Jewish & Christian?

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem - What happened here?

Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem – What happened here?

Lately I’ve been asked a lot about Judaism and Christianity – specifically, is it possible to be both Jewish and Christian?

And I know there are people who assert that they are, indeed, both, or who say they are raising children as both.

Here’s my difficulty with that: For a Christian, Jesus of Nazareth is God, and he’s alive. For a Jew, he is not God, and he’s dead.

It’s called “Christian” because in that way of understanding the world, Jesus is (present tense) the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one of God, the ultimate revelation of God, and he is, in fact, God.

In the Jewish way of understanding the world, Jesus was a rabbi who was executed by the Romans. There is only One God, and that God is completely, utterly Other: not human, never has been human. There are some Jews who do not believe in any kind of personal God; they identify as Humanistic Jews or secular Jews.

When you have people in a family with different beliefs, it can be complicated. I have relatives, whom I love, for whom Jesus is the Christ. I have relatives who think belief in God is basically fairytales. We love one another, and we deal with one another kindly and with respect. My son does not say to me, “Mom, you sell fairytales for a living” even though I am aware that from his point of view, that’s what I do. My Christian relatives do not say to me, “You are going to Hell,” even though I suspect some of them fear that’s where I’m headed. And I do not preach at them, either.   We coexist with love and occasional amusement.  I like to think that God finds us amusing, too.

If you are considering raising a child as both Jewish and Christian, I would like you to think about a question you may very well get from a child:  Is Jesus alive, or dead? God or not?

This isn’t about Christmas trees. It isn’t about bacon or bagels. There are many varieties of Christian, and many varieties of Jews, but when we say “there’s no real difference” that’s simply not true.

Image: Copyright All rights reserved by AAAPOE and 1China1 Photos at flickr

9 Responses to Jewish & Christian?

  1. Meredith says:

    Thank you for addressing this; not an easy subject to calmly discuss.

  2. izonah says:

    Categorically, without question, you CANNOT be Jewish and Christian. I just wish someone would tell the “Jews for Jesus” that…sigh.

  3. Paul says:

    They are called Messianic Jews.
    Jesus is the son of G-d.
    There have been periods in Jewish history when it was thought that G-d had a wife. Read about Ahab and Elijah.

    • rabbiadar says:

      There have been various speculations about the nature of God, but Jewish tradition is quite clear that any writing about God having corporeal aspects (“Hand of God” etc) is metaphorical language only. That would extend to God “fathering” children, sons or otherwise, or having relations with a wife. There were pagan influences in the very early period (Asherot, etc) which we firmly rejected as idolatry. Cherry-picking the Bible for incidences of idolatry and trying to pass them off as normative Judaism is either dishonest or naive.

      So-called “Messianic Judaism” got started less than 50 years ago as a blend of evangelical Christian theology with elements of Jewish practice and terminology tacked on as window dressing. Its deeper roots lie in an campaign to proselytize at Jews by the American Board of Missions to the Jews. While some have been lured in by the Jewish window-dressing, it rejects the most essential item in Jewish thought: absolute monotheism with a God who is utterly Other.

      Born Jews who become “Messianic” are converting out, pure and simple.

  4. That is exactly the dilemma we faced as a Jewish/Catholic couple when we decided how to raise our daughter. We came to the conclusion that a child can observe two sets of religious practices handily, but cannot follow two divergent faith-beliefs.

    In the end, though, it is important to remember that God is the destination, and everyone goes to Him his own way. The different religions are, or should be, no more than separate paths to the same God.

    • rabbiadar says:

      Bette, that is beautiful: God is the destination, and everyone goes in their own way. Honoring the integrity of the path will get us to our destination.

      I’m glad that you made a choice for your daughter, and whichever choice it was, I know it was the right one for your family.

      I wish you and your family all the blessings of this complex and beautiful life!

Cooking with a Wallflower

Cooking. Baking. Crafting. Writing.

ReBlogIt

Great Content from around the web ......

morethanenoughtruth

Words of truth are the bricks and mortar of reality.

From guestwriters

A tiny WordPress.com site based in Belgium

Living ~400lbs

... and believe me I am still alive

Metrowoman

... It can only get better...

Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence

Unload and Unwind

A place to talk about the past, present and thoughts of the future

rabbimarcbelgrad

Website for B'Chavana, a Jewish Community with Intention

Jewish Gems - Anita Silvert

Judaism is a many-faceted thing

Rabbi Neal's Weekly Commentary

Parshat Hashavua from the Heart of the Hudson Valley

Convert Confidential

A Twenty-Something Converts to Judaism

Off the REKord

Ramblings and Reflections of a Reform Rabbi

Sheri de Grom

From the literary and legislative trenches.

Thy Critic Man

I am your superhero. I fight against awful television, terrible movies & horrendous videogames

Craig Lewis - The Lincoln Rabbi

Spirituality Through Rationality

WRITE IN ISRAEL

with JUDY LABENSOHN

Silicon Hutong

China and the World of Business • China Business and the World

Stuart Orme

Historian, Folklorist, Writer, Re-enactor, Museum Professional. Follow me on Twitter: @stuartorme

CaptainAwkward.com

Advice. Staircase Wit. Faux Pas. Movies.

SHEROES of History

Telling the stories of historical heroines

A Palatable Pastime

Let's have fun with food!

asian's cup of moonlight

Nothing beats a kid at heart. Let's travel the universe together. You and me: Together.

Attenti al Lupo

www.attentiallupo2012.com

Grover Anderson

Singer/Songwriter • Oakland, CA

willowdot21

An insight to a heart mind and soul.

Rabbi Audrey Korotkin

AltoonaRav: Reflections from a rural rabbi

Talkin' Reckless

Thoughtful blogging with a renegade twist

cuisinexperiments

adventures in cooking

dogtorbill

“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

That Devil History

Historian Jarret Ruminski muses on how the past continues to shape contemporary politics, culture, and society in the United States.

timelychanges

Any major dude with half a mind surely will tell you my friend...

My Jewish Yearning

A great WordPress.com site

My Siyach

שיח Siyach: Hebrew, meaning: to put forth, meditate, muse, commune, speak, complain, ponder, sing

Amsterdam Centraaal

(with triple A)

Eat Bark Hike

Musings on Cooking and Hiking with Pepper

Susan LaDue Writes

The Kristen Maroney Mysteries

sadlyme

این نیز بگذرد‎

Inspiring Jews

A New Conversation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,322 other followers

%d bloggers like this: