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Who Are We Jews?

Perhaps like many other men and women in Poland, you’ve only recently discovered that you’re heritage is Jewish.  And perhaps, quite naturally, you’re asking yourself, “If I’m Jewish, what does that mean?_

Who are we Jews?  Well, let’s begin with some basic definitions.

Because we Jews have lived in so many lands and have contributed to so many cultures, it’s best to think of us as a people, not as a particular race or nationality.  After all, there are Polish Jewish people, Ethiopian Jews, American Jews, even Chinese Jews!  And of course, there are modern-day Israelis.

Does “being Jewish” mean that we practice and follow the religion of Judaism?  Though many Jewish people do follow some form of modern-day Judaism, “Jewish” and “Judaism” are not the same thing.  Being Jewish describes who we are, but Judaism is a belief system that describes what we might believe.  We Jews, like anyone else, can believe in any number of different belief systems – or, we can belief in no system of belief at all!  There are agnostic Jews, atheistic Jews, traditionally “Orthodox” and Ultra-Orthodox” Jews – and there are hundreds of thousands of Jewish people who believe that Jesus (or Yeshua) is the promised Jewish Messiah who died for everyone’s sins and rose from the dead, as prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament.

Perhaps the best way to understand “being Jewish” is by looking at the way that the Hebrew Scriptures themselves speak of us Jews.  We’re a particular people, created by God, and descended through a particular line of ancestors – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  As a people, we share a particular history, regardless of our culture, and we also share a particular purpose.  We were chosen by God (not because of anything special about ourselves) to be the people through whom the One true and living God would give the world the Bible, the Messiah Jesus (Who was born of a Jewish woman), and the Good News about how each of us, whether we’re Jewish or not, can be forgiven of our sins and given God’s gift of a personal and everlasting relationship with Him.  That happens when we admit that we’ve sinned and have fallen short of God’s expectations, and when we believe that Yeshua the Messiah died on the cross to suffer the consequences that our sins deserve, and then rose again on the third day.  

The Apostle Paul, A Jewish man from the ancient city of Tarsus, described it this way. 

“Christ (or Messiah) died for our sins, according to the Scriptures.  He was buried and rose and on the third day, according to the Scriptures”.

(1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Because Jesus is alive, we can ask Him to forgive us, and we can make a sincere promise to follow Him.  And when we do that, He does forgive us, and He gives us that promised gift of “eternal life” – a personal relationship with God that starts the moment we repent, and that lasts forever.

The great Jewish King David understood that gift of eternal life very well. He wrote,

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.  And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. 

(Psalm 23:6)

So, the real question isn’t, “Can we Jews believe in Jesus?”  Rather, the real question is, “Should we Jews believe in Jesus?”  The answer to that question is really very simple.  “Yes, we should, if He is the Messiah and Savior, promised to us in our own Jewish Bible.”

And the best way to answer that question is by looking at what the Jewish Bible says about who the Messiah is, what He’ll do, and when He’ll come to us.  

Care to take a look?  Have some other questions?  Contact us!  We’ll be happy to hear your thoughts and share our ideas with you.

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