Jewish groups fight messianics in phone book
About two dozen messianic Jewish congregations around the country are listed as synagogues in phone books. That infuriates the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, reports the Jewish newspaper The Forward. "These people are becoming more brazen," says Philip Abramowitz, director of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council Taskforce on Missionaries and Cults (who, Weblog is guessing, needs an 8 ½-by-11-inch business card to include his full job title). Abramowitz says the groups are also growing: from 222 in 1996 to 350 today. One important battle is being fought in New Orleans, where BellSouth, under pressure from Jewish groups, has asked the Adat Yeshua congregation to move its listing to a different category: "Churches — Messianic Jewish." Brian Lister, Adat Yeshua's head deacon, refuses: "We are holding a Jewish Torah service. That [church] listing is inappropriate, not to mention when people look for us they look under synagogue, they don't look for us under church."

The Forward article is fair, and reporter Nacha Cattan raises an important question: if the Jewish Council for Public Affairs can push messianic congregations out of the "Synagogue" listing for not being Jewish enough, what's to stop other groups from pushing their own forms of orthodoxy? Can Orthodox Jews file protests against listing Reconstructionists and the Society for Humanistic Judaism?

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