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“Kosher Jesus”

A new book has come out, called Kosher Jesus by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. For those who have not heard of him, he is the rabbi who has a television show called Shalom in the Home, where he counsels Jewish families to resolve their domestic difficulties. He also calls himself America’s Rabbi.

This book, Kosher Jesus, has a view of Jesus that is very similar to my own – that Jesus was a good Jewish boy who was observant and who today we would call Orthodox. He had no intention of changing Judaism significantly and certainly did not intend to start a new religion. He also did not consider himself the Messiah or the Son of God. What he did believe was that the Messiah would be coming in his own lifetime, so he went around trying to get the Jewish people to prepare for the Messiah’s arrival, which Jesus believed would usher in the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.

Rabbi Boteach’s book is more of a history, whereas my Book of Emet tells the story of Jesus as a Bible story, with chapters and verses. And my Sleeping Truth, which also talks about Jesus, is a novel. So although Rabbi Boteach and myself would agree on who the historical Jesus was, we approach the topic using different very different literary forms.

What is of interest to me is that while Kosher Jesus has predictably been rejected by the believing Christian community, they are used to histories like this and have not made much of an outcry about it. However, there has been a huge hue and cry from some of the Chasidic community, of which Rabbi Boteach is a part. Some of them have put Kosher Jesus on the forbidden to read list, and some have called him a heretic and suggested he be excommunicated. The reason being that they are afraid his book will lead to Jews converting to Christianity. When they talk about this book, or about Jesus at all, they call Jesus “J” because it is apparently forbidden to even write his name. I guess that is their version of drowning out the name of Haman.

My view is that Jesus was a great Jewish thinker and teacher, and that the Christians stole him from us. I think it is time we reclaimed him, and Rabbi Boteach obviously has the same point of view and I applaud him for it.

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2 thoughts on ““Kosher Jesus”

  1. Devash on January 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    I’d be interested to know upon what sources you base your theories. To my knowledge, he is only mentioned, historically, in the writings of the new testament.

  2. 3questions on July 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    It is ridiculous for the peoples of this earth to continue fighting over religion. It is pointless, unnecessary, stupid and unproductive. There are so many other things we should be concerned with and that deserve our immediate attention. There are starving children all over our world, there are animals slaughtered for fun, there are diseases that destroy, mutilate and incapacitate humans, there are wars, famine, disease and discontent everywhere. Should we not be more concerned with the things WE CAN FIX OR CHANGE?>>? Religion, at best, is nothing more than man seeking to find a higher power than himself. Since we were created, according to the Bible, in His image, are we not gods ourselves?? We have the power, intelligence and abilities to cure disease, stop wars, feed the hungry but yet we continue to argue, war and fight over every little imagined insult or attack. GROW UP people. Become what your GOD intended for you to be. An intelligent, problem solving, compassionate, understanding, reliable and loving being. It doesn’t matter what religion you are, we all worship the SAME GOD. There is only ONE!

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