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Judaism is Fundamentally a Religion of Practice

An article I read about an interview with Noam Chomsky inspired me to write this blog. Before I knew anything about Noam Chomsky, I was introduced to the work of his father William Chomsky through his book Hebrew: The Eternal Language. It contains a wealth of knowledge about the culture behind ancient Hebrew words. It wasn’t until I returned to college and began taking linguistics courses that I learned about Noam. He is a professor at MIT and is considered the “Father of Modern Linguistics.” In an awards ceremony at MIT, he was introduced as the “world's most cited living scholar.”  He is also known as “the world's leading political dissident,” which often makes him an unpopular figure to those on the right and left.
In a December 14, 2016 interview with Daily Mirror, Noam Chomsky was asked: “And your views on religion, you were born into a Jewish family and raised . . . .” His answer brought back some old memories for me. I grew up in a town that did not have a synagogue and …

Who Founded Christianity? Jesus, Paul or Neither? The Answer Will Surprise You

Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus or Paul say he is rejecting Judaism and starting a new religion. In fact, the term “Christian” doesn’t appear at all in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), which chronicle Jesus’ spiritual mission; and only later, three times in the rest of the New Testament. If Jesus conceived of a new church, why did he spend his life religiously celebrating the major Jewish holidays in the Temple in Jerusalem? And we must remember that throughout the years Jesus prayed, preached, and read from the Torah in a synagogue on the Sabbath. Read the complete blog at -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernard-starr/who-founded-christianity_b_13821370.html

"DO TZEDAQAH (righteousness)" - Yeshua’s Primary Message

The following is from a book we highly recommend – There shall be no needy: Pursuing Social Justice through Jewish Law & Tradition by Rabbi Jill Jacobs © 2009; Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock, Vermont; pp. 80, 84-85. Rabbi Jacobs is providing information from sources much later than Yeshua, but I have no doubt that he would be in complete agreement with her message. The information below has been edited and highlighted to make specific points related to the teachings of Yeshua.  ___________________________________________________________________________
The theme of JUSTICE remains central to the understanding of TZEDAQAH (righteousness). Support for the poor is understood as an obligation and as a means of restoring justice to the world, and not as an altruistic or voluntary gesture.
If the poor are entitled to the same dignity and quality of life as the wealthy, and if the fortunes of the wealthy and the poor are understood to be interconnected, then it stands to reason that t…

Have You Met Rabbi Yeshua?

Is understanding Yeshua as a rabbi more important than "believing in Jesus"? The role of Yeshua as a messianic figure gets much more attention than his role as a rabbi. The Synoptic Gospels, however, provide a wealth of information and highlights his activities as a rabbi.Interestingly, and as surprising as it may seem, we have a record of more of the sayings and the deeds of Yeshua than any other 1st century rabbi. Learn more about Rabbi Yeshua at --  http://www.biblicalheritage.org/rabbi-yeshua.html

Go and Learn What This Means

Over the past 2000 years there have been many opinions about Yeshua, but I believe almost everyone will agree that he was a good teacher. His followers were known as “disciples,” which Dr. Ike Tennison likes to call “learners.” “Go and learn what this means” has to be a clue about something that was very important to Yeshua, and something he wanted his disciples to learn. What did he want them to learn? Was it the meaning of this – “I desire mercy and not sacrifice?” Click here to find out -- http://www.biblicalheritage.org/go_and_learn_01.html

Who were the Poor in Spirit?

Dr. James H. Charlesworth, is the George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Chairperson of the Department of Biblical Studies at the Princeton Theological Seminary. In his book, Jesus Within Judaism: New Light from Existing Archaeological Discoveries, he provides very important insights into the meaning of two technical terms Yeshua used in his teachings – the Poor in Spirit and the Poor. The follow is from his book, which I highly recommend.
Some passages suggest that Jesus may have been influenced in a positive fashion by the Essenes. The very first beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount is “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). The meaning is now supplied in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The terms, “poor in spirit’’ and “poor,” are technical terms used only by the Essenes to describe themselves. 1
The Poor in Spirit” and “the Poor” signified that they had renounced all worldly possessions and dreams so that they might be …

What Kind of Jew was Yeshua?

Today, almost everyone agrees that Jesus was a Jew and an increasing number of people understand that his name was actually “Yeshua.” People often describe him as an “observant Jew.” When asked what that means, people usually reply by describing what it means to be an observant Jew today as a member of Rabbinic Judaism in American democracy. There are three very big problems with that understanding of Yeshua.
(1) Rabbinic Judaism didn’t exist at that time.
(2) America did not exist.
(3) Judea wasn’t a democracy.
Yeshua lived during the final decades of the Israelite Temple Period, which began with the portable Tabernacle of Moses and ended with the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem about forty years after he was crucified. There was no separation of church and state. Jerusalem wasn’t viewed as a religious center. Yeshua was a member of an Israelite Temple nation that was occupied and controlled by the Roman Empire.
The best example I can think of that reflects how Yeshua and …

The Real Ten Commandments

Think about theTen Commandments. How many sermons have been preached, books have been written, movies have been made, monuments have been constructed and court cases tried in which the focus was on the Ten Commandments. Now what would you say if I told you they weren’t about the actual Ten Commandments. Are you ready for a surprise?

What they called the Ten Commandments in the examples above were not the commandments written on the two stone tablets Moses received at the top of Mount Sinai and brought down to the Israelites! If you are willing to follow Moses up and down Mt Sinai, you will discover when he received the stone tablets and what was written on them. The journey begins by going to – http://www.biblicalheritage.org/ten_commandments_p1.html

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The origin of Rabbinic Judaism

Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky serves as Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He has been featured on Bill Moyers’ Genesis and Christiane Amanpour’s “Back to the Beginning.” The author of ten other books, including Sage Tales: Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud, he has been named to “The Forward 50” and repeatedly to the Newsweek/Daily Beast list of “The 50 Most Influential Jews in America.” His latest book is Aphrodite and the Rabbis: How the Jews Adapted Roman Culture as We Know It. We highly recommend this book, and after reading the except below about the origin of Rabbinic Judaism, you will understand why. Underlines have been added for highlights.

There is a great deal of debate about what Judaism looked like in that post-Temple period of the first centuries of the Common Era, and I vacillate on whether I should even call it Judaism or, perhaps better: Judaisms. 
It took quite a few more centuries for Judaism to find a…

What does Jesus want Christians to do -- “Believe Him” or “Believe In Him”?

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most important blocks of the teachings of Yeshua (the real name of Jesus) to have survived the 2000 year journey of being passed down from one generation to the next by non-Jews from a variety of non-Jewish cultures. The problem is that people who did not understand the Jewish culture or the Hebrew Scriptures of Yeshua have copied the manuscripts that have been used to make English translations of his teachings and created the Belief Systems through which over 2 billion Christian view and understand Yeshua's life and teachings. This toxic mix has produced crusades, inquisitions, indulgences, the holocaust, an immunity to the suffering of others, and an estimated 40,000 Christian denominations and paradenominations in America today!
Are the above thingsYeshua had in mind for his followers to be actively involved in as he taught his disciples on the mountain that day? This is theChristians today must answer. The bottom line is thatit all comes do…

The 18th Century New Evangelicals

The new Evangelicals were New Light or Separate Baptists from New England, whose leaders began to sift into North Carolina and Virginia in the 1750s, and who soon began to establish their own churches and create new ones. Baptists had appeared in the South earlier in the century – Charleston had had a Baptist congregation since 1695 – but they were quiet, well-mannered folk who were not active proselytizers.
The New Lights, however, were neither quiet nor well-behaved even by Evangelical Presbyterian standards, for they openly attacked the Anglican clergy, ordained semiliterate men as ministers, stubbornly refused to apply for licenses to preach, and valued emotional outbursts in their meetings as a sign of God’s presence and favor.
Through these actions, the Baptists managed to attack most of the underpinnings of colonial order. They denied the authority of the Crown to direct the moral life of the community through the Church of England, as well as the right of the Crown to legitimat…

Yeshua’s Values or Paul’s Secret Gospel?

Yeshua required his disciples to do things, not believe things. What kind of things did Yeshua want his disciples to do?
(1) Learn – The word “disciple” comes from the Latin word discere which means "to learn." The educational model in Yeshua’s movement involves being engaged in face-to-face interactive discussions. Yeshua would have been much more interested in the quality of a disciple’s questions than answers.
(2) Time-Tested Values – Yeshua didn’t use the word values, but that is the best word in our language, in my opinion, that describes what he taught. He lived in a world dominated by Late Second Temple Period Israelite culture. It was not a democracy. There was no “separation of religion and politics.” Rabbinic Judaism didn’t exist. Yeshua didn’t focus on religious rituals or prayers. His teachings were about relationships: relationships of people to Yahweh & relationships of people with each other. The values he taught were about how to have those relationships. …

What kind of believer are you?

Rabbi Jeffrey Leynor's video -- What kind of believer are you? -- is a must see for every believer. Why are there so many conflicts between people who claim to be worshipers of the same God? Do you really think Jesus intended to create all of those different denominations of Christians who can't agree on what should be believed, much less work? They do not event teach what Jesus taught about how to enter eternal life? 
That old way of thinking -- and controlling Christians lives -- is changing rapidly in the information age. Christians of the future will demand transparency from their church leaders & each other, beginning with the origins of their belief systems. Rabbi Leynor's video addresses this in a way you have never heard at church -- but that is about to change. Churches of the future will make this a top priority -- if they want to grow and survive. 
View Rabbi Leynor's short video at -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm1oaD_PLgA

We are in the process of …

If your brother becomes poor

In America, predator lenders target the poor and charge them the highest interest rates of all. Predator merchants charge them the highest prices for their basic needs, including food. What would Yahweh think about this? The answer is found in Leviticus 25:35-38:
If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.
(1) Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you.
(2) You shall not lend him your money for usury.
(3) You shall not lend him your food at a profit.
I am Yahwehyour God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
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Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown today (October 2, 2016)

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri. In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year." Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year. This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American New Year midnight partying and drinking bash followed by a day of football games. Below are two links that will explain much more about this special celebration. L'shanah tovah ("for a good year").
http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm
http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/rosh-hashanah-101/

When Did the Real Yeshua Become the Son of God?

The answer to the “Son of God” question is the key to understanding the conflict that divided the Jewish followers of the Real Yeshua and the mixed group of followers of Paul called “Christians.” The importance of knowing “when” Yeshua became the “Son of God” is not understood by Christians today. But, I have no doubt that it was at the heart of many debates between the followers of Yeshua and those of Paul well into the second century. Why is this still so important?
The validity of Paul’s apostleship, his gospel and many of the salvation messages taught by Christian institutions today are linked to it.
In order to accurately understand the verses that provide the answer to this important question we must have a quick vocabulary lesson. The first vocabulary word is “gospel.” When we read the word “gospel” in English translations, it isn’t a reference to a book like those we call “Gospels” in the New Testament today. The Jewish audience would have understood it to mean something like “g…