Jews for Judaism: The Response to an Urgent Need

The Jewish Response to Missionaries - Counter-Missionary Handbook


For many years I have been familiar with the fine international organization, Jews for Judaism. Its founder and West Coast director, Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz, has worked arduously within the Jewish community to offer counseling services and educational material to counter the arguments of missionary claims. The work of Jews for Judaism has had a major impact in disseminating the truths embodied in Jewish tradition. As a scholar of the history of Christianity and comparative religion, I can affirm that Rabbi Kravitz is quite correct: Many forms of evangelical Christianity target Jews for conversion and, in some cases, use questionable tactics to do so. As a teacher of religious

studies, theology, and ethics at Stanford, Princeton, the University of California, and a number of other universities, I have dealt firsthand with the theological issues of messianism, salvation, vicarious atonement and the like.

Needless to say, these questions, raised among Jewish students both in the lecture halls and outside of class, can be very challenging.

In fact, one of the greatest issues impacting the Jewish collegiate today is the threat of manipulative and deceptive missionary practices. From a scholar's perspective, one of the most dangerous and confusing of these tactics is the way missionaries use the Hebrew Bible. This is, to be sure, nothing new. As many scholars have demonstrated, Christian groups from the beginning re-interpreted the Hebrew Bible in order to support their claims that Christianity superseded Judaism. But this is not the Jewish perspective and not even the claim of all Christians.

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