Wednesday, 11 March 2020
Jewish Identity and Faith in Yeshua
In another article in the latest issue of 'Kesher' (Winter/Spring 2020), Jonathan Allen - better known as one of the Tikkun webmaster team - continues his article about some of the ways in which identity - Jewish identity - is formed and shaped. In the second part of the article, he griefly recaps the importance of social identity and social memory theory before considering what research data says about how the church interacts with Jewish identity - what does and doesn't help. Next, he considers how the existing streams of Judaism work with Jewish identity. Finally, he looks at how Messianic Judaism can learn from both the church and other Judiasms to foster and promote individual and congregational Jewish identity.
After hearing from a number of respondents, Jonathan comments on the power that the church has:
Here, through a variety of voices, we can see that the predictions of social identity and social memory theory are being proved true. By rigorously promoting and policing the "Christian" group prototype, the Church compels Jewish-believers-in-Yeshua (JBYs) to comply with standard church practice and discourse - so losing their own Jewish identity and being unable to pass it on to another generation - or marginalises them to that they either leave or cease to have influence. In the one case where a church does promote Jewish identity and its maintenance, the JBY has been able to grow her identity and practice.
After sections looking at education, shared experience and ritual, and engagement with the wider Jewish world, Jonathan concludes:
There are lots of positive ways in which Messianic Judaism can use our modern understanding of the way in which social identity and social memory are formed to build individual corporate Jewish identity, to increase communal loyalty and cohesiveness within Messianic Jewish congregations, and to enable a stronger and bolder engagement with the not-as-yet Yeshua-believing Jewish world.
If you would like to see what these ways might be and how they can be applied, you can visit the Kesher Journal website.