A massive new study on American Jews reveals some interesting tidbits about how today's Jewish community views Jesus, and how American Christians view Jewish identity and Israel.
Among many findings, Pew Research asked American Jewish adults, "What is compatible with being Jewish?" They found that the majority believe a person can be Jewish even if he or she works on the Sabbath (94%), is strongly critical of Israel (89%), or does not believe in God (68%).
In stark contrast: "Believing in Jesus, however, is enough to place one beyond the pale," notes Pew. Only 34 percent say that believing Jesus was the Messiah is compatible with being Jewish. (Jews of no religion (47%) are more likely than Jews by religion (30%) to say this, as are those with a high school diploma or less (48%) vs. college graduates (28%).)
However, the fact that 1 out of 3 American Jews today do see belief in Jesus as compatible with being Jewish (including 35 percent of Ultra-Orthodox Jews) may seem surprisingly high for those who follow the fortunes of Messianic Jews. For example, a new multi-million dollar Messianic center (previously profiled by CT) that recently opened in an Orthodox Brooklyn neighborhood has drawn much scrutiny. (Among top concerns told to the Jerusalem-based Times of Israel: "They will make inroads because they are offering free services to the community and unconditional love.")
Additionally, when Pew Research asked "What does being Jewish mean in America today?", majorities say remembering the Holocaust (73%) and leading an ethical life (69%) is essential to their Jewish identity. Of interest: More than twice as many say "having a good sense of humor" (42%) is essential than "observing ...