The Holocaust is an event that is near and dear to many, and for none a good reason. The most devastating singular event in time that led to the slaughter of the most Jews is depressing and downright deplorable. As one that has Jewish heritage, but not raised in a Jewish home, my only exposure to the Holocaust as a youth was conversations in school curriculum. Changes were being made by policy makers at that time, however, and I somehow managed to skip most of the lessons on the Holocaust. What I did learn I chose to forget. As an adult, and being one called to live my lineage, an Ashkenazi Levite, I realized I needed to better understand the Holocaust in order to better understand my people.
In the process of me learning about Jewish persecution, I realized that even though the Holocaust is a stark historical image, it was not on its own. Throughout the years the Jews have been needlessly persecuted and hunted down by the nations. This has resulted in a skepticism against the goyim that is justified. How then, could I, a believer in Y’shua, embrace my Jewishness and be accepted by the larger Jewish community? The stakes seemed impossible, and they still do. The answer is simple – it is not a single event that can be done to make up for history. It is a marathon, a lifestyle, that must be lived out of one’s own desire to honor HaShem. Originally, I felt I needed to prove myself to the Jewish people. I transitioned into needing to be accepted for being Jewish. As I learn more about my people and culture, however, I recognize that acceptance in the community is not something that I need to seek out. I will either be accepted or rejected. What I need to seek out is HaShem, and live in observance to Him, not for me or for others.
I am a Jew. More specifically, I am an Orthodox Conservative Messianic Jew. What does that mean? I am conservative in my views, orthodox in my tradition, and messianic in my beliefs. I live a Jewish life, believe a Jewish belief, and hold to Jewish traditions. I pray Jewish prayers with Jewish garb. I wear a tallit-katan and a kippah during the day. If you were to put me in a lineup, I would be placed between a rabbi’s observance and someone that looks Jewish. I am more observant than many Jews you will meet, but despite that, all other Jews will not consider me Jewish. Why? I believe G-d is echad, but I belief that Y’shua is not just Mashiach, but also Adonai Himself. That is the problem to them. That, and what the Messianic Jewish community has done as well. Organizations like “Jews for Jesus” have promoted that in order to accept Y’shua, one needs to abandon their Jewishness and become a Christian. Such could not be worse or more false. Jews do not need to live like the Christians, and neither should they. The Jews still retain the covenant of HaShem and are expected to be observant of Torah. Those who call themselves Messianic Jews and do not do this are only worsening the problem. This is a focus in my doctoral program that I am addressing.
Jews are Jews. They have a culture, covenant, land, language, and special relationship with HaShem that no one else has. The goyim have the Cross, which allows them into the fabric as a grafted and wild olive branch, but they have their own regulations they need to adhere to. This needs to be addressed and changed in the Messianic community. They need to stop trying to identify with both Jews and Christians and pick a side. Christians? Then be a Christian. Jews? Then live fully Jewish, as a believer in Y’shua, and recognize how He fulfills much of what Jewish tradition and practice aims for.
Then, and only then, will there be a chance to fix the problems and misunderstandings between the two. That, and addressing the harms of the past…
Also published on Medium.