More than a year has passed since I asked the question about just who is a Jew and who isn’t. I changed my life radically, changed the state I live in, and found a Messianic Synagogue, from which I live a bare two miles away. It was a hard journey, because it was a part of my realization that I was discarding what was left of my Gentile identity, and embracing all that is Jewish within me. I lost friends who did not like that I was wallowing with great joy in my realization that I, me, that ‘Anglo Saxon’, who never wanted to convert to Judaism, even Messianic Judaism, is none-the-less Jewish, however Western I might be.
RUNNING TO JUDAISM
I didn’t run from the idea. From the time my father died in 2012 until 2017, I had a lot of memories to process and fit together that made no sense because I had so little information that I could turn to. A few pictures, the odd dropped comment; the fact that both my parents obediently went to one Christian denomination or another, and then left at the age of twelve. The accusing, derogatory statement from my Dad of, “I always knew you were a Christian!” that completely threw me off balance. The complete lack of a core identity passed to me by my parents because they were hiding theirs as they went to University right after WWII, and Jews were not candidates for being a Frat president as my Dad became, or in a Sorority, as my Mom was.
Then I went to Ancestry.com and found I have the right of return through my Dad, though being Messianic, it is doubtful I would ever be welcomed in Israel except as a tourist. I found my father’s relatives buried in a Jewish Cemetery and the complete disappearance of all their 9 children after their burial. No traces…of marriages or deaths, siblings, cousins, anywhere. It seems that it is a common practice to hide what one must if you are a Jew in a time of persecution, particularly when there are wide-open spaces in the Westward-Ho period of post-Civil War America.
My mother’s maternal family is more steeped in mystery, for they came to America as the pogroms moved west across Europe from Tsarist Russia, and dropped all their family history when they did so, even as my maternal grandfather left England at the same time, and left no forwarding address. But the fear in my Mom never went away of something she never explained, but always prepared against. She lived in a perennial state of “What if…?”
Once she told me about being originally from Graz, an ancient city in Austria, then hastily dropped the subject, and never would get back to it. Graz was once a Medieval crossroads in the no-man’s-land border between Austria and Hungary, and with the addition of the two letters of ‘El’, paints a strange word picture…no-man’s-land of G-d. It is spelt Gracsol in Hungarian, and Grazel in German. I prefer the clear word picture of my maternal grandmother’s maiden name in German & Hebrew. Add that to Weinberg, Goldberg, Goldbloom, and even Rodman further back on my Father’s side of the family, and you end up with a slap of realization across the face.
I then realized that I was named for two deceased relatives on my Mother’s side of the family…in the traditional Jewish fashion. I was raised in a secular version of Torah, but with never a mention of G-d, not even in a curse, and noted that my parents had an extreme distaste of Christian Churches which was openly displayed at every wedding they had to attend socially. Christmas was my mother’s delight for the presents and the fun of decorations, while my Dad detested it all, particularly Christmas Carols, while Easter was only a matter of See’s Candy. There was never anything to do with the official western Birthday of the Messiah of Israel or to celebrate his Resurrection.
THE TORAH CAME TO ME
Yet, it seems that if you are steeped in the Ruach haKodesh, you can have begun living as a Jew long before you find out that you are. The Breath of G-d had me beginning Kashrut and Shabbat Observance over 10 years ago, although I cannot pin the date down. The Holy Spirit is our Comfort, our Counselor, our Teacher and our Guide, and with me being attached only to books and the Scriptures, I needed that badly.
I went only into a church to get baptized before I was guided firmly away…from that church and all others. I always felt chilled in later attempts to find the recommended ‘church home’. Instead, the Ruach haKodesh taught me what I would accept and could understand, bit by bit, until the truth was known sufficiently for me to accept that I was descended from Abraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’acob.
But being of the ‘Chosen People’ and obligated to the Mosaic Covenant is nothing new to me, and should not be to those that have no Jewish blood that they know of. The New Covenant is the Mosaic Covenant written on the Heart and into the Mind of those who trust in Yeshua. The Great Commission was from Yeshua to make Talmudim in his Name…in his House and his Teachings.
Matthew 28:18-20 (CJB) 18 Yeshua came and talked with them. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore, go and make people from all nations into talmidim, immersing them into the reality of the Father, the Son and the Ruach HaKodesh, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. ”
Yeshua was a Jew, and still is one, and will be back, soon I pray most heartily, as the King of Kings, ruling from Israel. He is expecting those who follow him to be walking in his footsteps…his Jewish footsteps and obeying everything he taught to Jews, who already had the Torah from their mother’s breast. The fact that the Adversary has convinced the majority of those who are committed to Yeshua in their heart that they need to do nothing with their actions is now the problem to be solved.
IT IS A CHOICE OF ACTION
Yeshua lived as a man, died, and was resurrected to begin the New Covenant in us. That New Covenant is every commandment that applies to you that was written down by Moshe and spoken of in exquisite detail by Yeshua and those who followed him in the Brit Chadashah.
You cannot be a Jew except by blood, or conversion, but all Believers in Yeshua were grafted into the Jewish root of the Israeli Vine, and they should begin to act that way. Gentiles need not take on the Mosaic Covenant as an obligation of heredity, but they are supposed to be taking on the New Covenant as a matter of choice…for love of Yeshua.