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March 13, 2007 eNewsletter


 Web Magazine

March 13, 2007

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Dear friend,

At first glance, Messianic Judaism may seem like an appealing option for interfaith families. It combines the ritual practices and holidays of the Jewish partner with the religious beliefs of the Christian partner. It would appear to be "the best of both worlds," allowing participants to be Jewish and Christian at the same time.

But despite the temples, the spiritual leaders labeled rabbis, the use of Hebrew and the celebration of Shabbat, Messianic Judaism is not Judaism. By worshipping Christ as a divine figure, Messianic Jews violate a central tenet of Judaism: God is one. More importantly, there is not a single mainstream Jewish movement or organization that accepts Messianic Jews as Jews.

Even though very few interfaith couples become Messianic Jews, we published this issue on The Threat of Messianic Judaism as a way of making our readers aware of the tactics of Messianic missionaries and giving them the knowledge to refute some Messianic claims.

Rabbi Carl Perkins explains why becoming a Messianic Jew is likely to push you further away from the Jewish community, not closer, in What's the Big Deal?

If it looks Jewish, talks Jewish and acts Jewish, it must be Jewish, right? Wrong, says Rabbi Michael Skobac, in Avoiding Spiritual Deception .

A friendly encounter with a pair of missionaries atop the Golan Heights causes Janet Silver Ghent to reflect, in On Revelations and Close Encounters of the Messianic Kind .

The tactics of Messianic missionaries are varied. In Phoenix, Messianic Jews quietly attend Jewish community events and own a Judaica store. In Colorado, they hand out flyers full of fabricated rabbinic quotes to college students. In Germany, they target Russian Jews, who have few personal connections and often know little about the religion of their birth. And in New York, Jews for Jesus set up kiosks at shopping malls.


Gary A. Tobin has no dispute with the numbers from Steven Cohen's study arguing that the Jewish community is divided between the in-married and the intermarried. He just wonders, what's the point?

Arts and Entertainment

Nate Bloom investigates the interfaith connections of the stars of ZodiacJake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey, Jr., and also gives props to Ronnie Spector, Phil Spector's "Jewish" ex-wife and founding member of the Ronettes.

Tom Tugend tells the story behind West Bank Story, the winner of an Oscar for best live action short film.


Marc Ballon relates how punk rock was shaped by a bunch of alienated Jews and half-Jews, in his review of The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's: A Secret History of Jewish Punk .

Helene Dunbar looks at a new book that tackles the question, "How should Jews and Christians speak to each other about religion?" in An Academic Dialogue Seeks to Break Down Religious Walls .

What's New on the Blogs

On the IFF Network Blog, we recently wrote about a teddy bear in space and printed a response to More than a Succubus: Confessions of a Shiksa .

On the Weddings Blog, Bryan and Julie explain how they found their rabbi and their minister .

Coming Next

Our next issue will come out a little earlier than usual. Our issue on Passover and Easter will be published on Thursday, March 22.


Micah Sachs, Online Managing Editor

Write for Us!

We're looking for writers on the following topics:

  • Secular life in your interfaith family
  • Coming out about your interfaith relationship

We're also looking for a couple willing to be interviewed about relationship issues for a 10-minute audio interview.

Interested in any of these topics? Contact Web Magazine Editor Ronnie Friedland at .

Connections In Your Area--Featured Events

Summer Snapshot

Sign up early for these interfaith-friendly summer programs for kids and teens .


Network News

Free Trip to Israel for Woman from Interfaith Family

Jworld TV, an Israeli TV production company, is looking for an American woman between the ages of 20-30 who grew up in an interfaith family and has never been to Israel, or visited Israel a long time ago, to go on a free trip to Israel and have her spiritual journey recorded. For more information, click here .

Know An Interfaith-Friendly Cemetery?

We're compiling a list of Jewish cemeteries that will bury interfaith couples side-by-side. If you know of an interfaith-friendly Jewish cemetery in your area, please email Community Connections Coordinator Amy Rovin at

Our First Professionals Advisory Circle Conference is pleased to announce the first conference of its Professionals Advisory Circle, to be held May 8-10 at the Capital Camps and Retreat Center in Waynesboro, Pa. The theme will be "Nurturing Outreach: Embracing the Other, Taking Care of Ourselves."

In the News

Publisher and President Ed Case was interviewed for a recent package of articles on the adult children of intermarried couples. Managing Editor Micah Sachs was quoted in a Cape Cod Times article about interfaith weddings.

Screening of Rashevski's Tango a Success

More than 225 people came out to the West Newton Cinema, in Newton, Mass., for a screening of Rashevski's Tango, about a secular Jewish French family, sponsored by the Boston Interfaith Collaborative, the providers of outreach programs for interfaith families funded by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston, including

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Check Out Our New and Improved Discussion Boards

We have launched our new, reformatted, improved Discussion Boards. You no longer need to register to post to our Discussion Boards.

Ways You Can Get Involved

Support Us.  If what we do helps you or others you care about, please make a tax-deductible charitable contribution in support of our work.


Spread the Word.  Ask your friends to subscribe to our  eNewsletter --the more people we reach, the better!




The spring holiday commemorating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew name is "Pesach." The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
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