of the realm of Judaism. Then what about the Chabad movement which proclaims that their Rebbe is the Messiah? What about the Tel Aviv "Messiah?" What about those who proclaim that the name Nachman brings world redemption? What about atheist professors in Israeli universities? What about Reform Judaism and New Kabbalah? All of those above differ from Orthodox Judaism "mainstream."
Day of Atonement
This Friday Religious Jews and Messianic Jews alike will be celebrating the biblical Day of Atonement. Ahavat Yeshua will be meeting together with two other local congregations for a day of fasting, repentance, prayer, teaching and fellowship.
We find atonement in the shed blood of Yeshua. Orthodox Jews wave a chicken or monetary donation over the head of a person seeking atonement. The rabbi proclaims the words, "Replacement, Exchange, Atonement" during the ritual.
Water immersion for purity ("mikveh") is frequently done by Orthodox Jews on the morning before the Day of Atonement. The rabbis teach that the water immersion is a kind of "new birth" or "new creation". When the person being immersed holds his breath under the water, that is a kind of "death," and when he comes up out of the water, it is a kind of "resurrection."
Much of the media is decrying the dangers of "Islam-ophobia" in the United States. However it was not "Islam-ophobia" but "Islamic- jihad" that killed 3,000 people at the Twin Towers. President Obama said that the United States will never be in a war against Islam. However Islamic Jihadists already proclaim openly to be at war with the United States.
Obama also said that it was not Islam that attacked the twin towers but "Al Quaida." Yet, "Al Quaida" members certainly think they are Muslims. If "Al Quaida" is not Islam, what about Hizballa, Hamas, Wahabi, Popular Front, Islamic Brotherhood, Taliban, the Al Aksa Brigade? They all desire the destruction of America and Israel. Are they also not Muslim?Here is a video about the Israeli memorial in Jerusalem for 9-11 victims:
was challenged to defend Israel during such episodes as Cast Lead, the Goldstone
Report and the Flotilla incident. (She jokingly compared the rich cultural
life in Manhattan to the difficulty of representing Israel at UN headquarters
as the difference between heaven and hell.)
the media flashed pictures of injured Palestinian children, Shalev decided
to refrain from similar methods, which she considers cynical and manipulative.
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