September 15, 2006

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Working toward strong Jewish-Christian ties

Heading east toward Cleveland, Paul and I came across the following sign along the side of the road near Springfield, Ohio:




This immediately took me aback, so I quickly wrote the lines on a pad, noting the transposition of vowels in one of the words.

I thought the sign might have some significant Jewish-related meaning, but what first came to mind was an experience my husband and I had a few years ago.

Paul was recovering from surgery. His therapy included a regimen of walking. For a change of scenery from neighborhood treks, we decided to go to Broad Ripple Park one Sunday. Arriving, we heard festive music from a far end of the area, so that’s where we headed.

There, we watched dancers whirling to the music, children playing games, families eating in a pavilion—a truly happy scene. As Paul rested, I went to a book table to ask if we were crashing a private party.

No, this was an annual gathering of “Jews for Jesus,” I was told.

I explained to the woman our reason for being in the park. She said her husband and Paul had much in common since both survived and thrived after heart surgeries. Also, we learned her husband headed a congregation of Messianic Jews.

In the May 13 issue of The Indianapolis Star, reporter Robert King and photographer Joe Vitti presented a package on Messianic Jews in the Faith & Values/In Their Words feature.

Rabbi Jeffrey Adler, leader of the Indianapolis Congregation Ahavat Yeshua, explained: “Messianic Jews are Jewish people who believe that Yeshua [Jesus] is the long-awaited Messiah of Israel. We believe that he fulfilled several prophecies in the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible … the Old Testament.” According to the article, Rabbi Adler comes from four generations of Messianic Jews, previously Orthodox.

This hit a nerve for me because I mentioned Jews for Jesus to my eldest daughter, Donna, who with her husband and son are now Orthodox Jews.

Donna noted that in Cleveland the Messianic Jewish movement is making no strides.

Even The Indianapolis Star article acknowledged that many Jewish leaders are critical of the Messianic movement. However, Messianic Jews do not lose their Jewish heritage when they relate to accepting Jesus, also a practicing Jew.

Yes, Jesus is real and Israel is real, not only as historical truths but also as strong spiritual presences in the world.

Let us pray that, through these realities, God/Yahweh/Yeshua/Kyrios/Lord will guide Christians and Jews in appreciating the blessings they are to each other.

May strong, peaceful, interacting families and communities be our goal.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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