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Life not easy for Israel’s Christian “Messianic” Jews

by Corine Gatti
of the Beliefnet staff

Why would a Jewish believer in Yeshua — Hebrew for Jesus —  uproot themselves to move to the Middle East? That could be easily answered: a passion for the Holy Land and belief that Israel is the place of the Messiah’s return.

There is another question: would these believers be embraced by the Jewish community?

“This is a very complicated question,” said Paul Sherbow of Come to Zion Ministries Israel. His ministry feeds the poor, pays bills for the elderly, and operates an internet radio station running 24/7 with music and teachings in Kiryat Yam north of Haifa.

“There is a bias against Messianic believers here because of history. The Christians have been preaching to the Jews for 1,900 years you can leave Torah behind and just believe in Jesus. Many, many Jews have been forced to convert or be killed over this time. The religious Jews see Messianic as people trying to derail Jews from Torah which is the Word of God. Even the State of Israel in a supreme court case said that a Jew who believes in Jesus is no longer a Jew in the eyes of the state and not entitled to immigrate to Israel under the law of return because that person has gone over to our “historical” enemy.”


David Ortiz originally from Brooklyn, New York, a dental technician by trade, is the pastor of a congregation of 25 inside the Jewish settlement of Ariel, north of Jerusalem—he and his family are considered an enemy of the Jews, by extremist. Fliers of Ortiz said he was “Baptizing Jews into Christianity,” which were wallpapered on bus depots, cars, and shopping centers in the area with images of the pastor and his address. Ortiz has been physically attacked at least on one occasion by Palestinians from a neighboring village handing out Bibles, The Jerusalem Post reported on March, 25, 2008. He also had Molotov cocktail thrown at his car.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Allan

    The whole Messianic Jew is a very complex question. I am the son of a Jewish mother and Christian father. At times over my life I have found these Messianic Jew movement to be attractive, but never enough to actually join one. Like much of so-called “evangelical Protestantism”, these people live in a fantasy world, where 19 centuries of both Jewish and Christian development does not exist. For me, at least, I have to be one or the other and not try to combine the two.

  • Gev

    We cover a lot of news on what Messianic Jews live through in Israel at the roshpinaproject.

  • Corine Gatti

    Thank you both for posting. I am in the process of studying this subject more and enjoyed the feedback. Gev, thanks. I checked out your site. Keep it up! Allan, I see where you are coming from. Love to hear more on your views. I feel you can combine the two beliefs as they are entwined in many ways.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jason Goldstein

    Messianic Judaism or Jew for Jesus or what ever they call themselves are not Judaism. If you believe in Jesus you just don’t believe that the Messiah came, but the he was a demi-G-d. This is not Judaism it is Christianity. If you want to be a Christian be one, but don’t lie and to Jews without Jewish educations and say you are Judaism you are not. Judaism does not and never has believed that the Messiah will be anything other than a regular but extraordinary person. There is no such thing as a “son of G-D” in Judaism. Israel is a Jewish state and as such while non-Jews are welcome to visit, and while non-Jews who live in Israel have their rights protected (i.e. if you are Arab and living in Israel you are a citizen, while the future planned Palestinian State would remove all Jews from its territory) it is a Jewish state,and as such has the right under its laws to prevent proselytizing.

  • Corine Gatti

    Thank you Jason for your post.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Geoff Short

    Messianic Jews are nothing more than dishonest Christians.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment henry

    The Messianic Church believes Yeshua (Jesus of Nazareth) is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. They observe the Sabbath from Friday (at sunset) to Saturday (at sunset), along with the feasts described in Leviticus 23 and in the brit hadashah, such as Passover and Sukkot.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment michael melchizedek

    Yahoshua (YHWH is our deliverer) is the Torah made flesh! The Messiah tought the Torah and Prophets. Mat.5:17 (KJV) Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:
    Messiah and The Torah(INSTRUCTIONS FOR LIFE) are one!

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