Jews who believe in Jesus/Yeshua, like me, call ourselves by a variety of names: Messianic Jews, Christian Jews, Jewish Christians, Netzari Jews (Nazarene Jews), Hebrew Christians. Messianic Jews and Netzari Jews have this in common: both eschew the term “Christian.” I, in contrast, think the term “Christian” a felicitous term. The question is, can a Jew who becomes a Christian still be Jewish?
According to Uriyosef: “Whereas you may be a “daring Jew” (the name of my website is onedaringjew), unfortunately, you are no longer Jewish. By your own testimony, you are now a Jew who follows the Christian religions, i.e., you are now Christian, not Jewish.”
Everyone, including a Jew, knows that to be a Christian is to believe that Jesus is the Divine Messiah. Now, let me see if I understand Uriyosef: Once upon a time, I was Jewish. I now believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Ergo, I am now, according to Uriyosef, no longer Jewish. So, this means that belief determines whether you are Jewish or Christian. My question is: “What belief determines whether a person is Jewish? Simple, answers Uriyosef – the answer lies in the ish of Jewish:
“‘Jew,’ says Uriyosef, is a noun. According to Halachah (Jewish Law; which has its roots in Torah), one is a Jew if he/she was born of a mother who is a Jew. This remains so for the rest of the person’s life. Now ‘Jewish’ is an adjective. One is Jewish if, say, one is born a Jew (Uriyosef continues) to parents who are Jews (and Jewish) and has never adopted a set of religious beliefs that is outside the “pale” with respect to Judaism. Given the above understanding of the terms “A Jew” and (being) “Jewish”, it is evident that one cannot simultaneously be both Jewish and Christian, or be Jewish and Muslim, or Jewish and Hindu, etc., etc., etc. Of course, this also applies to denominations within Christianity, viz., one who is Christian cannot simultaneously be Catholic and Protestant.” (By “Catholic, Uriyosef means Roman Catholic).
So, according to Uriyosef, since I was born a Jew of parents who were Jews, and assuming they did not adopt any religious beliefs that were outside of Judaism (regardless of whether they were observant), I was a Jew who was Jewish until I converted to Catholicism. This means that I’m now a Jew who is Christian, not Jewish. I’ve got it! I’m a Christian Jew but not a Jewish Christian.
Ben Gurion, the wonderingjew, and perhaps another onedaringjew, if not wanderingjew, would’ve certainly wondered what all the fuss was about, for, he said, “anyone crazy enough to call themselves a Jew.. is!” And, I would add, any man crazy enough to call himself “Jew man,” must be Jew…ish. And any woman crazy enough to call herself “a Jew woman” must Jew…isha.
In Genesis 2:23, we read Adam’s first words:
Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman (isha), because she was taken out of Man (ish).”
וַיֹּאמֶר, הָאָדָם, זֹאת הַפַּעַם עֶצֶם מֵעֲצָמַי, וּבָשָׂר מִבְּשָׂרִי; לְזֹאת יִקָּרֵא אִשָּׁה, כִּי מֵאִישׁ לֻקְחָה-זֹּאת.
Which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that – if we are to believe the greatest Torah exegete, Rashi – the world was not created ex nihilo but ex Hebraeo. A Jew (ish and isha), according to Rashi, is born ex Hebraeo, while the Messianic Jew, Christian Jew, Jewish Christian (Uriyosef, mea culpa), Netzari Jew (Nazarene Jew), Hebrew Christian, Christian Hebrew is born again in Christo.