This issue of Kesher celebrates two recent coming-of-age events in the Messianic Jewish community. In September 2019 MJTI president-emeritus Dr. Mark Kinzer met with the highly influential Protestant Bible scholar N.T. Wright in a debate sponsored by Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, Alabama. Their topic was the ongoing covenantal status and role of the Jewish people…

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Reviewed by Russ Resnik Jesus is Jewish—it’s a truism not just in Messianic Jewish circles, but also in the wider worlds of biblical and historical scholarship. Use of the name “Yeshua” rather than “Jesus” reflects this truth. The open question, though, is just how is Yeshua Jewish? What kind of Jew was he? The ongoing…

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Identity and community are inextricably linked. As one writer recently put it, “Patterns of conduct and virtue exist independently of any individual, and the most important parts of personal identity often emerge not as a result of private thinking but in groups that do and love the same things.”1 We discover who we are not…

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Identity has been a buzzword for decades. I remember discussions from my early days about “identity crisis,” a term developed by psychologist Erik Erikson. Today we’re talking about “identity politics.” Jewish identity remains as compelling a topic as ever, especially within the Messianic Jewish community. We can best understand identity in the context of community.…

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Hillel used to say: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?1 The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is inevitably polarizing, and seems to have become even more so in recent years. For instance, the New York Times headlined a…

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This year Israel proudly marks seventy years as an independent state in the ancient Jewish homeland, and Kesher joins the commemoration with a penetrating look at theological, pastoral, and socio-political issues that come to the fore on this historic anniversary. We lead off with “The Besorah, Jerusalem, and the Jewish People,” by Dr. Mark Kinzer,…

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  Reviewed by Russ Resnik Jon Levenson is a world-class biblical scholar, Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard, and a writer gifted in engaging his readers on issues that might at first seem antiquated or esoteric. His latest offering, The Love of God, opens with “one of the most familiar passages in the Bible,” Deuteronomy…

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Jewish tradition and values are often expressed most effectively through lifecycle events such as marriage, birth, parenting, sickness, and death and mourning. Rabbinic stories picture Hashem himself participating in such occasions, blessing the bride and groom, visiting the sick, and burying the dead (for example, b.Sotah 14a). Messiah Yeshua follows his example, from blessing a…

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In 1965, Nostra Aetate, the Roman Catholic statement on relationships with non-Christian faiths, declared that “the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from Holy Scripture.” On the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks noted, “Today as a result, Jews and Catholics meet not as enemies…

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Everyone loves—and needs—a story. Through story we discover who we are and how we are to live. Men and women are formed by the stories they hear as children; societies and cultures are shaped by the stories they tell and re-tell over the generations. The foundational truths of Judeo-Christian culture are conveyed in stories. Judaism…

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