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
–“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.