Monthly Archives: July 2011

If a tallit is nothing more than a dance prop to you, I suppose it’s not much of a stretch to use the tallit as a mop, too (3:58).


Jewish Dress-Up Accessories

When the Messianic movement appropriates Jewish ritual objects, it often alters the objects to promote Christianity. Take this “New Covenant Prayer Shawl,” for instance, designed to look like a tallit. It even has a blessing in Hebrew!

What is the usual Hebrew blessing written on a tallit?

Blessed are you, Lord, our G-d, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in the tzitzit (fringes).

And what is the Hebrew blessing written on this shawl?

The main Prayer in Hebrew on the (Atara) reads in English as follow: Blessed are you O’ Lord King of the Universe Who has fulfilled all of the law through Jesus the Messiah and have covered us with his Righteousness. [All errors in original text.]

If the law about wearing tzitzit no longer applies, there’s no need for a prayer shawl. If you wish to wear one anyway, there’s no need to make it look just like a tallit—unless, of course, you’re really just playing Jewish dress-up.

Your cultural appropriation ::headdesk:: moment for the day

Your cultural appropriation ::headdesk:: moment for the day


“Embracing this Jewish tradition just brings a richness that we miss out on sometimes as Christians when we don’t know the history,” said Mrs. Austin, 29, a business manager for AT&T. “Jesus was Jewish, and we appreciate his culture, where he came from.”

Yes, because God forbid the dominant-to-the-point-of-suffocating religious observers in this country “miss out” on anything. Appreciate, appropriate, tomayto, tomahto.

This article isn’t about Messianic Jews, but the theme of Christians appropriating Jewish customs is clearly relevant.

Also, the “Jesus was Jewish, so everything’s okay!” argument doesn’t apply when you’re appropriating customs that emerged after Christianity began. Jesus would have never had a ketubah like the Austins’, for example, because Jews didn’t begin decorating the ketubah until the Middle Ages.

Speaking of which, I like the author’s sly reference to the Austins picking “one of several texts from the Reform Jewish movement”—texts which also happen to be written by a female rabbi. I wonder how that aligns with the views of the megachurch to which the couple belongs.

Bow Chicka Wow Wow

These people are going to give themselves whiplash if they keep bowing every time someone says “baruch” or “blessed.”

Also, did anyone else read Highlights for Children growing up? This video reminds me of the “What’s Wrong?” puzzles on the back cover. “Can you spot the five silly things this congregation is doing during the Torah service?”

“Messianic Jewish Studies” at Biola University

Biola University, a Christian school, now offers a master’s degree program in “Messianic Jewish studies.” The program operates out of the school’s New York City branch. According to this promotional video:

…after a few years of ministering in New York City among Jewish people and studying, you’ll be well-equipped to do Messianic Judaism.

In other words, Biola’s charging people thousands of dollars for the chance to convert Jews in New York who don’t want to be converted. I bet Jews for Jesus is seething with envy since they can only get away with charging $2,000 for the same thing—and they have to provide food and housing, to boot.

Flagging Spirits

The Hineni Messianic Fellowship is back with more flags—this time for Rosh Hashanah! Messianic congregations love flags almost as much as they love “Davidic dancing”; I can’t wait to see what they have in store for Tisha B’Av.

This video also shows the importance of good lighting when you record a video. This flag-bearer walking in below looks as if she belongs to, um, a different group altogether:


When You Go Two Months Early

This woman’s Messianic congregation claims to follow a traditional Torah reading schedule, yet she’s over two months early with her commentary on Ki Teitzei.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ki Tetze – “When You Go Out” – Debarim/ Duet. 21:10-25:19

In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor mistake. (I confess I couldn’t make it through the paragraph-less pink text, so there are probably far worse things in the commentary itself.) At the same time, though, it’s a great example of the way in which Messianics feel free to take whatever they like from Judaism—in this case, the idea of scheduled Torah portions—and use it as window dressing.