Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A knock at the door

Hello All,

This is my first blog post here, I hope it will be one of many...

Yesterday, as I was giving the house a thorough clean in time for Passover, there was a knock at the door. Who could this be, at 11 in the morning? It turned out to be two old ladies from the local C of E Church. Me being the good Jewish girl that I am, decided to invite them into the home and offer them a cup of tea or coffee. One we'd settled down, they came to the purpose of their visit. They were collecting throughout the Parish for.... a donation to their Church, specifically to repair their organ (that is the musical instrument). Whilst I knew that there was going to be a campaign to repair the Church organ, I politely declined the offer, explaining that as a Jew I did not feel that I could donate money which  was for the specific benefit of another religion and its worship. That didn't go down well, 'but' spluttered one of them 'the Church is the centre of the community and a beautiful building; it benefits everyone in the Parish' .

I've got to admit at that point, I sort of saw of red mist. You see I do, as a way of helping a friend in our town, who is also the Secretary of the Church, type up the minutes of the last Annual General Meeting of the Church (I do have sympathy, you see for a Mrs Hubbard type,  70 year old woman with chronic arthritis).   I couldn't quite see the logic here given that the membership of said Church is all of  50 people (out of a population of 3,000). And this is where I kinda lost it and told them that  if they had more members then they might be able to afford the repair themselves or perhaps if their own relatively affluent membership donated more than 50p per week per head to the Church, then they wouldn't need to beg off others. Needless to say they made a quick exit from my house soon after. I do feel guilty in some ways, but then I do think my point was a fair one. 

Shortly after there was another knock on the door. Oy, what is going on. This time a young women in her twenties and a middle aged women, I noticed they'd got Bibles & leaflets in their hands. At this rate I thought, I'll need another kettle. But, I thought it is raining and it wouldn't be very Jewish to slam the door in their faces. So much to their surprised and I think delight they got ushered in to our living room. So what were they knocking my door for? They were Bible believing Christians from a growing (200 members plus) Church from the bigger town by us, from something along the lines of the ' free evangelist church of Jesus the risen saviour'. They were in the neighbourhood, to invite people to a  Passover meal & presentation of the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. 


I said, well I am a Jew, who is going to be celebrating the start of Passover next Monday evening, in my own home and therefore had the real deal .I was hoping they'd be a bit more clued to the fact that they were coming to a Jewish household as I deliberately put my Menorah in the window and of course we have a mezuzah right by the door bell (!). I guess they don't teach that at Bible school, I mused. Their eyes lit up and they asked if I had ever considered learning about Jesus in the Old Testament and how he fulfilled all of the Jewish prophecies ? I said that I had no idea why they were knocking on my door, but even if I had of know I would still have let them into my house, because  it was cold, wet and windy outside and as they looked like they had already had several doors slammed in their faces , that I should do the Jewish thing and welcome them into my house for a bit of refreshment. I pointed to their Bibles and said that this was as Biblical as they were, in Leviticus 19, 33 to 34  & as to why I could not be a Christian, Deuteronomy 10, 17 to 19 among other places. I did say to them I would be happy to discuss with them at length an essay I had written a couple of years ago whist I was reading my  MA : why I am a Jew and not a Christian. Needless to say, we got into a bit of a heated discussion. They couldn't quite grasp the fact that I had as much knowledge about their Bible as they did, which  flummoxed them and they left the house as quickly as they could , which disappointed me as we'd only covered Isaiah 53,  let alone going on to a critique of 'Hebrews', salvation and St Paul, among other things.

 I received visits from two different types of Christians. Musing about this is  important because I still live in what is overwhelming a white middle class 'christian' area. I live in what is still technically a national Christian state,so that will always be the predominate culture of the UK*. Therefore to a Jew,who will always be a minority in the UK, important to know what is going on within Christianity as this has an impact upon our faith and fortunes as well. To me I saw that one  group seemed to be entirely wrapped up in their own world, but entirely confident that someone else should be picking up the tab for their Church. The other group was outward looking, but again entirely confident that someone else would just automatically accept whatever they had to say at face value and without comment and getting a tad upset at the challenge. I'm not sure whether or not either approach was particularly effective. I do know that Christianity in all of its forms is certainly not dying in the UK. Rather, perhaps it is shifting and changing. As the C of E withers into discussions, often byzantine e.g. 'saving the organ' at a local level, or the obsessions with women Vicars and gay marriage at a national level, there are other, younger and confident denominations that are taking its place. So I don't buy this baloney about the Christian Church dying in the UK. It is merely a matter of change. 

*mythology about Islam aside- I doubt that the majority of the English would ever be truly comfortable ever adopting that religion, although I accept it will be a large minority of the population in years to come, which brings  problems and issues as well.


  1. HI Auntie Esther,

    Could I have a copy of that essay. Will be useful for me at university! x (:

  2. Esther,

    Not sure if you are being tongue in cheek with some of this, but it is true that Christianity is actually growing or at least not on its knees as such as people think. It is the established denominations which are seemingly struggling. I would disagree that we live in a Christian country; we live in a pagan country in all but name. The C of E's problem is that it still wants to be the premier church of the land and doesn't quite know how to maintain that. Do they maintain this by going along with society or retrench into their traditional beliefs? Will they consider closing some of the many thousands of churches with small memberships, who as you say are obsessed with organ repairs, rather than doing anything about their own declining and ageing membership (the answer to which is larger families, young people and or trying to get people to join).

    I'd also say at present that the bigger issue for Jews and Christians is the growing Islamic population, especially as that too is veering toward the more extreme end.

  3. Like your style of writing - and also your approach to those callers.

    I'm now arranging for the local Roman Catholic priest to pop round to explain the authentic faith. He'll be male, by the way. Treat him kindly. If he's Irish, do offer him the choice between a fine malt and a cup of tea. And if he's liberally inclined, please don't try to convert him to Judaism. You might just succeed and we're getting rather thin on the ground these days.

  4. If you want to be eternally separated from Y'HoVaH,
    that is YOURChoice...
    I have the blood of Yeshua HaMashiach. He has made atonement for the BELIEVER'S SIN!!
    & I guess, you have Skipped this one ......
    Ezekiel 18
    Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
    18 The word of Adonai came to me: 2 “What does it mean, that you keep quoting this proverb in the land of Isra’el —

    ‘When parents eat sour grapes,
    their children’s teeth are set on edge’?
    3 “As I live,” says Adonai Elohim, “I swear that you will never again quote this proverb in Isra’el. 4 Look, all lives belong to me — both the parent’s life and the child’s life are equally mine — so it is the person who sins, himself, who must die.
    Shalom aleichem.
    Shavua tov.
    Ahava in Yeshua.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Larry Cosmo,

    I let that post through by mistake, as I can't always read the whole posts in the moderation box (sometimes I get the emailed to my phone, a bit random). But regardless I've deleted your post.If you wish to link to Nazi propaganda films,do so somewhere else, but not here.

  7. Knock! Knock!

    "Who’s there?"


    "Cheese who?"

    "Cheesus saves!"


    (That's gonna cost Happy Jack a few good works)

  8. Hi Esther,

    I can well imagine what and how you said that (:

    Can I have a copy of that essay as well please?

  9. I'd like a copy as well..

  10. Natasha, Hannah/Rachel,hi, I can do better and post it up here. Might cause a bit of a storm, but there you go. Perhaps I will do an edited version as it was written during a period where, like you guys, I was overwhelmed somewhat by the secular world and the vehement nature of Christian missionaries, so was quite, feisty and polemical at times. I doubt Dodo would mind so much, though, as the essay was a focus on Evangelical Protestant Christianity and Messianic Judaism, or the forms of Christianity which are active in missionary work at universities.

  11. David,

    See your point, but I'd refer you to my little * which dealt with that point, albeit in brief. The mainstream Church are less inclined to do heavy evangelism (even the Alpha Course is somewhat tame, if effective). The new Christianity which will emerge out of the rubble of self destroying liberalism & when the C of E is formally disestablished, the religious landscape will be much different in my view.

    I would discount Catholicism from the equation( at least in the UK, which is my focus here) because Catholicism like Judaism has never quite fitted into mainstream British culture, at least since the Reformation period , so it is quieter and less robust in evangelism than Protestant organisations. That could change, if a future Monarch became a Catholic (or indeed a Jew) as I believe they've now gotten rid of the ban on the Monarch being a Protestant only (?). But that alone means the potential for the C of E to be disbanded at some point in the future. It is a matter of when.

  12. Actually, looking back at my 5 favorite essays (which were nothing to do with my academic study at the time, but done for pure interest) were :

    1. John Stuart Mill's
    'On Liberty', an Orthodox Jewish critique.

    2. Why I am a Jew and not a Christian

    3. Socialism is evil

    4. Nixon goes to China : only Cromwell could allow the Jews back to Great Britain.

    5. Why I'm a Zionist.

    Just been thumbing through them. Boy, was I a feisty radical...

  13. Greetings Dodo,

    Thank you for your compliment. As it happens, I don't know a great deal about Catholicism. Not because I don't know Catholics, but because they've never really tried to 'evangelise' me or gotten into a religious discussion. I guess it must be a Protestant thing.

  14. Messianic Jew,

    I'll never get your particular faith- a strange mixture of Protestant Christianity and Rabbinical Judaism. They irony for you is that to be a Christian, you have to believe that Judaism has been superceeded by Christianity. None of the Jewish rituals you follow, therefore, have any relevance or power in your new faith. There is no point in you observing Yom Kippur, as to you Christ is the atonement. Do you see how ludicrous your position is?

  15. Fritz Wondabar8 April 2014 at 17:10


    'Boy was I a radical'.

    You don't come across as being that left wing to me?

  16. Esther
    Sight of your paper 'John Stuart Mill's 'On Liberty', an Orthodox Jewish critique' would have been very helpful during a recent encounter Happy Jack had with a certain blogger.

    Fritz W
    One can be a 'radical conservative', you know. Not to be confused with a free radical.

    Messianic Jew
    "Ah, don't embawwass yourself."

  17. Esther ,

    The concept of a Jew believing in Jesus seems to be a contradiction based on the contemporary understanding and practices of these two religions, Rabbinical Judaism and Christianity. The reason is that many people have a pre-conceived dichotomy. On the one hand, we have Jews and Judaism and on the other hand, Gentiles and Christianity; you are either one or the other. But if we go back to the beginning of the Church, we find that Jesus was actually called Yeshua, a Jew living in a Jewish land among Jewish people. All the apostles were Jewish, all Hebrew Scripture writers were Jewish as well as the authors* of the Brit Chadashah, and for many years this faith in Yeshua was strictly a Jewish one. From the book of Acts (21:20) and other historical evidence, many believe that in the first century there were literally tens of thousands of Messianic Jews. In addition, there were Messianic synagogues scattered throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. Whether it was Jewish to believe in Yeshua was never an issue. Of course it was Jewish! What else could it have been having a Jewish Rabbi, teaching from Jewish writings in a Jewish land? Yeshua's teachings were about correctly interpreting the Torah, the Hebrew Scriptures, not about starting a new religion, and the Jews were not asked to convert to another religion but to believe in their own, to believe in a Messiah corrected Torah-true Judaism, as Yeshua states in the book of Matthew 5:17: "Do not think that I came to misinterpret the Torah or the Prophets; I did not come to misinterpret but to interpret it correctly."

  18. Hi Esther,

    You could post all of those essays here? Although, I guess you're going to say that they were all hand written??

  19. Hello Fritz,

    I'm not left wing, but I doubt you'd be able to pigeon hole me as anything. Political freelancer, perhaps?

  20. Hi Hannah,

    Well they are in my own handwriting, complete with red wine stains. So they might take some time to write up, which I need to do anyways as they paper is fading and yellowing a bit.

    Hi Happy Jack,

    I was a bit no holds barred on Mill, so it kinda a bit ranty in places. As said to Hannah (above) I shall type them up and possibly post them here. They were long, but I hope enjoyable insights.

  21. Messianic Jew,

    The flaw in your arguments is that what other Jewish Rabbi claimed divinity and that he was god's son? That is where Judaism and Christianity divide. Jesus or Yeshua is/was not just another Jewish Rabbi, in Christianity at least, he is seen as god's son, the high priest but also the one and final sacrifice for the sin of all humanity, including the 'original sin' of Adam and Eve, the only one who can forgive sins- past present and future- which the other part of himself (the first person of the Trinity) hates and therefore sends you to hell if you don't believe in Jesus. Judaism and the Jewish religion could not be more different to this Christian belief. At least be honest about that difference.

  22. Dominique Vasilkovsky9 April 2014 at 11:35

    All scholars do NOT agree that the NT authors were Jewish. There is hardly a LESS Jewish book written than the New Testament. Yeshua worship is a prime sin, and God is not tripartite.

    Despite Paul's claims to have been born of Jews, being a Pharisee and a "Hebrew of Hebrews" -- all to create the illusion of his Jewish authority -- he complained that he could not keep the commandments. It was not such a problem for the observant Jewish population as a whole. Deuteronomy 30:11 says, "“This commandment I am giving 19 you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it too remote."

    Indeed, it is telling that every time Paul quoted the Hebrew, he used the Greek Septuagint. No real Pharisee would have done that. Paul evidently did not have a good working knowledge of Hebrew.

    The actual disciple John was an unschooled fisherman and did not write Hebrew, let alone Greek. John was written by a Greek author.

  23. Bible and Truth9 April 2014 at 11:43

    Please understand that Judaism, as it is used today, refers to Rabbincal Talmudic Judaism which did not exist in the first century. Judaism is a word that was created in the middle ages to refer to the Talmudic religious system. The correct definition of Judaism does not include the old covenant practices per the Mosaic Law, but interpretations and commentary on the Law of Moses as it pertains to the current commandments, instructions according to the Talmud, not the Mosaic Law, which holds a lesser position. In other words, the Jewish religion today is not what was practiced by Israel in the OT.

  24. Hugo Butterfield9 April 2014 at 12:03

    HI. I am new to this forum but post regularly on the Seventh Day Adventist forum. I have a few questions and hope there is some here that can help me.

    First a little background.
    I am a gentile believer is Jesus….. Saved by Grace alone. I was raised Seventh day Adventist but left that denomination many years ago. I say this because SDA’s have adopted a few things from Judaism.

    While I am a gentile, I have great respect for the Jewish people and its history.What I am very bothered by is what I would describe as (gentile) “wanna-be Jews”. I have encountered some “Christian gentile’s” that have assumed some or all ( as they see it)Jewish religious lifestyle, including food, clothing and traditions. I have viewed them in two forms. 1. Hebrew Roots and 2. Messianic congregations that are almost entirely made up of gentiles.

    The former (Hebrew Roots), attempt to move the Grace based Christian back under Torah with all the accompanying laws and rules. The later seems to be interested in mimicking Judaism in ceremony and style.

    Recently I attended , at a friend request, a messianic service. The leader spoke very rapidly in Hebrew the entire service (though the English was presented on a overhead screen) . It revolved around the veneration of theTorah scroll and did acknowledge Yeshua a few times. Frankly I was offended for the lack of genuineness. It seemed more like a low budget opera.

    I have also observed a danger here in the disunity that results for married couples that conflict over this issue. I know of one couple that has divorced because he resisted joining in the Hebrew Roots agenda. Very sad.I am curious how you feel here about such things.

  25. I've had my "run-ins" with the SDA. They point blank told me that if I worshipped on Sunday that I was condemned to hellfire and that Sunday worship was the "Mark of the Beast". They first approached me as really nice folks trying to sell a set of books. But as soon as I saw the title (The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White), red flags went up and I point blank confronted them. They were trying to hide the fact that they were SDA, but when I confronted them with the fact that I knew who they were, then the "Sunday worship" discussion began. They knew from the beginning that I was an ethnic Jew...maybe that is why they were so nice to me at the beginning?

    It wasn't only my "queasiness" with the Gentile Messianics trying to be Jews that caused me to leave the congregation and eventually the Messianic movement altogether. It was the fact that most of these Gentiles were (and still are) pushing their teachings in the churches. It is definitely infiltrating the Baptist churches big time....and probably in most Protestant churches also. It is a dangerous movement that strives to put born again Gentiles (and born again Jews who are in those churches) back under the Torah (law of Moses).

  26. Hugo,

    You are asking the wrong people here. We are Orthodox Jews, not Messianic Jews (unless your comment was meant for the person who posts as such here?). I can't really comment. If you want authentic Judaism go to a Jewish Synagogue. If you want authentic Christianity go to a Church. If you want a confused mismatch of the two, go to one of those Messianic Churches. I don't know much about the SDA. I have come across one online and he seems pretty sound in his beliefs, so have no idea what the anon is on about in his post.

  27. Dominique,

    Interesting observations there. Do you have a link/proof or is that just a hearsay?

    Bible and Truth

    We beg to differ, but I really don't have time to counter your christian spin/view of authentic historic Judaism.

  28. Hugo,

    Hebrew roots is even more wacky than Messianic 'Judaism'. I'd stay well away from that. They want to evangelise both Jew and Gentile into a version of the Torah- the see the 'old testament' literally and it as being superior to the 'new'- which is clearly balls to Christianity &for that matter Judaism as they reject the Oral Torah.

    Judaism is not a missionary faith,but it is possible to convert. There is an alternative, if you wish to learn Torah and follow G-d in a religious sense, called the B'nai Noach community :


  29. Antipodean Jewess10 April 2014 at 12:41

    Its funny how G-d supposedly decided (in the view of both christianity and Islam) that he wanted to "change the rules" and change the bible, and so he told 1 person in a dream or something (In mohammeds case, a flying donkey up to heaven) of the NEW path, instead of telling 3 million people, like he did at mount sanai...Then u expect G-d 2 punish Jews for not believing that he changed the "right path"??
    Yes, sounds very logical.

  30. Dominique Vasilkovsky10 April 2014 at 12:47

    Though there are quite a few 'Jews for Jesus' followers who claim to be Jewish because they claim to observe Jewish traditions and law as prescribed in the Torah. Though they take no part in the Jewish community - the very same that keeps the Torah and observes the Religion of Judaism, nor do some of them have any semitic ancestry. It is not possible to observe the Judaic tradition and law while following Paulianity..err rather Christianity. Pun intended.


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