From the Editor
“Behold the Man”—these words from John 19:5 became the title of a 2017 Israel Museum exhibit subtitled “Jesus in Israeli art.” Much of the exhibit remains available online at the museum website, www.imj.org.il/en/, and its implications for Messianic Judaism remain compelling. This issue of Kesher features an article by historian Judith Mendelsohn Rood based on the exhibit and interviews with its curator, Dr. Amitai Mendelsohn (no relation). This article is innovative, not only because it explores subject matter that is scandalous within the Jewish world, as its title, “Scandalon,” declares, but also because it provides for an interactive reading between the text itself and the works of art displayed at https://www.imj.org.il/en/exhibitions/behold-man .
Our last issue of Kesher explored another innovative topic, the growing dialogue between Messianic Jewish scholars and their counterparts in the Christian world. We featured a report on the 2022 symposium entitled “Jesus—Also the Messiah for Israel? Messianic Jewish Movement and Christianity in Dialogue,” as well as reviews of two books directly related to this symposium. In the current issue of Kesher we continue to explore this topic in a conversation with Mark Kinzer, a Kesher contributor and pioneer Messianic Jewish theologian. Yeshua has become more visible to the Jewish world through Israeli art focused on him, and his followers are becoming more visible through expanding dialogue with the Christian world.
Kesher 43 continues with three articles by regular contributors on topics that also explore some challenges to the status quo, both negative and positive. Elliot Klayman examines the remarkable story of Nathan of Gaza, disciple of the 17th century pseudo-messiah Sabbatai Tsvi, who was instrumental in propagating Tsvi’s messianic claims and launching a movement that swept through nearly the entire Jewish world of its time, ultimately to its detriment, as Klayman argues. In “Spiritual Confrontation in the Besorah of Mark,” I explore the theme of demonic opposition to Yeshua in Mark’s Gospel and how it proves to be not only ineffective in the end, but paradoxically essential to advancing Yeshua’s messianic mission. In a final article, Paul Saal presents “A Case for Leadership Equality for Women in the Messianic Jewish Synagogue,” an idea that counters the status quo within much of the Messianic community. Rabbi Saal’s article is based on a paper presented in 2003, and we’ll continue the discussion in our next issue of Kesher with a current article on the same topic.
Our issue wraps up with a review of Jews and Their Roman Rivals: Pagan Rome’s Challenge to Israel by Katell Berthelot. This book presents Rome’s challenge to Israel as “unique,” according to reviewer Henri Louis Goulet, and helps inform “how we choose to respond to the empires in which we live today”—which might lead to additional innovative ideas.
— Rabbi Russ Resnik