The Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations (UMJC) yesterday issued an important response to an insensitive and controversial video recently released by Jews for Jesus, called “That Jew Died for You,” along with an accompanying website.
The video, which oversimply portrays Yeshua along with other Jews being sent to their death at the famous concentration camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was especially tasteless considering the season and its coinciding with Yom HaShoa (Holocaust Memorial Day).
Many other leaders and thinkers within the Messianic Jewish community, the wider Jewish community, and even within Christianity have also voiced their opposition and concern regarding the video. Yesterday, the British Messianic Jewish Alliance (BMJA), the oldest Messianic Jewish alliance in the world, released their own statement against the film.
As the President of the Union of Messianic Believers (UMB) and the Senior Rabbi of Ahavat Zion Messianic Synagogue in Beverly Hills, CA, I add my own opposition to this film. The recent statement by the UMJC, as well as the recent statement by my friend and colleague, Rabbi Dr. Stuart Dauermann, both eloquently express my thoughts on the matter.
Here is the UMJC’s statement released yesterday on its website:
At the close of Holocaust Memorial day, April 27-28, the UMJC Executive Committee issued the following statement on a controversial video:
A recent Jews for Jesus video, “That Jew Died for You,” portrays Jesus (Yeshua) appearing at Auschwitz and being sent to his death along with countless other Jewish victims. The video has gained wide exposure and notoriety, including condemnation from many sources within the Jewish community. As representatives of Messianic Jewish congregations loyal both to the wider Jewish community and to Yeshua as the Jewish Messiah, we feel compelled to express our concerns about this video.
Three generations after World War II, the Holocaust remains a uniquely agonizing and troubling presence within Jewish minds and hearts. We believe the video diverts the emotional impact of the Holocaust in an effort to convey its own message, and in so doing diminishes the uniqueness of the Holocaust. Ironically, at the same time, it diminishes the uniqueness of the sacrificial death of Yeshua. Furthermore, the release of this video during the Passover-Easter season, and shortly before Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day) appears to disregard both the history and the Jewish ethos surrounding these days.
Proclaiming Yeshua as the promised Jewish Messiah can in itself create opposition, but conveying this message in a way that is needlessly offensive is counter to the spirit of Yeshua and of his redemptive work among us.
Executive Committee, Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations