My son went to a school friend’s bat mitzvah service and celebration this past Saturday at Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati, a historic and holy place. My conundrum was whether to let him take his cell phone since his father and I were not attending. He needed the phone so we could know when to pick him up after the Kiddush luncheon. Thus, I wondered, was it “kosher” for my son to take his cell phone to a Jewish temple? I posted this question to Facebook that morning and some friends said “no” it would be irreverent. I called a Jewish neighbor who assured me that it was fine for my son to bring the cell phone, as long as it was turned off.
This past week, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach released, Kosher Jesus, a controversial book especially within various Jewish circles. His basic tenent is today’s Jews need to embrace Jesus as a Jew. Christians made Jesus into a Christian when, from Rabbi Shumley’s perspective, Jesus was and always will be a Jew.
All of these “kosher” considerations have me thinking: I am thrilled my son is growing up with Jewish families who have graciously invited him to bar and bat mitzvah services this year. In many ways, it confirms his faith formation as a Christian. He does not challenge me as much about Mass attendance or PSR classes. He looks forward to his confirmation next year. Granted, he is maturing as a young man but I also credit the example my Jewish neighbors give him as they raise their children to know and love God.
How do we as Christians respond to the idea of Jesus the Jew? Here are some resources from Franciscan Media, two digital and one print, to consider: