Rabbis, Skeptics and the Suffering Messiah

by Daniel Mann    

If anyone was a skeptic about Jews believing in Jesus, I was. Born to second-generation Jewish American parents in Brooklyn, I experienced much anti-Semitism growing up in the 1950s and '60s. Since my persecutors weren't Jewish, I assumed they were Christian. When I was fourteen, there was talk that a certain Jewish family in my neighborhood had converted to Christianity. I was filled with disgust. How could Jews do such a thing?

As a young adult, I had a lot of pent up resentment against Christianity. I enjoyed ridiculing anyone who tried to talk with me about Jesus. But I was spiritually hungry. I moved to Israel, lived on a kibbutz, visited a Hasidic yeshiva to ask questions, but returned to the United States still wondering how to really connect with God - a Jewish God, not a Christian one.

People kept telling me about Jesus. I had a great problem with him. Many Jews had died in his name, and many who hated Jews called themselves Christian. And the idea of someone dying on a cross for me seemed like a bunch of hocus-pocus.

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