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George W. Bush will appear on November 14 at a fundraising event for the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute.  The MJBI is a "Jews for Jesus" Group, whose goal is to train "people in the United States, Israel, and around the world to convince Jews to accept Jesus as the Messiah."

[Note -- This is from Mother Jones, not the Onion.]

the former president is helping out with more than just speech-making. The most expensive of the ticket packages, which range from $100 to $100,000, includes 20 invitations to a VIP reception and photo opportunity with Bush, 10 signed copies of Bush’s book Decision Points, and passes to tour the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Bush is following in the footsteps of last year's MJBI honoree, one Glenn Beck, who received the group's "Defender of Israel" award.

At the event honoring Beck, "members of the MJBI’s board of directors explained the organization’s mission of converting Jews to an audience of hundreds who were seated on a professional football field, wearing formal clothes, and eating pork barbecue."

again -- not the Onion.

As Ed Kilgore noted "Sounds like quite the apocalyptic clambake (or should I say, pig picking)."

Unsurprisingly, Jewish leaders are not pleased:

Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said, "It's disappointing that he would give his stamp of approval to a group whose program is an express effort to convert Jews and not to accept the validity of the Jewish covenant."

Originally posted to Upper West on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 02:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Elders of Zion.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why can't these people just let the Jews be Jews? (21+ / 0-)

    That's all I've got to say on that.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:02:32 PM PST

    •  It's Against Their Religion To Let Anybody Be (19+ / 0-)

      themselves.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:17:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, they've stolen the Jewish bible and god (9+ / 0-)

      so I think they're trying for the complete set by stealing the Jewish people. Gotta catch 'em all.

      Spite is the ranch dressing Republicans slather on their salad of racism

      by ontheleftcoast on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:18:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why can't they just call themselves Christians? (7+ / 0-)

      If you believe in the Torah AND you believe that Jesus is the Messiah and his words are the word of God, then you believe in both the Old and New Testament, also known as the Bible.

      Reminds me of a line from the funny Onion article Christ converts to Islam

      In perhaps the oddest development, the Jews For Jesus organization announced Monday that it has split into three separate groups: Jews Still For Jesus, Jews For Allah, and Jews For Just Being Jews Again.
      •  This is our point (7+ / 0-)

        If you believe in the divinity of Jesus, that Jesus is the son of God, or a part of God, you are a Christian, not a Jew, even if you were born Jewish.  Note Christian = CHRIST + ian.

        The Jews for Jesus were founded by Evangelical Christian organizations, including the Assemblies of God.  Their message is you can still be Jewish and believe in Jesus.  Some of us really resent the disrespect for our faith, and what we see as a false message - people representing themselves as fellow Jews to better convert their subjects, rather than openly acknowledging their Christian faith.

        "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

        by Navy Vet Terp on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:24:38 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another problem is that Jews For Jesus (4+ / 0-)

          is known for a bait and switch of telling new converts they can keep Jewish cultural and religious practices, like holidays, and then putting the pressure on to drop all that as time goes on.

          I have a friend who identifies as a messianic Jew. She posts openly on Facebook about what she and her family do for Purim and other holidays (Purim stands out in my memory because of all the food and costume photos she put up). She regularly uses Hebrew terms for religious things most Christians use translated terms for, as well as usually using untranslated versions of names where most Christians use forms that have been through the Vulgate. Unless someone hears her discussing Easter or Christmas, it would be completely possible for them to think she and the rest of her family are simply Jewish.

          My friend? Is culturally and ethnically a Jew who happens to believe a man 2000 years ago fulfilled some prophecies. She has not converted from the faith of most of her family and she doesn't attempt to witness.

          Jews For Jesus? Are evangelical Christians converted out of a single previous religious category and highly encouraged to focus conversion efforts on others still in that single religious category.

          They'd see my friend as un- or underconverted and in need of some religious intervention over those Purim photos... and yet they frame themselves as offering a blended cultural and spiritual life like hers to their young converts.

        •  If JFJ is to be consistant, than (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinazina, Upper West

          they should accept that a Christian can convert to Judaism and still be a Christian. I think I know what they would say about that.

          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

          by RhodeIslandAspie on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 07:21:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Where is the line between being (0+ / 0-)

          a cultural Jew and a religious one?  Can someone be an atheist and still Jewish in his/her cultural identity, and if so, what parts of being Jewish are they allowed to keep?

          I'd be more worried about the Jewish sects who are throwing stones at children and suppressing their women then with these people.

          •  Actually, there is no line; it's a continuum (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fishtroller01

            a multidimensional continuum, at that.

            Speaking as a secular Jew raised by parents who were themselves both raised orthodox with extremely scholarly education among numerous siblings, and who as adults committed to the full scope of Jewish community as inclusive of and extending wider than religious practice alone, I have observed that there isn't anything resembling a "line." It's similar to my question as a youngster visiting the 'orthodox' members of the family, "but just exactly how long are women's sleeves supposed to be in order to be 'modest'??!!?", and being told, "it varies depending on the habit of the congregation the individual woman has affiliated with, and what she herself thinks is a modest length, and ....".  There are innumerable gradations of sectors of orthodoxy alone, as witness this quote from wikpedia  "Modern Orthodoxy comprises a fairly broad spectrum of movements each drawing on several distinct, though related, philosophies, which in some combination provide the basis for all variations of the movement today."

            Myself i grew up mostly in an intensively jewish extremely secular humanist environment created by Jews coming together with tremendous enjoyment of and constant discovery of elements of heritage new to this or that individual yet 'old hat' to others. At the same time, I also had "hebrew school" classes outside public school hours, as did some of the other kids in this 'community' (it wasn't a neighborhood of mostly jews or anything like that - it was a community center folks for miles around were active in, the vast majority of the suburb was other religions and heritages, and our 'center' on principle provided services to the elderly and poor and disabled etc regardless of heritage/religion, and was very engaged in interfaith and inter-heritage endeavors).

            the word "heritage" is key, because of its expression of everything that can be "handed down to future generations" as a result of the range of societies and overlapping cultures among which Jews have lived and moved for millenia --not always by choice, as the larger societies, cultures, kingdoms, nations, etc, have at various times banished, invited, exiled, hosted, captured, outlawed, appreciated, exploited, and rejected minorities such as jews viewed by the 'mainstream' as "other" (e.g., When General Grant Expelled the Jews, Sarna, J.D., Nextbook/Schocken, NY © 2012). This scope of experience collectively has produced a diversity and wealth of customs, folklore, arts, intellectuality, endeavor, etc comprising more Jewish worldwide experience than the limited meaning of religion can convey.

            A heritage that encompasses, for example, the Khazars, Sigmund Freud, the Marranos, an entire community of Falashas unknown by the 'west' until the 20th century, the Mazon organization, Hannah Szenes, the Kaifeng community etc ad infinitum, and which produces Steven Spielberg, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Bella Abzug, Daniel Mendoza, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Rosalind Franklin (to name just a few who come immediately to mind) shows itself to be a complex in which a concept of a "line between being a cultural Jew or a religious one" doesn't exist, and

            what parts of being Jewish are they allowed to keep
            becomes evident as anything and everything of our heritage that we chooseto engage with and have the resources for, as individuals and if/when we form groups of whatever kind. The only viewpoint from which "allow" makes sense as an applicable idea is, I suppose, when an individual jew may want to have something that is within the legal province of another individual or institution or jurisdiction to confer; thus one must attend rabbinical school and complete studies and be ordained in order to become a rabbi, for example, and one must tender whatever evidences the state of Israel requires in order to emigrate there under the right of Return

            Stephen Birmingham's The Grandees, and various criticisms of it are enjoyable interesting reading on an aspect of early American Sephardic Jewish history that gives a hint of the scope in microcosm.  Other windows of insight, Cecil Roth's The Jews in the Renaissance, Todd M. Endelman's  The Jews of Georgian England: Tradition and Change in a Liberal Society , Meyer Barkai's The Fighting Ghettos, I.Harold Sharfman's Jews on the Frontier, or, for the fun of it, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals, and Recipes... or the 1968 western fiction novel Sure Shot Shapiro by John H. Reese (who wasn't Jewish, altho' his second wife may have been).

            These are just a handful I grabbed off my shelf to note down for you. Hopefully some of this answers your questions.

      •  For you that may be the Bible (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Upper West, mayim, Mortifyd

        For the Jews, not so much. There is the Jewish Bible and the Christian Bible. Jews do not use the phrase Old Testament; that is a Christian term.

        •  I think his point was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Upper West

          If you're going to become a messianic Jew, why not just go all the way?

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 05:35:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's functionally what ends up happening. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Upper West

            There's a pattern I've read about where the converts from Jews For Jesus aren't permitted to keep the cultural and religious things they were told they would. They end up as generic Christians trotted out to get more Jewish converts.

            Actual messianic Jews keep a distinct Jewish identity within their religious practices. And they tend to be pretty quiet about it when they aren't giving 'this is where your faith came from' information to Christians without a connection to Jewish traditions that weren't explicitly recorded in the Tanakh.

  •  War Criminal for Jesus. (17+ / 0-)

    That's all.

    Vote rape. Vote torture. Vote War Crimes. Vote with the American top 1%.

    by Yellow Canary on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:04:23 PM PST

  •  Must be the war mongering corporate Jesus. (10+ / 0-)

    They love the Jesus of their fantasies, not the real guy of biblical fame. Just like they love their fantasy constitution,  not the real one we actually have.

    To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. Roger Ebert

    by lexalou on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:15:07 PM PST

  •  Oy gevalt! (6+ / 0-)

    With the Decision Points Theater, the George W. Bush Presidential Library becomes the very first Presidential Library to feature a Fiction Section.

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:22:16 PM PST

  •  I saw this on Huff Post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West, Rogneid

    The same article was on Huff Post for a few minutes before it was pulled.  I saw it and commented "That's funny" before it was pulled.
    If I recall, Jews are still waiting for the Messiah.   It sounds goofy, but with George Waste Bush, you have to expect goofy.

    •  Not only are we still waiting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mayim, Mortifyd, Upper West

      but that waiting is one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith as codified by Maimonides:

      "I believe with a complete faith in the coming of the Messiah; and although he delay, even so I will wait for him, for each day that he may come."

      Maimonides was, of course, writing in a world where Christianity and Islam had both become mainstream religions, and certain of his Principles were codified as specific refutations of Christian dogma.  (Possibly also of Muslim dogma, though if so I could not tell you which.)

      •  In some views, our history has more than one, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Batya the Toon

        e.g., the name Moses as a source word for 'messiah' - some of them false messiahs, of course. But by the argument of this viewpoint (which is pragmatic, if not highly realistic), is that a messiah is anyone in our history who has individually rescued us from catastrophe that would have ended us. I'm fuzzy on the details, as this viewpoint never interested me all that much, but i recall being surprised by and liking the idea that ha'olam ha'ba was not the focal concern, but rather this world/universe we live in.  

        Still, it's understandable especially in mysticism and in desperation when real-world rescue is beyond believing in, that being rescued by transport out of this world into an utterly good one, or by transformation of this world into an utterly good one, is so much not of this world that it becomes believe-able in by virtue of not being constrained by the realities of this world.

        it's always seemed to me that yearning for a messiah to transport us or transform the universe that way must express profound pain and sense of deprivation about life-as-it-is, and if that pain is not sourced in horrific material life then it must be pain at some psychological level.  but when material circumstances are bearable or even better, yearning for removal kind of seems like major ingratitude for what good we do have and for what good we may in turn do for others in this life.

        sometimes also, it comes across psychologically as a sort of avert-the-jinx of having anything good, i.e., distract fate from 'taking away' what good we have by deceiving fate into 'thinking' we don't value what we have all that much, so it's not worth 'fate's' taking it away from us.    this makes anyone who is not 'in the fold' kind of a hazard to those who are, because those who aren't are not engaging in deceiving fate and if fate 'notices' them then fate may unluckily 'notiice' those who are 'in the fold' as well.  so at root it's not really for outsiders' good that insiders recruit them, but rather for the objectives of insiders.

        kind of like being drafted as a grunt in somebody else's war and put at risk of becoming a casualty for no benefit of my own.

        i would guess that the these issues are a considerable part of the reasons that american 'mainstream' judaism doesn't have much focus on messiahs.  of course, it could be that since so many of our forebears came to this land specifically in order to themselves build a better life as much as to escape a worse one, the attitude they brought with them is that it's do-able by ourselves, and that beats waiting passively (or even waiting mystically actively) for someone else to come rescue us or for someone else to come rescue our neighbors and friends.

  •  *face palm* (7+ / 0-)

    That's all I have to say.  No further comments.

  •  Glenn Beck, "Defender of Israel?" (11+ / 0-)

    It takes enormous chutzpah for someone who claims to be Jewish but isn't present someone with an award when the only real interest those folks have when it comes to Israel is for the area to serve as the stage for their "end-of-times" dream war. Actual nations, actual people (Israelis AND Palestinians)? Not so much.

    GWB should be ashamed of himself for associating with these folks but I'm sure he won't be.

  •  He's not in such great demand (12+ / 0-)

    on the lecture circuit, I guess, if such a minor group can afford his speaking fee.  Seems like the political equivalent of a third-rate casino for aging rockers.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:41:28 PM PST

  •  a former co-worker of mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West

    became a jew for jesus person. don't know if it was a conversion or something? not sure if it's a religion? i know she certainly changed her lifestyle

    The Senate has no guts. The House has no brains.

    by gossamer1234 on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:45:01 PM PST

  •  the last place i lived in san francisco (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West, offgrid

    was about a block away from the jews for jesus headquarters.  i used to love asking them what their mothers thought of them when i passed them on the sidewalk.

    hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

    by alguien on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 04:45:14 PM PST

  •  I have a dream (5+ / 0-)

    that someday we will be governed by those who wish to live in the best of all possible worlds rather than those who wish to convince God that now would be a good time to destroy the world.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 05:04:39 PM PST

  •  This is why we don't proselytize. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon, Upper West

    It is ridiculous to pretend that firing teachers based on student test scores, starting charter schools, giving out vouchers or implementing merit pay will overcome the challenges facing a child living in poverty. -Jersey Jazzman

    by Desert Rose on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 05:05:06 PM PST

  •  Coincidentally, Billy Graham says "the end of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, Matt Z, CJB, offgrid, Upper West

    times" will happen today, Nov. 7th.

  •  These people are all cheats. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Upper West

    They want eternal salvation but also they want to take Jewish Holidays off from work. You gotta pick one or the other.

  •  I would be infuriated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, mayim, Upper West

    if I weren't laughing so hard.

  •  I almost feel sorry for them. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim, Upper West

    First they have Glenn Beck and now they have W.

    You can't get much more pathetic than that.  

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 07:02:38 PM PST

  •  Robert Morris (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West

    The article mentions Robert Morris of Gateway Church; he's a religious extremist who started Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas (very charismatic). They are always in Oak Lawn praying outside of the gay clubs.

    I bet this Jewish group is financed by churches such as the one Morris pastors.

  •  And, it's not enough for these people for a Jew to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West

    abandon Judaism and become a Christian. True Christianity means their type of Christianity. Evangelicals only. Catholics, Lutherans, Mormons, Episcopalians. You're not True Christians. Go directly to Hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 dollars.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 07:27:53 PM PST

  •  I have read that the JFJ bunch believe all Jews (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West

    must be converted before the apocolypse and rapture can occur, which they so desire. Not sure if this is correct. May be derived from Book of Revelations. Screwballs.

    "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage "

    by ontario on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 08:59:46 PM PST

  •  Vegans for meat-eating! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mayim

    It's the same thing.  Jews for Jesus makes as much sense as vegans advocating for eating meat.  It's a self-contradiction in terms, an oxymoron.

    I bet this Jewish group is financed by churches such as the one Morris pastors.

    That's correct, except it isn't a Jewish group -- they just use "Jewish" in the title to confuse people.  You're sentence, to be accurate, should read:

    this Christian front group, with the work 'Jewish' in their title, is financed by churches such as the one Morris pastors."

  •  But Why Bush? (0+ / 0-)

    Last time I checked, George W. Bush wasn't Jewish.  And I doubt that even his most ardent supporters would call him a deep thinker regarding Christian Theology or ethics.  So why would such a group be interested in anything he would say?

    A couple possibilities come to mind.

    * Dubya once said that Jesus was his favorite philosopher.  That puts him right up there with Thomas Aquinas with this guys and is all the theological street cred he needs.

    * Then there's the whole inspiring story about how how Billy Graham converted him from being a drunken jerk to not being a drunk.  Converts always like a good conversion story.

    * Like Glenn Beck, Dubya is the Defender of Israel!  What did he do to defend Israel?  Um... he refused to shake Arafat's hand?  Or something.

    * The group's full name is Republican Jews for Jesus.  I've never really given JFJ's politics much thought -- heck, I've never given Jews for Jesus much thought -- but it would make sense that the group is largely conservative.  Dubya could be entirely ignorant about Christ -- and I suspect that apart from a superficial Sunday School understanding of the Gospel he largely is -- but these deficiencies are covered by the mantle of being Reagan's Heir.  This I find to be the most depressing explanation, and the most probable.

    Read my webcomic, "Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine" at http://www.kurtoonsonline.com/

    by quarkstomper on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 02:34:28 PM PST

    •  any jew insecure enuf in judaism to want jesus' (0+ / 0-)

      hechsher is likely to want also the hechsher of the jesusly rich and famous because their wealth & fame proves they are beloved of jesus so they must be beneficial to get next to & rub shoulders with - maybe some of their 'luck' will rub off.

      of course, the get-next-to-the-rich-and-famous-so-the-lucl-will-rub-off-on-ya  is a pretty universal impulse.

      ick.

      as to dubya, if you get inside the thinking of the common or garden-variety sociopath, you'll find he'll embrace any label or school of thought that helps him to the profit he likes.  the idea that there might be actual principles some folks take to heart simply
      does
      not
      register
      on such a person.

      all that registers on them is that if affiliation produces advantage/profit for them, then affiliation makes sense, plain and simple.  they are perfectly willing and able to invest time and effort in learning to go thru' the ritualistic motions and mouth the required phrases and ideas, and if doing so pays off, they keep doing it.  they are good learners because they are not wasting any of their brain ---so to speak-- on empathy-processing.  they have no capacity for empathy, so they can't do that.  so they experience no internal conflict over their own goals or methods harming others.  so long as they don't experience harm THEMSELVES in a way they recognize i.e., so long as it doesn't happe to them, they don't experience it as harm when it happens to others.  therefore in their perception there is no harm, and  seeing others react as if harmed is a passing curiosity to them, but nothing more.

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