- Alternative Judaism
Alternative Judaism or Agnostic Judaism refers to a variety of groups whose members, while identifying as
Jews in some fashion, nevertheless do not practice Rabbinical Judaismas most other Jews.
Generally, beliefs of these groups are not compatible with mainstream Judaism. Instead, their beliefs fall outside of the traditional views of the
Torahand Jewish law. These movements may be explicitly atheistic, or they may incorporate certain elements foreign to Judaism, such as pagan or other religious traditions. Mainstream Jewish movements often criticize alternative groups as “not being Jewish”, as alternative groups often follow ideas that fall outside two important parameters historically apparent in Jewish theology: the oneness of God and God’s non-corporeal nature. ["For most American Jews, it is acceptable to blend some degree of foreign spiritual elements with Judaism. The one exception is Christianity, which is perceived to be incompatible with any form of Jewishness. Jews for Jesus and other Messianic Jewish groups are thus seen as antithetical to Judaism and are completely rejected by the majority of Jews". (Kaplan, Dana Evan. "The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism", Cambridge University Press, Aug 15, 2005, p. 9).]
Alternative forms of Judaism are nothing new in
Jewish history, and have appeared in the past in such forms as the Sabbateans and Frankists which fell outside the common Orthodox and Non-Orthodox (Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist) classification of the four major streams of today's Jewish denominations. These may be combinations of secular Jewish cultureand Jewish symbolismwith non-Jewish religions and philosophies.
Alternative movements within Judaism
Modern alternative movements that have emerged from within traditional Judaism:
Humanistic Judaism, an organized group that takes a non-theistic or agnosticapproach to Judaism and which has around 50,000 members worldwide in over 60 congregations.
quote=Messianic Jewish organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, often refer to their faith as fulfilled Judaism, in that they believe Jesus fulfilled the Messianic prophecies. Although Messianic Judaism claims to be Jewish, and many adherents observe Jewish holidays, most Jews regard Messianic Judaism as deceptive at best, fraudulent at worst. They charge that Messianic Judaism is actually Christianity presenting itself as Judaism. Jewish groups are particularly distressed at the aggressive evangelistic attempts on the part of Messianic Jews.]
chapter=It’s More About "What" is the Messiah than "Who" is the Messiah
quote=It should now be clear to you why Jews have such a problem with ‘Jews for Jesus’ or other presentations of Messianic Judaism. I have no difficulty with Christianity. I even accept those Christians who would want me to convert to Christianity so long as they don't use coercion or duplicity and are willing to listen in good faith to my reasons for being Jewish. I do have a major problem with those Christians who would try to mislead me and other Jews into believing that one can be both Jewish and Christian.] Messianic Jews are also not considered Jewish under the
State of Israel's Law of Return.cite web
title=Aliyah with a cat, a dog and Jesus
date=June 10, 2006
quote=In rejecting their petition, Supreme Court Justice Menachem Elon cited their belief in Jesus. ‘In the last two thousand years of history…the Jewish people have decided that messianic Jews do not belong to the Jewish nation…and have no right to force themselves on it,’ he wrote, concluding that ‘those who believe in Jesus, are, in fact Christians.’ The state's position is backed by all streams of normative Judaism, none of which recognizes messianic Jews as Jews.]
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