Reform Judaism/Jews for j
What is Judaism's take on Jews for J and is Christianity idolatry? Thanks in advance!
Thank you for your kind question. First, we must be clear on just what Jews for j is. It is a Christian organization, mostly Baptist, whose sole purpose is to make Christianity more palatable for the conversion of Jews. The lion share of Jews for j are Christian not Jewish. Unfortunately they have made some strides in their conversion goals, spending millions of dollars a year for that purpose. An Orthodox Jew converting to Christianity is a rarity, however they have found their success in converting the marginalized and, quite frankly, uninformed and non-religious Jews out there. I agree with one Rabbi I heard on YouTube who stated that no Jew has really ever been converted to Christianity. While perhaps a slight stretch, his point was is that you cannot really convert someone who does not know their own faith to begin with.
Now on to your questions. There are two and only two categories in which to place a Jew for j. If the person is a Jew by birth or conversion and converts to Christianity, regardless of whether by this group or another, he or she is an apostate Jew. As such, they cannot be counted in a minyan, called to the Torah, buried in a Jewish cemetery or take part in any of the honors or customs at a Jewish service. We must simply pray that one day they should return to Judaism but for now they are apostates and not counted amongst the Righteous of Israel.
The second possibility, if they were neither born Jewish nor did they convert, is that they are a Christian, plain and simple. They may belong to an organization which tries to inculcate some Jewish practices and symbology, but they are (as I call them) Christians in cool hats. It should be noted, that if someone converts to Judaism and does not renounce their Christianity or other former faith or continues to believe in j as the son of God and divine, their conversion is invalid and they are not Jewish.
Is Christianity idolatry? I always remind people when they ask a generalized question about Jewish belief that Judaism has never had a Pope. What I mean by that is there is really no one that speaks for all Jews. Hence the old adage, "Two Jews, three opinions". So here I can only speak for myself.
I believe Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) is idolatry under two circumstances:
First, is when it claims it holds the only path to God (ie exclusivity) while at the same time claiming only one G-d exists. Christians then put God in a box and limit Him. Thus they worship a part rather than the sum, similar to worshiping the moon rather the creator of the moon. Simply rephrase this basic tenant of Christianity and this concept becomes clear: 'G-d can only save those who believe in Jesus'. The, just like to pagan who went to one god for fertility and another for health, etc., Christianity, while claiming exclusive rights to G-d, likewise has a god who is limited in his scope. I hear the protest already, "G-d can do it He just doesn't", to which I reply there is no difference between what an omnipotent being can do and does in such a circumstance.
Second is when Christians evangelize Jews. The Tanakh, quotes G-d as saying "there is no savior but Me" (Isaiah 43:11, Hosea 13:4). Therefore, when Christians find us lacking in our relationship with the Divine and indicate that we need j, they are saying that Jesus and G-d are not the same person. If they were the same person then we have had a relationship with Him for thousands of years, long before Christianity ever even existed. If they are not the same, then it is idolatry, worshiping a foreign god, one that we did not know at Sinai.
Hope this helps! Shalom,