JEWISH COMMUNITY FEDERATION OF CLEVELAND
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON AUGUST 19, 2003
Statement by the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland's Community Relations Committee in response to targeted proselytizing campaign in Cleveland.
An organization known as "Jews for Jesus" has started a campaign in Cleveland to convert Jews to Christianity. Their efforts deliberately attempt to mislead people into believing they can be Jewish and Christian simultaneously. They may be sincere, but by definition they are deceitful. A Jew who comes to believe in the divine nature of Jesus is
a believer in Christianity and not in Judaism.
The Federation is unequivocally committed to the free exercise of religion and the constitutional rights of free speech, and is opposed to discrimination of any sort. However, we are disturbed and distressed that these so-called "Hebrew Christians" or "messianic Jews" would demean Judaism by suggesting that it is not as valid a faith as that of the proselytizer, and that special efforts must be made to convert its adherents.
We call upon the chorus of voices in our community who support tolerance, mutual respect and understanding to speak louder than this particularly offensive speech. Cleveland is recognized nationally as a model for interfaith
relations. This status is derived from demonstrated historical respect, ongoing dialogue, and institutional recognition of the sanctity of each other's deeply held beliefs and theology.
The Community Relations Committee urges people of all faiths, including the clergy and religious institutions of all denominations, to enhance their efforts to demonstrate respect and value each other's faith traditions through dialogue, education and mutual understanding.
In addition, the CRC recommends that members of all faiths not engage Jews for Jesus in debate and, most importantly, not to give proselytizers any personal details whatsoever. The organization measures success by the number of contacts and follow-ups it makes so it is important that we show them we will not fall victim to their efforts.
Louis Malcmacher, Chair
Community Relations Committee
Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland
For more information or for examples of "Hebrew-Christian" misappropriation of Jewish ideas and symbols, please contact the Community Relations Committee at 216-566-9200, ext. 346, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland is a nonprofit charitable organization that supports social service, educational and humanitarian efforts that improve lives in Cleveland and worldwide.