Christians, Jeshua the Messiah, Jews, Religiosity + Way of Expressing Faith, Surveys - Polls

Jewish millennials between 2013 and 2017

The Times of Israel  reports on a situation which should worry us. There were the questions posed

Are Jewish millennials the most religious generation?

And do one-fifth of them think Jesus was God in human form?

A a new survey says of 599 Jews born from 1984 to 1999 that 1/5th believe Christ was God. The survey creates a contradictory portrait of Jewish millennials:

These young adults describe themselves as religious, and practice Jewish ritual, but are unaffiliated. They value tradition and family, but don’t plan on marrying only Jews. They are proud to be Jewish, but don’t feel that contradicts with practicing other religions.

Jews For Jesus logo.pngWhen hearing what the poll found we should be cautious, because the organization that commissioned and funded it: “Jews for Jesus” is the evangelical group (founded in 1973) that for decades has been trying to draw Jews toward belief in Christ, and probably checked with the people they had contact with. Also the Barna Group who conducted the survey  is a reputable Christian polling firm specializing in religion, especially conservative Christianity (or even better Christendom), and was sent to the media with endorsements by Jewish studies professors. But its goal was to conduct market research for “Messianic Jews.” And Jews for Jesus likes what it sees.

Susan Perlman, the San Francisco-based group’s director of communications, told Jewish Times of America (JTA):

“This was a generation that was spiritual, that is willing to engage in the subject of whether or not Jesus might be the Messiah. All we can ask for is an open mind to engage with the Bible, engage with the culture and look at the possibilities.”

jew-overview-1From Pew Polls we do know that American Jews overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Jewish and have a strong sense of belonging to the Jewish people. {Pew Research Center 2013 Poll}. The 2013 survey suggested already that Jewish identity is changing in America, where one-in-five Jews (22%) now describe themselves as having no religion. The number of Americans with direct Jewish ancestry or upbringing who consider themselves Jewish, yet describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or having no particular religion, appeared to be rising and was in 2013 about 0.5% of the U.S. adult population.

Fully 93% of Jews in the aging Greatest Generation identify as Jewish on the basis of religion (called “Jews by religion” in this report); just 7% describe themselves as having no religion (“Jews of no religion”). By contrast, among Jews in the youngest generation of U.S. adults – the Millennials – 68% identify as Jews by religion, while 32% describe themselves as having no religion and identify as Jewish on the basis of ancestry, ethnicity or culture.

Because Judaism having no typical dogma as the majority of  Christians have, there is no formal set of beliefs that one must hold to be a Jew, and there are several Jewish communities who hold their brotherhood in different ways. For the majority of Jews it is all a matter of relationships, our position in the creation and how we do behave in that given universe. A lot of Jews focussing more on actions than on beliefs, therefore also use literature which can help them in the keeping of holidays, practices and observances.

For real Jews the most important teaching and tenet of Judaism is that there is one God, incorporeal and eternal, Who wants all people to do what is just and merciful. When we look at Jews who take Jesus as their god they go in against the basic laws and tenets of Judaism which are derived from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

The 2017 survey which for sure shall please the evangelical movement trying to convert Jews to Christianity and to have Christians to accept more the “Messianic Jews” as part of their own. Though Christians should know that not all “Messianic Jews” believe Jesus is God. There are many “Messianic Jews” who stay truthful to the Jewish faith of The One God of Israel Who is Only One.

Both groups “Messianic Jews”, trinitarian and non-trinitarian may take Jesus as their Messiah and may be more free-thinking than conservative or Orthodox Jews. both often have questions and sometimes also problems with their identity. The 2017 survey’s introduction reads.

“Often molded by intermarriage and multiculturalism, they reject rigid or traditional definitions of what it means to be Jewish, but — more than any other generation — still consider their Jewish identity to be very important to them.”

That importance of being part of the Chosen People of God is one of the main reasons the non-trinitarian Jews start doubting more about with what name they should come out in the open. Calling themselves Christians could have people thinking they too are people worshipping Jesus as their god. And logically that is something they do not want. But for the youngsters it seems more important than for the older people to let others know where they fit in. Their parents may have lost interest in their faith or lost faith in religious systems and have become more afraid to show the outside world that they are Jewish. In Europe there is even more fear than in America to let others see that one belongs to Judaism. In certain regions (like Antwerp) the Jews keep carrying on to dress in the Jewish tradition and to go to the different prayer-services each day. In the United States almost a quarter of Jewish millennials attend religious services once a week, according to the survey, and one in three prays every day. A majority says

“God loves people.”

Ari Kelman, a Jewish studies professor at Stanford University and writer of ‘A Misplaced Massacre‘ ,who was interviewed as part of the report, said the study suggests a cohort distinct from all others.

“These don’t look like Jews I recognize,”

he said of the millennials surveyed.

“I was not willing to just write them off entirely. Maybe these are Jews we’ve never seen before. We know religion is changing, we know parameters of identity are changing, so why would we expect different generations to look exactly the same?”

Young Ashkenazi Jewish followers of the minori...
Young Ashkenazi Jewish followers of the minority Haredi sect of Judaism, Jerusalem, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Problem might be that Jews live very much on their own, cutting themselves off from the outside world. Secluded from the ‘capitalist’ and ‘ungodly’ society they prefer to mingle with only those they know to fit in with their way of religious life. In Europe we also feel that the majority of Jews is not so keen to share their faith and their way of life with others. That they are not so eager to share their literature with non-Jews or Jews from an other denomination we a.o. felt when requesting for the use of some books, to be allowed to quote from them on our websites. It is a pity we were not allowed to publish quotes from one very good Dutch Torah translation, though we also use it in our services and we think it would have been good for Dutch speaking Christians also to learn from a Dutch Jewish Bible. Is it that on the net it could come be seen by non-Jews or is it just certain Jewish groups not wanting their material being used by other Jewish and non-Jewish groups. On the other side, those Jews who take Jeshua as their Messiah are also considered traitors to the faith by several Jews. Several Jews consider those apostates as people they should avoid to have contact with and to be repelled. In several Jewish families a mixing with people of an other faith and/or a change of faith brings shunning of that person. From that moment onwards there may be no contact any-more with members of the family or with members of the faith group. There we can see that not only shunning is a practice by Jehovah’s Witnesses but also can be found in certain Judaic communities.

Confronted with the fact that the survey found that 21 percent of Jewish millennials believe Jesus was

“God in human form who lived among people in the 1st century.”

can for a lot of Jews be worrisome. Less distressing is that 28 percent

“see him as a rabbi or spiritual leader, but not God.”

and that is what Scripture tells us. People should come to know that Jeshua is a sent one from God, a prophet and a rebbe or master teacher who showed the Way to God. Never did he claim to be God or to be equal with God. His focus was on his heavenly Father, which for Jeshua (Jesus Christ) is the Only One True God above all gods.

Jews for Jesus is a Christian evangelistic org...
Jews for Jesus is a Christian evangelistic organization that focuses specifically on the conversion of Jews to Christianity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That the reports of that review which was presented this week would be a cause for concern for the Jewish community we can believe. But they too should come to know, like Christians should come to know, that by accepting Jeshua as the Messiah we do not have to be traitors to the God of Israel, nor to the Chosen People of God.

We do agree that in America there is a worrisome trend going on, several youngsters not minding to partake at heathen festivals like Halloween and Christmas. When 42 percent of respondents say they celebrate Christmas, we should wonder more how it comes that they do not see how wrong this is in the eyes of God. That a majority says one can hold other faiths and still be Jewish we also do believe and want to show here with this website.

Some of the findings depart from the Pew study of four years ago. Pew found far lower rates of synagogue attendance among Jews aged 18 to 29, and a much lower percentage of respondents said religion was important to them.

But Pew actually backs up some of the statistics on Christianity. It found that a third of all respondents had a Christmas tree at home, and 34 percent said belief in Jesus as the Messiah was compatible with being Jewish.

“This does not mean that most Jews think those things are good,”

Alan Cooperman, deputy director of Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project, said at the time.

“They are saying that those things do not disqualify a person from being Jewish. [But] most Jews think that belief in Jesus is disqualifying by roughly a 2-to-1 margin.”

For Jews the focus is on the relationship with God and when a person would take Jesus as their god it is impossible to stay (or to be) a Jew. Though the the survey found that one-third of Jewish millennials believe

“God desires a personal relationship with us.”

it is strange that so many came to step away from Torah teaching that there is only One True God. Some 58 percent of respondents in the Jews for Jesus study are children of interfaith marriages, often children who live in surroundings where Jesus is spoken of as being God.

Some results of this week’s survey conformed to expectations of millennials or Generation Y as less affiliated with traditional institutions and more open to multiculturalism and pluralism. A majority of millennial Jews do not affiliate with a major denomination. Only about one in 10 see affinity to Israel as central to Judaism, though about a quarter have been on Birthright, the free 10-day trip to Israel for Jewish young adults. Nearly 40 percent self-define as liberal and 24 percent as conservative.

Living in a multicultural society, but also living in a world where there are less people from one particular faith group to mingle with, it is good to see that only 4 percent would refrain from a serious relationship with a non-Jew, though 70 percent are committed to raising their children as Jewish. These statistics may be alarming to a Jewish establishment that has worried for decades about rising intermarriage rates. But for Jews for Jesus, which promotes its own brand of interreligious mixing, this is not a problem.

“I don’t see it as a positive or a negative,”

Perlman said of intermarriage.

“It’s a fact of life, but I think that spiritual harmony is important, so if you’re a Jewish-gentile couple, you need to find spiritual harmony or you have a rocky road ahead.”


Preceding article

Ambassadors for our faith in Jeshua


Additional reading

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  4. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  5. Which Christians Actually Evangelize
  6. American religious right will be quaking in their boots
  7. Are you having such days?
  8. Jehovah’s Witnesses Shunning ex-members adverse effects on family relationships


Further reading

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  2. Who is a Jew?
  3. Israelis excited by prospect of a simple DNA test to determine Jewish ancestry
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  5. A New Study Confirms Evidence of Jewish Ancestry among India’s Bene Israel — @mosaicmag Mosaic Magazine – RSS Feed
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  7. Pro-Israel Half-Jews and DNA
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  9. Still Chosen After All These Centuries: Readings on Modern Jewish Experiences
  10. Jewish Ethnicity, Palestinian Solidarity, Human Identity
  11. Ashkenazi Jews
  12. The Sephardic Jewish Brotherhood of America | La Ermandad Sefaradi
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  14. ‘Finding Your Roots’ Season 4 Premiere Reveals Larry David and Bernie Sanders are Related
  15. “Jew against Jew”: the legacy of Chaim Rumkowski
  16. National Jewish
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  18. Kevin Wilshaw: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know
  19. Revisiting my Jewish Ancestry in a time of Hatred (as a Catholic believer)
  20. Don’t Let Racists Steal Heathenism
  21. Jewish collaboration with Muslims during the Siege of Rhodes
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  23. #Leftists, #Democrats, target #Jews
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  25. Talmud and AIPAC
  26. My Content for Jewcy
  27. Israel Haters Tell Young Jews: Israel’s Not Your Birthright
  28. The Year God’s End-Times Clock Began Ticking
  29. Christian Ethicists Denounce Racism, Anti-Semitism, ‘America First’ Nationalism
  30. The Christian Chameleon
  31. Children’s Books, Interfaith Education
  32. 28% to 21% – I’ve Turned The Tide, Beaten J4J
  33. The End of Zionist Propaganda in America
  34. The End of Consumer Christianity (Part I)
  35. Conversations about Faith Part One: Following the Path of Jesus
  36. The Church & The Old Testament Law
  37. Donald Trump’s battered supporters
  38. Trump and the Jews
  39. Alt Right In The White House
  40. Palestinian Bishop Spat on, Insulted by Christ-Hating Jewish Settlers
  41. Warfare in World Religions: Has the Time Come to Junk All Religions and Found a New One?
  42. Arab & Israeli media provide inside details of President Sisi’s historic meeting with Evangelical Christian leaders in Cairo. Here’s a sampling of the coverage.
  43. Evangelical Pastors’ Israel Trip Highlights ‘Miracle of Christian-Jewish Brotherhood’ – Breaking Israel News
  44. Only a Cult Would Applaud a Ten-Year-Old Girl for Shunning Her Disobedient Sister!
  45. Shariah and rules that govern religious practices in other faiths are not to be feared, spiritual leaders say
  46. Help Footsteps Help People Who Leave Ultra-Orthodox Communities
  47. I’m an American rabbi. Israel no longer recognizes my religious authority.
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