dress his ass up
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“Jewish mirror on the wall…who’s the most famous Jew of all?” (I beg of you, please don’t say “Madonna…”)

That’s right, most famous Jew ever is December’s all-star birthday kid himself: Jesus H. Bartholomew Christ. Cheeses Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus is literally our homeboy. (If he ever came back and expressed regret over not having had a bar mitzvah at the kotel, I’m certain Jewlicious and American Apparel would be there immediately with a bottle of arak and a box of rugelach; Mobius would create a video, and we could all be there via Rabbi Yonah’s podcasts.)

But here’s the bummer…not only was Jesus omitted from “So Jewtastic” (the second most glaring omission next to Jon Stewart), but most people don’t even think of him as a Jew! Was that a PR campaign gone wrong, or what…you know, maybe it’s time to reclaim the Immaculately conceived carpenter/rabbi as a full-fledged member of the tribe.

Whaddya know…in today’s JPost, Shmuley Boteach finds it puzzling that Jews “accept a Christian version of one of their brethren rather than seeking to discover the man entombed beneath the myth.” (Entombed. A nice — and perhaps unintentional — slam against those who believe that J-dawg was resurrected from within his tomb.)

The transformation of Jesus from lover of Israel to a sworn enemy of the Jewish people, with John 8 quoting Jesus as berating the Jews as children of Satan who are condemned to damnation in hell, is a contemptible act of character manipulation that led to 2,000 tragic years of Christian anti-Judaism.

Restoring Jesus to his Jewish roots, by contrast, could usher in a new era of Jewish-Christian rapprochement. Jews and Christians may not meet through the same religion. But for the first time in two millennia they can forge a bond of kinship using the personality of Jesus of Nazareth as a bridge, even as they continue to understand him in completely different ways.

If it’s okay with all of you, I’m going to refer to this project–the one SB’s proposing, restoring Jesus to his Jewish roots and re-educating Christians as to their Savior’s true religious affiliation–as Birthright Jesus.

So, give your non-Jewish friends the gift of Birthright Jesus–because there’s no gift that says Christmas more than a reappropriation by Jews of Christianity’s central figure.

Post-script: Speaking of Jesus’s birthday, I think we also all need to ask ourselves, if he had been born in the modern era: WWJW (What would Jesus Wishlist)? Miracles for Dummies? Podcasting equipment? Books by Dr. Phil?

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.


  • Esther K. You keep me laughing which adds to my simchat chayim, which helps my avodat hashem. So thank you for the spiritual lift. Ivdu et hashem b’simcha Serve hashem with joy…

  • Jesus is not a JEW!! ok, get it??? the biggest history-fraud and scam was made by my fellow jews…how can we attempt to rewrite history and lie about it and say Jesus is a jew??? How is that??? He is the leader of the Christians…lets stop lying and be straight with God…immean, give me a break!!!! why would the christians be christians if jesus was a jew?? are you telling me the most dominant religon, christianity, has a jewish prophet yet they dont practice judaism??? give me a damn break…we need to starighten ourselves..its all fallacy

  • sam. jesus was born to Jewish parents (er, at least one jewish parent, depends who you ask)in a Jewish part of the world, grew up Jewish, and in fact was celebrating the Passover right before he died. as far as i’m concerned, he was Jewish. so he didn’t keep kosher, neither do i. big deal.

  • to my knowledge..mary the virgin was not a jew nor christian..she was just there, like another one of God’s prophet. also, using a religous connection to christians wont help us bridge our religions together or whatever..it is our actions and how we conduct ourselves that give us friends…not a historical connection.. aren’t arabs and jews from the same family? arent they both semite, yet they do not get along. connection or no connection, we are responsible of showing our good “face” and making that bridge stronger… and while we are at it…why dont we make a bridge with our muslim brothers? please, before you say anything…they are not our sworn enemies or anything…i know muslims, lots of them and they want a world in where muslims, christians, and jews can live together…the only thing stopping that is how we show our bad face by conducting ourselves in Palestine/Israel… they will be fair to us when we ar fair to them…lets make a big bridge…nt only with christians, but our arab-muslim brothers? ok..shalom

  • Sam, just as Ronironi and 50 shmekel are not Jewish, Jesus was a Jew until the day he died.

    Jesus was a Jew.

    That is the delicious/bitter irony.

  • Oh yeah, oh yeah! the middle… LMAO. Best post of the night! (I’m in California, so it’s night for me here.) That is just beautiful… Wonder where Beck would stand in this light? Beck, Travolta and Cruise, what a pathetic trio of confusion, but I digress…

  • Christianity itself is a lot more Jewish than you think. In the early days, the Romans considered it just another Jewish sect, like the Zealots. 11 of the twelve apostles ministered to Jews, and Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, still made the Synagogue his first port of call every time he set himself up in a new town. Out of his early Gentile converts, historians believe that most of them came from the 500,000 Gentile converts to Judaism in the Roman empire at that time. Even today, some Christians consider themselves simply Jews who believe the Messiah has already come; and many consider anti-semitism to be the most tragic betrayal of Christian faith in Christian history.

  • Yeah, okay, I could believe that if I cross my fingers flowers will shoot out of my ass, but that doesn’t make it so.

    Just because Christianity was ONCE a breakoff Jewish sect doesn’t make it Jewish now. Anybody with an understanding of Christian history should know that very quickly (and largely thanks to that Paul guy) Christianity absorbed so much Gentile influence, chiefly pagan but also say, Zoroastrian, that it became almost unrecognizable as a Jewishly-derived religion, beyond its use (albeit rearranged and edited use) of Jewish texts.

    There WERE Jewish Christians, such as the Ebionites, but they were persecuted and eliminated by Pauline Christianity, chiefly because their understanding of Jesus was much more “Jewish” — i.e., not as the Son of God, not as the product of a virgin birth, denial of Trinity, and the denial of original sin, all of which were ideas that entered Christianity from non-Jewish sources.

    And obviously Christians who consider themselves Jews are wrong, unless they happen to have a Jewish mother. And to claim that Christians are “simply Jews who believe the Messiah has already come” is a pretty short step from the sort of sneering Christian triumphalism that reinterpreted all references to Israel in the Bible as prophetically referring to Christians and recasting Christians as the “New Israel.”

    No thanks. What’s different is different.

  • michael, i appreciate your comment and i beleive what you say…the problem is, that as a fellow jew, I view Zionism as Jewish Al-qaeda….we use terror, whether it be physically or financially, we get what we want that way….we can not re write history to benfit us…look at the media….its just us..just jews out there..u telling me that everyone of those jews is holy and never thought to fraud us, the american people? yes, there are fraudulent ppl inevery society and nonetheless there are some of them among us…we can not rewtrite history so that ppl wil feel sorry for us or give us aplaestine or watever..

  • I love this article. One minor quibble: The people Y’shua berates “as children of Satan who are condemned to damnation in hell” in John 8 are the people who were conspiring to kill him for political reasons. At no time does he (or anyone else in the New Testament, for that matter) say anything negative about jews or judaism in general.

  • The main confusion that Sam and others have is that traditional Judaism does not view itself as merely a faith, but really an identity that is a amalgam of faith, tribal affiliation, culture, and and shared history. What I would term a ‘nation’. That is why one can be a non-practicing Jew, or Jewish by birth. That is the Jewish perspective. We might proclaim a Jew to be excommunicated, or to be a heretic, but they are always a Jew in our eyes. If Judaism were merely a religion-by-belief, then people could make claims of Jews losing their Jewish status, or of Christians being somehow Jewish. This, of couse, is not what traditional Judaism believes.

  • God, aren’t you the same poster who posted as a Christian in another discussion?


    Michael, I don’t think it’s just Paul. Augustine is probably no less influential in some respects in terms of how Christianity(ies) has evolved to date.

  • Doesn’t the Torah say that someone is a Jew by blood and not by choice? So until someone runs some forensics on the Shroud of Turin, I’m going to have trust the rumors and assume he was a Jew. Which means that he is my brother after all, even if he’s an estranged or disowned one. After all, how do we really know he wanted a religion devoted to him? Maybe he was just another Ginsberg, but things got out of hand.

  • I think God and Sam are one, and I must say I find his self pronounced Jewish identity dubious since he seems to believe that Miriam was both a virgin and a prophet.

  • Why would we want to reclaim Jesus as one of our own? The whole reason we sold him down the river in the first place was that he was a false prophet, and leading people to sin. Or is R’ Boteach suggesting we take up the Jesus of the New Testament, not quite the most reliable source for info on Jesus’ true life?

  • Ofri, Miriam (Moses’ sister)was a prophetess. What, don’t you listen to Debbie Friedman?? 😉 It states so in the Torah.

  • if you’re being cute, that’s fine. but you do realize Miriam is also the name of Jesus’s mother, right?

  • We sold him down the river?

    Or was that just a convenient story?

    The Mel Gibson version is the much harsher view of the role Jews played in Jesus’s demise. It’s not as if the Romans weren’t crucifying a whole bunch of people, mostly Jews, regularly back then.

  • Ofri, I was trying to be cute, yes. 🙂

    Now, mistake me if I’m wrong: Jesus was born of Immaculate Fertilization, right? He had a father Joseph, and an angel came to him and said that from his groins would spring forth a baby messiah. And Miriam was just Joseph’s wife. Forgive me, I’m a little rusty on my (so-called) New Testament.

  • This “Let’s reclaim our Jewish brother Jesus” stuff gives me a bad feeling, sort of like I ate some tainted food. Boteach is really scraping the bottom now.

    Let the Xians have him. We have no need of him whatsoever.

  • describe that bad taste, what does it feel like? i’m ur sister, bro, and i won’t let the christians have me, thanks 😉 wait a sec, how come jesus is allowed to be considered jewish but his jewish followers aren’t? i only believe what he did..

  • They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore…

    Kinky Friedman for president!

  • this is easily one of the funniest things i have ever seen. too bad they are out of the fridge magnet sets. the best part is that the mittens have nails in them as well. even my catholic dad thought it was hilarious.

  • Go away, roni. You’re not a Jew, you’re an Xian.

    And stop calling me bro. You’ve gone over to the other side. You’re not one of us any more, you’re a Pod Person.

  • TM-

    it could be just a convenient story, but it’s not too implausible. It could be we had nothing to do with it, but if we go along with R’ Boteach’s suggestion, and reclaim him as our own, the convenient story- or even the harsher Passion version- could be thrown back in our faces, and that’s never worked out well for us. Having said that, you might think the opposite- how come more people aren’t afraid to piss us off? According to Christians- recent Papal bulls notwithstanding- we killed the son of G-d! We’re super badass!

  • I think theological rapprochement between Judaism and Christianity is not possible.
    We as Jews should be happy, because if we truly believe that G-d is One, nothing anyone else says makes any difference.
    However we should certainly try to get along with all other human beings.

  • Um, why should we try to get along with Messianic Christians who pretend to be Jewish, use Jewish artifacts and elements in their practice and do whatever they can to trick unsuspecting Jews to become Christians like them?

    These groups were formed and funded, in large part, by Southern Baptists intent on converting Jews to Christianity. That people like this person Roni fall for their shtick does not mean that we should legitimize it. Their goal is simple: by hook or by crook, convert the Jew to Christianity. I don’t go around trying to convert others to Judaism and they should respect my faith sufficiently to (i) not copy its elements directly as if they were Jews (ii) avoid proselytizing to Jews, particularly vulnerable Jews, to convert unknowingly to a different faith.

  • His poor mother though!

    That water into wine concession went well with his ‘Cheeses of Nazareth’ stall in the Temple. But when the Romans started with ‘render unto Caeser’ -where’s our cut?- he lost the plot.

    Anyone heard of the phrase ‘cult of the personality’? Take your pick from Moses, Yesuah or Rasul Mohammed (my theory a secret kabbalist or ‘tosser’).

    Ecumenism is only possible between the Abrahamic faiths because the other two appropiated Judaism wholesale. Christianity and Islam are indeed Judaisms, if somewhat sycretic with other monotheisms such as those of the Hellenes and Zoroastrians. Just as, historically, Judean/Babylonian Judaism was ie the Gnostic crap of Kabbalah. Even Brahminism has close parallels and sycretic potential with Judaism.

    The ‘Jews’ have not been an ethnicity for at least two thousand years, if ever. Take a look at Eretz Yisraels’ Jewish population sometime.

  • I think that Judaism and Christianity cannot really have much ecumenic discourse, because theologically Christianity broke early with Judaism, by proclaiming Hashem to be a trinity (G-d forbid) instead of a Unity. However Islam, Sikhism and Unitarianism do believe that Hashem is a Unity, so ecunemenic discussion is certainly possible with them.

  • iain-HER mother…and father…who actually raised her this way

    middle-i think someone’s got their facts a little mixed up…most messianic jews have nothing to do w/ a missionary organization…and not all messianic jews believe in the trinity either…so…educate me, what is this “unity” u speak of?

  • wow. just about every scripture in that first link was mis-used and out of context. i actually laughed out loud. he also makes points that certain things that the new testament documents-such as people’s rejection of yeshua-somehow make him out *not* to be the messiah, when their regard towards him was nothing but fulfillment of the prophecy that he would indeed be rejected…in fact, u guys are filling it right now

    as for the second link, i couldn’t even go beyond the first premise which supposedly outlines 4 basic points that we believe. hm. 1. not quite 2. no 3. absolutely not! 4. no, and no. i keep reading and there are more “we believe this, they believe this” where i believe the “we” not the “they”…what “they” told them they believed this stuff? j4j maybe, at least to them #4 is more accurate.

    thank you for those resources. i will read the entire things, jot down where i think they make a good case, discuss w/ my (messianic) rabbi and peers, etc etc…if u are actually interested in seeing what kinds of places it leads me to, let me know.

  • “Messianic Rabbi” – is that an oxymoron or WHAT? (Eh, maybe just moronic, come to think of it…)

  • “he also makes points that certain things that the new testament documents-such as people’s rejection of yeshua-somehow make him out *not* to be the messiah, when their regard towards him was nothing but fulfillment of the prophecy that he would indeed be rejected…in fact, u guys are filling it right now”

    Uh, Isaiah is referring to the nation of Israel being rejected. Christianity takes just about every prophecy regarding Jesus out of context.


  • dear skunkworks…

    out of context? u think isaiah 53 being about the messiah is a contrived christian idea? check out the babylonian talmud and read sukkah 52a.

    oh, and sanhedrin 98a…here:

    ” Rab said: The world was created only on David’s account .24 Samuel said: On Moses account;25 R. Johanan said: For the sake of the Messiah. What is his [the Messiah’s] name? — The School of R. Shila said: His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh come.26 The School of R. Yannai said: His name is Yinnon, for it is written, His name shall endure for ever:27 e’er the sun was, his name is Yinnon.28 The School of R. Haninah maintained: His name is Haninah, as it is written, Where I will not give you Haninah.29 Others say: His name is Menahem the son of Hezekiah, for it is written, Because Menahem [‘the comforter’], that would relieve my soul, is far.30 The Rabbis said: His name is ‘the leper scholar,’ as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted.31″

  • Dave,

    The ‘best bits’ of christianity (ie the NT although the plural is more appropiate as it is for ‘Judaisms’) are the ‘Jewish’ bits. Such as famous last words ‘I will be with you for all time’ and ‘Do unto others…’ and my favourite and Gods message to the world IMV, ‘Do not be afraid’.

    I think you are mistaken in that the early ‘church’ was split between Jewish (Ebionite, Jacobian church in Jerusalem ie ‘Messianic’ but not Trinitarian) and Hellenised- but not necessarily non-Jewish or gentile- followers in Antioch primarily but throughout the Diaspora, particularly around the Black Sea.

    It is historical happenstance that destroyed or weakened the other more Judaic forms of christianity. Otherwise we would have to assume some form of Providence in the ascendancy of the Roman form. A line of argument which only the Romans stick to, unsurprisingly.

    The ‘Jewish bits’ simply did not survive the Jewish Wars though fortunately Judaism was advanced and widespread enough to survive since the Romans had already eradicated several religions before their pogroms after those Wars.

    However even so the non-trinitarian heresy Aryanism was the dominant form even after the Nicene Council and Imperial Reformation for a couple of centuries. We see this reflected in some heresies (suppressed) and eventually in the emergence in the Protestant movement from the Lollards on of adopting a return to more ‘Jewish’ religious values and practices. This is part of the process of the return of the CoI IMV to the Faith.

    The CoI are much more than those with some original Judean or Egyptian or Babylonian ethnicity remaining in their DNA, both theologically and ethnically.

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