08
Jun
12

jay dockins’ june 2012 rock of israel newsletter

Shalom Haverim! (Hello Friends!)

This last few weeks have been very busy with activity, services and travel! I have been to Oklahoma and Texas to minister and represent the ministry of Rock of Israel. As I type these words I am just one day removed from a trip which saw ministry in Killeen, Texas, and representing Rock of Israel at a minister’s conference in Waxahachie, Texas. I am home for a few days before we set out again to Oklahoma and then back home for my high school reunion! (35 years, if you must know…but we were all very young when we graduated!) Then off for Florida for another ministry conference! Life is busy at times, but it is enjoyable!

One of the main goals which I have always had for this newsletter was for it to be educational. This month I have borrowed some informative material from fellow Rock of Israel Staff Member, Doug Carmel. It is some very basic information which you may or may not know about the three main branches of Judaism. It certainly is not earth-shattering, but you may find it interesting and informative. So many times people are tempted to see the Jewish people and religion as monolithic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Read over this information and learn a little about the differences between the three main branches of Judaism.

THE THREE BRANCHES OF JUDAISM

To be ethnically Jewish, a person needs to have at least one Jewish parent.  Separately, Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people.  So you have people who are biologically (ethnically) Jewish and you have the religion of Judaism.

Yet, within Judaism today, there three major branches.  All are fiercely monotheistic, but still differ greatly.

Orthodox Jewish Men

When Christians think of Jewish people, many of them automatically think of Orthodox Jews.  These are Jews who try to keep all the laws that the Rabbis have taught for centuries.  Some are based upon Moses, but some laws are based upon rabbinical teachings.  They will eat only Kosher foods and attend synagogue rather regularly.  They pray several times daily.  Even within Orthodoxy there are the “Ultra-Othhodox” (called Hasidim or pious ones).  Many of them live in Brooklyn or Israel and, like the Amish, try to keep away from the outside influences of the world as much as possible.

If the Orthodox represent one side of Judaism, the opposite side we have today is Reform Judaism.  They are what we would call the liberal end of Judaism.  Many Reform Jewish people do not believe the Bible.  They believe the faith of the Jewish people should modernize with times.  Typically, abortion and homosexuality are allowable in the Reform Jewish Synagogue.

In the middle, we have Conservative Judaism.  This is a branch that is not as strict as the Orthodox, but not as liberal as the Reform.

Here is a short list so that you can compare and contrast them:

Marriage

Orthodox: Will only marry another Orthodox Jew.

Conservative: Will try hard to marry a Jewish spouse.

Reform: Will marry anyone if they are willing to live as an “inter-faith” couple.

Kosher

Orthodox: Very strict diet. No dining in Gentile restaurants at all.

Conservative: Tries to eat kosher.

Reform: Kosher?  What’s that?

God

Orthodox: Will die for their beliefs rather than turn from God.

Conservative: Belief, blended with tradition.

Reform: Belief in God, but a Humanistic thrust in life.  We must do, not wait for God.

Salvation

Orthodox: Most Jews have a place in the world to come. Yet we must always do mitzhvot (good deeds).

Conservative:  If there is an afterlife, most Jews are good enough to obtain  it.

Reform: Spoken of very little.  Many have no assurance that anything lies beyond this life.  That is why leaving a good name behind now is so important.

Bible (what is commonly called Old Testament)

Orthodox: Moses is studied, but nothing else of scripture is stressed.  Talmud takes up most of study time.

Conservative: Bible is not perfect, contains errors and is not stressed.

Reform: Bible has no binding authority on day to day decisions.

Messiah

Orthodox: A great man like King David.  Will bring world peace, but not not be Divine and is not to be worshipped.  Messiah will not die and does not bring personal salvation.

Conservative: No strong idea of a personal Messiah.  Messianic age of world peace will arrive if we work at it ourselves.

Reform:  Same as Conservative.

Percentage Breakdown  (There are approximately six million Jewish people in the United States.)

Orthodox: About 12% of Jewish people in USA

Conservative: About 30% of Jewish people

Reform: About 50% of Jewish people

About 8% of Jewish people are non-practicing at all, even atheists.

I have provided this information to you so that you will know more about the people whom we seek to share with each year! We love them and want them to come to know the greatest joy that the world has ever known!  Their own Messiah, Jesus!

Romans 10:1-4 (CJB)  “Brothers, my heart’s deepest desire and my prayer to God for Isra’el is for their salvation; 2 for I can testify to their zeal for God. But it is not based on correct understanding; 3 for, since they are unaware of God’s way of making people righteous and instead seek to set up their own, they have not submitted themselves to God’s way of making people righteous. 4 For the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah, who offers righteousness to everyone who trusts.”

Jewish Vocabulary
(This month’s term is not a Jewish term, but a Biblical one which we need to understand.)
Commonwealth of IsraelEphesians 2 (vv. 11-13) tells us that at one time we were Gentiles according to the flesh, without Messiah, alienated from the Commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of the promise, had no hope, and were without God in this world. But now we have been made nigh by the blood of Messiah! In other words, the blood of Jesus makes us a part of the Commonwealth (politeia- the administration of civil affairs, a state or commonwealth, or citizenship, the rights of a citizen!) of Israel. Messiah’s blood has made us all citizens of God’s commonwealth!
Now hear me, all of my fellow Goyim (Gentiles)! The blood of Jesus has made us partakers of God’s gracious gifts…it has not made us Jews, spiritual Jews, etc.!  We are fellow citizens of the Commonwealth of Israel! We have been adopted into the family of God! We have been grafted into the olive tree! But we are who we are! As I sometimes humorously tell people when they ask me if I am Jewish! “No, I am not Jewish, but it’s not my fault. I was born this way!” You see, the important thing is not whether we are Jewish or not, but that you have received the gracious gift of salvation which has been provided through the sacrifice of Yeshua (Jesus) on the cross! That’s good enough for me!

I am always interested in scheduling services! I would be glad to coordinate a date for a service with your calendar. If you or your church would be interested in scheduling a service, contact me at your convenience for information and dates!

1-800-207-7780       or             1-800-544-0829

jdockins@rockofisrael.org

@JayDockins (on Twitter)

Jay Dockins (on Facebook)

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1 Response to “jay dockins’ june 2012 rock of israel newsletter”


  1. June 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

    As I live in South Florida – I have seen every one of these groups in action. Even the pious ones. However, I didn’t know how to understand them in relation to each other. This is very good stuff!


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