A funny thing happened to me the other day in the locker room at the JCC (Jewish Community Center). There was a little girl about eight or nine that had been swimming in the pool while I was doing my laps. I saw her in the locker room and we started talking. I asked her the usual questions such as what grade was she in and did she like being home schooled (an easy assumption, this was a school day); totally generic. She asked me if I knew what church she belonged to and I of course said no. Then, as only a little child can, she adorably said that she wasn’t sure. We finally figured out which one it was and then she told me that she belonged to two churches. Immediately, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up because I knew what was coming and I was right. She said, ” I go to Church at Hope of Israel on Saturday and the other one on Sunday.” If you have read my past posts you know that Hope of Israel is the largest messianic “Jewish” organization in Charlotte, NC. Had she been an adult, I would have responded differently but there is no way I would say anything to upset or confuse a child. I just said, That’s nice.” and changed the subject. This encounter started me thinking about how Christian members of these groups think of themselves. It seems clear that her family still thinks of themselves as Christians and refer to this so-called Jewish congregation as another Church.
I usually refer to the people who attend messianic “Jewish” congregations or organizations as messianic “Jews”. Jews for Judaism says we should call them Hebrew Christians. I’m not sure that either term truly describes what they are.
Do you know why I put Jewish or Judaism in quotes when it is preceded by the word messianic? It is because most of the members in these groups are Christian and those that were born Jewish are no longer practicing Judaism. Yet, I am not comfortable calling them messianic “Jews”, even in quotes because some people may not understand why the quotation marks are there.
So what about the title of Hebrew Christians? This too is not completely appropriate as Hebrew is often used as another term for Jewish. Those members of messianic “Jewish” congregations who were born Jewish are considered as practicing Christians because they have taken Christ or as they say Yeshua, as their savior. Should they choose to return to their faith (sincerely; not to try and convert other Jews as some I know have done) they would be welcomed. The term Hebrew Christian does not work for me because they are two diametrically opposed faiths. Yes, some of you will argue that they have more in common than not as they both pray to G-d. Jews believe in one G-d. Once you bring in a son or as some Christians are now trying to sell, a messiah (All the self-proclaimed Jewish messiahs have been proven to be false. We are still waiting for Moshiach [Messiah] to come.), you are talking a whole different ball game.
Now you know why I feel those titles are not fully appropriate and I should have come up with something better to replace them; but I haven’t, as yet. So I will rummage around in my brain to find something appropriate.
Phony-baloney Artists? No, too generic.
Christian Scammers? No, that takes in all Christians and not just the right-wing, ultra-conservative mostly Southern Baptists.
I’ve got it; Jew Scammers! That is a great fit because it is exactly what they do. They are just like the flimflammers of old as defined in the
Collins English Dictionary:
flimflam .. 1. nonsense; foolishness …. 2. a deception; swindle 3. …. to deceive; trick; swindle; cheat…
A scam is an attempt to defraud a person or group of people after first gaining their trust. Scammers are the ones that perform the scam. Jew Scammers, I like it.
If you have something better I would love to hear your input. Please, no cursing, foul language or hate terms. Just try and come up with something that truly describes what these Jew Scammers do. Maybe I’ll like your idea better than mine. Sue