Issues: What Will My Family Think?
We’ve all seen scenes like this in the movies or on TV: A son or daughter makes a decision with serious consequences, and now comes the moment when they must share it with those they love and trust the most. It could have been a one-night stand that ended in an unexpected pregnancy. Or a night of “harmless” fun and mischief that concluded inside a jail cell. Or a simple experiment with drugs that spiraled into full-blown addiction.
Many of us can relate to these types of stories because we understand the cost of our choices, not only to ourselves, but also to others—especially those who love us. No matter how strong our relationships may be, there’s still a chance that our choices will alter those relationships—even end them.
For those of us who are Jewish, there is one particular choice that almost always makes waves—maybe even a tsunami. And that is choosing to follow Yeshua (Jesus). When I told my family, they were baffled, and it caused considerable tension for a while. But later on, I remember my mother telling me good-humoredly, “When we named you Matthew, we never thought that…”
This edition features the stories of three Jewish people who also made that choice, with varying consequences. If you are considering Yeshua for yourself, we want to give you an idea of the range of reactions that our people get when they tell their families. Of course, every situation is unique and every family is different.
We would love to hear from you if you would like to add your thoughts.
- Robyn Wilk gives an in-depth interview on how she came to believe in Yeshua (Jesus) and the reaction from her family
- Did Jesus Teach His Disciples to Hate Their Parents? by Rich Robinson
- From Generation to Generation: A Jewish Family Finds Their Way Home by Steve Wertheim
- Frieda Zuckerman’s Christmas by Frieda Zuckerman
- In Memory of Rose Price by Susan Perlman
- Betrayed! by Stan Telchin; reviewed by Lyn Bond
In order to be the light that we were called to be, we need to integrate the two most essential commands of the Torah into who we are and how we live. It was to love God and to love our neighbors that the Jewish people were chosen.”
We don’t want anyone to stop being Jewish. Jesus didn’t want that either. We think every Jewish person has the right to explore the identity of Jesus for themselves and draw their own conclusions rather than let that choice be made for them by rabbis 2,000 years ago.
The man who would one day lead his Jewish people to redemption and bring down the Torah from Sinai chose not to reveal that he was a Hebrew. He actively identified as an Egyptian, and that’s how he would have gone down in history if God had not intervened. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the textbook for Jewish identity, the definition of that identity always comes from God.
Inclusivity should actually be a foundational part of our Jewish identity. And according to the Hebrew Scriptures, it’s nothing short of our destiny. Opening our arms to the nations and gathering those at the fringes doesn’t dilute our identity. If anything, it points us back to the heart of God’s calling for our people all along.
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