Quote of the Day

Feb 17, 2010 at 10:21 AM

"Talmud is not what you think it is.

I say that because Talmud is not what I thought it was. I had done a fair amount of reading in Talmud and about Talmud before taking a class, which I am half-way through, at the Messianic Jewish Theological Institute (mjti.com).

Wow, was I ever wrong. So I will just assume that you are wrong as well about what is in Talmud and what it’s purpose is.

I don’t intend to go in depth here and give you examples. I intend only to open your mind to something and perhaps create a desire for further study (guided study, by a qualified instructor — it is foolish to think you can learn Talmud on your own or by reading a few books)."

-Derek Leman from his blog post Talmud, Messianic Judaism, and Imperfect Truth

Listen People...Jews Don't Blow Up Planes!!!

Feb 16, 2010 at 1:30 PM

I travel often. Sometimes I get a little extra attention going through security because of my yarmulke, but I'm used to it. To me ... it is just another "perk" of being Jewish.

However, this weekend I had the worst experience of my life going through security at BWI (Baltimore International Airport). After an initial frustration with security, I had to go back out to the airline check-in counter, and then back through security a SECOND TIME. And during all this I had a TSA security guard following me around.

During the second time going through security I was pulled aside, patted down by multiple agents, run through a couple different machines, and swabed numerous times for explosive residues. On top of it ... my bag was rummaged through, also checked repeatedly for explosive residues, and the agents were very nervous about my tefillin and siddur. Apparently these agents don't know the difference between Hebrew and Arabic.

I tried to explain to them that it was all a misunderstanding. However, they did not care (as usual). So after almost missing my plane, being harrassed repeatedly, and most of my toiletries now gone just to appease their nerves, I flew off to Southern California for a second time in a two-week period.

Many readers may be reminded of a similar story that happened in January when a US Airways flight was diverted after a Jewish teen's tefillin and prayers in Hebrew sparked a bomb scare while in flight. And I have heard of similar experiences from other observant Jews.

The point of my ranting: Airport security personnel should really receive training on what they should actually be looking for. These people have no clue. And it is so frustrating.

Listen people ... Rule #1 ... Jews don't blow up planes!

Quote of the Day

Feb 11, 2010 at 11:53 AM
"I have identified [Paul's] basic convictions that concerning membership requirements (membership is granted through faith in Christ, and therefore not through Torah observance), status (Jew and Gentile are on equal terms in Christ; there is no distinction), and identity (all those in Christ are members of Abraham's family). How can we add to these the additional conviction [also held by Paul] that ethnically identified Israel, differentiated from the Gentiles in traditional Torah-determined ways, continues to have significance within the new sphere of reality determined by Christ?

With the benefit of hindsight, we can easily discern a certain instability in such a set of convictions. They could not be held together in any consistent way for very long. If the community is defined solely on the basis of faith in Christ; if Torah observance is not to be imposed on Gentile converts; if indeed the Torah-observant need to give way when such observance interferes with community life; if this community, precisely on the basis of Christ-identity, is the real family of Abraham; if there is no distinction in terms of entrance requirements and membership privileges between Jew and Gentile; then inevitably as time goes on and one generation succeeds another, any distinction between Jew and Gentile would inevitably fall away, identifiably Jewish portions of the community would inevitably become assimilated, and 'Israel' would inevitably become (as it did by the time of Justin Martyr) a purely allegorical or nonliteral designation for a decidedly non-Jewish entity."

-Professor Terence L. Donaldson (Mathean Scholar and Professor of New Testament at University of Toronto) from his book, Paul and the Gentiles, p. 185-186.

Snowed In

Feb 10, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Update 2/11/10:

Today I'm writing after phase II of Snowmageddon, which has left a total of 55" of snow, thousands of people (still) without power, and streets buried in snow. Some say the last time DC experienced this much snow was in the late 1700's. Thank G-d - this time we did not lose electricity.

We recognize the blog has been a little silent lately. With our participation at the Hashivenu forum aside, this was partly due to our being a little buried in snow ...

Last Friday, February 5th the mid-Atlantic region of the East Coast was hit by a huge storm that has since been called a number of creative names .... Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, Snotorious B.I.G., Flurricane, Snoverkill, etc.

Our power went out almost immediately Friday evening and we had no power for four days (until Monday). So we spent our weekend primarily cold and in the dark. The storm brought with it over two feet of snow, crippling businesses and schools across the DC metro area.

And now, we are currently experiencing part II of the storm. Beginning yesterday (Tuesday), another storm is hitting us with high winds and more snow. In fact, the prediction is for another foot of snow on top of what we already have. So here we are, snowed in another day ...

We're definitely looking forward to some sense of normalcy ... and sunshine!

Quote of the Day

Feb 4, 2010 at 1:26 PM

"The name 'Hashivenu' has become emblematic in the Messianic Jewish world for the stream of Jewish Yeshua-believers who uphold Torah observance, Jewish tradition, and the importance of integration within the wider Jewish world. As such, those who identify with the name are also those exposed to the greatest temptation to deny or minimize the deity of Yeshua.

It is my hope that future generations will identify the name Hashivenu with a bilateral ecclesiology that rejects both the Christian and the Jewish negative boundaries – exalting the Torah as the covenantal constitution of the Jewish people, and the deity of Yeshua, light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of his people Israel."

-Rabbi Dr. Mark Kinzer, from a paper delivered at the 2010 Hashivenu Forum - Finding our Way Through Nicaea, p. 32.