I am not an authority on Halachic conversion. Nor am I a Rabbi. I am just a little Israeli woman who has a relatively good familiarity with the Tanach having been raised in a traditional Jewish home with a father who was a Yeshivah bochur (a young man) before WWII. It is through his guidance and direction that I went on to pursue an undergraduate degree in Judaic Studies. That, of course, does not make me an expert on Jewish issues but it certainly granted me a firm understanding of them.
Two of the pillars of that firm understanding relate to the most basic difference between Judaism and Christianity only and are well known to many. The first is that Jesus or Yeshua, as some refer to him, is not the Maschiach, a concept which is a fundamental part of traditional Judaism. He simply did not fulfill the description of Olam Ha - Ba, the World to Come as outlined in some biblical passages (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 11:6 – 111:9; Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5 ; Isaiah 2:3; 11:10; Micah 4:2-3: Zechariah 14:9).
The second pillar of Judaism which naturally follows from the first is that anyone who chooses to enter Am Yisrael has to give up their belief in Jesus and/or any other proclaimed Messiah in history. One must give up one’s religious beliefs which were taught to them by any other religion which they followed. Judaism does not compromise on that. It is non – negotiable and is a pre-condition to anyone considering conversion to Judaism. I trust every member of Am Yisrael knows that especially Rabbis who take upon themselves the hard task of performing conversions.
If that is indeed such a basic common knowledge, how then can a Rabbi, one who is expected to have a better understanding than many, even slightly suggest, or hint that Jesus may be the Maschiach?
Recently, I have been following the controversy over Rabbi Shlomo Riskin whose service as the Chief Rabbi of Efrat in Judea may be terminated for whatever stated reason. Rabbi Riskin was allegedly quoted (see article and video links below) as talking about the “resurrection of god” and “grafting” of Christians to Judaism, both of which are associated strictly with the Christian belief in Jesus, specifically Jesus’ “messiah-hood” and which Riskin, incidentally, has since retracted.
My question is this: how can a Rabbi who claims to be converting people to Judaism according to Halacha, EVER, even vaguely hint at and give credence to any of the very same concepts that Christians are supposed to disavow when embarking upon the journey of converting to Judaism? Does it not present a contradiction and further confuse an already very complicated and controversial issue?
Moreover, does not every Rabbi, especially one of Riskin’s stature, have a duty to oppose any semblance of lending legitimacy to the arguments of the proselytizers and Missionaries who are stealing Jewish souls every day in Israel and around the world in a new Spiritual Holocaust?
That in itself should be a reason to discontinue his service as a Rabbi in a Jewish community, let alone stop him from converting people into Judaism where these notions are foreign to Judaism and are as far from it as East iss from West.