Why Judaism is not a Race
One gross misconception of most folks is the idea of a "Jewish race." This is total nonsense because the covenant with Abraham was a religious covenant, not racial. Abraham was probably an Amorite and in any racial sense was the same genetic stock as the other surrounding people in his part of the world. He had relatives all over the place and not all ended up in the 12 Tribes of Israel.
By the first century more Jews lived in Alexandria Egypt than Jerusalem and most Jews didn't live in Judea at all. Judaism has always accepted converts and didn't even require circumcision of adults. In fact Hellenized (Greek) Jews often mixed with Greek Christians who were still monotheists. (Before the pagan Trinity and Nicaea.) The problem of conversion to Judaism was so bad the church had to outlaw it and murder anyone who tried.
EVEN THOUGH THESE PHYSICAL JEWS MUST HAVE INTERMARRIED with Gentiles, that does not invalidate their Jewishness, any more than all the intermarriage that was practiced in the OLD TESTAMENT: Joseph, Abraham, Judah, Moses, Solomon and many others married Gentile wives. IN THE MESSIANIC LINE you find Rahab and Ruth and Tamar (Gentiles)... see also Deuteronomy 21:11-12.
Also see The Khazars
More absurd is the claim of hate groups such as Christian Identity that the British and Germans are the children of Abraham. I'm proud of my white heritage and don't have to concoct silly race theories or belittle my fellow human beings to be proud of it.
Finally this "Jews for Jesus" is some of the worse nonsense I've ever seen. These people are Christians parading around as Jews to sucker Jews into converting to Christianity. This is done because fundamentalists like the Southern Baptists think that if all Jews would convert to Christianity their long missing Messiah will appear. If you are Jewish stay that way because there is nothing to be gained by conversion. Jesus was just a man with a mainly Jewish message that got hijacked by madmen and tyrants.
The following was extracted from http://torah.freeyellow.com/Judah.html Judaism is not a Race
Many people, both Christians and Jews alike, erroneously believe that, just as one can be black and Christian, just as one can be oriental and Christian, one can also be Jewish and Christian. This misconception has little truth to it.
The Jews are not a race. There is no genetic code passed from either mother or father to the child that makes that child a Jew. Although one cannot convert to become an oriental or a black, one who converts to Judaism becomes a Jew.
When the non-Jewish world makes the claim that one who was Jewish but converts to Christianity can retain the "Jewish culture and ethnicity," one must ask, "which Jewish culture?" And, "which Jewish ethnicity?" The culture and ethnicity of a Jew from Morocco has little in common with the culture and ethnicity of a Jew from Russia. Yet both are Jews because their faith, Judaism, is the same.
And just as many people convert to Judaism, and become Jews, those who convert out of Judaism are no longer Jews.
The biblical basis for this is I Kings 18:21. Elijah the prophet asked Jews who were beginning to slip into the worship of Baal, "How long will you go limping with two different opinions? If the G-d of the Jews is G-d, follow Him! but if Baal is G-d, then follow him!" There is a choice to make. That choice is between one faith or the other; you cannot believe in two opposite, mutually exclusive ideas simultaneously.
A rabbi named the Hai Gaon, the last of the Gaonim with any authority (as quoted by Adret, in Responsa, VII #292) stated that a Jew who converted out of the faith was no longer a Jew.
This idea was (and still is) shared by numerous rabbis, and can be seen in the Responsa literature of Simon ben Zemah of Duran, Samuel de Medina, Judah Berab, Jacob Berab, Moses ben Elias Kapsali, and others in the Middle Ages. You will also see this in other Responsa literature: Radbaz, Responsa III, 415; Moses Isserles to Yoreh Deah 268.12; and Hoffman, Melamed Leho-il II, 84. See also Maimonides, Hilchos Mamrim Perek 3, Halacha 1-3, as well as in Maimonides's Mishnah Torah, Avodat Kochavim 2:5.
The Law of Return
Modern Israel has a law called the Law of Return. This means that because Israel is the Jewish homeland, one who is Jewish can come to Israel, and immediately become an Israeli citizen, as one coming home. "Messianic-Jews" are not allowed to return to Israel under this law, however.
Let us venture into some personal accounts of why a Jesus-believing individual born Jewish is no longer Jewish after the acceptance of a new religion and a new god or messiah.
Daniel Rufeisen was born Jewish, of two Jewish parents. Because of the nazi persecutions, his parents hid him with a couple who were Catholic.
But, they raised him as a Catholic, and he became a Catholic priest. Father Daniel, aware of his parents' heritage, went to Israel and applied to become a citizen of Israel under the Law of Return. The Israeli Supreme Court denied his application, stating that, since he converted, he was no longer a Jew. He had to wait the customary time for any other non-Jew to become a naturalized Israeli citizen, just as in the United States, one has to wait 6 years in order to become a naturalized United States citizen.
Please note that the family who hid Father Daniel did not follow the wishes of Daniel's parents. They wanted to save their child as a Jew, but, as a Jew, Daniel was lost.
More recently and quite similarly, the same thing happened to a "Messianic Jewish" couple.
The Beresfords from South Africa tried to become citizens of Israel under the Law of Return. They were denied on the same basis as Father Daniel. It is interesting to note that the man leading the fight against the Beresfords for the Israeli Department of Immigration was an Orthodox rabbi and member of the Orthodox Israeli political party known as Shas.
Another instance of a born-Jew being denied his/her rights is shown in the case of Malvern Jacobs, a prominent Messianic minister and a certified minister of the United Church, who died in late June, 1998. His family and followers attempted to bury him in Toronto's Pardes Shalom Cemetery.
However, just before the body was brought to the cemetery, the Toronto Council of Orthodox Rabbis ruled that Jacobs was not a Jew because of his conversion to Christianity and ordered the gate to the cemetery chained and locked to prevent the body from being buried there. That led to a four hour stand-off between the mourners and cemetery officials, and the eventual return of the body to the funeral home.
The body was buried the next day in a non-sectarian cemetery. According to the Toronto Sun, Jacobs was an ordained Christian minister and was dean of the Canada Christian College in Toronto. The Sun quoted family members saying that Jacobs believed in Jesus since age 9.
Yet, his family claimed he never converted. "My father was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, was involved in the Jewish community, and wanted to die with dignity and pride as a Jew," said Leslie Jacobs, 48. "He never converted."
The Sun also noted that Jacobs started what was the largest Messianic congregation, Melech Yisrael, in North York, more than 25 years ago. According to Scott Hillman, Education Director of Jews for Judaism, Jacobs was personally responsible for the establishment of 12 messianic congregations in Canada.
These stories are shown, not as ultimate authority, but as solid instances of why Jews who accept Christianity are no longer considered Jewish.
Many of the above such cases have been taken to the Israeli Supreme Court, additionally. Every time the verdict was loud and clear -- they're not Jewish! To quote Justice Berenzon, member of the Supreme Court of Israel:
"That 'Messianics' are considered and accepted as Jews is unheard of. This is simply unacceptable. According to any criteria, whether halachic-religious or secular-judicial, there is no such thing. Ask any Jew on the street of such a thing is possible, and the definite answer you'll get is 'No'!
It is known that there is a sect of people, who were born Jewish and became believers in Jesus, which is called 'Messianic Jews'. They, as it were, want to keep their Jewish origins, but the Jewish people vomited them out and they will not enter into the Jewish nation (Israeli Supreme Court 467/75 T. vs. Minister of Interior)."
Furthermore, this is the attitude of many Orthodox rabbis today, including the Satmar Rebbe. Orthodox Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, writing for the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, for the National Conference of Synagogue Youth (Orthodox), in his book "The Real Messiah," on page 21 writes:
"This brings us back to our original question: What can a Jew lose by embracing Christianity? The answer is everything. Christianity negates the fundamentals of Jewish faith, and one who accepts it ejects the very essence of Judaism. Even if he/she continues to keep all of the rituals, it is the same as if he/she abandoned Judaism competely. The Talmud teaches us, 'Whoever accepts idolatry, denies the entire Torah'. A Jew who accepts Christianity might call himself a 'Jewish-Christian', but he/she is no longer a Jew."
Rabbi Kaplan refers to Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, Avodat Kochavim 2:5 in support of his statement. Here Rambam states "adayin hoo lo yisrael" (he is no longer a Jew).
See also Maimonides, Hilchot Mamrim Perek 3, Halacha 1-3.
It was clearly spelled out by one of the former Chief Rabbis of Israel:
"They are Christians in every way -- the minute they believe in Jesus -- even if they don't officially join another faith."
This is also the official position of the current Chief Rabbis of Israel -- Rabbi I.M. Lau and Rabbi E. Bakshi-Doron. As they stated in an official proclamation of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, 1998:
"There are Christian groups that call themselves 'Messianic Jews' whose faith is totally alien to the Jewish faith, and members of these groups who were born to Jewish parents have a status of apostates who removed themselves from the Jewish Nation."
Even Jews for Judaism, a national organization which counters missionaries, states emphatically:
"A Jew who believes in Jesus as his/her "Lord and Savior" has become a Christian.
Even if not a formal member of a church group that person is a Christian theologically. The halacha (B.T. Sanhedrin 44a) recognizes the biologic link to the Jewish people as inviolate, but also recognizes that as long as one remains an apostate one is not considered to be part of the Jewish community. A willing convert, whether formally or informally, forfeits his/her legal and social rights, which express a Jew's belonging to the Jewish people.
A Jew must meet, actively or inactively, the fundamental biblical stipulation: "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3, Deuteronomy 5:7). God declares: "I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6).
Surely, a belief in "God the Father," "God the Son," and "God the Holy Spirit" does not satisfy God's command even when one claims that these three distinct personages are really a tri-unity. Even to make Jesus into "a god" but not God Himself denies God's declaration that He alone is God. Such a belief creates a dualistic system of shared divinity unrelated to the teachings of the Jewish Scriptures."
Freedom of Choice
It was only after the experience of the Marranos, Jews who were forced by the Church to convert to Catholicism but who secretly practiced Judaism, that the Rabbis stated that one who converted involuntarily out of Judaism did not have to convert back to Judaism. This assumes that because it was done out of force, the Jew in his heart never really left the Jewish religion. This also concerns only those who wish to return to Judaism. It says nothing about those who accept the theology of Christianity as their own and therefore remain Christian.
Nor is it true in the case of anyone else, anywhere else, converting to Christianity today. In the modern world, no one is given the three choices: leaving the country of their birth, death, or conversion to Christianity, as the Jews of Europe were given in the Middle Ages, and which gave reason to the leniency.
So long as one remains a Christian, one is no longer a Jew. But if one wishes to return to Judaism, the return is made easy as an act of compassion.
Similarly, so long as one believes that Jesus was anything more than a human being who lived and died around 2,000 years ago, that person cannot convert to Judaism, and become a Jew. The two faiths of Judaism and Christianity are simply mutually exclusive, and they are not compatible.
You were born Jewish, but believe in another religion, and want to be recognized as a Jew? That is simple! Simply reject your other belief system, and come home to the truth and beauty of Traditional Judaism.